Holy Spirit in Action
“Upon us the spirit is poured out from on high.”—Isa. 32:15.
1. Why is there now urgent need for holy spirit to be in action for lovers of righteousness?
THERE is now urgent need for holy spirit to be in action. This spirit has its source in Jehovah, the Most Holy God. It is the invisible active force that he puts in operation according to his holy will. But why is activity of holy spirit needed especially today in behalf of lovers of what is righteous, good and holy? It is because of what now confronts them.
2. What fear-inspiring trio dominates the earthly scene today, and what questions can we ask about the effect of this on us?
2 Today an extraordinary “wild beast,” a “false prophet” and a “dragon” dominate the earthly scene. The influence of this fear-inspiring trio reaches high up, even to the world’s political rulers, “the kings of the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev. 16:13, 14) This creates a grave danger for us common people, for the way in which our governmental rulers go affects us little people to a large degree. Yet, in spite of what our political rulers do, can we individually take a personal stand regarding the “wild beast,” the “false prophet” and the “dragon”? To what extent shall we let ourselves be influenced by these—only to our injury? What is our defense?
3. How does Revelation, chapter thirteen, describe this “wild beast,” and what question do its admirers raise about it?
3 The “wild beast” is on the loose world wide! This vicious creature is supported by the fiery-red “dragon.” It is not a mere wild animal that has emerged from the dense forest of Brazil or from the jungle of some central African land. It is a kind of creature that has power, authority and even a throne. So it exercises rulership, not in the animal kingdom, but rulership in the political field. In this behalf, it has an intelligence like that of seven heads. It has a formidable power of aggression and of defense, like that of ten horns upon seven heads. That is why, in the prophetic book of Revelation or Apocalypse, it is described as a wild beast with seven heads and ten horns. It has won the admiration of patriotic people everywhere. They think that this symbolic wild beast of seven heads and ten horns is unconquerable. These admiring worshipers raise the challenging question: “Who is like the wild beast, and who can do battle with it?”—Rev. 13:1-4.
4. How much longer will this “wild beast” be with us?
4 All along, we common people have seen this “wild beast” in action, but, before now, have any of us identified it? Have any of us figured out why it is pictured the way in which it is in the book of Revelation? This “wild beast” is with us today, and frightened people wonder for how much longer it will be with us. The inspired Bible answers that it will be with mankind down to the last, until it meets the one that can “do battle with it” and destroy it. Then it will be idolized no more.
5. What does that “wild beast” with seven heads symbolize, and by what of a superhuman kind is it controlled?
5 This “wild beast” is a symbolic one, like the four wild beasts pictured in the prophecy of Daniel, chapter seven. Those four symbolized certain human governments, empires, political world powers, such as the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, and the Roman Empire, with something added to picture the modern-day Anglo-American dual world power. But what does the “wild beast” of Revelation, chapters thirteen through nineteen, symbolize? Human political rule as a whole, on a global scale. Although controlling the whole world, it is not a federation of all national governments with a central world capital. It is made up of many political parts, which have been dominated throughout millenniums of time by a succession of seven world powers. On top of that, it has been dominated by the superhuman fiery-red “dragon.”
6. (a) In what does earthly government of today have its source? (b) To what rulership does such government subject itself?
6 Earthly government of all mankind today is of human source. Hence, Revelation 13:1 pictures it as “ascending out of the sea.” It has ascended out of the vast “sea” of humanity, which is just as restless as the literal sea, and dissatisfied, because it refuses to be subject to the rulership of the Creator of heaven and earth. (Isa. 57:20, 21) The rulership to which it subjects itself is that of the superhuman fiery-red “dragon.” This explains why Revelation 13:2 informs us that “the dragon gave to the [wild] beast its power and its throne and great authority.” There is no mystery as to whom the “dragon” symbolizes. Revelation, chapter twelve, verse nine, plainly says that the “dragon” is the “original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” Satan the “dragon” is not alone in ruling all the political governments of the earth. He has legions of angels, superhuman spirits like himself, and these demons fight on the ‘dragon’s’ side over the issue of universal sovereignty.
7. Like a god, the “dragon” has what as a mouthpiece on earth?
7 The Christian apostle Paul calls Satan “the god of this system of things.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Like a god, this “dragon” has a prophet on the earth. What kind of prophet? A “false prophet,” for he acts as the mouthpiece of the “dragon” that is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev. 12:9) Logically, then, his prophesying must be misleading and, consequently, “false.” Are we today being misled by him?
8. Why has the “false prophet” been allowed to speak as the representative for the whole “wild beast”?
8 Let us not make the mistake of thinking that this “false prophet” is an individual man. He is, in fact, a composite figure, a political system that stands out from all other governments. So much has this been the case that the “wild beast” has recognized the “false prophet” to be the dominant political entity of the day. And why not? Because it became the greatest world power of all human history according to Bible prophecy. So it has been allowed to speak as the representative for the whole “wild beast.”
9. With what authority has the “false prophet” spoken till now, and in what way have its prophesyings been misleading?
9 Particularly for the past two centuries this Anglo-American “prophet” has let its voice be heard with an authority that has not yet been overthrown. As the seventh world power referred to in Bible prophecy, this British-American dual world power has performed “signs” with which to impress all the peoples and to mislead them away from subjection to the Creator of heaven and earth. It has been the chief proponent and backer of the present-day United Nations organization for ensuring the peace and security of the world. (Rev. 19:20) The British-American political combination ranks among the first nuclear-powered military forces on earth. Trusting in its own strength, it does not prophesy in favor of rulership of all the earth by the Creator, Jehovah God.
“THREE FOUL SPIRITS LIKE FROGS”
10, 11. (a) Because of what threat to all mankind do we need to be warned regarding that now dominant trio of “dragon,” “wild beast” and “false prophet”? (b) What warning does Revelation 16:13-16 give us?
10 In the face of the foregoing facts, can we truthfully say that this twentieth-century world scene is dominated by the symbolic “wild beast,” “false prophet” and “dragon”? Yes! Hence, we all need to be warned about that God-defying trio, for it is bent on bringing about destruction of all mankind. How? Not by a nuclear third world war, but by a universal war at what the Bible calls Har–Magedon. The Bible’s last book, Revelation, gives all people such a warning. Even though this book uses picture language, it is very clear and understandable as to the disastrous outcome of such a universal war for all mankind. As we read Revelation 16:13-16, we can see at what the warning, given in picture language, is driving. In The New English Bible the verses read:
11 “Then I saw coming from the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, and the mouth of the false prophet, three foul spirits like frogs. These spirits were devils, with power to work miracles. They were sent out to muster all the kings of the world for the great day of battle of God the sovereign Lord. . . . So they assembled the kings at the place called in Hebrew Armageddon.”
12. (a) What really are those three froglike spirits that come out from the mouths of “dragon,” “wild beast” and “false prophet”? (b) To what are such “spirits” leading all mankind?
12 The “foul spirits” that hop “like frogs” out of the mouths of the dragon, wild beast and false prophet are not literal spirit creatures such as devils or demons. Since they come out of three mouths, they picture propaganda, in this case propaganda as foul as frogs that puff themselves up and make a dismal croaking sound. The propaganda is forceful, with a driving or persuasive power. Accordingly, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures says: “They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons.” They are “unclean inspired expressions” that come out of the mouths of the dragon, wild beast and false prophet. To what are those forceful expressions leading the rulers of the people? To no other eventuality but “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. Yes, they are leading to war, not a war between man and man as in a nuclear third world war, but a war between man and God. Is this not something of the most serious kind? Indeed it is!
13. If we do not want to march along to Har–Magedon, we need the help of what, and why so?
13 The march to the battleground of Har–Magedon is on! Is the foul, unclean propaganda persuading us individually to march with the “kings of the entire inhabited earth”? Are we going to let ourselves be propagandized into fighting against God the Almighty? If we personally do not want to do this, then how can we successfully resist the driving force of the “unclean inspired expressions” that issue from the dragon, wild beast and false prophet? We can do so only by the help of the counteractive force of the Almighty God’s holy spirit. This is a far superior force, not foul, not unclean, but holy. In Revelation 4:5, its effectiveness is pictured as being sevenfold, like the seven lamps that symbolized “the seven spirits of God.” The spirit of God is his holy invisible active force. If we are enlightened and strengthened by it, we can overpower the driving force of the three unclean “spirits of demons,” or “expressions inspired by demons.”—Rev. 16:14, American Standard Version; NW.
14, 15. (a) What would be more terrifying than our meeting, unarmed, a literal wild beast, dragon and false prophet, together? (b) In what way can a mountain of opposition be made like a level land?
14 Here, likely, someone might exclaim in dismay: ‘Why, such a thing would mean my taking a stand against the whole world. That is frightening!’ Yes, to a person without the spirit of God, it would indeed be so. What if we were to face, unarmed, a literal wild beast and a fiery-red dragon along with a false prophet, all at one time? Would that not be terrifying? Yes! But what about our standing up against the larger things symbolized by the wild beast and fiery-red dragon and the false prophet? Certainly it ought to be far more terrifying to stand up against a beastlike worldwide system of political rule and a nuclear-powered “false prophet” and their superhuman controller, the great Dragon, Satan the Devil! Could a mere human do this without adequate protection? In our own strength we could never hold firm against the propaganda and pressure from such mighty sources and keep refusing to compromise so as never to be a sharer with them. That triple combination, involving heaven and earth, looms up like a lofty mountain in our pathway. How can we ever surmount it?
15 If we have God the Almighty with us, we can cope with the pressure and opposition of the whole world. Nineteen centuries ago the Christian apostle Paul met a martyr’s death at the claws of the political “wild beast,” and yet he fearlessly said: “If God is for us, who will be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) Hence, what may seem like an insurmountable mountain of opposition to us the Almighty God can make like a level piece of land. That is what He said to the governor of ancient Jerusalem, whom He commissioned to rebuild the temple in that city. To encourage the governor, Zerubbabel, to go ahead despite the mountainous opposition from worldly outsiders, God said to him: “‘Not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ Jehovah of armies has said.”—Zech. 4:6.
16. As in Governor Zerubbabel’s case, what are we obliged to put to the test if we want to be on the winning side at Har–Magedon?
16 In the sixth century before our Common Era, the governor of Jerusalem put the spirit of God to the test by acting according to his commission from God. For proving God to be true, he had the joy of seeing the temple completed in the year 515 B.C.E. and of inaugurating it. (Zech. 4:8-10) Likewise, today our faith in the spirit of God is being put to the test, for we face opposition from the triple alliance of the “wild beast,” the “false prophet,” and the “dragon.” We are obliged to put God’s spirit to the test, in order to keep on worshiping Jehovah as God at his spiritual temple and to stay separate and distinct from the world. If we do so, we are bound to be on the victorious side during the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon.
SPIRIT POURED OUT FROM ON HIGH
17, 18. (a) As respects the spirit, how did Jehovah not fail his people after their desolating experience in World War I? (b) How did Jehovah indicate this beforehand in Isaiah 32:12-16?
17 Jehovah, the Source of holy spirit, has not failed his worshipers in this critical “time of the end,” in which we have been since the World War year of 1914. Faithfully he has put holy spirit in action in behalf of his dedicated, baptized people. He foretold that he would do so. World War I of 1914-1918 C.E. was marked by worldwide hardship and a desolating persecution upon these conscientious students and proclaimers of God’s written Word, the Holy Bible. That God was wise and correct in letting such a disciplinary trial come upon them, we do not question for a moment. It was even foreshadowed by what befell the ancient kingdom of Judah with its capital at Jerusalem. In chapter thirty-two of Isaiah’s prophecy, Jehovah described the lamentable devastation that was to come upon his delinquent people and what would follow when they repented and turned back to Him. He said:
18 “Beat yourselves upon the breasts in lamentation over the desirable fields, over the fruit-bearing vine. [Why?] Upon the ground of my people merely thorns, spiny bushes come up, for they are upon all the houses of exultation, yes, the highly elated town [Jerusalem]. For the dwelling tower itself has been forsaken, the very hubbub of the city has been abandoned; [the eminence] Ophel and the watchtower themselves have become bare fields, for time indefinite the exultation of zebras, the pasture of droves; until upon us the spirit is poured out from on high, and the wilderness will have become an orchard, and the orchard itself is accounted as a real forest. And in the wilderness justice will certainly reside, and in the orchard righteousness itself will dwell.”—Isa. 32:12-16.
19. What was the national calamity to which Isaiah was there referring?
19 Can we today identify the national calamity that the prophet Isaiah here described more than a century in advance? Ah, yes, it was the desolating of the land of the kingdom of Judah for seventy years, during which time the deported Israelites were kept as exiles in the pagan land of Babylon. They were the survivors of the shocking destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem and its temple by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. That must certainly have been a dispiriting experience for those survivors to go through. As they languished in an idolatrous country, Jehovah’s temple of worship lay in ruins, Jerusalem was a dead city without any hubbub, and their once productive land was a thornbush-infested wilderness, and a playground for wild zebras, without molestation by man.
20. (a) How did ancient Babylon misjudge her power as a prison keeper of Jehovah’s people? (b) In the strength of what did the repentant Israelites return, with what effect on their homeland?
20 In defiance of Jehovah God, idol-worshiping Babylon held the Israelite exiles as in a prison. As the Third World Power on the ancient world stage, she felt strong enough to keep the desolated land of Judah from ever again being occupied by the worshipers of the rival God, Jehovah. She did not believe that Jehovah could raise up the Persian conqueror, Cyrus, whom he had named long before. At the time due, this conqueror appeared on the scene. Just as had been foretold, Cyrus broke the merciless prison keeper’s power and released the Israelite prisoners. Thus, in 539 B.C.E., the desolator of the earthly estate of Jehovah’s people was toppled from the high position of World Power. Then Jehovah’s spirit was poured out from on high upon the repentant Israelite exiles in 537 B.C.E. In the strength and under the guidance of that active force from the Most High God, the repentant Israelite remnant left Babylon and trekked back to their desolate homeland to rebuild Jerusalem and its holy temple. Their reoccupied land gradually lost its desolate appearance as they converted it into a most fruitful land, the beauty of which approached that of Paradise, the Garden of Eden.
21. How does that event back there figure as to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter thirty-two?
21 However, did that event of more than 2,500 years ago provide all the fulfillment that there was to be to that prophecy of Isaiah, chapter thirty-two? No! What there was of fulfillment back there was just a miniature fulfillment to illustrate a future full-scale fulfillment during our own twentieth century. This major and final fulfillment has now come upon those who are today the approved people of the same God, Jehovah.
22. During World War I, what kind of weapons were used in warring upon Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, and why were the nations wrathful against them?
22 Since the year 1931 C.E., these restored Christians have been known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But years before that, there was that spiritual calamity that befell them during World War I. Simultaneously with that gory war with death-dealing weapons, a war was waged upon them by the symbolic “wild beast” that had received its power and throne and great authority from the “dragon,” Satan the Devil. However, this war was carried on without lethal weapons, for the attacked Christian Bible Students were a harmless, unarmed people. Instead, political and judicial weapons were put to use, even to the imprisonment of peaceable, innocent Christians. (Rev. 13:3-7) The war-inclined nations, who make up the symbolic “wild beast,” were moved to wrath because these Christian witnesses of Jehovah were proclaiming his kingdom by Christ to be the only rightful rule for all the earth now, forasmuch as the appointed “times of the Gentiles” had ended in early autumn of the year 1914 C.E.—Luke 21:24, Authorized Version; Rev. 11:15-18.
23. By whom were the war-minded nations egged on, and by what mighty trio was the remnant of Kingdom proclaimers overpowered?
23 The wrathful nations were egged on by the religious leaders who belonged to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion that has its roots in ancient Babylon. In that religious empire Christendom took the lead in stirring the nations to act and to persecute the small remnant of spiritual Israelites. Being a harmless, unarmed minority, the remnant was overpowered by the triple alliance of the “wild beast,” the “false prophet” and the “dragon.” This powerful trio combined forces in bringing the remnant of Kingdom proclaimers into bondage to Babylon the Great. What now followed and how Isaiah’s prophecy, chapter thirty-two, thus underwent its final fulfillment we shall find set out on the succeeding pages.
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A GOD-DEFYING TRIO