Is God’s Day of Vengeance Near?
“Jehovah has a day of vengeance.”—Isa. 34:8.
1. Does Luke 21:25, 26 have its application today?
JESUS CHRIST foretold that the time for God to execute vengeance would be identified by “anguish of nations, not knowing the way out” because of the problems agitating human society. He said that men would “become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” (Luke 21:25, 26) Do we see this situation as we pass into 1981?
YES! WE CERTAINLY DO!
2. (a) What indicates that Revelation 11:15, 18 began its fulfillment in 1914? (b) To what are these events a preliminary?
2 The present world crisis is the outgrowth of distresses that have multiplied among mankind since the nations first became locked in total warfare in the year 1914. According to the prophecy of Revelation chapter 11, that year when “the nations became wrathful”—1914—also marked the time when rightfully “the kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and of his Christ.” (Rev. 11:15, 18) This enthroning of Christ with authority to rule is a preliminary step that paves the way for the execution of vengeance.
3. Where do Christendom’s churches stand with regard to God’s message of vengeance and comfort?
3 Today, is anyone commissioned by God’s spirit to proclaim the day of Jehovah’s vengeance and to comfort all who mourn? Yes, but it is not the churches of Christendom. They have no message of real comfort; nor do they want Jehovah as their God. Not only do they avoid the use of Jehovah’s name, but they persecute true Christians who do honor that name.
4. What reasons do we have to be glad?
4 However, Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy to bear God’s name, the greatest in the universe! They are glad to be called Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are overjoyed that, since the Kingdom’s being established in that eventful year 1914, they have been privileged to declare Jehovah’s “day of vengeance” in all the earth. Indeed, they are determined, as Micah 4:5 puts it, to “walk in the name of Jehovah [their] God to time indefinite, even forever”! And they are delighted that millions of mourning ones have listened to their message, have been comforted and have flocked to the side of God’s incoming kingdom.
GOD’S VENGEANCE—IS IT DESERVED?
5. (a) Of what are these “critical times” the final fruitage? (b) In fulfillment of Paul’s prophecy on “the last days,” what conditions do we now see in Christendom?
5 However, is the world today really so bad that it must meet up with God’s vengeance? Listen to the inspired words of the apostle Paul. He said: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” These critical times are the final fruitage, the end result of the failure of people to respond to the preaching of the truth. (2 Tim. 2:23-26) Even in the realm of Christendom we now see a frightening increase in crime and violence, the breakdown of the family, disrespect for authority, and loss of morality. At the root of it all are selfishness and greed, the lack of genuine love. Paul goes on to say: “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . without love of goodness, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Well, do we see this prophecy being fulfilled throughout the earth today? Yes, indeed. It is being fulfilled in precise detail.
6. What situation has developed in fulfillment of Matthew 24:12?
6 Jesus himself, in prophesying of the “sign . . . of the conclusion of the system of things,” said: “Because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.” (Matt. 24:3, 12) How true this is even of Christendom, as well as of the entire world today! As each Christmastime comes around, there is much talk in Christendom about love, about peace and goodwill among men, but do the nations of Christendom practice such things? Significant are the words of Britain’s prime minister, spoken just one week before Christmas, 1979. She said: “We face a new decade—I have called it ‘the dangerous decade’—in which the challenges to our security and to our way of life may, if anything, be more acute than in the 1970’s.”
7, 8. (a) What doomsday situation do we now find? (b) What assurances does Jehovah give, and how do these involve “love” and “vengeance”?
7 How are the nations responding to such challenges? By intensifying their war preparations. Think of it! This loveless world is spending about one million dollars a minute on armaments, more than 500 billion dollars a year! All of this escalates a doomsday situation for which the world can find no solution. According to information published by a group of physicians, scientists and others in the New York Times of March 2, 1980, if a nuclear war were to break out tomorrow, it could, in just one hour, destroy most life on earth—thousands of millions of people. Yet the nations are working feverishly to produce even more diabolical superweapons.
8 Now, then, will our loving God, the Creator of this beautiful earth, permit wicked nations to burn it to a cinder? Never! For he plainly states in his Word: “This is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.’” His peerless name Jehovah stands as guarantee that He, as loving Creator and Sovereign Lord of the universe, will not permit the desolating of our globe. Divine love demands that God exact vengeance from those who desecrate our earth and who would annihilate his human creation.—Isa. 45:18; Jer. 10:10-12.
9. Since the nations refuse to disarm, what does Jehovah propose to do, and why?
9 Since the first world war broke out in 1914, this earth has been drenched with the blood of tens of millions of innocent persons. Why, World War II alone took 55 million lives! And now the prospect of a nuclear holocaust is even more fearsome. So, since the nations refuse to disarm, then our loving God declares that shortly he will disarm them, in his own effective and permanent way. He says: “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.” (Ps. 46:8, 9) Yes, it is Jehovah’s loving purpose to do what the nations will never do—pulverize all their war equipment, even to defusing all their nuclear missiles. As Jehovah says: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” (Rom. 12:19; Zeph. 3:8, 9) Does not our loving God’s promise that he will exact vengeance make us glad? It should!
10. The wars of this century have brought what shocking consequences?
10 The wars fought since 1914 have helped to bring in their wake horrible consequences. Among these are unbridled indulgence in sex, resulting in epidemics of venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies. These unwanted pregnancies have brought with them a tidal wave of abortions. It is estimated that now, worldwide, about 30 to 40 million unborn children are aborted, murdered, every year! That is the most extensive murder of innocents the world has ever seen, dwarfing the deaths in the worst year of any war in history.
11. In what ways are ‘wicked men advancing from bad to worse’?
11 Also, in recent times, we have seen drug addiction, divorce, delinquency and lawlessness of all types on a frightful scale. Today, the homosexual community boasts that it has 20 million adherents in the United States alone. Recently, one homosexual set a modern record by the shocking murder of 33 young men he had sexually assaulted. Yet homosexuality is only one aspect of the immorality increasingly practiced in Christendom and throughout the earth. It is just as Second Timothy chapter 3 says about these “last days,” that “wicked men . . . will advance from bad to worse.”—Vs. 13.
12. What indications do we have that this wicked world has reached its end?
12 Viewing the immoral world around us, we are compelled to exclaim: How like Noah’s day! How like the time of Sodom and Gomorrah! How like the depraved Canaanites and the backsliding Israelites! As this present world sinks ever deeper into the mire of immorality, we are reminded of the warning of the apostle Paul that “those practicing such things are deserving of death.” (Rom. 1:18, 26-32) No, the loving God will not much longer tolerate the horrendous wickedness of this system of things. Instead, he will bring to ruin those who make his earth filthy.—Rev. 11:18.
IDENTIFYING A “FAMOUS PROSTITUTE”
13. What is meant by ‘spiritual adultery’?
13 However, the Bible speaks also of spiritual immorality. This is indulged in by those who claim to be practicing pure religion, but who get mixed up in the affairs of Satan’s world. The Bible says: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4) Such friendship—spiritual adultery—on the part of those who claim to be God’s servants provides another major reason for Jehovah’s exacting vengeance. Why do we say so?
14. Identify the “famous prostitute” and the “many waters” on which she sits.
14 It is because of what is said in Revelation chapter 17. There we read of “the great harlot who sits on many waters.” What does this mean? The “many waters” are clearly identified for us at verse 15 as meaning “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.” But who is this “great harlot” that exercises power over the people? The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic translation, refers to her as the “famous prostitute.” What has she done to make her so famous? Revelation 17:5 provides a clue, stating: “Upon her forehead was written a name, a mystery: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.’”
15. What happened to Babylon, but what legacy did she leave?
15 So the “famous prostitute” has a name, “Babylon the Great.” This links her with the Babylon of ancient history, in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, which history reveals was full of depraved sex worship and corruption. (Dan. 4:28-30) Today, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon is no more. Her site in modern Iraq is a desolation, “as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Isa. 13:19-22) However, ancient Babylon did leave a legacy for mankind. And what is that? Her idolatry—her religion!
16. (a) How did a world empire of false religion develop? (b) What judgment does God pass on Babylon the Great, and why?
16 From earliest times following the Flood, Babylon was identified with false religion. It was there that men, in defiance of Jehovah, built a city and a religious tower with its top in the heavens. And when Jehovah confused their language, it was from Babylon that they scattered over all the earth, taking their false religion with them. In the fourth century, apostate Christians fused the doctrine and ceremonial practice of Babylon into the religious system that exists to this day in the various sects of Catholicism and Protestantism. Thus, there has developed a world empire of false religion, “Babylon the Great,” embracing “Christian” and nonChristian religions. Because of the involvement of “Babylon the Great” in the persecutions, violence, and even the world wars of history, God passes judgment on her, saying: “In her was found the blood of prophets and of holy ones and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.”—Rev. 17:5, 6; 18:24; Gen. 10:8-10; 11:1-9.
17. What is the “scarlet-colored wild beast,” and how has it fulfilled prophecy?
17 Babylon the Great’s adulterous “friendship with the world” goes even farther. It includes her domineering relationship with a symbolic “beast.” For she is described at Revelation 17:3 as also “sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names.” In the Bible, “beasts” are often used to symbolize political nations. (Dan. 7:2-8; 8:5-8, 20, 21; Rev. 13:1-18) But here the prophecy speaks of a grotesque combination “beast” having “seven heads and ten horns.” Modern history shows that this “beast” first appeared in 1920. It was a combine of the nations—the League of Nations. It took a plunge into temporary inactivity during World War II. But—in fulfillment of prophecy—it appeared again as the United Nations in 1945. Shortly, it “goes off into destruction.”—Rev. 17:8-11.
18. How will Babylon the Great’s religious-political intimacies end?
18 False religion, “Babylon the Great,” has tried to give a guiding hand to both the League of Nations and the United Nations. But God’s Word shows that all such religious-political intimacies by popes and other religious leaders will soon come to an end. At a time when the “famous prostitute” thinks she is sitting pretty God will cause the symbolic “ten horns” of the United Nations “beast” to turn their militarized might against her. They will get her off their back, devastate her, destroy her completely, as if by fire.—Rev. 17:16, 17.
“GET OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE”
19. How does God now express his love to all sincere religious persons?
19 As that hour of judgment approaches, how is God expressing his love? In this way: to all sincere Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus—to people of all false religions who want to become God’s people—God extends the urgent invitation recorded in Revelation 18:4, 5: “Get out of [Babylon the Great], my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.”
20. Why is it high time to get well away from Babylon the Great?
20 Without a doubt, the execution of God’s judgment draws ever closer! Antireligious nations already wield great power in the United Nations. Oil-hungry militaristic countries threaten the Moslem world as well as those nations long regarded as the bulwark of Christendom’s religions. That is why it is now high time for all lovers of truth and righteousness to get well away from the “famous prostitute,” yes, to flee to God’s kingdom.
21. What is Armageddon, and when do the nations find themselves there?
21 What follows the devastation of “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion? The Scriptures indicate that the “ten horns” of the “beast” will turn against true religion, as represented on earth by Jehovah’s Witnesses. But when that happens, those nations will find themselves fighting against God at Armageddon! And Armageddon is not just a small corner in the land of Palestine. Rather, Armageddon is a worldwide situation that calls for vengeance in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” the greatest conflict of all time!—Rev. 16:14, 16; 17:12-14.
22. How do the Scriptures show Armageddon to be a righteous war?
22 The Bible says that God uses Christ Jesus with the armies of heaven to ‘judge and carry on war in righteousness.’ Yes, Armageddon will be a righteous war. Righteous? How so? In that it will bring deserved vengeance upon the nations and peoples of earth that have chosen not to know God and who oppose his right to rule. It will be selective in its destruction. It will destroy the wicked, but bring salvation to all who “obey the good news about our Lord Jesus,” says the apostle Paul. Thus, Armageddon will balance out God’s vengeance with God’s love.—2 Thess. 1:8; Ps. 145:20; Rev. 19:11-21.
23. (a) What kind of God is Jehovah, as shown by Psalm 145:17-21? (b) Why, then, does this ‘God of love’ bring vengeance? (c) What action should we take with regard to the approaching “day of vengeance”?
23 Do we not appreciate, then, why the ‘God of love’ must be also a God of vengeance? It is because he loves righteousness and hates wickedness, and so should we. (Ps. 145:17-21) How necessary it is that Jehovah’s great name and purposes be vindicated! How necessary that our earth be cleansed of all the bloodguilt, corruption and immorality that have sullied this beautiful creation of God over the past millenniums! Only then will the earth become the global paradise that God has purposed for mankind. So, first, the matchless ‘God of love’ must clear the way by inflicting vengeance upon his enemies. Are we not glad that his day of vengeance is now at hand? Let us, then, be among those who accept Jehovah’s loving invitation: “Be glad, you nations, with his people, for he will . . . pay back vengeance to his adversaries.”—Deut. 32:43.
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THE SHAPE OF THINGS IN THE WORLD
“TOWARDS COLLISION: WORLD. Military expenditure continues to burgeon alarmingly . . . it is now . . . double the tally a decade ago. . . . The amount the world spent equipping each soldier in 1966 was 60 times the amount spent educating each child.”—“To the Point,” November 3, 1978
“. . . FRENCH FORESEE DISASTER. The atmosphere of trouble and fear of the future is real. Some people have gotten to the point of mumbling that economic collapse or war or both are sure to come, and they seem almost relieved at the idea that there is nothing to be done but resign themselves to coming disaster.”—New York “Times,” November 17, 1979
“WEST GERMANS FEAR ARMAGEDDON. The spectre of war has returned to haunt West Germany as the international situation seems to be slipping inexorably out of control. . . . Almost 60 per cent of the population, according to a recent poll, believe that war is likely or at least possible in the next three years.”—“The Times,” London, April 23, 1980
“The world spends more than $500 billion a year on military activities, or about a million dollars a minute. As if this huge sum were not enough, we are about to see a sharp rise in military spending.”—“World Press Review,” August, 1980
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FRUITAGE OF “THE LAST DAYS”
“The Los Angeles Police Department reported that 25,000 boys 17 years old or younger in that city alone have been recruited into a homosexual ring to provide sex for adult male customers. One boy, just 12, was described as a $1,000 a day prostitute.”—“Indianapolis Sunday Star,” June 17, 1979
“There were about 1,000 prostitute arrests in Denver last year, and 400 of them were men. That record probably will be exceeded this year and for the first time the number of male prostitutes arrested could exceed the number of females.”—“Rocky Mountain News,” July 8, 1979
“The highest court of the United Methodist Church has ruled that an avowed homosexual . . . may remain as pastor of the Washington Square Church in New York City.”—The New York “Times,” November 3, 1979
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THE UNITED NATIONS OR GOD’S KINGDOM—WHICH?
Religion still tries to sit atop the U.N. and control its policies. A recent move was that by Pope John Paul II, who appeared before the United Nations General Assembly on October 2, 1979, amid a great fanfare of publicity. The pope declared: “The formal reason for my intervention today is, without any question, the special bond of cooperation that links the apostolic See with the United Nations Organization. . . . I hope that the United Nations will ever remain the supreme forum of peace and justice, the authentic seat of freedom of peoples and individuals in their longing for a better future.” But the pope did not see fit even to mention God’s instrument for establishing peace, justice and freedom—the Kingdom concerning which Jesus prayed to his Father: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10; Rev. 11:15) The emergence of powerful antireligious forces in the U.N. does not bode well for the future of the ‘world empire of false religion.’—Rev. 17:16, 17.
[Picture on page 12]
To make room for the New Order the old must be peeled away