How the Kingdom ‘Comes’
1. Why is it not surprising that the global “last days” have continued down to 1982?
WHAT period of time remains until the “great tribulation” strikes, we do not know. The “last days” of the Jewish system of things embraced the years 29 to 70 C.E., a total of 41 years. But now a much larger system faces God’s execution of judgment. It is the Devil’s entire world system, of which the world empire of false religion, and especially Christendom’s counterfeit religion, is the most reprehensible part. So it is not surprising that the “last days” of this world system have stretched out now for nearly 68 years, from 1914 to 1982. This has all been for a purpose. And what is that?
2. How were first-century Christians an example to us today?
2 Well, what did the first-century Christians do during the “last days” of the Jewish system? They preached! They sounded the warning! So, within just a few decades, the apostle Paul could write: “The hope of that good news which you heard . . . was preached in all creation that is under heaven.”—Colossians 1:23.
3, 4. Whom has Jehovah’s spirit empowered to give the modern-day witness, and with what results?
3 Now, today, the field is more extensive. It is the world, all the world! But again, under the empowering force of God’s spirit, Christian witnesses of Jehovah have gone forth to the ends of the earth. They have preached the truth in more than 160 different languages. They have gathered together the sheeplike ones out of all nations, up to some 5,980,000 that attended the Memorial of Jesus’ death in 1981. As a watchman class, the “faithful and discreet slave” has taken the lead in proclaiming the day of Jehovah’s vengeance, while comforting all that mourn. (Isaiah 21:11, 12; 61:1, 2) In connection with their preaching work, over the past century Jehovah’s Witnesses have distributed Bibles and bound books to the number of 460,000,000, and Watchtower and Awake! magazines to the number of 4,767,000,000 copies. Has this not been a stupendous witness to Jehovah’s name and kingdom?
4 Now this preaching of the Kingdom good news nears its climax! Unitedly, throughout the earth, faithful missionaries, pioneers and congregation publishers have accomplished a marvelous work—“not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says Jehovah of armies. (Zechariah 4:6, American Standard Version) As a result, millions of mankind have come forward to join the ‘faithful slave,’ saying: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.”—Zechariah 8:23.
5. How does Daniel chapter 2 portray the ‘coming’ of the Kingdom?
5 It remains, now, only for God’s kingdom to “come”! To come in what way? Why, in the way that the prophet Daniel describes in chapter two of his prophecy! Here the Messianic kingdom is portrayed as a “stone” of the symbolic “mountain” of Jehovah’s age-abiding sovereignty. Like a missile, this “stone” hurtles, yes, ‘comes,’ to strike down the structure of man-made governments, crushing these to powder. Then the Kingdom “stone” itself becomes a “mountain,” filling the earth, all to Jehovah’s praise and glory.—Daniel 2:34, 35, 44, 45.
Devastating the “Harlot”
6. (a) Why should it not seem strange that Jehovah will use radical human agencies in executing judgment? (b) What modern counterpart does Jerusalem have, and of what empire is it also a part?
6 However, there are some preliminaries to the final crushing of man-rule in the earth. The prophetic book of Revelation shows that first Jehovah will use radical powers from within the United Nations as a forge hammer of destruction. This should not sound strange, for in ancient times Jehovah used the Babylonian world power as “the forge hammer of all the earth” in executing his judgment on the nations, and on apostate Jerusalem in particular. (Jeremiah 50:23) Jerusalem of old has a modern-day counterpart in the organized religion of Christendom. This claims to worship the God of the Bible, but, instead, it has made itself part of the world empire of false religion. The prophecy identifies that empire as “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.”—Revelation 17:5.
7. (a) What choice has false religion made? (b) How do its spokesmen indicate their hope? (c) But what do the Scriptures show to be mankind’s hope?
7 That world empire of false religion has made its choice. It has rejected God’s incoming kingdom by Messiah in favor of man-made substitutes. Today, the clergy of the world’s religions give the United Nations their wholehearted support. In the words of a Jewish rabbi, the United Nations is “the sole hope for lasting peace in a world whose survival depends on it.” And Pope John Paul II describes it as “the supreme forum of peace and justice.” But has the United Nations brought peace and justice to our earth? Is the United Nations really mankind’s “sole hope”? Or is that hope God’s kingdom? Indeed, that hope is centered in the ‘coming’ of God’s kingdom by Messiah!—Matthew 12:18, 21.
8. What statement of the U.N. Charter reminds us of 1 Thessalonians 5:3, and why should this be of interest to us?
8 In its Charter, the United Nations states its first purpose to be “to maintain international peace and security.” As Jehovah’s Witnesses, do we not detect a familiar ring in those words? Yes! For the apostle Paul said: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) So, as we progress toward the finale of these “last days,” we can look for some striking pronouncement about “Peace and security!” When that sounds forth from the nations, what follows? The prophecy answers: ‘Instant, sudden and inescapable destruction!’
9. (a) What catastrophic end awaits false religion? (b) How will leaders in politics and big business regard this, and why?
9 World religion’s illicit “affair” with the United Nations will come to a catastrophic end! In “one hour” it will be over! The “ten horns” of the United Nations “beast” will turn upon Babylon the Great. Militaristic radical elements from within that world body will rip her apart, devastate her, strip her of her luxurious garments and incinerate her. Corrupt politicians who have used false religion to bolster their position and big business moguls who have used her as a front for gunrunning and other profiteering will wail over her from afar. They will lament, saying: “Too bad, too bad, you great city, Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment has arrived! . . . because in one hour such great riches have been devastated!”—Revelation 18:10, 17.
10. Why will Armageddon follow quickly, and with what result?
10 Events will move quickly to a finish. Those same political “horns” that devastate the great “harlot” will turn on the seemingly defenseless witnesses of Jehovah. But now they will find themselves battling with none other than Jehovah’s “Lord of lords and King of kings.” They will be at Armageddon. That is where Jehovah’s kingdom by Messiah ‘comes’ to perform its greatest act in vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty and of his faithful servants. The battle will be sharp and decisive. Satan’s militaristic, political rule of the earth will be cut off, and Satan himself will be bound and hurled into the abyss for 1,000 years, “that he might not mislead the nations anymore.”—Revelation 16:14; 17:14; 19:11-21; 20:2, 3.
11. (a) How will the ‘coming’ of the Kingdom then bless all mankind? (b) What transfer follows as the 1,000 years end, and with what happy prospect in view?
11 What next? Why, the millennial kingdom will be here! How the Armageddon survivors will rejoice! How wonderful the love, the joy, the peace that will then spread throughout all the earth! How marvelous the resurrection that will reunite loved ones the world over! How stimulating the healing program, as Jesus and his fellow kings and priests apply the soothing benefits of his ransom sacrifice, lifting the billions of mankind up to perfection! And for all who are transferred from the realm of Christ’s 1,000-year kingdom to the realm of Jehovah’s everlasting sovereignty, and who resist the final test from Satan, what exultation there will be as they share in the unfolding of the marvels of eternity!—Revelation 20:7-9; 21:3, 4.
12. What makes possible these wonderful things, so what should we be moved to do now?
12 It is the ‘coming’ of God’s kingdom by Messiah that makes possible all these wonderful things. Does this not move us, during the dying days of Satan’s system, to speak to others about the “magnificent things of God,” the glory of his kingship and the unshakable kingdom of Messiah? (Psalm 145:11; Acts 2:11; Hebrews 12:28) Are we not moved to pray fervently to our heavenly Father, “Let your kingdom come”?—Matthew 6:9, 10.
13. Why should we pray wholeheartedly for the Kingdom to “COME”?
13 Yes, “COME,” God’s kingdom, to destroy Satan’s works and organization out of the earth! Yes, “COME,” to provide for all mankind the right kind of government! Yes, “COME,” to bring in Christ’s glorious millennial reign, for the restoration of Paradise, the resurrection of the dead and the uplifting of the billions of mankind to human perfection! Yes, “COME,” O kingdom of Messiah, to sanctify for all eternity the matchless name of the Sovereign Lord JEHOVAH!
THE KINGDOM IN GOD’S PURPOSE
□ Jehovah’s prophets foretold it
□ Typified by David’s kingdom
□ Jesus’ disciples preached it
□ Established in heavens, 1914
□ Preached for a witness to all the nations, since 1919
□ “Great crowd” now being gathered for salvation
□ End comes with—Cry of “Peace and security!” ‘Great Babylon’ destroyed Kingdom devastates political rulers, armies, supporters
□ Kingdom fills earth with joy, peace, praise to Jehovah
[Picture on page 18]
The Kingdom stone itself becomes a “mountain” filling the earth