High Time to Flee!
1. (a) During World War II, what happened on earth in the sanctuary of the “holy place”? (b) What question therefore arises?
AS WE have noted, the true “holy place” is in the domain of the “heavenly Jerusalem,” God’s messianic kingdom. During World War II, the “holy ones” who serve with their companions, the “great crowd,” in the sanctuary of that “holy place” on earth were trampled down principally in lands of the Anglo-American dual world power. (Daniel 7:27; 8:10-12; Revelation 7:9, 15) Do we then conclude that Britain and America are “the disgusting thing that causes desolation”? No, for the “transgression” by the dual world power includes another feature. What is that?
2 The Anglo-American world power has served Satan’s purpose in another way. It has brought forth a counterfeit kingdom of God. As in Daniel’s prophecy, so also in the Bible book of Revelation, “beasts” and their “horns” are used to symbolize worldly political powers. Revelation chapter 13 describes the seventh world power of Bible history, Britain and America, as a two-horned wild beast that gives life to an “image” of the beastlike human rulerships. This “image” of the beast is a composite ‘scarlet-colored wild beast that has seven heads and ten horns.’ (Revelation 17:3) It appeared first as the League of Nations in 1920, and again with Britain and America as its principal advocates, along with the Soviet Union, it was revived in 1945 as the United Nations. (Revelation 13:11, 15; 17:8) This also fulfilled Daniel 11:31, which reads: “And they will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.”*
3 Here, then, is the modern-day “disgusting thing” of which Jesus spoke at Matthew 24:15. But how has it been made to ‘stand in a holy place’? What do the facts show?
4. (a) Why can the League of Nations be described as “disgusting”? (b) What “disgusting” claims have religious leaders made for the UN?
4 When Britain and America took the lead in proposing the League of Nations in 1918, the churches of Christendom gave wholehearted support. The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America hailed it as “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” What blasphemy! To say that a combine of the political nations of Satan’s world could be God’s kingdom on earth! A disgusting thing, an abomination, indeed, in the sight of Jehovah and of those truly standing in the “holy place” as ambassadors on earth of the now ruling “heavenly Jerusalem”! And what have the world’s clergy said of the League’s successor, the United Nations? They have described it variously as ‘the sole hope of survival’ for mankind, “the last hope of concord and peace” and the “supreme forum of peace and justice.” As with the League of Nations, they place it in “a holy place” by claiming that it will bring about what God’s kingdom alone is capable of accomplishing.
5. Why can we say that the UN does not belong in the “holy place”?
5 The clergy of Christendom have opted for putting the UN in “a holy place” that rightly belongs to the “heavenly Jerusalem,” God’s kingdom, and to the “holy ones” representing it on earth. But there is nothing “holy” about the UN. It has its prayer chapel and its Buddhist bell, and inscribed on its plaza wall are the words of Isaiah 2:4 (AV): “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” But these things do not make it “holy.” Its member nations are squabbling continually one with another, and an impressive number of them are now antireligion, anti-God. However, in another sense, also, we find “the disgusting thing . . . standing in a holy place.”
A Striking Parallel
6. (a) What two opposed groups lived in first-century Jerusalem? (b) How did the Jewish religionists resemble their forefathers?
6 Down to the year of its destruction, ancient Jerusalem was looked upon by the Jews as a holy city, a holy place. About 56 CE even the apostle Paul went up to the temple in Jerusalem and there, with four other Christians under a vow, he ceremonially cleansed himself. (Acts 21:23-26) There he was mobbed by Jews of the kind that persecuted true Christians, charging that these ‘had filled Jerusalem with their teaching.’ (Acts 5:28) These Jews clung to their apostate traditions and worship, and in this they were like their forefathers of Jeremiah’s day, who put their trust “in fallacious words, saying, ‘The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah they are!’” (Jeremiah 7:4) But that trust was misplaced.
7. (a) How does Christendom parallel apostate Jerusalem? (b) What is Christendom’s claimed “holy place”?
7 There is a similar situation today, for apostate Jerusalem of ancient times and its temple have a striking parallel in modern-day Christendom. Note that Christendom’s religion makes claim also to having “a holy place”—her claimed religious rights and realm of operation. Over the centuries she has built up a cherished domain in which she exercises control over the masses. This she claims to be her spiritual right. Her domain includes also costly cathedrals, bejeweled altars, priceless stained-glass windows, landed properties and huge bank accounts. All of this is part of her claimed “holy place.” It is sacred to her, and no one dare trespass on it! At least, so she thinks.
8. (a) What is the relationship of Christendom’s religion to “Babylon the Great”? (b) How does Christendom resemble apostate Jerusalem?
8 However, what happened to ancient Jerusalem and its “holy place”—in fulfillment of prophecy—in 607 BCE and also in 70 CE? And what does the Lord Jesus show us in the Revelation transmitted by him to the apostle John? There, in the seventeenth chapter, we read of God’s judgment to be executed on “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.” (Revelation 17:5) This “Babylon the Great” is no one else but the world empire of false religion, of which Christendom’s churches form the principal part. Christendom, which purports to be in covenant relationship with God, is the modern-day apostate “Jerusalem.”
9. How has the “mother of the harlots” acted with regard to the “beast” in modern-day fulfillment?
9 Over the centuries, the “mother of the harlots,” false religion, has performed fairly well in controlling the affairs of beastlike nations and empires. As Revelation 17:9 shows, she has sat on governmental mountains, and Re 17 verse 15 describes her as sitting upon “waters,” meaning “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.” When the combination “scarlet-colored wild beast” appeared in 1920 as the League of Nations, and when it reappeared in 1945 as the United Nations, “Babylon the Great” maneuvered so as to get astride this international body, to gain benefit and profit. She takes no account of the fact that this “disgusting thing” of a political kind stands where it ought not to stand, trespassing in the “holy place” that is now rightly the domain of the “heavenly Jerusalem,” God’s kingdom by Messiah.
The “Horns” Go Into Action
10. What execution of judgment awaits false religion?
10 But look! At a time when those nations will say: “Peace and security,” the “horns” of that fearsome “wild beast” will suddenly turn violent! Their long-time hatred of the “harlot” will be suppressed no longer! They will unseat the prostitute that has been sitting so prettily atop the “beast.” Those radical, militaristic “horns” and “the wild beast” will devastate “the harlot,” ‘make her naked, eat up her fleshy parts and completely burn her with fire.’ (Revelation 17:16) False religion will be utterly desolated, including Christendom, which has claimed to have a “holy place” before God on earth. Hence, Christendom’s destruction will be as complete as that of the temple of earthly Jerusalem, of which Jesus said: “By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.”—1 Thessalonians 5:3; Mark 13:2.
11. (a) With regard to the true “holy place,” what occurred in 1914? (b) What intrusions then began into Christendom’s claimed “holy place”?
11 Is harlot-like false religion, including Christendom, apprehensive of what is about to happen to her? She should be, if she can interpret the pattern of world events today. And she would be downright scared if she paid attention to the prophetic truths in the Bible. Indeed, it was shortly after the “heavenly Jerusalem,” as rightful occupant of the “holy place,” was brought forth in 1914 that Christendom began to experience pressures on her own supposed “holy place”—her domain of operation. In 1917 the Marxist revolution took place in Russia. Since that time atheistic socialist powers have taken over large portions of the earth. These have advanced even more aggressively since World War II. They loudly proclaim religion to be “the opium of the people.” Christendom, on its part, laments Communistic intrusions on her claimed “holy place,” along with the loss of so many “peoples.”
Threat to Christendom’s “Holy Place”!
12, 13. How have news reports underlined the threat to Christendom’s “holy place”?
12 What has happened in Communist-dominated countries is indicated by the following report published in the Hong Kong Star late in 1981: “Vietnam’s Communist government has drafted Buddhist monks into the army, jailed hundreds of Christian clergymen and closed seminaries and churches, according to refugees, Western diplomats and foreign clergy. The aim, they say, is to bring all religions under the exclusive control of the government. Refugees claim that the Roman Catholic Church in southern Vietnam has come under particular pressure, with authorities citing upheavals in Catholic Poland as proof of the Church’s ‘counter-revolutionary tendency.’”
13 The Atlanta Journal and Constitution of January 2, 1982, carried a headline: “Many of Big News Stories of  Tied to Religion.” It went on to list the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, the assassination of Egypt’s President Sadat by Muslim militants, assassinations and massive executions in Iran, deadly military exchanges between Arab guerrillas and Israel, and bombings, murders and hunger-strike deaths in Ireland. Yes, indeed, religion is tied in with much of the trouble in the world. But all these news items will pale into insignificance when the ‘ten horns and the wild beast’ go into action, shortly, to devastate completely false religion, including Christendom and her supposed “holy place.”
14. How will those in the true “holy place” be threatened also?
14 However, what of those who worship in the real “holy place”—those here on earth doing “sacred service” in support of the “heavenly Jerusalem”? These, too, will come under attack by militaristic “horns,” which even now make up part of the membership of the UN. According to Revelation 17:14, that political combine will demonstrate that it has no right to stand in “a holy place,” for it “will battle with the Lamb.”
15. (a) Who will be prominent in the attack on the “holy ones”? (b) How will ‘he come to his end’?
15 Daniel 11:40-45 shows that the Communistic “king of the north” will be prominent in this attack against the “holy ones,” but “he will have to come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him.”* Thus, all nationalistic “horns” and the “scarlet-colored wild beast” itself will be executed by Christ Jesus and his angelic armies. “Because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them.” There, at Armageddon, the reigning king of the “heavenly Jerusalem” will gain the decisive victory over all nations that have given “their power and authority to the wild beast.”—Revelation 17:12-14; 16:16.
“Fleeing to the Mountains”
16. How and where may God’s people find protection?
16 How, then, do God’s people find protection? It is by “fleeing to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:16) Today, these “mountains” are the divinely provided place of refuge, Jehovah’s provision for protecting the remaining “holy ones” on earth, and also the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” through the “great tribulation.” This is in line with Jesus’ prophecy that some “flesh” will be saved. (Matthew 24:22) As mountains have permanence and are identified often in Scripture with governmental functions, so God’s haven of refuge today is to be found with his theocratic organization. This is represented on earth in “the congregation of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth,” now identified with the global society of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—1 Timothy 3:15.
17. What positive action is required of those who would flee to safety?
17 All who flee to Jehovah’s organization must cease giving support to any part of Satan’s system on earth. They must become “no part of this world,” and they must stay out of it. They must shun its religion, its politics, its campaigns of violence, its materialism, its immorality. (John 18:36) They must dedicate themselves to Jehovah God, live according to his righteous principles and make known to others his glorious kingdom purposes. Never may they grow drowsy or return to the fleshpots of the world. Continually, they ‘must exert themselves vigorously’ to gain God’s approval and entry into his new order.—Luke 13:24; 9:23; 2 Timothy 2:15.
18. Why is it urgent that right-hearted individuals “begin fleeing” now?
18 In this year, 1982, the threat to Christendom’s claimed “holy place” has become a real one. Indeed, world religion’s perch on the back of the UN “beast” is most precarious. ‘Discerning’ this, Jehovah’s Witnesses give urgency to the call: ‘Flee out of false religion, yes, out of all of Satan’s world system—flee to God’s organization for refuge!’ Like Jerusalem of the first century, Christendom now faces “desolations . . . an extermination.” And so does the entire world empire of false religion, Babylon the Great!—Daniel 9:26b, 27b; Revelation 18:2, 4.
19. (a) What does Psalm 72 say of the “mountains”? (b) How may we qualify to enjoy the “abundance of peace”?
19 Happily, the “mountains” of refuge will become also “mountains” of blessing, for Psalm 72:1-8 tells us: “Let the mountains carry peace to the people, also the hills, through righteousness . . . [In the days of Messiah, the King,] the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.” Do you want to be counted among those who will enjoy that “abundance of peace”? Then “become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” It is most urgent, while there is yet time, that you expend yourself in helping right-hearted persons to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” So, “stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”—1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Timothy 4:16.
For a more detailed discussion see pages 336-349 of the book “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
See pages 297-307 of the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Can You Answer These Questions:
□ What is the true “holy place”?
□ What is “the disgusting thing that causes desolation”?
□ In what way does “the disgusting thing” stand “in a holy place”?
□ What is Christendom’s supposed “holy place”?
□ How is Christendom’s supposed “holy place” now being threatened?
□ In what way do Christians today heed the command to ‘flee to the mountains’?
[Blurb on page 18]
October 1965: Pope Paul VI, in describing the United Nations as “that greatest of all international organizations,” said also: “The peoples of the earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace.”
[Blurb on page 19]
October 1979: Pope John Paul II addressed the UN General Assembly. Though he made no mention of Jesus Christ or the Kingdom, the pope said: “I hope the United Nations will ever remain the supreme forum of peace and justice, the authentic seat of freedom.”
[Picture on page 21]
Militant “horns” threaten Christendom’s claimed “holy place”