Be as Men Who Are Facing Har–Magedon Unafraid
1. In a reference to Armageddon, how was Theodore Roosevelt wrong in his locating of things?
IT IS reported that Theodore Roosevelt, when campaigning for the presidency of the United States of America, exclaimed: “We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord!” Roosevelt knew from the Bible that there was to be a decisive fight at the “place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:16, Authorized Version) He was quite ahead of time in his locating of things, for he died on January 6, 1919, or less than two months after World War I ended. That conflict had not merged into the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon.
2. Our surviving that war of all wars will be determined by what at that time?
2 However, in this turbulent year of 1982 we have every indication that we are facing that war of all wars. How it will find us in our relationship to God the Almighty will largely determine whether we shall survive that war, that battle, or not.
3, 4. In view of the position that these Christians will take at that war, what will they need to exercise in order to “carry on as men”?
3 It is really the invisible “expressions inspired by demons” that induce world rulers to mass together against Jehovah God the Almighty for the war at Har–Magedon.—Revelation 16:14-16.
4 The Hebrew name Har–Magedon means “mountain of assembly of troops.” That imports war! The “troops” are those of “the kings of the entire inhabited earth,” including the political rulers of Christendom. Jehovah’s dedicated, baptized witnesses are not among those troops. They will not need to fight with carnal weapons, but will only be onlookers of the fighting. Since Jehovah’s loyal witnesses will be the prime visible target of attack because of their steadfastly upholding Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ, it will call for Christlike courage on their part to “carry on as men.”—1 Corinthians 16:13; compare 2 Chronicles 20:17.
5, 6. At the end of World War I, in the face of the postwar work that lay ahead of them, the surviving remnant of Jehovah’s people felt like what prophet who faced the destruction of Jerusalem in his lifetime?
5 After World War I ended in 1918, the circumstances of the remnant of spiritual Israelites and the work ahead of them took on a likeness to those of a young man over there in the turbulent Middle East. He was a Jewish priest named Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah. The city of Jerusalem, in the temple of which he served as a priest, was doomed to destruction within his own lifetime. No less does Christendom, which claims to be the spiritual counterpart and the supplanter of ancient Israel in God’s favor, face early destruction, immediately before the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. As a survivor of the destruction of the Jerusalem of the seventh century before our Common Era, Jeremiah was able, under inspiration, to write the book of Lamentations over its ruins.
6 When the prophetic work was set before the young Jeremiah, he said: “Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Here I actually do not know how to speak, for I am but a boy.” But Jeremiah was told: “Do not say, ‘I am but a boy.’ But to all those to whom I shall send you, you should go; and everything that I shall command you, you should speak. Do not be afraid because of their faces, for ‘I am with you to deliver you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”—Jeremiah 1:4-8.
7. (a) Jeremiah was to serve as a prophet to how many, and in behalf of how many does a “prophet” need to serve today? (b) Does his serving to this extent mean that he will have success with respect to the nations, or in whose behalf is consideration still being shown?
7 Jeremiah was to perform the part of a full-grown man, for what his God inspired him to write was to be of importance to all mankind, even today. A “prophet to the nations” is what Jehovah made him. (Jeremiah 1:5) Now today, if anything, there needs to be a “prophet to the nations,” as patriotic self-willed nations are being inexorably gathered to an all-deciding showdown at Har–Magedon. Not that the God-given message of the modern “prophet to the nations” will be successful in turning them from a course that leads to their sure destruction, but there are human individuals involved. Such individuals without number, on being warned, would not want to perish with the nations of which they are citizens. If these can do anything about it, they do not want to be caught fighting against the Almighty God just in the interest of human self-government. In behalf of such right-hearted individuals Jehovah has considerately raised up his “prophet to the nations.” Jehovah has done this during this “time of the end,” since World War I ended on November 11, 1918.—Daniel 12:4.
8. The “prophet” whom Jehovah has raised up and whose work must be finished before Har–Magedon is identified as who or what?
8 In behalf of such individuals who at heart seek God’s rule instead of man’s rule, the “prophet” whom Jehovah has raised up has been, not an individual man as in the case of Jeremiah, but a class. The members of this class are, like the prophet-priest Jeremiah, wholly dedicated to Jehovah God through Christ and, by the begettal of Jehovah’s holy spirit, they have been made part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9) At this late date there is a mere remnant of this “prophet” class yet on earth. The “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon could not start before this composite “prophet” ends his work.
9. (a) The victory of what world power over the capital of Jehovah’s ancient people did Jeremiah witness? (b) What ancient city pictures Christendom? (c) Of what has Christendom become a part? (d) When Babylon the Great is destroyed, what will happen to Christendom, and why?
9 One thing is now certain: if the “prophet” class, the Jeremiah class, is facing Har–Magedon, it is also facing the fall of Babylon the Great. It is true that Jeremiah of old did not witness the fall of ancient Babylon, but he prophesied on a large scale about the overthrow of that third world power of Bible history. Having its roots in the original Babel, or Babylon, as established by Nimrod “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah,” that world empire infected the ancient world of mankind with its false religion. (Genesis 10:8-12) Jeremiah did witness the triumph of ancient Babylon over Jerusalem in 607 BCE. Thus he witnessed the victory of the ancient capital of false religion over the capital city that had Jehovah’s temple in it but that had corrupted the pure religion that He had committed to it. For this reason ancient Jerusalem pictures modern-day Christendom. False to its claim to being the realm of true Christianity, Christendom has fallen victim to Babylonish religion and has actually become a prominent part of modern Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. When Babylon the Great is destroyed by the disgusted political elements of this world, as foretold in Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, Christendom will go down into destruction with it.
10. Jeremiah’s surviving the fall of Jerusalem prefigured what, and shortly after the latter, what effort by the nations will fail?
10 Jeremiah survived the fall of Jerusalem and her realm in 607 BCE, this confirming him as being Jehovah’s true mouthpiece; and, true to that prophetic picture, the Jeremiah class of today will survive the approaching violent fall of Christendom. Not long afterward the nonreligious elements of this system of things will viciously strive to wipe the Jeremiah class out of existence, but their efforts to do so will be squashed—at Har–Magedon.—Revelation 16:16; 19:19-21.
11. Whom did the non-Jew who befriended Jeremiah in his dire situation at Jerusalem prefigure, and with whom do these correspond in Jesus’ parable at Matthew 25:31-46?
11 A non-Jew who survived the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 BCE was Ebed-melech the Ethiopian. The account about him is given in Jeremiah chapters 38 and 39. He came to the aid of Jeremiah who was in dire need, and for this reason he had cause to fear those influential Jews who were seeking the death of Jeremiah so as to silence him. But, by a special prophecy through the prophet in behalf of whose life he had taken bold action, Jehovah assured Ebed-melech that he would have his soul as a spoil and so would survive the coming destruction upon the land of Judah and its capital Jerusalem. In these respects Ebed-melech the Ethiopian prefigured the symbolic sheep of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats as set out in Matthew 25:31-46. For befriending the remnant of spiritual “brothers” of Jesus Christ and doing direct good to them during this “time of the end,” these symbolic sheep will not be cut off with the “goat” class at Har–Magedon. Under Jehovah’s protection through the reigning King, Jesus Christ, they will enter the new system of things without dying off the earth, with the opportunity of everlasting life in the earthly paradise set before them.
What the Men Belonging to God Now Need
12. The fearsomeness of our times match what prophecy of Jesus Christ concerning “the time of the end”?
12 The times in which we live at present are becoming more and more fear-inspiring. This is in exact fulfillment of what Jesus Christ himself predicted to be the case of evidence that we are living in “the time of the end,” the time when the modern antitype of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE will take place. (Luke 21:5-7) More for the benefit of us today than for the apostles and disciples of the first century, Jesus went on to say: “Also, there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation, while men [Greek, anʹthro·poi] become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”—Luke 21:25-27.
13. How did Jesus show that there should be a difference between the attitude of the heart and mind of men of the world and his enlightened disciples?
13 Here Jesus made a distinction between the “men” (anʹthro·poi), or people, belonging to this world or system of things and his enlightened disciples, for whose particular benefit his prophecy was given with such descriptiveness. His informed, understanding followers would not be gripped by the “anguish of nations,” neither would their hearts become “faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” They were not to let their heads hang down dejectedly, hopelessly. What, then, was to be their attitude, their state of mind and heart? This, according to what Jesus went on to say: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.”—Luke 21:28.
14. Does the “deliverance” that is getting near refer to the glorification of the remnant in heaven, and who on earth will face the wonderful prospect that lies beyond the “deliverance”?
14 Thus to men belonging to this world the mounting troubles that will culminate in the war at Har–Magedon are a proof of impending destruction. (Philippians 1:28) This requires a true Christian today to be a person of strong faith in the Almighty God and his promises to the faithful ones. The “deliverance” that is now at hand for persons of such faith is not initially the heavenly glorification of the remnant of the spirit-begotten disciples of Christ and their being taken away from the earthly scene of tribulation, although that is in store for them finally. Rather, the “deliverance” is the putting of a stop to the wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and the rabid persecution of the true followers of the reigning King, Jesus Christ, this by the destruction of all enemies of Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at what is called Har–Magedon. What a wonderful prospect will then lie ahead of the remnant of the heirs of the heavenly kingdom and their loyal companions who were prefigured by Ebed-melech, the courageous helper of Jeremiah the prophet!
15. For them to “carry on as men,” what do they need to do according to the Scriptures so as to be equipped for work?
15 In order for these now to “carry on as men” or to acquit themselves like men, they have to come to Christian maturity and be equipped for the work of giving the final worldwide witness to the Messianic kingdom. (1 Corinthians 16:13, New World Translation, Authorized Version, Revised Standard Version; Matthew 24:14) For this reason we were given the Bible containing the sacred Scriptures. Just as the apostle Paul wrote to the young man Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) According to The New English Bible, 2Ti 3 verse 17 reads: “So that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind.” The Jerusalem Bible says: “This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.” This indicates that “the man of God” needs to make a regular study of the inspired Scriptures and to live according to them, carrying out the work that he is equipped by such study to do efficiently.
16. Why, more so than in Noah’s preflood days, is it advisable to flee from the desires incidental to those growing up to manhood?
16 We are living in the most serious of times in all human history! We are facing the passing away of a world, a world of far greater dimensions than that of Noah’s day. Consequently we are engaged in the work of the greatest grandeur and importance to mankind down till now. It certainly is no time for any dedicated, baptized witness of Jehovah God to cater to sensual, diversionary desires of youth. As Paul wrote to the youthful Timothy: “Flee from the desires incidental to youth.” “However, you, O man [Greek, anʹthro·pos] of God, flee from these things.” (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Timothy 6:11) Today, more so than when the inspired apostle John wrote the words, “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
17. Whom are we not to minimize as earlier men of God, but to whom are we to look for the perfect example of such?
17 In these days that call for the display of Christian manhood, we need to look at the perfect example of the One to whom Governor Pontius Pilate referred before the tumultuous Jewish crowd, saying: “Look! The man!” “See! Your king!” (John 19:5, 14) Long before Christ there were men of God, like “Moses the man of the [true] God,” and Elijah and his companion Elisha, and others. (Deuteronomy 33:1; 1 Kings 17:18, 24; 20:28; 2 Kings 1:9-12; 4:7, 9, 16) But, while not ignoring or minimizing those pre-Christian men of God, we should look to the One who remains as the most outstanding ‘man of God’ ever on earth, Jesus Christ, who now reigns as King in the heavens since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914. (Hebrews 11:1 to 12:3; Luke 21:24) Acquitting ourselves as men like him, we can face the destruction of this doomed system of things at Har–Magedon unafraid.
18. How can we fulfill our tremendous responsibility to share in vindicating the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God?
18 We are making an inerasable, imperishable record for ourselves in this time of judgment as the old world goes down. Will the record be to our credit and praise, or, sadly, will it be to our everlasting condemnation with the world? By carrying on as men in imitation of our flawless example Jesus Christ, we shall prove “the god of this world,” Satan the Devil, not to be our spiritual ruler. (2 Corinthians 4:4) To the contrary, we shall be upholding the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God and shall thus share in vindicating it before all living creation. Tremendous indeed is our responsibility in this regard, and glorious is our opportunity!
19. Besides wakefulness and firmness in the faith, in what respect do we as “men” need to grow, and who is the source for this?
19 It remains for us to stay awake to our privilege and opportunity and to “stand firm in the faith.” Jehovah forbid that we should weaken as men belonging to God, dedicated to God! To this worthy end we need to heed the apostle Paul’s timely admonition, “Grow mighty.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) Undeviatingly looking and praying to Him through our King, Jesus Christ, we can and will do so. In Isaiah 40:29 we are told: “He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.” After we witness the divine victory at Har–Magedon, be it our privilege to intone the words of Moses after the overthrow of Pharaoh’s military forces in the Red Sea: “Jehovah is a manly person [Hebrew, ish] of war. . . . My strength and my might is Jah, since he serves for my salvation.”—Exodus 15:3, 2.
Can you answer these questions?
□ What will determine whether we will survive the war at Har–Magedon?
□ What circumstances of Jehovah’s anointed servants today are similar to those of his ancient servant Jeremiah?
□ In what respects did the service performed by Ebed-melech prefigure the activity of the “sheep” of Christ’s parable in Matthew 25:31-46?
□ According to Christ’s prophecy in Luke chapter 21, how does the attitude of Christ’s followers differ from that of people of the nations?
□ What “deliverance” is spoken about in Luke 21:28?
□ By all of us imitating the example of the One identified as “The man!”, what will be the fine result?
[Picture on page 29]
Whose activity was prefigured in Ebed-melech’s aiding God’s prophet Jeremiah?