Where Can We Find Unity in This Strife-Torn World?
“In unity I shall set them, like a flock in the pen.”—MICAH 2:12.
1, 2. Why can we not look to world leaders to unify the human family?
FOR thousands of years the human family has been tragically divided. Political, economic and social differences have split mankind into conflicting, warring factions. Our 20th century has seen the worst results of this. For instance, World War II alone took an estimated 55 million lives, culminating in the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs.
2 In recent decades, scores of additional conflicts have taken many more millions of lives. Now, the nuclear weapons of conflicting political systems threaten the very existence of life on earth. And, as The Guardian of England notes, preparations for war, “material and mental, are being vigorously advanced” by the nations, large and small. Surely, then, we cannot look to world leaders to unify the human family.
The Record of World Religion
3, 4. What does history tell us about worldly religion as a potential unifier of people?
3 However, might we look to the religions of this world to unite peoples? Does their record inspire any greater confidence? History answers no. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune stated: “Every major religion preaches peace and brotherhood and mercy, yet some of the cruelest and most intolerant repressions in history have been committed in the name of God.” Newspaper editor C. L. Sulzberger similarly observed: “Disagreeable as the subject may be, should it not be realized that in addition to other causes—imperialism, racism, militarism—religion has developed into a persistently greater threat to human life?”
4 Yes, history is stained with the blood of religiously inspired or approved strife. Just in our century, during the nationalistic world wars and others, we have witnessed the God-dishonoring practice of Catholic killing Catholic, Protestant killing Protestant, Muslim killing Muslim, Jew killing Jew. Truly, the facts of history spell out the fact that, far from being a force for uniting the human family, worldly religion is responsible for adding to its divisions.
5. Where do this world’s divided religions originate?
5 The confused and divided state of this world’s religions demonstrates clearly that God is not their backer. That may come as a surprise to those who think that all religion must be good if it claims to represent God. But God’s own inspired Word plainly states: “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) Not God’s holy spirit, or active force, but an unholy spirit, or motivating force, produces ‘enmities, strife, contentions, divisions, sects.’ (Galatians 5:19, 20) James 3:14, 15 identifies the wisdom associated with this bad spirit as “demonic,” emanating from “the god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil.—2 Corinthians 4:4.
A Divided House
6. What principle given by Jesus applies to this world?
6 The divided state of the human family brings to mind these words of Jesus: “Every kingdom divided against itself comes to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) On that basis, this divided world must fall. In fact, even the nations agree with the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
7. What need have some people seen to try to avoid catastrophe?
7 To try to avoid a calamitous fall, some prominent people call for a drastic change in man’s thinking. Nuclear scientist Harold Urey stated: “There is no constructive solution to the world’s problems except eventually a world government capable of establishing law over the entire surface of the earth.” Similarly, Albert Einstein “insisted that peace among nations could be maintained in the atomic age only by bringing all men together under a system of world law.” He urged: “We must overcome the horrible obstacles of national frontiers.” Yes, many people see the need for a world government.
8. Can this divided world avoid a fall?
8 However, is it likely that the nations of this world will give up their sovereignty? If so, to whom? Surely not to the United Nations organization. Nations often go to war rather than submit to the decisions of the UN. Thus, this world, with its divided political, commercial, social and religious systems, is headed for a fall.—Zephaniah 3:8; 1 John 2:15-17.
A Truly United People
9. What likelihood is there of a united human family?
9 Does this mean, then, that world unity is out of the question? Not at all! On the contrary, world unity not only is possible but is inevitable! In fact, the foundation for world unity already has been laid! Already there is a people who are doing what Einstein said, ‘overcoming the obstacles of nationalism.’ Already a truly united people exists worldwide. Already a superior world government exists that has the first allegiance of millions of people throughout all nations.
10. What characteristics must a real government have?
10 Many will feel that such a view is farfetched. They may ask: ‘Are you talking about a real government with real laws and real citizens? Where is all of this supposed to be happening? Who are involved?’ Well, what makes up a government? Several things: (1) It must have real, living leaders; (2) the place from which it governs must also be real; (3) the nation must have real laws to preserve order; (4) it must have real subjects—people. For instance, in the United States there is an executive (the president) who has Washington, D.C., as his seat of government. There is a legislature (Congress) that makes laws. There is a judiciary (courts of law) to enforce the laws of the country. And there are over 230 million people who are subjects. Would anyone contend that all of this is not real?
11. How has even the secular press acknowledged that a truly united people does exist?
11 Just as real is the existence of a truly united people today! Where? Which government do they serve? Why can we say that they are fully united? The Brazilian newspaper O Tempo noted this unique people when it wrote: “Although there are many imposing religions with their propaganda in all parts of the globe, there does not exist a single one on the face of the earth today that shows the same love and unity as the Theocratic organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
12. What view expressed in a Belgian newspaper agrees with a reality recognized by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
12 In Belgium, the newspaper La Nouvelle Gazette carried this headline: “To Avoid a Nuclear War in 25 Years’ Time, American Experts Have Found Only One Solution: That of Jehovah’s Witnesses!” The article stated that the only remedy would be “a radical change in the life-style of mankind . . . in favor of a world government.” The publication concluded that this view agreed exactly “with the proposition upheld by Jehovah’s Witnesses.” And just what “proposition” is that? The one that Jesus made the central theme of his teaching: God’s new government for all the earth, His heavenly Kingdom with Christ as ruler. That government is God’s remedy, the only remedy for all mankind’s ills, including its divided condition. Jesus taught people to pray for that government when he said: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, Catholic Jerusalem Bible) And, as this same Bible version renders the prophecy of Daniel 2:44, that government of God soon “will shatter . . . all the previous kingdoms, and itself last for ever.”
Demonstrating True Love and Unity
13. Regarding a world government to unite people, what has happened since 1914?
13 World events in fulfillment of Bible prophecy show that God’s heavenly government began to rule in 1914. At that time God installed as ruler his proved King, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24:3-14; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Revelation 12:10) That government has superior laws and principles, as recorded in the most sacred of all documents, God’s inspired Word, the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) And since 1914 the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, has been gathering the citizens of God’s New Order. So right now the foundation of that new earthly society is being laid! Yes, all of this is very real. It is not just a dream.—Matthew 25:31-46; John 10:14-16; 2 Peter 3:13.
14. What disuniting factor have Jehovah’s Witnesses overcome?
14 As citizens of the New Order, Jehovah’s Witnesses in every land give God’s heavenly Kingdom government their first allegiance. Thus, when Jehovah’s Witnesses read the command of Jesus, “Love one another just as I have loved you,” they take that to mean what it says, and they do it on a worldwide scale. (John 15:12) As a result, they have really broken the restraining bands of petty nationalism. They are able to demonstrate true love for all mankind, regardless of a person’s race, tribe or nationality.
15, 16. How has the overcoming of nationalism been recognized by others?
15 In this regard, in the Italian church magazine Andare alle genti a Roman Catholic nun wrote the following about Jehovah’s Witnesses: “They are worthy of our admiration for the way they refuse any form of violence and without rebelling put up with the many trials inflicted on them because of their beliefs . . . How different the world would be if we all woke up one morning firmly decided not to take up arms again, whatever the cost or the reason, just like Jehovah’s Witnesses!”
16 The Italian newspaper Il Corriere di Trieste observed: “Jehovah’s Witnesses should be admired for their firmness and coherence. Contrary to other religions, their oneness as a people prevents them from praying to the same God, in the name of the same Christ, to bless two opposing sides of a conflict, or from mixing politics with religion to serve the interests of Heads of State or political parties.”
17. How do 1 John 3:10-12 and John 13:35 distinguish between God’s children and Satan’s children?
17 Note how this harmonizes with 1 John chapter 3, verses 10 to 12. There it states: “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother.” No, God’s children do not slaughter their brothers. It is Satan’s children who do.—John 13:35.
18. What happens to formerly disunited people when they become Jehovah’s Witnesses?
18 Thus, when Arabs, Jews and professed Christians in Israel and Lebanon become Jehovah’s Witnesses, they unite in an unbreakable bond of love and unity. So do former Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. So do blacks and whites in the United States. So do members of different African tribes who formerly hated and fought one another. The British magazine New Society noted: “The Witnesses are perhaps more successful than any other group in the speed with which they eliminate tribal discrimination among their own recruits.”
Source of Unity
19. In what two vital respects are Jehovah’s Witnesses extraordinary?
19 Why can Jehovah’s Witnesses display such love and unity? Is it because of their secular education, prominence, wealth or cleverness? No, they are just ordinary people. But they are extraordinary in two vital respects. First, Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the entire Bible as the inspired Word of God, and they do their utmost to live by it. As the apostle Paul said: “When you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God, which is also at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) Secondly, Jehovah’s Witnesses take the same position as that of Jesus’ apostles, who said to the rulers: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
20. What is the real source of unity among Jehovah’s Witnesses?
20 What happens to a people who accept the entire Bible as God’s Word, live by it and obey God as their Ruler in all things? Acts 5:32 states that God gives his powerful holy spirit, or active force, “to those obeying him as ruler.” That is the source of strength that enables Jehovah’s Witnesses to accomplish and maintain a world unity that is impossible for others.
21, 22. (a) Who, then, fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 2:2-4? (b) What prophetic fulfillments do Jehovah’s Witnesses now experience?
21 Who, then, in view of the evidence, fulfills the prophecy at Isaiah chapter 2, verses 2 to 4? Speaking of the time in which we live, that prophecy declares that the true worship of Jehovah would become firmly established under Kingdom rule, and that many would say: “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, . . . and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” The prophecy also says: “He will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”
22 Who is it that have let God and his Word “set matters straight” among them? Who have really responded to God’s command ‘not to learn war anymore’? Who have spent a total of thousands of years in prisons and concentration camps in our time rather than kill their neighbors? Who show respect for the Bible as God’s inspired Word and obey God as Ruler? Who demonstrate an international brotherhood that is unique in this strife-torn world? The answer can only be, Jehovah’s Witnesses. And now the “other sheep,” in the hundreds of thousands, are being gathered as companions of the remaining ones of the anointed “little flock.” (John 10:16; Luke 12:32) These are also benefiting from the fulfillment of a prophecy given in Hosea’s time. It foretold that all of Jehovah’s servants would “certainly be collected together into a unity” under one Head, Jesus Christ, in Kingdom power. (Hosea 1:11) They also see fulfilled in their unity the words of Jesus when he prayed to God that his followers “may be one just as we are one.” (John 17:20-22) Thus, toward them God has kept his promise of long ago: “In unity I shall set them, like a flock in the pen.”—Micah 2:12.
Do You Remember These Points?
□ Why must we conclude that God is not the backer of worldly religion?
□ How does 1 John 3:10-12 identify those who are truly united in this strife-torn world?
□ What is the real source of strength enabling Jehovah’s servants to maintain world unity, and why do they have that source of strength?
□ What grand prophecies do we see fulfilled today regarding the unity of God’s servants?
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The foundation for world unity has been laid already!