Why God Has Not Yet Executed His Judgment
ABOUT two decades after Jesus’ death, some Christians were already expecting Jehovah to “arrive” in judgment. This prompted the apostle Paul to write them, saying: “The day of Jehovah . . . will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.” Although Paul admitted that “the mystery of this lawlessness” was “already at work” in his day, it obviously was not to the extent necessary, so that divine judgment could come.—2 Thessalonians 2:2, 3, 7, 8.
A Twofold Ingathering
The apostasy, although sure to come, would not hinder God’s purpose to choose 144,000 faithful Christians to be joint rulers with his Son, Jesus, in heaven. (See Revelation 14:1-5.) Only after their number had been completed and they had finally been sealed by God could the execution of Jehovah’s judgment take place. Revelation 7:2, 3 explains: “To the four angels [it was said]: ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees [by bringing the destructive winds of God’s judgment against the nations], until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.’” As we now know, this work had not been finished when the Kingdom was established in 1914.
Thus, even though some were hopeful that it might, God’s execution of judgment could not come at that time. The January 1, 1914, issue of The Watch Tower left room for this development, stating that although “the Year 1914 is the last one of what the Bible terms ‘Gentile Times’ . . . we are by no means confident that this year, 1914, will witness as radical and swift changes of dispensation as we have expected.” Still, as the article went on to explain, Christians were grateful that Bible chronology had awakened them to the imminence of divine judgment. It said: “We believe that the chronology is a blessing. If it should wake us a few minutes earlier or a few hours earlier in the morning than we would otherwise have waked, well and good! It is those who are awake who get the blessing.”
Also among those getting a blessing would be what the Bible describes as “a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” Not until 1935 was it fully understood that this “great crowd” would be composed of persons “that come out of the great tribulation,” that is to say, those who abandon Satan’s organization and take their stand on God’s side, so as to survive the execution of God’s judgment. For some five decades now, the work of gathering this “great crowd” has been proceeding in accordance with Jehovah’s purpose. We can rejoice that divine judgment will not be executed until this lifesaving work has been completed.—Revelation 7:9, 14.
Certain political developments were also foretold to occur before the execution of God’s judgment. A fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy about “two kings” (Da chapter 11) is now clearly seen as edging toward completion.* At the culmination of this fulfillment, God will execute judgment.—Compare Daniel 2:44.
Although opposed to each other, the superpowers and their blocs—“the king of the south” and “the king of the north”—are both represented in the global political organization that today causes people to “wonder admiringly.” What an apt description of the post-World War I League of Nations and its post-World War II successor, the United Nations organization.—Daniel 11:40; Revelation 17:8.
Ideologically and politically divided, and yet at the same time “united,” these “two kings” have much to say about preserving world “peace and security.” This, too, is significant, for Bible prophecy says that “whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.” To what extent these “two kings,” separately and in conjunction with the United Nations organization, will be able to solve the world’s political, economic, environmental, and social problems so as to feel justified in making this cry, we at present do not know.—1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3.
What we do know, however, is that sometime during its rule, the United Nations organization, together with all its member nations—including most prominently these “two kings”—will experience God’s judgment and ‘go off into destruction.’ We also know that the 1914 generation is well into the evening of its existence, thus allowing only little time for this prophecy yet to be fulfilled. But we also know—for this we have Jesus’ own promise—that “this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.”—Revelation 17:11; Mark 13:30.
Jehovah Will Not Delay—Will You?
If you are studying the Bible and learning about Jehovah’s purposes, do not delay in fleeing to God’s symbolic place of protection. “Seek righteousness, seek meekness,” so that “you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”—Zephaniah 2:1-3.
Keep in mind the first-century Christians who fled from Jerusalem in 66 C.E. upon recognizing the sign that Jesus had given of its impending judgment. Any who delayed their flight—for whatever reason—were probably lulled into a false sense of security when the Romans, who had encircled the city and then unexpectedly withdrawn, failed to return. Weeks passed. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. Some may have thought that Jehovah was delaying the execution of his judgment. But suddenly the Romans returned in 70 C.E. For those inside the city, there was no escape.—Luke 21:20-22.
People today, on the other hand, who have already dedicated their lives to doing God’s will and have fled to his place of safety, should not delay in fulfilling their Christian obligations. They should not beg off preaching Jehovah’s message of judgment as Jonah tried to do when he was instructed to warn the Ninevites of divine judgment. Neither should they withdraw into inactivity to sulk, as he did, because things have not developed as they expected or as rapidly as they hoped.—Jonah 1:1, 2; 4:2, 5, 10, 11; 2 Peter 3:15.
Appropriately The Watch Tower of June 1, 1906, stated concerning God’s execution of judgment: “Time will fully manifest the divine wisdom in what seems to short-sighted humanity like pitiless delay . . . God has kindly brought us to his standpoint of view and bidden us look into the glorious future . . . and in proportion as we are able to comprehend and believe it, we may rest and rejoice in it. But in the meantime, being thus graciously refreshed by the cheering prospect, we must patiently wait for the end, however painful the waiting season may be.”
And wait we will, with this full conviction: “It will without fail come true. It will not be late.”—Habakkuk 2:3.
This prophecy is explained in detail in the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” published in 1958 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
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WHAT MUST PRECEDE EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT
The apostasy—2 THESSALONIANS 2:2, 3
The sealing of the 144,000—REVELATION 7:2, 3
The gathering of the “great crowd” for survival—REVELATION 7:14
The appearing of the League of Nations and then the United Nations—REVELATION 17:8
The global cry of “Peace and security”—1 THESSALONIANS 5:2, 3
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Peter regarded God’s patience as salvation, whereas Jonah complained. Whose example will you follow?