Peace at Last!—When God Speaks
“To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.” —ISAIAH 9:7.
1. While world leaders constantly speak about peace, what has happened throughout human history?
WORLD leaders constantly speak about peace, and people in general say that they desire it. Yet, the situation today reminds us of what the prophet Jeremiah said: “There was a hoping for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but, look! terror!” (Jeremiah 8:15) Actually, ever since Cain killed Abel, the world has not had real peace but has been plagued by violence. And our 20th century has been the most violent age of all, with wars accounting for about a hundred million deaths. In our time, 97 percent of the world’s population has been involved in at least one war. So while world leaders speak about peace, they have led their people into one catastrophe after another.
2. What toll of additional violence is noted in all nations?
2 To all that violence must be added the daily toll of violent crime. For example, in the United States, every year about 20,000 people are murdered. Over 80,000 women are raped, with many more rapes not reported. Nearly two million women are severely battered by the man with whom they live. And about one fourth of all households are victimized by some type of crime. A report concludes: “We have become a terribly violent society.” The situation is similar in most other lands.
3. What even greater violence could be done to the human family now?
3 However, all of that is as nothing compared with the violence that could be done by today’s nuclear weapons. There are enough of them to kill every inhabitant on earth 12 times over! A doctor said: “Modern medicine will have nothing to offer the victims of a nuclear conflict.” Why not? Another answered: “Most doctors, nurses and technicians would be killed . . . Hospitals would be destroyed. So there would be few left with enough knowledge and equipment to save anybody.”
4, 5. (a) What comment did one publication make about the lack of peace in our time? (b) How did a former government official similarly comment?
4 Regarding the lack of peace in our time, the main article of a recent Encyclopædia Britannica yearbook was entitled: “Our Disintegrating World—The Menace of Global Anarchy.” It stated: “After 1945 the ideas that ‘progress’ was somehow inevitable and that the future of the modern world would be one basically of cohesion and coherence were assumed.” But those assumptions, it said, “have proved to be totally misguided,” adding: “What has happened instead . . . is that the world is quietly but relentlessly being rent by a slow-motion disintegration. Many countries whose structural and spiritual cohesion was taken for granted have been breaking apart . . . [into] tribes, clans, religious [sects], . . . city gangs, death squads, terrorist movements, guerrilla movements, and narrow and rabid self-interest groups.”
5 Similarly, a former high government official in the United States said: “The factors that make for international instability are gaining the historical upper hand over the forces that work for more organized cooperation. The unavoidable conclusion of any detached analysis of global trends is that social turmoil, political unrest, economic crisis, and international friction are likely to become more widespread during the remainder of this century.” He concluded: “The menace confronting humanity, in brief, is . . . global anarchy.”
‘Visitors From Space’
6. How did a newspaper editor describe observations that visitors from space might make about the world today?
6 In view of all of this, an editor wrote in a Cleveland newspaper: “If visitors arrived next week from some distant galaxy, could we tell them we had to kill ourselves in order to establish the superiority of communism or capitalism? Could we explain that we were a species that divided itself into nations, and that those nations were sworn to murder each other in periodic orgies of blood lust? How would we explain that we let some of our species starve and others wallow in degradation and ignorance because the invention of mass death had a greater priority for us? The visitors from that distant galaxy would certainly describe us back home as barbarians. . . . We might protest that we also made great art and believed in justice. They would smile sadly and leave before the explosions.”
7, 8. (a) What powerful visitors are now making an inspection of mankind? (b) Why are they here?
7 ‘Of course,’ some may say, ‘there are no “visitors from space” making any such inspection.’ No, not from physical space. But for some years now, very powerful, highly intelligent visitors have been making a thorough inspection of what mankind has been doing to itself and to the earth. In addition, they are seeing to it that a clear message is being delivered “before the explosions.”
8 Who are those powerful visitors who have been making an inspection of mankind? God’s Word tells us that they are God’s representatives in the spirit realm, faithful angels, whom he has dispatched to earth to inspect it. Of these spirit creatures, Psalm 103:20 says: “Bless Jehovah, O you angels of his, mighty in power, carrying out his word, by listening to the voice of his word.” These powerful angels are often mentioned in the Bible. For example, at Matthew chapter 25 the prophecy about our time says in Mt 25 verses 31 and 32: “When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
9. What part does Christ Jesus play during this inspection of mankind?
9 This “Son of man” is God’s chief representative, Jesus Christ. After his resurrection to heaven, he waited for Jehovah to give him this special assignment. As Psalm 110:1 described it, Jehovah said to him: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” The fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that the time for God to send this powerful spirit creature into action came in the year 1914.
10. How many angels could be with Christ as they assist in the separating work?
10 But he would not come alone, for Matthew 25:31 said that “all the angels” would be with him. How many might that be? Revelation 5:11 says: “I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne [of God] . . . and the number of them was myriads of myriads.” A myriad is 10,000. One myriad times one myriad is 10,000 times 10,000, a total of 100 million angels! Yet, Revelation speaks in the plural, of “myriads of myriads” of angels serving God. That is hundreds of millions, perhaps billions or more. Under Christ’s direction, these spirit creatures are assisting God’s representatives on earth in separating mankind into two groups, one for “everlasting cutting-off,” the other for “everlasting life.”—Matthew 25:46; see also Matthew 13:41, 42.
“Everlasting Good News”
11. What is the “everlasting good news” that angelic forces are supporting at this time?
11 What is the central message that these angelic visitors are supporting on earth at this time? Revelation 14:6 informs us: “I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” What is this “everlasting good news”? It has to do with what Jesus said would be one of the many evidences that we are living in the last days. At Matthew 24:14 he declared: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
12, 13. (a) What is Kingdom rule? (b) Why is the Kingdom message the very best of news?
12 God’s Kingdom is the heavenly government that will rule over the earth after present human rule is eliminated. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10) Its King is Christ Jesus, and he has associate rulers with him. (Revelation 14:1-4; 20:4) That Kingdom is the one spoken of at Daniel 7:14 in these terms: “To him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.”
13 Why is the message about Kingdom rule such good news, the very best of news? Because it will bring in a new world, a new framework of human society. Under God’s Kingdom mankind will receive blessings so marvelous that Psalm 37:11 says of those who will live then: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” Yes, “Jehovah himself will bless his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11) Today, before the Kingdom takes full control of all earth’s affairs, the good news of its permanent, peaceful rule in the hands of the “Prince of Peace” is being preached in all nations. This is being done by God’s earthly servants under the guidance of Christ and the angels.—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
14. (a) What is one way in which we can positively identify God’s earthly servants? (b) How has God’s evident blessing been upon them?
14 Who are these earthly servants of God? Well, who are the only ones that regularly call on people with the Kingdom good news? Even opposers recognize them as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now more than three million strong, the ranks of these Kingdom proclaimers are rapidly increasing. Last year, 225,868 new ministers of the good news were ordained. And in that one year, 2,461 new congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses were established earth wide, an average of over 6 each day, making a total of 52,177 congregations in 208 lands. Truly, the prophecy of Isaiah 60:22 is having its fulfillment: Jehovah is speeding up his preaching and ingathering work “in its own time.” And now is that time!
15. What is the basis for judging people today?
15 How people react to the news of Kingdom rule is the basis for determining whether they will be separated for “everlasting cutting-off” or for “everlasting life” in the new world. Many react as did those described at 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16: “Jehovah . . . kept sending against them by means of his messengers, sending again and again, because he felt compassion . . . But they were continually making jest at the messengers of the true God and despising his words and mocking at his prophets, until the rage of Jehovah came up.” But others react favorably and come under Jehovah’s protection. “As for the one listening to me [true wisdom], he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.”—Proverbs 1:20, 33; Matthew 25:34-46.
Heavenly Armies Into Action
16. How will God soon speak to disobedient mankind?
16 Before long, the preaching work of Jehovah’s servants will be completed to the extent that he has determined. God’s patience with disobedient mankind will come to its end. The peaceful message that he has been speaking to mankind in this generation will change. Instead, “at that time he will speak to them in his anger and in his hot displeasure he will disturb them.” (Psalm 2:5) As Jehovah himself declares: “In my ardor, in the fire of my fury, I shall have to speak.” (Ezekiel 38:19) Then he will give Jesus Christ the signal to move his heavenly armies into action against this rebellious and lawless world.
17. How was the power of just one angel demonstrated?
17 What those armies will accomplish can be seen by what happened to Assyria when God’s time came to act against it. Second Kings 19:35 says: “It came about on that night that the angel of Jehovah proceeded to go out and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. . . . All of them were dead carcasses.” That is what just one angel did! What myriads of myriads of them will accomplish shortly will be awesome.
18. How thorough will the destruction be at this system’s end?
18 Jeremiah 25:31-33 describes what will happen in these words: “‘There is a controversy that Jehovah has with the nations. He must personally put himself in judgment with all flesh. As regards the wicked ones, he must give them to the sword,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Look! A calamity is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest itself will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth. And those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth. They will not be bewailed, neither will they be gathered up or be buried. As manure on the surface of the ground they will become.’”
19. What further details does Revelation chapter 19 add?
19 Revelation chapter 19 describes how Jehovah will accomplish all of this. It is by having his King Jesus Christ go into action with, as Re 19 verse 14 says, “the armies that were in heaven” following him. Then Re 19 verses 17 and 18 say: “I saw also an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in midheaven: ‘Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God, that you may eat the fleshy parts of kings and the fleshy parts of military commanders and the fleshy parts of strong men and the fleshy parts of horses and of those seated upon them, and the fleshy parts of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.” And Re 19 verses 19 to 21 describe the destruction of all human institutions because they refused to listen when God spoke through his earthly messengers.
20. Why could this world not end in a nuclear catastrophe?
20 Thus, the time is soon coming for God to bring an end to this violent, disintegrating world system. But that end will not be self-destruction through nuclear warfare among nations. If that happened, the righteous would be annihilated along with the wicked. However, God’s “explosions” against this world will not be like that but will be selective. There will be survivors into the new world. As Proverbs 2:21, 22 says: “The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”
21. What further questions will be considered in our next article?
21 Why has this world come to the state where such an earth-wide destruction is imminent? Is it not possible that the current peace efforts of world leaders will bear fruit, so that this system can be saved? And if we want to be included among “the upright” and “the blameless” who will survive into the new world and keep living, how should we conduct ourselves at this most important time in all human history? Our next article will consider these questions.
What Are Your Answers?
□ How has the lack of peace been evident, especially in our time?
□ How are angelic forces involved in separating mankind today?
□ Why is the Kingdom message “everlasting good news”?
□ On what basis will people be judged for life or for death?
[Picture on page 13]
The work of Jehovah’s Witnesses is backed by angelic forces