On Guard Against “Peace and Security” as Devised by Nations
“Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’”—1 THESSALONIANS 5:3.
1, 2. (a) Why has peace become the better part of wisdom? (b) Thus, what will opposed political systems agree upon?
NEVER has the whole world of mankind been as insecure as it is today. There is a feeling of dread of a third world war involving highly militarized nations possessing what now appears to be the ultimate of weapons—the nuclear bomb. The nations’ ability to put the very nucleus of atoms to work in the pursuit of war has carried them about as far as they can go in mass human slaughter. Hence, peace has become the better part of wisdom.
2 Yes, indeed, for in our era a third world war using such weapons would signify nothing less than world suicide, with people exploded into virtual nothingness or perishing from the aftereffects of a nuclear holocaust. Keen-sighted politicians and military commanders painfully sense that fact. They do not want to become responsible for such a global disaster. Thus, diametrically opposed political systems will find it convenient to come to an accord, yes, to follow the worldly-wise philosophy of “live and let live.”
3. For what reason will the nations proclaim “Peace and security”?
3 Nevertheless, the nations do not fully trust one another. As a precaution, they maintain their military establishments at full strength. Hence, will it be because of a sincere, genuine love for one another as members of the same human family that rulers will unite in making the proclamation of “Peace and security” for all the world of humankind? No, but it will be to allay the justifiable fears of the people.—1 Thessalonians 5:3.
Clergy and Public Reaction to the Coming Proclamation
4, 5. (a) What public reaction to the coming proclamation may we expect? (b) Despite the clergy’s backing of the coming proclamation, what questions arise as to whether God will support it?
4 When this proclamation is finally made, the public reaction to it should be favorable all around the earth. No doubt the world’s religious leaders, including the clergymen of Christendom, Catholic and Protestant, will hail this international gesture. In whichever way the wind blows, the clergy go in order to remain in popular favor and to have political assistance and consideration.
5 However, the clergy’s backing of the loudly proclaimed political arrangement does not mean that the God of the universe, including our earth, will support it. In their religious edifices, the clergy may offer up long and loud prayers in the hearing of their religious patronizers and ask the divine blessing upon the measures taken by the political element for international peace and security. But are all such solemn prayers, to which listening congregations append a vigorous “Amen,” acceptable to the God of this universe? Can he be at peace with a religiously divided world, the prayers of which for peace and security are modeled according to the disagreeing religious sects and denominations?
6, 7. (a) Like the Jews of ancient times, what course of action has Christendom taken? (b) What will result from clergy support of the proclamation of “Peace and security”?
6 Nowhere are the claims for God’s backing louder than in the nations of Christendom. But the God of the universe is not the One reigning over Christendom. She has taken a course of action similar to that of the ancient Israelites. When they became discontented with Jehovah’s arrangement for their government and got to thinking that the political setup of the pagan nations around them was preferable, they went to Jehovah’s prophet Samuel and asked him to set up a king over them. Samuel was highly displeased and grieved at this. No less so was the God of whom he was the prophet.
7 Jehovah rightly felt hurt at this request for a departure from his theocratic setup over Israel. As he said to his prophet Samuel: “It is not you whom they have rejected, but it is I whom they have rejected from being king over them.” (1 Samuel 8:4-9) This prefigured the course that Christendom has taken in this 20th century. So the clergy’s future hailing of the proclamation of “Peace and security” will have no favorable result, no divine blessing.
Throwing Mankind Off Guard
8. What role will the United Nations likely play in the coming proclamation, and why is this organization throwing mankind off guard?
8 The United Nations may boast of 159 members today, embracing virtually all nations. No doubt in due time the United Nations will be at the forefront with regard to the coming proclamation of “Peace and security!” Sad to say, that world organization is throwing the billions of mankind off guard. Why so? Because such peace, even though backed by all the religious organizations of this world, including those of Christendom, does not mean peace with the Creator of the universe, who has the power to give life and to take it away according to his determination of vital matters in the heavens and on the earth.
9, 10. What is the stand of Jehovah’s Witnesses regarding the “Peace and security” as devised by nations, and why so?
9 In the prophecy of Isaiah, the Creator explicitly says: “The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” (Isaiah 66:1) The nations down here on his footstool are not adorning it by their United Nations organization. They are striving politically to maintain global peace and security and thereby keep the United Nations in existence. Jehovah’s dedicated Witnesses on earth cannot join with the world in depending upon the man-made measures that are being undertaken for the peace and security of the worldly nations. They take to heart the words of James 4:4: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.”
10 Although not actively opposing the peace and security devised by nations, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot recommend it to the millions of people who are seeking a place of safety when the world’s greatest trouble erupts and puts an end to this system of things. (Matthew 24:21) For it is God’s new system of things that will bring in worldwide security under the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ.—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
11. How did the clergy view the proposal to set up the League of Nations after World War I?
11 History bears testimony to the failure of man-made schemes for peace. We recall that at the close of World War I in 1918, the League of Nations was proposed as a preventive of world war. The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America hailed the proposal and said: “Such a League is not a mere political expedient; it is rather the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” But did that so-called political expression of God’s earthly kingdom bring lasting peace and security for the earth?
12. (a) How has Revelation 17:8 been fulfilled? (b) Who continues her ride on the back of the “scarlet-colored wild beast,” and for how long?
12 Like the symbolic “scarlet-colored wild beast” of Revelation chapter 17, upon which the old harlot, “Babylon the Great,” has seated herself, the League of Nations went into “the abyss” at the outbreak of World War II in 1939. This obliged its harlot rider to hop off. After the close of World War II in 1945, the United Nations was set up as the successor to the ill-fated League of Nations. It has far more members than the League had, so it should be a stronger organization and deserving of more confidence on the part of the world of mankind. Thus it was in 1945 that the symbolic “scarlet-colored wild beast” ascended “out of the abyss,” and the symbolic harlot, “Babylon the Great,” again climbed onto its back, where she shamelessly sits to this day. (Revelation 17:3, 5, 8) But not for long now, according to what Revelation 17:16–18:24 foretells. Why not?
13. (a) What is the United Nations? (b) How was it long ago foreshadowed?
13 The United Nations is actually a worldly confederacy against Jehovah God and his dedicated Witnesses on earth. It is really a conspiracy, with the worldly nations getting their heads together and scheming up what they may do against the visible organization of Jehovah God on earth. During this “conclusion of the system of things,” it was foreshadowed by the conspiracy referred to at Isaiah 8:12.—Matthew 24:3.
Look to Jehovah for Peace and Security
14. Why did the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel enter into a confederacy with Syria, and what question confronted the kingdom of Judah?
14 Before Isaiah’s time the nation of the 12 tribes of Israel had split up over the issue of kingship. This was after the glorious reign of King Solomon. The seceding ten tribes to the north established what came to be called the kingdom of Israel, with its capital at Samaria. The two remaining tribes, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, remained loyal to the royal dynasty of King David at the capital city of Jerusalem. The ten-tribe kingdom of Israel turned in hostility against the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. In time, the kingdom of Israel leagued up with the kingdom of Syria, which had its capital at Damascus. The idea was to overthrow the kingdom of Judah and bring it into subjection. Should the kingdom of Judah therefore enter into a confederacy with another strong nation in order to withstand the onslaught of the nation of Israel confederated with the pagan nation of Syria?—Isaiah 7:3-6.
15. (a) What did some people in the kingdom of Judah favor, and what did this attitude betray? (b) How did the prophet Isaiah speak out against such an attitude?
15 There were those in the small kingdom of Judah that lost faith in the national God Jehovah. These favored a confederacy, or conspiracy, with a mighty pagan kingdom of this world. Advocating such an unfaithful yoking of Jehovah’s kingdom of Judah with a kingdom of the ungodly world, some were saying, “A conspiracy!” to undecided ones in the kingdom of Judah. Thus they betrayed their lack of faith and confidence in the God whose temple was in Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to speak against such a conspiracy, saying in Isa chapter 8, verse 12: “You men must not say, ‘A conspiracy!’ respecting all that of which this people keep saying, ‘A conspiracy!’ and the object of their fear you men must not fear, nor must you tremble at it.”
16, 17. What meant true peace and security for Jehovah’s ancient people, and how was this demonstrated when Assyrian King Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem?
16 Jehovah’s being with the people in covenant relationship with him meant peace and security for them. This was demonstrated when the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib sent a committee of three high officers to call upon King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem to make a capitulation to Sennacherib. The Assyrian official and spokesman, Rabshakeh, stood before the walls of Jerusalem and blatantly belittled Jehovah God so as to weaken or destroy the confidence of the Jews in Him. Sorely grieved at this downgrading of the one living and true God Jehovah and rightly feeling the peril of Jerusalem before this overwhelming horde of Assyrians, King Hezekiah went to the temple and laid the matter before Jehovah God. Pleased with this expression of sublime faith in him and with this resort to him for a demonstration of his universal sovereignty, Jehovah gave a favorable reply. His prophet Isaiah joined in with confirmatory remarks. No response at all was given to the intimidating Assyrian Rabshakeh, just as King Hezekiah had ordered.—2 Kings 18:17-36; 19:14-34.
17 Doubtless greatly amazed at this, Rabshakeh returned to the camp of Sennacherib, who was then fighting against Libnah. (2 Kings 19:8) After hearing Rabshakeh’s report, Sennacherib sent threatening letters to Hezekiah, warning: “Do not let your God in whom you are trusting deceive you, saying: ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’” (2 Kings 19:9, 10) After nightfall, Jehovah God did his own talking back to the Assyrian mouthpiece, Rabshakeh, and He himself answered Sennacherib’s threatening letters to prove that He was superior to the imperial god of the Assyrians. The ending up of the account of this episode, as given at 2 Kings 19:35, says: “And 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. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses.” At dawn when the surviving Assyrians, including King Sennacherib and possibly Rabshakeh, arose, they saw the horrifying spectacle round about of casualties of war with Jehovah God.
18. (a) What was the outcome with regard to the ambitious Sennacherib? (b) What example should this historical account furnish to Jehovah’s Witnesses of today?
18 Defeated in his ambitious designs against Jehovah’s organization and tremendously humiliated, Sennacherib hurried back “with shame of face” to his national capital, Nineveh, only to be assassinated by two of his sons. (2 Chronicles 32:21; 2 Kings 19:36, 37) Never again did the Assyrian empire menace Jehovah’s visible organization. Here, indeed, was a top-ranking vindication of the universal sovereignty of the Most High God. Moreover, Jerusalem’s safekeeping is an excellent example showing to whom Jehovah’s Witnesses of today should in full confidence look for continual, imperturbable peace and security—not a political conspiracy but Jehovah God.
Keeping on Guard
19. What will the Watch Tower Society keep on doing?
19 To help you keep on guard, the Watch Tower Society will continue issuing in its publications timely warnings to the reading public, so that you will not be caught off guard by the coming pretentious proclamation “Peace and security,” as devised by the nations of this old system of things.
20. Why will Jehovah’s Witnesses by no means promote reliance on the coming “Peace and security,” and so now is the time for what?
20 Jehovah’s dedicated Witnesses can by no means promote reliance on the “Peace and security” confidently to be proclaimed by the worldly nations; nor can they congratulate the devisers of such international “Peace and security” and, at the same time, have Jehovah God with them. They guard against leaguing up with the nations of this old system of things. They unfailingly remind themselves that a new “nation,” separate and distinct from the League of Nations, was brought to birth in the postwar year of 1919. This new “nation” continues to grow and expand in all the earth, just as foretold at Isaiah 60:22: “The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.” Yes, now is the time for all to be on guard against the forthcoming “Peace and security” as devised by nations.
How Would You Answer?
□ What will likely be the public reaction to the proclamation of “Peace and security”?
□ What was foreshadowed by the “conspiracy” of Isaiah 8:12?
□ How is the UN throwing mankind off guard?
□ Why will Jehovah’s Witnesses not be caught off guard?
[Picture on page 18]
No doubt the UN will be in the forefront of the coming proclamation of “Peace and security!”
[Picture on page 21]
Assyrian official Rabshakeh belittled Israel’s God, but the outcome showed that true peace and security comes only from Jehovah God