“This Is the Day of All Days”
“By inspiration I came to be in the Lord’s day.”—REVELATION 1:10.
1. What “day” are we living in, and why is this fact so thrilling?
“THIS is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns!” These dramatic words uttered by the second president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society back in 1922 still thrill us today. They continue to remind us that we are living in the most exciting time of all history, the time called in the Bible “the Lord’s day.” (Revelation 1:10) It is indeed “the day of all days,” for it is the time when Jehovah, through Christ’s Kingdom, will bring to fulfillment all His grand purposes and will sanctify His holy name before all creation.
2, 3. (a) What is the duration of the Lord’s day? (b) Where can we find out about this day?
2 This day began in 1914 when Jesus was installed as King of God’s Kingdom. And it will continue right through to the end of the Thousand Year Reign, when Christ will ‘hand over the kingdom to his God and Father.’ (1 Corinthians 15:24) Faithful Christians have looked forward to the Lord’s day for many centuries. Now, it is finally here! What has this “day of all days” meant for God’s people and for the world in general?
3 The Bible book that tells us most about the Lord’s day is Revelation. Almost all the prophecies of this book are fulfilled during the Lord’s day. But Revelation is only the climax of a series of prophetic books that tell us about that day. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, among others, also tell us about it. Often, what they say helps us to understand better the prophecies in Revelation. Let us see how the book of Ezekiel in particular sheds light on the fulfillment of Revelation during the Lord’s day.
The Four Horsemen
4. According to Revelation chapter 6, what happened at the beginning of the Lord’s day?
4 For example, in the sixth chapter of Revelation, the apostle John describes a dramatic vision: “I saw, and, look! a white horse; and the one seated upon it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest.” (Revelation 6:2) Who is this victorious horseman? None other than Jesus Christ, installed as King of God’s Kingdom and riding to conquer his enemies. (Psalm 45:3-6; 110:2) Jesus’ triumphant ride began back in 1914, at the very beginning of the Lord’s day. (Psalm 2:6) His very first conquest was the casting of Satan and his demons to the earth. The result for mankind? “Woe for the earth and for the sea.”—Revelation 12:7-12.
5. What grim figures follow the Rider on the white horse, and what authority does each figure have?
5 There follow in the vision three grim figures: a fiery-colored horse symbolizing war, a black horse symbolizing famine, and a pale horse whose rider was named “Death.” Of this fourth horse, we read: “I saw, and, look! a pale horse; and the one seated upon it had the name Death. And Hades was closely following him. And authority was given them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with a long sword and with food shortage and with deadly plague and by the wild beasts of the earth.”—Revelation 6:3-8; Matthew 24:3, 7, 8; Luke 21:10, 11.
6. What has been the effect on the earth of these three fearsome horses and riders?
6 True to the prophecy, mankind has suffered terribly from war, famine, and disease since 1914. But the fourth horseman also kills by means of “the wild beasts of the earth.” Has this been a notable feature since 1914? Consideration of a similar prophecy by Ezekiel helps to put this aspect of the prophecy into perspective.
7. (a) What prophecy did Ezekiel utter concerning Jerusalem? (b) How was this prophecy fulfilled?
7 Writing perhaps five years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., Ezekiel prophesied a terrible punishment for the Jews because of their unfaithfulness. He wrote under inspiration: “So, too, it will be when there will be my four injurious acts of judgment—sword and famine and injurious wild beast and pestilence—that I shall actually send upon Jerusalem in order to cut off from it earthling man and domestic animal.” (Ezekiel 14:21; 5:17) Was this fulfilled literally back then? Undoubtedly Jerusalem suffered from famine and warfare as its end drew near. And famine usually causes disease. (2 Chronicles 36:1-3, 6, 13, 17-21; Jeremiah 52:4-7; Lamentations 4:9, 10) Was there also a literal plague of wild beasts at that time? Likely there were cases of humans being dragged off or perhaps even killed by animals, since Jeremiah also foretold this.—Leviticus 26:22-33; Jeremiah 15:2, 3.
8. What part have wild beasts played during the Lord’s day so far?
8 What about today? In the developed lands, wild animals are not the dangerous problem that they once were. In other countries, however, wild animals continue to claim victims, especially if we include snakes and crocodiles among “the wild beasts of the earth.” Such tragic deaths are seldom reported in the international press, but they are notable. The book Planet Earth—Flood speaks of the many in India and Pakistan who “have died in agony from the bites of venomous snakes” while trying to escape from floods. India Today reported on one village in West Bengal where an estimated 60 women have lost their husbands because of tiger attacks. Such tragedies may become even more common in the future when human society breaks down and when famine increases.
9. What other kind of “animal” has caused havoc and suffering among mankind during this century?
9 But Ezekiel alluded to another kind of “animal” when he said: “There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst of her, like the roaring lion, tearing prey. A soul they actually devour . . . Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves tearing prey.” (Ezekiel 22:25, 27) So humans can act like animals too, and how mankind has suffered from such predators during our century! Many have died at the hands of animalistic criminals and terrorists. Yes, in more than one way death has claimed a rich harvest of victims from “the wild beasts of the earth.”
10. What does John’s listing of war, famine, disease, and wild beasts as causes of death help us to see?
10 The listing of war, famine, disease, and wild beasts in John’s vision helps us to see that the agonies endured by Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. were to be paralleled on many occasions during our day. The Lord’s day has thus already meant suffering for the world, largely because mankind’s rulers have refused to submit to that first Horseman, the enthroned King, Jesus Christ. (Psalm 2:1-3) What, though, about God’s people? What has the Lord’s day meant for them?
Measuring the Temple
11. At Revelation 11:1, what was John commanded to do, and this was with regard to which temple?
11 At Revelation 11:1, the apostle John says: “A reed like a rod was given me as he said: ‘Get up and measure the temple sanctuary of God and the altar and those worshiping in it.’” This visionary measuring of the temple was very meaningful for God’s people. Which temple sanctuary did John measure? Not the literal Jewish temple where John had worshiped before he became a Christian. That temple was rejected by Jehovah, and it was destroyed in 70 C.E. (Matthew 23:37–24:2) Rather, it was Jehovah’s great spiritual temple arrangement. In this figurative temple, anointed Christians serve as underpriests in the earthly courtyard.—Hebrews 9:11, 12, 24; 10:19-22; Revelation 5:10.
12. When did that temple come into being, and what developments took place regarding it in the first century?
12 That temple came into being in 29 C.E. when Jesus was anointed as high priest. (Hebrews 3:1; 10:5) It was to have 144,000 underpriests, and in the first century many of these were chosen, sealed, and then died faithful. (Revelation 7:4; 14:1) But when those first-century Christians died, they slept in the grave, not being immediately resurrected to heaven. (1 Thessalonians 4:15) Moreover, after the first century a great apostasy set in, and the priestly anointed Christians were surrounded by flourishing “weeds,” apostates. (Matthew 13:24-30) Throughout the centuries since then, it might well have been asked: ‘Will all the 144,000 underpriests ever be sealed?’ ‘Will those who have died faithful ever be resurrected to serve in the heavenly sanctuary?’ The visionary measuring of the temple showed that the answer to each of these questions is yes. Why?
13. What did John’s measuring of the temple sanctuary guarantee, and what happened early in the Lord’s day?
13 Because in Bible prophecy the measuring of something usually indicates that Jehovah’s purpose for that thing is certain to be thoroughly worked out. (2 Kings 21:13; Jeremiah 31:39; Lamentations 2:8) Thus, John’s visionary measuring of the temple sanctuary was a guarantee that during the Lord’s day, all of Jehovah’s purposes regarding the temple would be fulfilled. In harmony with this and according to all the evidence, those of the anointed who had already died faithful began to be resurrected to their promised place in the heavenly sanctuary starting in 1918. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 6:9-11) But what of the rest of the 144,000?
14. What happened to anointed Christians before and during the first world war?
14 Even before the Lord’s day began, anointed Christians who had come out of apostate Christendom began to gather into a separate organization. They had built a fine record of faithfulness in announcing the importance of the year 1914, but in that decisive year, as the first world war got under way, they began to suffer oppression, ‘trampling.’ This reached a climax in 1918 when the directors of the Watch Tower Society were imprisoned, and the organized preaching work almost ceased. At that time, they were virtually ‘killed.’ (Revelation 11:2-7) What was the meaning of the measuring of the temple sanctuary for these Christians?
15. What did the measuring of a visionary temple mean for God’s people of Ezekiel’s day?
15 In the year 593 B.C.E., 14 years after Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, Ezekiel saw a visionary house of Jehovah. He was given an extensive tour of this temple and watched as each of its features was carefully measured. (Ezekiel, chapters 40–42) What did this mean? Jehovah himself explained: The measuring of the temple implied a test for Ezekiel’s people. If they would humble themselves, repent of their errors, and measure up to Jehovah’s laws, they would be told the measurements of the temple. This would evidently encourage them in the hope that one day Jehovah’s people would be freed from Babylon and once again worship Jehovah in his literal temple.—Ezekiel 43:10, 11.
16. (a) Of what did John’s measuring of the temple sanctuary assure God’s people back in 1918? (b) How was this fulfilled?
16 Similarly, if those discouraged Christians back in 1918 would humble themselves and repent of any errors that they had committed, they would be freed to have Jehovah’s blessing and play a full part in his temple arrangement. And this is what happened. According to Revelation 11:11, they ‘stood up,’ or figuratively were resurrected. A related resurrection vision in Ezekiel foreshadowed a restoration of the Jews to their own land. (Ezekiel 37:1-14) This modern ‘resurrection’ turned out to be a restoration of God’s people from their discouraged, almost inactive state, to a living, vibrant condition in which they could play a full part in Jehovah’s service. Such a ‘resurrection’ occurred in 1919.
The Little Scroll
17. (a) Describe John’s vision at Revelation 10:1. (b) Who was the angel that John saw, and during what day was the vision due to be fulfilled?
17 At Revelation 10:1, John saw a “strong angel descending from heaven, arrayed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet were as fiery pillars.” This somewhat resembles visions of Jehovah seen previously by Ezekiel and by John himself. (Ezekiel 8:2; Revelation 4:3) But John here saw an angel, not Jehovah. Hence, it must have been Jehovah’s great angelic Son, Jesus Christ, who “is the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) Moreover, Revelation 10:2 depicts Jesus as standing in a position of great authority, with “his right foot upon the sea, but his left one upon the earth.” So the angel represents Jesus during the Lord’s day.—See Psalm 8:4-8; Hebrews 2:5-9.
18. (a) What was John commanded to eat? (b) In a similar vision, what was Ezekiel commanded to eat, and with what effect?
18 Jesus, in this magnificent visionary form, has a little scroll in his hand, and John is instructed to take the scroll and eat it. (Revelation 10:8, 9) In this way, John has an experience very similar to that of Ezekiel, who was also commanded to eat a visionary scroll. In Ezekiel’s case, Jehovah himself handed the scroll to the prophet, and Ezekiel saw that “there were written in it dirges and moaning and wailing.” (Ezekiel 2:8-10) Ezekiel reports: “I began to eat it, and it came to be in my mouth like honey for sweetness.” (Ezekiel 3:3) What did the eating of the scroll imply for Ezekiel?
19. (a) What was represented by Ezekiel’s eating of the scroll? (b) Who were to receive the bitter messages Ezekiel was commissioned to preach?
19 Clearly, the scroll contained inspired prophetic information. When Ezekiel ate the scroll, he accepted the commission to declare this information to such an extent that it became a part of him. (Compare Jeremiah 15:16.) But the contents of the scroll were not sweet for others. The scroll was full of “dirges and moaning and wailing.” Whom was this bitter message for? In the first place, Ezekiel was told: “Son of man, go, enter in among the house of Israel, and you must speak with my words to them.” (Ezekiel 3:4) Later, Ezekiel’s message widened out to include the pagan nations round about.—Ezekiel, chapters 25–32.
20. What happened when John ate the little scroll, and what resulted from his doing so?
20 In John’s case, the results of his eating the scroll were similar. He reports: “I took the little scroll out of the hand of the angel and ate it up, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it up, my belly was made bitter.” (Revelation 10:10) Eating the scroll was sweet for John too. It was thrilling to have Jehovah’s word become a part of him. Yet the message had a bitter ring to it. Bitter for whom? John was told: “You must prophesy again with regard to peoples and nations and tongues and many kings.”—Revelation 10:11.
21. (a) What did anointed Christians do in 1919 that corresponded to John’s eating of the little scroll, and with what effect? (b) What was the result for Christendom and the world in general?
21 How has all of this been fulfilled during the Lord’s day? According to the historical facts, back in 1919 faithful Christians embraced the privilege of serving Jehovah so thoroughly that it became a part of them, and this was sweet indeed. But their blessing and privilege proved bitter to others—especially to the clergy of Christendom. Why? Because these faithful anointed Christians courageously proclaimed all of Jehovah’s message for mankind. Not only did they preach the “good news of the kingdom” but they also exposed the spiritually dead condition of Christendom and the world in general.—Matthew 24:14; Revelation 8:1–9:21; 16:1-21.
22. (a) In what grand way have the anointed been used by Jehovah during the Lord’s day so far? (b) What has the Lord’s day meant for Satan’s world and for God’s people?
22 This faithful band of Christians was used by Jehovah to gather the final ones of the 144,000 for sealing, and they spearheaded the gathering of the great crowd, who have an earthly hope. (Revelation 7:1-4, 9, 10) This great crowd plays an important part in Jehovah’s purposes toward this earth, and its appearance has caused great joy both in heaven and on earth. (Revelation 7:11-17; Ezekiel 9:1-7) Hence, this “day of all days” has already meant suffering for Satan’s world but rich blessings for Jehovah’s people. Let us see, now, how this will continue to be true as the Lord’s day continues.
Can You Explain?
□ What is the Lord’s day?
□ What destructive part do “the wild beasts of the earth” play during the Lord’s day?
□ What assurance did Jehovah provide by means of John’s measuring of the temple sanctuary?
□ What did John’s eating of the little scroll mean for the anointed remnant in 1919?
□ So far, what has the Lord’s day meant for God’s people and for the world in general?
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John’s measuring of the temple gave firm guarantees to the anointed in the Lord’s day