“Fear God and Give Him Glory”
“Fear God and give him glory.”—REVELATION 14:7.
1. Whom should we fear, and what should we not fear?
WHOM SHOULD WE FEAR? Surely not the fiery-red dragon, Satan, and his hosts of demons! Christ Jesus hurled these out of heaven following the Kingdom’s birth in 1914. But the visions of Apocalypse next reveal the organization that Satan uses here on earth in his last-ditch effort to thwart God’s purposes. Prominent in this picturization are two ferocious wild beasts and a drunken prostitute—Babylon the Great. Should we be afraid of these? Far from it! Rather, we should fear Jehovah and his Christ, whose Kingdom has now brought Satan’s corrupt world to its final judgment.—Proverbs 1:7; Matthew 10:28; Revelation 12:9-12.
2. What wild beast comes into view in the eighth vision, and what does it represent?
2 As the eighth vision of Revelation unfolds, a wild beast rises from the turbulent sea of humankind. It has seven heads and ten horns with ten diadems, signifying regal authority bestowed on it by Satan. It blasphemes Jehovah, mauling His servants as would a leopard, a bear, or a lion; but its authority is temporary, being derived from the dragon, Satan, whom it closely resembles. The prophet Daniel had earlier described earthly political governments as beasts, and the governments themselves have often chosen creatures of the wild as their national symbols, such as the British lion and the American eagle. (Daniel 8:5-8, 20-22) Now, though, we see a composite beast, embracing all the political powers of Bible history that have so often oppressed God’s true servants on earth. Outstanding “heads” among these have been Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and lastly the Anglo-American Dual World Power.—Revelation 13:1, 2; 12:3, 7-9.
3. (a) How did one of the heads of the wild beast receive a “sword-stroke”? (b) How does the two-horned wild beast take the lead in making an image to the first wild beast? (c) What is the name of the first wild beast and the significance of the name?
3 During the world war of 1914-18, Great Britain, as the seventh world power, received a “sword-stroke” that could have been fatal. But the United States of America came to her rescue. Since then, America and Britain have cooperated as a dual world power, which John goes on to describe as a wild beast with two horns, coming out of an established human society, “the earth.” This two-horned beast takes the lead in making an image to the first wild beast and breathing life into it, portraying how the Anglo-American World Power became chief sponsor and life-giver both to the League of Nations and to its successor, the United Nations. The first wild beast has a number-name, 666. Six is an imperfect number—short of the Biblically perfect seven—so that six to the third degree suggests the woeful imperfection of today’s human rulers. Though Jehovah’s Witnesses respect government and are exemplary in obeying the laws of the land in which they live, they courageously refuse to worship “the wild beast” or its image.—Revelation 13:3-18; Romans 13:1-7.
4. (a) Who are seen standing on the heavenly Mount Zion, and who are pictured by the 24 elders before God’s throne? (b) What is the distinction between the “new song” sung by the anointed and the “new song” sung by the great crowd?
4 For the present, enough of those beasts! In refreshing contrast, the ninth vision focuses on the Lamb. He stands on Mount Zion, with the 144,000 that he buys as firstfruits from among mankind. Though some of these still serve on earth, in a spiritual sense all 144,000 have “approached a Mount Zion and . . . heavenly Jerusalem.” (Hebrews 12:22) Appropriately, the 24 elders are also seen here before God’s throne, for they picture the same anointed group from a different standpoint—as already raised and installed as kings and priests. The 144,000 are singing “a new song.” It stems from their unique experience in being bought from the earth to become Kingdom heirs. The great crowd also “sing to Jehovah a new song,” but this differs in that they sing in prospect of attaining to everlasting life in the earthly realm of the Kingdom.—Revelation 7:9; 14:1-5; Psalm 96:1-10; Matthew 25:31-34.
5. (a) What news is being proclaimed by the angel flying in midheaven, and why is it everlasting? (b) What command does the angel issue in a loud voice, and why is it so appropriate?
5 The vision now expands. John sees another angel flying in midheaven. And what glad tidings he has to proclaim! It is everlasting good news, for it means eternal life for those out of every nation and tribe and tongue and people who obey God in this hour of his judgment. In contrast with the gruesome beasts that John has just described, why should not this marvelous God be worshiped, yes, adored? He is the One who created heaven and earth. He is the Source of everything that exists, animate and inanimate. There is strong reason, then, for the angel to command in stentorian tones: “FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY”! The voice of the angel is heard around the earth, and Jehovah’s Witnesses echo his rousing invitation to all mankind in some 200 languages.—Revelation 14:6, 7; Isaiah 45:11, 12, 18.
Great Babylon’s Fall
6. What startling news does another angel proclaim?
6 Another angel appears. Startling indeed is the message that he proclaims: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, she who made all the nations drink of the wine of the anger of her fornication!” (Revelation 14:8) Who is Babylon the Great, that she can even seduce nations and intoxicate them?
7. What is Babylon the Great, and how did it develop?
7 Ancient Babylon was the fountainhead of false religion, which expanded earth wide to become a demonistic world empire, labeled appropriately “Babylon the Great.” In course of time, Rome became prominent in that religious empire, for it was under Rome that apostate Christianity developed. Rome continues to be a world center for Babylonish religion. This was clearly apparent in 1986 when the world’s religious leaders answered the call of the pope of Rome by assembling with him at Assisi, near Rome, to pray in behalf of the International Year of Peace proclaimed by the United Nations.
8. (a) How did Babylon the Great suffer a great fall, and since when is this in evidence? (b) What shows that the prayers of religious leaders for peace go unanswered?
8 However, Babylon the Great has suffered a great fall! Since 1919 this has been in evidence in the dwindling support for false religion worldwide. Atheistic communism now controls large areas of the earth. Today’s youth are being taught evolution, which contradicts God’s Word. In Protestant Europe few people attend church anymore, and an itinerant pope is struggling to hold his Catholic empire together. Prayers to the multiplicity of gods of the world’s religions obviously go unanswered. Ruth L. Sivard reported: “Twenty-two wars were underway in 1987, more wars than in any previous year in recorded history. The total death toll in these wars so far is at least 2,200,000—and rising fast.”a How ineffectual the Assisi prayer meeting proved to be! And yet the pope marked the 1987 anniversary of that assembly by producing a medal with his likeness on one side and a symbol of the prayer meeting on the other. They keep “saying, ‘There is peace! There is peace!’ when there is no peace.”—Jeremiah 6:14.
Babylon’s Harlotry Exposed
9. The clergy of Babylon the Great have become notorious for what immoral ways?
9 Revelation 14:8 shows that Babylon the Great is a fornicatrix. Her clergy have become notorious for their immoral ways. TV evangelizers have sheared their flocks of hundreds of millions of dollars, while at the same time they were committing blatant immorality. The Catholic priesthood is also much in question, as is indicated by the following report in The Beacon Journal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 3, 1988: “Hundreds of children molested by Catholic priests in the United States during the past five years have suffered severe emotional trauma, say parents, psychologists, police officers and attorneys involved in the cases.” Sexual immorality has blackened the reputation of many of the clergy of Babylon the Great.
10. (a) At Revelation 18:3, what is denoted by the “fornication” of Babylon the Great? (b) As noted at Revelation 18:24, why do the clergy of Babylon the Great share a heavy bloodguilt?
10 “The wine of the anger of her fornication,” though, has particular reference to false religion’s courting the rulers, supporting their political campaigns and wars, and compelling the people to worship some nationalistic segment of the wild beast. Politicians have often found religion to be a useful partner in gaining their ends, as can be seen in Hitler’s concordat with the Vatican in 1933 and the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. During World War II, the clergy of Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, and other religions on both sides acted as though intoxicated by the nationalistic fervor of war. They share a heavy bloodguilt for the tens of millions of soldiers and civilians who have died in war since 1914. The clergy who supported the Fascists and the Nazis are also bloodguilty on account of the Witnesses of Jehovah, and others, who were executed or who died in concentration camps.—Jeremiah 2:34; Revelation 18:3, 24.
11. (a) What have the anointed Christians and the great crowd refused to worship? (b) What grand prospects give powerful reason for fearing God and giving him glory?
11 During the past 74 years, loyal anointed Christians, together with increasing numbers of the great crowd, have continued to FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY. We have steadfastly declined to worship any nationalistic segment of the wild beast. We have refused to glorify the beast’s image—the League of Nations and the UN—for we realize that “the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and of his Christ” alone can bring in true peace and security. We have been determined to observe “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” That endurance has its reward! Anointed Christians who “die in union with the Lord” have been counted happy, for “the things they did go right with them.” As for any of the great crowd who may die under persecutions, from illness, or by accidents, the friendship that they have cultivated with God assures them of an early resurrection into the “new earth” society. These grand prospects give powerful reason indeed for FEARING GOD AND GIVING HIM GLORY.—Revelation 11:15, 17; 12:10; 14:9-13; 21:1.
12. What two harvestings take place, and when?
12 As the judgment proceeds, angels call for two harvestings. The first Harvester is clearly Jesus, enthroned in Kingdom glory since 1914, for he rides on a white cloud, is crowned, and is “like a son of man.” Now, in the Lord’s day, he reaps the earth, first of the remaining anointed Christians and then of the millions of the great crowd. (Compare Matthew 25:31-34; John 15:1, 5, 16.) In contrast, the second harvest is that of “the vine of the earth,” which is thrown into “the great winepress of the anger of God.” This is the judgment executed at Har–Magedon, when a wicked, tangled human society is uprooted and its poisonous fruit crushed to a pulp. May Jehovah be glorified in clearing the earth of this poisonous vine!—Revelation 14:14-20; 16:14, 16.
“Jehovah . . . Righteous and True”
13. (a) In the tenth vision, what song are resurrected anointed ones singing, and what are its words? (b) How are God’s righteous judgments clearly expressed in this vision?
13 In the tenth vision of Revelation, we again behold celestial events before God’s throne. What rejoicing attends his presence! Resurrected anointed ones—who came off victorious because of FEARING GOD AND GIVING HIM GLORY—are singing ‘the song of Moses and of the Lamb’: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest.” God’s judgments are indeed righteous and true, as so clearly expressed throughout this vision! The angels pour out seven bowls of God’s anger, leading to the gathering of all nations to Har–Magedon and a reminder that “Babylon the Great was remembered in the sight of God”! Timely indeed is the call to FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY.—Revelation 15:1–16:21.
14. In visions 11 and 12, what prominent role does Babylon the Great play, and why is it high time to abandon her?
14 Babylon the Great comes up for repeated mention in Revelation. We see her again as a key figure in visions 11 and 12. She “sits on many waters,” controlling peoples and making them drunk with her poisonous, lying doctrines. She herself is drunk with “the blood of the holy ones,” whom she has killed in persecutions, and she is bloodguilty with respect to “all those who have been slaughtered on the earth,” because of her treacherous warmongering. Her trading partnerships with big business and her monetary bleeding of the people have brought in much ill-gained wealth. Most reprehensible has been her political philandering, even to the point of jockeying for prominence in riding the peace and security beast—the UN. But militarized horns of that very beast are due to rip her apart and destroy her. It is high time for all who FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY to abandon her, “for her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.”—Revelation 17:1–18:24.
15. The destruction of the great harlot leads to what songs of praise and is followed by what other happy event?
15 The execution of Babylon the Great comes, therefore, as a righteous judgment from Jehovah. In appreciation of this, ‘Hallelujahs’ ring forth, in heaven and then on earth, attributing salvation, glory, and power to Jehovah. These choruses of “Praise Jah, you people!” express great joy over the eternal destruction of the great harlot. How her devastation contrasts with a most happy event in heaven—the marriage of the Lamb, Christ Jesus, and his bride, the 144,000 faithful overcomers! A thunderous song of praise is raised to “Jehovah our God, the Almighty,” yes, “let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself”!—Revelation 19:1-10.
16. According to vision 13, what issue will finally be settled, and how?
16 However, before that celestial marriage takes place, vision 13 shows how the issue involving Jehovah’s sovereignty is settled. His King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus, accompanied by hosts of angels, “judges and carries on war in righteousness,” treading the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty. Every remaining part of Satan’s earthly system is smashed to pieces, pulverized! (Revelation 19:11-21) As we view that rapidly approaching triumph through the visions of Revelation, surely we have every reason to FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY!
Glorifying God for Eternity
17. What do visions 14 and 15 reveal about the happy outcome to all who fear God and give him glory?
17 Visions 14 and 15 of Revelation reveal the happy outcome to all who FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY. With Satan and his demons abyssed for a thousand years, the heavenly marriage of the Lamb and his bride takes place, and these 144,001 kings and priests rule for a thousand years as they raise humankind to perfection. After a final test, those who continue to FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY will triumph and be approved for everlasting life. These will include billions of the resurrected dead, “the great and the small,” who prove worthy of having their names written in the book of life. “A new heaven and a new earth” will bring untold blessings to mankind, blessings that are assured, for as Maker of “all things new,” Jehovah declares: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”—Revelation 20:1–21:8.
18. According to vision 16, what is the climax of the book of Revelation?
18 Vision 16 brings to view the climax of Revelation. What is that? It is a vision of a city. This city, New Jerusalem, is far different from any that man has ever built here on earth—far, far different from Babylon the Great, the city whose apostasy, filthy morals, and political harlotry have so dishonored God. The holy city is pure, clean, precious. It is the Lamb’s bride, his helpmeet in dispensing everlasting life to the world of mankind. (John 3:16) No wonder that the call sounds forth loudly, clearly, to get out of the counterfeit city, Babylon the Great!—Revelation 18:4; 21:9–22:5.
19. (a) What invitation is being issued through the bride class, and how do meek ones respond? (b) Our giving a positive response to the command “Fear God and give him glory” will result in what?
19 Jehovah’s dynamic spirit channels through the bride class the impelling invitation: “Come!” Yes, all you meek ones who desire life eternal in a global paradise, come to the “river of water of life,” accepting all of Jehovah’s provisions through Christ and his bride for gaining everlasting life! What a marvelous prospect—human life in perfection on a paradise earth! It will be the reward to the many who give a positive answer to the command: “FEAR GOD AND GIVE HIM GLORY”!—Revelation 22:6-21.
a World Military and Social Expenditures 1987-88.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
□ What timely instruction is there for us in the vision of the two wild beasts?
□ How should we respond to the proclamation of the angel flying in midheaven?
□ How is Babylon the Great involved in fornication, and how is this regarded by those who fear God?
□ How is the earth harvested during the Lord’s day?
□ What happy events close out Revelation, and how may God’s people share therein?
[Picture on page 23]
This bronze medal was issued in October 1987 on the anniversary of the Prayer for Peace at Assisi. On one side is an image of the “Holy Father” around which is the date and the inscription: “John Paul II Pontifex Maximus.” On the other side “Saint Francis” calls for “Peace the Gift of God” at the Assisi Prayer for Peace Meeting