“Full of Blasphemous Names”
THE Bible book of Revelation describes a vision of “a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names.” It exists for a while, then goes into an abyss from which it later arises. (Revelation 17:3, 8) Frequently, the pages of this magazine have identified this scarlet-colored beast with, initially, the League of Nations and, subsequently, its successor, the United Nations. But why is the scarlet-colored beast said to be “full of blasphemous names”?
The first draft of the Covenant of the League of Nations, based on joint British and American proposals, was made public on February 14, 1919. The next day, in an editorial entitled “The League of Peace,” The Times of London said: “It is a cause of legitimate pride to recognize in the Covenant so much of the work of Englishmen. . . . We venture to say that it is the most important international document ever published.” George Thayer, a minister of the First Congregational Church of Cincinnati in the United States, described it as “the most sublime declaration of the will and desire of the enlightened people of the earth which has ever been put upon paper.” Praise also came from the foreign-language press. “It is not a Bible,” stated the French newspaper L’Homme Libre, “but it is capable of being more than that, since neither the Bible, nor any Evangelist ever prevented men from killing one another. Idealism descends to reality.” The French newspaper Victoire described it as “the greatest collective effort ever made since the beginning of the world for setting up reason and justice on the earth.”
After the establishment of the League of Nations, General Jan Smuts, one of the representatives of Britain on that commission, wrote: “The covenant is one of the great creative documents of human history. . . . It must succeed, because there is no other way for the future of civilization. . . . One by one the peoples still outside the covenant will fall in behind this banner under which the human race is going to march forward to triumphs of peaceful organization and achievement.”
All such expectations were proved false when World War II erupted in 1939. The League failed. It was merely a human organization made up of imperfect men. So is its successor, the United Nations. Yet, on the day the UN Charter was signed, an editorial in The New York Times labeled it “the tree of peace” and said, “A great hope is born . . . Great things may come.” Similarly, church leaders have labeled the UN “the sole hope” for peace and “the last hope.”
Ascribing to human organizations things that God’s Kingdom alone will accomplish is blasphemous. Thus, the Bible foretells that after a short existence, the United Nations will go “off into destruction.” Only God’s perfect heavenly government can bring lasting peace to mankind.—Revelation 17:11, 12; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Daniel 2:44.