“Praise Jah, You People!”
“Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah.”—PSALM 150:6.
1, 2. (a) To what extent did true Christianity flourish in the first century? (b) What forewarning had the apostles given? (c) How did apostasy develop?
JESUS organized his disciples into the Christian congregation, which flourished in the first century. Despite bitter religious opposition, the “good news . . . was preached in all creation that is under heaven.” (Colossians 1:23) But after the death of the apostles of Jesus Christ, Satan insidiously fomented apostasy.
2 The apostles had given prior warning of this. For example, Paul told the elders from Ephesus: “Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:28-30; see also 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18, 19.) Thus, in the fourth century, apostate Christianity began to combine forces with the Roman Empire. Some centuries later the Holy Roman Empire, with ties to the pope of Rome, came to rule over a large section of mankind. In time, the Protestant Reformation rebelled against the wicked excesses of the Catholic Church, but it failed to restore true Christianity.
3. (a) When and how was the good news preached to all creation? (b) What Bible-based expectations were realized in 1914?
3 Nevertheless, as the end of the 19th century approached, a sincere group of Bible students was again busy preaching and extending to ‘all creation under heaven the hope of the good news.’ On the basis of their study of Bible prophecy, this group pointed forward more than 30 years to the year 1914 as marking the end of “the appointed times of the nations,” a period of “seven times,” or 2,520 years, that began with the desolating of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. (Luke 21:24; Daniel 4:16) True to expectations, 1914 proved to be a turning point in man’s affairs on earth. Historic events took place in heaven as well. It was then that the King of eternity placed his associate King, Jesus Christ, upon a heavenly throne, preparatory to sweeping all wickedness from the face of this earth and reestablishing Paradise.—Psalm 2:6, 8, 9; 110:1, 2, 5.
Behold the Messianic King!
4. How did Jesus live up to the meaning of his name Michael?
4 In 1914 this Messianic King, Jesus, moved into action. In the Bible he is also named Michael, meaning “Who Is Like God?,” for he is intent on vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty. As recorded at Revelation 12:7-12, the apostle John described in vision what would happen: “War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” A mighty fall indeed!
5, 6. (a) Following 1914, what thrilling proclamation was made from heaven? (b) How does Matthew 24:3-13 tie in with this?
5 A stentorian voice in heaven then proclaimed: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! And they [faithful Christians] conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb [Christ Jesus] and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death.” This means deliverance for integrity keepers, who have exercised faith in Jesus’ precious ransom sacrifice.—Proverbs 10:2; 2 Peter 2:9.
6 The loud voice in heaven went on to declare: “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” The “woe” thus prophesied for this earth has been manifest in the world wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and lawlessness that have plagued the earth in this century. As Matthew 24:3-13 recounts, Jesus foretold that these would be part of ‘the sign of the conclusion of the system of things.’ True to prophecy, since 1914 mankind has experienced on earth woe unequaled in all previous human history.
7. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach with urgency?
7 In this age of satanic woe, can mankind find hope for the future? Why, yes, for Matthew 12:21 says of Jesus: “Indeed, in his name nations will hope”! The traumatic conditions among the nations mark not only ‘the sign of the conclusion of the system of things’ but also ‘the sign of Jesus’ presence’ as heavenly King of the Messianic Kingdom. Concerning that Kingdom, Jesus further says: “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.” (Matthew 24:14) What one people on earth today are preaching the grand hope of God’s Kingdom rule? Jehovah’s Witnesses! With urgency, they proclaim publicly and from house to house that God’s Kingdom of righteousness and peace is about to take over earth’s affairs. Are you sharing in this ministry? You could have no greater privilege!—2 Timothy 4:2, 5.
How Does “the End” Come?
8, 9. (a) How did judgment start “with the house of God”? (b) How has Christendom violated God’s Word?
8 Mankind has entered a period of judgment. We are informed at 1 Peter 4:17 that judgment started “with the house of God”—a judgment of professed Christian organizations that has been apparent since “the last days” got under way with the slaughter of World War I during 1914-18. How has Christendom made out in this judgment? Well, consider the stand of the churches in supporting the wars since 1914. Are not the clergy stained with “the blood marks of the souls of the innocent poor ones” that they preached into the firing lines?—Jeremiah 2:34.
9 According to Matthew 26:52, Jesus stated: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” How true this has been in the wars of this century! The clergy have urged young men on to massacre other young men, even those of their own religion—Catholic killing Catholic and Protestant killing Protestant. Nationalism has been exalted above God and Christ. Recently, in some African nations, ethnic ties have been placed ahead of Bible principles. In Rwanda, where most of the population are Catholic, at least half a million were slaughtered in ethnic violence. The pope admitted in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano: “This is an out-and-out genocide, for which unfortunately even Catholics are responsible.”—Compare Isaiah 59:2, 3; Micah 4:3, 5.
10. What judgment will Jehovah execute on false religion?
10 How does the King of eternity regard religions that encourage men to slaughter one another or that stand idly by while members of their flock kill other members? Regarding Babylon the Great, the worldwide system of false religion, Revelation 18:21, 24 tells us: “A strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: ‘Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again. Yes, in her was found the blood of prophets and of holy ones and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.’”
11. What horrible things have been happening in Christendom?
11 In fulfillment of Bible prophecy, horrible things have been happening in Christendom. (Compare Jeremiah 5:30, 31; 23:14.) Largely because of the permissive attitude of the clergy, their flocks are riddled with immorality. In the United States, supposedly a Christian nation, about half of all marriages end up in divorce. Teenage pregnancies and homosexuality run riot among church members. Priests are sexually abusing young children—and not in just a few instances. It has been said that court settlements involving these cases could cost the Catholic Church in the United States a billion dollars within a decade. Christendom has disregarded the apostle Paul’s warning found at 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10: “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.”
12. (a) How will the King of eternity take action against Babylon the Great? (b) In contrast with Christendom, for what reason will God’s people sing “Hallelujah” choruses?
12 Shortly, the King of eternity, Jehovah, acting through his heavenly Field Marshal, Christ Jesus, will let loose the great tribulation. First, Christendom and all other branches of Babylon the Great will suffer the execution of Jehovah’s judgment. (Revelation 17:16, 17) They have shown themselves unworthy of the salvation that Jehovah has provided through Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. They have despised God’s holy name. (Compare Ezekiel 39:7.) What a mockery it is that they sing “Hallelujah” choruses in their opulent religious edifices! They remove Jehovah’s precious name from their Bible translations but seem oblivious to the fact that “Hallelujah” means “Praise Jah”—“Jah” being a shortened form of “Jehovah.” Appropriately, Revelation 19:1-6 records the “Hallelujah” choruses soon to be sung in celebration of God’s executing judgment on Babylon the Great.
13, 14. (a) What momentous events occur next? (b) What is the happy outcome for God-fearing humans?
13 Next in order is Jesus’ ‘arrival’ to pronounce and execute judgment on nations and peoples. He himself prophesied: “When the Son of man [Christ Jesus] arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious [judgment] throne. And all the nations [on earth] will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.’” (Matthew 25:31-34) Mt 25 Verse 46 goes on to relate that the goat class “will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.”
14 The Bible book of Revelation describes how the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” our heavenly Lord, Jesus Christ, will at that time ride into battle at Armageddon, destroying the political and commercial elements of Satan’s system. Thus Christ will have poured out “the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty” on Satan’s entire earthly domain. As these ‘former things pass away,’ God-fearing humans will be ushered into the glorious new world where God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Revelation 19:11-16; 21:3-5.
A Time to Praise Jah
15, 16. (a) Why is it vital that we heed Jehovah’s prophetic word? (b) What do the prophets and apostles indicate we must do for salvation, and what could this mean today for multitudes?
15 That day for executing judgment is at hand! We do well, therefore, to heed the prophetic word of the King of eternity. To those who are still enmeshed in the teachings and customs of false religion, a heavenly voice declares: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” But where must escapees go? There can be only one truth, hence only one true religion. (Revelation 18:4; John 8:31, 32; 14:6; 17:3) Our gaining eternal life depends on finding that religion and obeying its God. The Bible directs us to him at Psalm 83:18, which reads: “Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”—King James Version.
16 However, we need to do more than merely know the name of the King of eternity. We need to study the Bible and learn about his grand qualities and purposes. Then we need to do his will for this present time, as indicated at Romans 10:9-13. The apostle Paul quoted the inspired prophets and concluded: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Joel 2:32; Zephaniah 3:9) Saved? Yes, for multitudes today who exercise faith in Jehovah’s ransom provision through Christ will be delivered out of the coming great tribulation, when judgment upon Satan’s corrupt world is executed.—Revelation 7:9, 10, 14.
17. What grand hope should motivate us to join now in singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb?
17 What is God’s will for those who hope to survive? It is that we join even now in singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb, praising the King of eternity in anticipation of his victory. We do this by telling others about his glorious purposes. As we progress in Bible understanding, we dedicate our lives to the King of eternity. That will lead to our living for all eternity under the arrangement that this mighty King describes, as found at Isaiah 65:17, 18: “Here I am creating new heavens [Jesus’ Messianic Kingdom] and a new earth [a righteous new society of mankind]; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating.”
18, 19. (a) What should David’s words in Psalm 145 impel us to do? (b) What can we confidently expect at Jehovah’s hand?
18 The psalmist David described the King of eternity in these words: “Jehovah is great and very much to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3) His greatness is as unsearchable as the limits of space and eternity! (Romans 11:33) While we continue to take in knowledge of our Creator and of his ransom provision through his Son, Christ Jesus, we will want to praise our eternal King more and more. We will want to do as Psalm 145:11-13 outlines: “About the glory of your kingship they will talk, and about your mightiness they will speak, to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts and the glory of the splendor of his kingship. Your kingship is a kingship for all times indefinite, and your dominion is throughout all successive generations.”
19 We can confidently expect that our God will be true to the declaration: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” The King of eternity will lead us tenderly through to the end of these last days, for David assured us: “Jehovah is guarding all those loving him, but all the wicked ones he will annihilate.”—Psalm 145:16, 20.
20. How do you respond to the invitation of the King of eternity, as sounded forth in the last five psalms?
20 Each of the concluding five psalms in the Bible opens and closes with a “Hallelujah” invitation. Thus, Psalm 146 invites us: “Praise Jah, you people! Praise Jehovah, O my soul. I will praise Jehovah during my lifetime. I will make melody to my God as long as I am.” Will you answer that call? Surely you should want to praise him! May you be among those described at Psalm 148:12, 13: “You young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for his name alone is unreachably high. His dignity is above earth and heaven.” May we respond wholeheartedly to the invitation: “Praise Jah, you people!” In unison, let us praise the King of eternity!
What Is Your Comment?
□ Of what did Jesus’ apostles forewarn?
□ Beginning in 1914, what decisive actions have taken place?
□ What judgments is Jehovah about to execute?
□ Why is this the time of all times to praise the King of eternity?
[Box on page 19]
This Catastrophic Age of Turmoil
That an age of turmoil dawned early in the 20th century has been acknowledged by many. For example, in the foreword of the book Pandaemonium, by U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, published in 1993, a comment on “the catastrophe of 1914” reads: “War came and the world changed—utterly. There are today just eight states on earth which both existed in 1914 and have not had their form of government changed by violence since then. . . . Of the remaining 170 or so contemporary states, some are too recently created to have known much recent turmoil.” Truly, the era since 1914 has witnessed catastrophe upon catastrophe!
Also published in 1993 was the book Out of Control—Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century. The author is Zbigniew Brzezinski, former head of the U.S. National Security Council. He writes: “The onset of the twentieth century was hailed in many commentaries as the real beginning of the Age of Reason. . . . Contrary to its promise, the twentieth century became mankind’s most bloody and hateful century, a century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings. Cruelty was institutionalized to an unprecedented degree, lethality was organized on a mass production basis. The contrast between the scientific potential for good and the political evil that was actually unleashed is shocking. Never before in history was killing so globally pervasive, never before did it consume so many lives, never before was human annihilation pursued with such concentration of sustained effort on behalf of such arrogantly irrational goals.” How true that is!
[Picture on page 17]
Michael hurled Satan and his hordes down to earth after the Kingdom’s establishment in 1914