Jehovah Reveals What “Must Shortly Take Place”
“A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place.”—REV. 1:1.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
Which parts of the immense image symbolize the Anglo-American World Power?
How does John depict the relationship between the Anglo-American World Power and the United Nations?
How do Daniel and John portray the end of human rulership?
1, 2. (a) The prophecies of Daniel and John allow us to do what? (b) What do the first six heads of the wild beast represent?
THE prophecies of Daniel and John correspond in ways that allow us to understand the meaning of many present and future world events. What can we learn by comparing John’s vision of the wild beast, Daniel’s account of the fearsome beast that had ten horns, and Daniel’s interpretation of the immense image? And what should a clear understanding of those prophecies move us to do?
2 Let us address John’s vision of the wild beast. (Rev., chap. 13) As we saw in the preceding article, the first six heads of the beast represent Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. All of those expressed hatred for the seed of the woman. (Gen. 3:15) Rome, the sixth head, remained a dominant political force for centuries after John wrote down his vision. Eventually, the seventh head would take the place of Rome. Which political world power did that prove to be, and how would it treat the seed of the woman?
BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES RISE TO POWER
3. What does the frightening ten-horned beast represent, and what do the ten horns picture?
3 We can identify the seventh head of the wild beast of Revelation chapter 13 by comparing John’s vision with Daniel’s vision of the frightening ten-horned beast.a (Read Daniel 7:7, 8, 23, 24.) The beast that Daniel saw represented the Roman World Power. (See the chart on pages 12-13.) In the fifth century C.E., the Roman Empire began to fragment. The ten horns sprouting from the head of that fearsome beast represent kingdoms that grew out of that empire.
4, 5. (a) What did the small horn do? (b) What is the identity of the seventh head of the wild beast?
4 Four of the horns, or kingdoms, that sprouted from the head of the ferocious beast receive special mention. Three are plucked out by another horn, “a small one.” This was fulfilled when Britain, a former outpost of the Roman Empire, grew to prominence. Until the 17th century, Britain was a relatively insignificant power. Three other regions of the old Roman Empire—Spain, the Netherlands, and France—were far more influential. Britain plucked those powers out one by one, removing them from their positions of prestige. By the mid-18th century, Britain was on its way to become the dominant power on the world scene. But it had not yet become the seventh head of the wild beast.
5 Though Britain gained dominance, colonies in North America broke away. Even so, the United States was allowed to grow mighty, protected by British naval power. By the time the Lord’s day began in 1914, Britain had built the largest empire in history and the United States had become the greatest industrial power on earth.b During World War I, the United States forged a special partnership with Britain. The seventh head of the beast had now emerged as the Anglo-American World Power. How did this head treat the seed of the woman?
6. How has the seventh head treated God’s people?
6 Shortly after the start of the Lord’s day, the seventh head launched an attack on God’s people—the remaining ones of Christ’s brothers on earth. (Matt. 25:40) Jesus indicated that during his presence, a remnant of the seed would be active on earth. (Matt. 24:45-47; Gal. 3:26-29) The Anglo-American World Power waged war with those holy ones. (Rev. 13:3, 7) During World War I, it oppressed God’s people, banned some of their publications, and threw representatives of the faithful slave class into prison. The seventh head of the wild beast as much as killed the preaching work for a period of time. Jehovah foresaw this dramatic event and revealed it to John. God also told John that the secondary part of the seed would be revived to increased spiritual activity. (Rev. 11:3, 7-11) The history of Jehovah’s modern-day servants confirms that those events took place.
THE ANGLO-AMERICAN WORLD POWER AND THE FEET OF IRON AND CLAY
7. What is the relationship between the seventh head of the wild beast and the immense image?
7 What is the relationship between the seventh head of the wild beast and the immense image? Britain—and by extension, the United States—grew out of the Roman Empire. What, though, about the feet of the image? They are described as an amalgam of iron and clay. (Read Daniel 2:41-43.) This description coincides with the time when the seventh head—the Anglo-American World Power—would come to prominence. Just as an iron structure mixed with clay is weaker than solid iron, so too the Anglo-American World Power is weaker than the power from which it emerged. How?
8, 9. (a) How did the seventh world power manifest ironlike strength? (b) What does the clay in the feet of the image represent?
8 At times, the seventh head of the beast has displayed ironlike characteristics. For example, it proved its power by winning World War I. During World War II, the ironlike power of the seventh head was also evident.c After that war, the seventh head at times still displayed ironlike characteristics. However, from early on, that iron has been mixed with clay.
9 Jehovah’s servants have long sought to understand the symbolic meaning of the feet of the image. Daniel 2:41 describes the mixture of iron and clay as one “kingdom,” not many. The clay, therefore, represents elements within the sphere of influence of the Anglo-American World Power, elements that make it weaker than the solid iron of the Roman Empire. The clay is referred to as “the offspring of mankind,” or the common people. (Dan. 2:43) In the Anglo-American World Power, people have risen up to claim their rights through civil rights campaigns, labor unions, and independence movements. The common people undermine the ability of the Anglo-American World Power to act with ironlike strength. Also, opposing ideologies and close election results that do not end up in a clear majority have weakened the power base of even popular leaders, so that they have no clear mandate to implement their policies. Daniel foretold: “The kingdom will partly prove to be strong and will partly prove to be fragile.”—Dan. 2:42; 2 Tim. 3:1-3.
10, 11. (a) What is the future of “the feet”? (b) What can we conclude about the number of toes?
10 In the 21st century, Britain and the United States have continued their special partnership, often acting together in world affairs. The prophecies about the immense image and the wild beast confirm that the Anglo-American World Power will not be replaced by some future world power. This last world power may be weaker than that represented by the legs of iron, but it will not disintegrate on its own.
11 Does the number of toes of the image have special meaning? Consider: In other visions, Daniel mentions specific numbers—for example, the number of horns on the heads of various beasts. Those numbers are significant. However, when describing the image, Daniel does not mention the number of toes. Therefore, the number seems no more significant than the fact that the image had multiple arms, hands, fingers, legs, and feet. Daniel does specifically mention that the toes would be made of iron and clay. From his description, we can conclude that the Anglo-American World Power is the one that will be dominating when the “stone” representing God’s Kingdom hits the feet of the image.—Dan. 2:45.
ANGLO-AMERICA AND THE TWO-HORNED WILD BEAST
12, 13. The two-horned wild beast represents what, and what does it do?
12 Though the Anglo-American World Power is a mixture of iron and clay, the visions that Jesus gave to John show that this power would continue to play a key role during the last days. How so? John saw a vision of a two-horned wild beast that spoke like a dragon. What does this strange beast represent? It has two horns, so it is a dual power. John is again seeing the Anglo-American World Power but in a special role.—Read Revelation 13:11-15.
13 This wild beast promotes the making of an image of the wild beast. John wrote that the image of the beast would appear, disappear, and then rise again. That is exactly what happened to an organization promoted by Britain and the United States, one that was intended to unite and represent the world’s kingdoms.d This organization appeared after World War I and was known as the League of Nations. It disappeared with the onset of World War II. During that war, God’s people declared that according to the prophecy in Revelation, the image of the wild beast would ascend again. And rise it did—as the United Nations.—Rev. 17:8.
14. In what sense is the image of the wild beast “an eighth king”?
14 John described the image of the beast as “an eighth king.” In what sense? It is not depicted as an eighth head on the original wild beast. It is only an image of that beast. Any power it has comes from its member nations, especially from its key backer, the Anglo-American World Power. (Rev. 17:10, 11) But it does receive authority to act as a king to carry out a specific task, one that triggers a chain of events that will change history.
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST DEVOURS THE HARLOT
15, 16. The harlot symbolizes what, and what has happened to her support?
15 According to John, upon a scarlet-colored wild beast—the image of the wild beast—rides a symbolic harlot, dominating it. She bears the name “Babylon the Great.” (Rev. 17:1-6) This harlot fittingly stands for all false religion, foremost of which are the churches of Christendom. Religious organizations have given their blessing to the image of the beast and have tried to exert influence over it.
16 However, during the Lord’s day, Babylon the Great has seen the waters, the people who support her, dry up dramatically. (Rev. 16:12; 17:15) For example, when the image of the beast first appeared, the churches of Christendom—an influential part of Babylon the Great—dominated the Western world. Today, the churches and their ministers have lost the respect and support of the masses. In fact, many people believe that religion contributes to or causes conflict. An increasingly vocal and militant group of Western intellectuals is calling for the end of religion’s influence on society.
17. What will soon happen to false religion, and why?
17 False religion, however, will not just fade away. The harlot will remain a potent force, attempting to bend kings to her will until God plants an idea in the hearts of those in power. (Read Revelation 17:16, 17.) Soon Jehovah will cause the political elements of Satan’s system, as represented by the United Nations, to attack false religion. They will destroy her influence and devastate her riches. Such an event may have seemed unlikely just decades ago. Today, the harlot teeters on the back of the scarlet-colored beast. Even so, she will not slip slowly from her seat. Her tumble will be sudden and violent.—Rev. 18:7, 8, 15-19.
THE BEASTS COME TO THEIR END
18. (a) What will the wild beast do, and with what outcome? (b) Daniel 2:44 refers to God’s Kingdom as destroying which kingdoms? (See box on page 17.)
18 After false religion is destroyed, the wild beast, Satan’s earthly political setup, will be goaded into an attack on God’s Kingdom. Unable to reach into heaven, the kings of the earth will vent their rage on those on earth who support God’s Kingdom. The result is inevitable. (Rev. 16:13-16; 17:12-14) Daniel describes one aspect of the final battle. (Read Daniel 2:44.) The wild beast mentioned at Revelation 13:1, its image, and the two-horned wild beast will be destroyed.
19. What confidence can we have, and it is now time to do what?
19 We are living in the days of the seventh head. No more heads will appear on this beast before it is annihilated. The Anglo-American World Power will be the dominant world power when false religion is eradicated. The prophecies of Daniel and John have been fulfilled to the smallest detail. We can be confident that the destruction of false religion and the battle of Armageddon will soon come. God has revealed these details in advance. Will we pay attention to the prophetic warnings? (2 Pet. 1:19) Now is the time to take sides with Jehovah and to support his Kingdom.—Rev. 14:6, 7.
a In the Bible, the number ten often symbolizes a complete group—in this case, all the kingdoms that grew from the Roman Empire.
b Although the components of the dual world power have existed since the 18th century, John describes it as it would appear at the start of the Lord’s day. In fact, the fulfillment of the visions recorded in Revelation takes place during “the Lord’s day.” (Rev. 1:10) It was not until World War I that the seventh head began operating as a united world power.
c Daniel foresaw the terrible destruction this king would cause during that war, writing: “In a wonderful [awful] way he will cause ruin.” (Dan. 8:24) For example, the United States caused terrible ruin on an unprecedented scale when it dropped two atomic devices on an enemy of the dual world power.
[Box on page 17]
WHO MAKE UP “ALL THESE KINGDOMS”?
The prophecy at Daniel 2:44 states that God’s Kingdom “will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms.” That prophecy refers only to the kingdoms pictured by the various parts of the image.
What about all other human governments? The parallel prophecy in Revelation reveals the larger picture. It shows that “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” will be gathered against Jehovah on “the great day of God the Almighty.” (Rev. 16:14; 19:19-21) Hence, not only the kingdoms of the image but also all other human governments will be destroyed at Armageddon.