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.”—REVELATION 1:1.
WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER?
Which parts of the giant image mean the Anglo-American World Power?
What part of John’s vision shows that the United Nations gets its power from the Anglo-American World Power?
How do the visions of Daniel and John show that all governments of the world will be destroyed?
1, 2. (a) What can we understand when we compare the prophecies of Daniel and John? (b) What do the first six heads of the wild beast mean?
WHEN we compare the prophecies of Daniel and John, we understand many things that are happening in the world today and that will happen in the future. What can we learn from John’s vision of the wild beast with seven heads, from Daniel’s vision of the beast with ten horns, and from what Daniel said about the giant image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? And what should these prophecies make us want to do?
2 In the previous article, we learned about John’s vision of the wild beast of Revelation chapter 13. The first six heads of that beast mean Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Satan used all those world powers to fight God’s people because he hated the seed of the woman. (Genesis 3:15) When John wrote about his vision, Rome was the world power. It remained strong for hundreds of years after that. But there was to be a seventh head that would replace Rome. Which world power does the seventh head mean, and how did it treat the seed of the woman?
BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES BECOME VERY POWERFUL
3. What does the frightening beast with ten horns mean? What do the ten horns mean?
3 We can identify what the seventh head is if we compare what John said about the wild beast of Revelation chapter 13 with what Daniel said about the frightening beast with ten horns.a (See footnote.) (Read Daniel 7:7, 8, 23, 24.) This beast with ten horns means the world power of Rome. (See the chart on pages 12-13.) In the fifth century, the Roman Empire started to be broken into smaller kingdoms. The ten horns of the beast that Daniel saw mean the kingdoms that came from the Roman Empire.
4, 5. (a) What did the small horn do? (b) What does the seventh head of the wild beast mean?
4 In Daniel’s prophecy of the beast with ten horns, another horn, a small one, comes up and replaces three of the ten horns. How did this happen? Britain had been a small part of the Roman Empire, but it later became a kingdom. Spain, the Netherlands, and France had also been part of the Roman Empire. Until the 1600’s, they were much more important kingdoms than Britain was. But Britain fought against them one by one and became more important than they were. During the 1700’s, Britain was becoming the most powerful kingdom in the world. But it was not yet the seventh head of the wild beast.
5 Although Britain became the most powerful kingdom, its colonies in North America rebelled and became the United States. Britain did not stop the United States from becoming a powerful country and even protected it with the British navy. In 1914, when the Lord’s day began, Britain was the largest empire that ever existed and the United States had the strongest industries in the world.b (See footnote.) During World War I, the United States became a close partner with Britain. Because they began to work together in a special way, they became the Anglo-American World Power. This world power was the seventh head of the beast. How did this head treat the seed of the woman?
6. What did the seventh head do to God’s people?
6 Shortly after the beginning of the Lord’s day, the seventh head began to attack God’s people, that is, those of Christ’s brothers who were still on earth. (Matthew 25:40) From what Jesus said, some of the seed of the woman would still be on earth at the beginning of the Lord’s day and would be doing the work that Jesus had given to them. (Matthew 24:45-47; Galatians 3:26-29) The Anglo-American World Power fought against those holy ones. (Revelation 13:3, 7) During World War I, it persecuted them, banned some of their publications, and put in prison some of those taking the lead in their work. It almost stopped, or killed, their preaching work. Jehovah told John in a vision that this would happen. But God also told him that those holy ones, who were part of the seed of the woman, would start the preaching work again, or come back to life. (Revelation 11:3, 7-11) Just as Jehovah had said, those of the seed of the woman who were still on earth started preaching zealously again.
THE ANGLO-AMERICAN WORLD POWER AND THE FEET OF IRON AND CLAY
7. Which part of the giant image means the same thing as the seventh head of the wild beast?
7 The feet of the giant image mean the same thing as the seventh head of the wild beast, that is, the Anglo-American World Power. Britain came from the Roman Empire. And because the United States came from Britain, we can say that, indirectly, the United States too came from Rome. So the feet have iron in them. But they also have clay in them. (Read Daniel 2:41-43.) This description of the feet is talking about the same event as when the seventh head of the wild beast appears. That is the time when the Anglo-American World Power would arise. Just as something made of iron mixed with clay is weaker than something made of solid iron, the Anglo-American World Power is weaker than the power from which it came. What made the Anglo-American World Power weaker?
8, 9. (a) How did the seventh world power show that it was strong like iron? (b) What does the clay in the feet of the image mean?
8 Sometimes the Anglo-American World Power has proved to be strong like iron. For example, it proved how powerful it was by winning World War I and World War II, and it has acted with strength like iron many times since then.c (See footnote.) However, from the time the Anglo-American World Power came into existence, that iron has been mixed with clay.
9 For a long time, Jehovah’s servants have wanted to understand what the feet of the image mean. Daniel 2:41 shows that the feet made of iron mixed with clay are one “kingdom,” not many. So we can understand that the clay means that something in the Anglo-American World Power makes it weaker than the Roman Empire, which was described as legs made of solid iron. Daniel’s prophecy says that the clay means “the offspring of mankind,” or the common people. (Daniel 2:43) People have weakened the Anglo-American World Power when they have fought to have civil rights, to have more rights at their workplace, and even to become independent nations. The common people make it difficult for this world power to be strong like iron. People have different political ideas. And when a leader wins an election by only a few votes, he does not have enough authority to do what he promised to do. Daniel said: “The kingdom will partly prove to be strong and will partly prove to be fragile.”—Daniel 2:42; 2 Timothy 3:1-3.
10, 11. (a) What will happen to the feet of the image? (b) What do we understand about the toes?
10 In our time, Britain and the United States are still special partners. They often cooperate with each other on important matters. In the prophecy about the giant image, the feet are the last part of the image. In the prophecy about the wild beast, the seventh head is the last head. This means that the Anglo-American World Power will not be replaced by another world power. And even though it is weaker than Rome, the legs of iron, it will not come to an end on its own.
11 Does the number of toes of the image mean anything? In other visions, Daniel mentions specific numbers. For example, many of the beasts had a specific number of horns. Those numbers are important. But Daniel does not mention how many toes the image has. So it seems that the number of toes is not important, just as the number of arms, hands, fingers, legs, or feet the image had is not important. But Daniel specifically says that the toes are made of iron and clay. From what he says, we understand that the Anglo-American World Power will be the world power when the “stone,” which means God’s Kingdom, hits the feet of the image.—Daniel 2:45.
ANGLO-AMERICA AND THE TWO-HORNED WILD BEAST
12, 13. What does the wild beast with two horns mean? What does it do?
12 The visions that Jesus gave to John show that even though the Anglo-American World Power is made of iron mixed with clay, it was going to do something important during the last days. John saw a wild beast that had two horns and that spoke like a dragon. What does this strange beast mean? Because it has two horns, it means two governments that are partners. This beast also means the Anglo-American World Power, but now it does something special.—Read Revelation 13:11-15.
13 The beast with two horns “tells” people to make an image of the wild beast with seven heads. John said that this image of the wild beast would appear, then disappear, and then appear again. This is what happened to an organization that appeared after World War I. Britain and the United States urged other nations to join this organization. It was supposed to unite the nations and speak for them.d (See footnote.) This organization was called the League of Nations. The League of Nations disappeared when World War II started. During that war, God’s people said that according to the prophecy in Revelation, this organization would appear again. That is exactly what happened, and now the organization is called the United Nations.—Revelation 17:8.
14. Why did John call the image of the wild beast “an eighth king”?
14 John described the image of the wild beast with seven heads as “an eighth king.” Why did he call it a “king”? It does not appear as an eighth head on the wild beast. It is only an image of that beast. The power of this image comes from the nations that are members of the United Nations, especially from the Anglo-American World Power. (Revelation 17:10, 11) So John calls this image a “king” because it receives authority to do something that will affect the whole world.
THE IMAGE OF THE WILD BEAST DESTROYS THE HARLOT
15, 16. What does the harlot in John’s vision mean? What is happening to religion today?
15 John also described a harlot, or prostitute, who rides upon a scarlet-colored wild beast. This beast is the same as the image of the wild beast with seven heads. The harlot is called “Babylon the Great.” (Revelation 17:1-6) This harlot means all false religions. The religions of Christendom are surely part of Babylon the Great. False religions have publicly supported the image of the beast, that is, the League of Nations and the United Nations, and they have tried to direct these organizations.
16 Babylon the Great is described as sitting on “waters.” The waters mean the people who support her. But during the Lord’s day, people have not supported her as much as they did in the past. It is as if the waters have “dried up.” (Revelation 16:12; 17:15) For example, when the image of the beast first appeared, the religions of Christendom had a lot of power in most Western countries. But now, many people no longer respect these religions and their ministers. Many even believe that religion is the cause of the problems in the world. Others say publicly that the world should get rid of all religions.
17. What will soon happen to false religion? Why will this happen?
17 False religion will not lose its power gradually and then disappear. The harlot will continue to be powerful and try to make kings do whatever she wants. But soon God will “put it into their hearts to carry out his thought.” (Read Revelation 17:16, 17.) Jehovah will cause the governments of Satan’s system, as represented by the United Nations, to attack false religion. The harlot will no longer be able to control these governments, and she will lose all her riches. Twenty or thirty years ago, most people thought religion would always be respected and powerful. Now this is starting to change. But the harlot will not lose her power gradually. She will be destroyed suddenly.—Revelation 18:7, 8, 15-19.
THE BEASTS ARE DESTROYED
18. (a) What will the wild beast do? What will happen as a result? (b) According to Daniel 2:44, which kingdoms will God’s Kingdom destroy? (See the box at top.)
18 After false religion is destroyed, the wild beast, Satan’s governments on earth, will attack God’s Kingdom. The kings of the earth will not be able to attack God’s Kingdom in heaven, so they will try to fight against those on earth who support it. This results in a final battle with God. (Revelation 16:13-16; 17:12-14) Daniel told us something about that final battle. (Read Daniel 2:44.) The wild beast mentioned at Revelation 13:1, its image, and the wild beast with two horns will be destroyed.
19. What can we be sure of? What must we do now?
19 We are living during the time of the seventh head of the beast of Revelation chapter 13. There will be no new heads on this beast before it is destroyed. The Anglo-American World Power will be the world power when false religion is destroyed. The prophecies of Daniel and John have come true exactly as they were written. We can be sure that soon false religion will be destroyed and that the battle of Armageddon will come. God has told us exactly what will happen. But will we obey the warnings in these prophecies? (2 Peter 1:19) We need to obey Jehovah right now and support his Kingdom.—Revelation 14:6, 7.
a In the Bible, the number ten often means a complete group. So the ten horns mean all the kingdoms that came from the Roman Empire.
b Both the British Empire and the United States have existed since the 1700’s. But the vision John saw shows that at the beginning of the Lord’s day, they would be one world power. The visions in Revelation were prophecies about “the Lord’s day.” (Revelation 1:10) It was during World War I that Britain and the United States began to work together as one world power.
c Just as Daniel prophesied, during World War II, the Anglo-American World Power caused vast ruin. (Daniel 8:24) For example, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on an enemy of the Anglo-American World Power. These bombs caused ruin in a new and terrible way.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Anglo-American World Power: Britain and the United States of America work together as special partners and often act as one world power
Lord’s day: A time period that started when Jesus was made King in 1914 and continues until he gives the Kingdom back to his Father, Jehovah
[Box on page 19]
WHO ARE “ALL THESE KINGDOMS” IN DANIEL 2:44?
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 that are part of the image.
Daniel 2:44 does not mention what will happen to all other kingdoms. But the prophecy in Revelation that is about the same topic tells us more. It tells us that “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” will be gathered against Jehovah for “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 16:14; 19:19-21) So in addition to the kingdoms that are pictured by the parts of the image, all other governments will be destroyed at Armageddon.
[Picture on page 18]
God’s Kingdom will soon crush the feet of the giant image. Nothing will be left of the world powers that the image represents