The Kingdom and “a Holy Place”
“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. Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.”—Matthew 24:14-16.
1. Zealous proclaimers of God’s established kingdom are interested today in what?
ARE YOU one who has been sharing zealously in preaching “this good news of the kingdom”? If so, you are anticipating eagerly the ‘coming of the end.’ In that connection, you are deeply interested, also, in discerning what is meant today by “the disgusting thing that causes desolation” and its “standing in a holy place.” You will want to know the modern-day application of what the prophet Daniel said about these things and how, today, you may be among those who find salvation by “fleeing to the mountains.”—Matthew 24:3-16.
2. (a) What are some scriptures that help us to identify the “holy ones” of Daniel’s prophecy? (b) What other group has appeared recently, and what common interest do these two groups have?
2 Daniel’s prophecy has much to say about the “holy ones” who inherit the kingdom. (Daniel 7:27) These make up the small group of “born again” Christians, spiritual Israelites, who have kept integrity under Satan’s assaults, thus proving worthy of a place in the kingdom of the heavens. (John 3:3; Luke 12:32) In recent years, the remaining ones of these anointed witnesses of God have been joined by “a great crowd . . . out of all nations,” who hope to live forever in a paradise earth. Do you belong to one or the other of these groups? If so, you are privileged now to render God “sacred service” in the earthly sanctuary of his spiritual temple. This is a holy service, performed in “a holy place” that corresponds to the sanctuary of Jehovah’s temple in ancient Jerusalem.—Revelation 7:4, 9, 15; Romans 12:1, 2.
3, 4. (a) What three ‘Jerusalems’ now come to our attention? (b) How does God’s Word describe each of these ‘Jerusalems’?
3 Because of the apostasy of the Jews, who murdered even the Son of God, the earthly Jerusalem was cast off, abandoned by God. (Matthew 23:37, 38) However, a far grander Jerusalem continued to be favored by Jehovah. Galatians 4:26 calls it the “Jerusalem above.” It is Jehovah’s “woman,” his own heavenly wifelike organization. It was this Jerusalem that brought forth God’s spiritual Son, Jesus Christ, who, in the year 33 CE, gave “his [human] soul a ransom” in behalf of mankind.—Matthew 20:28.
4 After Jesus’ resurrection in the spirit, he was exalted to the right hand of his heavenly Father. At the appointed time, in 1914 CE, Jehovah installed him in his kingdom, which Hebrews 12:22 also associates with the name Jerusalem, calling it the “heavenly Jerusalem.” This kingdom would, in due course, destroy Satan’s wicked system and restore paradise to our earth.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Desolating “a Holy Place”
5. (a) What did Jesus say about the earthly Jerusalem? (b) This led to what question and prophecy?
5 Shall we open our Bibles now to Matthew, chapter 23 vs. 38? There in verse 38 you will note Jesus’ statement that Jerusalem’s “house is abandoned.” Then, to his surprised disciples, Jesus speaks the words of Matthew 24, verse 2, concerning that earthly Jerusalem’s temple: “Truly I say to you, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.” This leads to four of the disciples asking Jesus the question of Mt 24 verse 3: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” Jesus next gives his well-known prophecy that extends through to the end of Matthew, chapter 25.
6, 7. (a) In fulfillment of the prophecy, what now came under threat? (b) How was the “disgusting thing” thus seen to be “standing in a holy place”?
6 What interested Jesus’ disciples back there in 33 CE was the end of the Jewish system, centered in the earthly Jerusalem and its temple, a religious system that had become apostate. But despite its apostasy, Jerusalem continued to be known as “the holy city,” even after Jesus died. (Matthew 27:53) In fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, distresses multiplied in Jerusalem and Judea and other nations nearby. Then, in 66 CE, the Roman legions under General Gallus attacked Jerusalem. As Jesus foretold (according to Luke 21:20), Jerusalem was “surrounded by encamped armies.” As stated by the historian Josephus, these even entered the city with their idolatrous standards and started to undermine the wall of the temple.
7 Those Roman armies were surely standing in “a holy place.” They were poised to desolate that “city of Jehovah,” the city that had for centuries been associated with Jehovah’s worship. (Psalm 101:8) “Disgusting,” indeed, from the viewpoint both of Jewish apostates and of Jewish Christians! However, only the Christians recognized that this was the situation concerning which Jesus had prophesied. Not only were the “holy city” and its temple of worship threatened but so were Christians inside who were loyal to Jehovah and his word of truth. How could these survive?
8. How then did Jehovah maneuver things, and with what result?
8 Miraculously Jehovah maneuvered events. Suddenly the Roman army withdrew, opening the way for the Christians to obey Jesus’ prophecy. And obey they did, “fleeing to the mountains” of Gilead! Then, in 70 CE, the “disgusting thing” returned. In just four months, the Roman army under General Titus desolated Jerusalem, reducing its supposed “holy place” to a pile of rubble. More than a million Jews died in that holocaust, with few survivors. (Daniel 9:26) But the Christianized Jews were safe! Why? Because they obeyed the prophetic word of truth as spoken by the Great Teacher, Jesus Christ.—Mark 13:1, 2, 14.
9. Why should those first-century events interest us today?
9 Those first-century events have vital meaning for us today. Why so? Because they have a striking parallel in this twentieth century. It is in our day that Jesus’ great prophecy comes to its final, world-shattering fulfillment! However, this time not just the city of Jerusalem and the land of Judea but all the inhabited earth, with its tens of thousands of cities, its hundreds of national and tribal groups and its 4,400 million people—the entire world system of things—is involved.
10. (a) What time period ended in 1914, and how? (b) Why is there now unprecedented “woe” in the earth?
10 Even worldly historians have noted that the year 1914 CE brought an epoch-marking change. Indeed, the “appointed times of the nations” ended in that year. (Luke 21:24-28) No longer would Jehovah permit the Gentile powers to rule as they pleased. So the prophecy was fulfilled toward the Lord Jesus: “The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion [the “heavenly Jerusalem,” the messianic kingdom], saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’” (Psalm 110:2) Obediently, the enthroned king hurled Satan and his demon hordes out of heaven down to the vicinity of the earth. So, for a “short period of time,” it is “woe for the earth.” (Revelation 12:7-12) Now, from 1914 on, Jesus’ great prophecy of Matthew chapters 24 and 25 is having its earth-wide fulfillment.
11. What have you yourself observed in fulfillment of Jesus’ great prophecy?
11 Have not all of us been eyewitnesses of the “sign . . . of the conclusion of the system of things”? Have not we ourselves observed the major wars, the food shortages, the pestilences, the earthquakes and other “fearful sights” that Jesus foretold? Have we not experienced the persecution of Christians, and shared in preaching “this good news of the kingdom . . . in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations”? Truly many of us have! (Matthew 24:3-14; Luke 21:10-12) But what of Jesus’ words, at Matthew 24:15, 16, about “the disgusting thing that causes desolation”?
A Global Fulfillment
12. How will the “great tribulation” differ from Jerusalem’s destruction?
12 The first-century fulfillment of this prophecy provides a pattern of what we may expect today. But some details do not run exactly in parallel. For example, at Mt 24 verses 21 and 22 Jesus says: “Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” The climactic “great tribulation” will not be confined to Jerusalem or any other city. It will be the biggest calamity ever to strike our earth, and it will be global in scope.—Jeremiah 25:30-33; Matthew 24:30.
13. In contrast to the “flesh” that survived Jerusalem’s destruction, what “flesh” will be saved through the “great tribulation”?
13 Moreover, the “flesh” that survives will not be that of a few apostate Jews, destined for slavery, as at the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem. Instead, it will be the “flesh” of the “chosen ones,” those representing on earth the “heavenly Jerusalem,” along with the “flesh” of their companions of the “great crowd” out of all nations, of whom Revelation 7:14 states: “These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” How, then, are we to understand Matthew 24:15, 16 in its modern-day fulfillment?
“Let the Reader Use Discernment”
14 Jesus here refers to “Daniel the prophet,” and adds: “Let the reader use discernment.” It was “in the first year of Belshazzar the king of Babylon” that Daniel was given a vision of the Ancient of Days, Jehovah God, and his judging of the worldly nations through Messiah’s kingdom. This was to be when “the definite time arrived that the holy ones took possession of the kingdom itself.”—Daniel 7:1, 9-14, 21, 22, 27.
15 Daniel saw a further vision in the third year of Belshazzar’s kingship. Here, in Daniel 8:3-9, the prophet uses figurative language in describing a succession of “wild beasts” and powerful “horns” that grow out of the heads of those “beasts.” Daniel 8:20-25 helps us to identify these as world powers of the past 2,500 years, starting with Medo-Persia, then Greece, Rome and finally—as ‘a small horn that grows until its power becomes mighty’—the British Empire, with which the republic of America later became associated. In this way a dual world power was established.
16. (a) What “definite time arrived,” and what followed in the experience of the “holy ones”? (b) Why were the June 1938 issues of The Watchtower important to God’s people?
16 In 1918 CE “the definite time arrived” for the “holy ones” to receive the kingdom. From the year 1919 the “holy ones” yet remaining on earth were organized to make a grand global proclamation of Messiah’s established kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) Soon they became known worldwide as “Jehovah’s witnesses” and a “great crowd” of companion workers began to join them. (Isaiah 43:10, 12; Revelation 7:9) However, during the 1930’s dark clouds of persecution gathered. Jehovah braced his people to meet this threat by reorganizing them theocratically. The Watchtower issues of June 1 and 15, 1938, featured study articles on “Organization” that gave God’s people the theocratic structure that would serve as a basis for their activity during the second world war.—Isaiah 60:17.
17. Toward whom was Daniel 8:10, 11 now fulfilled?
17 It was during World War II that Daniel 8:10, 11 went into fulfillment. The ‘small horn’ acted in defiance of Jehovah God, “the Prince of the army.” And what “army” is this? Is it the army of adherents to the multiplicity of Christendom’s religious sects? No. These are not “objects of hatred,” for they make themselves a part of Satan’s world. (Matthew 24:9; John 15:18-20) Daniel here refers to a much smaller army, comparable to Gideon’s fighting force that was very small in comparison with the hordes of Midian. (Judges 7:8, 12) It is the remnant on earth of the “army” of 144,000 “holy ones” who will reign with the Lamb, Christ Jesus, on Mount Zion of the “heavenly Jerusalem.”—Revelation 14:1-5.
Occupying “a Holy Place”
18. (a) Where do the Scriptures show “a holy place” to be located? (b) According to Daniel 8:12, what happens at this location?
18 Today these remaining ones occupy “a holy place,” and they represent on earth the “heavenly Jerusalem” and its temple arrangement. Daniel describes this (in Da 8 verse 11) as “the established place of [Jehovah’s] sanctuary” here at His “footstool,” the earth. (Isaiah 66:1) He says: “From him [Jehovah] the constant feature was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down. And an army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant feature, because of transgression; and it kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had success.” (Daniel 8:11, 12) How was this fulfilled?
19. (a) What do we here understand by the ‘small horn’s transgression’? (b) How did it keep “throwing truth to the earth”?
19 Well, what was the experience of faithful Bible students—Jehovah’s Witnesses—during World War II? Intense persecution! This amounted to a “transgression,” an effort to desolate God’s “sanctuary” class, and so take away from Jehovah the “constant feature” of daily public worship. It started in Nazi-Fascist countries. But soon ‘truth was being thrown to the earth’ throughout the vast domain of the ‘small horn whose power became mighty.’ The “army” of kingdom proclaimers and their work of preaching kingdom truth was banned in almost all of the British Commonwealth. When these nations conscripted their manpower they refused to grant exemption as ministers to Jehovah’s Witnesses; they showed no respect for their theocratic appointment as ministers of God. Mob violence and other indignities were heaped upon Jehovah’s faithful servants in the United States.
20. (a) What assurance does Daniel 8:14 give us? (b) How did the ‘holy place emerge victorious’? (c) As World War II drew to a close what developments were there in Jehovah’s organization?
20 However, according to Daniel 8:13, 14, after a period of ‘twenty-three hundred days’ (six years, four months and twenty days), the “holy place” would be brought again “into its right condition,” or would “emerge victorious” (New English Bible). Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses had been fiercely persecuted because of their insistence on ‘obeying God as ruler rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) But during the closing months of World War II they reaffirmed their determination to magnify Jehovah’s rulership and to adhere to it within their organization. To that end, a rearrangement of the work and governing structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses was initiated in 1944. The Watchtower of October 15, 1944, took as its theme “Organized for Final Work.” This and other service-oriented articles of the same period showed that the “holy place” was again in its “right condition” from Jehovah’s viewpoint.a
21. Up to this point, how had the kingdom triumphed?
21 The enemy’s vicious attempt to desolate and destroy the “holy place” completely had failed. The remaining “holy ones” on earth, along with their companions of the “great crowd,” had come off victorious. The kingdom of the Supreme One, Jehovah, and of his Christ, had triumphed! What would follow, according to Jehovah’s prophetic word? We shall now see.
High Time to Flee!
1. (a) During World War II, what happened on earth in the sanctuary of the “holy place”? (b) What question therefore arises?
AS WE have noted, the true “holy place” is in the domain of the “heavenly Jerusalem,” God’s messianic kingdom. During World War II, the “holy ones” who serve with their companions, the “great crowd,” in the sanctuary of that “holy place” on earth were trampled down principally in lands of the Anglo-American dual world power. (Daniel 7:27; 8:10-12; Revelation 7:9, 15) Do we then conclude that Britain and America are “the disgusting thing that causes desolation”? No, for the “transgression” by the dual world power includes another feature. What is that?
2 The Anglo-American world power has served Satan’s purpose in another way. It has brought forth a counterfeit kingdom of God. As in Daniel’s prophecy, so also in the Bible book of Revelation, “beasts” and their “horns” are used to symbolize worldly political powers. Revelation chapter 13 describes the seventh world power of Bible history, Britain and America, as a two-horned wild beast that gives life to an “image” of the beastlike human rulerships. This “image” of the beast is a composite ‘scarlet-colored wild beast that has seven heads and ten horns.’ (Revelation 17:3) It appeared first as the League of Nations in 1920, and again with Britain and America as its principal advocates, along with the Soviet Union, it was revived in 1945 as the United Nations. (Revelation 13:11, 15; 17:8) This also fulfilled Daniel 11:31, which reads: “And they will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.”a
3 Here, then, is the modern-day “disgusting thing” of which Jesus spoke at Matthew 24:15. But how has it been made to ‘stand in a holy place’? What do the facts show?
4. (a) Why can the League of Nations be described as “disgusting”? (b) What “disgusting” claims have religious leaders made for the UN?
4 When Britain and America took the lead in proposing the League of Nations in 1918, the churches of Christendom gave wholehearted support. The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America hailed it as “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” What blasphemy! To say that a combine of the political nations of Satan’s world could be God’s kingdom on earth! A disgusting thing, an abomination, indeed, in the sight of Jehovah and of those truly standing in the “holy place” as ambassadors on earth of the now ruling “heavenly Jerusalem”! And what have the world’s clergy said of the League’s successor, the United Nations? They have described it variously as ‘the sole hope of survival’ for mankind, “the last hope of concord and peace” and the “supreme forum of peace and justice.” As with the League of Nations, they place it in “a holy place” by claiming that it will bring about what God’s kingdom alone is capable of accomplishing.
5. Why can we say that the UN does not belong in the “holy place”?
5 The clergy of Christendom have opted for putting the UN in “a holy place” that rightly belongs to the “heavenly Jerusalem,” God’s kingdom, and to the “holy ones” representing it on earth. But there is nothing “holy” about the UN. It has its prayer chapel and its Buddhist bell, and inscribed on its plaza wall are the words of Isaiah 2:4 (AV): “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” But these things do not make it “holy.” Its member nations are squabbling continually one with another, and an impressive number of them are now antireligion, anti-God. However, in another sense, also, we find “the disgusting thing . . . standing in a holy place.”
A Striking Parallel
6. (a) What two opposed groups lived in first-century Jerusalem? (b) How did the Jewish religionists resemble their forefathers?
6 Down to the year of its destruction, ancient Jerusalem was looked upon by the Jews as a holy city, a holy place. About 56 CE even the apostle Paul went up to the temple in Jerusalem and there, with four other Christians under a vow, he ceremonially cleansed himself. (Acts 21:23-26) There he was mobbed by Jews of the kind that persecuted true Christians, charging that these ‘had filled Jerusalem with their teaching.’ (Acts 5:28) These Jews clung to their apostate traditions and worship, and in this they were like their forefathers of Jeremiah’s day, who put their trust “in fallacious words, saying, ‘The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah they are!’” (Jeremiah 7:4) But that trust was misplaced.
7. (a) How does Christendom parallel apostate Jerusalem? (b) What is Christendom’s claimed “holy place”?
7 There is a similar situation today, for apostate Jerusalem of ancient times and its temple have a striking parallel in modern-day Christendom. Note that Christendom’s religion makes claim also to having “a holy place”—her claimed religious rights and realm of operation. Over the centuries she has built up a cherished domain in which she exercises control over the masses. This she claims to be her spiritual right. Her domain includes also costly cathedrals, bejeweled altars, priceless stained-glass windows, landed properties and huge bank accounts. All of this is part of her claimed “holy place.” It is sacred to her, and no one dare trespass on it! At least, so she thinks.
8. (a) What is the relationship of Christendom’s religion to “Babylon the Great”? (b) How does Christendom resemble apostate Jerusalem?
8 However, what happened to ancient Jerusalem and its “holy place”—in fulfillment of prophecy—in 607 BCE and also in 70 CE? And what does the Lord Jesus show us in the Revelation transmitted by him to the apostle John? There, in the seventeenth chapter, we read of God’s judgment to be executed on “Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.” (Revelation 17:5) This “Babylon the Great” is no one else but the world empire of false religion, of which Christendom’s churches form the principal part. Christendom, which purports to be in covenant relationship with God, is the modern-day apostate “Jerusalem.”
9. How has the “mother of the harlots” acted with regard to the “beast” in modern-day fulfillment?
9 Over the centuries, the “mother of the harlots,” false religion, has performed fairly well in controlling the affairs of beastlike nations and empires. As Revelation 17:9 shows, she has sat on governmental mountains, and Re 17 verse 15 describes her as sitting upon “waters,” meaning “peoples and crowds and nations and tongues.” When the combination “scarlet-colored wild beast” appeared in 1920 as the League of Nations, and when it reappeared in 1945 as the United Nations, “Babylon the Great” maneuvered so as to get astride this international body, to gain benefit and profit. She takes no account of the fact that this “disgusting thing” of a political kind stands where it ought not to stand, trespassing in the “holy place” that is now rightly the domain of the “heavenly Jerusalem,” God’s kingdom by Messiah.
The “Horns” Go Into Action
10. What execution of judgment awaits false religion?
10 But look! At a time when those nations will say: “Peace and security,” the “horns” of that fearsome “wild beast” will suddenly turn violent! Their long-time hatred of the “harlot” will be suppressed no longer! They will unseat the prostitute that has been sitting so prettily atop the “beast.” Those radical, militaristic “horns” and “the wild beast” will devastate “the harlot,” ‘make her naked, eat up her fleshy parts and completely burn her with fire.’ (Revelation 17:16) False religion will be utterly desolated, including Christendom, which has claimed to have a “holy place” before God on earth. Hence, Christendom’s destruction will be as complete as that of the temple of earthly Jerusalem, of which Jesus said: “By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.”—1 Thessalonians 5:3; Mark 13:2.
11. (a) With regard to the true “holy place,” what occurred in 1914? (b) What intrusions then began into Christendom’s claimed “holy place”?
11 Is harlot-like false religion, including Christendom, apprehensive of what is about to happen to her? She should be, if she can interpret the pattern of world events today. And she would be downright scared if she paid attention to the prophetic truths in the Bible. Indeed, it was shortly after the “heavenly Jerusalem,” as rightful occupant of the “holy place,” was brought forth in 1914 that Christendom began to experience pressures on her own supposed “holy place”—her domain of operation. In 1917 the Marxist revolution took place in Russia. Since that time atheistic socialist powers have taken over large portions of the earth. These have advanced even more aggressively since World War II. They loudly proclaim religion to be “the opium of the people.” Christendom, on its part, laments Communistic intrusions on her claimed “holy place,” along with the loss of so many “peoples.”
Threat to Christendom’s “Holy Place”!
12, 13. How have news reports underlined the threat to Christendom’s “holy place”?
12 What has happened in Communist-dominated countries is indicated by the following report published in the Hong Kong Star late in 1981: “Vietnam’s Communist government has drafted Buddhist monks into the army, jailed hundreds of Christian clergymen and closed seminaries and churches, according to refugees, Western diplomats and foreign clergy. The aim, they say, is to bring all religions under the exclusive control of the government. Refugees claim that the Roman Catholic Church in southern Vietnam has come under particular pressure, with authorities citing upheavals in Catholic Poland as proof of the Church’s ‘counter-revolutionary tendency.’”
13 The Atlanta Journal and Constitution of January 2, 1982, carried a headline: “Many of Big News Stories of  Tied to Religion.” It went on to list the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, the assassination of Egypt’s President Sadat by Muslim militants, assassinations and massive executions in Iran, deadly military exchanges between Arab guerrillas and Israel, and bombings, murders and hunger-strike deaths in Ireland. Yes, indeed, religion is tied in with much of the trouble in the world. But all these news items will pale into insignificance when the ‘ten horns and the wild beast’ go into action, shortly, to devastate completely false religion, including Christendom and her supposed “holy place.”
14. How will those in the true “holy place” be threatened also?
14 However, what of those who worship in the real “holy place”—those here on earth doing “sacred service” in support of the “heavenly Jerusalem”? These, too, will come under attack by militaristic “horns,” which even now make up part of the membership of the UN. According to Revelation 17:14, that political combine will demonstrate that it has no right to stand in “a holy place,” for it “will battle with the Lamb.”
15. (a) Who will be prominent in the attack on the “holy ones”? (b) How will ‘he come to his end’?
15 Daniel 11:40-45 shows that the Communistic “king of the north” will be prominent in this attack against the “holy ones,” but “he will have to come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him.”b Thus, all nationalistic “horns” and the “scarlet-colored wild beast” itself will be executed by Christ Jesus and his angelic armies. “Because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them.” There, at Armageddon, the reigning king of the “heavenly Jerusalem” will gain the decisive victory over all nations that have given “their power and authority to the wild beast.”—Revelation 17:12-14; 16:16.
“Fleeing to the Mountains”
16. How and where may God’s people find protection?
16 How, then, do God’s people find protection? It is by “fleeing to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:16) Today, these “mountains” are the divinely provided place of refuge, Jehovah’s provision for protecting the remaining “holy ones” on earth, and also the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” through the “great tribulation.” This is in line with Jesus’ prophecy that some “flesh” will be saved. (Matthew 24:22) As mountains have permanence and are identified often in Scripture with governmental functions, so God’s haven of refuge today is to be found with his theocratic organization. This is represented on earth in “the congregation of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth,” now identified with the global society of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—1 Timothy 3:15.
17. What positive action is required of those who would flee to safety?
17 All who flee to Jehovah’s organization must cease giving support to any part of Satan’s system on earth. They must become “no part of this world,” and they must stay out of it. They must shun its religion, its politics, its campaigns of violence, its materialism, its immorality. (John 18:36) They must dedicate themselves to Jehovah God, live according to his righteous principles and make known to others his glorious kingdom purposes. Never may they grow drowsy or return to the fleshpots of the world. Continually, they ‘must exert themselves vigorously’ to gain God’s approval and entry into his new order.—Luke 13:24; 9:23; 2 Timothy 2:15.
18. Why is it urgent that right-hearted individuals “begin fleeing” now?
18 In this year, 1982, the threat to Christendom’s claimed “holy place” has become a real one. Indeed, world religion’s perch on the back of the UN “beast” is most precarious. ‘Discerning’ this, Jehovah’s Witnesses give urgency to the call: ‘Flee out of false religion, yes, out of all of Satan’s world system—flee to God’s organization for refuge!’ Like Jerusalem of the first century, Christendom now faces “desolations . . . an extermination.” And so does the entire world empire of false religion, Babylon the Great!—Daniel 9:26b, 27b; Revelation 18:2, 4.
19. (a) What does Psalm 72 say of the “mountains”? (b) How may we qualify to enjoy the “abundance of peace”?
19 Happily, the “mountains” of refuge will become also “mountains” of blessing, for Psalm 72:1-8 tells us: “Let the mountains carry peace to the people, also the hills, through righteousness . . . [In the days of Messiah, the King,] the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.” Do you want to be counted among those who will enjoy that “abundance of peace”? Then “become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” It is most urgent, while there is yet time, that you expend yourself in helping right-hearted persons to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” So, “stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”—1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Timothy 4:16.
a For a more detailed discussion see pages 336-349 of the book “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
b See pages 297-307 of the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.