“And after the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them. And they heard a loud voice out of heaven say to them: ‘Come on up here.’ And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them.”
13. From Christendom’s viewpoint, what was the future for the witness organization, but what force did she not take into account?
13 For a short time, like three and a half days, the organization of these proclaimers of Bible prophecies and witnesses to God’s established kingdom were in public disgrace. The people who had been tormented by the preaching of Bible truths rejoiced over the suppression of the Kingdom witnesses. From Christendom’s viewpoint, the organization of the witnesses was ‘dead.’ But had the spirit of God been killed, put to death? It had not proved to be dead when the body of the impaled Jesus Christ lay dead in the tomb for parts of three days. So, nineteen centuries later, it did not prove to be ‘dead’ after the organization of the Kingdom witnesses had lain dead “for three and a half days,” relatively speaking.
14. For the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, what was necessary, and what took place in the spring of 1919?
14 The time had now gone into the fifth year of the “conclusion of the system of things.” Jesus’ prediction, in Matthew 24:14, still had to be fulfilled: “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) Christendom, with the bloodstains of world war, was not disposed or clean enough to fulfill that prophecy. What, then, was there to do? The spirit of God Almighty needed to go into action. It did so, not in behalf of bloodguilty Christendom, but in behalf of the seemingly ‘dead’ Kingdom witnesses. True to the picture in Revelation 11:11, “spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet.” The spring of the postwar year 1919 was the time for this revitalizing of them.
15. Who went to work on being released, and what attention was given anew to Matthew 24:14?
15 Surprisingly, late in March of 1919, the officers of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and their fellow prisoners were released on bail and went to work. Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:14 got renewed attention. Startling comment was made on it in the July 1, 1920, issue of The Watch Tower, pp. 199, 200. It made clear that the foretold preaching world wide was not a preaching carried on through the past nineteen centuries of the “Gospel Age,” of a coming kingdom. It was the preaching of an already established kingdom. Hence the preaching was a worldwide publicity work to be carried on from 1914 C.E. onward.
16. How did that revelation affect the witnesses, and by what event was the year 1919 climaxed?
16 This revelation by the “spirit of the truth” put new life into the Kingdom preaching of the witnesses. As a grand climax of 1919, the year of revitalization, the first postwar general convention of the Kingdom witnesses was held for eight days at Cedar Point, Ohio. Thousands from the United States and Canada attended. The president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, who was now exonerated from the false wartime charges, announced the new Kingdom work ahead. To an audience of 7,000 he gave a public talk.
17. What reason was there for the enemies to fear at the elevation of the witnesses from a dead condition?
17 At the surprising revivification of the witnesses of God’s established kingdom, great fear fell upon the enemies of the Kingdom, particularly upon Christendom.