[Box on page 169]
THE “HARLOT” AND THE “BEAST”
What has been the relationship of the world empire of false religion with the ‘peace and security beast’? Has “Babylon the Great” sought a controlling interest in the League of Nations and, later, the United Nations? Let the facts answer:
After the League of Nations was proposed in 1918, the “Bulletin” of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America went so far as to state: “As Christians we urge the establishment of a League of Free Nations at the coming Peace Conference. Such a League is not a mere political expedient; it is rather the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth. . . . The heroic dead will have died in vain unless out of victory shall come a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
On the occasion of the 20th birthday of the United Nations, in 1965, the Associated Press reported from San Francisco: “Seven international leaders of religious faiths with more than 2,000 million world-wide members joined prayerful hands under one roof today in support of the UN quest for world peace. Pope Paul VI sent his blessings from Rome . . . to the convocation for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Eastern (Greek) Orthodox Christians. . . . Rabbi Louis Jacobs . . . described ‘the UN as the sole hope for lasting peace in a world whose survival depends on it.’”
In October 1965, Pope Paul VI described the United Nations as “that greatest of all international organizations,” and added: “The peoples of the earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace.”
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on October 2, 1979, Pope John Paul II said: “The formal reason for my intervention today is, without any question, the special bond of cooperation that links the apostolic see with the United Nations organization. . . . I hope that the United Nations will ever remain the supreme forum of peace and justice, the authentic seat of freedom of peoples and individuals in their longing for a better future.” Yet not once in his 62-minute speech did the pope mention Jesus Christ or the Kingdom.
In embracing man-made substitutes in place of God’s kingdom, false religion looks to a vain hope. After warning against trusting in human rulers, Psalm 146:3-6 tells us: “Happy is the one . . . whose hope is in Jehovah his God, the Maker of heaven and earth.” And Luke 2:10-14 identifies mankind’s Savior as “Christ the Lord.”
PLAYING THE HARLOT
9, 10. (a) What fearsome “beast” appears in these “last days”? (b) In a public talk in 1942, how was it identified and its course described?
9 “Babylon the Great,” while professing to belong to God, has always had political connections, and in this sense ‘the kings of the earth have committed fornication’ with her. But now, in “the last days,” she has her big opportunity! What is that? Ah, there comes to view “a scarlet-colored wild beast.” What might this “beast” be? Without doubt it has reference to the political nations of earth, for these are so often referred to in the Bible under the symbol of ‘beasts.’ (Revelation 13:1-4, 11-15; Daniel 7:3-8, 17-25; 8:5-8, 20-22) But here we have a combination “beast,” for this fearsome animal has “seven heads and ten horns.”—Revelation 17:3.
10 What composite “beast” has appeared in these “last days,” and what has been its performance on the world stage? At an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1942, the public talk entitled “Peace—Can It Last?” called attention to the prophecy at Revelation 17:7, 8. The speaker, Watch Tower president N. H. Knorr, identified “the wild beast that . . . was” as the League of Nations—brought forth in 1920. But now, in that wartime year of 1942, he stated: “The League is in effect in a state of suspended animation, and needs to be revived if it is ever to live again. It has gone into the abyss of inaction and ineffectiveness. It ‘is not.’” President Knorr went on to show that “the wild beast that . . . was, but is not, . . . is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction.” True to the Bible prophecy, that “beast” was revived in 1945 as the United Nations.
11. (a) Why is this “beast” described as being “full of blasphemous names”? (b) What judgment is in store for the “beast”?
11 This international “beast,” brought forth to maintain “peace and security” among the nations, is in fact “full of blasphemous names,” for it claims that it can do what only God’s kingdom by Christ Jesus can accomplish. (Revelation 17:3) The apostle Paul prophesied of an occasion when the boastful rulers of Satan’s world would be lauding themselves as peacemakers. He said:
“Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3)
According to God’s Word, the ‘peace and security beast’ will meet up with a quick, decisive execution of Jehovah’s judgment!
“TOO BAD” FOR THE HARLOT!
12. What description of the “harlot” caused John to wonder?
12 Despite God’s declared disapproval of the blasphemous U.N. beast, “Babylon the Great” seeks to have amorous relations with it. Yes, she is pictured as sitting like a queen atop the “wild beast”: “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls and had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication.” Little marvel that John wrote of this situation: “Well, on catching sight of her I wondered with great wonderment”!—Revelation 17:4, 6.
13, 14. (a) What woeful end awaits false religion? (b) How will it come? (c) Who will mourn for Babylon the Great, but why from a distance?
13 This liaison between the Babylonish world empire of false religion and the U.N. ‘peace and security beast’ turns out disastrously. Although the harlot-like “Babylon” may think that she sits pretty with that world body, God’s Word foretells something else for her:
“And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16)
A woeful end indeed for the world empire of false religion!
14 The desolating of “Babylon the Great” will be swift.
“In one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.” (Revelation 18:8)
But there will be those who mourn her. These will not be the militaristic “ten horns” that treacherously turn upon her, but others among the political rulers who used to hobnob with the clergy for the sake of appearances, and to help cover up their shady practices. These will lament over her from a distance, for fear they may share her fate, saying:
“Too bad, too bad, you great city, Babylon you strong city, because in one hour your judgment has arrived!”—Revelation 18:9, 10.
15. Who else take up the refrain, and why?
15 There will also be men of Big Business, gangsters and other racketeers, who have used their religious connections to cast a veneer of “holiness” over their corrupt dealings and to soothe their guilty consciences. These, too, will take up the refrain:
“Too bad, too bad . . . , because in one hour such great riches have been devastated!” (Revelation 18:11-19)
The costly cathedrals, the accumulated lands and wealth, the huge bank accounts and commercial investments of the world’s religion—all of these will have been laid waste.
16. What three groups are in line for execution?
16 Hypocritical world religion, greedy commerce, corrupt politics—all three branches of Satan’s organization on earth are in line for the execution of Jehovah’s judgment. After false religion goes down, what next?