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A Time of Testing and Judging
Jesus was baptized and anointed as King-Designate at the Jordan River about October 29 C.E. Three and a half years later, in 33 C.E., he came to Jerusalem’s temple and threw out those who were making it a cave of robbers. There appears to be a parallel to this in the three-and-a-half-year period from Jesus’ enthronement in the heavens in October 1914 until his coming to inspect professed Christians as judgment began with the house of God. (Matthew 21:12, 13; 1 Peter 4:17) Early in 1918 the Kingdom activity of Jehovah’s people met with great opposition. It was a time of testing earth wide, and fearful ones were sifted out. In May 1918 Christendom’s clergy instigated the imprisonment of officials of the Watch Tower Society, but nine months later these were released. Later, the false charges against them were dropped. From 1919 the organization of God’s people, tried and refined, moved zealously forward to proclaim Jehovah’s Kingdom by Christ Jesus as the hope for mankind.—Malachi 3:1-3.
As Jesus began his inspection in 1918, the clergy of Christendom no doubt received an adverse judgment. Not only had they raised up persecution against God’s people but they had also incurred heavy bloodguilt by supporting the contending nations during the first world war. (Revelation 18:21, 24) Those clergymen then placed their hope in the man-made League of Nations. Along with the entire world empire of false religion, Christendom had fallen completely from God’s favor by 1919.