"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!
Babylon the Great and Heavenly Zion in Revelation
FROM its very beginning Babylon was the enemy of the people of Jehovah God. Babylon was founded by Nimrod, "a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah," on a plain in the land of Shinar. (Genesis 10: 8-10; 11:1-9) From that land came the invaders into the Promised Land in the days of Abraham the patriarch and Melchizedek the priest-king of Salem. Abraham pursued the invaders northward and put them to flight and recovered all the plunder and captives that they had taken from the land. On his return he was met by Melchizedek, who came out of his city to meet the victor.
When Melchizedek blessed Abraham in the name of the Most High God, Melchizedek proved that he and his city Salem were against those marauders from the land of Shinar with its leading city Babylon. (Genesis 14:1-20) Ancient Salem is understood to have been the nucleus of the city of Jerusalem; the name Salem was incorporated in the name Jerusalem. The high ridge of land known as Mount Zion must have been associated with Salem or even been part of it, for Mount Zion was where the citadel of Jerusalem was later reported to be when David was king of Israel.* Thus, by such association, Zion and Babylon are lined up as
* See Joshua 10: 1-5; 15: 8, 63; Judges 1: 7, 8, 21; 2 Samuel 5: 4-9; 1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chronicles 5: 2. Mount Moriah, where Isaac was to be offered up as a sacrifice by Abraham, was right next to Mount Zion, to its north, and was later included within the city of Zion or Jerusalem.
enemies of each other from the very first book of the Holy Bible. — Micah 7:8.
This enmity between Babylon and Zion is carried forward right into the very last book of the Bible, Revelation or Apocalypse. In that book the long-drawn-out enmity of the two organizations is seen coming to an end in the everlasting destruction of Babylon and the glorious triumph of the much-persecuted Zion (Jerusalem). This climax to the hostility between the two organizations suddenly leaps into the limelight in chapter fourteen of Revelation. From there onward to the end of the Bible we will now follow the thrilling drama in which Babylon and Zion play opposite parts.
Toward the close of the first century of our Common Era the persecuted apostle John wrote Revelation, on the Roman prison island of Patmos, off the coast of Asia Minor. He vividly describes to us what he was favored with seeing in a prophetic vision, under inspiration of God's active force or spirit. We read his words:
"And I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound out of heaven as the sound of many waters and as the sound of loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was as of singers who accompany themselves on the harp playing on their harps. And they are singing as if a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the older persons; and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth. These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as a first fruits to God and to the Lamb, and no falsehood was found in their mouths; they are without blemish." — Revelation 14:1-5.
When the apostle John wrote down this vision to him nineteen hundred years ago, it was meant, as he says, "to show [God's] slaves the things that must shortly take place." (Revelation 1:1) After all these centuries, with all their recorded history, these things that were presented to John "in signs" must by now have taken place or be about to take place. What, then, do we see today?
Look to the Middle East, to the Mount Zion in what is now the land of Jordan. Do we see the resurrected Lamb of God standing there? No! Nor is the glorious heavenly Lamb of God going to stand visibly again in flesh on that earthly Mount Zion. Why should he have to do so? Nineteen centuries ago, after his ascension to heaven, Jehovah God laid him in the heavenly Zion as the symbolic Tried, Precious Cornerstone. So there in the heavenly Zion he stays laid as a "sure foundation." (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:4-6) To this heavenly Mount Zion come the 144,000 who "keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes." Thus the Mount Zion that the apostle John saw in this vision was a "sign." It signified, symbolized, the invisible heavenly Mount Zion; and there is where the "heavenly Jerusalem" is located, the holy "city of God." — Hebrews 12:22.
The symbolic Lamb is the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ, whom Revelation 5:5 identifies as "the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David." How appropriate that this One should be standing on the heavenly Mount Zion! Why? Because his forefather King David captured the earthly Mount Zion, and the citadel on it came to be called "the city of David." (2 Samuel 5:4-9) His standing there indicates that he has begun to reign, this being the Bible expression used to mean that a king has taken power to reign. (Daniel 12:1 Concerning this event, Psalm 2. written by King David and applied by the apostle John and his fellow apostles to the anointed Jesus, had this to say: "The kings of the earth take their stand and high officials
themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one, . . . Jehovah himself will hold them in derision. At that time he will speak to them in his anger, . . . saying: 'I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.'" — Psalm 2;2-6; Acts 4:19-30.
The time pictured in Revelation 14:1 must accordingly be A.D. 1914 and thereafter. In that year the Gentile Times ran out, which meant that the appointed time had come for God's kingdom in the royal line of David to be established and thus this kingdom, once represented by earthly Jerusalem, must no longer be trampled on by the Gentile nations. Hence the Lamb must stand up on Mount Zion.
After Jehovah God installed the Lamb as His King on the heavenly Mount Zion in 1914, the time had to come for the Lamb's 144,000 faithful followers to be gathered to him there. This is definitely indicated for us in Revelation 11:15-18 where John says:
"The seventh angel blew his trumpet. And loud voices occurred in heaven, saying: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.' And the twenty-four older persons who were seated before God upon their thrones fell upon their faces and worshiped God, saying: 'We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.' "
Here let us do some measuring by parallel events of nineteen centuries ago. In the spring of 33 Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. This was three and a half years after he became Messiah the Leader
by being anointed with holy spirit. So now we measure three and a half years from the early autumn of 1914. This brings us to spring of the year 1918, shortly after the Passover, at which time faithful, anointed followers of the Lamb celebrated the anniversary of the Lord's evening meal, the Last Supper as it is commonly called.* (1 Corinthians 11:20) Parallelwise, about that time of the year those faithful followers who had finished their earthly course in sacrificial death would be due to be resurrected. With what body? 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 answers by saying:
" 'How are the dead to be raised up? Yes, with what sort of body are they coming?' ... So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised up in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. It is even so written [in Genesis 2:7]: The first man Adam became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. . . . And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one. However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption."
Since the Mount Zion in Revelation 14:1 is heavenly and since the 144,000 faithful followers could not inherit the heavenly Zion with "flesh and blood" and human corruption, they had to be raised with a "spiritual body" in the image of the heavenly Lamb, the glorified Jesus Christ. Hence their resurrection to heavenly life with him was invisible to human eyes. This is in harmony with what Revelation 14: 3, 4 says about them: "The hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth. . . . These were
* The date of this celebration was March 26, 1918, which was a Tuesday night. See The Watch Tower as of April 1, 1918, pages 110, 111.
bought from among mankind as a first fruits to God and to the Lamb."
This means that these 144,000 were no longer part of mankind; they were no longer to be human creatures of flesh and blood. They were to be like the firstfruits that the Jewish high priest took from the wheat harvest and offered to Jehovah God on the day of Pentecost at the temple in Jerusalem. (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:15-21) Since the 144,000 faithful followers of the Lamb were like the firstfruits taken from the Jewish wheat harvest, the rest of the wheat harvest must picture the rest of men of flesh and blood.
Quite appropriately, then, it was on the day of Pentecost in the year 33 that the first ones of the 144,000 were offered to God by the heavenly High Priest Jesus Christ, who poured out holy spirit upon them, thus anointing them to be members of his congregation, his Bride class. Since the Jewish Pentecost came just the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, this would show what to expect in 1918 according to the rule of time parallels. What? That those of the 144,000 who had already died faithful to the end were resurrected invisibly, not with flesh-and-blood bodies, but with invisible spiritual bodies in spring of 1918.
The 144,000 are taken from among men and women, but they are all engaged to marry the heavenly Bridegroom and be his Bride. In ancient Israel the high priest was allowed to take only a virgin for a wife. Since Jesus Christ is the High Priest of Jehovah, it harmonizes with the rule in Israel that he should have only a virgin for his heavenly Bride. (2 Corinthians 11:2) Hence it is required of the 144,000 that they do "not defile themselves with women" but must keep "virgins." They do this by not getting spotted up with this world through a religious marriage with women-like religious organizations of this world. They must not be like the virgins of ancient Babylon, who, before
ever they could legally marry, had to go to the temple of Venus (Ishtar) and prostitute themselves to her by yielding themselves to a paid-for violation of their virginity by the highest bidder. They may not be any of the "harlots" produced by Babylon. (James 1:27; 4:4) Otherwise, the heavenly Bridegroom would never include them in his Bride.
As "no falsehood was found in their mouths" and "they are without blemish," it is certain that they always speak the pure truth of the good news of God's kingdom. They do not hold onto the false teachings of Babylon or propagate her lies and false religion. They do not have her name in their foreheads as if they were slaves of Babylon and belonged to her. Instead, the 144,000 have the name of the Lamb Jesus Christ and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. This plainly and publicly identifies the Ones to whom they belong as slaves and followers. As the Bride of the Lamb, they would properly take his name. Since the Hebrew language is twice mentioned in the book (Revelation 9:11: 16:16) and since the apostle John was a Hebrew, it was doubtless the sacred Hebrew tetragrammaton () that he also saw written on the foreheads of the 144,000, for YHWH () is what Jehovah says his name is. That fact makes it certain that the 144,000 faithful Christians seen on Mount Zion are Jehovah's witnesses. — Isaiah 43:10.
Where they are and what they do supports this fact. John in vision heard a song being sung. It was so mighty in sound that it was like the sound of many waters and the sound of loud thunders. Who are the singers? It is told us that "no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth." Hence the singers must be the 144,000. As they sing, they play harps to accompany themselves.
What they sing is "as if a new song," with the result that they are the first ones to vocalize the song. It is
something new for everybody else to hear; and they sing it out of their own personal experience that no other creatures but the Lamb and they themselves have had. Certainly the "new song" that was sung to the Lamb has reference to them, for it says: "You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule as kings over the earth." (Revelation 5:9, 10) Since they are resurrected from the dead after God's kingdom has been established and since they are assigned to a place on Mount Zion as a Kingdom class and to "rule as kings" together with the Lamb of God, their new song would be about this Kingdom of God as a government that has now been established in 1914, at the end of the Gentile Times. To the 144,000 in particular would apply the command of Psalms 96:1, 10; 98:1, 5; 149:1, 2:
"Sing to Jehovah a new song. Sing to Jehovah, all you people of the earth. Say among the nations: 'Jehovah himself has become king. The productive land also becomes firmly established so that it cannot be made to totter. He will plead the cause of the peoples in uprightness.' " "Sing to Jehovah a new song, for wonderful are the things that he has done. His right hand, even his holy arm, has gained salvation for him. Make melody to Jehovah with the harp, with the harp and the voice of melody." "Praise Jah, you people! Sing to Jehovah a new song, his praise in the congregation of loyal ones. Let Israel rejoice in its grand Maker, the sons of Zion — let them be joyful in their King."
Where are these 144,000 singing the "new song"? Upon Mount Zion. There they are standing with the Lamb, but at the same time standing "before the throne and before the four living creatures and the older persons." Revelation 4:4-11 reveals that these four "living creatures" and twenty-four "older persons" are around the throne of Jehovah God in heaven. So it must be
that here Mount Zion is the heavenly one, and not the literal Mount Zion on which there stands today an ancient walled city now occupied by Israelis. To the heavenly Mount Zion is where the remnant of prospective members of the 144,000, who are yet on earth, have come. — Hebrews 12:22.
GOOD NEWS AND A JUDGMENT MESSAGE
What the apostle John next sees in vision fits well into the "time of the end," which began for this old world in the year 1914, which was also the year when God's kingdom by his Lamb began to rule. John says: "And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying in a loud voice: 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.' " — Revelation 14:6, 7.
This angel flew relatively near to the earth, for Revelation 19:17 speaks also of "all the birds that fly in midheaven." From this relatively low position the flying angel spoke, in the vision, directly to those dwelling on the earth regardless of nation, tribe, tongue and people. His was an international message. In the fulfillment of this vision in the "time of the end," this all-important message is not delivered directly, audibly by any angel in midheaven where now our airplanes as well as birds fly. It is delivered to people on earth by worshipers who fear God and give him glory. These are the followers of the Lamb, who obey his word given long ago in his prophecy on the end of this world or system of things. These must deliver the message, because it was to his disciples that Jesus said: "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 24:3. 4. 14) Note
the purpose of the preaching of this good news of the Kingdom: it is done "for a witness." It is therefore done by Kingdom witnesses.
The news of God's kingdom, even when it was yet coming, was gospel or good news. (Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:14, 15) The news that God's kingdom was already set up and put in operation in the heavens was still better news. First in 1920 did we discern that the good news of God's kingdom as established in the heavens in 1914 (A.D.) was to be preached in fulfillment of Matthew 24:14. This verse was the theme text of the article "Gospel of the Kingdom" that was published in The Watch Tower in English under date of July 1, 1920. In the last paragraph on page 199, the article quoted Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24:14 and then went on to say:
It will be noted he does not say the gospel that has been preached to the meek throughout the entire Gospel age shall be preached. What gospel then could he mean? The gospel means good news. The good news here is concerning the end of the old order of things and the establishment of Messiah's kingdom. It means the dark night of sin and sorrow is passing away. It means that Satan's empire is falling, never to rise again. . . .
. . . Plainly this would seem to indicate that now the church must engage in the proclamation of this good news as a witness to the nations of earth, and then the old order will entirely pass away and the new will be here. Surely there could be no tidings so good, no news so comforting and helpful to the peoples of earth in this time of distress. ... It is evidently the same message and the same class of which the prophet Isaiah had a vision and about which he wrote: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" — Isaiah 52:7.
Manifestly, then, it shows that the last members of the body of Christ . . . are the ones that now must stand before, or above, the kings of this earth and bring to them the good news, publishing peace and salvation, be-
cause the Lord is here. He has taken unto himself his great power and reigns!
Shortly afterward, namely, on Friday, September 8, 1922, at an international assembly of unsectarian Bible students in Cedar Point, Ohio, in an address on "The Kingdom" at 9:30 a.m., it was said to them that they must be witnesses of the Lord God, that is, Jehovah's witnesses. The speaker, J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, quoted to the assembled thousands Isaiah 43:8-12 (AV) and then proceeded to say:
Thus we see that those of the temple class are clearly designated as the Lord's witnesses at this time, to bring a message of consolation to the people, that the kingdom of heaven is here, and that millions now living will never die. Thus it is seen that God purposes that his name shall be magnified, that the people shall know that he is Lord. Thus we see that God purposes to have a people in the earth in this time of stress, clearly marked as separate and distinct from all others, standing as his witnesses, fearlessly crying out the message: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
. . . This is corroborated by the Lord in Matthew 24:14. Clearly, then, is set forth the proof that the temple class must continue to declare this message of the kingdom until their earthly career is ended. They must be his faithful witnesses until Babylon's walls crumble to the ground.
... Be faithful and true witnesses for the Lord. Go forward in the fight until every vestige of Babylon lies desolate. Herald the message far and wide. The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise the King and his kingdom. — Pages 336, 337 of The Watch Tower under date of November 1, 1922.
This work of advertising God's established kingdom was from then on carried forward as never before. Today after forty-one years of activity this good news of the Kingdom is being preached by word of mouth
and by printed page in 189 lands, territories, provinces, colonies and island groups in 162 languages, under the supervision of 90 branch offices of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania. The small dwindling remnant yet on earth of the 144,000 have been joined in the work by a "great crowd" of dedicated godly persons out of all nations since 1931, so that in this year 1963 the combined number of Kingdom advertisers around the earth numbered more than a million in April. — Revelation 7:9,10.
In 1925 the anointed remnant came to appreciate more than previously that the time had come for Jehovah to make a name of renown for himself.* Quite logically, in the beginning of the next year, in the issue of The Watch Tower dated January 1, 1926, was published the leading article entitled "Who Will Honor Jehovah?" The faithful remnant answered the question with a positive "We will!" The succeeding years began with appropriate leading articles in The Watch Tower in the first issue of each successive year: for 1927, "Jehovah and His Works"; for 1928, "Honor His Name"; for 1929, "I Will Praise My God"; and for 1930, "Sing Unto Jehovah."
The grand climax of all this came in the following year, on Sunday, July 26, 1931, at the international assembly held in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. There at 4 p.m. a resolution was read to the thousands of conventioners, and President J. F. Rutherford followed this reading up by an argument setting forth Scriptural support to the resolution that:
We unhesitatingly declare our allegiance and devotion to Jehovah God and his kingdom; that we are servants of Jehovah God commanded to do a work in his name, and, in obedience to his commandment, to deliver the testimony of Jesus Christ, and to make known to the people that Jehovah is the true and Almighty God; there-
* See The Watch Tower as of 1925, pages 22, 44, 45, 75, 167, 215, 277, 343, 382.
fore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah's witnesses. — Isa. 43:1-12; 62:2; Rev. 12:17.
This resolution was enthusiastically and joyfully adopted by the international assembly of thousands of members of the anointed remnant. Later the congregations around the globe adopted the same resolution, thus identifying themselves as Jehovah's witnesses. The resolution was also published in millions of copies in a number of languages throughout the earth. Especially then it was as if the sacred name YHWH () was seen to be clearly written on the foreheads of the remnant. In this way Christendom and the rest of the world were notified that Jehovah had his Christian witnesses on the earth for making known his name and his purposes. Since that time a "great crowd" of seekers after God have accepted the witness given by the remnant and have associated themselves with the remnant and have chosen likewise to be called by that Biblical name Jehovah's witnesses. — See The Watch Tower, September 15, 1931, pages 278, 279.
Along with the declaring of the good news of Jehovah's newly established kingdom there was to be delivered a message of judgment. It was because, as the angel flying in midheaven said, "the hour of the judgment by him has arrived." In a sense, this fact was also good news, glad tidings, because the arrival of God's judgment-hour meant that he as Supreme Judge would straighten out all matters, vindicating his own universal sovereignty and holy name and delivering his faithful servants from bondage and slavery to the Devil's oppressive organization. His faithful remnant on earth, if passing the judgment with credit to themselves, would be ushered into the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ, the reigning King. — Matthew 25:14-30.
The arriving of the hour for God the Creator to judge was all the more reason for people everywhere
on earth to "fear God and give him glory . . . and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters." What, then, about the "great crowd" of sheeplike persons from all parts of the world? According to the historical facts, the time of judgment for them began in the latter part of 1931, when the anointed remnant, under the name "Jehovah's witnesses," began turning their attention to these "other sheep." The effect of this proved to be just as Jesus had predicted in his prophecy on the world's end: "When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left." — Matthew 25:31-33; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:16; Ezekiel 9:4-6.
"BABYLON THE GREAT HAS FALLEN"
In the sixth century before Christ it was good news to many when it was announced that Babylon had fallen before the Medes and Persians. Her overthrow came as an act of judgment on the part of Jehovah God against the wicked oppressor of his exiled people. So it was only in the right order of things that, after the apostle John saw and heard an angel in midheaven declaring good news and announcing the arrival of the hour of God's judgment, he should hear God's great act of judgment proclaimed. John says: "And another, a second angel, followed, saying: 'She has fallen! Babylon the great has fallen, she who made all the nations drink of the passion-arousing wine of her fornication!' " — Revelation 14:8.
John had a vision of this in the last decade of our first century, that is to say, more than six centuries after ancient Babylon on the Euphrates River fell from its position as the Third World Power and surrendered
world domination over to an Aryan power, the Medes and Persians. At the time of John's apocalyptic vision, what was left of the literal city of Babylon was declining toward its final disappearance. When the Gentile Times ended in the year 1914 and John's vision began to be fulfilled, ancient Babylon was marked by only some ruins that had then recently been dug up. After eighteen years of excavation work begun in 1899 and carried on for the German Oriental Society under the direction of Professor Robert Koldewey, much of the ruins of the ancient Wonder City stood exposed to the gaze of the curious tourist. A.D. 1917 the digging up of ancient Babylon had to be discontinued because of the advance of British armies into Mesopotamia during World War I.
What, then, is the "Babylon the great" the downfall of which was prophetically announced by that "second angel"?
She is named after a city, but she is only a symbolic city, like the city that Revelation 11:8 describes as "the great city which is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also impaled." What Babylon the Great symbolizes we can only understand by viewing her against the background of history that the inspired Hebrew Scriptures paint of ancient Babylon.
Let us remember that the original Babylon was founded as a breakaway from the worship of Jehovah and from allegiance to him as God, for Babylon was established by a rebel against him. That rebel was stigmatized as "Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah." Later the inhabitants of the pagan city called it the "Gate of God." However, Jehovah called the city Babel, which means "Confusion," because he confused the language of the builders of the city and its tower. (Genesis 10:8-10; 11:5-9) Babel (Greek, Babylon) never was a Hebrew city; it never was Jewish; it never was Messianist or Christian, for never
was it the organization of Jehovah God. It was always against his chosen people, and so was against Zion. In the days of the dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar as kings of Babylon it had apparently swallowed down the chosen nation of Israel "like a big snake" or dragon. (Jeremiah 51:34) Babylon's purpose was to keep Israel down.
As a Semitic world power for more than seventy years, Babylon was, of course, political. It was militaristic. It was highly commercialistic. But it was outstandingly religious. The cuneiform inscriptions dug up in the Middle East show how much emphasis it placed on religion. The militaristic rulers of Assyria kept detailed records in which even the names and political outcomes of the kings of Judah and Israel were frequently included with a historical backdrop. But as for the Babylon under the dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar, the records mention little else than the religious and architectural events of the time, ignoring what happened to the kingdom of Judah. Testifying to the religiousness of the Wonder City of antiquity is the cuneiform inscription:
Altogether there are in Babylon 53 temples of the chief gods, 55 chapels of Marduk, 300 chapels for the earthly deities, 600 for the heavenly deities, 180 altars for the goddess Ishtar, 180 for the gods Nergal and Adad and 12 other altars for different gods.
The Babylonian priests turned all the sacrificial animals and all the religious tithes that people presented each day on the altars, especially the quickly perishable things, into money as soon as they could. Just as in Abraham's hometown of Ur of the Chaldeans, the temple authorities had their necessary warehouses and ran their own department stores. They saw good to invest their religious revenue and so ran their own banks for this purpose.*
* See The Bible as History, by W. Keller, pages 287, 289, London Edition. Also Young's Concordance supplement (1879 edition), pages 33, 34.
Regarding Babylon's greatest king, The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 19, page 332a (edition of 1911), says: "From his inscriptions we gather that Nebuchadnezzar was a man of peculiarly religious character." His successors were also religious.
When the builders of Babylon experienced a confusion of their language and had to scatter, they carried away the religion of Babylon with them, each one in his own respective language. When Babylon experienced a great fall at the hands of the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C., its religion continued, even as it had already affected all the false religions of the world. In the last days of the Christian apostle John the religion of Babylon still prevailed throughout the earth under different forms in different localities. It had tried to swallow up the Jewish religion and make it of no religious force, thus to destroy Jehovah's witnesses. (Isaiah 43:10-12; 44:8) But now, in the apostle John's day, the religion of Babylon came up against something new, even though it began with or among the Jews. Her religion came up against the faith of Christ's disciples, the teachings of Jehovah's Christian witnesses.
Babylon's religion had fought against earthly Zion and had brought about its destruction for a time. Now, in the first century A.D., Babylonish religion took up the fight against the spiritual Zion as represented by the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. It tried to swallow them down, destroy them. How far did it succeed?
In the days of ancient Zion the prophet Ezekiel revealed to his fellow captives in Babylon how Babylon's religion had been introduced into the very temple of Jehovah in Zion, particularly in the form of worshiping the Babylonian god Tammuz. (Ezekiel 8:13, 14) Centuries later the Lord Jesus Christ foretold that Satan the Devil, the real god of Babylon, would attempt a similar thing with regard to Jehovah's spiritual temple, the Christian congregation. Satan the Devil would
be the enemy who was pictured in Jesus' parable of the wheat and the weeds and who, while men were sleeping, came and sowed weeds among the fine seed already sown in the field. In explaining the parable or illustration Jesus said:
"The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; as for the fine seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him that has ears listen." — Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
The Devil's sowing of the imitation "sons of the kingdom" within the Christian congregation was not to occur first centuries later. It was to begin "while men were sleeping," whether that referred to the sleeping in death of the twelve apostles of Christ or to the sleeping mentally and failing to watch spiritually on the part of the appointed overseers of the Christian congregation.
In the year 56, twenty-three years after Jesus Christ had died and been resurrected, the apostle Paul was on his way to Jerusalem and made a stop at Miletus. Here he had a meeting with the overseers from Ephesus and gave them this warning: "I know that all of you among whom I went preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. . . . Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God,
which he purchased with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore keep awake." (Acts 20:16. 17. 25-31) Paul died about ten years later, or about A.D. 65.
The apostle Peter gave warning similar to that of Paul. In his second and last letter, written about A.D. 64, he wrote:
"Prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit. However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. Furthermore, many will follow their acts of loose conduct, and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively. Also, with covetousness they will exploit you with counterfeit words. But as for them, the judgment of ancient times is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering. . . . our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You, therefore, beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your own steadfastness." — 2 Peter 1:21 to 2:3; 3:15-17.
According to the promise of the Master Jesus Christ, his apostle John was the last of the twelve apostles to die. When John wrote his letters about the end of the
first century, he called attention to the fact that a falling away or apostasy from the true Christian faith was even then making itself known. He wrote:
"The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever. Young children, it is the last hour, and, just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now there have come to be many antichrists; from which fact we gain the knowledge that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us. But they went out that it might be shown up that not all are of our sort." "Little children, guard yourselves from idols." — 1 John 2:17-19; 5:21.
In the Revelation given to John, the Lord Jesus Christ told him to write to the congregation in Ephesus, which Paul had warned long before, and to say this: "Remember from what you have fallen, and repent and do the former deeds. If you do not, I am coming to you, and I will remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Still, you do have this, that you hate the deeds of the sect of Nicolaus, which I also hate." In a warning to the congregation in Pergamum, John was told to write this: "I have a few things against you, that you have there those holding fast the teaching of Balaam, who went teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. So you, also, have those holding fast the teaching of the sect of Nicolaus likewise. Therefore repent. If you do not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will war with them with the long sword of my mouth." — Revelation 2:1, 5, 6, 12: 14-16.
Suggestive of Babylonian influence in the congregation of Pergamum was the existence of the "teaching of Balaam," inasmuch as the original Balaam was from Mesopotamia, the region of ancient religious Babylon. — Deuteronomy 23: 4, 5; Numbers 22:5; 31:8, 16.
As long as the twelve apostles of Christ lived and oversaw the Christian congregation, they held up or slowed down the apostasy, the falling away to Babylonish religion. They acted as a restraint upon the development of a religious organization that professed to be Christian but that was really antichristian and Babylonish. This fact was noted by the apostle Paul, when writing about Christ's return. In 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-12 Paul wrote:
"It will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He is set in opposition and lifts himself up over everyone who is called 'god' or an object of reverence, so that he sits down in the temple of The God, publicly showing himself to be a god...
"And so now you know the thing that acts as a restraint, with a view to his being revealed in his own due time. True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint gets to be out of the way. Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence. But the lawless one's presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness."
The second century of our Common Era, after the death of the last of the twelve apostles, was the dangerous century. Babylonish religion in all its forms was
by no means dead as a danger to spiritual Zion represented by Jehovah's Christian witnesses then on earth, Says one encyclopedia under "Babel, Babylon":
Though in late times the temples were more or less dilapidated, the services to all appearance continued to be performed, and may even have gone on until well in the Christian era, Babylonian religion and philosophy being still held in honor as late as the 4th century. — ISBE, Volume 1, page 355b.
One of the outstanding features of Babylon's religion was its triads of gods and demons. Let the reader search for himself, but not once will he find the word "trinity" occurring in the inspired Bible, for the Bible is not Babylonish. However, in the latter half of the second century religious writers who claimed to be Christians began to introduce the word into their writings. This provoked a religious controversy that finally resulted in interference by the Roman Empire itself. As regards the early development of this teaching and as regards the importance that modern-day Christendom gives it, we quote The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15:
Trinity, THE BLESSED. ... I. THE DOGMA OF THE TRINITY. — The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion — the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods, but one God." . . .
In scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word τριας (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom" ("Ad Autolycum", II, 15, P.G., VI, 1078). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian ("De pudicitia", c.
xxi, P.G., II, 1026). In the next century the word is in general use. — Page 47 of Volume 15.
Came the fourth century and the rise of Constantine the Great. After he defeated his remaining opponent, Constantine was declared by the Roman Senate to be chief Augustus and Pontifex Maximus, on October 28, 312. It is said that during this campaign against his opponent Maxentius a flaming cross appeared in the heavens, under the sun, and bearing the words, In hoc signo vinces (that is, "By this sign you will conquer") .* In January of 313 Constantine, in his capacity as the pagan Pontifex Maximus, published his famous edict of toleration in favor of the professed Christians and they were made eligible to public office. But Constantine had not got baptized in water as a Christian. Although Emperor Licinius, his brother-in-law, was with Constantine in this edict of toleration, Licinius afterward persecuted the Christians. From 314 onward, both these emperors took up arms over this issue. Emperor Constantine vanquished Emperor Licinius and had him put to death. In this way Emperor Constantine became, in 325, the one head of the eastern and western sections of the Roman Empire.
Already in the year 321 Constantine had made the first law in behalf of Sunday, Dies Solis, the day of the sun-god Sol, whose symbol was the cross, that this day should be exempted from being judicial and its observance was made a legal duty. After he took an interest in the Christianity of his time, Constantine became aware of the great controversies that were rending it, particularly that over the relationship of God to his Son Jesus Christ and to the holy spirit. This religious disunity threatened the unity of his empire.
* It must be remembered that the upright cross was the sacred symbol of the Babylonian god Tammuz. Therefore Dr. Alexander Hislop maintains that what Constantine actually saw, if the report is true, was the Greek letter Khi (X), which resembles the English letter X, and which is the first letter in the word Khristós or Christ. See pages 143-146 of this book.
Hence in 325, as sole emperor and as Pontifex Maximus, he called together a religious council for settling the controversy over the τριας or "trinity."
Unbaptized Constantine, the pagan Pontifex Maximus, called for all the Christian episcopoi or overseers throughout the empire to meet in council, not in Italian Rome, but in Nicaea, near Nicomedia, in Asia Minor. Of all these overseers, only about one-third, or, 318, are reported to have come; and even this figure is understood to be too high. But why should these overseers, if they were Christians, obey a pagan Pontifex Maximus and let him dictate in Christian matters? Because of the attendants whom the bishops brought along, the number of men present at the Council may have been between 1,500 and 2,000. Constantine himself attended this first Council of Nicaea and he, as Pontifex Maximus and not as the religious bishop of Rome, presided over the council. It was held, not in Latin, but in Greek, and the Nicene Creed that resulted was in Greek. The Latin Church had only seven delegates present, two of these being presbyters who represented the bishop of Rome.
Those who upheld the trinity were championed by the young archdeacon Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt. Those who opposed it and who showed from the Scriptures that Jesus Christ was less than God his Father were championed by Arius a presbyter. For about two months the two sides wrangled. Arius maintained that "the Son of God was a creature, made from nothing; that there was a time when he had no existence; that he was capable of his own free will of right and wrong," and that, "were he in the truest sense a son, he must have come after the Father, therefore the time obviously was when he was not, and hence he was a finite being."* When Arius rose to speak, a certain Nicholas of Myra hit him in the face. Afterward, as Arius talked
* See M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia, Volume 7, page 45a. Also Am1, Volume 2, page 250a.
on, many stuck their fingers in their ears and ran out as if horrified by the old man's "heresies."
Finally Pontifex Maximus Constantine made his decision and came out in favor of the trinitarian teaching of Athanasius. So the Nicene Creed on the "trinity" was issued and enforced. Later, for resisting this, Arius was banished to Illyria by Constantine's order, but was recalled from there five years later.* Besides publishing a number of canons the Council of Nicaea decreed on what Sunday (Dies Solis) † of the year Easter should be regularly held.
However, the trinitarian decision of this Council did not bring tranquillity to the eastern religious organization, and the Arian controversy continued to be carried on very warmly. In 381 the ecumenical Council of Constantinople rounded out the trinitarian creed of Nicaea more fully.
Toward the close of his life Emperor Constantine favored the side of antitrinitarian Arius, Constantine being helped in this direction by Eusebius of Nico-
* Concerning other effects of the Nicene Council Am1, Volume 16, pages 65, 66, tells us: "The law of Israel had grown to be more than the Bible, and Israel's life was no longer thought to be dependent upon the possession of Palestine. . . . Unable [after A.D. 135] to enjoy the rest and peace on Palestinian soil, the Jews soon found their way to ever friendly Babylonia, where many of their brethren sojourned. The Rabbis, who had been forbidden to erect schools in the Holy Land, established them in Babylonia. . . . Residence in Palestine was made more and more impossible for Jews. In Palestine, beginning with the Council of Nice (325), Jews were exposed eventually to the hostilities of the Church, as well as to those of Imperial Rome; whereas on the other hand, they were granted fair treatment in Neo-Persian Babylonia. In Babylonia they had a political head in the 'Exilarch', and religious authorities in the 'Gaons' of the academies. It was in these schools that the Bible was given its present canonical form, that the vocalization of the Hebrew text of the Scriptures was fixed, that the many Midrashim [commentaries on the Bible canon] were created, that additions were made to the prayer-book, and that numerous ceremonies were established.
"That the positions of honor held out to the Jews of Babylonia filled the more prominent among them with ambition goes without saying. . . ."
† "In the great temple of Babylon, the golden image of the Sun was exhibited for the worship of the Babylonians." — Page 162 of The Two Babylons, by Dr. Alexander Hislop.
media. So Arius was recalled from exile, and many of the trinitarian bishops were banished. Finally Athanasius himself was banished to Gaul (France). Although Constantine professed Christianity, he was not baptized till he fell sick in 337. In that year, while still holding onto the pagan office of Pontifex Maximus, he died in Nicomedia, his real capital while Constantinople was still in building. In the meantime the Christianity of the day had become the official religion of the empire.
Emperor Constantine transferred the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome, Italy, to Byzantium, where he began a building program to produce a new capital that he called after his own name, Constantinople. On November 26, 329, he laid out the foundations of Constantinople, which was also called New Rome (Roma Nova).
After Constantine died, the Roman Senate placed him among the gods, this fact showing that the Senate was still pagan, not really Christian. But the eastern religious congregations reckoned Constantine among the saints. The Greek, Coptic and Russian churches celebrate the festival of Saint Constantine on May 21. Constantine divided up the Roman Empire among his three sons, Constantine, Constantius and Constans. This proved to be a political blunder. But, as pagan Pontifex Maximus, he tried to bring about a fusion of pagan religion and Christianity, a fusion religion, and in this he well succeeded. Regarding what followed his reign, we read:
Whatever may have been the true character of Constantine's conversion to the Christian faith, its consequences were of vast importance both to the empire and to the Church of Christ. It opened the way for the unobstructed propagation of the Gospel to a wider extent than at any former period of its history. All impediments to an open profession of Christianity were removed, and it became the established religion of the empire. Numerous, however, in various points of view, as were the advantages accruing to it from this change, it soon
began to suffer from being brought into close contact with the fostering influence of secular power. The simplicity of the Gospel was corrupted; pompous rites and ceremonies were introduced; worldly honours and emoluments were conferred on the teachers of Christianity, and the kingdom of Christ in a good measure converted into a kingdom of this world. — Theological Dictionary, by Henderson and Buck. See also M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia, Volume 2, page 488a; and Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, pages 454 ff.
According to unbiased, uncolored history, the popular brand of Christianity became more and more Babylonized. Making an unembarrassed admission of this is the book by John Henry Newman, who was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII in 1879. This book, entitled "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," published in 1878, says the following, in chapter 8, in defense of the Roman Catholic Church:
Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and to transmute the very instruments and appendages of demon worship to an evangelical use, and feeling also that these usages had originally come from primitive revelations and from the instinct of nature, though they had been corrupted; and that they must invent what they needed, if they did not use what they found; and that they were moreover possessed of the very archetypes, of which paganism attempted the shadows; the rulers of the Church from early times were prepared, should the occasion arise, to adopt, to imitate, or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy of the educated class.
The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church. — Pages 355, 371, 373, edition of 1881.
SECTARIAN RELIGIOUS RIVALRY
The process was now well under way for the development of the four main sectarian divisions of modern Christendom, namely, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Protestantism, and the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the year 364, at Nicaea in Bithynia, Valentinian the son of Gratian of Pannonia was chosen by the army officers to be the emperor. As such, Valentinian became Pontifex Maximus. Shortly after this Emperor Valentinian I named his brother Valens to be colleague with him in the empire. Valentinian I chose to serve as emperor of the West, and so he left to his brother Valens as emperor of the East the eastern half of the Balkan peninsula, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor as far as Persia. Valens was baptized by the Arian bishop of Constantinople, and later on he began to persecute the trinitarian subjects in his realm. But his brother, Valentinian I, the emperor of the West, the Pontifex Maximus, was a trinitarian like the bishop of old Rome in Italy.
For some time Nectarius, the bishop of New Rome or Constantinople, was serving as ex officio chief of the Eastern bishops in the realm of the emperor of the East. However, in 381 the second general Council of Constantinople nominated him to be the Patriarch of Constantinople. This paved the way for the religious split between the Eastern and Western churches of Christendom. This Council also declared the bishop of Constantinople to be next in rank to the bishop of Rome, Constantinople being New Rome. In 553 the third general Council of Constantinople was presided over by the Patriarch of Constantinople, despite the protest of the bishop of Rome. Rivalry between the two bishops was developing.
In 375, when Valentinian I the emperor of the West died, his son Gratian became emperor and Pontifex
Maximus. The eastern part of the empire was then still subject to Emperor Valens the Arian. But when Valens was killed in 378, Gratian bestowed the eastern part of the empire upon Theodosius, one of his generals. In his later years Gratian dealt severely with pagans and heretics. He prohibited pagan worship at Rome. He refused to wear the insignia of the Pontifex Maximus as unbefitting a Christian and abolished certain privileges belonging to the pontiffs. But, though a politician (Gratian) thought the title and office of Pontifex Maximus was unbefitting a Christian, the religious bishop (Damasus) of Rome did not think so. He immediately picked up this pagan title, with all its pagan connections and all its pagan obligations. The popes of Rome bear the title to this day, as if it is sanctified by the Church.
Religious rivalry between Rome and Constantinople (New Rome) was heightened still more when Theodosius, who had become sole ruler of the entire empire, died in 395 and his empire was divided between his sons, Arcadius receiving the eastern part and Honorius the western part including Rome. The bishops of the churches in the East now became divided from the bishops of the churches in the West not only by geographical location but in their political loyalties.
The so-called "Fall of Rome" occurred in 476. That was when a Roman army, which was composed largely of hired German troops, revolted and made their own German leader Odoacer king. The Western emperor, then a child, was forced to retire to private life, and Odoacer assumed the title of King of Italy and ably played this role for a while. This marked the end of the Roman Empire of the West. Afterward Rome came under the rule of Germanic Ostrogoths.
However, the Roman Empire of the East continued with its independent line of rulers, of the Eastern
Church; and, says The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 14, page 327b, "the emperor reigning at Constantinople was, in theory at least, ruler of the whole Roman Empire." But the pope of Rome did not think that way. So now we are treated to the religious spectacle of the Patriarch of Constantinople being excommunicated by Pope Felix III of Rome. Another like excommunication came a couple of centuries later. In 726 Emperor Leo III of Constantinople prohibited the worship of images and ordered them to be destroyed. For this, Pope Gregory II of Rome took it upon himself to excommunicate the Eastern emperor, who belonged to the Eastern Church. This excommunication led on to the separation of the Eastern (Greek) Church from the Western (Roman Latin) Church. During the reigns of several Eastern emperors the prohibiting and the restoring of images alternated between each other.
In the year 800 Irene was ruling as empress in Constantinople, the first woman to reign over the Eastern Empire. For the time being Irene may have been a usurper of her son's position, but the Holy Bible, in Romans 13:1 (AV), tells Christians: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Evidently the pope of Rome considered himself to be, not subject to the "higher powers," but superior to them. He exalted himself to appoint kings and emperors. On Christmas day of 800 he chose to do so toward Charles king of the Franks. Says The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3, page 615:
Two days later (Christmas Day, 800) took place the principal event in the life of Charles. During the Pontifical Mass celebrated by the Pope, as the king knelt in prayer before the high altar beneath which lay the bodies of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pope approached him, placed upon his head the imperial crown, did him formal reverence after the ancient manner, saluted him as Emperor and Augustus and anointed him, while the
Romans present burst out with the acclamation, thrice repeated: "To Carolus Augustus crowned by God, mighty and pacific emperor, be life and victory."
On page 774 The Catholic Encyclopedia speaks of this as "his coronation as the successor of Constantine."
After some negotiations the Eastern emperors recognized Charles or Charlemagne as emperor and ruler of northern Italy, except Venice. Accordingly, from the year 800 dates the establishment of the "Holy Roman Empire," which, despite all the changes and upheavals of the centuries, survived till the year 1806. But it was no real Kingdom of God, no Theocracy. It was not the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ. How could it be, when the "times of the Gentiles" were yet to run until A.D. 1914? Neither was it worldwide in extent as the real kingdom of Christ will be. It did not include even England, all Spain, Scandinavia, Russia or the Balkans. History renders judgment as to whether this Roman Empire was holy or not.
The ninth century saw the Eastern and Western churches moving farther apart. Besides the pope's bold political action in crowning Charles as emperor, an effort was now put forth to fix upon the Eastern churches the yoke of subjection to the Roman pope as being the sovereign with divine right in the Catholic Church. This papal ambition provoked vigorous opposition on the part of the Eastern churches. These consider the Papacy's action to be the "first cause of the division" between the Greek and the Latin churches.* The final break between them came in 1054. On July 16 of that year the Greek Patriarch Michael Cerularius was solemnly excommunicated by the papal legates who had been sent to Constantinople by Pope Leo IX
* See The Papacy; Its Historic Origin and Primitive Relations with the Eastern Churches, by Abbe Guettée, D.D., translated from the French edition of 1866. The author was a French Catholic, not a Protestant. See pages 31, 347-352, 374, 375 of his book.
(who had died meantime in April of this year). Efforts afterward to heal this schism proved vain. Historians claim that this separation was one of the causes that contributed to the Roman Catholic Crusades, those wars in the East that resulted in such horrible destruction and bloodshed for Mohammedans, Jews and also Catholics.
The Roman popes wanted to reunite the two church groups. Hence they encouraged these so-called "holy wars" in the name of the cross. In the fourth crusade Constantinople was captured, in 1204, and the Crusaders, after taking the city, spent eight days in burning and plundering all public and private property, thus causing the greatest destruction of works of art in all history. Then Latin emperors began to rule in Con-
The Parthenon on the Acropolis (Athens, Greece) and bust of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos
stantinople, whereas the Greek emperors moved to Nice in Asia Minor and ruled from there. In 1261 Constantinople was recovered by the Greeks, and the empire of the Franks or Latins ended. Then the Mohammedan conquerors under Mohamet II came and captured Constantinople on May 29, 1453. There the Eastern Empire finally came to its end, but the Patriarch of Constantinople was permitted by the Moslem conquerors to remain and to function.
In the year 1829 an independent kingdom of Greece was established, and since then Greece proper has been practically separated from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The formal separation came later. In 1833 the regency of Greece declared the orthodox Oriental Church of Greece to be independent of every foreign ecclesiastical authority, and for the governing of the new independent church it organized a "Holy Synod." In 1850 the Patriarch of Constantinople recognized the independent constitution of the Greek or Hellenic Church. Today the national church of Greece is under the archbishop of Athens, but a number of dioceses in northern Greece are under the Patriarch of Constantinople, now called Istanbul.
A "THIRD ROME"?
In the tenth century, while the schism was developing between the Greek and Latin Churches, the foundation was laid for another powerful religious organization of modern Christendom. In the preceding century the Patriarch of Constantinople had sent missionaries into Russia. In 955 there took place in Constantinople the baptism into the Eastern Church of a prominent Russian, Princess Olga the wife of Duke Igor. Her grandson Vladimir the Great forced Emperor Basil II to give him his sister Anna in marriage, and in 988 he was baptized into the Eastern Church. He had the idolatrous images of Peroun and other gods cast into the
Dnieper River. At this action the people wept, but they yielded to Vladimir's demand for them to be baptized as Christians. But how thorough was this forced con-
Former Church of St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey, and bust of Orthodox Patriarch S. Athenagoras
version? Page 37 of Volume 24 of The Encyclopedia Americana says:
Russian paganism did not vanish when the Christian gospel began to be preached. It survived in the popular language, sayings, traditions, domestic life and even religious beliefs. As late as the 18th century, serpents were adored in some remote villages. Eugenius Golubinsky, the greatest historian of the Russian Church, declares that Russia was baptized in the ninth century, but not Christianized. — Edition of 1929.
Vladimir's son nearly completed the forced conversion of the Russians, who remained in close connection with the Patriarch of Constantinople. A metropolitan bishopric was set up at Kiev, which was called a Second Constantinople. In time a metropolitan bishop was also installed at Moscow.
When, in 1453, Constantinople, the seat of the Patriarch, fell to the Mohammedans, it affected Russia religiously. Says The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 24, page 38b: "The idea of the establishment of a Russian patriarchate was a natural consequence of the downfall of the Byzantine Empire and of the growth of Muscovite Russia. Moscow was hailed as the Third Rome."
However, an independent Russian Church was not fully established till 1587. On this, M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia says:
In that year, the patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople, while visiting Russia to obtain support, consented to turn the metropolitan of Moscow into a patriarch in the person of Job, the patriarch of Russia thus taking, in the opinion of the Eastern bishops, the place of the schismatic patriarch of Rome.
[Note that the pope of Rome was considered to be the "schismatic."]
Soon after, the patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem, sixty-five metropolitans and eleven archbishops of the Byzantine Church, declared their concurrence in the independent organization of the Russian Church. The
Muscovite patriarchs continued, however, to apply to Constantinople for confirmation until 1657. Soon after, in 1660, the Russian ambassador received from patriarch Dionysius II of Constantinople and the other Greek patriarchs the documentary declaration that the Russian patriarch might in future be elected by his own clergy without needing a confirmation by the Greek patriarchs. The Roman popes of the 16th century [the century of the so-called Protestant Reformation], especially Leo X, Clement VII, and Gregory XIII, made renewed efforts for gaining over the Russian Church to a union with Rome. — Volume 9, page 161b.
The Russian Church underwent changes, but a notable one was introduced by Peter the Great, who became sole emperor of Russia in 1696. He abolished the patriarchate and substituted for it a permanent synod, consisting of prelates presided over by the emperor or his secretary. The Holy Governing Synod was instituted in 1721 and was solemnly opened by an address of its vice-president, Archbishop Theophanes. Peter the Great thus subjected the Russian Church to the rule of the political State. It became a national church, a department of the civil bureaucracy of the Russian Empire. It served as a mere tool in the hands of the bureaucracy to support czarism.
In 1917 the czarist regime of Russia was overthrown, and to the Russian Church was left the power of determining its own affairs. In September-October of that year bishops, priests and others sat in the General Council of Moscow and discussed the religious situation. They came to the conclusion that, now that the Russian political autocracy had disappeared, the Russian Church needed a visible religious head. The restoration of a Russian patriarchate was approved by a large majority of votes, and a patriarch was elected, namely, Tikhon, the metropolitan, a liberal bishop.
In November of 1917, after the Bolsheviki established themselves in power by a second revolution, they decreed the disestablishment of the Russian Church as
a State Church. They proceeded to confiscate certain classes of church property, and clergymen of all ranks and all denominations were abused and insulted. The proclamation was made that "Religion is the opium of the people." On March 14, 1918, the new Soviet government left Leningrad for Moscow, and this city became the center and capital of the new Russia. From the days of Peter the Great it had been the second capital of the Old Empire.
The official atheistic state has tried to extirpate religion from Russia but has found it too costly. Accommodating itself to this hard fact, the Soviet government uses the Russian Church for its own political ends by making it inculcate patriotism in church members. The Russian Orthodox Church yields itself to this arrangement, as throughout its history it has responded to the secular authority of the State. One well-known journalist and writer on political affairs has pointed out that the Soviet government saw well to magnify the prestige of the Russian Church at home, that the Church might perform the part of a great ecclesiastical world power, the Soviet government getting the benefit of this in the end.*
In 1945 the Russian Orthodox Church Council was held in a suburb of communist Moscow, in a magnificent ecclesiastical manner. Naturally the Church leaders were filled with pride and hope for a better future of their religious organization, and Russian messianic ideas that had been entertained for centuries were expressed. For instance, Metropolitan Benjamin, at that time the Exarch of the Moscow Patriarchate for North America, said that the Russian capital Moscow might yet become the "Third Rome" and that in the future Moscow would be plainly the meeting place for "the entire church." He went on to say that Moscow would
* Walter Kolarz, In his book Religion in the Soviet Union, page 56, of its initial 1961 edition.
perhaps become the location of an advisory central organ for linking all Orthodox Churches all over the world. Official Soviet circles sympathized with such ideas, for they favored a Russian Orthodox Church imperialism in connection with which their political capital Moscow would become the most important ecclesiastical center of the world.
So they gave the Moscow Patriarch Alexis the needed support and encouragement to widen out his foreign contacts and thus they laid the basis for him to claim for himself and the Russian Orthodox Church a leading place in the religious world. Alexis had been elected patriarch in February of that year.* In harmony with this the Russian Church applied for admission into the World Council of Churches. The Third Assembly of this World Council was held in New Delhi, India, November 18 to December 6, 1961, with 265 official delegates from 175 member churches in more than 50 countries in attendance. Twenty-three new church groups were admitted to membership in the World Council, namely, the Orthodox churches in Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and 19 church bodies in the United States, Africa, Asia and Latin America. The addition of those churches brought the World Council's membership up to 198 church bodies in more than 60 countries.
The Council voted to strengthen the Trinitarian concept as contained in the basic requirement for membership. To the basis for membership, "The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour," the Council added, "according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." — The Americana Annual 1962, pages XXXVI, 642.
* See pages 56, 57 of Religion in the Soviet Union, by Walter Kolarz.
Former St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia, and Russian Patriarch Alexis flanked by two archdeacons at communion in monastery
It was very interesting when the Russian Orthodox Church accepted the invitation to send delegates to the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council. Whereas the other Greek Orthodox Churches refused to send delegate observers, two representatives of the Russian Church
in the Soviet Union arrived for the opening of the Council on October 11, 1962. It was understood that the Russian Church had not advised Patriarch Athenagoras of Istanbul (Constantinople) of Russian intentions, although the Patriarch of Istanbul is still rated as the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox religion.
In the world today there are more than a score of Eastern Orthodox Churches since the schism of 1054, and these do not acknowledge the supremacy of the Roman pope nor his infallibility, which was proclaimed at the First Vatican Council in 1869-70. Why did the Russian Church send delegates to the Second Vatican Council? It was because the Vatican, with a divisive intent toward Eastern Orthodoxy, had sent its invitations, not through the Patriarch of Istanbul (Constantinople), but direct to the individual Eastern church bodies; and, to this effect, Archbishop Iakovos, the Greek Orthodox primate in America, said, as reported by the New York Times:
"Only with the Church of Moscow did the Vatican succeed in this tactic." . . . The reasons that induced the Russian Church "to suddenly change its position and accept the invitation of Pope John XXIII are without doubt clearly of a political nature." — The New York Times, as of November 4, 1962, top of page 26, under the heading "Iakovos Scores Vatican Tactics- Asserts Council Invitations Slighted Orthodox Leader."
In the course of the Second Vatican Council a decree was drafted on church unity. The document dealt only with the Eastern Orthodox Churches and ignored Protestantism. To quote the New York Times, a number of Council speakers on the decree pointed out that
the problem of union must be viewed in relation to the issues confronting a divided Christianity in the 20th century and not wholly in the light of theological tomes of past centuries. They clearly alluded to the rise of Communism, the twin threats of materialism and secularism, and the growth of non-Christian religions. — New York Times, as of December 1, 1962, under the heading "Prelates End Discussion on Unity with Orthodox."
In the year 1910, seven years before the Bolshevik revolution, there were 73,000,000 members of the Russian Church in the land. Now The Americana Annual 1963, page 692b, says, under "Religion":
. . . According to Soviet officials, the Russian Orthodox Church has 50 million adherents; the Muslim sect, 26 million (23 million Sunnites and 3 million Shi'ites); the Hebrew faith, 2,300,000; and the Baptist Church, 500,000. Other religious groups with large congregations are the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Armenian, Gregorian, and Buddhist. In 1962, as before, the Soviet press complained that religion was still a strong force in Soviet life, and urged an intensification of antireligious propaganda. During 1962 more than 20 Pentecostal ministers and at least seven ministers of Jehovah's Witnesses were imprisoned for illegal religious activities, . . .
No doubt the Vatican resents the suggestion that Moscow should become a "Third Rome," especially when Catholic Italy has the largest Communist party in Western Europe outside the Iron Curtain.*4
THE PROTESTANT REBELLION
From the above paragraphs the reader can appreciate that the so-called Protestants were not the first ones to protest against the Roman Catholic claim to religious supremacy for its pope and to rebel against it. The Protestant movement first took form in the sixteenth century. The fire of the Protestant religious movement was lighted on October 31, 1517. Then Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, in protest at the sale of indulgences pertaining to sin, nailed his list in
* Significance is attached to the fact that, according to an Associated Press dispatch dated Vatican City, March 7, 1963, Pope John XXIII unexpectedly summoned Aleksei Adzhubei, the son-in-law of Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev, to a private audience that day, and the two chatted for eighteen minutes in the pope's library. Adzhubei is editor of the Communist newspaper Izvestia. The American magazine Time, as of March 15, 1963, said under the heading "Pope Meets Communist" on page 53: "For the first time in history, a Pope of the Roman Catholic Church . . . received a ranking Soviet leader," and it spoke of a "warming relationship between Rome and Moscow."
Latin of 95 theses against them, on the door of the Castle church at Wittenberg, Germany. The following year he defended himself at Augsburg. He referred to Rome as the new Babylon, saying: "Let us forsake her then to become a dwelling place of dragons, evil spirits, goblins, and witches, and her name as eternal confusion."* Because he refused to recant, he was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X, and Luther defiantly burned the bull of excommunication in public on December 10, 1520.
Luther burning Papal Bull, Dec. 10, 1520
Religious disputes of a disturbing kind were now raging. Then Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman
* See page 284 of New Light on Martin Luther, by Albert Hyma, Professor of History, University of Michigan, edition of 1958.
See "Luther's 95 Theses" in The Golden Age, as of April 9, 1924, pages 440-446: also "Martin Luther Said," in GA as of April 23, 1924, page 462; also "Martin Luther on the Soul Question," in GA as of December 15, 1926, page 175.
Empire, called an imperial diet at Spires in 1529, to ask for aid from the German princes against the aggressive Turks and to devise means to allay the religious disputes that had resulted from Luther's opposition to the Roman Catholic clergy. The diet issued a decree to support the doctrines of the Church of Rome. But on April 19, 1529, six princes who supported Luther, together with the deputies of thirteen Imperial towns, protested formally and solemnly against the diet's decree. For this, the term Protestant was given to the followers of Luther, but later its scope was widened out to include Calvinists and other religious sects that rebelled against the pope of Rome. The Protestant League of Schmalkald was entered into on December 31, 1530.*
Luther did not long occupy the center of the stage of the "Reformation" with the spotlight fixed solely on him. Protestant religious reformation rivals arose. From 1531 onward it was a problem for him and his followers to hold back the advancing hosts of Protestant rivals. At this time King Henry VIII of England broke with the pope of Rome. He imposed on the religious clergy of the land his royal supremacy, making himself head of a national church, the Church of England. In 1534 he was styled "Head of the Church," and the authority of the pope of Rome was abolished in England. In the following century North America began to be colonized by the British, and the Church of England was extended there. Other religious sects were transplanted to the American colonies; and after the American Revolution 1775-1783 the Protestant Episcopal Church of America was established as a break from the Church of England. As the American nation grew and spread from coast to coast, its separation of Church and State by the national Constitution resulted in its land's becoming the home of more
* See History of the Reformation in Germany, by Von Ranke, New York edition of 1905. See The Golden Age as of December 30, 1936, pages 206-208.
than two hundred religious sects, all of which professed to be Christian.
Christendom as a whole became rent apart with religious sects, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant. In South Africa 1,400 religious sects have grown up among the Bantu people since 1910, when Christendom's missionaries poured in, according to an Associated Press dispatch from Johannesburg, South Africa, published August 12, 1957. Today the religious situation in Christendom is a mockery of the Christian unity that Christ taught his disciples.
Westminster Abbey, London, and bust of King Henry VIII
The Reformation movement of the sixteenth century led to shameful religious persecution by both Protestants and Catholics, and to frightful religious wars. Such wars and persecution were the "works of the flesh" rather than the fruitage of God's spirit, as described in Galatians 5:19-23 (AV). Also, as we examine the teachings of those Protestant Reformers, we awake to the fact that, instead of being a thoroughgoing "reformation," it was really a revolt against the autocracy, the religious domination by the pope of Rome. The basic religious doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church as well as of the Eastern Orthodox Churches remained, such as the "Trinity," immortality of the human soul, punishment of wicked souls after death in an invisible spirit realm; the division of the religious worshipers into a professional priesthood or clergy and the profane masses or laity; the use of religion in the support of worldly politics, resulting in many Church-State unions; the celebrating of religious holidays with pagan background; the lack of respect for blood of man and beast, as exemplified in the man who founded Babylon and built the first empire, "Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah." — Genesis 10:8-12; 9:1-6.
What, then, is the Babylon the Great whose fall is announced by God's angel in Revelation 14:8? It must resemble ancient Babylon in outstanding ways, particularly at the time of its fall. Otherwise, the name would not fit. First of all, ancient Babylon dominated an empire, the greatest empire up till that time, so that it was the Third World Power in the line of World Powers. In it, politics, militarism, commercialism and religion flourished, but religion predominated, especially during the dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar. Its religion set it in opposition to Zion or Jerusalem, where the Jewish king sat on "Jehovah's throne" and where the temple
built by King Solomon was the national center of Jehovah's worship.
In harmony with the foregoing facts, modern Babylon the Great must be a religious world-empire or world power, entirely impregnated with Babylonian religion. It is a religious empire,* the fundamental religious doctrines of which are based on the religion of ancient Babylon or Babel. Though being a religious empire, it became commercial and political in itself and also formed alliances with the political and commercial elements of this Gentile world.
It is true that Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, of 1943, page 198a, gives "Roman Catholic" as an obsolete meaning of the word Babylonian. But Babylon the Great is something bigger than pagan Rome, or Papal Rome, or the Roman Catholic Church with headquarters at Vatican City. Whether it takes in the Roman Catholic Church with her Pontifex Maximus the reader can determine from what has been said above. It is not Christendom. It is the entire world empire of religion, which includes all religions that have as their real base the religious teachings and practices of ancient Babylon. Hence it includes Christendom, which is the most outstanding and aggressive part of Babylon the Great today and in which Roman Catholicism takes the lead. Since this world empire of religion rests on Babylonianism, it is, like Nimrod, "in opposition to Jehovah."
Even Judaism has attached itself to Babylon the Great. In the first century Jesus and his twelve apostles applied to the traditional Judaism of their day the Bible prophecies that apply to Babylon as a place of exile and captivity out of which Jehovah's people were
* "An extended territory usually comprising a group of nations, states, or peoples under the control or domination of a single sovereign power." — Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 1961 Edition, page 743a.
So an empire is bigger than a kingdom or a nation.
called to come. Nineteen centuries ago, when the Messiah came to Zion, traditional Judaism turned practically the entire nation against him. It thus kept its hold on its Jewish captives. To this day traditional Judaism has not changed. It still holds its Jewish captives away from the freedom that Messiah promised. It cooperates with the Babylonish world empire of religion.
In Babylon the Great one religious sect may try to gain the powerful position of domination over the whole realm of religion.
Historically, this modern Babylon the Great had a fall in the year 1919. The Babylonish world empire of religion still exists, but that fact does not disprove its fall in that year. We must remember that, after ancient Babylon's surprise fall to the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C., the city kept standing for centuries till finally it disappeared, to fulfill Bible prophecy. Likewise, modern Babylon the Great suffers a significant fall, following which there must come certain religious developments before she is totally destroyed at the end of this old world or system of things. Long ago Revelation, the last book of the Bible, portrayed what would follow Great Babylon's fall before she is destroyed.
A.D. 1914 Babylon the Great, or the world empire of Babylonish religion, approached her most critical period in world history. Up till then she had, as God's angel said, "made all the nations drink of the passion-arousing wine of her fornication!" (Revelation 14:8) She had made friendship with the political rulers of this world and thus had committed spiritual fornication with them. (James 4:4) She had used her religious influence upon the worldly rulers in order to keep her own self in power. She had swung the support of her religionists in favor of the Gentile world rulers. In this way she had made the nations drink a "passion-arousing wine," namely, political, commercial, economic oppression, religious persecution, holy wars,
European and Near Eastern Centers of Christendom's Religions
religious wars, crusades, together with the wars of the nations for purely political and commercial reasons. Such selfish wars Babylon the Great sanctified by declaring them to be God's will, so that to take part in them would be the doing of His will.
In 1914 the seven times of the Gentiles ended, and the question was, Would Babylon the Great continue to make the nations drink this potion that made the nations drunk with trouble and desperation, or would she use her religious power and influence to prevent the violent, oppressive course of the nations? Christendom professed to be, not part of Babylon the Great, but God's visible organization, spiritual Zion. In harmony with her profession, would she bring the nations into peaceful harmony with God's kingdom, which was due to be born in the heavens in 1914 at the end of the Gentile Times? (Revelation 12:1-12) Would Christendom recognize as King the "Lamb of God," when he stood up on heavenly Mount Zion?
To these questions history gives as its answer World War I. In the very heart of Christendom it broke out in the summer of 1914. It continued into the fall of 1918. At that time Christendom dominated the world empire of Babylonish religion, and its four great sections were all on the world stage, namely, the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Protestant Church system. Of the twenty-seven empires and nations involved in that war, only Japan, China, Siam and Turkey were no part of Christendom, but their religious systems were part of Babylon the Great. The churches, instead of using their mighty power over hundreds of millions in Christendom to prevent it, joined in the war, although it put their church members on opposite sides in the world conflict. They persecuted Christians who did not join them in the killing.
Those who came under the heaviest persecution by Christendom were the dedicated, baptized Christians
who were putting out the literature published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. On July 17, 1917, this Society published and put into their hands the book entitled "The Finished Mystery," which gave an explanation of the entire book of Revelation (Apocalypse). On Sunday, December 30, 1917, there was a general distribution of the large, four-page tract, Bible Students Monthly No. 99, with the feature article "The Fall of Babylon," with quotations from The Finished Mystery. Within two months from then that book and the Bible Students Monthly were banned in Canada. Shortly afterward the banning of these in the United States followed. Then came the arrest and trial of the president of the Watch Tower Society and seven others of the office personnel of the Society. On June 21, 1918, they were sentenced each to eighty years' imprisonment in a Federal penitentiary. The persecution of the Christian Bible Students outside of the prisons became intense in Canada and America, egged on by the religious clergy.
The months wore on until November 11, 1918, when an armistice brought World War I to an end, with Christendom in particular bleeding from terrible wounds, suffering also from earthquakes, pestilences and famines, with also a shameful record of religious persecution. All this was tangible proof that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914 and that God's kingdom had been born in the heavens and His Messianic King, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, had stood up in power on the heavenly Mount Zion, to be joined there soon by his 144,000 faithful followers. — Matthew 24:7-13; Revelation 12:5-10.
The outcome of World War I showed that it had not been fought in behalf of God's kingdom, even though the nations of Christendom had been the principal fighters. Rather, the war had been over world domination by one part of Christendom over the other part. The war left the Anglo-American World Power still
dominating the earth as the Seventh World Power that was foretold in the Bible. At the same time Christian Bible Students, who had been proclaiming Jehovah's judgments against Babylon the Great, found themselves in a captive condition under her power, and with their worldwide organization broken up. Just as ancient Babylon came under the judgment of Jehovah while his nation of witnesses were exiles in Babylonia, so modern Babylon the Great came under divine judgment for opposing the heavenly Zion and for persecuting Jehovah's Christian witnesses and holding them captive and suppressed by means of the political State.
"SHE HAS FALLEN"
Like ancient Babylon, which never opened the prison doors to let Jehovah's witnesses out, modern Babylon the Great thought to keep the modern Christian witnesses of Jehovah suppressed and in captivity forever. But in March of 1919 the prison doors were forced open to Jehovah's witnesses, and out they came and stayed out.
Their worldwide organization was repaired and international contacts were reestablished. On September 1, 1919, an international assembly of them was held in Cedar Point, Ohio, to continue for eight days. On September 5 the Watch Tower Society's president, with nine months of imprisonment behind him, addressed the thousands at this assembly on the subject "Announcing the Kingdom." In this address President J. F. Rutherford quoted and made a modern application of the prophecy of Isaiah 52:7 (AV): "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" On Sunday, September 7, he addressed a public audience of 7,000 on the subject, "The Hope for Distressed Humanity," and spoke in
favor of God's kingdom as against a human substitute, the then-proposed League of Nations.*
Jehovah's witnesses were again free, boldly proclaiming God's kingdom publicly! What had happened? It must have been that Babylon the Great had fallen! This, although she had not yet been destroyed. The Lamb of God on the heavenly Mount Zion had played his role as the Liberator greater than Cyrus but as foreshadowed by Cyrus. He had defeated Babylon the Great and had caused her fall and had liberated his faithful followers, the modern-day remnant of Christian witnesses of Jehovah. Just as after the fall of ancient Babylon and the release of Jehovah's people it could be announced to Zion, "Thy God reigneth!" so the establishment of God's heavenly kingdom at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 portended that Babylon the Great was soon to fall. Condemned by her misconduct since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, she stood condemned before the heavenly tribunal of Jehovah God. His judgment was rendered against her, and she fell in the spring of the year 1919. — Revelation 14:7, 8.
* See The Watch Tower, as of September 15, 1919, pages 279-281; and as of October 1, 1919, pages 292, 298.