Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page.


"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 31

Invitation to Drink "Water of Life"

Revelation 22

NO MATTER of what nationality persons may be by birth, lasting benefits will flow to the peoples of earth from Jehovah God through the "holy city, New Jerusalem." To help the needy people to grasp this fact and appreciate it, a lovely picture of great significance was shown to the apostle John. He was to make it known to others who, in turn, would make it known to still others. The same angel from among the seven angels who had poured out the seven last plagues of God's anger granted to John a further look into the heavenly "holy city," the "broad way" of which was "pure gold, as transparent glass." (Revelation 21:21) In beautiful simplicity of language John tells us what he saw and heard, saying:

"And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations." — Revelation 22:1,2.

At this delightsome vision John may have been reminded of the prophet Ezekiel, who, while yet an exile in ancient Babylon in 593 B.C., saw in vision a stream of life-giving water flowing out from the visionary House of Jehovah and past the sacrificial

664

altar and on down to the salt-laden Dead Sea. (Ezekiel 47:1-12) That stream of water flowing out of the house or temple and then through the land of the restored Israel to reach the Dead Sea must have issued forth from Jehovah God, who had entered into the Most Holy of the temple. Long afterward, in the vision that the apostle John saw he beheld the source of the "river of water of life." The source is the "throne of God and of the Lamb." This symbolic river could, therefore, not have begun to flow before the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. Why not? Because it was in that year that Jehovah God the Almighty took his great power and began ruling as king over the earth. It was then that he by his own sovereign right brought to birth his promised Messianic kingdom by enthroning his Messiah or Christ, his beloved Son Jesus. Thus the "throne of God and of the Lamb" were then established. — Revelation 11: 15 to 12:10.

However, the "river of water of life" did not begin to flow then. This fact can be appreciated when we remember that it was afterward, during World War I, that the remnant yet on earth of the 144,000 spiritual Israelites came into Babylonish bondage and needed deliverance and this deliverance came first in the year 1919.

Moreover, we note that the river of life-giving water flows "down the middle of its broad way," that is, down the middle of the broad way of the "holy city, New Jerusalem." The city comes down out of heaven from God, after the "former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more." This would be at the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ. Then the holy city, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," is there, and its broad way of "pure gold, as transparent glass." Then the "river" coming out from the throne of God and of the Lamb in

665

this city can flow down the middle of its street.  — Revelation 21:1, 2, 9, 10, 21.

God's written Word is sometimes compared with water. (Ephesians 5:26) But do not be mistaken about it: this symbolic "river of water of life" is not a mere river of truth. Something far greater than merely giving the people the Bible truth is here pictured. The symbolic river pictures the entire provision that God makes for obedient, believing mankind to have everlasting life through Jesus Christ the "Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." That is why the river is seen to flow out from the "throne of God and of the Lamb," the sacrificial Lamb being seated at the right hand of God his Father. (John 1:29; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:32-36) The river's being "clear as crystal" proves the purity of God's provisions, their freedom from all death-dealing contamination. This means more than the mere purity of God's truth. Those provisions include the ransom sacrifice of the Lamb Jesus Christ and his dealing out to sinful mankind the benefits of his sacrifice as Jehovah's High Priest like Melchizedek. Throughout Christ's thousand-year reign men, including those resurrected from the dead, must drink of the "river of water of life."

The 144,000 members of the "bride, the Lamb's wife," serve as priests of God and of Christ and reign with Christ their Bridegroom for a thousand years. In this way they are given a happy part in extending the benefits of the sacrifice of their Bridegroom High Priest to the dying world of mankind. This fact is correctly illustrated in that the "river of water of life" flows in a channel, that is, down the middle of the golden broad way of the holy city, the city being the Lamb's wife. In harmony with this is the fact that they are a "spiritual house," "a holy temple for Jehovah," "a place for God to inhabit by spirit." (1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:21, 22) They are part of the Seed of God's "woman," a part of "Abraham's

666

seed," by means of whom all the families and nations will bless themselves. (Galatians 3:8,16, 29; Genesis 22:17, 18) So, to convey his blessings of life to mankind, God uses, not a stingy, cheap channel, but a "broad way" of "pure gold, as transparent glass."

Besides crystal-clear water to quench the thirst, there must be food to sustain life. Such food is provided by means of the "holy city," for on each bank of the river that flows down the middle of its "broad way" there are "trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit." On either side of the river people could not only stoop down to drink of the water but also reach up to take of the life-sustaining fruit. The kinds of fruit, the variety of trees, may have been more than twelve in number. But, no matter how great the variety of fruit trees, the trees one and all produced twelve crops of fruit, a new crop each of the twelve months of the year. All year long they produced fruit, so that there was no danger of anyone's starving to death. These trees are watered by the "river."

A part of God's provision for the eternal life of believing, obedient mankind is pictured by those fruitful trees. But they may additionally picture the 144,000 members of the Lamb's wife, who also drink of God's provisions for life through Jesus Christ. (Revelation 21:6) In Isaiah's prophecy, which Jesus quoted, concerning the anointing with God's spirit, the 144,000 are likened to "big trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah." (Isaiah 61:1-3) Already on earth they are the spiritual nation to whom the kingdom of God is given; they are the "nation producing its fruits." (Matthew 21:43) In all seasons, in all months of the year, the remnant of them are today producing and offering to mankind the fruits of God's kingdom by preaching and teaching the good news of its birth in heaven. Thus the remnant show they are worthy to have a part, after death, in the heavenly fulfillment of this vision of trees.

667

Plant leaves have often been the source of medicines for healing and curing people. Besides water and food, sick people want healing and restoration to good health. The "trees of life," which are the planting of Jehovah, will furnish the leaves "for the curing of the nations," that is, those nations or peoples of various nationalities who will walk by means of the light of the "holy city, New Jerusalem." (Revelation 21:23, 24) Under such trees then, mankind will not need today's medical doctors and psychotherapists, but these heavenly "trees of life" will provide the needed spiritual and bodily cure that dying mankind will need. Not only the earthly survivors of the battle of Har-Magedon, but also all men resurrected from the dead must partake of the benefits of these symbolic "trees of life."

Besides all that, the "trees of life" on both sides of the "river of water of life" will be made most realistic to the inhabitants of the "new earth," for Paradise will be literally restored here on earth. (Luke 23:43) All around the globe this delightful Paradise will be extended, with fruitful trees, pure waters. What peace, health, happiness and love will obtain there!

The "holy city, New Jerusalem," will be a heavenly government of blessing for the peoples of all the nations. Unlike Babylon the Great, it will not be a cursed city, not a city cursed by God and hence not a curse to mankind. (Zechariah 14:11) All who read the Revelation to John can be certain of that, for he writes:

"And no more will there be any curse. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his slaves will render him sacred service; and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Also, night will be no more, and they have no need of lamplight nor do they have sunlight, because Jehovah God will shed light upon them, and they will rule as kings forever and ever." — Revelation 22:3-5.

This "holy city," this heavenly government, will be so fruitful, so productive of good works and good re-

668

sults in God's service, that it will never come under His curse, like ground that has been blessed with rain from heaven and yet brings forth thorns and thistles. (He-brews 6:7, 8) It will be so holy, righteous and pure that "the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in" it. God's throne could be only where righteousness and judgment are found. (Psalm 89:14) That the "new heavens" will be righteous, fully approved by God, will be made sure by the presence of His throne in the "holy city, New Jerusalem." It will be the city of "Jehovah's throne" in a truer sense than the ancient earthly Jerusalem was. — 1 Chronicles 29:23; Matthew 5:34, 35.

The members of that heavenly government will be the slaves of God, not slaves of the Devil. In carrying on the operations of this government over mankind they will render sacred service to God, to please him. Like earthly slaves in the days of the apostle John, they will have God's name on their foreheads. That is, it will be made plainly evident that they are God's special purchased property, his devoted slaves. They will actually see his face, a fact that discloses that they are pure in heart. (Matthew 5:8) These are the special privileges of the 144,000, who stand with the Lamb Jesus Christ on the heavenly Mount Zion. — Revelation 14:1-5.

As a heavenly class, they will not need the illumination that our earth needs, lamplight by night and sunlight by day, because "Jehovah God will shed light upon them," and he is all light, with no darkness. (1 John 1:5-7) Their ruling as kings in heaven will not end with Christ's thousand-year reign, but "they will rule as kings forever and ever." With God's Son Jesus Christ they will continue as the capital organization of God's universe forever.

All those words of the Revelation to John create marvelous hopes that simply shatter our imagination; and yet those words are true and absolutely reliable, for

669

they come from a reliable source.* To strengthen our faith in this, John writes:

"And he said to me: 'These words are faithful and true; yes, Jehovah the God of the inspired expressions of the prophets sent his angel forth to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And, look! I am coming quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.' " — Revelation 22:6. 7.

So, just because an angel delivered the revelation to John, it does not lessen or weaken the truthfulness of the revelation. The same God, Jehovah, who inspired the prophetic expressions that the Hebrew and Christian prophets made and wrote down in the Bible, inspired also the revelation to John. This God is the One who sent forth his angel, and the purpose of this was to keep the slaves of God informed in advance, "to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place." Therefore no excuse exists for his slaves not to know what they should be doing in the future. They know what to expect, for they have the revelation to consult and study.

One of the things to expect and for which to be on the lookout is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, for God gave to him the revelation to pass it on to John by means of the angel. (Revelation 1:1) This coming is evidently the one last previously mentioned, his "coming as a thief," as mentioned in Revelation 16:15 in connection with the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," with which Har-Magedon is connected. At his coming things will turn out happily for a person if he now keeps in mind the things set forth in the revela-


* After commenting on Revelation 22:5, the late Greek scholar, Dr. Archibald T. Robertson, says: "Now John gives the parting utterances of some of the speakers, and it is not always clear who is speaking."  — Page 481 of Volume 6 of Word Pictures in the New Testament, edition of 1933.

The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures endeavors to show the change in speakers by appropriate paragraphing that had due regard for the context and the one to whom what is said refers.

670

tion and observes them and acts in harmony with them. Then he will not go wrong. The scroll of the revelation will be a safe guide to him, for the words written down in the scroll are in fact a prophecy, "the words of the prophecy of this scroll."

Observing it leads to the sixth happiness mentioned in Revelation. It is quite like the first happiness expressed at the beginning: "Happy is he who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and who observe the things written in it; for the appointed time is near." — Revelation 1:3; 22:7.

THE IMPORTANCE OF OBSERVING THE REVELATION

It is a grand experience for us today to read the Revelation to John with an up-to-date understanding of it. How wonderful, though, it must have been for John to see it in vision nineteen centuries ago! He tells us how he felt, saying: "Well, I John was the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that had been showing me these things. But he tells me: 'Be careful! Do not do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who are prophets and of those who are observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.' " — Revelation 22:8, 9.

Once again the emotionally overwhelmed John has to be cautioned about losing his spiritual balance and falling down in worship before anyone other than Jehovah God. (Revelation 19:10) It is not the right thing for fellow slaves to worship any one of their number. No one of them is anything more than a slave of Jehovah, who is God. How remarkable that even angels consider and speak of themselves as slaves of God! If any one of these passed along a revelation that is in the nature of a prophecy, he was not to be worshiped for doing this service, no matter how privileged he was in doing so. It was thereafter the duty of John and those who are John's spiritual brothers to pass on the

671

prophetic revelation to still others. In this way John's spiritual brothers today serve as prophets. (Joel 2:28. 29) At the same time they must observe the words of the prophetic scroll, the Revelation, and must bring themselves into harmony with it. This must be done now, without delay!

Evidently at this point Jesus Christ, to whom God first gave the Revelation, speaks. With reference to him, John writes: "He also tells me: 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the appointed time is near. He that is doing unrighteousness, let him do unrighteousness still; and let the filthy one be made filthy still; but let the righteous one do righteousness still, and let the holy one be made holy still.' " — Revelation 22:10,11.

The modern-day Christian witnesses of Jehovah have promptly obeyed this command not to "seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll." In the very first issue, that of July, 1879, of their official magazine, then known as Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, and in the main article entitled "Why Will There Be a Second Advent?" they made comment on Revelation 22:20; 20:2, 6; 3:21; 20:4; 11:15, 18, 16; 21:1-10, and 22:17.

In all their publications since then they have abundantly quoted and offered explanation of this last book of the Bible. In the year 1917 there was published by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society the book entitled "The Finished Mystery," which was their first commentary on the entire book of Revelation. Though that book was banned by Gentile governments during the last year of World War I, Jehovah's witnesses refused to "seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll." In the year 1930 the same Society published the book entitled "Light," in two volumes, which was a more up-to-date explanation of the entire Revelation to John. Hundreds of thousands of copies of this were circulated in a number of languages. And now the first

672

printing of this new book, "Babylon the Great Has Fallen!" God's Kingdom Rules! has been scheduled for one million copies (in English), and its release to readers throughout the world has been arranged to take place at the "Everlasting Good News" Around-the-World Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses, this series of twenty-four international assemblies beginning on June 30, 1963, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and continuing eastward around the globe and concluding in Pasadena, California, U.S.A., September 1-8, 1963. — See The Watchtower, as of June 1, 1963, pages 325-327.

The commands to the one doing unrighteousness and the filthy one are not urgent appeals to them to repent and leave their unrighteousness and filthiness. Rather, the thought in these commands seems to be, Let the unrighteous one keep on doing unrighteousness and let the filthy one stay filthy or be made more filthy, if they want to; but let them know that they will get their due reward for this course, at the latest when the Lord Jesus comes to fight the "war of the great day of God the Almighty."

The person now righteous in God's sight should keep on practicing righteousness. The one who is holy as a slave of God should continue being made holy. Otherwise, they will lose all the credit that they built up by their previous righteousness and holiness. But if they keep on in righteousness and holiness, they will at last have an accumulated credit with God and be richly rewarded for this. What a warning and encouragement!  — Ezekiel 18:5-9, 24.

Jesus Christ as Judge merely executes the judgments of the Highest Judge, Jehovah God the Almighty, "the Judge of all." Jehovah God is the Court of final resort, and there is no appeal from his judicial decisions. He is the Alpha and Omega, figuratively speaking. (Revelation 1:8) So in Malachi 3:1-5 it is chiefly his coming "suddenly" to the temple for judgment work that is prophetically spoken of. The "war of the great day"

673

that is just ahead is the war of God the Almighty for executing judgment upon his foes. Hence now, in his turn, he speaks as the Source and Giver of the revelation. Here are God's words that the apostle John heard:

"Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Happy are those who wash their robes, that the authority to go to the trees of life may be theirs and that they may gain entrance into the city by its gates. Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone liking and carrying on a lie." — Revelation 22:12-15.

God "becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him." (Hebrews 11:6) After he takes his power as the Almighty and begins ruling as king, the time comes for him to reward his slaves the prophets, and the holy ones and those fearing his name, and "to bring to ruin those ruining the earth." — Revelation 11:17, 18.

He is just and renders to each one only according to what his work is. Hence it becomes advisable for us to examine what our works are and not depend merely on what we claim to believe and what we profess to be. Our works will prove what we really are, and in the Revelation God plainly shows us what our works should be. We can deceive ourselves. We cannot fool God as Final Judge.

We should worship and serve Him as God. Before him there was no God Almighty, and no one has been able to establish himself as God Almighty after him. From first to last he is the same God Almighty, whose name is Jehovah. Eight hundred years before John wrote Revelation 22:12, another prophet had written: "This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel and the Repurchaser of him, Jehovah of armies, 'I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God. And who is there like me?'" (Isaiah 44:6, 7) "To no

674

one else shall I give my own glory. Listen to me, O Jacob, and you Israel my called one. I am the same One. I am the first. Moreover, I am the last." (Isaiah 48:11, 12; 41:4) In the controversy over godship, he is "the beginning and the end"; and this controversy that began over His godship he will bring to an end by proving all would-be rivals to be false gods. He is the Final One, the Final Judge, from whom to expect a reward just as we deserve it.

As Judge and Rewarder, Jehovah God pronounces happy the 144,000 who accept the Lamb of God as the atoning sacrifice for them and who, by faith, "wash their robes" in his blood, that they may appear free from sin in God's sight. (Revelation 1:5; 1 John 1:7) These are the faithful conquerors to whom it is granted to "eat of the tree [or, trees] of life, which is in the paradise of God." (Revelation 2:7) This is granted to them by a resurrection from the dead, not in the flesh, but in the spirit, that they may enjoy immortal life with God himself. (1 Corinthians 15:44. 52-54) Their being granted the privilege of eating from the trees of life in God's symbolic heavenly Paradise denotes their being given the right and title to enjoy immortal life forever in the heavenly "paradise of God." By way of contrast, in the case of Adam and Eve, they were driven out of their earthly Paradise, that they might not eat from its "tree of life" and live forever in Paradise. —  Genesis 3:22-24.

The 144,000 "happy" ones prove themselves to be spiritual Israelites. By their resurrection as immortal spirit creatures they gain entrance into the "holy city, New Jerusalem," by means of the twelve pearly gates on which are inscribed the names of the "twelve tribes of the sons of Israel." The "twelve angels" on guard at those gates recognize who these 144,000 faithful spiritual Israelites are and let them enter into the golden city. (Revelation 21:12, 13, 18) What a happy reward they receive from Jehovah God!

675

Those angel guards know whom to keep outside the twelve gates. Those kept outside are the people who are like scavenger dogs of the streets, who practice homosexuality, sodomy, Lesbianism, viciousness, cruelty (Deuteronomy 23:18; Psalm 22:16, 20; Matthew 7:6; Philippians 3:2); also the spiritists who get in touch with the demons; the adulteresses and the harlots and the men who commit sexual immorality with them; the murderers and the haters, whose hatred is equivalent to actual murder; those who idolize the symbolic "wild beast" and its "image" and religious statues and other material things or even human personalities; and liars, everyone who prefers lies to the truth and who carries on a lie or a system built on lies. These are all kept out of the "holy city, New Jerusalem," and they are hurled into the symbolic "lake that burns with fire and sulphur," that is, "the second death." (Revelation 21:8) This is their reward from Jehovah God according to their works on earth. Thus God keeps his heavenly government clean, respectable.

We readers have had witness concerning these all-important things borne to us by Jesus Christ, the "faithful and true witness" to whom Jehovah gave the revelation. (Revelation 1:5; 3:14; Isaiah 55:3, 4) As such a witness he acted and said to his apostle John: "I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star."  — Revelation 22:16.

Jesus Christ was an earthly offspring of ancient King David of Jerusalem. As he was the most important descendant of King David, he speaks of himself as being also "the root" of David. The genealogy from Abraham through David really ends with Jesus. The underlying reason for bringing the house of David into existence was to produce the Messiah. Also, God's reason for making the everlasting covenant with David for an everlasting kingdom was to have Jesus Christ be-

676

come David's permanent heir, the eternal one in the Kingdom covenant. In effect, therefore, Jesus was David's "root."

As the one who holds the Kingdom forever, Jesus is, figuratively, "the bright morning star," the one foretold in Numbers 24:17. In 607 B.C. the ambitious king of ancient Babylon thought he had permanently lifted his own material throne up above the royal "stars of God" in the line of King David. But neither ancient Babylon nor its modern counterpart, Babylon the Great, prevented God from causing this "bright morning star," Jesus Christ, to rise out of the house of David and sit down on a throne infinitely higher than that of mighty King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon. (Isaiah 14:4. 12. 13) The throne in which Babylon the Great plans to sit as a queen forever has to fall, be overturned. Jesus, the Offspring of David, must reign forever. To his faithful 144,000 he gives the reward of being associated with him, "the morning star," in the Kingdom, to reflect his glorious brightness.  — Revelation 18:7; 2:26-28.

FREE TO ALL THIRSTY ONES

Now associating with the remnant yet on earth of the 144,000 Kingdom heirs there is a "great crowd" whose eyes have been opened to see the rising of the "bright morning star." They hail him and acknowledge his kingship. Even now he becomes their Shepherd King. Concerning these "other sheep," Revelation 7: 9-17 says: "The Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes." (John 10:16) Their Shepherd King is now inviting them to these "fountains of waters of life," and he is doing so by his Bride class. Regarding this John writes:

"And the spirit and the bride keep on saying: 'Come!' And let anyone hearing say: 'Come!' And let anyone

677

thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life's water free." — Revelation 22:17.

This invitation has been going forth to these "other sheep" since 1931, the year when the Scriptural name "Jehovah's witnesses" was embraced by the remnant on earth of the 144,000 and the work of putting a "mark on the foreheads" of the "other sheep" began to be seen. (Ezekiel 9:4-6) True, already on February 24, 1918, a message began to be preached with particularly the "other sheep" in mind, namely, the public talk entitled "Millions Now Living Will Never Die." This offered a hope of their surviving the "war of the great day of God the Almighty" and of gaining thereafter eternal life in the Paradise earth under God's Messianic kingdom. But this message did not definitely show the way into this survival privilege, except by righteousness in general. However, from 1934 onward the anointed remnant plainly pointed out that these "other sheep" must now make a full dedication of themselves to God and symbolize this dedication by water baptism and then become fellow witnesses of Jehovah with his remnant. — See The Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence, as of August 15, 1934, pages 249, 250, paragraphs 31-34.

Thus there was now a definite invitation to be extended for gathering these thirsty "other sheep" together into the "one fold" under the "one shepherd," Jesus Christ. Such invitation to come was expressed by means of the remnant of the Bride class. Their saying "Come!" was in harmony with God's spirit. God did not tell the remnant audibly to their natural ears to say "Come!" No, but by means of his spirit in opening up the meaning of the prophecies of his written Word he caused the remnant of the Bride class to extend the invitation. The prophecies on which their invitation was based had been inspired by the spirit of God. So it was, in effect, God's spirit as well as Christ's Bride that was saying to the "great crowd" of sheeplike peo-

678

ple, "Come!" (Revelation 19:10) Whereas religious Babylon the Great has made all earth's inhabitants "drunk with the wine of her fornication," the virgin Bride of Christ bids all mankind to come and drink of "life's water." What a grand privilege is hers!

To this day the spirit and the Bride represented by the remnant "keep on saying: 'Come!' " Those "other sheep" who do come and begin drinking of God's provisions for gaining eternal life through the Lamb of God are trained by the spiritual remnant to become ministers of God's Word. The remnant tells these "other sheep" to invite still others to come. "Life's water," which in its full sense includes more than an understanding of Bible truth, is not to be kept to them themselves, but they must obey the command from the "spirit and the Bride," namely: "And let anyone hearing say: 'Come!' " All those quenching their thirst must circulate the invitation. They must extend it to everybody without regard for race, nationality, color, language or present religion, everybody everywhere! In this very year of publishing this book well over a million obedient persons in all the earth are lovingly extending the invitation, 1,028,986 having reported.

Unlike natural water in many dry places today, "life's water" cannot be sold and must not be made a means of commercial gain by persons who extend the invitation. God's Word forbids this, saying: "And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life's water free." (Revelation 22:17) Hence Jehovah's modern-day Christian witnesses do not commercialize the Kingdom message. What there is available of "life's water" at the present time, of this Jehovah's witnesses invite and help all peoples to partake, free!

We now have a responsibility to do more than keep "the words of the prophecy of this scroll" unsealed for all thirsty sheeplike persons. (Revelation 22:10) We must also not hide or withhold any part of it or add anything to it to soften it down or to counteract things

679

that it says or to dull its clarity and sharpness. The "prophecy of this scroll" must be treated like the entire book of Moses. (Deuteronomy 4:1, 2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:5, 6) Faithful to this rule of action, the Revelator Jesus Christ says to John:

"I am bearing witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things which are written about in this scroll." — Revelation 22:18,19.

This is a stern warning to the congregations of the members of Christ's Bride, to whom the Revelation was primarily written. (Revelation 1:4, 5, 19, 20; 2:1, 8,12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14) Hence the figures of speech or symbols that are used in this warning apply to them and not to the "other sheep." So today the remnant on earth of Christ's Bride are faithfully endeavoring to take nothing away from the "words of the prophecy of this scroll," which contains the Revelation to the apostle John, and they avoid adding anything to it. They do not want their glorious heavenly hope to be disappointed; they do not want their hoped-for portion to be taken away from the "trees of life" that are "in the paradise of God" or to be taken "out of the holy city," the heavenly New Jerusalem. Above all, they desire to let God be found true in everything that he says, that he may be declared righteous, justified, vindicated, but men be proved liars. (Revelation 22:15; Romans 3:4) And the "great crowd" of their sheeplike companions are of the same faithful attitude to God's Holy Word in its entirety. For this faithfulness the delightsome portion that God has promised them in the Paradisaic earth will not be taken away from them.

Especially timely today, when "the appointed time is near," are the next and final words of the Lord Jesus

680

Christ to the apostle John nineteen hundred years ago. Timely, also, is John's response. The record on this says: "He that bears witness of these things says, 'Yes; I am coming quickly.' " "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus."  — Revelation 22:20,10.

Thus for the fifth time in the Revelation that Jehovah God gave to him for the apostle John, Jesus Christ the Lord of lords says that he is coming quickly. He accompanies Jehovah God, who also says: "I am coming quickly." (Revelation 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22:7, 20 and 12) The emphasis here is on the word "quickly"; and, in connection with the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," the Lord Jesus Christ warns that he is coming "as a thief." (Revelation 16: 15) Whether we prepare for it individually or not, he is bound to come, and come "quickly" and "as a thief."

Certainly this is not the time for us to be spiritually asleep, or even drowsy or indifferent; our being in that condition would surely spell calamity for us. We must keep in mind that "he that bears witness of these things" is the one who says here in Revelation 22:20: "Yes; I am coming quickly." This means that the things of which he has borne witness in the Revelation will also take place "quickly," for he has the responsibility to see to it that they do. That means that, in quick time now, the religious "great harlot," Babylon the Great, will be destroyed, at which event we favored witnesses of it will joyously shout: "Hallelujah! because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king."  — Revelation 19:1-6, margin of 1950 edition.

Can we join the apostle John in his prayer? When we love someone, are we not eager for his coming, preoccupied with it, and alert and on the watch for it? Our hearts answer, Yes! So when we think of all the things that the marvelous Revelation discloses, which the King of kings and Lord of lords will bring to pass at his coming, are we not also, like John, eager for his coming? Are we not glad that it will be quickly?

681

Do we not love it so much that we yearn for it to be quickly accomplished? Most sincerely, Yes! And most heartily we, who are now nineteen hundred years nearer to his promised coming, can join the aged apostle John in prayerfully saying: "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus." So, in harmony with this request, we will lovingly do the things that the Revelation which he transmitted to John for us says that we must do until he comes.

How favored those doing so are today! In place of suffering the seven plagues of God's anger that are poured out upon Babylon the Great, they are enjoying the expression of God's approval and goodwill toward them through Jesus Christ. Truly the apostolic prayer of long ago has been fulfilled toward us. In our behalf today, that is, in behalf of the remnant of the 144,000 "holy ones" and certainly also in behalf of the "great crowd" of temple servants associated with the remnant, the apostle John has prayed, in the closing words of the prophetic scroll: "May the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ be with the holy ones." (Revelation 22:21) What an expression of his undeserved kindness it has been for Jesus to make understandable to us so much of this glorious revelation from Jehovah God! Provided that we continue to serve and obey the Lord Jesus as we await his longed-for coming, his undeserved kindness will remain with us. It will crown our lives with all the happinesses that God has in reservation for all his faithful ones. Tell out, then, in fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, the glorious news: God's kingdom rules!



Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!