WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA
WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
OF NEW YORK, INC.
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Made in the United States of America
WHEN GOD SPEAKS PEACE TO ALL NATIONS
LOVERS of peace with justice and happiness long to hear the voice strong enough to command peace upon all nations. Today in man's most critical time there is no voice on earth with power enough to command peace world-wide. The voice of the League of Nations is dead. While the League lived its twenty-six years of existence, it proved unable to keep the peace even among its more than fifty members. It failed to halt territory grabbing and to prevent the outbreak of the second world war.
2 "The League of Nations is dead! Long live the United Nations!" cried out Britain's aged Lord Cecil in the assembly at the League's palace in Geneva, Switzerland, in April of 1946. The United Nations for lessening the likelihood of war still lives. Its membership has swollen to more than eighty nations, but its voice has proved very weak. Since its creation after World War II ended there have been disturbances of the peace by aggression and by armed conflict in various parts of the earth. Cold war between the two great blocs of nations, the communistic and the democratic, has kept the world near a nervous breakdown. Fear of a hot, shooting war kept mounting in the hearts of the people. The United Nations was not depended upon
1,2. What voice do lovers of peace long to hear, and how have the League of Nations and the United Nations shown lack of ability to speak with it?
to keep World War III from wrecking civilization and raining down death upon mankind. It is doomed to go the way of its forerunner, the League of Nations. Certainly the voice of someone more powerful has to command peace to all nations.
3 Looking at matters from a perfectly natural standpoint, informed men and women have become convinced that now peace among the nations is an absolute necessity. Said the French writer, Raymond Avon, in his book "On War" (De la Guerre): "Mankind has entered an unprecedented phase in which, for the first time in history, the great powers are getting ready for a war that they do not want to fight." The problem facing the democratic bloc of nations is that it "has failed to find a substitute for total war, aside from peace itself." This is because of what total war, using the ultimate weapons of warfare, will mean to all inhabitants of the earth. The lawmakers of the nations know what it will mean. On February 11, 1959, in the British House of Lords, Earl Bertrand Russell called attention to something that he looked upon as the first practicable move "in a long campaign to ensure the continued existence of the human race.... Hitherto we had thought of nuclear weapons as being in the possession of the east and west, with the east being a threat to the west and the west being a threat to the east. This was not a sensible way to look at it. Nuclear weapons were a threat to mankind, and against this threat man ought to unite. They would unite if it was the Black Death, in order to take the sanitary measures to avoid
3. (a) Concerning the absolute need now of peace among the nations, what did a French writer say? (b) And a British lawmaker?
this appalling evil. . . . We had got used to war. We had to get unused to it and it was not an easy effort. Unless we did [get unused to it], those who could not make the effort were contributing their little bit to the extinction of our [human] species." — The London Times, February 12, 1959.
4 One day not long ago the readers of the New York Times came to a full-page advertisement and had these bold headlines stare them in the face: "We are facing a danger unlike any danger that has ever existed." What kind of danger? Paragraph 7 of this full-page ad repeated the headline and replied: "In our possession and in the possession of the Russians are more than enough nuclear explosives to put an end to the life of man on earth." This paid ad was published by the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, its headquarters being in New York city. — New York Times, November 18, 1957.
5 Something has to be done about meeting this danger. So men prominent in public life have said. Among these was the former secretary of the United States Air Force. When speaking at Cleveland, Ohio, November 19, 1958, this Mr. T. K. Finletter warned that "the danger of war is steadily on the increase. . . . United States policy-makers . . . are now faced with a 'new imperative': the 'absolute necessity' of creating a world system that will exclude war from human affairs." Said he: "We had better stop talking about disarmament and indeed about peace." — New York Times, November 20, 1958.
4. What did a full-page ad in the New York Times say about the danger that we are facing?
5. What did a former secretary of the United States Air Force say regarding the absolute necessity of a certain world system?
6 Suggesting such a world system for excluding war, Earl Attlee, the former prime minister of Great Britain, spoke in favor of a "world federation" in order to preserve civilization. In his speech at the Newark State College in Union, New Jersey, he said: "The price of survival will be a willingness to unite with the rest of the world." — New York Times, February 24, 1959.
7 Whatever world system the desperate national leaders may at last be driven to unite in creating, it would be nothing more than an old-world system, no more workable than any other man-made thing in the past. We fool ourselves if we expect that suddenly an accidental break-through will occur and the great obstacle will be overcome and man will happily create his own arrangement for a lasting, unbreakable peace. The religious clergy of Christendom have worked along with the politicians, but have proved to be of no help at all. History plainly shows that they have never stood firm as unmovable pillars of peace. No; but in time of test they have wielded their vast religious influence over hundreds of millions of churchgoers against the interests of international peace. They have not spoken with the authoritative voice that has commanded peace upon the nations, for the clergy have never maintained peace even within their own religious ranks.
8 The spirit now abroad in the world does not allow for any peace. In itself this spirit reveals
6. What did a former British prime minister say about survival?
7. Why would any such world system be unworkable, and of what help have the clergy of Christendom been in behalf of peace?
8. Why does the spirit abroad in the world not allow for peace?
the thing or the person really behind the continual disturbance and clash of selfish interests. Certainly it is not the spirit of love. It is the spirit of worldly wisdom, because the political, commercial and religious leaders are following the philosophies, diplomacies and aims of this world.
9 From whom does this spirit issue? By its very effects this spirit of worldly wisdom shows that it is not good. Hence it is not from a good source. There can be no doubt as to its source, and a writer of nineteen hundred years ago identified the source for us. This was James, who is reported to have been martyred in the city of Jerusalem for his Christian faith, being stoned to death at the sentence of the Jewish Supreme Court of Jerusalem.* In his inspired letter he calls himself "James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," and he asks and answers a question that Christendom and its professed "Christian" politicians have not taken to heart. Here is what James wrote under inspiration:
10 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show out of his right conduct his works with a meekness that belongs to wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is the earthly, animal, demonic. For where jealousy and contentiousness are, there disorder and every vile thing are. But the wisdom
9. What shows that this spirit is not good, and who was it that identified the source of this spirit for us?
10,11. What does this James say regarding worldly wisdom and the source of disturbance among professed Christians?
from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.
11 "From what source are there wars and from what source are there fights among you? Are they not from this source, namely, from your cravings for sensual pleasure which carry on a conflict in your members? You desire, and yet you do not have. You go on murdering and coveting, and yet you are not able to obtain. You go on fighting and waging war. You do not have because of your not asking. You do ask, and yet you do not receive, because you are asking for a wrong purpose, that you may expend it upon your cravings for sensual pleasure. Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God." — James 3:13 to 4:4.
12 Such words of James to his fellow Christians explain something. What? Why Christendom's clergymen, who pronounce blessings upon battleships and other instruments of war, pray to Heaven for world peace and have never had an answer to their prayer and never will have. Why not? Because God does not listen to men who are the fast friends of this world, who are therefore the enemies of God. He does not answer the prayers or bless the arrangements of men who reject the wisdom that comes down from God and who ac-
12,13. (a) What do James' words explain regarding clergy prayers? (b) From whom does he indicate that this wisdom issues, and why, therefore, do worldly-wise men not see the true key to peace?
cept and follow the spirit of this world. The Christian disciple James bluntly says that this wisdom, with all its world-disturbing effects today, is not the heavenly, Godly wisdom, but "is the earthly, animal, demonic," the devilish. It is the wisdom that issues from the unseen ruler of this world, who came against the man Jesus Christ and had him put to death on a torture stake nineteen centuries ago. Just some hours before his death Jesus said: "The ruler of the world is coming. And yet he has no hold on me. . . . the ruler of this world has been judged." (John 14:30; 16:11) That ruler is Satan the Devil. Little wonder, then, that the worldly-wise ones of Christendom are blind to the true key to universal peace. The devilish god of this world, the prince of the demons, has blinded their minds. To this effect the Christian apostle Paul writes:
13 "If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through." — 2 Corinthians 4:3-5.
THE KEY TO PEACE
14 Because the god of this system of things has veiled the minds of the perishing world leaders by his demonic wisdom, they recommend the United Nations, disarmament conferences, policed control of atomic arms tests or even abolition of all nuclear weapons, increased world trade, cul-
14. (a) Because of such mental blindness, what do world leaders recommend for peace? (b) In wartime how is a pretense made of honoring Christ on December 25?
tural exchanges between nations engaged in the cold war, a "world federation," and other worldly-wise means as the key to lasting peace and prosperity. This mental blindness afflicts not only the atheistic Communist nations but also the professed Christian nations, the realm of Christendom. During the time of a hot, shooting war, it is customary to halt all firing of guns and killing of human lives on December 25 in order for soldiers at the front to celebrate the traditional Christmas. At that time it is the religious practice to sing Christmas carols that incorporate the words, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14, AV) In this way the nations of Christendom think they are honoring Jesus Christ and carrying out the spirit of those immortal words. But as soon as the hilarious Christmas celebration is over, the fighting and killing are started anew, and the ill will between nations brushes aside the hypocritical "Christian" mask. Such one-day profession of Christianity has proved to be merely a bit of sentimentalism, emotionalism, allowing for a good time.
15 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" were the words that the angels chanted on the night of Jesus' birth at Bethlehem, the birthplace of ancient King David of Jerusalem. Just before the peaceful shepherds heard the multitude of angels chant that prophetic message, an angel appeared in glory and said to them: "Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to
15. By whom were those words concerning peace and good will first chanted, and after what joy-bringing announcement?
you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David's city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger." — Luke 2:8-14.
16 Hence the prophetic chant of the angels is notice from God to us that there can be no enduring peace on earth apart from the one who was born in Bethlehem that night. He was really one who had been sent down from heaven in behalf of a peaceful earth for all mankind. God's angel Gabriel, who had appeared to Jesus' mother nine months before then, said to her: "Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah* God will give him the throne of David his [fore]father, and he will be king over the house of. Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom." — Luke 1:30-33.
17 Thus, on the authority of God's angels from heaven, that one then born in Bethlehem was "Son of the Most High," the Son of God. He was the promised Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, the Messiah whom inspired Hebrew prophets had foretold for thousands of years.
18 It matters not that Jesus Christ, the everlasting Heir to King David's throne, was born as long as nineteen centuries ago. A lasting "peace on earth" beginning in our own day cannot be separated from Him. All prophecies concerning
16,17. What notice concerning peace did that angelic chant contain, and how did Gabriel's words to Mary identify the one to be born?
18. If we want to enjoy "peace on earth," what do we have to respect concerning him, particularly something said by Isaiah?
Him have to be respected if we want to enjoy the ever-enduring peace that good-will people of all nations may enjoy. The present-day political and war maneuvers of the nations will not be able to block the fulfillment of divine prophecies given over God's own name, Jehovah. Foretelling the world-important future of the One whose birth at Bethlehem was heralded by holy angels, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words, according to the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6, 7, AS) How, then, can there ever be an inviolable "peace on earth" without this Prince of Peace?
19 This does not mean we can have no permanent peace on earth without Christendom and hence the communistic nations had better stop trying to overturn Christendom. Christendom has existed now for sixteen centuries. Yet no clergyman can successfully argue and prove that Isaiah's prophecy of the increase of Christ's government and of peace endlessly has been fulfilled in Christendom. Every history student knows that there has been no increase of Christlike government and of peace with Christendom! Every history book testifies
19,20. (a) Why can no clergyman prove that Isaiah's prophecy has been fulfilled in Christendom? (b) Why may Heathendom not expect an arrangement for enduring world peace through Christendom?
that the two world wars of this century started in the very heart of Christendom between rulers who the clergy said ruled "by the grace of God," and that the first two atomic bombs were dropped on two cities of heathendom by a people whose Supreme Court had declared it in 1892 to be a Christian nation.* Christendom has not proved itself to be the basis for world peace.
20 So-called Heathendom, therefore, has no reason to expect Christendom to provide the successful arrangement for enduring world peace. Heathendom has no reason to respect the voice of Christendom as able to command peace upon all nations. According to God's rule, as Christendom has sown, she must reap. (Galatians 6:7) God has not been mocked, but as Christendom has sown throughout her war-filled sixteen centuries, she is reaping in this day of the judgment of all nations. She has sown the wind; she must reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7) Not through Christendom, but through the Prince of Peace himself and through the princely rule that rests upon his personal shoulder will God's prophecy by Isaiah be fulfilled toward men of good will.
21 Therefore let all peace-loving peoples of earth be notified that it is through his foretold Prince of Peace that the zeal of Jehovah of hosts will carry out Isaiah's prophecy and that, as the living and true God, he will speak peace to all nations. He has declared so, through his prophet Zechariah, in the sixth century before the Christian era,
21,22. (a) Through whom will Jehovah's zeal carry out Isaiah's prophecy? (b) Through what prophecy has Jehovah declared so?
in these words addressed to Jerusalem (or Zion), which had been recently rebuilt:
22 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim [of Northern Israel], and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth." — Zechariah 9:9,10, AS.
23 The fulfillment of the first part of this prophecy is historically recorded. During the three years of Jesus' public ministry he and his faithful followers preached up and down the land of Palestine, "The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." (Matthew 4:12-17; 10:1-7; Luke 10:9) Finally the time came for Jerusalem to identify God's anointed King, the Prince of Peace, and to accept him if she desired to. Long before that time Solomon, son of David, seated on a mule, had ridden to his crowning as king. Later Zechariah's prophecy associated God's appointed King with an ass. So, outside the city of Jerusalem (or Zion), Jesus had his disciples bring him an ass colt on which to ride into the capital city. The Christian historian Matthew writes: "This actually took place that it might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet, saying: Tell the daughter of Zion, "Look! your King is coming to you, mild-tempered, and mounted upon an ass, yes, upon a colt, the
23. Who says directly that the first part of Zechariah's prophecy was historically fulfilled, and how does Christendom profess to celebrate that fulfillment each year?
offspring of a beast of burden."'" Down to this year the nations of Christendom profess to celebrate Jesus' triumphal ride into Jerusalem each year on what they call Palm Sunday.
24 Concerning that ride the historian Matthew says: "So the disciples got on their way and did just as Jesus ordered them. And they brought the ass and its colt, and they put upon these their outer garments, and he seated himself upon them. Most of the crowd spread their outer garments on the road, while others began cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. As for the crowds, those going ahead of him and those following kept crying out: 'Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah's* name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!' Now when he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was set in commotion, saying: 'Who is this?' The crowds kept telling: 'This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.' " — Matthew 21:1-11.
25 Other historians, Mark, Luke and John, record this fulfillment of divine prophecy. Thus the testimony of all four furnishes the historical proof that, according to Zechariah's prophecy, Jesus Christ the descendant of King David is the one by whom Jehovah God will speak peace to all nations and whose dominion must be from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth, that is to say, earth-wide. But how could this
24. How does Matthew describe that first fulfillment?
25,26. (a) Whose united testimony proves that Zechariah's prophecy must be fulfilled by the rider of the ass? (b) How could this fulfillment come about, inasmuch as Jesus was put to death on a stake?
come about, when, back there, the religious clergy of Jerusalem ignored Zechariah's prophecy and rejected Jesus Christ, turned the people against him, arrested him, handed him over to the Roman governor for execution and forced him to fulfill their demand that Jesus be put to death on a stake? It will come about because now Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace is a heavenly King, at God's own right hand. God's own prophecies in the sacred Hebrew Scriptures had foretold that Jesus Christ would be raised from the dead in glory and would be elevated to sit at God's right hand on the heavenly throne.
26 To fulfill the prophecies and lay the foundation for an endless peace on earth in due time, Almighty God Jehovah resurrected his Son Jesus Christ on the third day of his death and clothed him with heavenly glory and said to him: "Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet." All needed power in heaven and in earth has been given to Jesus Christ, so that now he occupies a stronger position to speak and command peace to the nations than when he was here on earth as a man and he commanded the stormy sea of Galilee: "Hush! Be quiet!" — Psalm 16:10; 110:1; Matthew 28:18; Mark 4:39.
27 That there can be no peace and security on earth by man's rejecting of God's Prince of Peace and his princely rule, we have a solemn warning example in history. That was in the case of Jerusalem itself. She was favored with having the complete Hebrew Bible of that day, of thirty-nine books from Genesis to Malachi, and she was hon-
27, 28. (a) In what city do we have a warning example of how peace cannot come by rejecting God's Prince of Peace, and how was she favored? (b) Before whom did she reject him, and so what did God speak to her?
ored with being the first to have the opportunity to accept the Prince of Peace as Jehovah's anointed King. Yet Jerusalem rejected him. Her priesthood led the fanatical mob in crying out to the Roman governor, Caesar's representative: "If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Every man making himself a king speaks against Caesar. ... We have no king but Caesar. "From the prophecies Jesus foreknew that he would be rejected. (John 19:12-15) So in his triumphal ride toward Jerusalem he paused and wept over it and said: "If you, even you, had discerned in this day the things having to do with peace — but now they have been hid from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected." — Luke 19:35-44.
28 God let Jerusalem have Caesar, instead of Jesus, as king, but God did not speak peace to Jerusalem. Even by Jesus Christ, besides by previous prophets, Jehovah God spoke a war of destruction for Jerusalem. It came upon her A.D. 70. Then Jerusalem, who rejected Jesus Christ as king, was destroyed by armies of Caesar her king.
29 Antichrist Jerusalem became a prophetic picture of Christendom since the end of World War I in the year 1918. Ancient Jerusalem was in a covenant with Jehovah God through the law of Moses
29,30. (a) Whom did antichrist Jerusalem prophetically picture, and for whom did she claim to wait? (b) As in Jerusalem's case, how has Christendom had God's reigning King presented to her?
the prophet, and she claimed to be waiting for her Messiah, or Christ. Christendom claims to be in a covenant or in a contractual relationship with God through Jesus Christ as Mediator, and she professes to be waiting for his return and his kingdom.
30 Ancient Jerusalem had Jesus Christ riding on an ass amid a shouting throng presented to her as King in fulfillment of prophecy, but she rejected him. Christendom had World War I and the famines, pestilences, earthquakes and international distress that went along with the war and also followed it. By this fulfillment of Jesus' own prophecy Christendom had visible proof that he had been enthroned in his heavenly kingdom in 1914, at the end of the Gentile times, which end was marked by the raging of the Gentile nations in World War I. Since the stopping of World War I in 1918 Christendom has had proclaimed to her the good news of the establishment of God's kingdom by his Messiah-Christ. That fulfills the following prophetic words of Jesus: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come." (Matthew 24:14) Those preaching this good news of the Kingdom for the purpose of a witness to all nations have been and are witnesses of God's kingdom. By all the means of publicity and communication available in our modern days these Kingdom witnesses have preached publicly and from house to house and from nation to nation, so that today they are preaching in 175 lands of the globe and in more than 120 languages. They have been like the great throng shouting and waving palm branches that accompanied Jesus' triumphal ride into Jerusalem. In such a dramatic, prophecy-
fulfilling manner Christendom has had God's reigning King presented to her.
31 Despite her taking Christ's name and celebrating Palm Sunday each year, Christendom has rejected the Prince of Peace. She has chosen Caesar as king by choosing first the League of Nations and now the United Nations, and by persecuting the very ones bearing witness to God's kingdom under Jesus' command. As in Jerusalem's case, Christendom has not discerned the time of her being inspected, nor the things having to do with her peace. After Jerusalem's rejection of Jehovah's Prince of Peace it took thirty-seven years before siege, famine, pestilence, violence and destruction came upon that then unholy city. Now, more than forty years after Christendom's refusal to have the enthroned Jesus Christ as king, Christendom finds herself suffering the fulfillment of Christ's prophecy concerning the end of this wicked system of things, namely, "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation, while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." — Luke 21:25, 26.
A WAR WORSE THAN INTERNATIONAL
32 Under the terror of these times men view the future from the purely human standpoint and pub-
31. (a) How has Christendom rejected the Prince of Peace? (b) When did Jerusalem's destructive trouble come, and after more than forty years what does Christendom find herself suffering?
32. What danger do men see, but what worse danger is more real than that, and why so?
lish the warning, "We are facing a danger unlike any danger that has ever existed." They see only the danger of international nuclear war, the mere radioactive fallout from which would rain down a stealthy, noiseless death upon all mankind for generations to come. That is disastrous enough. However, Jesus Christ and the other prophets of Jehovah God forewarned of a danger worse than what our most advanced scientists or most discerning statesmen have envisaged. It is the danger of what the last book of the Holy Bible calls "the war of the great day of God the Almighty," for which the kings of the entire inhabited earth and their armies are described as being gathered to the symbolic place called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14-16) The danger is very real, as real as Almighty God is real, as real as Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords is real, as real as Christendom's refusing to have him but adopting the United Nations is real. It is more real a danger than international nuclear war, because the war of Armageddon is written and foretold in the infallible prophecies of the Holy Bible over God's own irreproachable name Jehovah.
33 In Isaiah 14:24-27 we read: "Jehovah of armies has sworn, saying: 'Surely just as I have figured, so it must occur; and just as I have counseled, that is what will come true, . . .' This is the counsel that is counseled against all the earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For Jehovah of armies himself has counseled, and who can break it up? And his hand is the one stretched out, and who can turn it
33. (a) Concerning the certainty of the fulfillment of Jehovah's stated purpose, what does Isaiah 14:24-27 say? (b) What divine purpose does Isaiah 34:1-4 set forth for this space age?
back?" In the face of this certainty that Jehovah will carry out his purpose, Isaiah 34:1-4 declares: "Come up close, you nations, to hear; and you national groups, pay attention. Let the earth and that which fills it listen, the productive land and all its produce. For Jehovah has indignation against all the nations, and rage against all their army. He must devote them to destruction; he must give them to the slaughter. And those of them slain will be thrown out; and as for their carcasses, their stink will ascend; and the mountains must melt because of their blood. And all those of the army of the heavens must rot away. And the heavens must be rolled up, just like a book scroll; and their army will all shrivel away, just as the leafage shrivels off the vine and like a shriveled fig off the fig tree." No space warplanes and missiles will avail then.
34 Pointing to what faces the nations, more particularly Jerusalem's modern counterpart Christendom, Jesus prophesied concerning the end of this system of things and said: "Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short." "Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as people were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
34. Concerning what faces particularly Jerusalem's modern counterpart, what did Jesus prophesy concerning the sudden tribulation?
until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be." — Matthew 24:21, 22, 36-39.
35 The danger of the things here prophetically foretold is a danger unlike any that farsighted men can discern or picture. It is a danger of things much worse than nuclear war between man and man. It is the danger of war between God and man, war between Christ and the invisible ruler of this world, Satan the Devil, with all his demon hosts and earthly armies? It means the complete end of this world-wide system of things, in the same way that the flood of the days of Noah spelled the end of the corrupt, violent system of things before the global deluge. Since the danger today is so unusual, the means for providing for man's survival into a new system of things of everlasting peace must be just as unusual as Noah's building of an ark of tremendous size. By them some flesh will be saved.
CONCERN FOR MAN'S SURVIVAL INTO PEACE
36 Who, then, of all peoples on earth are showing most concern for the continued existence of humanity in this nuclear, missile, space age? Is it politicians and philosophers like the prominent men whom we have already quoted, who see serious danger from only human sources? No, it must be those who see facing the people of Russia, China, Britain, America, France, Germany and
35. Why is the danger unlike any that farsighted men discern, and how will man survive into a new system of peace?
36,37. (a) Who today are showing the "most concern for the continued existence of humanity? (b) How are they showing this concern, and why?
all the other nations the one danger greater than a third world war with nuclear weapons, and who have been incessantly warning all mankind about it for more than eighty years now.
37 They are the ones today faithfully following and obeying Jesus Christ, who nineteen centuries ago was so concerned for the continued existence of the human family that he was willing to die a cruel death, to lay down his perfect life as a ransom sacrifice for whoever of mankind would believe and accept it. He was so concerned for God's earthly creatures that he also left instructions for his true followers who would be living at this most crucial time of human history. He instructed them to show the greatest concern for mankind's continued existence by their warning men concerning the real danger and by preaching God's kingdom as the one and only means for enjoying protection and preservation. These Kingdom witnesses of today know that not only is the life of the people during this condemned old system of things involved but also their personal everlasting life in God's new system of things. The people need to know the safe course to take in order not to be destroyed forever with this old system of things when it is destroyed like the antediluvian world of Noah's day. They need to hear God speak peace.
WHEN AND HOW?
38 Since the nations inescapably face the long-foretold destruction in the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," just ahead, when is it that God speaks peace to all nations? And how? The fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that the time
38. When and how does God speak peace to all nations, but why is there continual disturbance internationally?
has already begun. It is now! And God speaks peace by means of his enthroned King, Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace. No, we are not speaking in self-contradiction. The political governments and nations of this world do not hear God speak peace. They suffer continual disturbance, fears and perplexity. Their being in this disquieting condition is not because Jehovah God is not now speaking peace. It is because they have shut their ears to hearing him speak peace.
39 Jehovah is called the God of peace. Hence we read: "The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly." (Romans 16:20) Continuous, perfect peace can come only from Jehovah God, and the nations under Satan the Devil have been striving to get such peace without God. How? By international alliances, by nonaggression pacts, by disarmament conferences, by circulating peace petitions, by cultural exchanges between nations, and by other worldly-wise means, yes, by every means except by God's kingdom through Christ. The results of their desperate efforts show into which of the two classes described in Isaiah 57:19-21 the political governments and nations fall. Isaiah says: "'Continuous peace there will be to the one that is far away and to the one that is near,' Jehovah has said, 'and I will heal him.' 'But the wicked are like the sea that is being tossed, when it is unable to calm down, the waters of which keep tossing up seaweed and mire. There is no peace,' my God has said, 'for the wicked ones.'"
40 These refusing God's peace talk, then the
39. How have the nations been trying to get peace, and how do the results show that they are wicked?
40. What kind of language will God at last speak to them, and why?
only kind of language from God that the political governments and nations can understand must be war. Hence war, not peace, is what Jehovah God will speak to them at Armageddon, in the "great day of God the Almighty." That kind of divine speech will bring their eternal destruction.
41 However, among all nations to whom the good news of God's kingdom has gone since 1918 there have proved to be multitudes of meek, peace-loving, sheeplike individuals. These humble themselves to keep quiet and hear what Jehovah God has to say through his Kingdom witnesses. They desire to hear what He has to speak now, before he speaks war to their nations at Armageddon. The very approach that God's speech now makes to these sheeplike individuals is one imparting peace, for when Jesus Christ sent out disciples to preach from house to house he said: "Wherever you enter into a house say first: 'May this house have peace.' Also, wherever you enter into a city and they receive you, ... go on telling them: 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' " — Luke 10:5,8,9.
42 The sheeplike people in all nations show themselves to be friends of peace with God, for they detect the speech of God in the good news that his Kingdom witnesses preach and they joyfully accept the Kingdom message. These friends of peace see that there is no peace between the political nations and that these nations do not enjoy peace with God. At the same time they see it is among God's Kingdom witnesses that the prophecy of
41. Who, however, hear what God speaks now, and what kind of approach does his speech make to them?
42. How do these people show themselves to be friends of peace, and with whom do they then associate themselves, and why?
Psalm 85:8-10 is even now being fulfilled, namely: "I will hear what The true God Jehovah will speak, for he will speak peace to his people and to his men of loving-kindness, but let them not return to self-confidence. Surely his salvation is near to those fearing him, for glory to reside in our land. Loving-kindness and trueness themselves have met each other; righteousness and peace themselves have kissed each other." So by associating themselves with Jehovah's people and his men of loving-kindness these sheeplike individuals enter into peace.
43 The Kingdom witnesses, Jehovah's people, have no part with Christendom in rejecting Jehovah's anointed King, Jesus Christ, and in choosing the man-made agency for peace, the United Nations. No, but as representatives of the heavenly Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, they fulfill Zechariah's prophecy. How? By rejoicing greatly and shouting in acclaim to Jehovah's King, who has come riding along to his coronation, "just, and having salvation." Therefore Jehovah God has no war to fight with them. True, they have come from nations that are often at war with one another, in cold war, hot war, economic war. But God unites these sheeplike people from all nations around his one anointed King, Jesus Christ, and speaks peace to them. He teaches them the art of godly peace. He commands peace among their ranks. He fills them with "the wisdom from above," which is "first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, . . . not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical." (James 3:17) He instructs
43,44. (a) Why does Jehovah have no war to fight with the Kingdom witnesses? (b) How does he speak peace to them and fulfill Zechariah 9:10 toward them?
them to be "earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3) In this manner he cuts off war from their congregations and assemblies and fulfills to his spiritual people in a modern way Zechariah's prophecy to those who now accept Jehovah's King:
44 "I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth." — Zechariah 9:10, AS.
45 Do the facts match this prophecy? Yes! Examine the international organization and the affairs of the Kingdom witnesses, who are Jehovah's witnesses. They are found today in more than 175 lands; yet you will find that in their Christian congregations and international assemblies there exists no tribal warfare or international warfare such as once raged between the tribe of Ephraim, the leading tribe in the northern kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem with its king of the tribe of Judah. There are no international or interracial jealousies, rivalries, competitions, prejudices, which things are a sign of earthly, animal, demonic wisdom. At the Divine Will International Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses in New York city in 1958, attended on Friday, August 1, 1958, by 194,418 from 123 lands, and at subsidiary Divine Will assemblies in ninety other cities outside the United States, Jehovah's witnesses adopted a stirring Resolution, 70,000,000 copies of which
45,46. (a) How do the facts respecting them match Zechariah 9:10? (b) In 1958 what did they adopt and begin to distribute in support of what prophecy by Isaiah?
were printed in fifty languages to be distributed free throughout the earth. By adopting and distributing this Resolution they vowed before Jehovah God and his reigning King Jesus Christ to carry out now the prophetic description of godly, peace-loving people, in Isaiah 2:2-4:
46 "It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills, and to it -all the nations must stream. And many peoples will certainly go and say: 'Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will instruct us about his ways and we will walk in his paths.' For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more."
47 Both during World War I and ever since then Jehovah's witnesses have taken no part in fighting "against blood and flesh" with death-dealing instruments. (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4) Hence in their International Assembly Resolution they could honestly say: "That, figuratively speaking, we have beaten our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning shears and, although of so many nationalities, we will not lift up sword against one another because we are Christian brothers and members of the one family
47. What could they honestly declare in that Resolution, and why?
of God, neither will we learn to war against one another any more, but we will walk in God's paths in peace, unity and brotherly love."
48 Remarkably, therefore, Isaiah's prophecy that the worshipers of Jehovah of one nationality would not lift up sword against His worshipers of another nationality and would not learn war any more is not waiting to be fulfilled after the war of Armageddon, but is being fulfilled now. It is now that Jehovah is speaking peace to his people and instructing them about his ways. It is now that they are walking in his paths, obeying his law out of heavenly Zion, abiding by his judgment and accepting matters in the way that he sets these straight. It is now, during the greatest international arms race of human history, that they are learning the art of true Christian peace and obeying Jehovah's Prince of Peace, now when it is left to one's free choice to do so and now when there is virtue or merit in doing so, without one's being forced to do so.
49 Now they cherish the beatitude set forth in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: "Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called 'sons of God.' " (Matthew 5:9) They know now the happiness of the "sons of God," because they are at peace with God and with the kingdom of his dear Son. For this reason they do not fear the battle of Armageddon, even though it is the greatest danger that has ever existed for all nations. They know that at Armageddon Jehovah God will continue to
48. When, therefore, is Isaiah 2:2-4 being fulfilled, and why is there virtue or merit in its being fulfilled then?
49, 50. (a) What beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount do they enjoy, and why do they not fear Armageddon? (b) How will Jehovah do what disarmament conferences failed to do, and who will see him do it?
speak peace through his great Shepherd King to all his sheeplike people out of all nations. He will defend and preserve them, whereas he will speak a war of annihilation against all those on earth who have not now sued for peace with Him and his King. By destroying these hostile ones Jehovah God will do what international disarmament conferences have failed to do: wipe out international war from a blood-drenched earth. The happy peaceable ones, who are the "sons of God," will prove to be the ones to whom Psalm 46:8-11 is addressed:
50 "Come you, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire. 'Give in and know you that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' Jehovah of armies is with us; the God of Jacob is a secure height for us."
51 The survivors of this "war of the great day of God the Almighty" will indeed behold the activities of Jehovah in setting astonishing events on the earth, wiping out all peace disturbers. These prospective survivors are already committed to peace and friendship with God and will have to take no hand in the universal war of Armageddon. Their course is dictated for them in the prophetic words: "As for you, do not be afraid or be terrified because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's." For this reason they do not now have to arm and train for that war of Armageddon. — 2 Chronicles 20:15.
51. Why will these have to take no hand in the war of Armageddon?
52 When Armageddon ends, the millennial reign of the Prince of Peace will begin over a loyal, peaceable people on earth, saved out of all the present nations. His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth; hence it will embrace all the earth. Concerning his reign this prophetic prayer was recorded: "Let the mountains carry peace to the people, also the hills, through righteousness. In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more." (Psalm 72:3, 7) The prophet Isaiah verifies this enduring of peace under the One whose name is to be called Prince of Peace, saying: "To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end." (Isaiah 9:6, 7) As God's Mouthpiece he will speak peace to all nations, to his surviving subjects out of all nations.
53 Thousands of years ago a symbol of God's peaceful purpose, a rainbow, appeared to Noah and his family after the ancient world of the ungodly was destroyed by the global flood. Fulfilling that historical prophecy, peace like a glowing rainbow will arch itself over all the earth and its inhabitants, after the storm of Armageddon destroys this present war-racked system of things and cleanses the earth for the peaceful, righteous new system of things. Then those who begin living on earth under Christ's reign will build confidently without fear that what they construct will be destroyed or seized by armed invaders or that their productive fields will be overrun and ruined by
52. (a) After Armageddon, over whom will the millennial reign begin? (b) How does Isaiah verify the enduring of peace then?
53. How will the historical prophecy of the rainbow after the Flood be fulfilled, and into what will the earth be converted?
maneuvering troops or heavy engines of destruction. They will build and plant in the stimulating assurance that they will occupy, reap and enjoy the products of their Tabors. The ruiners of the earth being annihilated, the earth will be converted by God's blessing through his King into a perfect paradise home.
54 In this earthly paradise all the animal life will be tamed by God's power and will be at peace with man, who will exercise God-given dominion over them. "And a mere little boy will be leader over them." (Isaiah 11:6) Perfect health will become obedient mankind's possession, and bodily perfection will make them beautiful creatures, made in God's image, according to His likeness. Moreover, all those sleeping in the memorial tombs will be awakened by the voice of the King and will come forth by resurrection to opportunities for everlasting life in perfection on earth under his rule as an Everlasting Father. To these he will speak peace. By forever worshiping Jehovah God and obeying his Savior King all earth's inhabitants may, to the glory of God in the heights above, enjoy "peace on earth" as "men of good will," men whom the God of peace approves and to whom he speaks peace.
54. How will peace be established between man and animal life, and how may all enjoy "peace on earth" as God's "men of good will"?