THE WORDS OF A TRUE PROPHET, and not our own words, form the title of this booklet. Is now the time for His words to apply? WHAT DO THE FACTS SHOW? You will never know unless you examine them Scripturally. Religion has blinded men to the meaning of well-known and observed facts. Now, with this booklet, look at those facts in the Bible light, without religious discoloration, and then experience a joy you never knew till now.
— THE PUBLISHERS
AND PUBLISHED BY
WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, INC.
International Bible Students Association
Brooklyn, N. Y., U. S, A.
Made in the United States of America
"The Kingdom of God Is Nigh"
AS IF by a resurrection out of a dead past of nineteen centuries ago the cry again goes forth as a challenge to all the world, "The kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (See Luke's Gospel, chapter 21, verse 31.)
The cry arises from none of the many hundreds of religious sects and cults of "Christendom". It finds no echo in the political councils of national and international bodies. It finds no guiding and controlling position in the postwar reconstruction plans and policies of money-wise commercial boards and social agencies. Nevertheless, the collision of world-shaking events upon this generation since A.D. 1914 is so tremendous that, if there were no convinced, responsive and courageous persons on earth to sound out the news, the very stones under men's feet would cry out; for announcement of the Kingdom is by all proofs the message of the hour.
At the very outset all misunderstanding of what is meant should be cleared away. The announcement that God's kingdom is nigh is no part of a propaganda campaign for a revived League of Nations, such as shortly after World War I. Then various points and proposals were being argued for the postwar period, and the Council of the Federation of Churches in America came out with this surprising statement in January of 1919, namely: "The time has come
to organize the world for truth, right, justice and humanity. To this end as Christians we urge the establishment of a League of Free Nations at the coming Peace Conference. Such a league is not merely a peace expedient; it is rather THE POLITICAL EXPRESSION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH. The League of Nations is rooted in the gospel. Like the gospel, its objective is 'Peace on earth, good will toward men'. The heroic dead will have died in vain unless out of victory shall come a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. . . . The church can give a spirit of good will, without which no League of Nations can endure."
On all sides it is agreed that the League of Nations failed; which fact means also that the religious organizations failed to give it a spirit of good-will to endure. In 1933, when the Nazi dictator withdrew Germany from the League of Nations, and again in 1935, when the Fascist Concordat-partner of the Vatican defied the League sanctions and crushed Ethiopia under his legions, was there a protest made in behalf of the League by the Vatican head of the most powerful religious "church" of "Christendom"? No; not an expression of good-will toward it at all.' Now, in the face of its failure, the religionists must admit either that the League of Nations was never the political expression of God's kingdom on earth or else that His kingdom failed. God's promised Government can never fail. The kingdom of God that is nigh has no relationship whatsoever with any league or association, past, present, or future, of the nations of this world.
The message of the kingdom of God as nigh finds its origin in the Book of Highest Authority, the Holy Bible, as now highlighted by the facts of this twentieth century. That infallible authority connects the setting up of the kingdom of God with the end of this world. It ill befits the time for those who yearn for life, peace and happiness in a new world of righteousness to linger under any religious delusion now as to what the kingdom of God is and through whom it will operate. To escape from the disaster to which the delusions of "Christendom" lead they must turn to the Bible for correct knowledge. The truth has never been gotten from the jargon of religions, and it never will. The confession made to God, namely, "Thy word is truth," stands as unshakably a reality today as when Jesus Christ uttered it nineteen hundred years ago. Those who now search God's Word of truth find that it sets forth the kingdom of God as the principal doctrine or teaching of the Bible. Therefore, if the incontrovertible testimony of the facts today is that His Righteous Government is nigh, then this is the grandest of news that could be proclaimed and it should command the most respectful attention of all persons who are in distress over the world conditions.
This conviction as to the nighness of God's rule over earth is based upon firm grounds, as unchangeable as -the history of the past thirty years, and as reliable as the Word of God. Hence this conviction is no wishful thinking or unreasonable conclusion. Backed by the facts, it is not presumptuous for those who take the
Bible as the guide to the truth to announce boldly, "The kingdom of God is nigh." To the contrary, it would be cowardice and a grave failure of duty for them not to inform the nations and peoples of what surpasses all other news in value and comfort. No one could, with God's approval and blessing, make this wonderful announcement unless first the Almighty God had caused to be foretold long ago in His Word the evidences that would mark the establishment of his kingdom. Furthermore, no one could make this announcement and do so free from an unauthorized private interpretation of the Scriptures unless the same Almighty God caused the inspired prophecies to go into actual fulfillment and then caused such fulfillments of prophecy and their meaning to be brought to the notice of His faithful servants. After God has favored his approved servants to this extent, then it is commanded upon them and it is their duty to bear witness to the Kingdom, whether religionists and others hear and heed or do not hear and heed. If the lofty religious leaders, politicians and financiers reject the Kingdom witness, it does not alter the facts and their significance, and it should not serve as a guide to what honest men and women should believe and do.
In an hour of decision the highest politician of Judea said: "What is truth?" The great Witness to the truth was standing before him. This One was the greatest witness to the kingdom of God, and said to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor: "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would
my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence." Then, when Pilate asked if he was a king, Jesus Christ said that his main mission to this earth was to give testimony to the truth of the kingdom of God, saying: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." — John 18:36-38.
This very testimony of Jesus before Pilate disproves the religious teaching that the Kingdom began after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and that his reign was established thereafter in almost every part of the earth. Several hours earlier Jesus said to his faithful apostles: "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me [in common]." (John 14: 30) All human history since then definitely proves that Satan the Devil has continued to be the "prince of this world". Hence the kingdom of God did not come when and as religious organizations teach, because the Kingdom and this world under Satan have nothing in common. The Kingdom is not of this world. Never have the kingdoms of this world become transformed into the kingdom of God and of his Messiah Christ. The attaching of the name "Christian" to certain religionized nations and calling them all "Christendom" has not answered the prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." The kingdoms of "Christendom" and of all other nations have stayed just where Jesus Christ left them, when Satan the Devil offered them
and their glory to Jesus if he would fall down and worship Satan, and Jesus refused and turned down earthly kingdom glory. Jesus authorized no so-called "vicar" to take over such kingdoms for him; for they are of this world, which shall end, and are not of heaven.
The Lord God Jehovah anointed Jesus with His spirit to be the King. His kingdom is the kingdom of God, because it originates with God and He will reign over this earth through it. It is therefore a Theocratic government. It is also called "the kingdom of heaven", because God its Author is heavenly, its Ruler Christ Jesus is heavenly, and it will rule this earth from heaven and be a new heavens of authority and power over humankind here below.
Six months before the anointing of the King with holy spirit, Jehovah God sent the forerunner John the Baptist to declare, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." After being anointed, Christ Jesus himself took up the work of witnessing to The Theocratic Government, and declared: "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Instead of intermeddling with the governments of this world, he placed the kingdom of God first, and everywhere called attention to it. The record is that "he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him". (Luke 8:1) These twelve apostles he sent out, and gave them the instruction: "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." "He sent them to preach the kingdom of God." (Matthew 10: 7; Luke 9:1, 2) Besides
them, he sent out seventy more publicity-men under the instructions: "Heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." — Luke 10:1-9.
Had the entire nation of Israel accepted the Kingdom message and received Jehovah's anointed King, we cannot tell how the course of human history from then till now would have been altered. But who was it that blocked the nation's acceptance of God's anointed King? Who caused the common people that once heard him gladly to cry out for his death on the tree? It was no other than the religious leaders, the ones to whom Jesus said: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." (Matthew 23:13) Those religious "blind guides" chose the kingdoms of this world, preferring no king but Caesar instead of Messiah Christ. The Bible record says: "But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask [for] Barabbas, and destroy Jesus." "When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. . . . Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar." (Matthew 27:20; John 19:6, 15) So it happens when the trusting people follow religious guides, and not God's Word.
The death of the "man Christ Jesus" has not frustrated God's purpose to establish the Righteous Government in the hands of his Messiah. Jesus' faithfulness unto death for the interests
of that Government only proved him to be the One worthy to fill the throne in that kingdom; and the Almighty God Jehovah raised him out of death. As the apostle Peter says: "Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit." (1 Peter 3:18, Douay Version) Thus Christ Jesus, by his resurrection, returned to life in the spirit. Forty days later he ascended to heaven into God's presence with the merit of his human sacrifice to apply its value in behalf of all that should believe on him and faithfully follow him. Those who should do so in the accepted time and day of so great salvation should be associated with him in the heavenly kingdom. At Jesus' death and resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God the momentous message, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand," ceased, because the King was no longer present among men as the chief representative of the kingdom of God.
At Jesus' ascent to heaven it was not God's will that his anointed King should immediately set up The Theocratic Government over all humankind and begin his reign. He must await Jehovah God's due time, and in the meanwhile those who should become his associates in the kingdom of heaven must be selected from among men and be proved worthy of this high calling. Therefore it was prophetically written: "Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (Psalm 110:1, Am. Stan. Ver.) "But he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting [waiting] till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet." (Hebrews 10:12,13, Am. Stan. Ver.) When on. earth as a man, Christ Jesus himself stressed to his disciples that he must wait a long time at God's right hand before the kingdom of heaven would be set up over men. He must wait till the end of the "times of the Gentiles"; and the Bible timetable shows that then those Gentile times had yet about nineteen hundred years to run. (Luke 21: 24) That very fact proves that during all those centuries the kingdoms that dominated the earth, including "Christendom", were Gentile governments of this world, and not the kingdom of God with kings ruling by divine right.
However, the message that the Kingdom is at hand was not meant to be silenced for ever. In the purpose of God it was foretold that the time would come when the message should be proclaimed, namely: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ." (Revelation 12:10) And concerning that same time Christ Jesus said: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14) The time for the preaching of this gospel of the Kingdom nigh at hand is now. In view of the honor due to that kingdom, its announcement deserves the first place and dominant space in all the news of every nation. Those who truly follow in Christ's footprints will give it the same place in their lives that Jesus did, joyfully devoting themselves to it and gladly
comforting the mourning millions with this glorious message.
Let neither the opposition of combined religion to the message nor the persecution religionists pour out upon the message-bearers dampen your interest. It was the religious elements in Jesus' day that hid the key of Bible knowledge and shut up the kingdom of heaven against their congregations and led the nation into the ditch of destruction. Today multitudes of honest men and women, who have been fooled and exploited by religion, ask in all sincerity: What is the proof that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand now? We reply:
WHAT DO THE FACTS SHOW?
Christ Jesus the King did not intend that his genuine followers should be ignorant of the most momentous event of all human history, the establishment of the kingdom of the Most High God. He meant that they, distinct from all the millions of religionists, should be enlightened as to the time. For that purpose he foretold in detail the facts and happenings to be observed that should mark the time and that should unmistakably certify to his faithful disciples that the blessed time was present.
In the last days that he was on earth as a man Jesus was not impressed by the outward grandeur of the temple at Jerusalem, which the practitioners of Judaism had turned into a den of thieves and a center of selfish, oppressive religion. To his awestruck disciples Jesus predicted the not distant destruction of that highly venerated temple. Jehovah God was not in the
place; he had left it desolate. Amazed thereat, Jesus' disciples came to him privately and asked: "Tell us, when these things shall be, and what the sign when all these things shall be about to be concluded?" (Mark 13:4, Rotherham) In answer, Jesus gave his remarkable prophecy." It was more than a prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem's temple less than forty years after his day. The full question that his disciples asked him, and to which he made lengthy reply, was this, as recorded at Matthew 24:3: "Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world?" (Douay) Jesus' prophecy was therefore delivered to foretell the evidences by which his watching disciples could and would know positively that the end of this world had been reached and his presence in the throne of the ruling kingdom of God had begun.
To be sure, Jesus did foretell the destruction of the literal temple and city of Jerusalem, but he included that disaster in his prophecy because the coming destruction thereof was in itself a prophecy of what should take place on a grander scale at the end of the world. (Luke 21:20-24) One proof of the truthfulness and inspiration of a prophet is the fulfillment of his words to the glory of God. Hence the historic fact that in A.D. 70 the Roman legions under Titus burned the temple and then leveled the entire city of Jerusalem (except three towers) even with the ground, after a most horrible slaughter of the Jews, guarantees that Jesus' entire prophecy is true and that all of it will
most certainly be fulfilled in completeness at the end of this world. Jerusalem's temple had been taken over and denied by the tradition-keeping practicers of "the Jews' religion" who neglected God's Word and rejected and killed Jehovah's anointed King, Christ Jesus. Thus that temple was a prophetic symbol or type of the organized religion of those nations which call themselves "Christendom", thereby professing to be God's chosen people. Ancient Jerusalem was dominated by the. religious rulers who conspired against God's royal Son; and it pictured the organization of "Christendom" under religionists of like spirit.
From that standpoint the apostle Paul wrote that the things that befell the Jewish nation back there "happened unto them for ensamples [types]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall". Therefore "Christendom" and her religionists that scoff at the proclamation that "the kingdom of God is nigh" should take heed lest she fall in God's visitation of destruction upon her, destruction so terrible that it will make the destruction of her prototype, religious Jerusalem, seem like only a miniature fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. — 1 Corinthians 10:11,12; and the marginal reading.
It is therefore evident that religious clergymen have missed the full meaning of the prophecy and thus have thrown the people off guard. The fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy is not a mere past event of the first century A.D., but is the experience of this twentieth century and of the
generation today living. In a few words, telling of false Christs and of false alarms and of wars, commotions and seditions, Jesus foretold the history in between that first century and this, and added: "These things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet presently." (Luke 21:8,9, Douay) Thereupon, to state definitely what should indicate that the time of the end had come at last, the Bible record reports: "THEN he said to them: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there shall be great earthquakes in divers places, and pestilences, and famines, and terrors from heaven; and there shall be great signs." (Luke 21:10,11, Douay) Millions of the present living generation, as well as the school history books, can testify that those things came with a sudden impact and with an unusual complication and accumulation of circumstances in a few brief years from and after A.D. 1914. The war that there began was no mere international fracas, but is properly called a WORLD war. More than thirty nations engaged in it, and it was waged in the four quarters of the earth. It was no usual clashing of armies, but was a total warfare, in which whole peoples, whole nations, whole kingdoms, fought against other totally mobilized peoples, nations and kingdoms; and even the milk rations of the helpless babies in their cribs were encroached upon thereby. Food shortages set in, and famines smote regions here and there. Then the pestilence struck, with appalling deadliness, outrivaling even the "Black Death" of 1347-1350, which carried off 25,000,000 persons; for in but a few months and
in a modern civilized society the Spanish "flu" of 1917-1918 dealt death to an estimated 20,000,000 victims, more than were killed in the years of World War I. In addition, there were earthquakes, such as that of January, 1915, in Central Italy, which took a toll of 29,978 lives, and to be followed by still more devastating earthquakes which rocked Japan (1923), China (1932), and Turkey (1939).
Scorners will brush these extraordinary events aside with the careless remark that we have had wars, famines, plagues, and earth disturbances in the past, and the end of the world did not come. But Jesus foretold these things to happen in a concentrated dose within a limited period of time, and he placed the correct interpretation (which we safely accept) upon these events since 1914, when he said with authority: "All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24: 7, 8) If these things be the "beginning" of sorrows, then it means that their coming marks the beginning of the "time of the end". Daniel's prophecy, chapter eleven, to which Jesus' own prophecy refers, declared that the "time of the end" would be featured by warlike aggressions of the Nazi-Fascist "king of the north" against the democratic "king of the south", and there would be great desolation and spreading encroachments upon the liberal institutions and the rights and freedoms of the common people.
These things are not simple accidents of human history. They not only were foreseen and described in advance, but also began to be fulfilled at God's due time, which time was fixed by
Him long in advance. That time was the date of the expiring of the "times of the Gentiles" mentioned by Christ Jesus in this very prophecy. The Scriptures show that these "times" were divinely ordained to be "seven" in number, and that they began in the year of the first destruction of unfaithful Jerusalem and its temple by the Babylonians, namely, in 607 B.C. Other WATCHTOWER publications have set forth at some length that such "seven times" equaled 2,520 literal solar years. Hence, starting in the fall of 607 B.C., they closed in the fall of A.D. 1914. That period of time represented God's allowance to Satan the Devil of a period of uninterrupted rule as "the god of this world". (Daniel, chapter 4) For that reason, when Christ Jesus ascended from earth to the right hand of God on high, he could not begin actively reigning at once, but must wait. It follows that, when the period of Satan's uninterrupted rule, or the "times of the Gentiles", should run out or end, then the "time of the end" of his demonic and human organization must begin. Not only that, but the time must begin for the foretold kingdom of God to exercise its power against all enemies, and the time must have arrived for Christ Jesus to come into the Kingdom and begin reigning as the active representative of Jehovah God. That fact meant alterations, changes in the situation in the invisible heavens, changes of world importance, and the effects of which would be felt and observed in all the nations on this globe.
The Apocalypse, or The Revelation, chapter 12, opens our eyes to perceive what took
place in the spirit realm at the time of the end of Satan's uninterrupted rule. The Theocratic Government, pictured as a newly born "man child", was brought forth from the body of the mother organization, God's holy universal organization. This Government, in the hands of Jehovah's beloved Son Christ Jesus, was installed in the throne of power by Jehovah God despite the attempts on the life of the new-born Theocratic Government by all the Devil's demon organization. Such birth of the Kingdom meant the interruption at once of Satan's unhalted rule in the heavenly heights. War by the angelic hosts under the new King was declared against the demon hosts under the "prince of this world" forthwith. The result of the superhuman conflict was the ousting of Satan and his organized hosts from their hitherto place in the heavens and the confining of them down to the vicinity of the earth.
A sorrowful defeat was this for Satan and all his world, but it was a glorious victory for the vindication of Jehovah's name and his kingdom. And today, through the voice of the prophetic Scriptures now undergoing fulfillment, we hear the "loud voice" that then rang through the heavens: "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down." (Revelation 12:10) But mark this: Although Satan and his demons were cast down from the literal heavens, they were not bound and cast by God's mighty Messenger into the "bottomless pit" of complete restraint. That binding and confining of Satan and his demon
hosts must come only when the full limit of the "time of the end" is reached and the smashing climax of sorrow must overwhelm him and his world. — Revelation 20:1-3.
What effect should these events properly have upon those who love God fully and who obey his command to "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world"? Let us pause to note what occurred but a short time after April 8, the date that the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church disputed that the pope of Rome was the vicar of Christ, and the British archbishop of York on the same day agreed, saying: "We both repudiate the claims of the pope of Rome." Thereafter, on June 20, Pius XII said to about 4,000 soldiers of the victorious British Eighth Army whom he received at the Vatican:
God has willed that we should be the vicar of Christ on earth at a period of human history when the world is filled as never before with weeping and suffering* and distress unmeasured. And you know very well how our paternal heart has at times been almost overwhelmed by the sorrows of our children. You are of those children.*
If this self-styled "vicar of Christ" was sorrowful at world conditions, what do the Scriptures show to be the attitude of the real Christ at world events? and what does the "loud voice" from heaven say should be the attitude of those who are true representatives and servants of God and of Christ? Revelation 12:12 answers, saying: "Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye
that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." All who are "not of this world" but who stand for God's kingdom of heaven obey this command: They rejoice because that kingdom is nigh, despite the woe and great wrath of Satan the Devil. Those who are of this world are overwhelmed in their hearts and toss about in its woeful sorrows.
For the postwar era Jesus did not predict a lifting of the sorrows that began in 1914. If that was the beginning of sorrows, then they must keep on until the final end of this "time of the end". Jesus predicted that such continuation of world distress would be one of the signs that we have reached the end of the world or of Satan's uninterrupted rule, and that Satan's time thenceforth is short until his entire organization is consumed in destruction. Said Jesus as to Satan's shakedown from heaven and the disturbed condition of the sea of peoples alienated from Jehovah God: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." — Luke 21:25, 26.
Today, more than thirty years after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, who will deny that this is the state of the nations everywhere I Hear them as they groan under the unparalleled consequences of World War II; and already
fears are voiced of a World War III as in preparation, and various plans are proposed to forestall it. Jehovah God is not responsible for any of these world wars, nor for the related sufferings and woe now afflicting the earth. He is not punishing the people with such things because they do not support the religious clergy and in order to force them to go after "more religion" in the postwar epoch. Revelation 12:12,13,17 definitely states that Satan the Devil is the one responsible and that he maliciously charges Jehovah God with the blame for all these woes, in order to deceive the people into hating Jehovah God and turning them in bitterness away from his kingdom under Christ Jesus.
Not only do the religious organizations falsely accuse God, but they and so-called "patriotic" societies and legions and national governments persecute Jehovah's witnesses and accuse them of sedition and of communism, and also proscribe their literature and ban their witness activities. All such opposers do well to stop and to consider whom they are serving in so doing. Concerning the Devil's organization in his fight against Jehovah's organization as pictured by His "woman", it is written: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of. God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:13,17) That means that another forceful sign of the end of the world would be the persecution of Jehovah's covenant peo-
ple, who take up the same testimony as Jesus did in obedience to God's commandments.
Christ Jesus did not say that because certain nations would fight under the slogan, "Make the world safe for democracy," therefore his followers would be free from persecution, and that tolerance and good-will would mark the democratic nations as in contrast with the autocratic nations. To the contrary, Jesus' prophecy setting forth the signs of the "time of the end" said: "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. . . . And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." (Luke 21:12-17) Tea, "and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." — Matthew 24: 9.
Whom do the records since 1914 testify to be the victims of such hate and persecutions at the hands of men and nations? Horrible, inexcusable, and condemnable as have been the Nazi-Fascist-religious persecutions against the Jewish race, yet such persecutions have not been for Christ's name's sake. Who, then, were the ones that all nations hated during World War I? Whose work did they suppress, throwing the active ones into prisons and detention camps under false charges and forbidding their literature and refusing to protect them against priest-incited mobs and tumults and boycotts? The records are there beyond falsification; they
answer: "Jehovah's witnesses!" Such injustices were heaped upon them solely for Jesus' name's sake. His name, which God has given him since his resurrection, denotes the high office of Christ Jesus next to his heavenly Father. It was because of uncompromisingly confessing and upholding the office of Christ Jesus as Jehovah's enthroned and reigning King and Rightful Ruler of the New World, that Jehovah's witnesses were hated and afflicted by all men and nations back there and also till this present day. In 1933, the first thing after the Nazi dictator took over power in Germany, he suppressed the organization of Jehovah's witnesses, after which he signed his concordat with the Vatican on July 20, the present pope as then secretary of state being the signer thereto in behalf of the Vatican. Thereafter Jehovah's witnesses, by the thousands, were thrust into German concentration camps, their literature being burned and confiscated, while at the same time their few brethren in Fascist Italy suffered like imprisonment.
In the crucial year of 1940 the Nazi-Fascist hordes were on the march with the clergy's blessing and it appeared that they were within reach of their goal of taking over the democracies, including America, by religious "fifth column" elements and pseudo-patriotic orders. That fateful year the pages of United States history were uglified and dishonored by mobs, and violent lawless outbreaks of fanatical, misguided religionists against Jehovah's witnesses in forty-four states. This did not take Jehovah's witnesses by surprise, for they were fore-
warned of such things. They know what time it is in which these things indicate they are living. They trust in Jesus' encouraging word that "he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved". — Matthew 24:13.
What have the nations and religious organizations gained by such treatment of these Christians? What did they expect or have they expected to accomplish by hate and abuse against Jehovah's witnesses? That these faithful Christians would compromise and quit and stop their witness work? and that the nations would no more hear preached the empowered kingdom of God, nor the day of his vengeance against the nations of this world? To this, let no human voice answer. Let the words of the King of kings answer, at Matthew 24:14, where, right after telling of the hatred and persecution against Jehovah's witnesses, Jesus adds: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Such are the words of Jesus Christ applying to our day; and let all nations seeking to defeat His words by intolerant and unconstitutional action against God's witnesses take note of Jesus' words in this same prophecy: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." (Luke 21: 32, 33) The sign of the preaching of the kingdom of God as at hand will continue being presented from house to house until Satan's heavens and earth meet their final end, soon!
The purpose of such preaching of the Kingdom gospel is not to proselyte, nor to get joiners to some earthly, man-made organization. It is not done with any fanatical idea of converting the world. It is done solely for the reason that Jesus mentioned, namely, "for a witness unto all nations," serving notice upon rulers and peoples, and then letting the nations choose their own course of action. To those very nations that hate them Jehovah's witnesses go and give Kingdom testimony; but they expect no favorable turn to the Kingdom on the part of the nations. Jesus' words preclude any such false expectation, for he foretold what action the nations of "Christendom" and of all the earth would take in the face of the preaching of the Kingdom gospel. Far from accepting the Kingdom and consecrating their power to Jehovah God and his enthroned King, the nations would arrange what their religious consciences call or view as a "political expression of the kingdom of God on earth". This would be an arrangement created by human hands to moralize this vice-ridden world and to maintain prosperity, security and peace without the direct personal intervention of Christ Jesus, "The Prince of Peace." On this specific point Jesus followed up his prophecy about the preaching of the Kingdom gospel by saying something to safeguard us against any national delusions, namely: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth [Daniel 11:31; 12:11], let him understand:)
then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains." — Matthew 24:15,16.
The inspired wise man, says: "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD [Jehovah]: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished." (Proverbs 16:5) The religious and political pride of the nations of "Christendom" stiffens them against humbling themselves under Jehovah's kingdom by Christ. Hence they pin their confidence to their own schemes and institutions. Untaught by even recent experience, they again in postwar days are bent on setting up their own international organization or association of nations for global safety, order, neighborly relations, "more religion," and freedom from war and aggression.
Hear one of the political prophets for this after-the-war scheme of international collaboration! On a visit to America, and speaking at the famous Harvard University on September 6, 1943, the prime minister of Great Britain said:
Here the British prime minister not only disagrees with the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, which believes and teaches that a woman, Mary, is the one that will bruise Satan's head underfoot shortly; he also takes issue with God's Word, which declares that the Son of God, whom Jehovah raised from the dead and made heavenly King, is the only One that can and will do this destruction of Satan. God's Word declares: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16: 20) Hence, what?
"We are also bound, so far as life and strength allow, and without prejudice to our dominating military task, to look ahead, to those days which will surely come WHEN WE SHALL HAVE FINALLY BEATEN DOWN SATAN UNDER OUR FEET and find ourselves with other great Allies at once the MASTERS AND THE SERVANTS OF THE FUTURE. Various schemes for achieving world security, while yet preserving national rights, traditions and customs, are being studied and probed. We have all the fine work that was done a quarter of a century ago by those who devised and tried to make effective the League of Nations after the last war. ... But I am here to tell you that, whatever form your system of world security may take, however the na-
tions are grouped and ranged, ... If we are divided, all will fail. I, therefore, preach continually the doctrine of the fraternal association of our two peoples, . . ."*
The prime minister's declaration assigns to the association of united nations the work, credit and accomplishment of that which God's Holy Word assigns to the Seed of God's "woman", Christ Jesus, "The King of kings." The postwar system of international cooperation for selfish human ends and convenience is a flat turning down of the reigning kingdom of God. It is a creature of human pride inspired by the "prince of this world" for maintaining his world domination. It assumes to take the place on earth of the rule and authority of the kingdom of God. It thus blinds men to Jehovah's Theo-
cratic Government by Christ, which is the only hope of all "men of good-will". Such man-made international arrangement for global security is in essence nothing else than the revived League of Nations, but now giving more regard to religion. Therefore before God and his Christ it is the foretold "abomination of desolation" and will never have divine blessing and achieve the lofty-sounding objectives. It leads to the desolation both of religion and of "Christendom" eventually, although for a time it may ring "Christendom" and associated nations round about with armies of allied nations or of an international police force. — Luke 21: 20-22.
The cries of "Peace and safety!" from the mouths of the religious and political rulers will be but the immediate forerunners of a destruction as sudden as the flood of Noah's day. (1 Thessalonians 5: 3; Matthew 24: 36-39) Said Jesus: 'When you see this international abomination of desolation standing presumptuously in the holy place where it ought not and where only God's kingdom should stand as Rightful Government, then flee without delay. What you see is the sure indication that the final end is at hand and the days of God's vengeance against Satan's entire organization demonic and human is about to break.' "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:15-22) God's kingdom under Christ is the
refuge, like the mountains, to which to flee for security.
Today is no time to be deceived by false prophets or by political and religious leaders who assume to themselves the offices and work for which Jehovah God has anointed his Christ, his King, the Lord Jesus. It is the crucial time to be hearing and heeding the words of Jehovah's greatest prophet, Christ Jesus. He gave a number of other signs to show the presence of the end of the world, but sufficient have here been given to reach a conclusion. There is only one authoritative conclusion that leads to no disillusionment, the Prophet's own stated conclusion. For our benefit today he declared: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption [your deliverance] draweth nigh."
Now is a time, not for sorrow, such as the pontiff of the Vatican professes, but of rejoicing and of confident expectation of deliverance from Satan and all his wicked world organization. But deliverance by what adequate means? and is such means at hand? Jesus pointed to the only means of deliverance when he gave an illustration to help us to the right answer. "And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NIGH AT HAND."
The things foretold have come to pass. Then why should those who see and appreciate their
— Luke 21: 28-31.
meaning care if this whole world stays unconvinced that God's kingdom is upon us? The world is falling into the trap of religion and politics and commercialism, as the Prophet Christ Jesus foresaw. He would not have given us a warning against becoming entangled and overcharged with the things of this world and overpowered by its rosy propaganda if there were not even now a present danger of forgetting what is at hand. To ignore the danger means destruction with all those who are resisting the true kingdom of God or are indifferent to it. That destruction with all of Satan's world will come after the witness shall have been given to all nations by the preaching of this "gospel of the kingdom". This gospel witness of the Kingdom as nigh at hand has already been preached for years by all manner of means in all quarters of the globe, in scores of languages. The "time of the end" is running out! Even Satan the Devil knows that his time is short till the final end, and hence he is filled with great wrath. He is not yet bound. In his rage against God and His servants Satan the Devil strives with all craft, cunning and woe to keep as many as possible from turning to the kingdom of God for safety and preservation.
In the approaching "battle of that great day of God Almighty", or battle of Armageddon, his kingdom will come against Satan's entire organization, and will vindicate the name and word of Jehovah God. Not alone will it destroy for ever the Nazi-Fascist-totalitarian-religious oppressors of all humankind and crush their mighty system into extinction, but it will bind
and bring to nought all those superhuman invisible powers behind that organization, namely, Satan the Devil and all his demon hosts. —Revelation. 19:11-21; 20:1-3.
Then there will be peaceful living for men, free from danger and from want; for Christ Jesus will then reign for a thousand years, making this earth a fit place for obedient humans to live upon in God's image and likeness. His princely representatives in all the earth, the resurrected faithful men of pre-Christian times, will act on earth for the heavenly kingdom of God and will render justice and fair judgment to all. Even the graves will not be able to hold their prey, for Jehovah's King has the 'keys of death and of hell [the grave]'. (Revelation 1:18) He will reign till the last enemy, the death that befell all men due to their first father's sin, has been destroyed. (1 Corinthians 15:25,26) The conditions which his thousand-year reign will produce on earth will endure forever, to God's glory and man's endless happiness.
Blessed is this time in which we live. Blessed is this day, when we are privileged to see such things. Behold now all the signs that God's glorious Government by his Son is at hand. Look up above earth's debased conditions and turmoil, and rejoice at the everlasting deliverance just ahead. Study more about that blessed Theocratic Government daily; fix your affections upon it; and join in the joyous announcement:
"THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NIGH AT HAND."