Today the people are caught between the confusion within religion itself and the forces assaulting long-established religions. Countless honest hearts are perplexed. Which way shall they turn? Why cannot they draw comfort, hope and assurance any more from traditional religion? Is there any true religion, and will it win out?
To answer these urgent questions briefly the timely public address, "Will Religion Meet the World Crisis?" is published herein.
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc.
International Bible Students Association
Brooklyn, New York, U. S. A.
Made in the United States of America
WILL RELIGION MEET THE WORLD CRISIS?
WORLD religion, particularly the religion of so-called "Christendom", has always cast itself in the role of savior of mankind. Now is the time for it to carry out its assumed role. Never was the opportunity for showing what kind of force it can be in the world greater than now. For now this world is faced with its worst crisis, and if it is worth saving, it certainly needs a savior now. So the question is, Will the religion which this world has developed in many forms meet the world crisis and prove to be the means of its salvation? Or will such religion fail this world, yes, prove to be its downfall and be destroyed with it?
In the present world crisis the great ancient religions of the Orient, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, and Mohammedanism, carry no message in their sacred writings for the distressed people. They did not foresee and predict these critical times, nor prescribe the remedy. They have left the hundreds of millions who adhere to those religions to flounder around amid these turbulent conditions without any real hope to comfort and guide them. Their religious belief is that the only escape from the evils and sufferings of this world is by the death of the human body for the release of an immortal soul to enter a spirit world. But they have absolutely no proof
that the human soul is immortal and can transmigrate into another body or into the spirit realm.
The only book on earth that sets out a clear and reasonable hope for mankind today is the Holy Bible. It alone carries a positive, trustworthy message for the people of good will amid the world's perplexity. It describes many crises in past history of the human family and tells of God's message to those who wanted to meet the crisis and come through it successfully. In fact, from the first to the last of its sixty-six books, the Bible has foretold also this final crisis of the world and has explained the basic reasons for its coming. Foreseeing that disastrous trouble would befall the world at this crucial time, the Bible has held in store a message for this day. This message shines as the only light in a world of increasing gloom and it brightens all who accept it with hope, comfort, peace of mind and perfect confidence respecting the future.
The clergy of Christendom stand as one of the most responsible classes on earth today. They leave the people with the impression that they believe the Holy Bible to be the inspired Word of Almighty God. They are ordained and receive pay to preach the Bible. Hence by the Bible they must be judged. Despite having this holy Book with its timely message, the clergy of Christendom themselves have absolutely no real outstanding message for the people today. Why is this? It is because the clergy have forsaken God's Word for human traditions and philosophies and modern science. They look for the political rulers and economic planners, backed by military might, material wealth and industrial organization, to point out the way. Instead of relying on what the apos-
tle Paul calls "the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God", the clergy rely on the "sword of the state" and bless its deadly use. They depend on bullets more than on Bibles, on bombing missions more than on gospel-preaching missions. The result to Christendom is now the same as that which befell the national leaders in an ancient crisis upon Israel: "The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of Jehovah; and what manner of wisdom is in them?" "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me." -Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 8:9, AS; Hosea 4:6.
THE SAVING MESSAGE
May the responsibility for the present world crisis be laid at the door of world religion? Yes. In previous crises that have affected men and nations God's Word shows that the failure of the majority of the leaders of religion was what led in the development of the crisis. Religion has been closely coupled with every civilization which has played a prominent part in the course of this world. Because it exercises such a subtle, influential power over rulers and people due to its association with invisible powers superior to man, religion cannot be excused. It bears a large responsibility for this the greatest crisis the world has yet faced or ever will face. Because it is a part of this world and must stand or fall with it, there is good reason why the president of a theological seminary said that world Christianity stands face to face with more uncertainties, difficulties and "ominous perils" for the future than ever before
in modern history. He said that back in 1949, but in the years since then the world situation has grown worse. In view of the great peril, some of Christendom's churches may have made huge gains in membership during these years, but that does not lessen the crisis or make religion stronger to meet it.
In what way is it that religion faces a world crisis? Is it because so-called "godless" Communism is increasing and spreading its false political hopes and oppressive totalitarianism and threatens to overwhelm Western civilization and to wipe out its religious traditions? Or is it because modern science has been harnessed to war, and now, with the invention of atomic bombs and the means to deliver them in any part of the earth and with the increasing of the horrors of war by means of chemicals and bacteria, civilization has the power to destroy itself in one spasm of world insanity? No; it is not for just such reasons, terrible as they are, that religion faces a world crisis today. It is because this world faces a destruction like that which overtook the ancient, ungodly world of Noah's day. There were no fusion bombs or fission bombs then nor any chemical and bacterial warfare, and yet the old world's destruction came - by a global flood from the hand of earth's great Creator, Jehovah, the God whom the shipbuilder Noah worshiped. Only because of divine mercy and the faithfulness of Noah and his family the human race was not totally washed into destruction, but some human life survived the Flood that we might be alive today.
So now, too, religion stands confronted with the destruction of the world which has grown up since that global flood. Certainly, then, religion
faces a crisis such as it has never been called upon to meet since the beginning of this world. If there is to be a survival of this world destruction, will the religious systems of the world meet the crisis and be the ones to survive? Are they the safe guides to the people at this perilous time and are they the havens of refuge and security to which to flee? That is the question which earth's teeming millions must now quickly decide. They can decide it rightly only with the help of God's Word, the Holy Bible. They need its message.
As preachers and expounders of the Bible, what is the message which Christendom's clergy are responsible to give the people and which they could give at this time of greatest need? It is the message of God's kingdom, the government which is to be exercised through his Son Jesus Christ. God reserved a special message concerning his kingdom for this particular time, and the failure of the religious clergy to give it cannot prevent this message from coming to light and going to the people of good will. God gave us the Holy Bible that we might have this message of salvation, because in the Bible is where he put it. The great mass of religious traditions which the church systems of Christendom have built up during the centuries are man-made, uninspired, and fail to contain the message of God for this day. So we must brush aside the religious traditions of men and go direct to the Bible.
As regards his works for mankind's salvation, Jehovah God knows the end from the beginning. His Bible proves that. Turning to the very beginning of his Word written thousands of years ago, we find the evidence that he foresaw the great trouble which is now about to overwhelm the
whole world and that he provided for the rescue of men and women who would prove obedient to Him. In mankind's original paradise home, when the righteous world disappeared because Satan the Devil rebelled and man fell into sin, Jehovah God uttered the first prophecy to man. He addressed the great Serpent, Satan the Devil, and said: "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." (Genesis 3:15) Four thousand years later the apostle Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus Christ and said: "The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. May the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus be with you." (Romans 16:20, NW) All other prophecy which God inspired shows that in his Edenic prophecy God declared his purpose to set up a government by his Son Jesus Christ, whom God would take from among his heavenly organization symbolized by a righteous woman. God would associate with his Son in this heavenly government his faithful footstep followers, and in this way these would become part of the seed of God's "woman" or heavenly organization.
By means of this kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ God will crush the great Serpent and all his offspring and thus destroy the wicked world. Then he will set up a new world of righteousness for the enjoyment of all men of good will. Let the great Serpent inflict injury upon the seed of God's "woman" or organization as if bruising their heel. Yet God was determined to recover his seed from the deadly effects of this wound by resurrecting his seed out of death to immortal life in the heavenly kingdom. Jesus Christ is primarily the Seed
of God's woman. When on earth as a man he left his carpenter work and took up preaching God's kingdom as the only remedy for human ills. By boldly preaching God's kingdom and encouraging his disciples to seek it ahead of all things else, Jesus stirred up great opposition and persecution. From whom? From the selfish religious leaders! These put the traditions of men above God's Word and they proved themselves to be the seed of the Serpent, lying in wait to bruise him at the heel. By crafty work they seized him and Jesus surrendered to their power to be nailed to a torture stake until dead. Jesus died faithful to the cause of God's kingdom. Therefore God resurrected him and glorified him at his own right hand in heaven, reserving him for the time when the Kingdom was to begin and crush the great Serpent and his seed.
By Jesus' death as the innocent victim of religious persecution he laid down his human life as an acceptable sacrifice for redeeming mankind from sin and death, which they had inherited from the sinner Adam. In proof of this the inspired apostle writes: "This man offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet." (Hebrews 10:12,13, NW) By anointing Jesus with the holy spirit to be the King in the promised kingdom and by having him die as a martyr to the Kingdom and as a ransom sacrifice for mankind, and then by raising him out of death to immortal life in heavenly power next to himself, Jehovah God laid the foundation for a new world of righteousness. That foundation can never be removed. It has not been laid in vain. The righteous new world
must be built upon it, and it will be built upon it. So the wicked old world must go! Satan, "the god of this system of things," will be crushed!
FALSE AND APOSTATE RELIGIONS
As soon as God in Eden announced the bringing forth of the Seed of his organization for bruising the great Serpent's head, Satan the Devil set himself in opposition to it. He also schemed to turn mankind away from the Seed as their Savior by fooling them with a false seed, a counterfeit. Around this false seed he built up a false religion which turned men into error and away from worshiping the true God and depending upon Him for salvation. The global flood of Noah's day wiped out the false religion from the earth. Only the true religion survived in Noah's immediate family.
After Noah and his family emerged from the ark to repeople the earth, Satan the Devil again bestirred himself to corrupt mankind. He caused Nimrod, a great-grandson of Noah, to build Babylon and set himself up as the first human king in defiance of Jehovah God and his promise of the great Ruler and Savior to come, the Seed of God's "woman". Then Satan led men to deify Nimrod and his mother as if they were the promised Seed and the woman. Around these he built up a false system of worship, blinding its devotees to the truth about the Seed of God's woman. From this Babylon have stemmed all the false religions of the world with their false christs or messiahs, and they have carried on illicit relationship with this world, working together with the political state contrary to the law of Jehovah God. For this reason the whole system of religions of this world is pictured in Bible prophecy under the figure of
an unclean, whorish woman called "Babylon", with whom the rulers of the earth have committed filthy fornication. -Revelation 17:1-5.
During this time Jehovah God began to make clear to his true worshipers the meaning of his Edenic prophecy concerning the real Seed of his heavenly organization or "woman". After the . establishment and spread of Babylon's religion with its false doctrine of the immortality of the human soul and the idolatrous worship of the false woman and her seed, Jehovah God raised up one of his witnesses in the very neighborhood of ancient Babylon. This witness was the faithful believer Abraham the Hebrew, and to him God said in further revelation of his Edenic prophecy: "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." "And I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee." "And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Genesis 12:3; 17:6,7; 22:17,18, AS) But with all this further revelation, the matter still remained a sacred secret: Who is to be the Seed of God's "woman", the Seed of Abraham in whom all the families and nations of the earth are to be blessed? The much later answer of the Bible tells us it is Jesus Christ, saying: "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. . . . who is Christ." (Galatians 3:16, NW) He is the King who was to come from Abraham.
Jehovah led Abraham away from the neighborhood of Babylon and brought him into the land of
Palestine. Through Abraham he, carried forward the true religion, the true form of belief and worship. Four hundred and seventy years later Jehovah God brought the chosen descendants of Abraham, the nation of Israel, into this promised land of Palestine and settled them there. He had rescued them from death-dealing slavery in Egypt and had given them his theocratic law through his prophet Moses. Through his further prophets he gave them his sacred pronouncements concerning his will and his purposes. So he provided for the complete Bible to be written, that the way of the true religion might be known and preserved in the earth. Necessarily it was from the Hebrews as descendants of Abraham that God's Son Jesus Christ sprang to become the promised Seed for bestowing God's blessing on all the families of the earth. -Romans 9:4, 5.
In order to foreshadow the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ Jehovah God established a kingdom over the nation of Israel with a man agreeable to His own heart, namely, David the shepherd of Bethlehem. Because of David's devotion to the pure worship of God at the national capital Jerusalem or Zion, Jehovah made a covenant or solemn contract with David, for the kingship over Jehovah's people to remain forever in David's line of successors. - 2 Samuel 7:1-17; 1 Chronicles 17:1-15.
Because of the unfaithfulness of most of David's successors on the throne of Jerusalem the kingdom over Israel was overthrown in 607 B.C. by the imperial armies of pagan Babylon. However, that destruction of unfaithful Jerusalem and the overturning of the earthly throne of David's successors did not cancel out the covenant for the everlasting kingdom. God announced that the real Successor
was yet to come. -Ezekiel 21:25-27; 2 Kings 25:1-21.
The real successor and permanent heir of the covenant proved to be God's Son from heaven, Jesus Christ. He became a fleshly descendant of David and so had a natural claim and right to the Kingdom. At the time that Jesus' coming birth was announced to his human mother, the angel Gabriel said respecting 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 father, and he will be king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom." (Luke 1:26-33, NW) When thirty years old, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river. Then God anointed him from heaven with the holy spirit to become king, not just an earthly human king on a material throne of David restored at Jerusalem in Palestine, but a heavenly immortal king having a right to David's throne and dominion and also having rulership over all the earth and over all the universe under the Most High God Jehovah. -Matthew 3:13-17.
The anointed Jesus set the pattern for all his followers to copy, and this means also the clergy of Christendom today who profess to follow him. Jesus abstained from meddling in the politics of imperial Rome which then governed Palestine. All his powers he dedicated to preaching the kingdom to which he had been anointed, God's kingdom. Because he was the one anointed to be king and was present among men, he declared up and down the land, "The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." When he sent out his twelve apostles and seventy other evangelists, he instructed them to tell everybody: "The kingdom of the heavens has
drawn near." (Matthew 10:1-7, NW; Luke 10:1-
11) So as to prove his unbreakable devotion to God's kingdom Jesus died innocently on the torture stake at Calvary under the false charge that he was proclaiming himself an earthly king stirring up insurrection against Caesar's empire. But before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death, Jesus said to him: "My kingdom is no part of this world.... my kingdom is not from this source. . . . For this purpose I have been born and for this purpose I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth." In order to serve also as Jehovah God's High Priest, Jesus offered his perfect human life as a ransom sacrifice for mankind, that they might gain everlasting life, as his subjects under his kingdom. In order that Jesus might continue his services, God resurrected him and exalted him to his right hand in heaven. -John 18:36,37, NW; Hebrews 7:24-28.
The Christian congregation of the first century accepted Jesus as the true successor of King David and as the Permanent Heir of God's covenant for the Kingdom. On the day of Pentecost, when the holy spirit was poured out anointing Jesus' followers to be kings and priests with him in the heavenly kingdom, the apostle Peter declared: "David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, 'Jehovah said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet."' Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled." (Acts 2:34-36, NW) Down till the last of the twelve apostles died the faithful Christians acted as Jehovah's witnesses in proclaiming his Son Jesus Christ to be the Seed of God's "woman",
the Seed of Abraham by whose kingdom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. They recognized their Christian commission and obligation to preach the kingdom of God by his Christ as the only government of salvation in which mankind must hope. (Matthew 12:21) The second destruction of unfaithful Jerusalem in the year 70, this time by the imperial armies of Rome, did not stop their preaching. Neither did persecution by the political and religious powers of the Roman Empire stop the faithful Christians from heralding this message inside and outside of the Roman Empire.
FAILURE OF APOSTATES
But what do we find today to be the case with the clergy and other religious leaders who parade themselves as being Christians? In this worsening world crisis Christendom as well as heathendom faces destruction and all mankind need to hear the true message of salvation, but do we hear the religious clergy and the principal ones of their flock proclaiming God's kingdom by Christ to be the only world government with divine authority and power to rule all the earth? We do not. According to what they claim to be, should we not expect them to be preaching this unequivocal message? Yes, for they claim to have the only authentic ordination from God to be his ministers and preach his Word. There is no excuse for their failing to preach this message of the Kingdom. They have education, they have time for study, they have the church pulpits, and most important of all, they have the Bible. Then why do they not come forward and courageously and straightforwardly preach the Bible message of God and inform the
politicians, businessmen, judges, social workers and all the common people who are in danger of succumbing to godless Communism? It is because they have apostatized from the true faith and have gone over to Babylonish religion. To stand up for God's kingdom would oblige them to break with this world, and this would cost them too much. So they have turned traitor to God's kingdom by his Christ. They are not acting as ambassadors for God's kingdom but are the adulterous bedmates of the politicians of this world.
In many places in his written Word God foretold this apostasy or falling away from the true religion, the true faith and worship. In the first century James defined the only true religion in these words: "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:26,27) The religious leaders who have built up so-called "Christendom" have failed to heed this plain definition of what pure, undefiled religion before God is.
In order to avoid suffering for Christ's sake, in order to gain popularity and powerful position with this world, in order to wield influence with politics and commerce, in order to gain easy converts to their religious systems, they have spotted themselves up with this world. They have conformed themselves to its ways and teachings, instead of to God's commandments and Christ's example. They have not bridled their tongues from preaching the traditions and philosophies of worldly men but have adulterated Bible doctrine
with these false teachings and have deceived their own hearts, retaining only an outwardly religious form of godliness but denying the power of it. They have gone after good relations and partnership with the corrupt political powers of this world, or even secret control over them, rather than keeping themselves virgin pure and clean from this world and faithfully waiting for the coming of the heavenly bridegroom Jesus Christ and the establishment of God's kingdom in his hands. Meddling in politics and forming unions of church and state, they have gone to bed with the worldly politicians and prostituted themselves to the unclean policies of political rulers both in war and in peace. They have demonstrated themselves to be part of the great religious "harlot" system Babylon, because, again, James says: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." -James 4:4.
This apostasy or falling away is not a thing of modern development. Already in the second century it showed itself when leading men in the Christian congregation tried to work a fusion or blending of Bible doctrine with religious teachings of Babylon by adopting such pagan doctrines as the immortality of the human soul and the trinity and by following the Grecian philosophy because of its show of worldly wisdom. In the fourth century when the Roman Empire ceased to persecute the apostate Christians of the day and when Emperor Constantine pretended to become a Christian and decided the fundamental teaching of the church by the sword of the state, the leaders made further compromises with this world and ceased
to wait for Christ's second coming and for heavenly rulership with him as his bride. These leaders adopted pagan titles, rites and ceremonies, thinking they were so holy as to sanctify these by adopting them for the ambitious uses of church leaders; and they took to themselves more and more political as well as religious power over the people.
A powerful hierarchy and clergy classes developed which lorded it over the religious flock, the laity. The wedding of church and state took place, particularly in 800 (A.D.). That year the now-established pope of the Vatican or bishop of Rome crowned Charles the Great emperor of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire" and used him to force the conversion of the European heathens by the blood-stained sword of the state. Apostate Christianity has continued ever since as the adulterous handmaid of the political state. Even the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century did not break up this immoral union of church and state, but all the Protestant sects keep lying in this alliance and subject themselves to the worldly programs of the political state, influencing elections, taking a free and open part in politics, and blessing and praying for the carnal weapons of the nations in times of violent combat. They have twisted Bible doctrines to support their adulterous conduct and have taken over and continued many Babylonish doctrines and practices found in Greek and Roman Catholicism.
In contradiction of their adulterous course, the clergy have repeated the Lord's prayer, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9,10) They
have tried to justify their intimate relations with worldly politics by declaring they would put God in the national governments and would set up God's kingdom for him by converting the world to Christ. But today, after sixteen hundred years of existence, and with one third of the world's population as her flock, does Christendom display anything like the peaceful, prosperous, holy kingdom of God with his will being done on Christendom's part of the earth as it is done up in heaven? Far from it! What is more, the clergy have blinded themselves to one big fact: When they thus pray the prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," they are praying for God through Christ to destroy all the kingdoms and political systems of this world at the coming battle of Armageddon that God's will may afterward be done on earth without their corrupt, oppressive influence and interference! How, then, can these same clergymen pray and work for the perpetuation of these worldly political systems and still pray the Lord's prayer? They cannot do so except as religious hypocrites. Jesus Christ denounced hypocrites, and Jehovah God the Father hates them. God will answer the Lord's prayer, all right, however not the way the religious hypocrites imagine, but the way his true worshipers understand and mean it.
Looking ahead to the time of today's world crisis Jesus made this prediction: "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) Are the clergy of Christendom and their religious sects the ones who are fulfilling this prophecy at this time by preaching in all the inhabited earth the good news about
God's kingdom for the purpose of a witness to all the nations? Again the answer is a decided No! Everybody knows they are fearfully concerned for the life of the political nations with which their own fate is bound up and are following the lead of the political, economic and military bosses and are supporting the popular governmental and social policies of the day. Well, then, is Jesus' prophecy not undergoing fulfillment at this most momentous time because of the apostasy of Christendom and the criminal silence of her clergy? No. God's word by Christ can never go unfulfilled at His appointed time. As he has done in times past when the religious leaders entered into adulterous union with this world, so now at the crucial time Jehovah God has raised up his witnesses and committed to them the message of pure, undefiled religion, the good news of God's kingdom by Christ as the only means of saving mankind. The pontiff of Vatican City and all the rest of Christendom's clergy have been forced to recognize that Jehovah God has done this. Today Jehovah's witnesses are known the world over because they alone are preaching His kingdom and directing the peoples of all nations to anchor their hope in it, despite the vicious objections of the religious clergy and the Communist persecutions against Jehovah's witnesses.
CHRISTENDOM AND THE KINGDOM
This is the time of all times. Today we have come to the realization of a six-thousand-year hope, the establishment of God's kingdom. God brought it to birth in the unforgettable year of 1914, by enthroning his Kingdom Heir Jesus Christ in the heavens and extending the scepter
of his royal power out from the heavenly Zion to rule amidst his enemies. There is no excuse for the clergy of Christendom in not knowing or not informing themselves of this all-important fact. The Seven Times of Gentile domination in the earth counted from the overthrow of God's typical kingdom at Jerusalem by Babylon in 607 B.C. and ended in 1914. Hence the time there arrived for Jehovah God to assume his great power and exercise his kingdom again toward this earth by means of his Kingdom Heir Jesus Christ. In this manner Christ Jesus came again, not as a lowly man of flesh to die in sacrifice, but as an immortal spirit Son of God in the glory of heavenly kingdom power.
Let the religious scoffers in Christendom deny the accuracy of this. But let them also deny, if they can, that World War I began in 1914 with total nation mobilized against total nation and regimented kingdom raised up against regimented kingdom. Let them also deny, if they can, that since 1914 there has been no settlement or improvement of world conditions, but food shortages have multiplied, and earthquakes, and pestilences, together with increasing anguish of all nations in their fear and uneasiness at the things shaping up and without their knowing the way out of the horrible mess despite all the accumulated wisdom of this "brain age" and electronic era. Let the scoffers deny, too, if they can, that Jehovah's witnesses are hated by all nations and persecuted everywhere and, notwithstanding this, they are the only ones in whom Jesus' prophecy is being carried out, that the preaching of the good news would be done in all the earth for a witness to all nations, more and more so each year. All these undeniable facts of history since 1914 are the very
things Jesus predicted in his prophecy on the time of the end of this world, marking them as the visible evidences of his presence in the heavenly kingdom. -Matthew 24:1-14.
After detailing these events in his prophecy Jesus said to his disciples: "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." (Luke 21:28,31,32) But how have the religionists of Christendom met these foretold events that have multiplied since 1914? Not as genuine, believing Christians! They have not lifted up their heads and raised themselves erect with courage and hope because redemption or deliverance by God's means has drawn near. Despite seeing all these things with the Bible in their hands to explain them, they have not taken knowledge that God's kingdom has been set up with Christ in power and is near at hand for the rescue of all people of good will. Instead of hailing God's kingdom and divorcing themselves from this doomed world, they turned to the League of Nations which was proposed at the close of World War I. The pope of Rome tried to get a seat or a voice in the League, while the Protestants advocated the adoption of the League as "the political expression of "the kingdom of God on earth". In this way the religious forces of Christendom turned their backs on God's true kingdom. In effect they repeated the blasphemous act of their religious prototypes of nineteen centuries ago and rejected Jesus of Nazareth as King and cried out: "We have no king but
Caesar." In further proof of this they have resorted to the most shameful religious persecution of history against Jehovah's witnesses for spreading the good news of the Kingdom and encouraging all men to turn to it for deliverance.
No change of attitude can be noted on the part of the religious powers of Christendom. The late Fascist dictator Mussolini tried to be a modern imperial Roman Caesar. On the other hand, the pope of Rome claims to be Christ's visible representative or vicar. But never did he say to Mussolini what Jesus said to Caesar's* representative Pontius Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world: ... now is my kingdom not from hence." Totally unlike Christ Jesus, the pope closed a concordat with the Fascist Dúce in 1929 by which Vatican City was set up as a political government and at the same time the pope received a vast sum of millions of dollars of filthy lucre from Mussolini's Fascist regime. This concordat with the Fascist totalitarian government was duplicated in 1933 by the pope's concluding a concordat with another totalitarian government, that of the Nazis. Nazi aggressions followed.
On March 20, 1939, in the House of Lords in London, the archbishop of Canterbury appealed to Pope Pius XII to lead Christendom's churches in condemning totalitarian aggression and in pleading for peace. This plea was not fulfilled, and on September 1 aggression against Poland plunged mankind into World War II. Just four days before this a convention of national, religious, veterans' and labor groups met in Chicago, Illinois, and cabled an appeal to the pope to excommunicate Hitler, a recognized "son of the church". At that time, due to aggression, one-half of Great
Germany was part of the pope's flock, and the imposing of excommunication and the proper word of direction from the pope to that fifty per cent of the German Reich would have crippled the peace disturbers and halted the movement into another global war. Instead of excommunication, the clergy granted their prayers and blessings to the armies and weapons of the aggressors.
In 1941 comes the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, followed by the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands territory of the United States. Within two months of all this the Catholic bishop of Manila and the pope's representative in the Islands joined with the Japanese aggressors for creating a "new order" in Asia; and the following month papal Vatican City exchanges diplomatic representatives with Japan for the first time, to the outraging of American feelings, not to speak of true Christian principles.
But at the defeat of those three Axis partners, the papacy swung over to the side of the Western democracies. It then used all its craft, power and , propaganda to drive a wedge between these and their former Communist ally, and to use the sword of the democratic state to destroy the Communist power. Despite all this warmongering, the present-day pope, who is the man that signed the concordat with Hitler, is widely advertised as "Eugenio Pacelli Pope of Peace" and as "the world's greatest spiritual bulwark against the Communist onrush, as Europe's greatest force for Christianity". If that is so, then Western Christendom can no more expect to be safeguarded against Communism by him than the Russian Orthodox or Greek Catholic Church and its patriarch stood as a spiritual bulwark against Russia's becoming
the stronghold of Communism. Do not overlook this meaningful fact: Communism did not rise in heathendom, but rose in Christendom. Also, outside of Russia itself, the countries where Communism has its largest parties are the Roman Catholic lands of Italy and France. If the pope as a "spiritual bulwark" against Communism and a force for Christianity could not keep Communism out of his own backyard and could not prevent so many millions of Roman Catholics from becoming Communists, how can he be relied upon to halt the onrush of antichristian Communism throughout the rest of the world? God's Word, the Bible, shows that leaning on him is like leaning on a broken reed. You will get stuck! -Isaiah 36:6.
Today, in spite of failure of the League of Nations to be the "political expression of the kingdom of God on earth", all the religious forces of Christendom turn to the League's successor made up of the "same old gang", the United Nations. Prayers and masses are offered for it in Catholic churches, and prayers and propaganda in Protestant churches; and even the modern nation of Israel joins the United Nations. The pope leans heavily upon the United Nations, and particularly on its mighty and rich American member, and he bids this international organization to set up a permanent peace, lest an "unimaginable cataclysm" come. The U.N. is advertised boldly as "Today's best hope for peace", without any protest to this from the religious clergy. And recently Sir Alexander Cadógan said: "Until someone has produced a better plan, the United Nations is the only way of salvation."
A NEGATIVE ANSWER
We now ask: Is the religion of Christendom meeting the world crisis successfully by backing and praying for the man-made international organization and encouraging all peoples to trust in it? The answer is No! Instead, by this course such religion is again guilty of rejecting God's kingdom by Christ and is adding cause for its own destruction at Armageddon. In fulfillment of his prophecy and toward fulfillment of the Lord's prayer Jehovah God has produced his kingdom as the only way of salvation. God does not look for men to save themselves by their own efforts. By his law given through Moses God showed they cannot do it. Do the religious clergy think they can counsel God on how to run this earth? Who among men has ever been His counselor? Who on earth today can advise Him concerning government? Does he have to look to man for suggestions or models on how to rule the earth? Will he adopt man's self-made governments, and will he accept the clergy's latest offer of the United Nations, and will he use these political institutions as a base with which to start his long-prayed-for kingdom? No! Even Christendom's governments have shown they will not submit to adoption by him. They all want selfish, independent sovereignty of their own and not Jehovah's universal sovereignty. His prophecy points out that they prefer to give their sovereignty rather to beastly world-rule under Satan the Devil, "the god of this system of things." -Revelation 17:12-14; 2 Corinthians 4:4, NW.
God does not lower himself to man's level and dicker with diplomats and deputies over a conference table for political advantages and concessions. He makes no compromise with this world
of Satan. It is universal submission to him or nothing else. He will not fuse all human governments into a world government for his kingdom to operate by, and the U. N. is not a preliminary to this. He will solve the international problems and world crisis by one irresistible stroke, one sweeping change. He has his own kingdom already set up with Christ Jesus. He will never reject this kingdom for any man-made substitutes recommended by the religious clergy, but by this kingdom now in power he will destroy all human systems of rulership in the final war of Armageddon and will also put out of action their invisible overlord, the Devil Satan. The end of this world in flaming trouble at God's hand will clear the ground for a new world over which His kingdom will rule in perfect righteousness, and, says Daniel 2:44, "it shall stand for ever."
Especially since 1914 all have been warned of the end of this world. Christendom has had the Bible to be able to know this, and, not her paid clergy, but Jehovah's witnesses have boldly warned of it. Clerical performance past and present makes it absolutely certain, in harmony with God's prophecy, that Christendom's religious forces as well as all those of heathendom will fail to meet the, world crisis with safety for themselves or anybody else of this world. They are now on judgment before God. For their great responsibility he will judge the religious clergy with due severity. At the beginning of Armageddon he will execute judgment against them.
Read the prophecy at Revelation, chapter seventeen, and see how the combined religious forces of this world, which have all gone in for Babylonish religion, are symbolized by the great harlot
Babylon who sits oppressively upon peoples, multitudes and nations. For thousands of years now the kings and mighty ones of the earth have committed spiritual fornication with her to gain her mystic, superstitious, deceptive power over the people in support of worldly politics and against God's kingdom. At Armageddon God will cause this great religious harlot to be exposed, and mighty forces of human indignation will turn upon her with a vengeance. Says the prophecy: "These shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will." (Revelation 17:16,17) Then the destroyers of her, whether they be Communists or other violent forces, will themselves be destroyed by God's power through his King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.
SURVIVAL OF THE TRUE
In this way false religion will be wiped off the face of the earth. Not even the religious hypocrites will be able to fool God and escape under a false cover of lies. Only the true worshipers of the Most High God will survive Armageddon's destructive judgments, just as Noah and his family survived the flood that ended the ancient, ungodly world. Destruction of Christendom's sectarian, Babylonish religion at Armageddon will not leave the earth without religion. The pure, undefiled religion which has kept unspotted from this doomed world will survive in those whom Jehovah God preserves through Armageddon, and the righteous new world will begin with it. This means it begins with the love and service of God and of Christ his King with all man's heart, mind,
soul and strength and sincerely loving one's neighbor as oneself. And Satan and his demons, and false religious clergymen, will not be able to interfere and corrupt this worship. All those in the graves for whom Jesus provided his ransom sacrifice will be raised from the dead and have the opportunity to learn and practice this pure, undefiled religion and so receive the divine blessing of eternal life in the righteous new world. -John 5:28, 29.
In the light of this message from God's Word, what shall we today do in the face of the world crisis? To follow the lead of the clergy of Christendom means to be led by blind guides and to fall with them into the ditch of destruction at Armageddon. Only God's guidance is safe. At his command and by the power of his spirit the good news of his kingdom by Christ is being preached in all the earth by his witnesses, just as foretold at Matthew 24:14. This kingdom is the only means of salvation. Accept the good news of the Kingdom and put your trust in it. Have no part with the religious clergy and the Communists and other worldly people in persecuting Jehovah's witnesses who preach the Kingdom and it alone. Remember Jesus' parable of the sheep and goats, and prove yourself a sheep by doing good to Christ's spiritual brothers. Make yourselves their companions of good will and join with them in proclaiming the good news to others who are in darkness and peril for their lives. By doing so you will help to eternal salvation both yourselves and those who listen to you. In this way you will successfully meet the world crisis. -Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Timothy 4:16.