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Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose

CHAPTER 15

Jehovah's Wrath Published Against the Rulers

LOIS: Tonight, John, you were going to tell us about the vigorous campaign that began in 1922. Was this similar to the "Millions Campaign" or the distribution of the"ZG"?

JOHN: No, it centered particularly around seven international assemblies, although there was a variety of other activities that added interest and importance to this period. During the seven years 1922-1928 the Kingdom announcement went forward and God's judgments were pronounced. a For the second time at Cedar Point, Ohio, an international convention was held, September 5-13, 1922. On this second occasion also, Jehovah's active force upon his organized people authorized and fortified them in fulfilling their responsible mission. b

Excitement ran high from the first day, with keen anticipation particularly for the session scheduled to be held on Friday, which had been designated in advance as "The Day." It proved to be well named. To add to the interest, large banners around the grounds had carried the letters "A D V," and everyone was trying to guess what they meant.

Truly a feast of stimulating new truths was spread before Jehovah's people on this occasion. Emphasizing the theme of the Kingdom, Brother Rutherford delivered a historic lecture on the subject: "The Kingdom." He said:


Why has the King come? To set up [God's] kingdom and reign as King. But he had a work to do before his reign began, and that is a preparatory work. Since there are to be associated with him in his reign his body members, these must be gathered together and prepared for the beginning of the reign. . . .

The Lord foreknew, of course, that Satan would not peaceably yield the kingdoms of earth. He knew that there would be a great conflict, and hence he must prepare for that conflict. . . . The gentile times ended . . . 1914, and immediately followed the World War; and since that day there has been upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity. It has been a day of increasing darkness and blackness and suffering. The physical facts, then, clearly show that the day of preparation was from 1874 forward; . . . that the day of preparation ended in 1914; and that in 1918, or thereabouts, the Lord came to his temple. This coming to the temple was for judgment, because judgment must first begin at the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17) The judgment would be upon the true church and also the nominal system. . . .

Prior to 1878 the nominal church had grown mighty in the earth. In 1878 God's favor was withdrawn from the nominal systems. From that time on Brother Russell and the brethren who supported him went throughout the land . . . endeavoring to turn the hearts of Christendom back to a childlike faith in God. The nominal church heeded not. In 1914 these systems were boasting of their power and influence and said: "We are rich and have need of nothing." When the World War began in 1914, nominal Christendom raised its voice in favor of the war. . . .

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The great storm of the World War blew itself out; and for a time the fighting ceased, and the nations in silence assembled in an attempt to prevent another outbreak. Would not now nominal Christendom, her nobles, her ministers, her mighty men, learn a lesson from the war and its effects as indicated by fulfilled prophecy, showing that the Lord is present and that his kingdom is at hand? They failed to learn such lesson. They were drunk with power and riches gained during the war. . . .

In January, 1919, before the League of Nations was completely born, the Federal Council of Churches boldly issued the following blasphemous statement: . . .c


Judge Rutherford then quoted from the statement we read earlier, wherein these clergymen had hailed the League as the "political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth." d He continued:


Thus they denied the coming of the Lord and his kingdom to bless mankind, and openly allied themselves with the Devil's scheme, and then blasphemously attempted to offer this before the Lord. . . .

Who will go for the Lord Jesus and the Lord Jehovah? Who now, having their lips purged, will voluntarily carry the message? . . .

The Prophet of the Lord answers: "Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the peoples be assembled: Who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord [Jehovah], and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you; therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord [Jehovah], that I am God."—Isaiah 43:8-12.

Thus we see that those of the temple class are clearly designated as the Lord's witnesses at this time, to bring a message of consolation to the people, that the Kingdom of heaven is here, and that millions now living will never die. Thus it is seen that God purposes that his name shall be magnified, that the people shall know that he is Lord. Thus we see that God purposes to have a people in the earth in this time of stress, clearly marked as separate and distinct from all others, standing as his witnesses, fearlessly crying out the message: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand!" . . .

Do you believe it? Do you believe that the King of glory is present, and has been since 1874? Do you believe that during that time he has conducted his harvest work? Do you believe that he has had during that time a faithful and wise servant through whom he directed his work and the feeding of the household of faith? Do you believe that the Lord is now in his temple, judging the nations of earth? Do you believe that the King of glory has begun his reign?

Then back to the field, O ye sons of the most high God! Gird on your armor! Be sober, be vigilant, be active, be brave. Be faithful and true witnesses for the Lord. Go forward in the fight until every vestige of Babylon lies desolate. Herald the message far and wide. The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom. e


TOM: I guess the letters "A D V" on the banners you spoke of were an abbreviation of "advertise."

JOHN: That's right. Something else that aroused interest and helped fix the minds of the brothers on the importance of the message was a large banner, thirty-six feet long, in three colors, that had been made by the Society's artist. It had been strung above the speaker's stand and folded in such a way that it could not be read until the psychological moment. When Brother Rutherford concluded his stirring address with the dramatic call to advertise the Kingdom, the strings holding the banner were cut, and it unfolded before the audience to reveal its message: "Advertise the King and Kingdom." In the middle of the banner was a large picture of Jesus.

LOIS: That certainly must have been a thrilling occasion, and I notice that Judge Rutherford placed repeated emphasis on the matter of being witnesses of the Lord.

JOHN: But another high point was to

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come on Sunday. A resolution was enthusiastically adopted at the conclusion of the public talk by the 18,000 in attendance. Later 35 million copies of this stinging indictment were printed and distributed throughout Christendom. f Here are a few of the points:


The International Bible Students in convention assembled deem it a duty and privilege to send this message to the nations of earth. . . . Relying upon the Word of God and his providential dealings with mankind through Christ Jesus, we as his witnesses hold and testify as follows, to-wit: . . .

4. That Satan, long the god of this world, has deceived the statesmen, financiers and the clergy, by inducing them to believe that by international agreement or other combined efforts they can bring the desire of all nations;

5. That all of the world's present organization constitutes the visible part of Satan's empire or organization, and that Satan's empire must now fall before the forward march of the King of glory;

6. That all international conferences and all agreements or treaties resulting therefrom, including the League of Nations compact and all like compacts, must fail, because God has decreed it thus;

7. That all efforts of the denominational church organizations, their clergy, their leaders and their allies, to save and reestablish the order of things in the earth and to bring peace and prosperity must of necessity fail, because they do not constitute any part of the kingdom of Messiah . . .


Then followed further paragraphs exposing the disloyalty of the clergy for their participation in the war and for their repudiating God's kingdom in boldly announcing to the world that the League of Nations was that Kingdom, or the political expression of that Kingdom. g

These cold, hard truths based squarely on God's Word and the facts that were evident to all persons were like a destructive wrath from God, bringing spiritual death to Satan's entire world. These truths indicated that the religious, political and commercial elements of earth's ruling population, as well as all the prominent leaders of earth and the fresh new hopes they were holding out to the world, were now desolated or burned up. It called attention to the spiritual leprosy from which the clergy

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of Christendom have been dying ever since their adoption of the League of Nations in 1919 and that all who support these leaders will share in the mental and spiritual discomfort to which Satan's world was now submitted.

JEHOVAH'S SERVANTS RESPOND TO THE KINGDOM CALL

TOM: That must have been a real stimulation to the witness work.

JOHN: It was. As a matter of fact one day of the assembly was set aside especially for group witnessing, and the report shows many car groups seized the opportunity to magnify the name of Jehovah and declare his purpose.

In October the house-to-house work of offering the Bible literature was simplified for the brothers through Society-prepared testimonies, first called a "canvass." The service sheet of instruction entitled "Bulletin," which began to appear monthly after October, 1922, encouraged all as "valiant warriors" to memorize these testimonies and thereby unify the Kingdom message world-wide. It became necessary in 1922 for the Society to move its factory to 18 Concord Street. h The four floors of the six-story building they occupied on these premises enabled the Society to keep up with the increasing demand for literature. As the years went on it took over the other two floors and used the Myrtle Avenue building as a warehouse for paper and literature. In 1922 also, group studies in The Watch Tower were organized for the first time in the congregations. Questions were printed as an aid. i

Then 1923 saw further advancements in the work. Beginning May 1, the first Tuesday of each month was set aside as "service day" to enable class workers to engage with the director appointed by the Society in the field service. At that time they spoke of this as "book selling." j This same year the Society began to set aside several Sundays in the year for a "world-wide witness," to encourage united effort all over the world in holding public meetings simultaneously. All were encouraged to share in advertising the talk "Millions Now Living Will Never Die." k As a stimulus to this work and to further encourage the brothers, it was arranged that from this time forward congregational prayer meetings, which were being held every Wednesday night, were to devote half of the program to relating testimonies in the field work.

THE SECOND MESSAGE MARKS A DIVISION

Now Jehovah, through his organization, had made a clear-cut statement of what the people of the nations could expect. Beginning with that year and with the resounding challenge delivered to the nations, the responsibility of these world leaders would increase steadily. But Jehovah's witnesses were not waiting on these counterfeit world builders to establish the peace. They knew the leaders would not accept Jehovah's way. So they looked to their King, Christ Jesus, and continued to follow his direction in their twofold work of pronouncing God's judgments and of building for the future.

The summer of the year 1923 brought another message of Jehovah's condemnation. It was at an assembly in Los Angeles, California, August 18-26. The outstanding Scriptural discourse of the Society's president demonstrated from the Scriptures for the first time that in Jesus' illustration of the sheep and goats the sheep referred to a group of persons of good will who are now living on earth before Christ's millennial reign and who are now doing good to Christ's spiritual brothers. His talk, by

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the way, was entitled "Sheep and Goats." 1 He said:


Sheep represent all the peoples of the nations, not spirit-begotten but disposed toward righteousness, who mentally acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord and who are looking for and hoping for a better time under his reign. Goats represent all that class who claim to be Christians, but who do not acknowledge Christ as the great Redeemer and King of mankind, but claim that the present evil order of things on this earth constitutes Christ's kingdom. m


Again the climax of the assembly came at the public lecture delivered by Judge Rutherford. Present were 30,000 eager listeners who packed out the Coliseum in Los Angeles and enthusiastically rose to adopt another historic resolution. This led to the second outpouring of God's anger against Christendom. Here are a few extracts that I have marked for our particular attention. Would you like to read them, Tom?

TOM [reading]:


We hold and declare that Jesus Christ organized his church in purity to represent him upon earth; that selfish and ambitious men, loving earthly honor and glory more than the approval of God, have brought in false doctrines destructive of faith in God and his Word; and that as a result there now exists in the various denominational churches two general classes, to wit:

FIRST: Those who pretend to be Christians, but do not believe in the Bible as God's inspired Word of Truth, . . . and

SECOND: That great multitude of peoples who claim to be Christians and who hold and believe the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, . . .

The class first above-mentioned are lovers of self, covetous, boasters, unthankful, unholy, fierce, despisers of those who strive to be good, heady, high-minded, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, and who slander, misrepresent and persecute those who faithfully try to represent our Lord. . . . While claiming to be representatives of our Lord, they misrepresent him in this, to wit:

(1) They have forsaken the Word of God, denied the fall of man and denied the Lord Jesus, by whose blood man must be redeemed.

(2) They have used the name Christian and the Christian religion as a cloak to hide their unrighteousness . . .

(3) While posing as the representatives of the Prince of Peace, they have prepared war, openly advised, encouraged, and advocated the same, . . .

(4) They have with selfish design invaded the schools, colleges, seminaries and universities with their God-dishonoring doctrines of higher criticism and evolution, . . .

(5) They have spurned the true teachings of Jesus and the apostles, have scattered the flock of God, . . .

(6) They have hated the light and the bearers of the light . . .

(7) They have willfully repudiated and rejected the teachings of Jesus and the apostles concerning the Lord's second coming and the establishment of God's kingdom . . .

Furthermore, we hold and declare that of those described in the second class there is a multitude of the peace and order loving ones in the denominational churches, both Catholic and Protestant, . . . that these have hope in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and its attendant blessings; and that for such the Lord has declared his love. n


LOIS: That certainly makes a sharp division between the sheep and the goats, doesn't it? Was this resolution also distributed?

JOHN: It certainly was. Upward of 45 million were distributed here and abroad in a tract entitled "Proclamation, A Warning to All Christians—World's Impending Crisis—The Cause—Duty of Christians— The Result." o As could be expected, the reaction to this bold declaration of God's judgment against Christendom for her apostasy was bitter and hostile.

THE CLERGY INDICTED IN 1924 MESSAGE

But this was just the beginning. The following year another devastating blow was delivered. This was released at the third international convention in this series, this time at Columbus, Ohio, in the summer of 1924. This assembly, July 20-28, was attended daily by about 20,000 Witnesses and 35,000 attended the public meet-

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ing in the Ohio State University Stadium on the final Sunday. It was reported that some had come from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and Great Britain, while many were present from Canada and from every state in the United States. As at the preceding assemblies speech amplification was used.

LOIS: Against whom was the resolution at this assembly directed?

JOHN: This was aimed directly at the clergy. After its adoption by the convention attenders, it was incorporated as part of a tract entitled "Ecclesiastics Indicted," which spoke out in headlines, "Civilization Doomed—Reason for World Crisis—Blessing of the People to Follow—The Seed of Promise Versus the Seed of the Serpent." Again millions of copies were distributed. p Would you like to read the excerpts I have marked, Lois?

LOIS [reading]:


We present and charge that Satan formed a conspiracy for the purpose of keeping the peoples in ignorance of God's provision for blessing them with life, liberty and happiness; and that others, to wit, unfaithful preachers, conscienceless profiteers, and unscrupulous politicians, have entered into said conspiracy, either willingly or unwillingly;

That unfaithful preachers have formed themselves into ecclesiastical systems, . . . and that these have willingly made commercial giants and professional politicians the principal ones of their flocks.

We present and charge that the clergy have yielded to the temptations presented to them by Satan and, contrary to God's Word, have joined in said conspiracy, and in furtherance thereof have committed the overt acts as follows, to wit:

(1) That they have used their spiritual powers, enjoyed by reason of their position, to gratify their own selfish desires by feeding and exalting themselves and failing and refusing to feed or teach the people God's Word of truth;

(2) That loving the glory of this world, and desiring to shine before men and have the approval of men .. . they have clothed themselves in gaudy apparel, decked themselves with jewels, and have assumed a form of godliness while denying God's Word and the power thereof;

(3) That they have failed and refused to preach to the people the message of Messiah's kingdom and to point them to the evidences relating to his second coming; and being unwilling to await the Lord's due time to set up his kingdom . . . have endorsed the League of Nations and declared it to be "the political expression of God's kingdom on earth", thereby breaking their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and declaring their allegiance to the devil, the god of evil. q


Those are mighty strong words.

JOHN: Indeed they are. Especially in 1924 when the leaders of religion enjoyed far more favor among people than they do today. The resolution continues then to set forth under seven points outstanding doctrines of the Bible as then understood by Jehovah's witnesses and which, this indictment charged, were not only ignored by the leaders of Christendom but were being opposed and hidden from the people. Here was an indictment exposing the death-dealing quality of false religion and indicating that spiritual death was not only certain for these leaders, but that it had already begun after centuries of apostasy. Therefore their exposure was well deserved.

LOIS: How could the fourth indictment be any stronger than this resolution?

JOHN: Actually it wasn't. While it exposed the false rulers of the world, this next proclamation was really, as its title indicated, a "Message of Hope." Shall we continue on tonight, or do you want to wait till next week?

LOIS: If you have the time, we'd like to hear about the others tonight. Let me get you a cup of coffee while you get your notes together.



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