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Religion

CHAPTER IV

DOOMED

Joel 1:1-6

UPON careful consideration of the evidence set forth in the preceding chapters the person of good will can readily see that religion is the product of Satan and for long has been used by Satan and the other demons to debauch the human race and to defame the name of Almighty God. It has been and is the most subtle instrument to deceive and to bring about the destruction of men and nations. If Jehovah God in his Word makes known that it is his purpose to destroy the Devil at a set time, it is reasonable to conclude that God will also destroy everything that the Devil and his associate demons have used and are using to defame Jehovah's name and to entrap mankind. Shall the Devil and his associate demons continue to exist forever? or shall they be destroyed, and, if so, when?

The Scriptures answer in no uncertain terms. At the time Satan made the wicked challenge to Jehovah the judgment of death was entered by Jehovah against the Devil, which judgment is recorded in the following scriptures: Isaiah 14:12-19 and Ezekiel 28:13-19. God then told the Devil that He would permit him to remain and give him an opportunity to prove his wicked challenge and that in due time God would exercise his supreme power against the Devil and

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destroy him. (Exodus 9:16, Leeser] For many centuries the Devil and his associate demons have put forth every possible effort in support of that wicked challenge, and the inability to carry it out has been fully and completely demonstrated. The time is therefore at hand for the execution of the judgment against the wicked ones, and this the Devil well knows; as it is written, "He knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Revelation 12:12) It is plainly stated in the Scriptures that the Devil shall be executed by the Lord Jesus, the Executive Officer of Jehovah God. — Hebrews 2:14.

As to the wicked angels, Nephilim or demons, the judgment of death is written against them (2 Peter 2:4,9). "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6) All the demons, including Satan, the prince of demons, are extremely wicked; concerning whom it is written, 'All the wicked will God destroy.' (Psalm 145:20) The execution of the wicked will take place at Armageddon, the battle of the great day of God Almighty.  — Revelation 19:11-21; 20: 2, 3.

The nations that have fallen under the control of the Devil will likewise be destroyed: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17) Today every nation on the earth is against Jehovah God and his government, that is, The Kingdom, for which Jesus taught his followers to pray. Jesus says: "He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scatter-

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eth abroad." (Matthew 12: 30) All nations practice religion or demonism in defiance of Jehovah God and his kingdom. "Christendom" pretends to serve God, but does so hypocritically, drawing near to him only in words, but not in truth and in fact. What will be the end of religion and of those who now continue to practice religion? What follows gives the true and Scriptural answer.

Jehovah God expressed to Abraham His purpose to set up a government of righteousness under which all who love righteousness might have life and attending blessings. (Genesis 12: 2, 3; 22:15-18) Jehovah did set up a typical government, over which he made David the king. David foreshadowed Christ Jesus, and that typical government was a picture which foretold the coming of God's real government with Christ Jesus, the antitypical David, as King in control. The antitypical or real government of God is called "THE THEOCRACY", because it is God's government. Concerning Christ Jesus the King it is written: 'The government shall rest upon his shoulder, and of his government and peace there shall be no end.' (Isaiah 9: 6, 7) More than nineteen centuries ago the man Jesus came to earth at the command of Jehovah God to make known the truth of and concerning Jehovah and His government or kingdom, which should be set up at some time future. (John 18: 37) For that reason he taught his followers to always pray to Almighty God: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) Just before his crucifixion Jesus announced his purpose to go away

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to prepare and receive the kingdom and that he would later return and draw to himself those who support the kingdom. — John 14: 2, 3; Matthew 25:14-24.

Christ Jesus is "The faithful and true Witness" of Jehovah God. (Revelation 3:14) All who hear and obey the commandments of God given by and through Christ Jesus and who follow in his steps are likewise witnesses of Jehovah. Included in this class are the faithful apostles. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ God began to take out from amongst men others who faithfully follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, and they must also be witnesses of Jehovah. (Acts 15:14-16; 1 Peter 2:21) At the second coming of Christ Jesus those of his faithful followers then on the earth, being the last amongst the class so taken out, are called "the remnant", to whom is committed the testimony of Jesus Christ, and who obey God's commandments, and who are therefore made witnesses of Jehovah. (Revelation 12:17; Isaiah 43:10-12) All such are anointed and commissioned to proclaim the name and the kingdom of Almighty God. — Isaiah 61:1, 2.

Christ Jesus was enthroned as King in the year 1914 (A.D.), and three and one-half years thereafter, to wit, in 1918, he came to the temple of God for judgment. (Malachi 3:1-3) Thereafter he began to gather unto himself his followers and to judge them; and the approved ones are those that are designated in the Scriptures as "the remnant" of the anointed ones who are witnesses of Jehovah. Then the Lord began to gather unto himself another class, whom he

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designates as his "other sheep". (John 10:16) These other faithful ones become the companions of "the remnant" and are designated in the Scriptures as "Jonadabs" or "Jonathans"; and continuing faithful in obedience to God's command, these will make up the "great multitude", who shall live on the earth forever. (Revelation 7: 9-15) Both the remnant and the "other sheep" are properly called "Christians", and as companions they work together in peace and in harmony, declaring Jehovah's name and his great THEOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. (Psalm 122:1-9; Revelation 22:17) None of these practice religion, but shun religion as a deadly enemy, which it is.

Many persons who today practice religion say they are Christians, but they are not. Those who continue to practice religion have a form of godliness, but they deny the power of God and his kingdom. — 2 Timothy 3: 5.

The demons have used religion to make many hypocrites amongst men. A hypocrite is despicable in God's sight. (Job 27:8,9; 34:30) Because the clergy, that is, the priests and Levites, amongst the Jews abandoned God's Word and followed the teachings of men, practicing religion, the Lord Jesus denounced them as hypocrites: "Ye hypocrites! well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15: 7-9) "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful out-

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ward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers! how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:27,28,33) The end of hypocrites, therefore, is destruction.

Saul of Tarsus, who later was called Paul and who became an apostle of Jesus Christ, was at one time a religionist; but when he learned the truth, he became a Christian. (Galatians 1:1-16) God delivered him from religion because Paul was honest and sincere and of good will toward God. With the coming of the Lord Jesus to the temple God sets before the practitioners of religion His truth in order to afford such an opportunity of gaining knowledge and escaping from the snare of religion. Today the Lord is bringing his truth to the attention of the persons of good will in order that they may take their stand on the side of Jehovah and his kingdom and find the place of safety and the way to life everlasting.

PROPHECY

"Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world." (Acts 15:18) That includes everything pertaining to religion and what will be the end of religion. God has set forth by his prophets what will come to pass, and in his own due time he brings to pass the physical facts in fulfillment of the prophecy and reveals the meaning thereof to those who diligently seek him. The prophecy of Joel specifically relates to religion and its final end. There was a miniature fulfillment of that prophecy up-

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on Jerusalem, and the complete fulfillment of that prophecy is upon "Christendom". Jerusalem foreshadowed "Christendom"; and what came to pass upon Jerusalem was typical of what must come to pass upon "Christendom". The complete fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel began to take place after A.D. 1918, the date when Christ Jesus appeared at the temple of Jehovah for judgment. God's prophecy, as recorded by Joel, emphasizes the following things, to wit:

That God's work, designated in the Scriptures as his "strange work", he is causing to be done now in "Christendom" and which must be completed prior to Armageddon as a witness and a warning to "Christendom"; that in doing this work God uses the people 'taken out for his name' together with their companions, and by these he gives warning specifically to all who have looked for individual salvation and honor, and who have been indifferent to the honor and vindication of Jehovah's name. The prophecy exposes to view the "evil servant" class and "the man of sin", "the son of perdition." The prophecy foretells what will be the effect of God's "strange work" upon "Christendom". It shows the formation of a totalitarian state, and the full cooperation of the practitioners of the so-called "Christian religion" with the dictators of the world in opposition to God's kingdom.

The prophecy discloses the difficulty into which true Christians fell, and the recovery of the faithful ones from such difficulty, and the outpouring of God's spirit upon all the faithful.

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The prophecy shows the united effort of the religionists, politicians and commercial rulers to destroy those who faithfully serve Jehovah God. Instead of such conspiracy and united efforts on the part of the enemy to destroy Jehovah's witnesses deterring them from their work, the faithful ones are not dismayed because thereof, but boldly and joyfully march onward, doing the work as commanded by Jehovah God and his King. Furthermore it shows Jehovah inviting all of the Devil's forces to come on and fight, and that the result is and shall be to the glory of Jehovah and to the vindication of his name. The prophecy shows the complete destruction of religion and the triumph of God's kingdom of righteousness. These truths, now revealed and when understood by those devoted to the Lord, of necessity bring joy and hope to them.

ARMIES

The opening words of Joel's prophecy show that it was written according to the commandment of Jehovah God: "The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel." (Joel 1:1) The name Joel means "Jehovah [is his] God". Since individuals are of no importance and the Word of God is not written to exalt individuals, the personal history of Joel is not recorded. He was an instrument in the hand of God, and to God alone belong and go all credit and honor. In the consideration of a prophecy or prophetic picture it is not necessary or even proper to look upon the prophetic writer or the players and what they do, as acts of wonderment. We should always look to God and upon

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the work that he does, both in the prophecy and in the fulfillment, as that which is wonderful, and then we shall see and appreciate the prophecy. It is God and his works that are wonderful; and truly he works in a marvelous way in the performance of his will. God used both intelligent and unintelligent creatures to make prophetic pictures, and sometimes the one used was devoted to God, and sometimes not, thus showing that the individual is of no importance but God is of all importance. The name of the prophet or players and the meaning thereof are important, because disclosing the fact that God uses such to do and to perform his work.

Joel was "the son of Bethuel", which name means "enlarged of God". The name appropriately calls attention to the things that come to pass in connection with the fulfillment of the prophecy. Joel, being a witness of Jehovah, represented the faithful remnant of the anointed, who are made and constituted the witnesses of Jehovah. The father of such witnesses is Jehovah God, because they are his children; and the meaning of the name of Joel's father would therefore call attention to the facts,

(1) that the remnant were loosed or released from the bondage of Satan's organization (Isaiah 14:17; 52: 2; Ezekiel 37:12,13; Psalms 116:16; 105: 20); and

(2) that the mouth of such was enlarged or opened by the Lord that they might deliver the kingdom message (Psalms 51:15; 78: 2; Ezekiel 3: 27; 24: 27; 33: 22); and

(3) that their ears were made to hear and to obey Jehovah's commandments in delivering his

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message. (Isaiah 50:5; 35:5) The names both of Joel and of his father point to the fact that the fulfillment of the prophecy written by Joel is completed after the coming of Christ Jesus to the temple of Jehovah God in A.D. 1918 and within "the day of Jehovah".

The word of the Lord which came to Joel was an emphatic command which Joel must obey, and he must deliver the message as commanded. Likewise the 'people taken out for his name' receive their commission from Jehovah God, and they must obey his commandments and carry out the same by delivering God's message to all to whom he sends them: "Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?" (Joel 1:2) It appears that the "old men" mentioned in this last-quoted verse refers to those who rest upon their own laurels, esteeming their wisdom far superior to that of others, and who pride themselves upon what they have gained in the past, and who fail to give honor to Jehovah God. Such, as indicated by the Scriptures, are those who become self-appointed "leaders of the people", and who teach the doctrines of men, and who therefore lead the people into error. Such are 'the prophets that teach lies'; 'the leaders of the people cause them to err.' (Isaiah 9:15,16) "Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet: but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients." — Ezekiel 7:26.

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The "old men" and the "inhabitants of the land" who follow their lead do not ask that the message be brought to them, but it is sent to them and they are commanded to hear because it is "the word of the Lord". The message is addressed to those who have made a covenant to do the will of God but who have become unfaithful and broken that covenant. Today the practitioners of religion which is called "the Christian religion" are in an implied covenant to obey God, but they do not perform their part of the covenant. They are not the servants of God, but, on the contrary, they bring reproach upon Jehovah's name. God will not permit them to have any excuse for their course of action, but sends them his word and demands that they give heed to the warning. Thus the Lord commands his witnesses to carry his message to "Christendom" at the present time, and even to those who do not ask for it or even want it. Jehovah's witnesses go to the people, and particularly within the hearing of the leaders, and deliver to them the message of Jehovah. It is not the message of hate, nor is it delivered because of hate, but it is God's message of fair warning and delivered at his command, notifying all of his purpose to vindicate his name. Such witness work is God's "strange work" now being done on the earth. — Isaiah 28: 21.

When Jehovah's witnesses approach the people with Jehovah's message of warning the religionists say: "Strange that Christians should be engaged in such a work of warning the clergy and leaders of 'Christendom'!" That is the way it appears to them. It is indeed a "strange work",

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because it is God's "strange work", and it is God's time to have the warning given to the 'dreamers'. To them the Lord says: "Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?" The day of calamity upon religion and religious practitioners is at hand. An announcement thereof must be made. Has there before been the like upon earth in the days of "Christendom"? Prior to 1918 (when the Lord appeared at his temple) and when the Lord did the work of preparing the way before Jehovah, was there ever anything like this? Because the work following that time, and which is done at the command of the Almighty God, has never had an equal in the memory of man, it makes that work a "strange work" in the eyes of so-called "Christian religionists". The clergy and the "evil servant" class, and those of the "elective elder" spirit, regard it very strange that men and women who claim to be Christian should be indulging in the practice of warning others who also claim to be Christian.

Because this work done in giving warning to "Christendom" is so unusual God commands as follows: "Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." (Joel 1:3) It is now so strange to the religionists that it is something to be talked about. There will never be the like of it on earth again, because it is the final warning. Some of the inhabitants of the land hear and give heed to the warning and take their place in the Jonathan or Jonadab class, the Lord's "other sheep", who will form the "great multitude", and live forever on the earth; but the

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number thereof is small compared with the practitioners of religion.

Then the Lord gives warning through the prophet of a coming devastation that shall fall upon Jerusalem and later upon antitypical Jerusalem, to wit, "Christendom," and which will completely denude the land: "That which the palmerworm hath left, hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left, hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left, hath the caterpillar eaten." — Joel 1:4.

The language employed indicates a series of pests that come, but in the fulfillment of the prophecy the reference is not to literal pests that have been eating the farmers' crops since 1918, any more than the fulfillment of the prophecy now applies to the literal city of Jerusalem. The pests referred to in this fourth verse Jehovah calls "my great army" (Joel 2:25), and which great army devastates the land.

The plague mentioned in the text is fourfold and is the same as pictured in Revelation 9:1-12, in which Jehovah foretells that he will send his witnesses, who are likened unto locusts sent as a plague, upon "Christendom". The plague's being fourfold shows that it brings about a complete destruction of the religious food, or fodder rather, which "Christendom" and her leaders provide for the feeding of the people. Today the truth is a plague which exposes the fodder provided by "Christendom" as food for the people, as being all lies and without any life-giving or life-sustaining value. God's message, delivered by his messengers, exposes all religion as being

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of the Devil and therefore that which leads the people into the Devil's snare and ultimately into destruction. The plague comes as one pest following another and leaves nothing of "Christendom's" fodder or pastures untouched. The latest message of truth exposes religion as fraudulent and death-dealing and appears to be the fourth and last plague of pests, and after which there is nothing that remains to be devoured. The Year Book of Jehovah's witnesses for the year 1937 sets forth some important information concerning the expose of religion. That this message is not a message of man and is not given because of hate or ill will, but is given strictly in obedience to the commandment of Almighty God, is shown from what follows, to wit:

The text discloses the ones aroused as being sleepers and drinkers, who have become maudlin drunk: "Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth." (Joel 1:5) God calls upon them to awake; but to awake to what? To the fact that disaster is about to overwhelm them and that such disaster is the expression of God's wrath against those who have disregarded and violated their implied covenant to obey him. "Christendom," meaning the religious practitioners in particular, has been warned by Jehovah God and has given no heed to such warning. What Jehovah here says through his prophet applies to "Christendom" with stronger emphasis than to the people of Jerusalem in the type, because the people of "Christendom" have professed to be the children of God and servants of the Most High and yet,

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with all the advantages and opportunities they have had in the past, they have become the past masters in hypocrisy. What God said to the Israelites through Moses now applies with stronger force to the present practitioners of religion of "Christendom", to wit: "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." "And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass [scorching hot, with no rain], and the earth that is under thee shall be iron [burned to a crisp and hard and dry]. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust [the condition that results in 'Christendom' after God's army, the antitypical locusts, have eaten up everything]; from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed." "The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart." — Deuteronomy 28:15, 23, 24, 28.

The drunkards, hearing the command of the Lord, wake up in a measure, but do they awake with joy? No; on the contrary, the Lord tells them: "Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl." "Christendom's" leaders have for long been under the influence of Satan's wine made from "the vine of the earth" and are in a drunken stupor. Instead of repenting and weeping when first warned and thus forestalling what is about to come upon them, they first wake up when the calamity is just upon them. They heard the message during the "Elijah period" of the church's work before A.D. 1918, but scorned it,

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and now, when Armageddon is very near, they get a stronger jolt. The political spellbinders, who have made a studied effort to deceive the people, and have done so; the religion mongers, who have hypocritically claimed to represent God and his King, but who have represented the Devil and have led the people into the Devil's snare; and the money-changers, who have used both politics and religion to accomplish their ultraselfish deeds, have all drunk deep the wine of Babylon, fermented for them by Satan, and have all become drunk, and they have fallen into a stupor, forgetting God, and have utterly ignored their obligation to their fellow creatures. Being ultraselfish, and their drinking having intensified their selfishness, they look only

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to self-interest, and never seek to do good to their fellow creatures, and always dishonor the name of Almighty God.

The three elements named constitute the official elements of the inhabitants of the earth, and are used by Satan to control the people of the earth. They imbibe Satan's false and wicked policies and carry them out. They drink much from Satan's wine and receive the effervescent effect from it and become reckless and wanton, and live in selfish pleasure and self-gratification. Satan leads them into his trap by means of religion, and they have been easily led after having imbibed the cup which Satan has prepared for them. Concerning this Jehovah by another of his prophets says: "But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean." (Isaiah 28:7,8) And thus God depicts the miserable condition of "Christendom", which claims to represent the Almighty on earth. The day of reckoning comes, and the Lord, by his inspired servant, says to that crowd: "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the

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hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter." — James 5:1-5.

In all of the drunken revelry and debauchery amongst the nations of earth today religion takes the lead. Because the leaders of religion have hypocritically claimed to be the servants of God and have, contrary to God's Word, mixed with and become a part of Satan's world, the religious element of the state organization is likened unto an adulterous woman. Outwardly they may be entirely chaste, so far as the flesh is concerned, and uttering soft and kind words, while inwardly they are having illicit relationship with the admitted elements of Satan's organization, which is called the "present evil world". Therefore, says the Word of God concerning them: "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.

The Lord uses strong and emphatic language to make known the despicable condition of the religious systems, likening the same unto a blear-eyed harlot. God does not mince words, but he makes them so emphatic that no one has an excuse for not understanding them, and when these words are repeated in the presence or hearing of religionists they go stark mad and desire to destroy the ones who bring the message to their attention. Then the Lord addresses

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himself to those who hear and obey his voice, and says: "Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters [peoples]: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." — Revelation 17:1,2,5.

Note this according to the Scriptures: that the three elements above mentioned (Joel 1:2,5) that dominate the earth are drunken "because of the new wine". New wine intoxicates quickly, and the Devil saw to it that plenty of new wine from his vineyard made from the vine of the earth was fermented and brought forth for "Christendom" since 1918, when he was cast out of heaven and down to the earth. (Revelation 12:1-12) New wine is seductive and causes the creature to glorify himself and to reproach Jehovah God. Satan's "new wine" first appeared under the guise of the "League of Nations", which is a substitute for God's kingdom and is hailed by the religionists as such. It is announced as the means for ruling and establishing the earth. The ruling element once made drunken on this "wine" were easily led further into the snare of the Devil by giving the greatest importance to the state and magnifying the state or worldly government above Jehovah God. The drinkers, well tanked up on the Devil's wine, then have

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united on what is known as the "totalitarian government", or rule by arbitrary dictators.

Furthering his deceptive schemes to overreach the people where democracies are supposed to exist, the Devil brings forth other idolatrous schemes setting the state above God, and brings into operation compulsory flag-saluting, oaths of allegiance to be taken by those who are native citizens of the state, bestowing honor upon men, and particularly magnifying politics and religion and religious leaders. With all of the disturbance and turmoil in the earth the political leaders loudly proclaim: "We must have more religion as a cure for the ills of the nations of the earth." Not that we must have a return to God and his kingdom, but religion is what they insist upon, which is wholly an invention of the Devil. Cruelly and subtly the totalitarian or dictator schemes move forward, and now the dictators have become bold and arrogant and have formed a bloc of nations, including Germany, Italy, Japan and other states, and on top of which bloc or combine the so-called "spiritual" Roman Catholic Hierarchy sits in great state and struts her stuff, administering supposed doses of soothing remedy in a studied effort to make Satan's rule or wine of this world appear a sweet wine.

This is only a meager description of the present-day condition, and it is well known, by all who think, that the conditions are far worse than here described. The world today is in such a condition that human words cannot properly describe the same. In the land called "Christendom" God's holy name is defamed and his king-

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dom opposed, and the three ruling elements above mentioned have brought themselves into their present condition by an overindulgence of Satan's new wine.

Following the World War, and after the religious leaders walked straightway into the political camp, the three elements aforementioned began to function together more completely and at that time there was much hilarity amongst them. The religionists then regarded that as the time ripe for them to join up with their allies, the political and commercial giants, and rule the earth in the place and stead of God's kingdom under Christ Jesus. They became noisy and loud, and their merriment was due to the exhilaration of the new wine of Babylon produced by Satan for them. For centuries religionists have endeavored, as they have frequently stated, to bring the world into the church, but in modern times the religious organization called "the Christian religion" and "church" have walked right into the political, worldly camp, and have all gotten beastly drunk on the new wine of the "vine of the earth". Their boisterous hilarity was of short duration. And why? The Lord, by his prophet, answers the question: "For it is cut off from [their] mouth." Instead of hilarity they begin to howl, as God has stated in this prophecy.

What interrupted the felicitations of the would-be rulers of the earth? The answer is, Jehovah's "strange work". But how? Jehovah has sent forth his people, whom he has taken out of the nations as a people for his name, and these at Jehovah's command proclaim the name

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of Jehovah and his King and kingdom. That message of truth makes known the name and Word of Jehovah God, exposes the aforementioned combine of religionists and their religion as a delusion and a scheme of the demons to deceive and destroy the peoples of the earth. The heavenly kingdom message shows that the religious combine, instead of having God's approval, constitutes an abomination in his sight, and therefore Jehovah God sounds the doom of religion and religious rulers and discloses that such shall be completely wiped out at Armageddon. Following the World War Jehovah God provided and caused his servants to use the radio, sound machines, the printing press, and other means, to carry his message amongst the people and herald his name and that of his King and kingdom to the people, and this has greatly annoyed the drinkers and interrupts their felicitations. Therefore their joy is cut off, as the Lord says, from their mouths, by the plagues which Jehovah sends upon them, and it is Jehovah's antitypical locusts that carry the plague message. Having rejected Christ, the King of the world, the religionists and allies have no access to the joy of the Lord, and therefore they do not 'drink the fruit of the vine new with Christ Jesus in the kingdom'. Only his faithful servants do that. (Matthew 26: 29) Thus those who love the Lord, his appearing and his kingdom can partake of the Lord's wine new with real joy with Christ Jesus, who has gathered them into the temple.

The Lord now speaks through his prophet, to wit: "For a nation is come up upon my land,

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strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion." (Joel 1:6) The nation described in this text as a "nation . . . come up" is God's holy nation, or people for his name taken out of the world for his name's sake (1 Peter 2:9,10; Acts 15:14), and such nation is represented on earth by the remnant of God's anointed people. Associated with the remnant is a company without number, made up of those who are of good will toward God and who constitute the Lord's "other sheep" and whose hearts are right, and they join with God's holy nation, and they all work together in harmony. The rendering of "nation" (Joel 1:6) according to Strong's Concordance is: "Figuratively, in the sense of a massing; a flight (as of locusts)." Note that in Joel 1:4 God sends against "Christendom" the locusts to devour and devastate the products of the land. The locusts work together, just as God's holy nation moves forward in a harmonious action. They have no earthly king, but are led by the Lord, the invisible King: "The locusts have no [earthly] king, yet go they forth all of them by bands"; (margin) "gathered together."  — Proverbs 30:27.

The "nation" here symbolized by locusts "come up upon my land", that is, upon unfaithful Judah in the miniature fulfillment, and now, in the complete fulfillment, upon "Christendom", which nations claim to be the antitypical Judah, or those who praise and serve God, but do not and hence are hypocrites. The religionists claim that "Christendom" is the land of God. They practice what they call "the Christian religion",

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but which is in fact a defamation of God's name. It is that "land" which Jehovah causes his witnesses, pictured by locusts, to invade with the message of wrath against hypocrisy, and by proclaiming God's message of truth the hypocrites are stung and their pastures are devoured.

It is important to here note that the "nation" that comes upon the land to devour does not engage in human slaughter or physical violence to any creatures or animals. That nation, likened unto locusts, does not resort to the use of the sword or any other instrument of violence. The damage is done, as stated in the prophecy, to the vegetation that grows upon the land and upon which the people feed. The prophecy in its miniature fulfillment in Joel's day inflicted great harm upon the Israelites, and this was by a mass of living, moving creatures that came from outside of Palestine and therefore foreign to that land. Even so in like manner in the real fulfillment today upon "Christendom", a swarm of moving, living creatures comes upon "Christendom", does not engage in physical violence, but this army does devour the food or "spiritual" fodder which "Christendom" has prepared and invited the people to eat and upon which the people have tried to feed and have starved. This is proof conclusive that it is the message of God's Word, proclaimed in the hearing of the people, including the ruling element, that devours that which "Christendom" produces in the way of so-called "spiritual" food. Jehovah's witnesses and companions, who carry the message, are not engaged in a work of hate, any more than it can be said that the locusts ate up the vegetation of

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the fields because of hate. Jehovah's witnesses proclaim the message of truth because God has commanded that they must do so. Therefore the same is an expression of God's wrath against hypocrisy by which the people are deceived and God's name defamed.

Further describing the Lord's invading army, the record (Joel 1:6) is, the nation is "strong [bold (Rotherham)], and without number". They are strong and bold because they are sent forth in the strength and power of the Lord and are backed up by everlasting and unlimited power. (2 Chronicles 16:9; Deuteronomy 33:27) They are "without number", it being true of them as it was said of the seed of Abraham. (Genesis 15: 5) The number, as compared to the mass of humanity, is small; yet by their zeal and their organized, harmonious action Jehovah's witnesses and companions are likened today by "Christendom" to a host "without number". "Whose teeth are the teeth of a lion"; because they are like their Head and Lord, Christ Jesus, who is "the Lion of the tribe of Juda" and whom the remnant follow in obedience to his command. "And he [that is, Christ Jesus, the great Lion] hath the cheek [(R.V.) jaw] teeth of a great lion." Christ Jesus knows no defeat, and he tears to pieces all hypocrisy that brings reproach upon the name of Jehovah, and his true followers have a part in this work.

The religious combine now in the saddle as a totalitarian, arbitrary rule moves forward. Even in the land called "democracy" hypocrisy is practiced among many of the ruling elements who speak loud against dictators, while at the

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same time forging forward with dictatorial methods to regiment and control the people and take away all their liberties. The clergy and other religions leaders advocate and aid in the enactment of laws compelling the saluting of flags and laws which place the state above Almighty God and his King. Never in the history of man has there been so much hypocrisy practiced as now, and in the practice of hypocrisy religion takes the lead and the political spellbinders howl, "We must have more religion." Religious bodies make great pretense of advocating the liberties of the people, particularly freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of worship, but at the same time they are active in making laws that take away from the people all such liberties. Exactly as God foretold by his prophet, they 'frame mischief by law' and condemn those who love and serve righteousness. (Psalm 94:20,21) The clergy today appear before legislative bodies and advocate the enactment of such laws depriving the people of the liberty of speech and worship. The religious leaders and their allies attempt the destruction of those who serve God, even as Jehovah foretold that such hypocrites with their mouth destroy their neighbors; and the hypocrites do so because God's message exposes them to the view of all honest people. For the comfort and hope of his people now on the earth Jehovah long ago foretold his present-day means of carrying on his "strange work" and what part his faithful people now on earth might have in that work.



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