You May Survive Armageddon
Into God's New World
Proclaiming the Good News
SUNDAY afternoon, July 26, 1953, the sun shone brightly on the home of the permanent headquarters of the United Nations at New York city. On a marble wall that faces on the United Nations Plaza stood carved in large letters the words: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
2 Those striking words had not originated with any of the framers of the United Nations. They are words far older that have echoed down through the previous twenty-six centuries from the lips of an ancient prophet of the Near East, Isaiah the Hebrew. The designers of the United Nations buildings had merely taken the words to themselves from the prophet's book found in that sacred volume known as The Holy Scriptures, The Holy
1, 2. (a) What words of Isaiah stand carved upon a wall of the United Nations structures in New York city, and for what reason? (b) Was it therefore from there that the good news was to be proclaimed to people from 97 lands Sunday, July 26, 1953?
Bible. Without authority they had copied them and carved them into the marble of the United Nations structures as symbolizing the United Nations' purposes "to maintain international peace and security: and ... develop friendly relations among nations and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace." Halfway round the world, at Panmunjom, Korea, Monday, July 27, was already dawning, and that day representatives of the United Nations armies were preparing to sign with the Communist army representatives a truce to end the three-year-old Korean war that had come dangerously near to embroiling the nations in a third world war. However, it was not from this international organization's buildings there on the East River water front, between 42d Street and 48th Street, of New York city that the good news was to be proclaimed to representatives from ninety-seven lands this memorable Sunday afternoon.
3 The number of visitors that afternoon to the United Nations buildings paled into insignificance in comparison with the tremendous throng gathered six air-line miles to the northwest at the world-famous sports stadium, the Yankee baseball park. There it was the eighth and last day of an international assembly that had changed Yankee Stadium from a popular sports arena into an assembly place for matters of far grander importance to all mankind. There that same Sunday morning at the climax of a speech on Haggai 2:7 those same words of the prophet Isaiah had rung out: "They shall forge their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-knives: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."* The speaker applied them,
* Quoted from Isaiah, chapter 2, verse 4 (Da), in the 10: 15 a.m. speech entitled "Filling the House with Glory."
3. How did those words of Isaiah happen to be applied at Yankee Stadium that Sunday morning?
not to the United Nations, but to a New World society.
4 But now four o'clock in the afternoon had come. Never had there been seen at Yankee Stadium the sight that now greeted the eye, from the ground, from the spectator stands and from the airplane that wheeled above taking pictures. The baseball diamond had been transformed into a small paradise-like scene around the speaker's stand. The three-level spectator stands and the bleachers surrounding the playing field on every side were filled to the last seat. Outside the stadium vast overflow tents were filled with 25,240 persons anxious to hear by loud-speakers. But the crowd that turned out to hear the good news was too large; there was
4. By 4 p.m. that Sunday afternoon how did Yankee Stadium come to be filled to overflowing with people?
not enough room in the tents and in the stadium stands. So a few minutes before the announced hour the gates were thrown open and thousands of men, women and children streamed in and onto the green playing field to seat themselves in well-ordered groups on the green grass to listen, swelling the crowd inside the stadium to 91,562 persons.
5 Many other conventioners were listening elsewhere. At the assembly's "Trailer City" forty miles to the west in the neighboring state of New Jersey there was another record crowd of 49,027, to listen by direct wire connection with Yankee Stadium, making a total visible audience of 165,829. Besides that, by means of remote control, one of New York city's pioneer radio stations, WBBR, was daily broadcasting the convention's features over an area occupied by some fifteen million people, and it now stood ready to beam out to an uncountable invisible audience at their radio sets the good news to be proclaimed. Accountable for this record turnout was the tremendous advertising both before and during the convention — the millions of folders and handbills distributed, the thousands of window cards placed to view, the thousands of placards worn by information walkers on the city streets, the thousands of signs on the bumpers and sides of automobiles, and two placards in each and every subway car of New York's three subway systems.
6 What was the good news to be proclaimed that brought together such a crowd on a hot July afternoon? It was the good news summed up in the intensely advertised subject, "After Armageddon — God's New World." The speaker was the presi-
5. How was the total visible audience raised to a record crowd of 165,829, how was an invisible audience served, and what was accountable for this record turnout?
6. What was the good news to be proclaimed that afternoon, and what opening words of the speaker drew applause?
dent of an organization represented in 143 lands at the time, far more lands than the sixty members of the United Nations. The speaker's very first words were applauded: "Armageddon will be the worst thing ever to hit the earth within the history of man. God's new world will be the best thing ever to come to distressed mankind and will never pass away." He went on: "For us to know that the best immediately follows the worst gives us courage to consider the subject of our discussion. ... So if we have yet to endure Armageddon, it will be better for us to face it with understanding, in the hope of surviving and entering into a new world of God's making, a world altogether different from the one mankind has known now for thousands of years, to its sorrow. Armageddon will prove a great blessing in disguise."
7 Toward the close of his speech the speaker emphasized this "hope of surviving" by these words: "Just a while ago we said that the vast majority of the subjects of the new world's King will be people restored to life on earth by the resurrection of the dead. Why only the 'vast majority,' and not all? Because there is a great crowd of people of good will today living who will survive the world catastrophe of Armageddon and enter the world of new heavens and new earth without going down into the grave or ever afterward having the need to die and cease to exist. That means that Armageddon is so near at hand it will strike the generation now living." Then after an explanation came the encouragement to be among the Armageddon survivors: "Avoid perishing with this old world in the 'war of the great day of God the Almighty.' Get ready now to live AFTER ARMAGEDDON in GOD'S NEW WORLD!" With these words the president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract
7 How was encouragement finally given to be Armageddon survivors, and after the speech what were all in the visible audience given?
Society closed his prepared speech to that 1953 international assembly of Jehovah's witnesses in Yankee Stadium, after which all the 165,829 in his visible audience were offered free printed copies of the speech.
8 Never before in these twenty centuries of the so-called "Christian era" had there been such a stupendous witness on one occasion concerning this war with the ominous name Armageddon and concerning what it really means to mankind, especially the generation in which we are now living. With the passing of the years since then the warning witness regarding the real Armageddon has been greatly expanded world-wide. The seriousness of it deserves the greatest possible witness to all the nations. Its steady approach and its certainty to break forth at an unguarded hour for mankind inside this generation make it urgent that it be proclaimed on the greatest possible scale and that without letup.
9 Faced with what the world faces from its own mad course, even men of this world take seriously their ideas of what Armageddon means and talk about it without embarrassment. Into the pages of the very Congressional Record of the United States Congress there have gone these words uttered on the Senate floor by the junior senator from the state of Vermont under date of March 9, 1954: "In very truth the world seems to be mobilizing for the great battle of Armageddon. Now is a crisis in the agelong warfare between God and the Devil for the souls of men." (Pages 2726-2727)
10 Such men of this world, politicians, military
8. How did that witness concerning Armageddon compare with any previous, and why does it deserve the greatest possible witness?
9. How do even men of this world talk concerning Armageddon, according to their ideas of it?
10. How did this all-surpassing war come to be named, and how was its thieflike coming foretold by the greatest prophet ever on earth?
men and religious leaders, have not told the true facts about Armageddon, but have merely made the people familiar with the name as meaning something frightful that is stealing up on the human race. Long ago a prophet from heaven, the greatest prophet ever on earth, named this all-surpassing war and warned of its thieflike coming, in a revelation to his faithful follower, who wrote: "And I saw three unclean inspired expressions that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. Look! I am coming as a thief.. .. And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon [or, Armageddon]." That revelation was given in order to show "the things that must shortly take place." — Revelation 16:13-16; 1:1, NW.*.
11 That revelation having been given and written down about A.D. 96, it is now about nineteen centuries since the warning of the war was given by name, and we are at least that much nearer it. But the passing of all those centuries does not in itself argue that the surprise outbreak of Armageddon is near. Rather, the conditions and the events of the world in fulfillment of the great prophet's predictions, the noticeable going forth of the three unclean, froglike expressions inspired by the demons to the kings of the entire inhabited
* NW stands for the New World Translation of the Bible. See page 5 for the list of abbreviations of Bible translations used herein.
11. Aside from the passing of time since the warning, what makes it certain that the world catastrophe is not far off?
earth followed by the noticeable gathering of the kings to a modern Armageddon, and the irrepressible giving of a foretold witness concerning Armageddon on a globe-encircling scale, make it certain that this unequaled world catastrophe is not far off. It is a time of all times to consider the evidence at hand.
12 This is not calamity-howling. The Holy Scriptures or Bible, which contains the warning and description of the war of Armageddon, is not a calamity-howling book. God's new world, which it foretells as certain to follow Armageddon, is no calamity. Armageddon will be a calamitous catastrophe, not for the winners, but for the losers. The winners will enter God's new world. In this sense those who examine into Armageddon need not fear like those who dread a third world war and for whom the terrible question is, "not who will win a big war if ever there is one, but who will be on hand — and in what condition — after such a war is over?" All will lose, they fear, winner as well as loser. But such is not the question and conclusion for those who inform themselves on the real Armageddon. They are assured that there will be people on earth after the war of Armageddon, and they will be in a blessed condition.
13 Ordinarily, for us to think of trouble is not pleasant and we shrink from it. But the consideration of Armageddon, rightly understood, is inviting and beneficial. No part of the earth will escape this war. There will be no neutrals in this war; each one will have to be on either the one side or the other. Happy will those be who find themselves on the winning side. Only those who favor and uphold the winning side may have any hope of surviving this greatest of all wars. It is possible now to know
12. For what reasons is this not calamity-howling?
13. What is it that invites us to a consideration of Armageddon and of what follows it, and how do we show ourselves wise concerning it?
the winning side and take one's stand in advance on it. And this is what invites us to a consideration of Armageddon and of God's new world that will follow it. That is why we are wise if we are thoughtful and consider the overwhelming evidence of the nearness of it. The proverbs of wisdom advise us against acting hastily without knowledge and taking a disastrous course: "It is not good for a man to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet misses his way. A prudent man sees danger and hides himself; but the simple go on, and suffer for it." (Proverbs 19:2; 22:3, RS) So do not consider this mere calamity-howling, scoff at it and go on in simplicity and suffer. "How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?" "A scoffer is punished." (Proverbs 1:22; 21:11, RS) Face the facts, understand them, and then choose the way of survival.
14 The Bible is the only book on earth that tells us about the war of Armageddon and about God's new world to follow it. This is one of the many things that make the Bible the outstanding book among all the ancient books that are reputed to be sacred. We are under sheer necessity to go to the Bible if we want to know the truth about this important subject. Although its sixty-six books were completed almost nineteen hundred years ago, the Bible is not old-fashioned and out of date. It is of practical value today. It is far in advance of any other book on earth, no matter how recently written, and its prophecies that pierce into the future are actually history written in advance, so certain are they of being fulfilled. Its foreknowledge of the future, its sound rules for happy living, its view of life, its explanation of the cause of mankind's imperfect, dying condition and of the
14. For the truth about this important subject to what book are we under sheer necessity to go, and what proves that this book comes from a mind higher than that of its writers?
one remedy, and its showing us the road to salvation from this unsatisfying old world into a new world of endless life without torment of any kind, all this proves that the Holy Bible comes to us from a good and loving Mind far higher than that of the thirty-five or more men who were inspired to write its sixty-six books.
15 "Inspired to write"? Yes; for its very writers confessed that they did not write of their own accord. Peter, a writer of two books of the Holy Scriptures bearing his name, reminds us: "You know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private release. For prophecy was at no time brought by man's will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit." (2 Peter 1:20, 21, NW) King David of the ancient nation of Israel, who wrote many prophetic songs or psalms, showed where and how he got his information, saying: "The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me, and his word was upon my tongue. The God of Israel said, to me the Rock of Israel spoke." (2 Samuel 23:2, 3, NW) That is why the Holy Bible tells the truth and gives us information we can get from no other source. That is why it, above all other books, is worthy of our enjoyable study and of our fullest confidence. The more we know of it the more heartily we join in the confession to its great Author: "Your word is truth." — John 17:17, NW.
16 We need not be filled with fear, dread and horror as we take up an examination of Armageddon and what will follow. No matter how terrible that war will be, we can know its righteous purpose, and always we can let ring in our inner con-
15. Due to being written in what way does the Bible tell the truth and give us information we cannot get elsewhere?
16. Because of what special possibility for us need we not be filled with fear as we examine Armageddon and what follows it?
sciousness the cheering thought: "I may survive Armageddon into God's new world!" This thought is no self-deceiving dream. The same inspired Word that unerringly foretold many centuries ago the very situation that we face up to in this generation also drew many pictures, staged many prophetic dramas and presented many direct prophecies of the ones to be protected all through the war of Armageddon.
17 It sharpens our interest to consider that unavoidable war from the standpoint of those who will live through it into the grandeurs of God's new world. In fact, it becomes an absorbing, delightsome, thrilling consideration for us. To share this delight with our readers, we hope in following pages to look into at least forty-two of these typical pictures, prophetic life-dramas and direct prophecies regarding the Armageddon survivors.* All these are very instructive and vital for us to consider now, for they show us in one way or another things that we should wisely do now in order to be of the favored class. "For all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4, NW) "Consequently, we have the prophetic word made more firm, and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19, NW) For our part, we are thankful thus to carry forward the proclamation of the good news, in the hope that you, our reader, may be one of Armageddon's survivors, to enjoy forever God's new world afterward.
* See the list on pages 367, 368.
17. From whose standpoint does a considering of Armageddon sharpen our interest, and so what does the book hope to do, and why?