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You May Survive Armageddon
Into God's New World



CHAPTER XIV

The Flight to Safety

TO THE generation of Jews of his day Jesus said: "Here I am sending forth to you prophets and wise men and public instructors. Some of them you will kill and impale, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city; that there may come upon you all the righteous blood spilled on earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her." (Matthew 23:34-37, NW) Jerusalem had a bloodstained record, not for having engaged in theocratic warfare under God, but for having shed innocent blood and done many of God's prophets to death, even the Son of God being condemned to death there. (Luke 13:33, 34) Seven centuries earlier, in Jeremiah's day, Jehovah had commented on her bloodguilt: "Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things you say, 'I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.' Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, 'I have not sinned.' " (Jeremiah 2:34, 35, RS) He did, in 607 B.C., when the Babylonian executioners reddened their swords and spears with her blood at her appalling over-


1. How did Jesus and also Jeremiah call attention to Jerusalem's bloodguilt, and how did Jehovah bring her to judgment for it?
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throw. In the summer of A.D. 70 Jerusalem came in for another blood bath in fulfillment of Jesus' words, the Roman executioners leading off 97,000 Jewish captives after leaving 1,100,000 dead in the ruined city.

2 This is a solemn warning example for Christendom, the present-day counterpart of Jerusalem and her realm of Judah. From her beginning in the fourth century, in Constantine's day, blood unjustly shed has stained Christendom's record before God, who declared to Noah after the Flood: "Your blood of your souls shall I ask back. From the hand of every living creature shall I ask it back; and from the hand of man, from the hand of one who is his brother, shall I ask back the soul of man. Anyone shedding man's blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God's image he made man." That divine covenant concerning the sanctity of blood is everlasting. It still stands, like its symbol the rainbow. (Genesis 9:1-6, 12-16, NW) Christendom, not to mention the whole world, has a frightful blood debt to settle according to God's covenant concerning blood. Her thousands of wars, besides religious inquisitions and crusades, prior to 1914 have expended the lives of countless millions. Her two world wars since 1914, both of which started within her realm, were the most sanguinary of all; and the dreaded third world war promises to be the greatest spiller of blood, the most costly of all in human lives, because Christendom is now armed with atomic or nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

3 Those wars were not theocratic. Jehovah's


2. Why is that a solemn warning example to Christendom, and according to what covenant does she have a blood debt to settle?
3. What kind of wars were those, but why more is Christendom under bloodguilt that calls for a blood avenger?
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spiritual Israelites have not fought in those wars, for their weapons of combat are spiritual, harmless to the flesh. Christendom stands under blood-guilt, not only because of those wars, but more so because of taking the lives of many of the spiritual Israelites, the holy ones of Jehovah God. Of Christendom in particular it can be said that she is "drunk with the blood of the holy ones and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus." (Revelation 17:6, NW) This makes her only more like her ancient type, unfaithful Judah and Jerusalem. Armageddon draws near when the blood avenger brings her blood upon her.

4 All the people of Christendom who approve and uphold the record and traditions of Christendom have a society responsibility for her blood-guilt and have to face a settlement with God at Armageddon. They face destruction for their common guilt. Is there no way to fly to safety and survival? Yes; and in his laws to ancient Israel God provided a type of the way to flee to safety before his Avenger of blood strikes at Armageddon. This type was that of the "cities of refuge." These cities were provided, not for the willful murderer, but for the unintentional killer. "The cities must serve you as a refuge from the blood avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the assembly for judgment. . . . Three cities you will give on this side of the Jordan and three cities you will give in the land of Canaan. As cities of refuge they will serve. For the sons of Israel and for the temporary resident and for the settler in the midst of them these six cities will serve as a refuge, for anyone to flee there that fatally strikes a soul unintentionally." (Numbers 35:9-15, NW) The antitypical cities of refuge are therefore for


4. Who share a society responsibility with Christendom, and how was the way to flee from the Avenger of blood typified, and for whom?
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those who go to make up the spiritual Israelites and for those who go to make up the "great crowd" of companions pictured by the non-Israelite temporary resident and the settler in ancient Israel.

5 It would do no good for the willful murderer to flee to the nearest city of refuge. After he would be tried and his willful intent to kill was proved, he was to be expelled from the city and turned over to the hands of the blood avenger, the proper executioner. "And you must take no ransom for the soul of a murderer who is deserving to die, for without fail he should be put to death." (Numbers 35:16-21, 30, 31, NW) But if it was unexpectedly without hostility and not seeking another's injury that an Israelite or a non-Israelite killed someone, he could preserve his life by flight to the nearest city of refuge before he was overtaken by the pursuing avenger of blood. He now stood trial before the assembly. "Then the assembly must judge between the striker and the avenger of blood according to these judgments. And the assembly must deliver the manslayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood and the assembly must return him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he must dwell in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil." "It is then that the manslayer may return and he must enter into his city and into his house, into the city from which he had fled." — Numbers 35:22-25 and Joshua 20:1-9, NW.

6 All six cities of refuge were given to the Levites, one of them being Hebron belonging to the Levite priests. So if a Levite or a priest killed anyone accidentally within such a city or its pas-


5. How did flight to a refuge city not benefit a willful murderer but benefit an unintentional killer?
6. How was a Levite or priest affected by killing unintentionally?
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ture grounds, he had to remain in such a city. He lost the privilege of going up to the sacred tabernacle or to the temple at Jerusalem and performing his regular Levite or priestly duties there, until the high priest then active in office died.

7 Who, then, is the blood avenger or "go'el" before whom those having bloodguilt in the divine sight must flee? In typical Israel the blood avenger was the nearest male relative of the person killed. (2 Samuel 14:7-11) In fact, the word "go'el" came to mean "kinsman with the right to repurchase (or redeem)," such as Boaz was to the widowed Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth. (Ruth 2:20; 3:12, 13; 4:1-10, NW) At Armageddon Jehovah's Avenger of blood will be his Chief Executioner, his King Jesus Christ. Nineteen centuries ago he became a blood relative of all humankind by emptying himself of his heavenly glory and becoming perfect flesh; "who was produced out of a woman and who came to be under law." (John 1:14 and Galatians 4:4, NW) Jesus' perfect human life was equivalent to that which the first man Adam enjoyed in the paradise of Eden. He surrendered this sinless life in death as a sacrifice and, after his resurrection from death, he presented its value to God for the sake of Adam's dying descendants. He thus became mankind's Redeemer, hence our closest relative. At the same time his self-sacrifice proved him to be the acting High Priest, sworn into office by Jehovah God.

8 What, then, is the antitypical city of refuge? Since the manslayer was required to remain in the city of refuge until the acting high priest


7. Who is the blood avenger before whom to flee now, and how so?
8. What, then, is the antitypical city of refuge, how must the covenant violator proceed, and how did Saul's case illustrate this?
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died, the antitypical city of refuge must be Jehovah's provision for protection from death for violating the divine covenant concerning the sanctity of blood by our coming and remaining under the benefits of the active service of his High Priest Jesus Christ. The covenant violator must seek God's forgiveness and cancellation of his sin through faith in the lifeblood of the High Priest. He must show his sincere repentance over having committed a violation by obediently remaining under this divine provision through Christ, trusting in the righteousness and the good offices of the High Priest. Here, then, is the only practical arrangement to which to flee for those inside Christendom and outside her who are sharing in bloodguilt before God's Avenger of blood. Remember the apostle Paul, who at first was Saul of Tarsus. As a fanatical Pharisee he persecuted the Christian congregation and had many put to death, violating the covenant concerning blood. "Nevertheless," he says, "I was shown mercy, because I was ignorant and acted with a lack of faith." That was why the Avenger of blood, the resurrected Jesus Christ, did not put him to death when he met him on the road to Damascus. Then Saul repented and rose, got baptized and washed away his sins by calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 7:58; 8:1; 9:1-19; 22:4-16; 26:9-19; 1 Timothy 1:13-16, NW) Shielding from execution by the divine Avenger of blood lies only in taking a course like Paul's.

9 Today bloodguilt rests heavily upon Christendom and upon all the world. Many persons, because they have not directly killed a man or directly gone to war, are unaware of their personal share in the guilt. Many have engaged in


9. Why are many, not directly killers, sharers in blood-guilt, and so who will not pass them by?
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the persecution of Jehovah's witnesses that has resulted in the death of many of these, some even killing these witnesses of Jehovah and thinking they were thus rendering sacred service to God. (Matthew 24:9; John 16:2, NW) Just because a priest or clergyman of Christendom has imparted his blessing, some have felt authorized to kill fellow men and to be without bloodguilt before God. But coming under such priest or clergyman's blessing was not a coming into the city of refuge of Jehovah's High Priest Jesus Christ. Religious and patriotic feelings do not excuse. Those with such feelings who approve, aid and back up either persons that directly commit bloodshed or propaganda and movements that lead to spilling of innocent blood become like unintentional or accidental killers in Israel. They are parties to the crime and come under a society responsibility or community responsibility that the God of justice cannot and does not pass by, neither his Avenger of blood. — Deuteronomy 21:1-9, NW.

10 Many or all of the remnant of spiritual Israelites were under such a responsibility as unintentional killers before they took the course that resulted in their being sealed as members of the 144,000. Whether Jehovah held those of the original remnant guilty as regards bloodshed for their displeasing course during World War I, he must be left to judge. At any rate, they have repented of their shortcomings then and have fled to the antitypical city of refuge under Jesus Christ. All those who, since 1919, have become members of the remnant or of the "great crowd" of antitypical "temporary residents" and "settlers" in spiritual Israel have likewise had to escape unintentional bloodguilt by fleeing to the antitypical


10. Why have those of the remnant and those of the "great crowd" been obliged to flee to the antitypical refuge city, to abide there?
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city of refuge to be safe from destruction at Armageddon. There all must abide under God's mercy through his acting High Priest.

11 If an unintentional manslayer ventured outside his refuge city before the high priest's death, what? "But if the manslayer should at all go out of the boundary of his city of refuge to which he may flee, and the avenger of blood does find him outside the boundary of his city of refuge and the avenger of blood does slay the manslayer, he has no bloodguilt. For he ought to dwell in his city of refuge until the high priest's death and after the high priest's death the manslayer may return to the land of his possession." (Numbers 35:26-28, NW) Should those of the remnant of spiritual Israelites and those of the "great crowd" become self-reliant and leave the city of refuge by losing faith in the High Priest's sacrifice and trusting no more in its covering of sins, they expose themselves to destruction at Armageddon. There the divine Avenger of blood will suddenly come upon them and execute them, without any bloodguilt to himself but rather vindicating God's covenant concerning the sanctity of the blood of His creatures.

12 Those of the remnant must keep within the antitypical city of refuge till they faithfully finish their course in death and forever sacrifice their human nature. Since Christ's sacrifice applies only to those having human nature, the High Priest dies, as it were, to them, in the sense that he no more needs to act in their behalf with the merit of his human sacrifice, for in the resurrection they are raised to spirit life with the "di-


11. What happened if an unintentional manslayer went outside the refuge city before the high priest's death, and how could this happen to any of the remnant or of the great crowd?
12. How long must the remnant keep within the antitypical refuge city, and how long the great crowd?
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vine nature." (2 Peter 1:4) Those of the "great crowd" of antitypical "temporary residents" or "settlers" must "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" before Armageddon and they must confine themselves to the antitypical city of refuge beyond Armageddon and to the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ. When they attain to human perfection by that time and they successfully pass the final test of their integrity by Satan's loosing and are justified by God himself to everlasting life in the endless world, then his High Priest will, so to speak, die to them, for he will no more need to act in their behalf with the cleansing blood of his sacrifice.

13 Jesus Christ, the Avenger of all human blood, now stands poised to execute all those of the earth under bloodguilt at Armageddon. "For see! the LORD [Jehovah] is coming out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the world for their guilt; and the earth will uncover her blood, and will no more conceal her slain." (Isaiah 26:21, AT) There all mankind, Christendom and all, will be brought face to face with their joint responsibility for the blood of all those unrighteously slain, on a larger scale than Jerusalem and Jewry did A.D. 70. (Matthew 23:33-38) They will be made to pay the penalty. The earth must be cleansed of all such blood that has soaked it. The only way to flee to safety is to take the road that Jehovah's Word marks out to the antitypical city of refuge and to continue dwelling in it under benefit of the acting High Priest, Jesus Christ. There is no other way to survive Armageddon.

14 Time grows shorter. In view of the threaten-


13. Where will the Avenger of all human blood execute the guilty, and why, and what is the way to survive the general execution?
14. Like whom is it now the course of wisdom to act without delay for preservation?
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ing destruction it is the course of wisdom to act without delay, as did the Gibeonites of old. The Gibeonites were not Israelites, hence do not typify the spiritual Israelites. They were Canaanites who came under the curse that Noah pronounced upon their forefather Canaan. (Genesis 9:22-25; 10: 15-19; 2 Samuel 21:2) The iniquity of the Amorites had come to completion, and the Israelites under Joshua, Moses' successor as leader, had crossed the Jordan River by a miracle and had entered the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. Jericho's walls had fallen flat before them, and they had reduced the city of Ai to a permanent mound of desolation. The Gibeonites realized that Jehovah was fighting for Israel and was using Joshua and the Israelites as his executioners in destroying the pagan inhabitants who had defiled the land with bloodshed and detestable idolatries.

15 The inhabitants of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim now stood in line to be executed as pagan Canaanites. They did not want to die; they would rather enjoy life, even if as subjects of the Jehovah-fearing Israelites. They resorted to shrewdness to trick the Israelites into making a covenant with them to let them live. They sent ambassadors to Joshua at Gilgal near the Jordan River, and these pretended to come from a very distant land outside the territory whose inhabitants were condemned to extermination. Out of regard for the name of Jehovah they asked for a covenant to be made with them. Joshua and the Israelite princes accepted the seeming evidence that they offered to their claims; "at the mouth of Jehovah they did not inquire. And Joshua went to making peace with them and concluding a covenant with them to let them live, and so the chieftains of the assembly


15. By what procedure did the Gibeonites and their neighbors come to be put in a safe place?
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swore to them." (Joshua 9:1-15, NW) This put the Gibeonites in a safe place.

16 Three days later the Israelites learned the truth, and they came upon their cities. The Israelites were held back from putting the inhabitants to the sword. The Israelite chieftains explained: "We for our part have sworn to them by Jehovah the God of Israel, and now we are not allowed to hurt them. This is what we shall do to them while letting them live, that no indignation may come upon us over the oath that we have sworn to them. . . . Let them live and let them become gatherers of wood and drawers of water for all the assembly, just as the chieftains have promised them." Joshua then informed the Gibeonites: "Now you are cursed people, and a slave's position and being gatherers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God will never be cut off from you." Thus the Gibeonites became menial temple servants with thankfulness, grateful to be spared alive. — Joshua 9:16-27, NW.

17 Aptly the Gibeonites picture the "great crowd" not spiritual Israelites. Joshua, whose name is spelled "Jesus" in the Greek Septuagint Version of the Hebrew Scriptures, pictures the glorified Jesus Christ, Jehovah's Chief Executional Officer. He cannot be tricked, but he appreciates the desire and effort of the antitypical Gibeonites to live. The only way they can enter into an arrangement with him to spare them from execution is for them publicly to declare their faith in Jehovah as the true God and live as being no part of this world condemned to destruction. Then they have to submit to the service of the Greater Joshua, Jesus Christ, and become humble slaves of Jehovah, rendering sacred service to him


16. What was done with them when the Israelites learned the truth about them?
17 Whom do the Gibeonites typify, and how does it befall these like the Gibeonites?
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at his spiritual temple under the guidance of the remnant of spiritual Israelites, the "faithful and discreet slave" class. Those who become antitypical Gibeonites quickly take advantage of the remaining time before Armageddon to fulfill these requirements, and they win the promise of being spared alive.

18 The spiritual Israelites may not despise this divine provision through the Greater Joshua for these antitypical Gibeonites to live and survive Armageddon. They must work for as many of these as possible to survive, more, not less, of them. Once the first Israelite king, Saul of Gibeah, transgressed upon the covenant and tried to blot the Gibeonites out of the land because they were not Israelites. The bloodguilt for this rested upon Saul's house even after he died in battle. So it became necessary for seven of his male descendants to be killed and hanged in order to wipe out the bloodguilt of Saul's family. This satisfied the Gibeonites. It met God's requirement and he stopped the famine in Israel. — 2 Samuel 21:1-9.

19 Jehovah will avenge his modern-day antitypical Gibeonites if any spiritual Israelite should try to abuse his position and try to injure these temple servants instead of seek their welfare. Let those who try to destroy these antitypical Gibeonites be, not any of us, but the ungodly powers of this world. For trying to do so let them experience what five kings of the Amorites did who formed a league against the Gibeonites. They wanted to destroy the Gibeonites because they had come to peaceful terms with Joshua and Israel. They laid siege to Gibeon. The Gibeonites sent word to Joshua to come save them. Joshua made an all-night


18. How was King Saul's mistreatment of the Gibeonites settled for with his household? So how should spiritual Israelites act toward antitypical Gibeonites?
19. Who will avenge abused antitypical Gibeonites, and what non-Israelite kings should we avoid being like?
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march to the rescue. Jehovah told him not to be afraid of the combined enemy.

20 When Joshua took the enemy by surprise, then Jehovah did his part. "Jehovah went throwing them into confusion before Israel, and they began to slay them with a great slaughter at Gibeon and went pursuing them by way of the ascent of Beth-ho'ron and slaying them as far as A-ze'kah and Mak-ke'dah. And it came about that while they were fleeing from before Israel and were on the descent of Beth-ho'ron Jehovah hurled great stones from the heavens upon them as far as A-ze'kah, and more got to die who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword." Then a great miracle took place, the natural mechanics of which have not been explained to this day. Joshua saw that the sun was about to set and the moon was coming up, and he wanted more daylight to pursue the enemy to their utter annihilation. "And he went on to say before the eyes of Israel: 'Sun, be motionless over Gib'e-on, and, moon, over the low plain of Ai'ja-lon.' Accordingly the sun kept motionless and the moon did stand still until the nation could take vengeance on its enemies. Is it not written in the book of Ja'shar? And the sun kept standing still in the middle of the heavens and did not hasten to set for about a whole day. And no day has proved to be like that one, either before it or after it, in that Jehovah listened to the voice of a man, for Jehovah it was who was fighting for Israel. After that Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gil'gal."  — Joshua 10:1-15, NW.

21 The deliverance of the non-Israelite Gibeonites was one of the most spectacular rescues in


20. How did Jehovah then perform his part, even to 'listening to the voice of a man'?
21. By what act were the Gibeonites delivered, and of what is this a strong assurance respecting Armageddon?
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all human history. A true "act of God" made it such. He performed his unusual act that it might serve as a type of his still greater act at the coming battle of Armageddon, when he will vindicate his own universal sovereignty and deliver his people from their enemies. In foresight he inspired his prophet Isaiah to write: "For Jehovah will rise up as on mount Perazim, he will be moved with anger as in the valley of Gibeon; that he may do his work, his strange work, and perform his act, his unwonted act. Now therefore be ye not scorners, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard from the Lord Jehovah of hosts a consumption, and [one] determined, upon the whole land." (Isaiah 28:21, 22, Da) While divine victory was given to Joshua and the Israelite armies at the battle of Gibeon, it must be kept in mind that it was the Gibeonites who were preserved and rescued there from their overwhelming enemies. No stronger assurance could there be than this that in the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," when he will perform his unusual act, it will be the present-day antitypical Gibeonites, the "great crowd" of temple servants, that will be preserved and delivered so as to survive the battle of Armageddon.

22 As for the enemies, there will be a thorough annihilation of them down to the last individual, but victory will crown the Greater Joshua, Jesus Christ the King, and all the spiritual Israelites who uphold his righteous execution of the enemies.


22. But what about the enemies then, and the antitypical Israelites?


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