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The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XXII

"THE TIME OF THE END"

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EMPEROR Constantine, as pontifex maximus of the Roman Empire, called the first ecumenical council, at Nicaea (or Nice) in Asia Minor, in A. D. 325. He was unbaptized at the time, and in the following year (326) he ordered the execution of his oldest son and then his wife. Constantine meddled in the reputedly "Christian" council. He decreed that the "trinity" doctrine should thenceforth be the faith of the religious community. He backed it up by the sword of the state. The Nicean council gave way to the rule that the state might use its secular arm to bring professing "Christians" of the Roman world-empire into line with the newly codified belief. It marked the development of the so-called "state church". It laid the foundation for the establishment of "organized religion" which has been miscalled "Christendom".

In the parable of the wheat and the tares Christ Jesus foretold this production of multitudes of imitation Christians. He likened them to tares. Then he explained: "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the

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wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world." (Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43) Under such picture language Jesus predicted the showing up and separation of the counterfeit Christians from the real ones, followed by the destruction of the hypocritical religionists. This parable the clergy have used to teach that our literal earth and the sun, moon and stars will be destroyed by universal fire.

As further support to such an interpretation of the "end of the world", the religionists quote Jesus' words: "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 5: 18; 24: 35) To this are added the words of the apostle Peter: "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being

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on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (2 Peter 3: 7, 10-12) Say the religionists: 'The world's end in Noah's day was by literal water, and so the end of this world will be by literal fire, consuming all material things, and leaving only the spiritual things to remain.'

Such "private interpretation" of prophecy fails to consider that, whereas the water of the Flood was literal, the literal earth was not destroyed, and the sun and stars were not even touched by the Flood nor were their fires put out. It is placing far too much importance upon puny mortal man to insist that, because of Adam's fall and the wickedness of his descendants, God the Creator will destroy his wonderful handiwork of earth, moon, sun and stars, and stellar nebulae, which He spent countless millenniums of time in creating. Man is unimportant. God could easily have wiped out the unfaithful pair in Eden and started a new and perfect race.

"Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: ... All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity." Jehovah will not destroy his glorious handiwork, the earth, for the sake of all such nations, but will destroy the nations instead, that his handiwork may be fit for occupancy by his righteous servants. "He hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited." (Isaiah 40: 15-17; 45: 12, 18) "Thus

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saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool." It is to this footstool that Christ Jesus has taught his disciples to pray for God's Theocratic rule to come, saying: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. "  — Isaiah 66: 1; Luke 11: 2.

Although many scripture texts indicate there will be a display of much literal fire upon the earth and in the atmospheric firmament about the earth at the final end of "this world", the Scriptures are nonetheless plain that "the earth abideth for ever", and that there will be survivors safely carried through this world catastrophe as surely as Noah and his family were carried through the end of the old world. The ungodly pre-Flood world consisted of the visible earthly organization of humankind and the wicked heavenly organization of demons which controlled corrupt humankind. Such were the "earth" and the "heavens" that made up the "world that then was", and that perished in the flood.   — 2 Peter 3: 6.

The superficial appearance of our literal earth was greatly changed by the addition of the flood from the fallen water canopy, but upon this same earth another visible organization of ungodly men was built up. It dates particularly from the time of the founding of Nimrod's kingdom at Babel, or Babylon, and it has spread over all the earth. This human, visible organization of religion, commerce and politics makes up the symbolic "earth", and men think it will endure just as long as our earthly planet does.

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Our planet earth is surrounded by an invisible air mass, which is the "firmament" or expanse of atmosphere extending up about one hundred miles higher than man. In like manner the symbolic "earth" has invisible spirit powers in control of it, namely, the demons under Satan the Devil. This organization of wicked spirits with Satan as their prince is both higher than man and unseen to him. Hence that demon organization constitutes the "heavens" with relation to man's present earthly organization. Man on earth can no more get rid of these demonic "heavens" than man can by airplane or rockets or other means get up above the air envelope which is about our earthly globe and in which man breathes. God alone can and will deliver humankind from such demon powers of control.

The symbolic "heavens and the earth which are now" make up "this world" and its "elements" and "works". Christ Jesus said: "My kingdom is not of this world." He repeatedly called Satan the Devil "the prince of this world".   — John 18: 36; 12: 31; 14: 30; 16: 11.

The world's destruction as described by Peter applies to the symbolic "heavens" and "earth". Hence the "fire" which shall dissolve and burn up the invisible and visible parts of Satan's world must be symbolic rather than literal. Since literal fire is destructive of combustible things and purifies away the dross, so the "fire" in which this present world passes away "with a great noise" pictures the destruction which God in his hot wrath brings upon Satan's mighty

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organization, visible and invisible, thereby purifying the universe of wicked demons and wicked men.

It is written: "Our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12: 29) This God says to religious "Christendom", which misrepresents Christianity and brings reproach upon God's name: "Therefore wait ye for me, saith Jehovah, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." (Zephaniah 3: 8, A.R.V.) To the great Babylonish organization under the unfaithful Lucifer God says: "And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity:... Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place, in the wrath of Jehovah of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger." (Isaiah 13: 1, 11-13, A.R.V.; 14: 4, 12) The world's end will be by an act of God.

It is clear, therefore, that the destruction of this demon-ruled "world" does not mean the destruction of the earth which Jehovah God was "six days" in preparing for man's habitation. How, then, shall we know when we are at the end of the world? By signs, by evidences or proofs visible and perceptible to our senses. Said Jesus in his astounding prophecy on the end of the world: "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even

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at the doors." (Matthew 24: 33) "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (Luke 21: 31) The establishment of the kingdom of God marks the end of Satan's world, for Jesus said that his Messianic kingdom is not a part of this Satanic world.

Daniel, chapter four, showed that God's kingdom would not be set up until the end of, the "seven times" of the Gentile nations under their invisible overlord Satan. Because of the controversy over Jehovah's supremacy and universal domination God delegated to Satan the Devil a limited period of time. In that period God's adversary would have uninterrupted rule over the world. Such period without interruption by God would terminate with the end of the "seven times" of the Gentile powers. Its end must therefore mark the end or consummation of Satan's world of uninterrupted rule. The Greek text of the Bible uses the word aion (eon) to designate Satan's uninterrupted rule which must end when the "seven times" run out. Those "seven times" ended in the fall of A. D. 1914.

However, the end of Satan's aion, or uninterrupted rule, does not mean the destruction at once of his organization visible and invisible. It simply means that the "time of the end" has begun for his organization. Daniel 11: 40 predicted what would occur "at the time of the end". From then on the demonic-human organization of Satan would move rapidly to its end in utter destruction. That is the final end of Satan's

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world organization, which organization the Greek Bible text calls the kosmos (translated "world"). As to such final end Daniel's prophecy says: "At the time appointed the end shall be." (Daniel 8: 19; 11: 27) It is Jehovah God who had appointed the day and hour of such final end, respecting which Jesus said: "But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only." (Matthew 24: 36, A.R.V.; Mark 13: 32) These words, by the way, prove that Jesus is not one in person with his Father. In order to discern that the final end is soon upon us Jesus stressed the need to watch the signs of the times. Jehovah God knows the appointed time, and by the signs he gives us warning, that we may take the proper course and not be overtaken in a state of sin at that day and hour.

When Christ Jesus ascended to heaven and into God's presence the "seven times" had over 1800 years yet to go. Naturally he had to wait at God's right hand until the time to begin reigning and taking action against Satan's world organization (or kosmos), When the period of Satan's uninterrupted rule ended, then God would empower Jesus to proceed against the enemy organization. The prophecy of Psalm 110: 1, 2 must be fulfilled: "Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." (A.R.V.) "But he, when he had offered one sacrifice for

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sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet." (Hebrews 10: 12, 13, A.R.V.) Thus the end of Satan's uninterrupted rule must mark the "beginning of sorrows" upon his world organization.

Have we passed that "beginning of sorrows", and are we now approaching the final end of Satan's organization (kosmos)? The answer to that question is of the utmost importance and deserves the most serious consideration. Satan the Devil is invisible; and, since likewise God's kingdom is invisible, it being heavenly, what proof have we that the "seven times" and Satan's uninterrupted rule ended in A. D. 1914 and that Jehovah's Theocratic Government by Christ was set up at that time? Jehovah's great Prophet, Christ Jesus, foretold the visible proofs or signs.

Jesus had just predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. So several of his disciples came to him privately and put this question to him: "When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [aion]?" (Matthew 24: 3; Mark 13: 3, 4) Jesus then briefly foretold events to precede the end of Satan's uninterrupted rule and the birth of God's kingdom, and then added: "But the end is not yet." What, pray, would mark the beginning of sorrows at the end of the Devil's unhindered rule of humankind? Jesus answered: "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall

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be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. "  — Matthew 24: 7-9.

The year A. D. 1914, in which the "seven times" ended, marked the beginning of World War I, a war different from previous wars in that regimentation of whole nations and kingdoms for war purposes was there instituted. Famine and food shortages afflicted the world, and it was necessary to organize relief for stricken areas in order to prevent revolution and anarchy. Pestilence broke out, notably the so-called "Spanish flu". In just a few months that plague, raging from the frigid polar regions to the equatorial tropics, laid low in death many more millions than the four and a half years of World War I did. Earthquakes, for example, the one which struck Japan in 1923 and killed 99, 331 persons, added to the destruction and human misery; and more such seismic disturbances of the earth have been recorded in these few years since 1914 than in all previous history of man. During all this time hatred was expressed by all worldly nations against Jehovah's people by persecution upon them for preaching Christ's kingdom.

World War I was not from God. Jehovah's covenant people had nothing to do with it. It was, though, the visible, tangible proof that Jehovah by his now enthroned King had taken

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due action against Satan's invisible organization, whose uninterrupted rule had then expired. It was evidence to men that Jesus' prophecy had been fulfilled: "The powers of the heavens shall be shaken." (Matthew 24: 29; Luke 21: 26) It meant that Jehovah had now commanded his King: "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." It proved that Christ Jesus did so and took action against the invisible demon organization of that Old Serpent, the Devil. Sa-





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tan and his demons were no longer to be tolerated unhindered in their heavenly position, and Christ Jesus, the Seed of God's "woman", made war against the demon organization. A fight ensued in heaven, unseen to mankind, and Satan and his wicked angels were defeated. They were cast out of heaven and down to the vicinity of the earth, where the visible part of Satan's organization was in the sorrows of World War I. By enabling Christ Jesus to gain this victory over his mighty enemies Jehovah God fulfilled the promise to his King to "make thine enemies thy footstool".   — Revelation 12: 7-13; Psalm 110: 1.

Thus the heavens of Satan's organization were shaken out of their high position of power and no longer tolerated in the midst of God's holy heavens. That was a most maddening sorrow to Satan. His "world" (aion) of uninterrupted rule was at an end. The destruction of his world organization (kosmos) must follow shortly. That final end shall be at God's inescapable appointed time.



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