Vengeance upon the Philistines (Samson, Part 2) № 22
Месть над филистимлянами (Самсон, Часть 2)
1935, 15 ноября
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“THE TESTIMONY OF FAITHFULNESS” PERIOD
Appropriate to the covenant of faithfulness for the kingdom into which the approved ones are taken, the nine days, December 7 to 15 inclusive, of special action in unity have been designated “The Testimony of Faithfulness”, Those anointed ones who will be faithful unto death will be found diligent during that period in advancing the testimony of Jesus Christ as commanded by Jehovah. All present Jonadab brethren will faithfully join in, thereby maintaining their integrity toward the Lord. All together will concentrate on placing the latest book and booklet, Jehovah and Government, with everyone contributing 25c. Previous testimony periods emphasize the wisdom and helpfulness of thinking, planning and arranging now for your sharing in this one as largely as you can. All the faithful will bestir themselves. The usual report thereon of work you do will be submitted, direct to this office if you arc not under supervision of one of our branch offices.
YEAR BOOK 1936
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November 15, 1935
VENGEANCE UPON THE PHILISTINES
(Samson, Part 2)
“And, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand.’’—Judges 14: 5, 6.
JEHOVAH puts his spirit upon those who are devoted to him. (Ex. 31:3) He removes his spirit from those who are unfaithful to him. (1 Sam. 16:13,14) Upon his elect servant Jehovah has put his spirit. (Isa. 42:1-3) It is the spirit of the Lord that gives strength to those devoted to him. (Eph. 3:16; Col. 1:11) The spirit of the Lord God gives to his commissioned ones power, strength and authority. (Isa. 61:1, 2) By his spirit Jehovah gives strength to his people who are devoted to him. ‘‘The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11) Those commissioned to do work in the name of Jehovah and who are faithful in the performance thereof receive strength by his spirit. (Ps. 89:20,21) The spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon Samson and greatly strengthened him, and this is further proof that Samson played a part in the prophetic drama picturing that class of persons who are faithful to God. “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” (Ps. 91:14) “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. ” (Ps. 34:7) “O love the Lord, all ye his saints; for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Ps. 31:23,24) The foregoing scriptures announce the law or rule of action of Jehovah, and neither Jehovah nor his law ever changes. (Mal. 3:6) It is essential to understand the rule of action of Jehovah in order to understand and appreciate his interpretation of his prophetic Word, and for this reason attention is called to the foregoing.
2 Samson had grown to man’s estate, and now his work begins: “And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.” (Judg. 14:1) The town of Timnath had been assigned by the Lord to the tribe of Judah but was, at the time of this drama, occupied by the Philistines. Judah stands for those who praise and serve Jehovah; and the Philistines were hypocritically and improperly in the territory of God’s chosen people, and pictured a hypocritical class that assumes to be the ones who praise and serve Jehovah but in fact serve the Devil. Samson would be interested in making it unpleasant for the Philistines, and therefore ‘he sought for an occasion against them’ that the Philistines might be ousted from the land which they improperly occupied. Samson was not on the hunt for a woman that his selfish desires might be gratified. It is entirely reasonable that his parents had informed him that God had assigned to Samson some certain work in behalf of Israel and for that reason he was separated wholly unto the Lord from the time of his birth. Realizing that the Philistines were the enemies and defamers of God’s name, and the oppressors of his people, Samson went among the Philistines to see what he might do against them. Concerning the woman mentioned, doubtless Samson had in mind the law of God which says: “When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”—Deut. 21:10-14.
3 The woman whom Samson saw was a Philistine, but there is nothing in the record to the effect that God reproved Samson for his action in regard to that woman. This fact alone shows that this part of the prophetic drama pictured something that would take place during the preparatory work or the Elijah work of the church. During the Elijah period “Christendom”, including all the church organizations, being worldly, was at enmity with God, and yet during the first part of the Elijah work those who had become servants of God, and who were proclaiming the truth of his Word as they had learned it, mingled with the church systems, and they did so that they ‘might find an occasion against them’, that is, against the clergy of the church organizations. This they did on the advice of The Watchtower. In the issue of The Watchtower 1894, pages 140 and 141, there appeared the following statement: “How can you get an opportunity to speak a word in season, and to loan the books or tracts? We reply that there are several good ways, . . . When you have done what you can for your friends and acquaintances, and when you find opportunity to enlarge your sphere of labor, attend Methodist Class Meetings, and Christian Endeavor meetings, and prayer-meetings common to all denominations. Take part in these according to the liberty accorded, confining yourself within the recognized liberties of said meetings in speaking and praying. ’ ’ The zealous ones, acting upon like advice, did attend the various so-called “church meetings’’ and sought to engage others in disputations that they might get them away from those organizations and lead them in the right way. It appears that the Lord was not displeased with the course that Samson was then taking, and it is manifest that the Lord was not displeased with the true followers of Christ going in to and among the antitypical Philistines during the period of the Elijah work. Samson was playing his part in the drama, which was foretelling greater things to come to pass in the future.
4 Samson was pursuing the custom of the ancient fathers in Israel by asking his parents to get him a wife. “And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines; now, therefore, get her for me to wife.’’ (Judg. 14:2) Samson’s father and mother did not know that the Lord was directing their son in this matter that occasion might be found against the Philistines, and therefore they raised objection to Samson’s taking a wife from amongst the Philistines, because they desired to be faithful and obedient to God’s law concerning marriage with others than the Israelites. (Deut. 7:3) This moved Samson’s parents therefore to speak their objection: “Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.”— Judg. 14:3.
5 Judges in Israel who had preceded Samson had mustered the fighting men by blowing the trumpet, but now under the direction of the Lord Samson was following a course of different strategy. “But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines; for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.” (Judg. 14:4) He evidently convinced his father and mother that he was pursuing a course approved by the Lord. More than likely his parents remembered what Jehovah’s angel had said of Samson’s work and they trusted in God to guide Samson in the way he should go.
6 The parents and Samson then began their journey to Timnath: “Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and behold, a young lion roared against him.” (Judg. 14: 5) It was at least the custom for the bridegroom to have a friend or go-between in preparing for a marriage, and when Samson and his parents went down for the betrothal it appears that Samson had a go-between to act for him. (Judg. 14:20) The journey to Timnath was in progress, and evidently Samson did not make the journey the entire way with his parents, but probably he preceded them. The account reads: ‘ Samson went down, and his father and his mother.’ The circumstances immediately following show that Samson was alone when he reached the vineyards of Timnath. It was there that a young lion met him and roared against him. To meet a young lion would frighten an ordinary man and cause him to flee, but Samson neither appeared to be frightened nor did he flee. Samson was on his way to get a wife, and the Lord did not send that lion to frighten him and to turn him aside and prevent his going to his destination. The lion was sent there by the Devil, and the purpose was to destroy Samson because he was seeking an occasion against the Devil’s representatives on earth. In view of the development of affairs during the time of preparing the way before Jehovah the young lion played an interesting part in this drama.
THE YOUNG LION
7 God created the lion, and at the time of creation the lion was in harmony with God, and until Lucifer rebelled and turned the numerous creatures into the way of wickedness. The lion, as appears in the Scriptures, is at times used as a symbol of justice, and at other times and places as a symbol of injustice and wickedness. In harmony with God’s organization the lion symbolically represents justice. In the symbols of the Bible the lion is one of importance. (2 Sam. 17:10; 1 Ki. 7: 29-36) Christ Jesus, the great Judge, is designated in the Scriptures as “the Lion of the tribe of Juda”. (Rev. 5:5) With him justice is of primary importance. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne; mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” (Ps. 89:14) “For thou hast maintained my Tight and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.”—Ps. 9:4.
8 Daniel was cast into the lions’ den. Those were God’s lions and did no harm to Daniel. When the enemy was cast into the same den the lions destroyed them. When one because of the practice of injustice is moved to take the opposite course, and does take that course because of his desire for justice and righteousness, he then and there is well symbolized by the lion. Because he knows that he is right and is advocating justice he is bold and aggressive. (Prov. 28:1) The Devil is the wicked one, and of him it is written: “The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8) Those who follow the Devil and seek the destruction of God’s people are likened unto a roaring lion. “Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.” (Ps. 17:12) “They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.’ Ps. 22:13; Jer. 2:30; Ps. 91:13.
9 The statement in the abstract is here made that the “young lion” that roared against Samson pictured the clergy of the so-called “Protestant” organizations that bitterly and with great noise opposed the work of God’s people during the Elijah period, that is, the day or period of time when Christ Jesus was preparing the way before Jehovah. Some proof is now submitted in support of that statement. Those who have carefully considered the development of events of recent years will see how aptly these events fit the prophetic drama.
10 All persons who sincerely and honestly follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus love justice and righteousness, and hate iniquity. The young lion when acting in the right way here well pictured such lovers of righteousness. For many years the Roman Catholic Hierarchy organization, which is the antitypical Philistines, dominated the nations of Europe and, in fact, of all the so-called “Christian” world. That organization had built up the most iniquitous system that the world has ever known. Everywhere it practiced injustice. It has always used a religious name to shield its wickedness and has always claimed to be the special representative of God and Christ on earth. Its doctrines did not incite so much opposition, but its practices had reached a point of such bold and flagrant wickedness that all men who retained a love for justice and righteousness, and who hated iniquity, were shocked by the wicked practices of the Hierarchy. Opposition of the lovers of justice against that wicked crowd reached a climax when, on the first day of November 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on a Catholic church door at Wittenberg, Germany. Says the historian: “The theses were singularly unlike what might have been expected from a professor of theology. They made no attempt at theological definition, no pretence at logical arrangement; they were anything but a brief programme of reformation. They were simply ninety-five sledge-hammer blows directed against the most flagrant ecclesiastical abuse of the age. They were addressed to the ‘common’ man and appealed to his common sense of spiritual things. . . . The practice of offering, selling and buying indulgences was everywhere common. . . . The revenues derived from the sale of indulgences were at the disposal of the pope. The theses provoked a great controversy and the effect of the controversy was a great decrease in the sale of indulgences in Germany, and the Papal Curia saw with alarm a prolific source of revenue decaying.”—Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 17 — “Luther.”
11 Parenthetically it is here stated, if the foregoing from the Encyclopedia Britannica were broadcast by radio or published in the modern newspapers it would “shock the religious susceptibilities” of the clergy so terribly that a great howl would go up.
12 The result of Luther’s attack against the unjust practices of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy really marks the birth of Protestantism, although at that time the movement was designated as the Reformation. From that time forward many other organizations called “churches” came into existence and took their stand against the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. Later these organizations called themselves “Protestants”. That they were moved by a desire for justice and righteousness is further evidenced by the following historical fact: “In all they [the Protestants] sought to justify their innovations by an appeal from the Church’s tradition to the Scriptures.”—Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 23 — “Reformation.”
13 The term “Protestant” came to be common to all who opposed the practices of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. The organizations called “Protestants” have a form of government, in which government the clergy exercises the greatest amount of power. By the year 1870 the Protestant organization, and particularly the clergy, had grown to be very strong, like unto a young lion. That organization had been born by a spirit of justice. It was now strong and began to take a wrongful course. About that same time the faithful followers of Christ Jesus were earnestly studying the Scriptures, learning of and calling one another’s attention to the fact that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ was about due. In July 1879 six men contributed to and began the publication of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. Later the name of that journal was changed to ‘‘The Watchtower”, which publication continues until this day. Almost from the beginning of its existence The Watchtower took strong issue with the doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and the Protestant clergy concerning purgatory, eternal torment, inherent immortality, and associated doctrines. A small company of faithful followers of Christ Jesus led by the then editor of The Watchtower laid great stress upon the following doctrines, to wit: The second presence of Christ Jesus; the ransom for all; the state of the dead; the mortality of man; and stressed the teaching that there is no such place as eternal torment. This little band of Christians also emphasized the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and the hope to those who would then believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The proclamation of these great truths caused alarm in Satan’s camp, and occasion was taken to frighten the zealous followers of Christ Jesus into silence and to bring about their destruction. The men who had acted by a spirit of justice, forming the Protestant organization, had now passed from the stage of action and Protestantism was managed by their successors. By the time of the year 1886 there had been a great falling away of the Protestants to the wily influence of the Devil. Like the Roman Catholic organization, most of the clergy of the Protestant systems had entered into politics and many were repudiating the inspiration of the Scriptures, particularly the doctrines of the ransom sacrifice, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and his kingdom to bless mankind. In April 1887 The Watchtower published an article under the title of “Papacy in the Protestant Church’’. What is there set forth shows that the Protestant system, at the beginning a lion of justice, had now become a representative of the Devil and hence a devouring beast like its father, going about seeking whom it might devour and bent on keeping the people in ignorance of the Scriptures. The Devil had worked through the Catholic Hierarchy and used that system to destroy the spirit of justice that once existed in the leaders of the Protestant systems.
14 By that time the Roman Catholic Hierarchy had become very bold in American polities. On the 26th of September, 1900, at an annual meeting of the Catholic Young Men’s National Union, held at Brooklyn, New York, a resolution was adopted forming the federation of all societies of the Catholic church in the United States for political purposes. The following quotation is from the Brooklyn Eagle, published by that paper at the time of said meeting:
“At the annual meeting of the Catholic Young Men’s National Union in Brooklyn, September 26, a resolution was adopted to form a great federation of all the societies of the Roman Catholic church in the United States for political purposes. Last spring Bishop McFaul of Trenton, N. J., told the Ancient Order of Hibernians that the Roman Catholics of America were fools not to organize into one solid mass and make their power felt in the politics of this country ; there were 2,000,000 Roman Catholic voters, and if they were united for political action they could make this country a Roman Catholic nation.
“This federation has now been formed by the following societies: The Knights of Columbus, the Knights of St. John, the Catholic Benevolent Legion, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union, the Irish-American Societies, the German-American Societies, the Catholic Knights of America, the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America; . . . Besides these organizations there are scores of others of less prominence.
“The federation is formed for the avowed purpose of influencing legislation and securing what the Catholics claim are their rights.
“The convention, which met in the Park Theater, Brooklyn, was the largest gathering in the history of the Young Men’s National Union, and it was addressed by leading priests and laymen from all parts of the country. Father Lavelle, rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in this city, Monsignor Doane of Newark, N. J., Sheriff Buttling of Brooklyn, Congressman Fitzgerald, of Boston, and Father Wall of Holy Rosary church, this city, made stirring addresses. The latter was elected president of the union.
“The convention unanimously approved the plan of federation and appointed committees to carry it into effect. By this means tens of thousands of men of the Catholic faith will be brought under one national head, and this stalwart body of men will have a strong influence on national legislation.”
15 Since that time the Hierarchy has pushed forward an unceasing campaign to gain control of America. Archbishop Ireland, at the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in the United States, which celebration was held in Baltimore the year preceding the foregoing convention, in a public address said:
“ ‘We must make America Catholic. As we love our church, it suffices to mention the work and our cry shall be, God wills it, and our hearts shall leap towards it with Crusader enthusiasm. ’ He was wildly applauded by the eighty bishops, one thousand priests, and five thousand laymen present.
“ ‘Why should we fear or hesitate?’ he continued, with glowing fervor and proud boasting. ‘We number ten millions—a powerful army if the forces be well marshaled and their latent strength be brought into action. Catholics in America are loyal to their church and devoted to her leaders. Their labors and their victories in the first century of their history show what they are capable of in the coming century, when they are conscious of their power and are under complete Hierarchical organization.’
“And so, even before the century has begun, they are preparing by a complete organization to conquer this country and turn it ever to the pope! What have the Protestants of America to say to this?”—The Converted Catholic of New York.
16 And what has been the answer of the Protestant systems? Shortly thereafter a movement was begun by the clergy throughout “Christendom” to form a federation and to remove all barriers between Protestantism and Catholicism. Today there is no longer in existence a Protestant organization that is in fact a protest against the Catholic Hierarchy. Protestantism is dead, and its leading lights have become in fact a part of the mighty Catholic Hierarchy organization. Today the Roman Catholics and so-called “Protestants” are working together, and they control practically all the offices in America. The Catholic Hierarchy particularly is growing in strength.
17 As the Philistines were occupying the land that God had assigned to Judah, so modern Philistines have long wrongfully occupied the place where true followers of Christ Jesus should be. Like its wily father, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy conceived the idea of having the so-called “Protestant” clergy engage in a controversy with honest advocates of the truth while the Roman Catholics slip in to grab the political spoils. Early in the twentieth century the so-called “Protestant” clergy were bold and arrogant in their action and speech against advocates of the truth. The then editor of The Watchtower and his faithful comrades, pictured by the young man Samson, went boldly forward under the banner of the Lord declaring the deliverance of mankind by the Lord Jesus Christ. The doctrines taught by these faithful followers of Christ Jesus exposed the fallacy of both the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and the Protestants so called. Samson reaching the vineyards near Timnath pictured the faithful servants of the Lord declaring the message of truth as here stated; and the young lion that there appeared to roar against him pictured the so-called "Protestant" clergy, who about 1910 appeared and roared mightily against the faithful followers of the Lord Jesus. They bellowed long and loud against the advocates of truth, and they called upon their parishioners to refuse to read any literature coming from the Watch Tower publishers, and called by the name of “Millennial Dawn”; and they advocated the burning of such literature, and induced their parishioners in many places to burn the same. They engaged in controversies and debates with the then editor of The Watchtower and his faithful associates. In every one of these debates the clergy suffered great defeat.
18 With the foregoing indisputable facts before us, note now the record of the prophetic drama: “And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.”—Judg. 14: 6.
19 As Samson slew the young lion with his bare hands, so the Lord’s little band of faithful witnesses here pictured by Samson and led by the then editor of The Watchtower, who had nothing in their hands, slew the modern “young lion”, to wit, the so-called “Protestant” clergy. These faithful witnesses of Jehovah did not carry carnal weapons, but they had the spirit of the Lord, which God had mightily put upon them by and through Christ Jesus. They used at all times the “sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God”, with which to slay the young lion. (2 Cor. 10:4) The death of the “young lion” did not result at the beginning of the controversy. Antitypically the clergy continued to roar against the advocates of the truth, and this conflict continued until the coming of the World War, and then the Protestant “lion” died completely, in this, that it went over body and all into the Devil’s camp and became a part of the “Philistines”, that is to say, the ecclesiastics that operated fraudulently in the name of the Lord and against God and his anointed ones. From the time of the World War onward there has been really no Protestant organization led by men known as the clergy.
20 The slaying of the young lion by Samson was kept secret by him. He did not then tell his parents, and he boasted to no one, that he had accomplished that great feat by his own strength. Likewise the faithful followers of Christ Jesus during the Elijah work made no boasts that they had slain the Protestant clergy, because they knew what they had accomplished was done, not in their own strength, but in the spirit of the Lord. The wily Catholic Hierarchy had encouraged the Protestant “young lion” to go forth and engage in combat against the advocates of God’s Word of truth, and now the only course that the Protestant leaders could take was to find cover in the Catholic camp; hence, figuratively speaking, as Protestants they ceased to exist.
21 Since the year 1917 Protestantism has been completely dead. They have repudiated everything concerning the second coming of Christ and his kingdom and have joined forces with the old “lioness”, their mother, and now they oppose God and his kingdom and those who speak the truth concerning the kingdom. The Roman Catholic Hierarchy, and particularly its secret service crowd, the Jesuits, and the so-called “Protestant” clergy and their dupes, have entered into a conspiracy to cut off or completely destroy Jehovah’s witnesses now on earth, and which conspiracy is foretold by the Lord in these words: “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent; they are confederate against thee. ’ ’—Ps. 83: 3-5.
22 All the opposers of God and his kingdom under Christ have joined together in a conspiracy against the Lord’s hidden ones. From this point forward in the prophetic drama the Philistines pictured the Roman Catholic Hierarchy and all others who work together under the supervision of that devilish organization, and who conspire against the Lord and his anointed. Thus it is seen that the slaying of the young lion by Samson pictured an important point in the history of God’s people.
23 The drama now turns back to an earlier date and covers the greater part of the period of time known as the Elijah period or work of the church. Samson had merely seen the woman on a previous occasion, but now the drama shows Samson and his parents, and the woman and her parents, considering the matter of the marriage: “And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.”— Judg. 14:7.
24 This seems to foreshadow what took place from 1878 to 1916. During that period those engaged in the Elijah work of the church saw many pleasing ones whom they much desired to have join with them in the Society and its efforts in carrying on its work. The sincerity of our brethren is not questioned here by the facts being recited, because they were in fact fulfilling a part of the prophetic drama. The field workers during the Elijah period sought out prominent persons, that is, those who gave the appearance of being beautiful characters and who they desired should come into the truth and into the organization with themselves. If in America one of these field workers found a prominent man in polities or business, or a woman of unusual education and wide influence who would listen to the truth, that was considered not only as a favorable opportunity but an occasion for putting forth a special effort to get such person into the truth. If the one thus sought had material wealth and influence he was spoken of as a “brother” or “fellow worker” or by some such name. If in those countries where men and women enjoy the distinction of bearing a title, some field worker found one such that would give ear to the kingdom message, that was recorded as an unusual favor, and such workers would speak of them in this manner: “Lady Ashtray has the books and is showing much interest, and I am so grateful to the Lord that he let me find this head of wheat.” Much partiality was shown toward such persons, and concerning this the apostle wrote: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold Ting, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool; are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (Jas. 2:1-4) Samson’s being well pleased with the woman, a Philistine, well foreshadowed the pleasure derived by the Elijah workers in arousing some interest amongst the modern Philistines, as here stated. Partiality was shown to the distinguished ones.
25 The Elijah workers even considered it proper to have some part in political affairs. The Temperance question or Prohibition movement was looked upon as a good thing to support, and it looked not improper to vote for the man who stood for office in those or like movements. The nice-appearing and ‘‘sweet’’ people in the church systems were viewed as members of the ‘great company or multitude’, and were designated ‘‘consolation saints’’, to whom special attention should be given. The desire for closer relationship with those better-appearing ones of the church systems was well illustrated by Samson’s considering the taking to wife one of the uncircumcised Philistines.
26 The desire of Samson was to have the young woman, and it appears that he and his parents made more than one journey to Timnath: “And after a time [a while (R.V.)] he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carease of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.” (Judg. 14: 8) This well foreshadows the Samson class, that is, the faithful ones doing the Elijah work, making many visits to the church systems to get out thereof the nicer or more desirable ones, while at the same time they had a desire to see the modern Philistines cleaned out completely. Samson was here doing the will of the Lord, because he was playing a part in the drama foreshadowing what would follow at a later time and what actually did follow. The time that elapsed between the slaying of the lion and the time Samson went to take the woman to be his wife was sufficient to permit the carcass of the lion to dry out or mummify in a natural way. In that dry, hot climate this would not require a great length of time. Then came a swarm of bees and established themselves in the carcass of the mummified lion, where they manufactured honey. Palestine was then a land of much honey. (Ex. 3:8) On the journey Samson quietly turned aside to see the remains of the lion, and found honey in the carcass, and he extracted the same from the carcass and ate it. In killing the lion Samson had not violated the everlasting covenant, because he killed it in self-defense. Now food, sweet and refreshing, he found in the carcass of this Devil-sent lion which Samson had killed.
27 Samson extracted the honey from the carcass, and he ate with a relish and pleasure. ‘‘And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.” (Judg. 14:9) The eating of the honey again seems to prove that Samson pictured those who are wholly devoted to God and his righteousness. Says the prophet of the Lord: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. . . . For butter and honey shall every one eat that is left [who is the remnant] in the land.” (Isa. 7:14,15, 22) “Hast thou [like Samson] found honey? cat so much [of it] as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”—Prov. 25:16.
28 When Samson again joined his parents in the journey he did not tell them where he had found the honey; yet he gave them some of it to eat. He would withhold this secret concerning honey until the proper time for him to tell it; which seems to indicate that the Samson class did not understand and therefore could not tell the meaning of the prophecy until due time. God often has his faithful ones perform some act in the fulfillment of prophecy and later informs them of its meaning.
29 Following the custom then in vogue, a wedding feast was made: “So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.” (Judg. 14:10) This implies that Samson was a young man of mature age, and at that time he would have a full beard and long hair, because he was a Nazarite, and he would present an unusual appearance amongst other young men. The record does not disclose that there were present any other Israelites aside from Samson and his parents. “And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.”—Judg. 14:11.
30 While these thirty Philistines here mentioned appeared at the feast, it was probably a movement of precaution against the unusual-appearing man Samson. The Philistines were a warlike people, and doubtless many more than the thirty were near by, ready to be used if necessary. The fact that no other Israelites were there with Samson would seem to indicate that many professed followers of Christ have feared to associate themselves with the zealous ones, fearing the modern Philistines might do them harm.
31 The occasion had now arrived for Samson to spoil some of the enemy of his people, and therefore he put a riddle to the Philistines that he might find such an occasion: “And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you; if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets, and thirty change of garments: but if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets, and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.”—Judg. 14:12,13.
32 The Philistines desired some material gain at the expense of the Israelites, and hence they asked Samson to name his riddle; and he did so. Samson was not seeking selfish gain, but he was there playing the part which God had assigned to him for the purpose of furnishing an occasion to inflict punishment upon the spoilers of Israel and to make a picture of the greater spoilers, the modern Philistines, which would come in the future. These modern Philistines have long opposed God and his people, and they must be discomfited in God’s due time. Samson was confident that the Philistines would be the losers because his commission was from God, and that therefore the only result could be in his favor.
33 To the greedy Philistines Samson now announced his riddle: “And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.” (Judg. 14:14) The meaning of the riddle and its prophetic significance now seems quite apparent. The Devil is like a strong, roaring lion, and the dupes that he uses carry out his wicked schemes, and they are strong. Often the admiring dupes of the clergy are heard to say, ‘‘Who is like our great preachers ? No one can stand up against them in controversy.’’ Likewise many say of the Devil’s organization, “Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”—Rev. 13:4.
34 In due time Christ Jesus will slay or completely destroy Satan and all of his organization, and in doing so that will be sweet meat to him. Says the Lord, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) The faithful followers of Christ Jesus, doing the Elijah work by using the “sword of the spirit”, declaring the truth of God’s Word, slew the lion-like clergy of Baal, the Protestant organization. This, both for themselves and others, was really meat to them, because such was the will of Almighty God. At Armageddon the faithful will feast upon Jehovah’s great sacrifice, the slaughter of Satan and his organization. (Rev. 19:17-21; Ezek. 39:17-22) “Out of the eater came forth meat”; that is to say, it was meat to the faithful servants of God to slay those who would destroy them.
35 That part of Samson’s riddle, therefore, pictured the faithful doing the Elijah work, which resulted in the slaying of the opposing clergy by driving them into the Hierarchy’s camp and ending Protestantism.
36 The sweetness is not inherent in the strong, but it is noticed that the riddle stated by Samson says: “Out of the strong came forth sweetness.” It is the killing of the lion-like crowd that prey upon the defenseless that is a ‘sweetness like unto honey’ that comes to those who faithfully follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is sweet because such is a vindication of Jehovah’s name. To those who had part in the Elijah work it is sweetness to know that the so-called “Protestant” clergy can no longer deceive those honest people who form the “great multitude” (Rev. 7:9-14) and who love the Lord. None of Satan’s “lions” or servants can explain these deep sayings or prophecies of the Word of God, regardless of the length of time that is given unto them; and this was illustrated by the fact that the Philistines could not in three days expound the riddle. The Protestants had been a strong organization against the Roman Hierarchy and had been turned by the Devil to war against the true followers of Christ Jesus. But now, they ceasing to exist as Protestants, out of their decease came sweetness to the true followers of Christ Jesus for the reason that the truth, prevailing, vindicated Jehovah’s name to that extent and brought sweetness of joy to those who participated in it.
37 Samson had granted the Philistines seven days in which to solve the riddle; but they were “stumped”, and after three days’ effort they saw that there was necessity of framing some fraudulent scheme to aid them in accomplishing their purpose of solving the riddle: “And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire; have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?”—Judg. 14:15.
38 According to the Rotherham rendering of this verse it was “on the fourth day” that they began to scheme to entice Samson into their trap, and they hit upon the scheme of using his confidential companion to accomplish their purpose. Having a Philistine betrothed wife put Samson in a close relationship with the Philistines, and it might appear that he was somewhat obligated to the people of his betrothed wife. The Philistines were the “strong powers” of that time. Likewise during the Elijah period of the church, God’s faithful people on the earth understood and looked upon the officials of the worldly government as the “higher powers” (Rom. 13:1), which “higher powers” were fully supported by the Protestant clergy, and the faithful felt under some obligations to these so-called “higher powers”. This they indicated by standing uncovered at the playing of the national anthems; also, they refrained from speaking the entire truth of and concerning the commercial and political elements as being a part of Satan’s organization and which were aided and abetted by the clergy. They got that attitude from the “woman”, that is, from the church systems, with which they had long associated. The Elijah-period workers had their garments soiled by their association with those pictured by the unfaithful Philistine woman. At that time there were many “tares” among the congregations or companies of God’s people. (Matt. 13: 25, 38) Those tares claimed to be of the truth, but were in fact in opposition. Those tares or unfaithful ones among God’s people time and again tried, during the Elijah period, to disrupt the Lord’s work, choosing rather to have the commendation of worldlings than to be faithful to God and by faithful doing to receive the reproach that always falls upon the faithful.
39 During the Elijah period of the church some of the faithful followers of Christ Jesus, who afterwards formed the “faithful servant” class, boldly spoke the truth of and concerning the illicit relationship between professed “Christians” and the political elements who pretended to serve God but in fact served the Devil. These faithful ones were the objects of criticism by the class represented by the Philistine woman. It was not unusual in that period to see some pious apparent “brother” or “sister” say: “I think we should talk more about love, and not indulge in criticism of others.” Then such ones would shed a few tears for fear some reproach might be brought upon them by reason of criticism spoken by the faithful ones. This was foreshadowed by Samson’s wife. “And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?” —Judg. 14:16.
40 She employed feigned affection and sentimentality to prevent the spoiling of Jehovah’s enemies. The fact that Samson had not told his prospective wife concerning the secret shows that the true followers of Christ Jesus put Jehovah and his organization above all things of the world, and therefore the remarks of Samson to his wife picture these faithful ones’ standing out for that which is pleasing in the sight of the Lord.
41 The subtle importunities of the Philistine woman began on the fourth day following the announcement of the riddle, and she continued her importunities throughout the remainder of the seven days: “And she wept before him the seven days [the remainder of the seven days], while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.” (Judg. 14:17) Thus she pictured the pious-faced, sanctimonious, unfaithful ones of the Elijah period who were trying to restrain the faithful ones in the bold proclamation of the truth. Samson then yielded to the woman’s seductive influence and told her the riddle. For this Samson is not to be criticized, because he was playing a part in a drama foreshadowing things to follow. Likewise during the Elijah period the influence of the unfaithful, and the persistent pressure brought to bear upon the faithful, impaired their powers and hindered their progress in declaring the kingdom message.
42 The unfaithful companion of Samson transmitted the information she had received to the Philistines, the enemy. Likewise the unfaithful companions of the faithful servant class disclosed secrets to the enemy during the Elijah period. “And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day, before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.”—Judg. 14:18.
43 No doubt the Philistines triumphantly said, and with much malicious glee, ‘Now the Israelites and their choice servant from God must be humiliated.’ Likewise the unfaithful “elders” in particular, and others, of the “evil servant” class, under the tutorship of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy about the close of the Elijah period brought secret information to the modern Philistines, and those enemies with malicious glee concluded that now Jehovah’s “faithful servant” class were securely in a box and they should be humiliated. The traitorous conduct of the same did not result beneficially to the Philistines, however, and so the traitorous acts of the evil servants during the Elijah period did not work to the benefit of the enemy.
44 Samson saw he had been tricked and betrayed, and with righteous indignation he moved against the de-famers of God’s name and the persecutors of God’s people: “And the spirit of the Lord came [came mightily (R.V.)] upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle: and his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.”—Judg. 14:19.
45 Samson went down to the city Ashkelon, which was one of the five leagued cities of the Philistines, which people Jehovah had permitted to remain in the land of Palestine to prove the Israelites. (Judg. 3:3; Josh. 13:3) Ashkelon was a seaport town on the south side of Philistia and at quite a long distance for those times for Samson to travel. He went down there to provide means to pay the loss of his wager, and there he slew thirty men and took their garments as his spoils. That was not murder, because Samson was there acting under Jehovah’s direction for the punishment of His enemies. The fact that Jehovah does not say anything in the record against Samson is proof that his conduct was approved by the Lord. The Philistines had acted fraudulently and dishonestly with God’s chosen people. They had ‘plowed with Samson’s heifer’ and thus had fraudulently obtained information.
46 Likewise the modern Philistines practiced fraud and deceit to obtain information against God’s chosen people in modern times. Samson paid his wager, but neither he nor any others of God’s chosen people were impoverished or put to loss by so doing; but the Philistines, the enemies of God, did suffer loss for their deception practiced upon God’s people. This shows that God will duly recompense those who do violence to his people and who despitefully use them, and this he will do in his own due time.
47 During the Elijah period there were frequent “siftings” amongst the professed followers of Christ Jesus, and to this The Watchtower frequently called attention; and this was foreshadowed by the fact that Samson, immediately after paying his wager, went away from his wife and went to the house of his father, being righteously indignant at the treatment received at the hands of his betrothed wife and her people. Likewise the faithful, during the Elijah period, separated themselves from the false and unfaithful ones who had been induced to take their course of wrongdoing by the influence of the Philistines. There was no reconciliation between Samson and the woman. Although during the Elijah period the faithful stood ready to receive those who had deflected, provided they would repent and show a real interest in the Lord’s cause, there was never a reconciliation and uniting again in the Lord’s work.
48 Samson’s woman was given to another: “But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.” (Judg. 14:20) So likewise those who, during the Elijah period, were unfaithful were returned to and united with Satan’s organization. It was not the fault of Samson that his wife was separated from him, nor was she given to another with his knowledge and consent. Let it be kept in mind that Jehovah was directing the prophetic drama and he caused it to mark out the things that would come to pass in the future, and it was working out to his purpose and pleasure.
49 Still another and further occasion was to be had against the Philistines, the enemy of God and his people. During the Elijah period the Devil succeeded in getting many out of the then “present truth”, and those who had acted treacherously toward their brethren fell easy victims to the wiles of Satan’s agents about them. Those who turned away went back into Satan’s organization, and were pictured by Samson’s wife, who was given by her father to another, and remained in the camp of the “Philistines”. Jehovah was now preparing the stage for a further expression of his vengeance against the enemy. He was maneuvering the players in the prophetic drama to thereby prophetically foreshadow how he would punish those who would despitefully use his faithful people, and did so use them during the Elijah period. Samson, being one of the players in this drama, is not subject to reprehensory criticism because of the course he took. Jehovah put his spirit upon Samson, and likewise Jehovah put his spirit upon the faithful followers of Christ Jesus who did his service during the Elijah period and who continued zealous in the performance of the commission committed to them. The zeal and devotion of those faithful ones during that period of time often brought the modern Philistines into great embarrassment and distress, and Jehovah used his faithful ones for that very purpose. God's vengeance expressed against the Philistines through Samson foreshadows the expression of his vengeance against modern Philistines, who conspired to do injury to the faithful followers of Christ Jesus who continued to proclaim the presence of the Lord and the nearness of his kingdom. If the record discloses that God sustained Samson, would not that prove that Samson pictured a people of pure heart who receive God’s sustaining grace?
(To be continued)
QUESTIONS FOR STUDY
1. With scriptures, account for the strength and security of Jehovah’s faithful people. Why is it essential to understand Jehovah’s rule of action?
2-5. Explain whether Samson was acting wisely in his procedure recorded at Judges 14: 1-3, and whether his parents were justified in their objection thereto. How has the prophetic picture had fulfillment?
6. Account for the event that took place on the journey to Timnath.
7, 8. Explain and illustrate the Biblical symbolism of the lion.
9-19. Relate the course of events which proves the identity of the “young lion’’ here mentioned: (a) Prior to the incident recorded at verse 5. (b) As roaring against Samson. (c) In its being slain by Samson.
20-22. Point out the dark hand of the Catholic Hierarchy in the ‘roaring of the lion against Samson’; also the facts showing that that “lion’’ is dead.
23-28. Point out fulfillment of verse 7. Of verse 8. Of verse 9.
29-32. Account for the procedure recorded at verse 10. At verse 11. At verse 12. At verse 13.
33-36. With facts and related scriptures, show the fitness of the riddle (verse 14) as a prophetic picture. What was pictured in the Philistines’ being unable to expound the riddle?
37-40. Describe the situation foreshown in verse 15. That foretold in verse 16.
41-47. Show that the tactics employed by Samson’s wife, and the result thereof, fitly picture the activities of a class in these latter days, and the outcome of their wrongful course.
48, 49. Explain (a) whether “Samson’s wife” has been “given to his companion”, (b) Whether Samson proceeded aright in the matter recorded of him at verse 19; also what was pictured therein.
GATHERING FOR FINAL BATTLE
MODERN wickedness is made worse than that of the past because evildoers perform their wicked deeds in the name of the Lord God. A great religious system, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, steeped in wickedness and crime, is headed by one man; and it is claimed for his office that he is the vicegerent of Christ on earth and that he possesses power equal to that of Jehovah God. The clergy of this system fraudulently represent to the people that their loved ones who have died are now consciously suffering in “purgatory” because of the wrath of God, and these clergy claim to be able by their prayers and upon a sufficient consideration to relieve the suffering ones from purgatorial fires. Thus under false pretenses they receive money from the people and turn the minds of the people away from the true and loving God.
The so-called “Protestant” organizations likewise claim to represent God, and yet defame his holy name by teaching that he is tormenting millions of unfortunate souls in a lake of eternal fire. The clergy of these religious systems hypocritically call themselves by the name of the Lord and pose before the people as God’s representatives, while at the same time they deny the Word of God and repudiate the blood of Jesus Christ given-for man’s redemptive price. These religious systems have illicit relationship with the commercial and political powers of the world; and the Lord himself gives to them the name of “harlot”, which is Satan’s organization.
The shepherds and leaders, speaking for these hypocritical religious systems, presumptuously and insolently say, in the language of prophecy (Rev. 18:7; 3:17): “I sit a queen, ... I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” And now when the wicked world which has oppressed the people has come to an end, and when the nation of righteousness, namely, God’s kingdom, is born; when the Lord is present and beginning his reign, for which he taught his disciples to pray and which prayer these clergy have hypocritically repeated; and when the evidence clearly proving these facts is brought to their attention, these self-satisfied ecclesiastics not only turn deaf ears thereto, but persecute the humble followers of Jesus who dare call attention to the message of truth. Instead of heeding the words of the Lord and telling the people that his kingdom is their hope, these ecclesiastics blatantly, irreverently and presumptuously unite with the profiteers and professional politicians in setting up a League of Nations to keep the people under the control of Satan the enemy, and then blasphemously declare that such a League of Nations is “the political expression of the kingdom of God on earth”. They not only have defamed the name of God, but have pushed the Lord aside and have set themselves up in his place, and claim that their wisdom is superior to his and a safe and ample guide for the people to follow.
If it was necessary in times past for God to exhibit his power against the Devil’s organization, in order to preserve his name in the minds of the people and to save them from going into complete infidelity, the reason for so doing now has increased a thousandfold. Hence he says to these babbling, discourteous, swaggering ecclesiastics and to the principal of their flocks, their allies, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The time has come for the arrogance of men before God to cease. The divine prophecy (Isa. 2:17) declares: ‘‘And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”
God will now make for himself a name in the earth that the people shall never forget. He warns the nations of earth, and particularly the clergy and the principal of their flock; but they refuse to heed the warning. The scripture (Ps. 82:5) describes them, saying: “They know not, neither will they understand: they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”
The apostle John, because of his faithfulness as a witness of God, was banished to the isle of Patmos. There the Lord rewarded him by giving him visions pertaining to his great purpose. Amongst other things John had a vision of the great and terrible day of God Almighty. He saw the throngs hurrying on for the great battle of that day, and he wrote: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Rev. 16:13,14,16.
The term “Dragon” here mentioned is one of the names of the enemy, the Devil; and it particularly applies to him and his organization, visible and invisible, when bent upon the destruction of the seed or offspring of God’s organization Zion, to wit, the true followers of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 12:17) Satan’s organization, visible and invisible, is the real foe of the faithful; as it is written: ‘‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”—Eph. 6:12.
The term “beast” in the text from Revelation is used symbolically. Wherever thus used in the Scriptures this symbol refers to Satan’s visible or earthly organization. Since the days of Nimrod all world powers have been under the dominion and control of Satan the enemy. (2 Cor. 4:3,4) These world powers have governed the people by military rule, and their rule has been beastly, unrighteous and ungodly. The Devil has made it so. This symbolical beast therefore fitly describes the world powers under the dominion of the wicked one.
There are three elements that go to make up these world powers or “beast”, to wit, the commercial, the political and the ecclesiastical. Satan has always had the money powers as the great bulwark of his organization ; and he uses the religious element as a camouflage, to keep the people in ignorance of his wicked course. When the Lord designates anything under a symbol, that designation, name or symbol implies much. The Lord designates these world powers as “beasts”, and such they are.
The term “false prophet” means nations claiming to speak with divine authority, to wit, Britain and America, as an Anglo-American empire system. A true prophet is one who speaks by divine authority and in the name of the Lord. Those who speak in the name of the Lord without authority, and who speak lies, are false prophets. For example, the prophet Jeremiah (14:14) writes this: “Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” “How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams, which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.” (Jer. 23:26,27) The same false prophet class forms a part of the symbolic “beast”, because of being allied with the world powers under the supervision of Satan the Devil.
The term “false prophet”, therefore, within the meaning of the text in Revelation (16:13), may be properly defined as the Anglo-American Empire, because America and the British Empire together do most of the talking today for the Devil’s organization. This Anglo-American Empire “false prophet” is a part of Satan’s visible organization and is the chief spokesman of the symbolic “beast”, and hence is its mouthpiece and mouths great swelling words and puts forth boasting claims, especially regarding world peace and prosperity. Although it uses religion, using it really as a cloak, it is in fact a political prophet. It is claimed, and doubtless in all truth, that its statesmen are the most astute diplomats on earth.—Light, Book Two, pages 44-51.
Spirits are invisible and intangible; hence the expression “unclean spirits like frogs” symbolizes messages, declarations or proclamations, rather than tangible things. A frog is a kind of animal that has a big mouth, assumes much wisdom, looks wise, bluffs a great deal, swells up, and makes much noise. It is noticed that the apostle John, in the Revelation, saw three unclean spirits like frogs. This therefore would signify a trio of declarations, principles, rules or proclamations which are boastful, arrogant and claim much. These messages come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. They assume to be messages of wisdom. They are boastful and are proclaimed with much braggadocio and great noise.
The “dragon”, that is, the Devil and his organization, by its efforts to destroy the foretold “seed” of the divine promise (Gal. 3:29), boastfully says: ‘God is a liar, and his Word unreliable. Ignore him, and away with those who advocate his cause!’
The “beast”, that is, the Devil’s organization visible, made up of the commercial, political and ecclesiastical factors, is saying: ‘The earth is for man, and man for the earth. We have the only established forms of government that are proper, and we make the earth a fit place in which to live. Who is Jehovah, that we should heed him? Our wealth and our power are our god.’
All of their declarations are false, hence unclean. It is Satan the enemy and his organization that proclaim these false messages. Satan is responsible for them all. These false teachings are the real reasons why the nations of the world are being gathered to the great battle of Armageddon. And why is this so ? The answer is that each one of these messages and their messengers defame God’s holy name, and their purpose is to turn the minds of the people away from God. They are driving the people and their rulers into infidelity. And now Jehovah, according to his Word, will make a demonstration of his power so clearly and unequivocally that the people may be convinced of their ungodly course and may understand that Jehovah is God. That is the reason why God brought the great flood in the days of Noah, why he threw down the tower of Babel, why he destroyed the army of Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, when he besieged Jerusalem and reproached its God, and why he swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red sea when they relentlessly pursued the escaping Hebrews to drag them back into the house of bondage; and it is also the reason why he is now going to bring another great trouble upon the world. The former calamities were but shadows of the one now impending. The gathering of the nations is to the great day of God Almighty. According to Joel’s prophecy (2:31), it is “the great and the terrible day of the Lord”; when God will make for himself a name. In this great and final conflict the peoples of every nation, kindred and tongue will learn that Jehovah is the all-powerful, all-wise and just God.
BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the dew of Hermon, that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion: for there Jehovah commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.—David.
CAUSE OF PRESENT-DAY CONFUSION
JEHOVAH’S expressed purpose is that all men shall in his due time be brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth. (John 1:9; Isa. 11:9) This must be done after the ransom is provided by the great sacrifice of Jesus. During the time that others are being taken into the covenant by sacrifice a testimony of the truth is given. When that covenant by sacrifice is finished even a greater testimony will be given, that all may have opportunity to know the truth. During the period of time from the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus until his second coming and kingdom, what has been and is the will of God concerning the work that is to be done by Christians on the earth? That question is an important one and finds full and complete answer in the Scriptures alone. If an answer given is not supported by the Scriptures it will be confusing and harmful.
The true mission of a Christian on earth is stated by the apostles in plain phrase. Those faithful followers of Jesus Christ adhered to the teachings of Christ and that which God gave also through his holy prophets. Had all professed followers of Jesus pursued a like course there would have been no confusion at this time. Seeing that Satan the enemy has caused men to misrepresent the fundamental doctrines of God’s Word, it might be expected that Satan would cause confusion as to the proper duty and course of the Christians while on earth. This is exactly what has come to pass.
The Roman Catholic church claims to be the church. In brief, it teaches that all men fell under sin and are headed for eternal torment; that the mission of the church is to save souls from the terrible fate, and that to do so the church was organized; that through the work of the clergy in the sacrificing of the mass and by prayers and by penances souls are released from ‘ ‘ purgatory ’ ’ and saved from torment and eventually taken to heaven, and that all others not thus saved must spend eternity in torment.
Certain companies of “Protestant” systems, by and through their clergy, hold and teach that some people are elected to salvation and happiness and all others are destined to eternal torment; that even those who are elected to salvation must exercise some faith and that such faith comes by reason of hearing a message delivered by the clergy; and that the mission of the church is to warn even the favored ones to escape eternal torment and to tell the others who are less fortunate what is their fate.
Another branch of the “Protestant” system teaches that there is a great controversy on between God and the Devil as to which one will get the greater number of the human family; that God is, and for centuries has been, agonizing with sinners to accept the message delivered to them by the clergy and be saved and taken to heaven; that all who do not thus hear and obey must spend their eternity with the Devil in torment.
Other professed Christians hold that Christianity is a religion distinguished from other religions; that while some may be saved by other religions, the Christian religion is the best; and that the mission of the Christian church is to send out preachers to preach to the people the doctrines taught by the church, that the people might be brought into the church and thus be saved. They teach that millions of heathen who have died without ever having heard of the Christian religion will be saved in some way, they know not how. They further teach that if those heathen who do hear should refuse to heed and obey the message delivered by their professed Christian church, then they will be lost. When asked to explain why, then, they take their message to the heathen, when they might be saved without hearing and are certain to be lost if they do not heed, they are at a loss to give any explanation.
A fair sample of what the churches and their preachers claim to be the mission of a Christian while on earth may be had from the following statement written by a distinguished clergyman, and appearing in Volume II, Standard American Encyclopedia, under the title ‘Christianity’, to wit:
“Christianity is preeminently the religion of redemption and of the Redeemer. It has introduced to the world the great reparative influence of a victorious love, inaugurating in Jesus himself an unceasing struggle; for that reparative influence must struggle constantly against the powers of evil which are not magically suppressed. But this reparative work cannot consist alone in the salvation of individual souls; to be worthy of God it must strive to restore all that the original fall has blighted or destroyed—to make the fallen creature realize all its lofty destiny—that is to say, to reconstitute in man all the greatness kept in store for him, and to give him up without reserve to God, making the regenerating spirit penetrate into every sphere of his activity as into all his faculties. Hence the wide mission of Christianity to purify and raise everything that is human in the most diverse spheres of society, from the institutions which regulate the relations of men to each other to the highest culture of the intellect. This restoration of man after the divine type is the continuation and application of the redemptive work of Christ which, after having had for its first intent to form in the church a society of believing souls, pardoned and saved, called to work directly for the salvation of all that is lost, next radiates outward into all the departments of human activity. It is in this enlarged sense that we must understand the kingdom of God which the Saviour came to found in our sinful world, and of which the progress goes on only at the price of incessant struggle, which will continue to the end of time. But this general advance of the kingdom of God in its widely human extension is always proportionate to its internal development within his church, which keeps and cherishes the central hearth of the divine life whence emanate all light and heat. ’ ’
By the time a person considers all these conflicting claims he is so confused that he does not know what to believe. Babylon is one of the names applied to the Devil’s organization. It properly applies to every part of his organization as well as to the whole. The term, therefore, is sometimes applied to so-called “organized Christianity”, which misrepresents the Lord and confuses the people. Jesus thus spoke of this unholy system, designating it as “Babylon”, and states that it has become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit, and calls upon the true Christians to come out therefrom.—Rev. 18: 2-5.
Many clergymen, because of their inability to harmonize these conflicting claims when confronted by an inquirer, reply: ‘ Believe what you please, it makes no difference, just so you belong to the church. Our mission is to develop character that we may be ready to go to heaven, and you can do that as well in one church as you can in another.’
It is manifest from these confusing statements of the clergy that they have no conception whatsoever of the mission of the Christian while on earth. Instead of having the right understanding they have used Christianity for a selfish purpose. These denominations fight amongst themselves and yet they all unite to fight against the truth. It is manifest from the facts, in the light of the Scriptures, that these confusing statements are not an expression of divine wisdom, but that they proceed from the Devil. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”—Jas. 3:15-18.
The fact that the claims made by the clergy concerning the mission of a Christian are numerous, conflicting and confusing, and not understandable, is conclusive proof that what they answer does not proceed from God, but emanates from the enemy Satan. ‘ ‘ For God is not the author of confusion.” (1 Cor. 14: 33) Every sincere Christian should earnestly desire to ascertain what is God’s will concerning a Christian while on earth, as well as hereafter. ‘ ‘ That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Col. 1:9) Such Christian will find that wisdom which proceeds from the Lord is pure, peaceable, gentle, and full of good fruits. ‘ ‘ That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. ’ ’—Col. 1:10.
“LET’S SEE WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOU”
The enclosed snapshot was taken at Point Pleasant, N. J. We visited the town of Point Pleasant on August 29, 1935, for the purpose of carrying on our regular sound-car program. To be sure, our program is of public interest, convenience and necessity, and the people are entitled to hear it.
Chief of Police R. J. Lane received us kindly, remarking, “Let’s see what I can do for you.” He put his signature to the statement (attached) authorizing us to operate our sound car upon the public streets. Then he said, ‘ ‘ If you come in the afternoon I will provide a police escort for you.”
Arriving at police headquarters, an officer met us, posed for a few snapshots, asked us to send him one, and away we went. The officer led us into the center of the business section, cleared a parking space for our car, and then parked his car near by, ready to assist us in any manner we desired. Shortly after our program began a man came to the officer with a complaint. The officer received the complaint, satisfied it, and told us to go right on with our program.
The officer not only was of service to us, but also rendered a service to the people. His presence with the sound car, his smiling face, his entire attitude, tended to establish confidence in the minds of the people. He listened to our program, and the people listened. He smiled, and the people smiled. Merchants came out of their stores to listen. Those passing by stopped. The setting was altogether lovely. The consecrated voices of the male quartette filtered into every crevice. The strong clear voice of Brother Rutherford flashed from the trumpets: “They are not selling books, but if you are able to contribute a small amount when receiving the books that money will be used to publish more books for the benefit of the people.”
As soon as our program was completed the officer led the way to another choice location, assisting us to get ready for another program. As we moved out of the business section into the residential section the services of our efficient escort were no longer needed. He left us, carrying with him a set of Judge Rutherford’s books for himself and a set for his chief.
Contrast the reception given us by the Point Pleasant police with that by the police of Maplewood and Plainfield. The courtesies tendered us by the Point Pleasant officials would make the officials of Maplewood and Plainfield bow their heads in shame. How long will the Maplewood and Plainfield public officials hold in contempt the rights of their citizens to hear and pass upon questions of public interest, convenience and necessity ?
Yours for the free circulation of the message of God’s kingdom in all the earth,
D. E. Morgan.
LORD’S WONDERFUL LOVE AND CARE
Dear Brother Rutherford:
Greetings in the name of Jehovah.
It has been some time since I saw you to speak to you. Just a few lines to let you know that I still have the same love for you as of old. I hear your voice every day as I carry your voice around and play the phonograph, which makes up for my not seeing you. I am grateful that we could come 900 miles to the best and most thrilling convention I have attended in the last three decades. Surely the good Lord was there making you, and the other saints who so ably assisted you in giving the witness at the seat of the beast, a witness they will never forget.
We are grateful for the small part we had in giving the witness. We are also grateful to the Lord for the privilege we have had in the last four years in declaring the glorious majesty of his kingdom in the South, among those who are groaning under this depression. This, by the way, the Lord caused to be made known at the Detroit convention, when the seventh vial was poured out, and made known to the rulers that the days of prosperity were over. But they would not listen. Shortly after this was given, the commercial crash came, and now they are at . Still they will not hear the truth, but have gone after Satan’s crowd of false prophets for the solution. The Lord will laugh at them: for he seeth that his day is coming.—Psalm 37: 13.
In the Southern states, as you know, there are many colored people, and they are in the majority, but they are the most oppressed people. One thing about them: They are humble, they love the Lord, and they will contribute their last cent and receive the literature. When you inform them that soon their condition will be changed, when God’s kingdom is fully established, some of them will contribute for joy. One time we had the privilege of speaking to them, before we had the phonograph records. (Now we let the records do the talking.) They filled one of their church buildings. When we told them what the good Lord has in store for them, they stood up and shouted for joy, saying, “That’s the truth. That man gives the Scriptures for what he says.’’ And I wish to say that when the kingdom is fully established the colored people will be in the majority of those who march in the kingdom; for they are humble, meek, and are looking for the Lord to deliver them out of their oppressed condition. One has to be among them to see how they live, but withal they are happy.
We are also grateful to you, dear brother, for the Year Book and also the Jehovah book, and also for the meat in due season which the dear Lord is sending through The Watchtower. How true the scripture (Isa. 52: 8): “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion’’!
The articles in The Watchtower are made so clear; for, dear brother, you do give the scriptures, which burn everything behind them and make the articles clear. The article on Jonadabs is marvelous; and your line of scriptures to back your article, Brother, how do you find them? Surely the Lord is working in your mind to bring them to your remembrance. It makes my heart rejoice when I read them.
A little more on the convention at Washington, D. C.; a word about the pioneer camp. It recalled the time when Moses led the children of Israel through the wilderness. One day it rained while we were there, and the mud was about six inches deep. We could hardly get our autos out to come over to the convention and service; but the cry was, “The Lord led us here, and he will see that we get out.’’ And he did. No murmuring, no fault-finding, among them, the most happy and contented people I have found in all my years of service for the Lord. Just to show you how contented they are: One night a little pig got out of the pen near the camp, and came into one sister’s tent. She woke up, chased the pig out, and then back to sleep as though nothing happened. Little things like that do not disturb pioneers. They are used to that.
I wish to mention the love that the pioneers have one for another, and how ready they are to assist one another. The entrance to the camp was down a steep hill; and when the time came for the Israelites to break camp and move, everyone was happy, blessed by the convention, ready to go and enter the field again. There were farewells from all as each one started for his or her territory: “Good-bye, and God be with you till we meet again.’’ Brother Rutherford, I have been walking in the light for the past three decades. In all my experience I have never seen the true love manifested as it was among the pioneer brethren. When all was ready the caravan started the march out of the wilderness, and we hope, soon, to the ‘land promised’ to those who are faithful.
It was impossible for some of the house-cars and trailers to ascend the lull without help. One brother from Montana, with a heart in him as big as yours, volunteered to assist. Having a large sedan and strong chain, he pulled us out. I am sure the Lord’s rich blessing attended him for his labor of love. All were wondering how we would get out of the camp. As we said before, the Lord directed us there, and he saw that we came out as we went in. Thank the Lord for his wonderful love and care over his children!
And now, dear brother, be assured of our love. Having known each other for the last thirty years, that love grows stronger each year; and as we carry the phonograph to the homes and turn on the record, we hear your voice as the Lord has used you in malting them. It is an incentive to press the battle to the gate, fearing neither man nor devil; for we are immortal until our change comes. Sister Pittenger joins me in sending love. Praying the Lord’s rich blessing on you,
Your fellow servant in the Lord’s army,
Lewis Pittenger, Pioneer.
PATIENT, WAITING ON JEHOVAH
Bear Brother Rutherford:
I am pleased to write you and express my thankfulness to Jehovah, the God of all comfort, who through his anointed King and Vindicator has filled our hearts with joy through his word and promise in Eden. (Gen. 3: 15; Rom. 16: 20) All along the ages Satan has been fulfilling his [self-chosen] part; but, thank God! he must, together with all his supporters; drink the cup of Jehovah's fury, and the name of our God shall be vindicated for ever.
Pass my heartfelt sympathy to the brethren all over the world who, directly or indirectly, are suffering imprisonment and misrepresentation by the agents of the Devil. Seeing the servant is not greater than his Master, we ought to be patient, waiting on Jehovah.
The book bearing his title [Jehovah], presented us, is indeed praiseworthy, seeing he has revealed to us his name at the time of deliverance, even as he in time past revealed it to his people (Ex. 6: 3, 5) at the time of visitation.
Willing to continue in his organization and obeying the greater prophet Christ Jesus by staying in the chariot with you. I am sorry to waste your valuable time. May Jehovah continue to use you to the glory of his name unto the end.
Your brother and servant in your chariot,
Ezekiel N. Wabah (a Jonadab), Nigeria.