Chapter Thirty -"Babylon the Great Has Fallen!"

The Wheat and the Weeds

In his parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus spoke of a man who sowed fine seed in a field.  But "while men were sleeping," an enemy came and oversowed weeds. Hence, the wheat came to be obscured by these weeds. Jesus explained his parable  in these words:  "The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world, as for the fine seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil."  He then showed that the wheat and weeds would be  allowed to grow together until "the conclusion of the system of things," when the angels would "collect out" the symbolic weeds. -Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. 

What Jesus and the apostles Paul and Peter warned about happened.  "While men were sleeping," either after the apostles feel asleep in death or when Christian overseers became drowsy in guarding the flock of God, Babylonish apostasy sprouted right inside the congregation.  (Acts 20:31)  Soon the weeds greatly outnumbered the wheat and hid it from view. For a number of centuries, it might have appeared that the seed of the woman had been completely engulfed by the voluminous skirts of Babylon the Great.

In the 1870's anointed Christians began to make determined efforts to disassociate themselves from the whorish ways of Babylon the Great. The abandoned  false doctrines that Christendom had brought in from paganism and boldly used the Bible in preaching that the times of the Gentiles would end in 1914. The chief instrument of Babylon the Great, the clergy of Christendom, opposed these stirrings of restoration of true worship.  During the first world war, they took advantage of wartime hysteria to try to stamp out that small group of faithful Christians.  In 1918, when their activities  were almost completely suppressed, it appeared that Babylon the Great had succeeded. She seemed to have triumphed over them.

As we previously noted, the proud city of Babylon experienced a disastrous fall from power in 539 B.C.E. Then the cry was heard: "She has fallen!  Babylon the Great has fallen!"  The great seat of the world empire had fallen to the armies of Medo-Persia under Cyrus the Great.  Although the city itself survived  the conquest, her fall from power was real, and it resulted in the release of her Jewish captives. They returned to Jerusalem to reestablish pure worship there. -Isaiah 21:9; 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23; Jeremiah 51:7, 8. 

In our century the cry that Babylon  the Great has fallen has also been heard!  Babylonish Christendom's temporary success in 1918 was sharply reversed  in 1919 when the remnant of anointed ones, the John class, was restored by a spiritual resurrection. Babylon the Great had fallen as far as having any captive hold on God's people was concerned.  Like locust, Christ's anointed brothers swarmed out of the abyss, ready for action.  (Revelation 9:1-3; 11:11, 12)  They were the modern"faithful and discreet slave," and the Master appointed them over all his belongings on earth.  (Matthew 24:45-47)  Their being used in this way proved that Jehovah had utterly rejected Christendom despite her claim to be his representative on earth. Pure worship was reestablished, and the way open to compete the work of sealing the remnant of the 144,000-the remaining ones of the seed of the woman, the age-old enemy of Babylon the Great. All of this signaled a crushing defeat for that satanic religious organization.

Next time: Chapter Thirty -"Babylon the Great Has Fallen!" -Endurance for the Holy Ones 

From the book of Revelation 

Chapter Thirty-"Babylon the Great Has Fallen!"

Babylon's Disgraceful Fall

Let us examine in more detail the circumstances surrounding the disgraceful fall of Babylon the Great. The angel here tells us that "Babylon the Great . . . made all the nations drink of the wine of the anger of her fornication."  What does this mean? It relates to conquest.  For example, Jehovah told Jeremiah:  "Take this cup of the wine of rage out of my hand, and you must make all the nations to whom I am sending you drink it. And they must drink and shake back and forth and act like crazed men because of the sword that I am sending among them."  (Jeremiah 2:15, 16) In the sixth and seventh centuries B.C.E., Jehovah used ancient Babylon to pour out a symbolic cup of tribulation for many nations to drink, including apostate Judah, so that even his own people were taken into exile. Then, in her turn, Babylon fell because her king exalted himself against Jehovah, the Lord of the heavens." -Daniel 5:23

Babylon the Great has also made conquests, for the most part, these have been more subtle.  She has "made all the nations drink" by using the wiles of a prostitute, committing religious fornication with them. She has enticed political rulers into alliances and friendships with her. Through religious allurements, she has schemed political, commercial, and economic oppression.  She has fomented religious persecution  and religious wars and crusades, as well as national wars for purely political and commercial reasons. And she has sanctified these wars by saying they are God's will.  

Religion's involvement in the wars and politics of this 20th century is common knowledge-as in Shinto Japan, Hindu India, Buddhist Vietnam, "Christian"  Northern Ireland and Latin America, as well as others-not to overlook the army chaplain's part on both sides of the two world wars in urging young men to slaughter one another.  A classic example of the philandering of Babylon the Great is the share she had in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, in which at least 600,000 people were killed.  This spilling of blood was provoked  by supporters of the Catholic clergy and their allies, in part because the wealth and position  of the church was threatened by Spain's government.  

Since  Babylon the Great is the religious part of Satan's seed, she has always made Jehovah's "woman" "Jerusalem above" her main target.  In the first century, the congregation of anointed Christians was clearly identified as the  the woman's seed.  (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:29; 4:26)  Babylon the Great tried hard to conquer that chaste congregation by seducing it into committing religious fornication.  The apostles Paul and Peter warned that many would succumb   and a great apostasy would result.  (Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Peter 2:1-3)  Jesus' messages to the seven congregations indicated that toward the end of John's life, Babylon the Great was making some progress in her efforts to corrupt.  (Revelation 2:6, 14, 15, 20-23) But Jesus had already shown how far she would be permitted to go.  

Next time: Chapter Thirty - "Babylon the Great Has Fallen!" -The Wheat and the Weeds 

From the book of Revelation 

Chapter Thirty -"Babylon the Great Has Fallen!"

IT IS the hour of God's judgment!  Listen,then, to the divine message:  " And another, a second angel, followed, saying:  'She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, she who made all the nation drink of the wind of the anger of her fornication!' " (Revelation 14:8)  For the first time, but not the last,Revelation focuses attention on Babylon the Great.  Later, chapter 17 will describe her as a voluptuous harlot. Who is she?  As we shall see,she is a global empire, she is religious, and she is Satan's counterfeit system that he uses in fighting against the seed of God's woman.  (Revelation 12:17)  Babylon the Great is the entire world empire of false religion.  She includes all religions that preserve the religious teachings and practices of ancient Babylon and that manifest her spirit.

It was at Babylon, more than 44,000 years ago, that Jehovah confused the tongues of the  would-be builders of the Tower of Babel.  The different language groups were scattered to the ends of the earth, taking with them the apostate beliefs and practices that are in the basis of most religions to this day.  (Genesis 11:1-9) Babylon the Great is the religious part of Satan's organization.  (Compare John 8:43-47) Her most prominent segment today is apostate Christendom, which emerged as a powerful, lawless organization in the fourth century after Christ, with creeds and formalism derived not from the Bible, but largely from Babylonish religion.  -2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.  

You may ask, 'Since religion still exercises great influence on the earth, why does the angel announce that Babylon the Great has fallen?  Well, what resulted in 539 B.C.E. when ancient Babylon fell?  Why, Israel was freed to return to it homeland and restore true worship there!  So the restoration of spiritual Israel in 1919 to a radiant spiritual prosperity, which continues and expands to this day, stands as evidence that Babylon the Great fell  in that year.  No longer does she have power of restraint over God's people.  Moreover, she has come into deep trouble within her own ranks.  Since 1919 her corruption, dishonesty, and immorality have been widely exposed. In most of Europe, few people go to church anymore, and in many socialistic countries, religion is regarded as "the opium of the people."  Disgraced in the eyes of all lovers of God's Word of truth, as it were, for the execution of Jehovah's righteous judgment on her.  

Next time:  Chapter Thirty - "Babylon the Great Has Fallen!" -Babylon's Disgraceful Fall

From the book of Revelation 


Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song

Declaring the Everlasting Good News

John next writes:  "And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had  everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nations and tribe and tongue and people, saying in a loud voice:  "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment b y him has arrived and so worship the One who made the heavens and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.' "  (Revelation 14:6, 7)   The angel is flying "in midheaven,"  where the birds fly. (Compare Revelation 19:17)  Hence, his voice can be heard around the globe. Of how much greater range than any television news flash is this angel's worldwide proclamation!

Everyone is urged to fear, not the wild beast and its image, but Jehovah, who is incomparably more powerful than any symbolic beast controlled by Satan.  Why, Jehovah created heaven and earth, and now the time has come for him to judge the earth!  (Compare Genesis 1:1; Revelation 11:18)  When on earth, Jesus prophesied concerning our day: "And this good news  of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all nations, and then the end will come."  (Matthew 24:14) The congregation of anointed Christians is fulfilling this commission.  (1 Corinthians 9:16; Ephesians 6:15)  Revelation here reveals that invisible angels are also involved in this preaching work. How often angelic guidance has been apparent in bringing one of Jehovah's Witnesses to a home where some distressed soul was yearning, even praying, for spiritual help!  

As the angel flying in midheaven has declared, the hour for judgment has arrived. What judgment  will God now render?  Ears will tingle at the announcements now to be made by a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth angel.  _Jeremiah 19:3.

Next time: Chapter Thirty -"Babylon the Great Has Fallen!"

From the book of Revelation 

Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song

Followers of the Lamb

Continuing his description of the 144,000 who are "bought from the earth,"  John tells us:  "These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins.  These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes.  These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, and no falsehood  as found in their mouths; they are without blemish." (Revelation 14:4, 5)  The fact that the 144,000 "are virgins" does not mean that members of this class are necessarily married in the flesh.  The apostle Paul wrote to Christians who had heavenly calling that, whereas there are advantages to Christian singleness, marriage is preferable under he certain circumstances.  (1 Corinthians 7:1, 2, 36, 37)  What characteristics this class is a spiritual virginity.  They have avoided spiritual adultery with worldly politics and with false religion.  (James 4:4; Revelation 1 7:5) As the betrothed bride of Christ, they have kept themselves  pure, "without a blemish in among a crooked and twisted generation." -Philippians 2:15. 

Additionally, "no falsehood was found in their mouths."  In this, they are like their King, Jesus Christ.  As a perfect human,  "he committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth."  (1 Peter 2:21, 22)  In being simultaneously  without blemish and truthful, the 144,000 are prepared as a chaste bride for Jehovah's great High Priest.  When Jesus was on earth, he invited righthearted ones to follow him.   (Mark 8:34; 10:21; John 14:3)  Those who responded imitated  his way of life and obeyed his teachings.  Thus, during their earthly course, they "keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes" as he guides them through Satan's world.

The 144,000 are "bought from the earth," adopted as spirit sons of God, and after their resurrection, they will no longer be mere flesh-and-blood humans.  As mentioned in verse 4, they became the"firstfruits   of those who have fallen asleep in death."  ( 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23) But the 144,000 are the "certain firstfruits" of imperfect mankind, purchased by means of Jesus' sacrifice.  (James 1:18) Nevertheless, the ingathering of fruitage from mankind does not end with them.  The book of Revelation has already pointed to the harvesting of an unnumbered great crowd that cries out with a loud voice.  "Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb."  This great crowd will survive the great tribulation, and as they continue to be refreshed b y "fountains of waters of life," they will be raised to human perfection on earth. Sometime after the great tribulation, Hades will be emptied, and countless millions of other humans will be resurrected and have the opportunity to drink from those same waters of life. With this in mind, it would be correct to call the great crowd a firstfruits of the other sheep -they are  the first to 'wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb' With the hope of living forever on earth. -Revelation 7:9, 10, 14, 17; 20:12, 13. 

These three firstfruits (Jesus Christ, the 144,000, and the great crowd) have interesting correspondencies in the festivals celebrated according to the ancient Mosaic Law.  On Nisan 16, during the festival of Unfermented Cakes, a sheaf of the firstfruits of the barley harvest was offered to Jehovah.  (Leviticus 23:6-14)  Nisan 16 was the day Jesus was resurrected from the dead. On the 50th day from Nisan 16, in the third month, the Israelites celebrated the festival of the harvest of the first ripe fruits of the wheat harvest.  (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:15, 16)  This festival came to be called Pentecost (from a Greek word meaning "fiftieth"), and it was at Pentecost 33 C.E. that the first members of the 144,000 were anointed  with holy spirit. Finally, in the seventh month when the whole harvest was gathered in, there was the Festival of Booths, a time of joyful thanksgiving when the Israelites dwelt for a week in booths made of, among other things, palm branches.   (Leviticus  23:33-43) Correspondingly, the great crowd, who are part of the great ingathering, give thanks  before the throne with"palm branches in their hands." -Revelation 7:9.  

Next time: Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song - Declaring the Everlasting Good News

From the book of Revelation 

Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song

Conclusion of Singing as if a New Song

Nevertheless, others listen and respond to their singing. Since 1935 a growing great crowd of other sheep has heard their triumphant song and been moved to join with them in publicizing God's Kingdom.  (John 10:16; Revelation 7:9) True, these newcomers cannot learn to sing exactly  the same new song that the future rulers of God's Kingdom sing.  But they too sound a melodious chorus of praise to Jehovah that is an anthem lauding Jehovah for the new things he is accomplishing.  They thus fulfill the psalmist's exhortation:  "Sing to Jehovah a new song.  Sing to Jehovah, all you people of the earth. Sing to Jehovah bless his name.  From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him. Declare among the nations his glory, among the peoples his wonderful works. Ascribe to Jehovah, O you families of the peoples, ascribe to Jehovah glory and strength. Say among the nations:  'Jehovah himself has become king.' " -Psalm 86:1-3, 7, 10; 98:1-9.

How can the 144,000 sing  "before" the elders, since the 24 elders and the 144,00 are in their heavenly position?  Early in the Lord's day, those "dead in union with Christ" were resurrected as spirit creatures. Thus faithful anointed Christians who have conquered are now in heaven, symbolically fulfilling functions comparable to the those of the 24 divisions of priestly elders.  They are included in the vision of Jehovah's heavenly organization.  (1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16; 1 Chronicles 24:1-8' Revelation 4:4; 6:11)  The remnant of the 144,000 still on earth are therefore singing the new song before, or in the sight of, their resurrected brothers in heaven. 

At this point we might also ask: Why is it that these anointed overcomers are referred as the symbolic 24 elders as well as the 144,000?  It is because Revelation views this one group from two different standpoints.  he 24 elders are always shown in their ultimate position around Jehovah's throne, installed as kings and priests in the heavens.  They symbolize the entire group of 144,000 in their heavenly position, although at present a small remnant of these are still on earth.  (Revelation 4:4, 10; 5:5-14; 7:11-13; 11:16-18) Revelation chapter 7, however, focuses on the 144,000 as brought forth from humankind, and it stresses Jehovah's grand  purpose to seal the complete number of individual spiritual Israelites and to grant salvation to an unnumbered great crowd. Revelation chapter 14 provides a picture confirming that the complete Kingdom class of 144,000 individual overcomers will be assembled  with the Lamb on Mount Zion.  The qualifications to be met in order to be numbered with the 144,000 are also made known, as we shall now see.

Next time: Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song - Followers of the Lamb

From the book of Revelation   


Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song

Singing as if a New Song

In harmony with this,  John reports:  "And I heard a sound out of heaven as the sound of many waters and as the sound of  loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was as of singers  who accompany themselves on the harp playing on their harps. And they are singing  as if a new song before the throne a before the four living creatures and the elders;  and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth."  (Revelation 14:2, 3)  It is no wonder that John upon hearing the 144,000 voices joined in one melodious chorus, is reminded  of roaring waterfalls and pealing thunderclaps. How pleasant that clear harp-like accompaniment!  (Psalm 81:2)  What choir on earth could ever attain to the grandeur of that magnificent chorus? 

And what is the "new song"?  As we noted in discussing Revelation 5:9, 10, the song has to do with Jehovah's Kingdom purposes and his wonderful provision, through Jesus Christ, for making spiritual Israel "
a kingdom and priests to our God."  It is a song of praise to Jehovah publicizing the new things he is accomplishing by means of the Israel of God and in behalf of it.  (Galatians 6:16)  Members of this spiritual Israel respond to the psalmist's invitation:  "Praise Jah, you people!  Sing to Jehovah a new song, his praise in the congregation of loyal ones. Let Israel rejoice  in its Grand Maker, the sons of Zion-let them be joyful in their King."  (Psalm 149:1, 2) True, those words were written centuries ago, but in our day, they have been sung with new understanding. In 1914 the Messianic Kingdom was born.  (Revelation 12:10) In 1919 Jehovah's people on earth began to announce "the word of the kingdom" with renewed zeal.  (Matthew 13:19)  Stimulated b y the Society's yeartext for 1 919 (Isaiah 54:17) and encouraged by their restoration to a spiritual paradise, the began in that year to 'sing to Jehovah with music in their hearts.' -Ephesians 5:19. 

Why is it, though, that only the 144,000 are able to learn the song mentioned at Revelation 14:3?  Because it has to do with their experiences  as chosen heirs of God's Kingdom.  They alone are adopted as sons of God and anointed with holy spirit.  They alone are bought from the earth to become part of that heavenly Kingdom, and they alone "will be priests . . . and will rule as kings" with Jesus Christ for a thousand years to bring mankind to perfection.  They alone are seen to be "singing as if a new song" in the very presence of Jehovah.  These unique experiences and prospects give them a singular appreciation of the Kingdom and enable them to sing about it in a way that no one else can. -Revelation 20:6; Colossians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:11, 12.

Next time: Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song -Conclusion  of Singing as if a New Song 

From the book of Revelation 

Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song

HOW refreshing it is to turn to John's next vision!  In contrast with the dragon's grotesque  beastlike organizations, we now see John's  loyal servants and their activities during the Lord's day.  (Revelation 1:10) Already, Revelation 7:1, 3 has disclosed to us that the four winds of destruction are being held back until all 144,000 of these anointed slaves are sealed. Revelation 12:17 has made known that these "remaining ones of the woman's [seed]" become the special target of Satan, the dragon, during that time. And Revelation chapter 13 has vividly depicted the political organizations raised up on heart by Satan to bring intense pressure and cruel persecution on Jehovah's faithful servants.  but that archenemy cannot thwart God's purpose!  We will now learn that despite Satan's malevolent activity, all the 144,000 are triumphantly gathered. 

John, and with him the John class today, is given a preview of that happy outcome:  "And I saw, and, look! the Lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads." (Revelation 14:1)  As we have seen, this Lamb is the same as the Michael who cleansed the heavens by casting out the Devil and his demons.  He is the Michael whom Daniel describes as "standing in behalf of the sons of [God's ] people' as he prepares  to "stand up" in executing Jehovah's righteous judgments.  (Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:7, 9)  Since 1914 this self-sacrificing Lamb of God has been standing on Mount Zion as the Messianic King. 

It is just as Jehovah foretold:  "I, even I, have installed by king upon Zion, my holy mountain." (Psalm 2:6; 110:2)  This no longer refers to the earthly Mount Zion, the geographical location of earthly Jerusalem, in which city human kings in the line of David used to reign.  (1 Chronicles 11:4-7; 2 Chronicles 5:2)   No, for Jesus, after his death and resurrection in 33 C.E., was installed as a foundation cornerstone on the heavenly Mount Zion, the celestial location where Jehovah determined  to place the "city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem."  Hence,  "the Mount Zion" here represents the exalted position of Jesus and his  joint heirs, who make up heavenly Jerusalem, which is the Kingdom.  (Hebrews 12:12, 28; Ephesians 3:6)  It is the glorious royal situation to which  Jehovah elevates them during the Lord's day. Over the centuries, anointed Christians, as "living stones," have earnestly looked forward to standing on that heavenly Mount Zion, united with the glorified Jesus Christ in his majestic Kingdom. - 1 Peter 2:4-6; Luke 22:28-30; John 14:2, 3.  

John sees not only Jesus but the complete body of the 144,000 fellow heirs of the heavenly Kingdom  standing upon the Mount Zion. At the time represented by the vision, many, but not all, of the 144,000 are already in heaven. Later, in the same vision, John learns that some of the holy ones still have to endure and die faithful. (Revelation 14:12, 13)  Evidently, then, some of the 144,000 are still on earth. So how is it that John sees all of them standing with Jesus on Mount Zion?  In that, as members of the congregation of anointed Christians, these have now "approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem."  (Hebrews 12:22)  Like Paul when he was still on earth, they have already -in spiritual sense-been raised up to be in union with Christ Jesus in heavenly places.  (Ephesians 2:5, 6)  Additionally, in 1919 they responded to the invitation, "Come on up here," and in figurative way "went up to  heaven in the cloud."  (Revelation 11:12)  In view of these scriptures, we can see that all the 144,000 -spiritually speaking-are located on Mount Zion with Jesus Christ.

The 144,000 have no part with the worshipers of the wild beast, who are marked with the symbolic number 666.  (Revelation 13:15-18)  In contrast, these loyal ones have the name of God and of the Lamb written on their foreheads. No doubt John, a Jew, saw God's name in Hebrew lettering ππ   in having the name of Jesus' Father symbolically written on their foreheads, these  sealed ones make known to all that they are Jehovah's Witnesses, His slaves.  (Revelation 3:12)  Their having Jesus' name also displayed on their foreheads indicates that they acknowledge being owned by him. He is their betrothed "husband", and they are his prospective "bride,"  "a new creation" serving God with heaven life in view.  (Ephesians 5:22-24; Revelation 21:2, 9; 2 Corinthians 5:17)  Their intimate relationship with Jehovah and Jesus Christ affects all their thoughts and actions. 

Next time:  Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song -Singing as if a New Song

From the book of Revelation

Chapter Twenty-Eight -Contending With Two Ferocious Beasts

Conclusion of The Mark of the Wild Beast

What does it mean to be marked on the forehead or in the right hand with the name of the wild beast? When Jehovah gave Israel the Law, he told them:  "You must apply these words of mine to your heart and your soul and bind them as a sign upon  your hand, and they must serve as a frontlet band between your eyes."  (Deuteronomy 11:18)  This meant that the Israelites had to keep that Law constantly before them, so that it influenced all their actions and thoughts.  The 144,000 anointed ones are said to have the Father's name and that of Jesus written on their foreheads.  This identifies them as belonging to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ.  (Revelation 14:1)  In imitation, Satan uses the demonic mark of the wild beast. Anybody engaged in everyday activities such as buying and selling is pressured to do  things the way the wild beast does, for example, in celebrating holidays.  They are expected to worship the wild beast, letting it rule their lives, so as to receive its mark. 

Those who refuse to accept the mark of the wild beast have had constant problems. Starting in the 1930's, for example, they had to fight many court battles and endure violent mobbings and other persecutions . In the totalitarian countries, they were thrown into concentration camps, where many died.  Since the second world war, countless young men have suffered lengthy imprisonments, some even being tortured and killed, because of their  refusal to compromise their Christian neutrality.  In other lands Christians are literally  unable to buy or sell; some are unable to own property; others are raped, murdered, or chased from their native land. Why? Because in good conscience they refuse to buy a political party card." -John  17:16.  

In some areas of the earth, religion is so ingrained in community life that anyone who stands for Bible truth, is ostracized by family and friends. It takes great faith to endure.  (Matthew 10:36-38; 17:22)  In a world where majority worship material wealth and where dishonesty is rampant, the true Christian often has to trust implicitly in Jehovah that He will uphold him  in pursuing an upright course. (Psalm 11:7; Hebrews 13:18) In a world awash  with immorality, it takes great determination to remain clean and pure. Christians who fall sick are often pressured by doctors and nurses to break God's Law on the sanctity of blood;  they even have to resist court orders that conflict with their faith.  (Acts 15:28, 29; 1 Peter 4:3, 4)  And in these days of rising unemployment, it is becoming increasingly  difficult for a true Christian to avoid work that would mean compromising his integrity before God.-Micah 4:3, 5. 

Yes, the world is a difficult place for those who do not have the mark of the wild beast. It is an outstanding demonstration of Jehovah's power and blessing that the remaining ones of the seed of the woman, as well as more than three million of the great crowd, are keeping integrity despite all the pressures to break God's Laws.  (Revelation 7:9)  Unitedly, throughout the earth, may all of us continue to magnify Jehovah and his righteous ways, as we refuse to receive the mark of the wild beast. -Psalm 34:1-3. 

Next time: Chapter Twenty-Nine -Singing the Triumphal New Song 

From the book of Revelation 


Chapter Twenty-Eight-Contending With Two Ferocious Beasts

The Mark of the Wild Beast? 

John now sees how Satan maneuvers the political parts of his visible organization to cause the maximum suffering for the remaining ones of the seed of God's woman.  (Genesis 3:15) He returns to describing "the wild beast" itself:  "And it puts under compulsion all persons, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, that they should give these a mark in their right hand or upon their forehead, and that nobody might be able to buy or sell except a person   having the mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name. Here is where wisdom comes in:  Let the one that has intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast, for it is a man's number; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six." -Revelation 13:16-18. 

The wild beast has a name, and this name is 666. Six, as a number , is associated with Jehovah's enemies. A Philistine man of the Rephaim was of "extraordinary size," and his fingers and toes were in sixes."  (1 Chronicles 20:6)  King Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden image 6 cubits in breadth and 60 cubits high, to unify his political officials in one worship. When  God's servants refused to worship the image of gold, the king had them thrown into a fiery furnace.  (Daniel 3:1-23)  The number six falls short of seven, which stands for completeness from God's standpoint. Therefore, a triple six represents gross imperfection. 

A name identifies a person. So how does this number identify the beast?  John says that it "is a man's number," not that of a spirit person, so the name helps to confirm that the wild beast is earthly, symbolizing human government. Just as six fails to measure up to seven, so 666-six to the third degree-is a fitting name for the world's  gigantic political system that fails so miserably to measure up to God's standard of perfection.  The world's political wild beast rules supreme under the name-number 666, while big politics, big religion, and big business keep that wild beast functioning as an oppressor of mankind and a persecutor of God's people. 

Next time: Chapter Twenty-Eight -Contending With Two Ferocious Wild Beasts -Conclusion of The Mark of the Wild Beast

From the book of Revelation