“Jehovah will . . . war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight.”—ZECH. 14:3.
1, 2. What real war looms on the horizon, and what will God’s servants not need to do in this war?
ON October 30, 1938, millions of people in the United States were listening to a popular radio program that featured theatrical plays. The performance that evening was an adaptation of the science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. Actors portraying news announcers described the landing of an invasion force from Mars that would cause widespread destruction on Earth. Although it had been announced that the radio program was a play, many listeners thought that the attack was real and became frightened. Some even took certain measures in an attempt to protect themselves from imaginary aliens.
2 Today there is a real war looming on the horizon. However, people are failing to respond to its approach. This war is foretold, not in a science fiction novel, but in God’s inspired Word, the Bible. It is the war of Armageddon—God’s war against this wicked system of things. (Rev. 16:14-16) In this war, God’s servants on earth will not need to defend themselves against aliens from another planet. Still, they will be awestruck by astonishing events and by the fear-inspiring display of God’s power.
3. What prophecy will we consider, and why is it of interest to us?
3 A Bible prophecy recorded in Zechariah chapter 14 has a direct bearing on the war of Armageddon. Though recorded some 2,500 years ago, this prophecy touches our very lives. (Rom. 15:4) Much of what is stated there relates both to situations affecting God’s people since the Messianic Kingdom was established in heaven in 1914 and to exciting events that will unfold in the very near future. The salient features of the prophecy include the formation of “a very great valley” and the going forth of “living waters.” (Zech. 14:4, 8) This valley plays a vital role in providing protection for Jehovah’s worshippers. And when we understand what the living waters can mean for us, not only will we see the need to partake of them but we will also want to drink them. It is to our benefit, then, to pay close attention to this prophecy.—2 Pet. 1:19, 20.
‘A DAY BELONGING TO JEHOVAH’ BEGINS
4. (a) When did the ‘day belonging to Jehovah’ begin? (b) Decades before 1914, what were Jehovah’s worshippers declaring, and how did world leaders respond?
4 The 14th chapter of Zechariah opens with a reference to ‘a day belonging to Jehovah.’ (Read Zechariah 14:1, 2.) What is this day? It is “the Lord’s day,” which began when “the kingdom of the world” became “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” (Rev. 1:10; 11:15) That day started in 1914 with the birth of the Messianic Kingdom in the heavens. Decades before 1914, Jehovah’s worshippers declared to the nations that the end of “the appointed times of the nations” would come in that year and that the world would enter into an unequaled period of trouble. (Luke 21:24) How did the nations respond? Instead of paying heed to that timely warning, political and religious leaders scorned and persecuted those zealous anointed evangelizers. In doing so, these world leaders mocked Almighty God himself, for anointed Kingdom ambassadors represent “heavenly Jerusalem”—the Messianic Kingdom—of which they are a part.—Heb. 12:22, 28.
5, 6. (a) What foretold action did the nations take against “the city” and its ‘citizens’? (b) Who were “the remaining ones of the people”?
5 Zechariah foretold what action the nations would take, saying: “The city [Jerusalem] will actually be captured.” “The city” is symbolic of God’s Messianic Kingdom. It is represented on earth by its ‘citizens,’ the remnant of anointed Christians. (Phil. 3:20) During World War I, prominent members within the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization were “captured,” or arrested, and sent off to a prison in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. ‘The houses were pillaged’ in that injustices and brutality were heaped upon these and other innocent integrity keepers. The attackers plundered the wealth of influence that the remnant exercised by banning their literature and restricting their activities as Kingdom proclaimers.
6 Although God’s people were outnumbered, misrepresented, opposed, and persecuted at the hands of the attackers, true worship could not be crushed out of existence. There were “the remaining ones of the people,” that is, the anointed remnant who loyally refused to be “cut off from the city.”
7. The course of Jehovah’s anointed Witnesses sets what example for all true worshippers today?
7 Was this prophecy completely fulfilled by the end of World War I? No. More attacks by the nations were to come against the anointed remnant and their loyal companions with an earthly hope. (Rev. 12:17) World War II is a proof of that. The integrity-keeping course of God’s faithful anointed Witnesses spurs on God’s servants today to endure whatever trials come their way, including opposition from unbelieving relatives, workmates, or schoolmates who ridicule them for their faith. (1 Pet. 1:6, 7) No matter where they live, true worshippers are more determined than ever to ‘stand firm in one spirit,’ not being ‘frightened by their opponents.’ (Phil. 1:27, 28) Where, though, will Jehovah’s people find safety in a world that hates them?—John 15:17-19.
JEHOVAH FORMS “A VERY GREAT VALLEY”
8. (a) What can mountains symbolize in the Bible? (b) What does “the mountain of the olive trees” represent?
8 Since Jerusalem—“the city”—is symbolic of heavenly Jerusalem, “the mountain of the olive trees, which is in front of Jerusalem,” must also be taken symbolically. What does that mountain represent? How will it be “split at its middle” and become two mountains? Why does Jehovah refer to them as “my mountains”? (Read Zechariah 14:3-5.) In the Bible, mountains can represent kingdoms, or governments. Also, blessings and protection are associated with God’s mountain. (Ps. 72:3; Isa. 25:6, 7) Thus, the mountain of the olive trees on which God stands to the east of earthly Jerusalem represents Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, his supreme rulership.
9. In what sense does “the Mount of Olives” split?
9 What is indicated by the division of the mountain of the olive trees? The mountain, which is to the east of Jerusalem, splits in the sense that Jehovah establishes another rulership, a subsidiary one. This secondary rulership is the Messianic Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ. That is why Jehovah speaks of the two mountains that result from the splitting of “the Mount of Olives” as being “my mountains.” (Zech. 14:4, 5, ftn.) Both of them are his.
10. What does the “very great valley” between the two mountains represent?
10 When the symbolic mountain splits, half to the north and half to the south, Jehovah’s feet remain set upon both mountains. “A very great valley” comes into existence beneath Jehovah’s feet. This symbolic valley represents divine protection, by which Jehovah’s servants find safety under his universal sovereignty and his Son’s Messianic Kingdom. Jehovah will make sure that pure worship will never be snuffed out. When did this division of the mountain of the olive trees take place? It occurred when the Messianic Kingdom was established at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. When did the flight of true worshippers to the symbolic valley begin?
THE FLIGHT TO THE VALLEY BEGINS!
11, 12. (a) When did the flight to the symbolic valley begin? (b) What proves that Jehovah’s strong arm is with his people?
11 Jesus warned his followers: “You will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matt. 24:9) During the last days of this system of things, since 1914, that hatred has become especially intense. In spite of the vicious attack launched against the anointed remnant by their enemies during World War I, those of this faithful group were not killed off. In 1919 they were liberated from the clutches of Babylon the Great—the world empire of false religion. (Rev. 11:11, 12)That is when the flight to the valley of Jehovah’s mountains began.
12 Since 1919 the valley of divine protection continues to protect true worshippers earth wide. Over the decades, in many parts of the world, there have been bans and restrictions on the field ministry and the Bible literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Such restrictions still exist in certain lands. Try as the nations may, however, they will never succeed in stamping out true worship! Jehovah’s powerful arm will prove to be with his people.—Deut. 11:2. *
13. How do we stay in Jehovah’s protective valley, and why is it now more important than ever to do so?
13 If we stick to Jehovah and stand firm in the truth, he and his Son, Jesus Christ, will do their part, and God will not allow anyone or anything to ‘snatch us out of His hand.’ (John 10:28, 29) Jehovah is ready to extend whatever help is needed so that we may obey him as the Universal Sovereign and remain loyal subjects of the Messianic Kingdom. It is imperative that we remain in the valley of protection, for that valley will take on even greater meaning for true worshippers during the fast-approaching great tribulation.
‘THE DAY OF WARRING’ ARRIVES
14, 15. On “the day of [God’s] warring” against his enemies, what will be the situation of those outside the valley?
14 As the end of this system of things draws closer, Satan will intensify his attacks upon Jehovah’s servants. Then will come “the day of [God’s] warring” against his enemies. Jehovah will make sure that one of Satan’s attacks will prove to be his last. On that day, the Sovereign of the universe will distinguish himself as a Warrior more gloriously than he has during any previous “day of fight.”—Zech. 14:3.
15 On the day of God’s warring, what will be the situation of those outside the “great valley” of protection? They will have “no precious light” of divine favor shining upon them. In that coming day of fight, “the horse, the mule, the camel, and the male ass, and every sort of domestic animal”—symbols of the nations’ military equipment—will be affected. Such equipment will be “congealed,” put out of operation as if stiffened by cold. Jehovah will also use pestilence and “the scourge.” Whether literal or not, the scourge will silence terrifying threats. On that day, “one’s very eyes . . . and tongue will rot away” in that the attackers will be able to strike out only blindly and their defiant speech will be silenced. (Zech. 14:6, 7, 12, 15) No section of the earth will escape destruction. The forces lined up on Satan’s side in the battle will be tremendous. (Rev. 19:19-21) “Those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end.”—Jer. 25:32, 33.
16. In view of the approaching day of God’s warring, what questions should we contemplate, and what will we need to do?
16 Warfare always brings suffering, even to the eventual victors. Food may run short. Property may be lost. Standards of living may drop. Personal freedoms may be curtailed. If such hardships befall us, how will we react? Will we panic? Will we renounce our faith under pressure? Will we lose hope and sink into despondency? How vital it will be during the great tribulation to maintain our faith in Jehovah’s saving power and to remain in Jehovah’s valley of protection!—Read Habakkuk 3:17, 18.
“LIVING WATERS WILL GO FORTH”
17, 18. (a) What are the “living waters”? (b) What do “the eastern sea” and “the western sea” represent? (c) As you look ahead to the future, what is your determination?
17 Following Armageddon, “living waters” will flow continuously from the seat of the Messianic Kingdom. These “living waters” are Jehovah’s provisions for life. “The eastern sea” refers to the Dead Sea, and “the western sea” to the Mediterranean Sea. Both are used with reference to people. The Dead Sea would well represent those who are in the common grave of all mankind. Since the Mediterranean Sea teems with life, it would aptly depict the “great crowd” of Armageddon survivors. (Read Zechariah 14:8, 9; Rev. 7:9-15) Thus, both groups will benefit by being released from the condemnation of Adamic death as they keep quenching their thirst with the symbolic living waters, or “river of water of life.”—Rev. 22:1, 2.
18 Under Jehovah’s protection, we will survive the end of this wicked system of things and enter into God’s righteous new world. Though we are objects of hatred by all the nations, let us be resolved to remain loyal subjects of God’s Kingdom, ever determined to stay in Jehovah’s valley of protection.
^ par. 12 See Revelation—Its Grand Climax at Hand! pages 169-170.
THE WATCHTOWER—STUDY EDITION