“The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.”—REV. 11:15.
SONG 22 The Kingdom Is in Place—Let It Come!
1. Of what are we certain, and why?
WHEN you look at world conditions, do you find it difficult to maintain a positive outlook? Family ties are fraying. People in general are becoming more and more violent, selfish, and aggressive. Many find it difficult to trust those in authority. But these very conditions can give you confidence. Why? Because people are acting exactly as was foretold in a remarkable prophecy about “the last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5) The fulfillment of this prophecy, which is impossible for any sincere person to deny, provides evidence that Christ Jesus has begun ruling as King of God’s Kingdom. But this is only one of many prophecies concerning the Kingdom. It will be faith-strengthening for us to review other prophecies that have been fulfilled in recent years.
2. What will we consider in this article, and why? (Comment on the cover picture.)
2 In this article, we will consider (1) a prophecy that helps us discern when the Kingdom was established, (2) prophecies that help us perceive Jesus’ invisible presence as King of God’s Kingdom, and (3) prophecies that reveal how enemies of God’s Kingdom will come to their end. We will see that these prophecies fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to provide a clear picture of where we are in Jehovah’s timetable of events.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE KINGDOM WAS ESTABLISHED
3. What assurance does the prophecy found at Daniel 7:13, 14 give us concerning the King of God’s Kingdom?
3 The prophecy found at Daniel 7:13, 14 assures us that Christ Jesus will be the ideal Ruler of God’s Kingdom. People from every nation will gladly “serve him,” and he will never be replaced as Ruler. Another prophecy in the book of Daniel foretold that Jesus would receive his Kingdom at the end of a prophetic period of seven times. Is it possible to know when that joyous event occurred?
4. Explain how Daniel 4:10-17 leads us to the year when Christ would take up Kingdom power. (See also footnote.)
4 Read Daniel 4:10-17. The “seven times” represent a period of 2,520 years. That time period began in 607 B.C.E. when the Babylonians removed the last king from Jehovah’s throne in Jerusalem. It ended in 1914 C.E. when Jehovah enthroned Jesus—“the one who has the legal right”—as King of God’s Kingdom. *—Ezek. 21:25-27.
5. What is one way we can benefit from the prophecy about the “seven times”?
5 How can this prophecy benefit us? Knowing about the “seven times” reassures us that Jehovah fulfills his promises right on time. Just as he set a definite time for the establishment of his Kingdom, he will also see to it that all the other prophecies will be fulfilled according to his timetable. Yes, Jehovah’s day “will not be late!”—Hab. 2:3.
HOW TO PERCEIVE CHRIST’S PRESENCE AS KING OF GOD’S KINGDOM
6. (a) What is the visible evidence of Christ’s invisible rule in heaven? (b) How is this evidence confirmed by the prophecy found at Revelation 6:2-8?
6 Near the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus foretold certain world events that would help his followers know that he had begun ruling in heaven. Among other things, he mentioned wars, famines, and earthquakes. He also foretold that there would be pestilences, or diseases, “in one place after another”—of which the recent COVID-19 pandemic is an example. These events are part of what the Bible calls “the sign” of Christ’s presence. (Matt. 24:3, 7; Luke 21:7, 10, 11) More than 60 years after his death and return to heaven, Jesus gave the apostle John further confirmation that these events would occur. (Read Revelation 6:2-8.) All these events have occurred since Jesus took up Kingdom power in 1914.
7. Why has Jesus’ rule resulted in woe for the earth?
7 Why did world conditions take a turn for the worse when Jesus became King? Revelation 6:2 gives an important detail—Jesus’ first mission as newly crowned King was to wage war. Against whom? Against the Devil and his demons. According to Revelation chapter 12, Satan lost the battle, and he and the demons were hurled down to the earth. Enraged, Satan began to vent his anger on humankind, resulting in “woe for the earth.”—Rev. 12:7-12.
8. As we see prophecies about the Kingdom being fulfilled, how can we benefit?
8 How can these prophecies benefit us? World events and the noticeable change in people’s attitude would help us discern that Jesus has become King. So rather than become upset when we see people act selfishly and hatefully, we remember that their actions are fulfilling Bible prophecy. The Kingdom is in place! (Ps. 37:1) And we can expect world distress to increase as Armageddon draws ever nearer. (Mark 13:8; 2 Tim. 3:13) Are you not thankful to our loving heavenly Father for helping us to make sense of our turbulent times?
HOW ENEMIES OF GOD’S KINGDOM WILL COME TO THEIR END
9 Read Daniel 2:28, 31-35. We see this prophecy being fulfilled today. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream pointed to what would happen “in the final part of the days,” after the start of Christ’s rule. Jesus’ earthly enemies would include the final world power foretold in the Bible, the one represented by the “feet of iron and of clay.” This world power has already appeared. It came into existence during World War I when Britain and the United States forged a special partnership, the Anglo-American alliance. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image also foretold at least two things about this world power that would distinguish it from the previous kingdoms.
10. (a) How does Daniel’s prophecy accurately portray the Anglo-American alliance? (b) What danger must we avoid? (See the box “Beware of the Clay!”)
10 First, unlike the previous world powers mentioned in the vision, the Anglo-American alliance is symbolized, not by a solid metal like gold or silver, but by a mixture of iron and clay. The clay represents “the offspring of mankind,” or the common people. (Dan. 2:43, ftn.) As is plainly evident today, their influence in elections, civil rights campaigns, mass protests, and labor unions weakens the ability of this world power to implement its policies.
11. How does the arrival of the Anglo-American World Power strengthen our confidence that we are living in the time of the end?
11 Second, as represented by the feet of the immense image, Anglo-America is the last world power foretold in the Bible. It will not be succeeded by another political power. Rather, it will come to a swift end at Armageddon when God’s Kingdom crushes it and all other human governments. *—Rev. 16:13, 14, 16; 19:19, 20.
12. What additional evidence does Daniel’s prophecy provide that gives us comfort and hope?
12 How can this prophecy benefit us? Daniel’s prophecy provides additional evidence that we are living in the time of the end. More than 2,500 years ago, Daniel foretold that after Babylon, four other world powers would have a significant impact on God’s people. Furthermore, he revealed that the Anglo-American World Power would be the last of these. This gives us comfort and hope that soon God’s Kingdom will sweep away every trace of human rule and take full charge of the earth.—Dan. 2:44.
13. What do the “eighth king” and the “ten kings,” mentioned at Revelation 17:9-12, symbolize, and how has this prophecy been fulfilled?
13 Read Revelation 17:9-12. The destruction caused by World War I led to the fulfillment of yet another Bible prophecy about the last days. World leaders wanted to ensure future world peace. So in January 1920, they established the League of Nations, which was replaced by the United Nations in October 1945. This organization is called “an eighth king.” But it is not a world power. Its strength and influence depend on the political powers that support it. The Bible symbolically refers to those powers as “ten kings.”
14-15. (a) What does Revelation 17:3-5 reveal about “Babylon the Great”? (b) What is happening to the support for false religion?
14 Read Revelation 17:3-5. Under divine inspiration, the apostle John saw in vision a prostitute, “Babylon the Great,” which symbolizes the world empire of false religion. What does the vision reveal? False religious organizations have long cooperated closely with the world’s political powers and have given them their blessing. Soon, however, Jehovah will put it into the hearts of the political powers “to carry out his thought.” With what result? Those political powers, the “ten kings,” will turn on false religious organizations and destroy them.—Rev. 17:1, 2, 16, 17.
15 How do we know that the end of Babylon the Great is near? To answer that question, it is helpful to remember that the ancient city of Babylon was partly protected by the waters of the mighty Euphrates River. The book of Revelation compares the millions of supporters of Babylon the Great to protective “waters.” (Rev. 17:15) But it also reveals that the waters would ‘dry up,’ indicating that the world empire of false religion would lose many of its supporters. (Rev. 16:12) In fulfillment of that prophecy, today a considerable number of people have abandoned false religion and have begun looking elsewhere for answers.
16. How can we benefit from understanding the prophecies about the appearance of the United Nations and the end of Babylon the Great?
16 How can these prophecies benefit us? The appearance of the United Nations and the decline of support for false religion add to the evidence that we are living in the last days. Although Babylon’s symbolic waters of support are drying up, the final end of false religious organizations will come by a different means. As mentioned earlier, Jehovah will put it into the hearts of the “ten kings”—the political powers supporting the United Nations—“to carry out his thought.” The end of false religion by those nations will come suddenly, catching the world by surprise. * (Rev. 18:8-10) The destruction of Babylon the Great will be world-shaking and may cause hardships, but God’s people will have at least two reasons to rejoice. This long-standing enemy of Jehovah God will be gone forever, and our deliverance from this wicked system of things will be at hand!—Luke 21:28.
FACE THE FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE
17-18. (a) How can we continue to fortify our faith? (b) What will we discuss in the next article?
17 Daniel foretold that “true knowledge” would “become abundant.” And indeed it has! We have received insight into prophecies about our time. (Dan. 12:4, 9, 10) The accuracy of these prophecies leaves us in awe of Jehovah and his inspired Word. (Isa. 46:10; 55:11) So continue to fortify your faith by diligently studying the Scriptures and by helping others to develop an approved relationship with Jehovah. He will safeguard all who fully lean on him, and he will give them “continuous peace.”—Isa. 26:3.
18 In the next article, we will focus on prophecies about the Christian congregation in the time of the end. As we will learn, these prophecies fit perfectly into the overall pattern of prophecies about the last days. We will see further evidence that Jesus—our reigning King—is actively involved with his loyal followers.
SONG 61 Forward, You Witnesses!
^ We are living in one of the most exciting times in history! God’s Kingdom has been established, just as was foretold in a number of Bible prophecies. This article will examine some of those prophecies with a view to deepening our faith in Jehovah and helping us to remain calm and confident now and in the days ahead.
THE WATCHTOWER—STUDY EDITION