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Reviving the Two Witnesses

Reviving the Two Witnesses

 Chapter 25

Reviving the Two Witnesses

1. What does the strong angel call upon John to do?

BEFORE the second woe is finally past, the strong angel calls upon John to take part in another prophetic presentation, this one having to do with the temple. (Revelation 9:12; 10:1) Here is what John reports: “And a reed like a rod was given me as he said: ‘Get up and measure the temple sanctuary of God and the altar and those worshiping in it.’”​—Revelation 11:1.

The Temple Sanctuary

2. (a) What temple sanctuary would endure right up to our day? (b) Who is the High Priest of the temple sanctuary, and what is its Most Holy?

2 The temple here mentioned cannot be any literal temple in Jerusalem, since the last of these was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. The apostle Paul, however, showed that even before that destruction, there had appeared another temple sanctuary that would endure right up to our day. This was the great spiritual temple that fulfilled the prophetic types provided by the tabernacle and later by the temples built in Jerusalem. It is “the true tent, which Jehovah put up, and not man,” and its High Priest is Jesus, whom Paul describes as having already “sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” Its Most Holy is the location of Jehovah’s presence in heaven itself.​—Hebrews 8:1, 2; 9:11, 24.

3. At the tabernacle, what was pictured by (a) the curtain separating the Most Holy from the Holy? (b) the animal sacrifices? (c) the altar of sacrifice?

3 The apostle Paul explains that the curtain of the tabernacle, separating the Most Holy from the Holy compartment, pictures Jesus’ flesh. When Jesus sacrificed his life, this curtain was rent in two, showing that Jesus’ flesh was no longer a barrier to his entry into Jehovah’s presence in heaven. On the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, his anointed underpriests who died faithful would, in due course, also pass into the heavens. (Matthew 27:50, 51; Hebrews 9:3; 10:19, 20) Paul points out, too, that the continual sacrifices of animals at the tabernacle pointed forward to Jesus’ one sacrifice of his perfect human life. The altar of sacrifice in the courtyard represented Jehovah’s provision, according to his will, for accepting Jesus’ sacrifice in behalf of the “many”​—of the anointed and, later, of the other sheep—​who would be “earnestly looking for him for their salvation.”​—Hebrews 9:28; 10:9, 10; John 10:16.

4. What was symbolized by (a) the Holy Place (b) the inner courtyard?

4 From this divinely inspired information, we can conclude that the Holy Place in the tabernacle symbolizes a holy condition enjoyed first by Christ and then by the anointed members of the royal priesthood of the 144,000 while they are still on earth, before entering through “the curtain.” (Hebrews 6:19, 20; 1 Peter 2:9) It well represents their having been adopted as spiritual sons of God, even as God acknowledged Jesus to be his Son following Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan in 29 C.E. (Luke 3:22; Romans 8:15) And what of the inner courtyard, the only part of the tabernacle visible to nonpriestly Israelites and the place where the sacrifices were made? This pictures the perfect  standing of the man Jesus that qualified him to offer his life for mankind. It also represents the righteous standing as holy ones, imputed on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, that his anointed followers enjoy while on earth. *​—Romans 1:7; 5:1.

Measuring the Temple Sanctuary

5. In Hebrew Scripture prophecies, what was implied by (a) the measuring of Jerusalem? (b) the measuring of Ezekiel’s visionary temple?

John is told to “measure the temple sanctuary of God and the altar and those worshiping in it.” What does this imply? In the Hebrew Scripture prophecies, such measuring provided a guarantee that justice would be rendered on the basis of Jehovah’s perfect standards. In the days of wicked King Manasseh, the prophetic measuring of Jerusalem testified to an unalterable judgment of destruction on that city. (2 Kings 21:13; Lamentations 2:8) Later, however, when Jeremiah saw Jerusalem being measured, this confirmed that the city would be rebuilt. (Jeremiah 31:39; see also Zechariah 2:2-8.) Likewise, the extensive and detailed measuring of the visionary temple witnessed by Ezekiel was a guarantee to the Jewish exiles in Babylon that true worship would be restored in their homeland. It was also a reminder that, in view of their errors, Israel henceforth had to measure up to God’s holy standards.​—Ezekiel 40:3, 4; 43:10.

6. Of what is John’s being told to measure the temple sanctuary and the priests worshipping in it a sign? Explain.

6 Therefore, when John is commanded to measure the temple sanctuary and those priests worshipping in it, it is a sign that nothing can prevent the fulfillment of Jehovah’s purposes regarding the temple arrangement and those associated with it, and that those purposes are nearing their climax. Now that all things have been placed under the feet of Jehovah’s strong angel, it is the time for “the mountain of the house of Jehovah” to become “firmly established above the top of the mountains.” (Isaiah 2:2-4) Jehovah’s pure worship must be exalted, after centuries of Christendom’s apostasy. It is also time for those of Jesus’ faithful brothers who have died to be resurrected into “the Holy of Holies.” (Daniel 9:24; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; Revelation 6:11; 14:4) And the last sealed ones on earth of “the slaves of our God” must be measured according to the divine standards in order to qualify for their permanent place in the temple arrangement as spirit-begotten sons of God. The John class today is fully aware of those holy standards and is determined to measure up to them.​—Revelation 7:1-3; Matthew 13:41, 42; Ephesians 1:13, 14; compare Romans 11:20.

The Trampling of the Courtyard

7. (a) Why is John told not to measure the courtyard? (b) When was the holy city trampled underfoot for 42 months? (c) How did the clergy of Christendom fail to uphold Jehovah’s righteous standards for 42 months?

7 Why was John forbidden to measure the courtyard? He tells us in these words: “But as for the courtyard that is outside the temple sanctuary, cast it clear out and do not measure it, because it has been given to the nations, and they will trample the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11:2) We have noted that the inner courtyard pictures the righteous standing on earth of spirit-begotten Christians. As we shall see, the reference here is to the literal 42 months extending from December 1914 to June 1918, when all professing Christians were put to a severe test. Would they uphold Jehovah’s righteous standards during those war years? Most did not. En bloc, the clergy of Christendom put nationalism ahead of obedience to divine law. On both sides of the war, which was fought mainly in Christendom, the clergy preached the young men into the trenches. Millions  were slaughtered. By the time that judgment started with the house of God in 1918, the United States had also entered that bloodspilling, and the clergy of all of Christendom had incurred a bloodguilt that still cries out for divine vengeance. (1 Peter 4:17) Their being cast out has become permanent, irreversible.​—Isaiah 59:1-3, 7, 8; Jeremiah 19:3, 4.

8. During World War I, what did many of the Bible Students realize, but what did they not fully appreciate?

8 What, though, of the small group of Bible Students? Were they to be measured immediately in 1914 by their adherence to divine standards? No. Like the professed Christians of Christendom, they too must be tested. They were ‘cast clear out, given to the nations’ to be severely tried and persecuted. Many of them realized that they should not go out and kill their fellowman, but as yet they did not fully appreciate Christian neutrality. (Micah 4:3; John 17:14, 16; 1 John 3:15) Under pressure from the nations, some compromised.

9. What is the holy city that was trampled underfoot by the nations, and on earth, who represents this city?

9 How was it, though, that the holy city was trampled underfoot by those nations? Clearly, this does not refer to the Jerusalem that was destroyed over 25 years before Revelation was written. Rather, the holy city is New Jerusalem, described later in Revelation, that is represented now on earth by the remaining anointed Christians in the temple’s inner courtyard. In time, these also will become a part of the holy city. So trampling on them is tantamount to trampling on the city itself.​—Revelation 21:2, 9-21.

 The Two Witnesses

10. What are Jehovah’s faithful witnesses to do while being trampled on?

10 Even while being trampled on, these loyal ones do not cease to be Jehovah’s faithful witnesses. Hence, the prophecy continues: “‘And I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth.’ These are symbolized by the two olive trees and the two lampstands and are standing before the Lord of the earth.”​—Revelation 11:3, 4.

11. What did it mean for the faithful anointed Christians to prophesy “in sackcloth”?

11 These faithful anointed Christians needed the quality of endurance, for they had to prophesy “in sackcloth.” What did this mean? In Bible times sackcloth often symbolized mourning. Wearing it was a sign that the person had been brought low in sorrow or distress. (Genesis 37:34; Job 16:15, 16; Ezekiel 27:31) Sackcloth was associated with the mournful messages of doom or grief that God’s prophets had to proclaim. (Isaiah 3:8, 24-26; Jeremiah 48:37; 49:3) The wearing of sackcloth could indicate humility or repentance in view of divine warning. (Jonah 3:5) The sackcloth worn by the two witnesses appears to indicate their humble endurance in announcing Jehovah’s judgments. They were witnesses proclaiming his day of vengeance that would bring mourning also to the nations.​—Deuteronomy 32:41-43.

12. Why does the time period during which the holy city was to be trampled underfoot seem to be literal?

12 The John class had to preach this message for a definitely stated time: 1,260 days, or 42 months, the same length of time that the holy city was to be trampled underfoot. This period seems to be literal, since it is expressed in two different ways, first in months and then in days. Additionally, at the beginning of the Lord’s day, there was a marked period of three and a half years when the hard experiences of God’s people matched the events prophesied here​—starting in December 1914 and continuing to June 1918. (Revelation 1:10) They preached a “sackcloth” message concerning Jehovah’s judgment of Christendom and the world.

13. (a) What is denoted by the fact that the anointed Christians were symbolized by two witnesses? (b) What prophecy of Zechariah is brought to mind by John’s calling the two witnesses “the two olive trees and the two lampstands”?

13 The fact that they were symbolized by two witnesses confirms to us that their message was accurate and well founded. (Compare Deuteronomy 17:6; John 8:17, 18.) John calls them “the two olive trees and the two lampstands,” saying that they “are standing before the Lord of the earth.” This is an evident reference to the prophecy of Zechariah, who saw a seven-branched lampstand and two olive trees. The olive trees were said to picture “the two anointed ones,” that is, Governor Zerubbabel and High Priest Joshua, “standing alongside the Lord of the whole earth.”​—Zechariah 4:1-3, 14.

14. (a) What was indicated by Zechariah’s vision of the two olive trees? and the lampstand? (b) What would the anointed Christians experience during the first world war?

14 Zechariah lived in a time of rebuilding, and his vision of the two olive trees meant that Zerubbabel and Joshua would be blessed with Jehovah’s spirit in strengthening the people for the work. The vision of the lampstand reminded Zechariah not to ‘despise the day of small things’ because Jehovah’s purposes would be carried out​—“‘not by a military force, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ Jehovah of armies has said.” (Zechariah 4:6, 10; 8:9) The small band of Christians persistently carrying the light of truth to mankind during the first world war would similarly be used in a rebuilding work. They too would be a source of encouragement and, few as they were, would learn to rely on Jehovah’s strength, not despising the day of small beginnings.

15. (a) The fact that the anointed Christians were described as two witnesses also reminds us of what? Explain. (b) What kind of signs are the two witnesses authorized to perform?

 15 The fact that they were described as two witnesses also reminds us of the transfiguration. In that vision, three of Jesus’ apostles saw him in Kingdom glory, accompanied by Moses and Elijah. This foreshadowed Jesus’ sitting down on his glorious throne in 1914 to accomplish a work prefigured by those two prophets. (Matthew 17:1-3) Fittingly, the two witnesses are now seen to perform signs reminiscent of those of Moses and Elijah. For example, John says of them: “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire issues forth from their mouths and devours their enemies; and if anyone should want to harm them, in this manner he must be killed. These have the authority to shut up heaven that no rain should fall during the days of their prophesying.”​—Revelation 11:5, 6a.

16. (a) How does the sign involving fire remind us of the time when Moses’ authority was challenged in Israel? (b) How did Christendom’s clergy defy the Bible Students and stir up trouble for them during the first world war, and how did these fight back?

16 This reminds us of the time when Moses’ authority was challenged in Israel. That prophet uttered fiery words of judgment, and Jehovah destroyed the rebels, consuming 250 of them by literal fire from heaven. (Numbers 16:1-7, 28-35) Similarly, Christendom’s leaders defied the Bible Students, saying that these had never graduated from theological colleges. But God’s witnesses had higher credentials as ministers: those meek persons who heeded their Scriptural message. (2 Corinthians 3:2, 3) In 1917 the Bible Students published The Finished Mystery, a powerful commentary on Revelation and Ezekiel. This was followed by the distribution of 10,000,000 copies of the four-page tract The Bible Students Monthly with the feature article entitled “The Fall of Babylon​—Why Christendom Must Now Suffer—​the Final Outcome.” In the United States, the irate clergy used the war hysteria as an excuse to get the book banned. In other countries the book was censored. Nevertheless, God’s servants kept fighting  back with fiery issues of the four-page tract entitled Kingdom News. As the Lord’s day proceeded, other publications would make clear Christendom’s spiritually defunct condition.​—Compare Jeremiah 5:14.

17. (a) What events in the days of Elijah involved a drought and fire? (b) How did fire issue forth from the mouths of the two witnesses, and what drought was involved?

17 What of Elijah? In the days of the kings of Israel, this prophet proclaimed a drought as an expression of Jehovah’s indignation on the Baal-worshipping Israelites. It lasted three and a half years. (1 Kings 17:1; 18:41-45; Luke 4:25; James 5:17) Later, when unfaithful King Ahaziah sent soldiers to force Elijah to come into his royal presence, the prophet called down fire from heaven to consume the soldiers. Only when a military commander showed proper respect for his position as a prophet did Elijah consent to accompany him to the king. (2 Kings 1:5-16) Likewise, between 1914 and 1918, the anointed remnant boldly drew attention to the spiritual drought in Christendom and warned of fiery judgment at “the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.”​—Malachi 4:1, 5; Amos 8:11.

18. (a) What authority is given the two witnesses, and how was this similar to that given Moses? (b) How did the two witnesses expose Christendom?

18 John goes on to say of the two witnesses: “And they have authority over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every sort of plague as often as they wish.” (Revelation 11:6b) In order to persuade Pharaoh to let Israel go free, Jehovah used Moses in striking oppressive  Egypt with plagues, including the turning of water into blood. Centuries later, the Philistine enemies of Israel well remembered Jehovah’s acts against Egypt, causing them to cry: “Who will save us from the hand of this majestic God? This is the God that was the smiter of Egypt with every sort of slaughter [“plague,” Revised Standard Version] in the wilderness.” (1 Samuel 4:8; Psalm 105:29) Moses portrayed Jesus, who had authority to pronounce God’s judgments on the religious leaders of his day. (Matthew 23:13; 28:18; Acts 3:22) And during the first world war Christ’s brothers, the two witnesses, exposed the death-dealing quality of “the waters” that Christendom was serving to her flocks.

The Two Witnesses Are Killed

19. According to the Revelation account, what takes place when the two witnesses finish their witnessing?

19 So severe was this plague on Christendom that after the two witnesses had prophesied for 42 months in sackcloth, Christendom used her worldly influence to have them ‘killed.’ John writes: “And when they have finished their witnessing, the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss will make war with them and conquer them and kill them. And their corpses will be on the broad way of the great city which is in a spiritual sense called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also impaled. And those of the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their corpses for three and a half days, and they do not let their corpses be laid in a tomb. And those dwelling on the earth rejoice over them and enjoy themselves, and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those dwelling on the earth.”​—Revelation 11:7-10.

20. What is “the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss”?

20 This is the first of 37 references in Revelation to a wild beast. In due course we will examine this and other beasts in detail. Suffice it to say for now that “the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss” is of Satan’s design, a living political system of things. *​—Compare Revelation 13:1; Daniel 7:2, 3, 17.

21. (a) How did the religious enemies of the two witnesses take advantage of the war situation? (b) The fact that the corpses of the two witnesses were left unburied indicated what? (c) How is the time period of three and a half days to be viewed? (See footnote.)

21 From 1914 to 1918 the nations were occupied with the first world war. Nationalistic feelings ran high, and in the spring of 1918, the religious enemies of the two witnesses took advantage of the situation. They maneuvered the State’s legal apparatus so that responsible ministers of the Bible Students were imprisoned on  false charges of sedition. Faithful coworkers were stunned. Kingdom activity almost ceased. It was as though the preaching work were dead. In Bible times it was a terrible indignity not to be interred in a memorial tomb. (Psalm 79:1-3; 1 Kings 13:21, 22) Therefore, great reproach would attach to leaving the two witnesses unburied. In the hot Palestinian climate, a corpse in the open street would really start to smell after three and a half literal days. * (Compare John 11:39.) This detail in the prophecy thus indicates the shame that the two witnesses had to endure. Those mentioned above who were imprisoned were even denied bail while their cases were on appeal. They were exposed publicly long enough to become a stench to the inhabitants of “the great city.” But what was this “great city”?

22. (a) What is the great city? (b) How did the public press join in with the clergy in rejoicing over the silencing of the two witnesses? (See box.)

22 John gives us some clues. He says that Jesus was impaled there. So we immediately think of Jerusalem. But he also says that the great city is called Sodom and Egypt. Well, literal Jerusalem was once called Sodom because of her unclean practices. (Isaiah 1:8-10; compare Ezekiel 16:49, 53-58.) And Egypt, the first world power, sometimes appears as a picture of this world system of things. (Isaiah 19:1, 19; Joel 3:19) Hence, this great city pictures a defiled “Jerusalem” that claims to worship God but that has become unclean and sinful, like Sodom, and a part of this satanic world system of things, like Egypt. It pictures Christendom, the modern equivalent of unfaithful Jerusalem, the organization whose members had so much  reason to rejoice when they silenced the disturbing preaching of the two witnesses.

Raised Again!

23. (a) What happens to the two witnesses after three and a half days, and what is the effect on their enemies? (b) When did Revelation 11:11, 12 and Ezekiel’s prophecy of Jehovah’s breathing upon a valley of dry bones have a modern-day fulfillment?

23 The public press joined the clergy in vilifying God’s people, one paper saying: “The finis of The Finished Mystery has been given.” Nothing, though, could have been further from the truth! The two witnesses did not stay dead. We read: “And after the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them. And they heard a loud voice out of heaven say to them: ‘Come on up here.’ And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:11, 12) Thus, they had an experience similar to that of the dry bones in the valley that Ezekiel visited in vision. Jehovah breathed upon those dry bones, and they came to life, providing a picture of the rebirth of the nation of Israel after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. (Ezekiel 37:1-14) These two prophecies, in Ezekiel and in Revelation, had their striking modern-day fulfillment in 1919, when Jehovah restored his “deceased” witnesses to vibrant life.

24. When the two witnesses came to life, what was the effect on their religious persecutors?

24 What a shock for those persecutors! The corpses of the two witnesses were suddenly alive and active again. It was a bitter pill for those clergymen to swallow, the more so since the Christian ministers whom they had schemed to put in prison were free again, later to be fully exonerated. The shock must have been even greater when, in September 1919, the Bible  Students held a convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A. Here J. F. Rutherford, recently released from prison, stirred conventioners with his talk “Announcing the Kingdom,” based on Revelation 15:2 and Isaiah 52:7. Those of the John class began once again to “prophesy,” or preach publicly. They advanced from strength to strength, fearlessly exposing Christendom’s hypocrisy.

25. (a) When were the two witnesses told, “Come on up here,” and how did that take place? (b) What shocking effect did the restoration of the two witnesses have on the great city?

25 Christendom tried again and again to repeat her triumph of 1918. She resorted to mob action, legal maneuvering, imprisonment, even executions​—all to no avail! After 1919 the spiritual domain of the two witnesses was out of her reach. In that year Jehovah had said to them: “Come on up here,” and they had ascended to an elevated spiritual state where their enemies could see them but could not touch them. John describes the shocking effect their restoration had on the great city: “And in that hour a great earthquake occurred, and a tenth of the city fell; and seven thousand persons were killed by the earthquake, and the rest became frightened and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Revelation 11:13) There were truly great convulsions in the realm of religion. The ground seemed to move under the leaders of the established churches as this body of revivified Christians got to work. One tenth of their city, figuratively 7,000 persons, were so profoundly affected that they are spoken of as being killed.

26. Who are represented by the “tenth of the city” and the “seven thousand” of Revelation 11:13? Explain.

26 The expression “a tenth of the city” reminds us that Isaiah prophesied regarding ancient Jerusalem that a tenth would survive the destruction of the city as a holy seed. (Isaiah 6:13) Similarly, the number 7,000 reminds us that when Elijah felt that he alone remained faithful in Israel, Jehovah told him that there were, in fact, still 7,000 who had not bent down to Baal. (1 Kings 19:14, 18) In the first century, the apostle Paul said that these 7,000 pictured the remnant of the Jews who had responded to the good news about the Christ. (Romans 11:1-5) These scriptures help us to understand that the “seven thousand” and the “tenth of the city” in Revelation 11:13 are those who respond to the restored two witnesses and abandon the sinful great city. They die, as it were, to Christendom. Their names are taken off her membership rolls. They no longer exist as far as she is concerned. *

27, 28. (a) How did ‘the rest give glory to the God of heaven?’ (b) What were Christendom’s clergy forced to acknowledge?

27 But how did ‘the rest [of Christendom] give glory to the God of heaven’? Certainly not by abandoning their apostate religion and becoming servants of God. Rather, it is as explained in Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, in discussing the expression “gave glory to the God of heaven.” There it is stated: “The phrase signifies not conversion, nor repentance, nor thanksgiving, but recognition, which is its usual sense in scripture. Compare Josh. vii. 19 (Sept.). John ix. 24; Acts xii. 23; Rom. iv. 20.” To her chagrin, Christendom had to acknowledge that the God of the Bible Students had performed a great act in restoring them to Christian activity.

28 It may be that the clergy gave this acknowledgment only mentally, or to themselves. Certainly, none of them went on record as publicly acknowledging the God of the two witnesses. But Jehovah’s prophecy through John helps us to discern what was in their hearts and realize the humiliating shock that they experienced in 1919. From that year onward, as the “seven thousand”  left Christendom despite her determined efforts to hold on to her sheep, the clergy were forced to recognize that the God of the John class was stronger than their god. In later years they would realize this even more clearly, as many more of their flock would depart, echoing the words of the people when Elijah triumphed over the Baal religionists at Mount Carmel: “Jehovah is the true God! Jehovah is the true God!”​—1 Kings 18:39.

29. What does John say is coming quickly, and what further shaking awaits Christendom?

29 But listen! John tells us: “The second woe is past. Look! The third woe is coming quickly.” (Revelation 11:14) If Christendom is shaken by what has happened so far, what will she do when the third woe is announced, the seventh angel blows his trumpet, and the sacred secret of God is finally finished?​—Revelation 10:7.

[Footnotes]

^ par. 4 For a full discussion of this great spiritual temple, see the articles “Jehovah’s Great Spiritual Temple” in the July 1, 1996, issue of The Watchtower and “The One True Temple at Which to Worship” in the December 1, 1972, issue.

^ par. 20 The “abyss” (Greek, aʹbys·sos; Hebrew, tehohmʹ) refers symbolically to a place of inactivity. (See Revelation 9:2.) In a literal sense, however, it can also refer to the vast sea. The Hebrew word is often translated “watery deep.” (Psalm 71:20; 106:9; Jonah 2:5) Thus, “the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss” can be identified with the “wild beast ascending out of the sea.”​—Revelation 11:7; 13:1.

^ par. 21 Notice that in examining the experiences of God’s people at this time, it appears that while the 42 months represent a literal three and a half years, the three and a half days do not represent a literal period of 84 hours. Likely, the specific period of three and a half days is mentioned twice (in verses 9 and 11) to highlight that it would be only a short period compared with the actual three and a half years of activity that precede it.

^ par. 26 Compare the use of the words “dead,” “died,” and “living” in such scriptures as Romans 6:2, 10, 11; 7:4, 6, 9; Galatians 2:19; Colossians 2:20; 3:3.

[Study Questions]

[Box on page 168]

The Rejoicing of Revelation 11:10

In his book Preachers Present Arms, published in 1933, Ray H. Abrams refers to the clergy’s bitter opposition to the Bible Students’ book The Finished Mystery. He reviews the clergy’s endeavors to rid themselves of the Bible Students and their “pestilential persuasion.” This led to the court case that resulted in sentencing of J. F. Rutherford and seven companions to long years of imprisonment. Dr. Abrams adds: “An analysis of the whole case leads to the conclusion that the churches and the clergy were originally behind the movement to stamp out the Russellites. In Canada, in February, 1918, the ministers began a systematic campaign against them and their publications, particularly The Finished Mystery. According to the Winnipeg Tribune, . . . the suppression of their book was believed to have been directly brought about by the ‘representations of the clergy.’”

Dr. Abrams continues: “When the news of the twenty-year sentences reached the editors of the religious press, practically every one of these publications, great and small, rejoiced over the event. I have been unable to discover any words of sympathy in any of the orthodox religious journals. ‘There can be no question,’ concluded Upton Sinclair, that ‘the persecution . . . sprang in part from the fact that they had won the hatred of “orthodox” religious bodies.’ What the combined efforts of the churches had failed to do the government now seemed to have succeeded in accomplishing for them.” After quoting the derogatory comments of a number of religious publications, the writer referred to the reversal of the decision in the Court of Appeals and remarked: “This verdict was greeted with silence in the churches.”

[Picture on page 163]

John measures the spiritual temple​—standards are to be met by the anointed priesthood

[Pictures on page 165]

The rebuilding work by Zerubbabel and Joshua indicated that in the Lord’s day small beginnings would be followed by great increase among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Facilities such as the ones shown above, which are in Brooklyn, New York, have had to be greatly expanded in order to help meet their needs

[Pictures on page 166]

Fiery judgment messages proclaimed by the two witnesses were foreshadowed by the prophetic work of Moses and Elijah

[Pictures on page 169]

Like the dry bones of Ezekiel chapter 37, the two witnesses are reactivated for the modern-day preaching work