“Jehovah will . . . war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight.”
1, 2. What real war will happen very soon? What will we not need to do in this war?
ON October 30, 1938, millions of people in the United States were listening to a radio program. During the program, actors who played news reporters announced that creatures from planet Mars were invading Earth and destroying it. Many people did not realize that this was just a story being played on the radio. They thought that a real war had started and became frightened. Some even tried to protect themselves in different ways so that they would be ready for the enemy.
2 Very soon a real war is going to happen. But most people are not getting ready for it. It is the war of Armageddon, that is, God’s war against this wicked world. This is not simply a story. We know that this war will happen because God has told us about it in his Word, the Bible. (Revelation 16:14-16) We will not have to fight in this war. Instead, Jehovah will use his power to save us in an amazing way.
3. What prophecy will we study? Why is this prophecy important to us today?
3 A prophecy we read in Zechariah chapter 14 tells us a lot about the war of Armageddon. Even though it was written about 2,500 years ago, this prophecy is very important to us today. (Romans 15:4) It talks about things that have happened to God’s people since Christ began ruling in heaven in 1914. It also tells us about exciting things that will happen very soon. This prophecy tells us about “a very great valley” and “living waters.” (Zechariah 14:4, 8) In this article, we will learn what this valley is and how Jehovah’s worshippers can get protection there. We will also learn what the living waters are and how we can benefit from them. As a result, not only will we realize we need to drink these waters but we will also want to drink them. Let us, then, pay close attention to this prophecy.
A DAY “BELONGING TO JEHOVAH” BEGINS
4. (a) When did the day “belonging to Jehovah” begin? (b) For many years before 1914, what did anointed Christians preach? How did political and religious leaders react?
4 The prophecy in Zechariah chapter 14 starts by saying: “There is a day coming, belonging to Jehovah.” (Read Zechariah 14:1, 2.) What is this day? It is the same as “the Lord’s day,” which began in 1914 when Jesus became King of God’s Kingdom in heaven. (Revelation 1:10; 11:15) For many years, anointed Christians had preached that the end of “the appointed times of the nations” would come in 1914. They also preached that from that time on, there would be more trouble in the world than ever before. (Luke 21:24) Did “the nations” pay attention to this warning? No. Instead, political and religious leaders made fun of and persecuted those Christians. By doing that, these leaders were actually making fun of Almighty God himself, because anointed Christians represent God’s Kingdom.
5, 6. (a) What did enemies of God’s people do? (b) Who were “the remaining ones of the people”?
5 Zechariah foretold what the enemies of God’s people would do: “The city will actually be captured.” “The city,” Jerusalem, is God’s Kingdom. Anointed Christians who are still on earth are part of this Kingdom. (Philippians 3:20) The city was “captured” during World War I when brothers who had great responsibility in Jehovah’s organization were arrested and put in prison in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Enemies were unfair and cruel to the anointed Christians, banned their literature, and tried to stop their preaching work. It was as if the enemies had “pillaged,” or violently robbed, the city’s houses.
6 Even though powerful enemies persecuted God’s people and told lies about them, they could not destroy true worship. There were anointed Christians who stayed faithful. As mentioned by Zechariah, these were “the remaining ones of the people” who refused to be “cut off from the city.”
7. What example have anointed Christians set for us today?
7 Did enemies stop persecuting God’s people when World War I ended? No. The persecution foretold by Zechariah continued. (Revelation 12:17) For example, there was terrible persecution of our brothers during World War II. The example of faithfulness of the anointed Christians encourages us today to endure any trials we may suffer. These trials include opposition in the home, at work, and at school from those who make fun of us because of our faith. (1 Peter 1:6, 7) No matter where we live, we are determined to stay faithful and not be frightened by any who oppose us. (Philippians 1:27, 28) But how can we be safe in a world that hates us?
JEHOVAH MAKES “A VERY GREAT VALLEY”
8. (a) What do mountains sometimes represent in the Bible? (b) What does “the mountain of the olive trees” represent?
8 We have learned that in this prophecy, “the city,” or Jerusalem, represents God’s Kingdom. So, what does “the mountain of the olive trees, which is in front of Jerusalem,” represent? How will the mountain be “split at its middle” and become two mountains? And why does Jehovah call them “my mountains”? (Read Zechariah 14:3-5.) In the Bible, mountains sometimes represent kingdoms, or governments. Also, the Bible often says that blessings and protection come from God’s mountain. (Psalm 72:3; Isaiah 25:6, 7) So the mountain of the olive trees represents Jehovah’s rule over all his creation.
9. What does it mean that the mountain of the olive trees splits “at its middle”?
9 The prophecy says that the mountain of the olive trees splits “at its middle.” What does that mean? It means that Jehovah creates a second rulership for a special purpose. This rulership also belongs to God, and Jesus Christ is its King. Because both rulerships belong to Jehovah, he calls the two mountains “my mountains.”
10. What does the “very great valley” between the two mountains represent?
10 According to the prophecy, when the mountain of the olive trees splits, half to the north and half to the south, Jehovah’s feet stay upon both mountains. This split forms “a very great valley” under Jehovah’s feet. What is this valley? It represents God’s protection. Just as people are protected in a valley between two mountains, Jehovah’s servants are safe under his rule and the rule of his Son. Jehovah will never allow pure worship to be destroyed. When did the mountain of the olive trees split? That happened in 1914, when Jesus started to rule in heaven. The prophecy also says that Jehovah’s people would escape to the “very great valley.” When did that begin to happen?
GOD’S PEOPLE BEGIN TO ESCAPE TO THE VALLEY!
11, 12. (a) When did God’s people begin to escape to the valley? (b) What shows that Jehovah protects his people?
11 Jesus warned his followers: “You will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matthew 24:9) That hatred has become even stronger since 1914, when the last days began. During World War I, enemies cruelly persecuted faithful anointed Christians, but they were not able to destroy true worship. In 1919, God’s people became free from false religion, that is, Babylon the Great. (Revelation 11:11, 12) * (See footnote.) It was in that year that God’s people began to escape to the valley.
12 Since 1919, Jehovah has continued to protect true worshippers everywhere in the world. Over the years, many governments have tried to stop Jehovah’s Witnesses from preaching or have banned their literature. This is still happening in some countries. But Jehovah has not allowed these governments to destroy true worship. No matter what human governments may do, Jehovah will continue to use his almighty power to protect his people.
13. How do we stay in Jehovah’s valley of protection? Why is it now more important than ever that we stay in the valley?
13 If we continue to be faithful to Jehovah, we stay in Jehovah’s valley of protection. He and his Son will not allow anyone or anything to take us away from their protection. (John 10:28, 29) Jehovah gives us all the help we need to be loyal to his rule and to the rule of his Son. We will need God’s help even more during the great tribulation that will soon arrive. So it is now more important than ever that we stay in Jehovah’s valley of protection.
“THE DAY OF HIS WARRING” ARRIVES
14, 15. On the day Jehovah fights his enemies, what will happen to those who do not have God’s protection?
14 From now until the end of this wicked world, Satan’s attacks on God’s people will become stronger. But soon Satan will make his last attack. On that day, Jehovah will fight and destroy all the enemies of his people. That will be “the day of his warring” foretold by Zechariah. This war will show more than any other what a glorious Warrior Jehovah is.
15 On the day Jehovah fights his enemies, what will happen to those who do not have God’s protection? The prophecy says that they will have “no precious light.” This means that they will not have God’s favor. The prophecy continues by saying that “the horse, the mule, the camel, and the male ass, and every sort of domestic animal” will be “congealed.” This means that weapons and machines used in war will freeze, or in other words, become useless. Zechariah says that Jehovah will punish his enemies with a “scourge,” or disease. Their eyes and tongues “will rot away.” We do not know if this will be a literal disease. But we do know that they will not be able to harm us or to speak against God. (Zechariah 14:6, 7, 12, 15) All “the kings of the earth and their armies” will take Satan’s side. But no matter where they are on the earth, they will be destroyed. (Revelation 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.”
16. What questions should we ask ourselves? What will we need to do during the great tribulation?
16 All suffer in a war, even those who finally win. We too may suffer during the great tribulation. We may have little to eat. We may lose most of the things we own. We may not have the rights we now have. If we suffer such things, how will we react? Will we panic? Will we become discouraged and lose all hope? Will we stop serving Jehovah? During the great tribulation, we must stay in the valley of protection by being faithful to Jehovah and by trusting that he will protect us.
“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) What do we always want to do?
17 After Armageddon, “living waters will go forth” from Christ’s Kingdom. These “living waters” represent everything God has given humans so that they can live forever. In Zechariah’s prophecy, “the eastern sea” is the Dead Sea and represents people who are asleep in the grave. “The western sea” is the Mediterranean Sea, which is full of life and represents the “great crowd,” who survive Armageddon. (Read Zechariah 14:8, 9; Revelation 7:9-15) Both groups of people will drink “living waters” from the “river of water of life.” As a result, all of them will become perfect and live forever.
18 When Jehovah destroys this wicked system, he will protect us and take us into his righteous new world. Even though all the nations of this world hate us, we have firmly decided that we will be loyal to God’s Kingdom and will stay in Jehovah’s valley of protection.
^ par. 11 See Revelation