If happiness and personal fulfillment and peace of heart and mind could be measured by the soaring figures of Gross National Product, by the number of new dwellings, new automobiles, new factories, new superhighways produced each year; by the rise in kilowatt hours of energy consumed year by year, by the growing number of dishwashers, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, computers, television sets, video recorders, and two- and three-car garages in use, then, truly, we should be a happy people.

But we are not.

The Only Hope for a Dying World

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” —Isaiah 9:6,7

THE TRUE MEASURE of the worth and durability of a civilization is not in its material wealth, but rather it is in its mental, moral, and ethical wellbeing. It is in the degree of its possession of those ‘oldfashioned’ virtues of honesty, trustworthiness, kindness. It is in the measure of its love for God, for one’s neighbor, for righteousness, for sharing. And this, the only real foundation for happiness and peace within and between peoples and nations, is passing away. It was thus with God’s ancient people Israel; when they followed God’s righteous commandments and precepts they had God’s favor; when they departed from them, they fell on difficult times. And from these righteous standards the world, like Israel of old, has largely departed, and shall in due time reap a fitting reward.

The shiny, truly marvelous products of this day emphasize man’s increased knowledge, and tend to hide from our mental view the deterioration that is relentlessly proceeding within the rotting social framework, much as the destructive work of the termite is indiscernible to the eye until the whole rotted structure finally totters and falls to the ground. Man is striving mightily to hold his patchwork civilization together; but as the symptoms of a fatal disease may be temporarily relieved without delaying the ultimate outcome, so with a dying world. Palliatives, be they ever so generously administered, will not cure. What is needed, but not being used, is surgery to remove the root cause of the evil, which is selfishness.

Crime Increases

We are regularly informed that corruption, homicides, stealing, and crimes of every variety are still continuing. Social diseases, once believed well in hand and virtually banished, are once again escalating alarmingly, to the dismay of health authorities, and a new horror hovers over mankind which is known as AIDS. Mental institutions are filled to overflowing, and must deny admission to others seeking their help, which results in many harmless, homeless people being pitifully thrown out upon the streets to fend for themselves. These evil reports have become so routine and commonplace that one’s sensibility to shock tends eventually to become dulled.

Moral permissiveness is rampant throughout the world. With many, the notion of giving a solid day’s work for a day’s pay is almost extinct, dedication to good works is considered ‘fogyish’, honesty akin to idiocy. Faith in God, in the Bible, and in the virtues which it teaches, have also largely passed away. These are indications that we are at the end of the age, for Jesus told his disciples that at that time lawlessness, or vice, would abound.—Matt. 24:12, Diaglott Translation

True, these conditions alone would not prove that we are at the end of the age, for down through the centuries there have been recurring periods when similar conditions have flourished and waned. There have been wars almost without ceasing between nations. Man has perpetrated cruelties and injustices upon his fellow man since time immemorial. Robberies, murders, human bondage, immorality have marred man’s existence since the initial entry into the world of sin, and death because of sin.


But the Lord additionally informed us that at that time there would also be great tribulation, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21) Jesus quoted this prophecy of the end of the age from Daniel, who further stated that this time would be marked by an increase of knowledge, and by a great increase in travel and communication—“running to and fro.” (Dan. 12:4) It is the sum of these things, taken together, that distinguishes the times in which we are living as unparalleled in the annals of man.

Surely, one need not belabor the point that we are in a time of great and unprecedented increase of knowledge. Indeed, it is this fact that largely explains the countless inventions that have not only relieved mankind of so much drudgery, but have also supplied the potential for man’s moral and physical destruction.

Man is running about today in a manner and to a degree never before possible until the advent of trains, automobiles, and jet planes. And the possibility of a nuclear holocaust with the potential of destroying all civilization, all flesh—both man and beast—is certainly peculiar to the present time. It is the unprecedented conjunction of all these various factors that marks the present time as the foretold end of the age.

Sober minded people in every station of life are aware of the singularity of our day. An official of the United Nations, viewing the deplorable state of the world and the bitter contention dividing its members, stated that the only hope for salvaging the world lies in strengthening the United Nations organization.

The Scriptures partly agree with these thoughts. They agree to the need of a strong government to bring order and justice and happiness to this present evil world. They agree to the need for a world government with power to enforce its just edicts. But the Scriptures tell us that it will not be a human organization that will accomplish these much-desired and longed-for ends. The ruler will be King Jesus, and the worldwide, all-powerful government will be the kingdom of God.

A New Ruler

The Heavenly Father long ago published this glad news through the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” What a marvelous message for a dying world! For it is this Jesus who is the hope—and the only hope—of mankind for life, happiness, and peace.

This future king was born almost two thousand years ago in a stable, and laid in a lowly manger. His birth was announced to the shepherds as “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”—Luke 2:10,11

Unlike most other kings of earth, who demand tribute, homage, and even life from their subjects, King Jesus voluntarily laid down his own life, in order to give life to his people. He then “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” (Luke 19:12) He received that kingdom when he was raised from the grave by the power of God, and now, endued with all power, he has returned to establish his kingdom in the earth, and to bestow the blessings of its beneficent rule upon all mankind.—Matt. 28:18; Rev. 21:1-5

The first order of business of this world ruler is the removal of this present evil world, or world social order, with all its wicked devices. This will be accomplished in a period of time described in the Scriptures as “the Day of the Lord [Jehovah].” “Howl ye; for the Day of the Lord [Jehovah] is at hand; it shall come as a destruction [of corruption and corrupt institutions] from the Almighty.”—Isa. 13:6

The prophet goes on to explain why the Lord is sending this destruction upon the world. “I will punish [‘visit’, Strong’s Concordance] the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isa. 13:11) We are also told how this will affect the hearts of men. “Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: and they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth.”—Isa. 13:7,8

Nations Distressed

Jesus described this time as being “days of vengeance,”—then there would be “upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity [Greek, ‘no way out’]; the sea and waves [restless humanity] roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:22,25,26) We believe we are now in the time thus scripturally described as the Day of Jehovah, which precedes the establishment in the earth of God’s righteous kingdom. The hearts of many today are surely afraid, and filled with perplexity, as they see no escape from the many problems besetting the world.

As that day proceeds to its Armageddon climax, the troubles upon the world will multiply. “Alas for the day! for the Day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame bath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of water are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.”—Joel 1:15-20

The Apostle Peter also calls our attention to this same time in man’s history. He too spoke in symbolic terms, saying, “The day of the Lord [Jehovah] will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”—II Pet. 3:10

A Righteous Rulership

Following the foretold destruction of this present ungodly social order, Peter tells us of the coming of a new heavens and a new earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Pet. 3:13) That will be the time for the promised heavenly kingdom under the rulership of King Jesus, when “the government shall be upon his shoulder.” (Isa. 9:6) With him will be his faithful followers, who, brought forth from death, will reign with him for the blessing of all the families of the earth.

The Prophet Isaiah, many centuries earlier, had announced the coming of this righteous kingdom to be ruled over by Jesus, the antitypical David. He said: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”—Isa. 9:7

In this kingdom Jesus will be “The everlasting Father.” He came into the world so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) This is in contrast to father Adam, who did not bring his progeny everlasting life. Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, and in order for all to receive the promised blessings of life, all the dead will have to be resurrected from the grave. “The hour is coming,” Jesus said, “when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”—John 5:25

Life for the World

Peter referred to this kingdom period as “times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21) All who then hear and heed the voice of that Prophet shall be granted everlasting life by Jesus, for “as the Father is himself the source of life, in the same way he has made his Son to be the source of life.” (John 5:26, New English Bible) To all of restored mankind, Jesus will indeed be their everlasting lifegiver, their everlasting Father.

In that kingdom, Jesus will also be called the “Wonderful Counsellor.” We are told that “an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isa. 35:8) As a shepherd watching tenderly over his sheep, our Lord and his associates—the church—will lovingly and patiently instruct, guide, and assist each one desiring to come back into harmony with their Heavenly Father, and to gain everlasting life here on earth. As their Mediator between God and men, as their Wonderful Counsellor, his eye will be ever watchful, his ear ever open to their cry, that all whose hearts are right may attain to perfect, everlasting life; for this, indeed, is the whole purpose of God’s plan of salvation, and of Jesus’ coming to earth to die on the cross.

Jesus will also then be known as “The mighty God [powerful one].” In order to establish his kingdom with judgment and justice, all power has been given to him in heaven and earth. (Matt. 28:18) Those who sincerely strive to obey the just laws of the kingdom then in operation will be assisted and encouraged in “the way of holiness.” But the unclean, the unregenerate, the incorrigibly disobedient, shall not pass over it and gain life; these shall be destroyed from among the people. The power of the kingdom shall be extended over all the earth and over all peoples, and justice shall be meted out with righteousness.—Isa. 28:17; Acts 17:31

And best of all, Jesus will then be recognized and hailed by all mankind as “The Prince of Peace.” Everlasting life, apart from peace, would be an imperfect blessing for mankind. But Jesus left the heavenly realms, suffering as man’s Redeemer, not only to bring life, but also peace—peace between God and man—peace in all the earth—peace between man and his fellow. Then will come to pass the fulfillment of that marvelous promise foretold by the heavenly host when, at the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem, they joyously sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” And the promise is sure! for the prophet tells us that “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:7

The promises of God cannot fail of fulfillment. The Lord himself assures us of this, saying, “As the rain corneth down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my [Jehovah speaking] Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”—Isa. 55:10,11

Over and over again God has declared that it is his purpose, by means of the kingdom of Christ, to establish peace—universal and everlasting peace—on earth. One of the outstanding promises of God assuring us of this reads, “He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”—Mic. 4:3,4

“The mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it,” and herein we may rest our hopes for a better world, a peaceful world, a world in which there shall be no fear, uncertainty, or discontent, because the Lord has decreed it. It was the ‘Word of the Lord’ which came to the shepherds on the night Jesus was born, announcing that through him as the world’s Savior and king there would come “peace on earth.” Because it was the Lord speaking through the angels, we need have no doubt that what they proclaimed will, in God’s due time, become a reality.

Isaiah 9:6,7 is one of the beautiful and comforting prophecies of the birth of Jesus. And in this prophecy the great objective of his birth is explained It declared that he was to be “The Prince of Peace,” and that “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” But it does not leave the accomplishment of this wonderful purpose of God in human hands, for it concludes with the reassuring statement, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

All the prophecies and promises of the Bible concerning ‘peace on earth’ reveal that this divine purpose will be accomplished by means of the setting up of Christ’s kingdom in the earth. Concerning this messianic government the Prophet Daniel declared, “In the days of these kings [represented by the ten toes of the humanlike image which pictured Gentile dominion] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” (Dan. 2:44) Many efforts have been made throughout the centuries, some by ambitious men, others by the well-meaning and sincere, to set up governments which would assure peace to the people. They all failed because this was not the Lord’s way for his peace plan to be carried out. It was to be done by “the God of heaven.”

Jesus was born to be the king in the kingdom which the “God of heaven” had promised to establish. Satan tempted him to accept and to cooperate with a different plan for ruling the world, saying of the kingdoms of this world, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Satan demanded that Jesus acknowledge him as the supreme ruler. (Matt. 4:9) But Jesus did not yield to this temptation. Instead, Jesus waited for God’s time and way to be exalted as the ruler of earth. Meanwhile, his enemies killed him, one of their excuses being that he was a traitor to the Roman Empire because he claimed to be a king.

When brought before Pilate, this Roman ruler asked him if the charge were true, and the Master replied, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36) What could be plainer than this? All the kingdoms and governments of this world have been established and maintained by the force of arms. Humanly constituted governments are still resorting to this method. But it will prove just as true now as it has always been, that those who “take the sword shall perish with the sword.”—Matt. 26:52

The reason we can have confidence that Christ’s kingdom will bring peace to the people is that it is “not of this world.” Christ’s kingdom will not be made up of the selfish elements of what the Apostle Paul describes as “this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4) Nor will his kingdom employ the methods of this world to gain and maintain its power and authority over the people. That there could be a king whose kingdom ‘was not of this world’ was difficult for Pilate to understand, so he asked Jesus further, “Art thou a king then?” How could there be such a kingdom?

Jesus replied to Pilate, saying, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37) Then Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (vs. 38) Seemingly Jesus did not reply to this question, but as to the truth concerning God’s plan to establish a kingdom in the earth and through it to give peace and life to the people, he had already answered it; and that great truth was, and still is, that the “God of heaven shall set up a kingdom,” that the fulfillment of his promises has not been left in the hands of men, nor to human methods—“My kingdom is not of this world.”

Most ‘Christian concepts’ fail to take this great truth into consideration. Many churches are cooperating with this world in their efforts to establish peace, rather than looking to God to accomplish it. Their efforts are failing because the “kingdoms of this world” with which they are cooperating, and on which they are pinning their hopes, are presently being removed to make way for the kingdom of God. One of the basic errors of Christendom is the false idea that God expects man to establish his kingdom for him. Whereas, on the contrary, the great fundamental truth on this point is that God will do it in his own way, and by the exercise of his own power. This is truth!

“The Mountain of the LORD’s House”

In Isaiah 2:2 we read: “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established.” The last days’ referred to here are not, of course, the last days of time, nor of this earth, nor of human experience, but simply the last days of the reign of sin and death in the earth—the last days of “this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4) And it is in this period that the mountain, representing the kingdom of the Lord, is established. By consulting Daniel 2:35,44 it will be found that this ‘mountain’ is in reality the kingdom of the Lord, which he—the God of heaven—will establish, as the Prophet Micah stated it.—Mic. 4:4

It is said to be the mountain, or kingdom, of the “Lord’s house.” This is God’s way of telling us that his kingdom will be made up of a divine ruling house, or family. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that Jesus, God’s own beloved Son, will be the ruler supreme in this “house”—he will be the “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” But there are to be other sons of God associated with him. These are referred to many times in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. Paul, speaking of a work of the Holy Spirit, wrote: “The Spirit [of God] itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”—Rom. 8:16,17

“It is a faithful saying,” wrote Paul, that if we “be dead” with Christ we shall also “live with him,” and if “we suffer,” we shall also “reign with him.” (II Tim. 2:11,12) These Spirit-begotten sons of God who suffer and die with Jesus are described in Acts 15:14 as “a people for his name.” The explanation is given that the divine purpose in proclaiming the Gospel to the Gentiles was to take out of them this people to be members of the divine family. The further explanation is given that it will be after this work of God in the earth is accomplished that both Jews and Gentiles will receive their promised blessings, that all will then have an opportunity to “seek after the Lord.”

So the work of God in the earth throughout the centuries since the peace prophecy of the angels was given has not been the converting of the world. Many men have tried to do this and have failed. God’s work during this Gospel Age has been the selection and preparation of that small group whom he has called to be ‘sons’. Their worthiness to live and reign with Christ has been demonstrated by their faithfulness in suffering and dying with him. Each one of them has been given the assurance, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”—Rev. 2:10

But how can these reign with Christ, since they have all died? The answer to this is simple, for the Bible assures us of their resurrection to the spiritual nature. At the same time, this fact highlights the meaning of the promise that the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom. More than nineteen centuries ago, and in the exercise of his mighty power, God raised Jesus from the dead to be the king in his kingdom. At this end of the age God again exercises his mighty power to raise the true church of Christ from the dead—those who have suffered and died with him—that they might be associated with him in his kingdom. They are said to come forth in “the first resurrection” to life on the spirit plane, as did Jesus, to “live and reign with Christ a thousand years.”—Rev. 20:4,6

Consideration of these facts helps us to grasp more fully the meaning of the statement, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this,” for it emphasizes that God’s zeal is manifested in the use of his mighty power even to the extent of raising the dead—yes, even to exalting Christ and his church to the divine nature and to his own right hand of authority, in order that his ruling house might be established.

We can have every confidence, then, that the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established. Conditions around us in the world are clearly in fulfillment of the prophecies which testify that already the kingdoms of this world are being removed. We are already in the historic period when the old world, dominated by sin and selfishness, is passing away, and the new is about to be manifested. The psalmist declared, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth [the social order] be removed.” (Ps. 46:2) If we can exercise faith in God’s providences, and confidence in his ways, we will not need to fear at this time when the hearts of so many are filled with fear.

To us the angelic message of peace on earth will take on a new and brighter luster, despite the present troubles in the world, if we are able to grasp and believe the thought that its fulfillment is certain because the Lord has promised it, and his ‘zeal’ will perform it. And not only will the kingdom established by the God of heaven, bring peace to the people, it will also bring health and life; for Jesus was also announced to be a “Savior.” Paul tells us that Christ must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet, and that the “last enemy to be destroyed is death.”—I Cor. 15:25,26

Let us rejoice in confidence that this dark night of human experience is soon to terminate in a wonderful morning of joy! While rejoicing in this knowledge ourselves, let us tell the whole world these blessed tidings. No gift could bring greater joy to hearts filled with fear than the assurance that God has a plan which is soon to reach fruition in the blessing of all the families of the earth, and that the prophecy of the angels is really true!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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