During the darkest days of WW2 the Watchtower’s president, Nathan Knorr, gave a public address oddly entitled: Peace— Can it Last? The Watchtower expected the war to end and a period of peace to follow. And they were right. Following through on that expectation Knorr established The Watchtower Bible College of Gilead (now just known as Gilead) in order to train missionaries, who have been sent to over 200 lands and islands in order to teach people the Bible. The timing could not have been better, as after the war the field was ripe for harvest. Also, each congregation began a Theocratic Ministry School to train ministers to speak and teach effectively.
These past 75 years since the last world war there has been relative peace and prosperity. Yes, there have been numerous lesser wars and conflicts, but overall, peace has prevailed. Jehovah’s Witnesses have thrived in this environment of peace and freedom and have arguably accomplished the work of preaching the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Reasonably, now we may expect the end to come. No, not the end of the world. The end of peace. The end of the worldwide work. The time of the end for this wicked world.
Who can deny that the dark clouds of conflict are ominously thickening on the horizon? Powerful armies are making final preparations. Weapons are being pre-positioned— some even in outer space. A global pandemic has already been unleashed. Financial chaos has suddenly erupted. Propaganda is all-pervasive. There is a war on truth itself. And a conflict between nuclear-armed nations is growing more likely. A great storm is nearly upon us. A time of trouble like no other is destined— written in the book of truth long ago. (“What I will tell you now is the truth” — Daniel 11:2)
Several hundred years before Christ a Hebrew prophet by the name of Daniel was given insight into the distant future, to the time when the God of heaven would intervene mightily in human affairs by empowering a former human, described in the 7th chapter of Daniel as the Son of man, with all ruling authority.
The eighth chapter of Daniel depicts this Son of man as the Prince of princes; whereas, the 12th chapter of Daniel refers to this same prince as Michael, the great prince who is standing in behalf of God’s people.
From strictly a human standpoint the conflict that is about to erupt involves earthly armies, however, what is not apparent or detectable by any sort of electronic sensor, is that there are much more powerful non-terrestrial combatants.
As revealed in the seventh chapter of Daniel the coronation of the king of God’s Kingdom takes place invisibly, in heaven. Daniel was given a further glimpse of this unseen reality when he was informed by a materialized angel that he had been hindered from his assignment for three weeks by the prince of Persia, until such time as Michael intervened in his behalf.
“The prince of Persia” could not have been a human prince, just as Michael is not a human. No flesh and blood creature could successfully resist one of Jehovah’s mighty spirits of fire. Angels are superhuman, vastly more powerful than mere earthlings. No, the prince of Persia was an enemy angel —an evil demon, who ruled from the invisible realm over the earthly Persian throne. Paul wrote concerning these: “Finally, go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. Put on the complete suit of armor from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil; because we have a struggle, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”
The 12 chapter of Revelation pulls back the curtain further and reveals in more detail what transpires in heaven as a result of the Son of man being given the Kingdom. “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!”’
Revelation goes on to reveal that immediately after the Devil and his angels are hurled down to the lower region of the earth they go off to destroy those who are the remaining heirs of the Kingdom who have the work of bearing witness to Jesus. It is war! Woe to the earth and sea, the angel declares, for the Devil has come down to you in great anger.
Prior to the epic battle in heaven there is relative peace in the world— like now. The ultimate conflict is reserved for the time of the end as the angel even revealed to Daniel, saying: “I have come to make you understand what will befall your people in the final part of the days, because it is a vision yet for the days to come.” — Daniel 10:14
The final part of the days is the relatively brief period that begins when Jesus is given the Kingdom, which overlaps the continued domination of the nations by the Devil and his angels after they are forced out of Jehovah’s heaven. The 12th chapter of Revelation refers to it as Satan’s short period of time. The final part of the days might be thought of as a tumultuous transitional period —the changing of the guard, so-to-speak.
Who are Daniel’s people in the time of the end? They are no longer the fleshly descendants of Abraham, but rather are the spiritual Jews —the holy ones mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy. They are anointed Christians who make up what the apostle Paul called “the Israel of God.”
The angel went on to say: “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I will go back to fight with the prince of Persia. When I leave, the prince of Greece will come. However, I will tell you the things recorded in the writings of truth. There is no one strongly supporting me in these things but Michael, your prince.” — Daniel 10:20-21
The angel who was speaking to Daniel had manifested himself in a most unusual way. Daniel was standing on the bank of the Tigris when he “looked up and saw a man clothed in linen, and around his waist was a belt of gold from Uphaz. His body was like chrysolite, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and his feet looked like burnished copper, and the sound of his words was like the sound of a multitude. Only I, Daniel, saw the vision; the men with me did not see the vision. However, a great trembling seized them, and they ran away and hid.”
Although not frequent, angels occasionally appeared to some men and women in ancient times. Usually, they appeared as ordinary humans, so as not to disturb or unduly terrify those who received a visitation. So why did the angel appear to Daniel in such a manner that he was rendered into a lifeless heap on the ground? And why was it that only Daniel saw the vision and yet his companions were seized with trembling from merely being in the proximity?
As stated already and as should be apparent to anyone who reads the book of Daniel, all the prophecies have to do with the coming of Christ. That being undeniably true, Daniel was unknowingly participating in a prophetic drama concerning the manifestation— yes, the presence (parousia) of Jesus. This is confirmed by the fact that the supernatural being in the vision closely resembled the vision John saw of Jesus in the first chapter of Revelation— a vision concerning the Lord’s day. Both Daniel and John fell down as dead men at the feet of the glorious personage.
Not coincidently, Daniel and John were both in a captive condition to kingdoms comprising the symbolic seven-headed beast when they had their rapturous visions. This is a prophetic enactment— a confirmation of what the two prophets saw in visions; namely, that the holy ones would be crushed by the beast until such time as Michael becomes their savior.
The fact that the glorious angel twice addressed Daniel as a very precious man indicates that the prophet was a type of those who are chosen by Jehovah to be part of the heavenly kingdom— those whom the apostle Peter referred to as “precious to God,” saying of them: “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen, precious to God, you yourselves as living stones are being built up into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” — 1 Peter 2:4-5
Returning to Daniel, the angel said to him: “As for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to strengthen and fortify him. What I will tell you now is the truth.” — Daniel 11:1
Although Satan and his angels have been the unseen influencers of human rulers down through the ages Jehovah’s angels have at times overridden Satan’s schemes in order that the divine purpose may be accomplished. For example, although ruled over by a demon prince God used the Persian King, Cyrus, to overthrow the king of Babylon, which resulted in the Jews eventually being set free from captivity and returning to their homeland to ultimately rebuild Jerusalem.
And as the verse above indicates, Jehovah’s angel continued to strengthen and fortified the king of Persia after Cyrus, as Darius also served as a benefactor for Daniel’s people. This is a very important truth. We should not suppose this sort of intervention is an anomaly. Otherwise, the demon princes would have snuffed out God’s people long ago. Jesus is, after all, Lord of lords, King of kings and Prince of princes. He ruled over the demons when he was on earth. How much more so now that he has been given all authority?
Paul exhorted Timothy to offer prayer and supplication “concerning kings and all those who are in high positions” so that we may live a calm and quiet life in godly devotion. The answer to those prayers would require divine intervention, would it not? Again, Jehovah’s Witnesses have lived in a quiet and calm period, generally speaking, for these many decades.
But just as suddenly as the pandemic has shut the industrialized world down— at least for now— so it will be when Michael, the great prince, unexpectedly comes as a thief in the night to bring the ongoing invisible war to Satan’s world.
to be continued…