Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS
"I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations
The great Messiah, "King of Glory," has long been waited for by the civilized nations. For thirty-five centuries the Jews have waited for Him as the great Prophet foreshadowed by Moses and foretold by him (
), as the mighty King foreshadowed by their kings David and Solomon, and as their glorious Priest typified by Aaron, but especially in the combined majesty of king and priest foreshown by Melchizedek—a priest upon his throne.—
Free Masons have waited twenty-five hundred years for the same glorious personage, as Hiram Abiff, the great Master Mason whose death, glorification and future appearing are continually set before them by the letters upon their keystones. He died a violent death, they claim, because of his loyalty to the Divine secrets typed in Solomon’s Temple. He must reappear, they claim, in order that the great antitypical Temple may be completed and its grand service for Israel and for all peoples may be accomplished. They claim that his presence is to be expected speedily.
Christians of every shade, in proportion as they are conversant with the Bible (Old Testament and New), also believe in a great Temple Builder who died because of His faithfulness to the Divine plans for the spiritual Temple, the elect Church (
); Him they expect to come a second time "in power and great glory" to complete the Temple which is His Body, and in and through that spiritual and glorious Temple to bless Israel and all the families of the earth. His Second Presence in glory and power, but invisible to men, is believed to be imminent.—
#Re 1:7; 3:20
The Mohammedans, who also worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and David and Solomon, are also expecting a great Heavenly Messenger to bless them and all peoples by the establishment of a Heavenly Kingdom.
They have awaited His coming for centuries. They believe His Kingdom to be near at hand.
The same glorious personage will fulfil all these desires—these hopes. Is it not time that all of these peoples, fearing God and hoping in His promises, should come together in one hope, in one expectation? It must be so; for do we not read prophetically, "The desire of all nations shall come!"
We are well aware that great barriers lie between these multitudes; but we hold that these are chiefly barriers of superstition and ignorance. In the past they have pulled apart, and have slandered and persecuted one another. If now they will sympathetically draw near to each other, surely they will find much to appreciate in each other’s hopes and aims.
THE BASIS OF SYMPATHY
The fact that the Jews and Mohammedans, Catholics, Protestants and Free Masons all base their faith on the Old Testament of the Holy Scriptures, is ground for the better understanding pleaded for.
All Christians must accept the authority of the Hebrew Scriptures because the founder of Christianity, Jesus, and His special mouthpieces, the Apostles, taught nothing contrary to the Law and the Prophets. Indeed, they quoted from the Old Testament in proof of every doctrine advanced. They claimed that they neither destroyed nor ignored the Old Testament, but merely noted its fulfilment.
The error in the past has been the general disposition to appeal to superstition and prejudice and bigotry, rather than to facts and Scripture. We must reverse the lever in order to attain the good results—in order to see eye to eye.
All agree that the world needs the Divine blessing!
All agree that we have been laboring under a mistake in supposing that education and civilization are alone necessary to secure human happiness. We perceive that the greater the civilization the greater is the unrest, and that the broader the education the greater are the suggestions and opportunities for taking selfish advantage of others. All agree that only the later inventions, telephones, etc., and our modern and costly police precautions make it possible to live in civilized lands; and that, despite all these, murders are a hundredfold what they were fifty years ago. In those days a murder would be detailed and discussed for a year. Now we give little heed to several reported in each day’s newspapers.
Thousands are executed, other thousands are imprisoned for life; and we pay little heed—so gradually have we become accustomed to these horrors of our civilization and education.
We oppose these with Church and mission influences, with Sunday-Schools, Y.M.C.A.’s, with courts, Juvenile and Superior; and yet they increase. We penalize the carrying of weapons and bombs, and wisely prohibit inflammatory speeches; and the better informed know that Christendom is like a powder-magazine which some unlucky friction between the classes may explode.
ALL HOPES REALLY ONE
Admitting that all mankind are imperfect, "born in sin and shapen in iniquity," we nevertheless cannot assent to the doctrine of Total Depravity—that there is nothing good in any man, or in all men. Each one who prays "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others" should concede that others, as well as himself, would prefer righteousness to sin, if the environment were different—if his appetite were not so perverse, if his will power were not so inadequate. So, then, whether Jew, Mohammedan, Catholic, Free Mason or Protestant, do
we not all really desire the one thing? And do we not admit, after centuries of endeavor along different lines, that God alone can send us the aid which the whole world so greatly needs? We do!
Let us now formulate this "desire of all nations" from those Holy Scriptures which we all acknowledge.
Let us see that it is exactly what we all have been looking and praying for under different names: It is the Kingdom of God!—the Kingdom of Allah! Its rule is to be
the whole heavens" however Heavenly or spiritual the great Ruler will be. (
.) Under its beneficent and uplifting influence the glorious result will be that God’s will shall be done on earth as completely as it is now done in Heaven. This is exactly what the Scriptures declare—that sin and ignorance will be done away; that the knowledge of the glory of God’s character will fill the whole earth. It means a strong government exercised for the restraint of sin and for the freeing of mankind from slavery to sin—the slavery of inherited weaknesses entailed by Adam’s disobedience. The great Heavenly King, the Son of David, who will do these things, according to the Law and the Prophets, will have many titles indicating various features of His greatness.
"He shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty Elohim, the Prince of Peace, and the Father [Life-giver] of eternal life."—
He is called the Savior by the Prophet Isaiah (43:3); for He shall "save from their sins" and from the penalty of sin all who shall become "His people." And all who will wickedly refuse His rule of righteousness and His assistance out of sin and death conditions will be esteemed "wicked" in the proper sense of that word; and of these we read: "All the wicked will He destroy."
We have had too much of hatred and persecution because of the differences in our degrees of knowledge as expressed in our differences of belief. Let this cease.
Let us unite in our love for righteousness and in our
hatred of unrighteousness—in-equity. Let us cultivate such a sympathy for the coming Reign of Righteousness to be established by Messiah (by whatever name He and His Kingdom may be handed down to us) that our characters shall be more and more influenced and transformed by the prophetic view. We are all agreed that Messiah’s Kingdom is nigh, even knocking at the door of the world.
In the wonderful inventions of our day we have the very foregleams of that Kingdom as outlined in prophecy.
The necessities of the case also corroborate this: The tension between Capital and Labor will soon be to its limit and break; the grasp of monopoly will soon be so strong that the masses will be ground between the upper and the nether millstones; our high-tension living is calculated soon to have our race in the madhouse; specialists say, within one century. Let us believe the Word of God delivered by the Prophets of old. Let us prepare our hearts for the Great King and know that those ready for His rule will have the chief blessing.
"HE MUST REIGN—UNTIL"
According to the Bible the Reign of the promised great King shall not be eternal. Eventually the dominion of earth, originally given to Adam and lost by disobedience and consequent incapacity, is to be restored to such of Adam’s race as shall attain
and Jehovah’s approval. Messiah’s Empire will be a Mediatorial one and, according to the Scriptures, will continue only one thousand years. But we are assured that the period will be quite sufficient for the great work to be accomplished. Father Adam, after being sentenced for sin—"Dying, thou shalt die,"—experienced the dying processes for 930 years. Contrariwise the world will, under the Messiah’s rule as King and Priest (Melchizedek,
), gradually rise up, up, up, out of sin and death conditions during a very similar period.
Paradise restored will no longer be a garden merely;
but the whole earth, as God’s footstool, shall be made glorious. (
.) The promises of God to the children of Isaac and Jacob are not Heavenly or spiritual, but earthly. From Genesis to Malachi there is not a suggestion of a Heavenly or spiritual calling. If Christians have a Heavenly calling, it is no cause for offense to Mohammedans and Jews—neither of whom have conflicting hopes. There is no need for conflict—every reason for harmony.
"TIMES OF RESTITUTION"
Not only do the ancient prophecies foretell coming blessings of the Lord upon Jew and Gentile, bond and free, but the Law typified the same. Every fiftieth year with the Jew was to be a Jubilee year—a time of release from debts and from all bondage. The lesson is that Messiah’s Reign will be the great time of jubilation to men, to all who will accept and obey His rule. The cancellation of debts represents that God (through Messiah) will thus cancel the debt of Original Sin and set free Adam and his race. All will then be given a fresh start for life eternal. The setting free from bondage in the Jubilee Year typed man’s release from the weaknesses inherited through Adam’s fall. It will include the resurrection from the dead, the great prison-house mentioned by the Prophet.—
If we see this great fact about to be accomplished need we quarrel about how it is to be done? Since it offers blessings to all who love God’s righteousness, why dispute over details? Shall we contend with God and His plans and promises except to our injury? Let us rejoice with the Jew. God has decreed for the natural seed of Abraham a glorious share in the great work of blessing the world—to the Jew first, to the others later!
The Scriptures clearly teach that Messiah will establish the New Covenant with Jacob—Natural Israel. Let all who reverence the Lord acquiesce in His arrangements.
And if the Jews shall some day see that the Oath-Bound Promise to Abraham meant two seeds, let them be glad and rejoice in their portion. If the great Messiah soon to be revealed in power and great glory be composed of "many members" on the
what matters it to Jacob, all of whose promises are on the earthly plane?
Moreover, there is no room for jealousy anyway; for these "Elect" who shall be on the spirit plane are of all nations—the Jew being there given also the preferred place. Furthermore the select or elect few are not either Christians or Jews in the ordinary usage of those words, but saintly, holy ones chosen by the Lord from every sect and party, because of their love for righteousness and faithfulness under trials.
"I WILL SHAKE THE EARTH"
The context shows us that "The desire of all nations" will be realized as the result of a great shaking of the heavens, earth, sea and all nations. This is prophetic of the great Time of Trouble, with which the collapse of present institutions will come about as precedent to the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom—"the desire of all nations," as our text declares.
We are not left to speculate respecting the import of these words, "shake the heavens, the earth and the sea."
The great theologian, St. Paul, quoted this very passage in his epistle to the Hebrews. (
.) He pointed out that the literal shaking of Mount Sinai and the terrible sights associated at the time of the inauguration of Israel’s Law Covenant were but a feeble picture of the awful commotion which will prevail in its antitype—when Israel’s New (Law) Covenant will be instituted at Mount Zion in the end of this Age at the hands of the antitypical Moses—Messiah, Jesus the Head and the Church His Body.
The Prophet intimates that it will be a short, sharp, decisive shaking, quickly accomplished. And the Apostle
explains that it will be so thorough-going that everything that can be shaken will be shaken and will be removed.
In other words, everything that is in the nature of a temporary make-shift for righteousness, truth, equity, will be shaken out of the way—not be permitted to remain; for the Lord will make a thorough work. St. Paul intimates that the Kingdom which the Church is to receive will be the only institution which will stand the shaking time and that only because the "Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in Heaven," will have the Divine approval. They will "be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"—established enduringly on the Heavenly plane at the right hand of God, principalities and powers being subject.
"THE PRINCE OF PEACE"
Notwithstanding the fact that Messiah’s Kingdom will be introduced by a period of universal trouble, anarchy, etc., which will overthrow civilization and uproot every sinful and imperfect human organization, nevertheless this will eventually lead to the most profound and most enduring peace. In that one great lesson humanity will learn the futility of its own endeavors and will cry unto the Lord for help and for the desired peace—then "the desire of all nations shall come."
Referring to this Time of Trouble the Prophet David declares of the Lord’s work at that time, "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth. He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear asunder." Then wonderfully he announces the climax of it all, "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted amongst the nations. I will be exalted in the earth." The only true basis of peace is righteousness and on this firm foundation Jehovah through His Anointed One will shortly establish it.—