Brochure reproduisant le discours de Joseph Rutherford donné dans une localité où les Témoins de Jéhovah étaient en conflit avec les autorités locales. La mise en place de ce discours, sur les lieux mêmes de la persécution, est à mettre en rapport avec les propos de Schnell sur l'exploitation de l'opposition, comme moteur de la prédication à l'époque. Pareillement, le texte montre qu'au-delà de la fonction sectaire de la persécution comme facteur de cohésion du groupe, cette persécution attisée et exploitée est assumée aussi par la doctrine du groupe comme remplissant une fonction: La séparation "des brebis et de boucs" ou si l'on fait abstraction de la novlangue du mouvement, la séparation des élus et des "damnés". Le mouvement s'attribuant le rôle par la proclamation de son message, de révélateur de la classification des personnes rencontrées. Ironiquement, bien que Rutherford déclare au début de son discours que les Témoins de Jéhovah ne viennent convertir personne, il attribue à l'action du groupe, justement un phénomène de conversion ou de rejet, ne laissant place à aucune autre alternative que ces deux choix. Un orateur plus précis et moins emprunt d'idéologie, aurait pu déclarer que les Témoins de Jéhovah ne venaient pas seulement pour convertir, mais aussi pour produire une action de rejet, synonyme de marquage pour la destruction éternelle.
JEHOVAH made man a free agent, holding him responsible for his intelligent acts. Jehovah never prevents man from expressing his mind. Intolerance does not at all apply to Jehovah and those Who faithfully obey him. Satan the enemy has at all times held men in darkness and attempted to compel them to believe and practice what seliish men have taught them. Satan the Devil is the author and promoter of all intolerance. Whenever you iind men or organizations trying to prevent others from hearing the truth, then you may be certain that such men or organizations are the servants of the Devil, regardless of what claims are made for them. · The Catholic hierarchy has been and is the most intolerant organization on earth. Falsely claiming that the pope is the one endowed with authority to interpret the Scriptures the Catholic hierarchy has kept theïpeople in ignorance of the Bible and influenced them not to read it, and induced them to believe only what the Catholic hierarchy has taught. The result is that millions of good, honest people who desire to now the truth of the Scriptures have not had the opportunity to learn it. When anyone tells the truth to the people of and concerning the Bible the Catholic clergy cry out against such faithful witnesses of the Lord and say, "Intolerant bigot," like the robber who, desiring to divert attention from his own wrongful acts, cries out, “Stop, thief !" · The front cover of this booklet is an illustration of cruel intolerance and persecution carried on by the Catholic hierarchy and their allies against Jehovah’s witnesses. What follows in these pages explains why intolerancei is practiced at the present time. The lectures appearing herein were broadcast by radio and by hundreds of transcription machines, and are now prepared in printed form for those who desire more knowledge. The truth is of most vital importance to everyone. No organization should be permitted to stand in your way of getting the truth. Let no one deprive you of your individual privilege to learn of Jehovah and his gracious provision for your blessing. Study carefully the treatise herein. Get knowledge and understanding and learn the Lord’s way and rejoice.
To ENABLE the readers to have a better appreciation of the speech of Judge Rutherford which follows, a brief explanation of the circumstances surrounding at the time of its delivery is here made. This introduction is made by A. K. Wagner.
On a certain Sunday in June, 1933, upwardof fifty Christian men and women, were arrested in Plainfield, N. J., and crowded into hot cells and kept there overnight without trial. TheseChristians were calling at the homes of the people and telling them about God’s kingdom for which Jesus taught all of his followers to pray;and this was the offense for which they were arrested. This good news angered the servants of Satan, the Catholic clergy of that community,who induced law officers to cause the arrest of these good people. In the absence of necessary accommodations these men and women were compelled to stand up all night, and next day were taken into court, where a farce trial was had by a highly prejudiced judge. Having no evidence against these Christians the judge of the court wrongfully compelled them to answer questions, the answers of which he construed against them, and refused to permit them to give testimony in their own behalf. Then this unrighteous judge committed them all to jail,for a term of ten days. The treatment of these Christians was so outrageous that it shocked the sensibilities of honest people who heard about it. At the time Judge Rutherford was in Europe, and, being informed of the persecution of these Christian people, he immediately cabled to engage a theater building and certain radio stations to be used to convey his speech, which he would deliver to the public, on the subject “WHY IS RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE »PRACTICED IN THIS COUNTRY TODAY‘?".
The chief of police, a Roman Catholic, tried to prevent this meeting from being held. On the day before the speech was to be delivered,a number of Christian men and women were distributing small handbills announcing the time and place of the meeting. This they had a per-feet right to do, as there is no ordinance in Plainfield, and no other law, that prohibits such distribution; besides, it was done for the people who might wish to come. Without any lawful right or excuse the distributors of these hand-bills were arrested by police officers and thrown into jail. Shortly thereafter police officers near the jail were heard discussing the matter of the distribution of these announcements that Judge Rutherford would speak next day at the Strand Theater, and one was heard to say to another: "He will be here tomorrow, and he will get what is coming to him."
For many centuries the Catholic hierarchy has operated the most cruel, Wicked and defamatory organization that has ever been on the earth. They employ coercion and the gag, and any other unlawful means necessary to accomplish their cruel purposes. When they want someone killed they make the killer believe that the priests can fully absolve him from all wrong and clear him from all punishment, either here or hereafter. l
Two hours before the time for this meeting to begin armed policemen began to arrive at the theater. No one had invited them to come and no request had been made for any police protection, and none was needed, because it was a peaceable assembly for the discussion of a Bible matter, which the Constitution of the United States guarantees shall be held without interruption. Manifestly at the instance of cruel religionists these law officers were there, more than sixty in number, armed with heavy revolvers, sawed-off shot guns, riot guns and other instruments of destruction. Just before the beginning of the lecture police officers made an effort to provoke Judge Rutherford to a controversy, with the manifest purpose of finding some excuse to prevent the meeting. But in this they had no success. When Judge Rutherford stepped to the front of the platform to speak he Was literally surrounded by armed men, as though he were a desperate criminal.
With guns to the back of him and in front of him and on every side he delivered the speech, which now you are about to read. The judge of the court who had conducted the farce trial, and who at the time had indulged in cruel and improper speech toward the defendants, and who had defamed the name of Jehovah by his public declarations, sat immediately in front of the speaker and was compelled to listen, together with other officers who were doing the bidding of the Roman hierarchy. Of course, the representatives of the Catholic hierarchy would not know what God has promised, as stated in Psalm 34: 7: "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." The speaker proceeded to fearlessly and plainly point out to the audience that packed the theater, and to the far greater unseen audience by radio, why the Catholic hierarchy, which claims to represent God, constantly indulges in the persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses. With keen interest yoirwill now read Judge Rutherford’s speech.
INTOLERANCE - Religious Intolerance: Why
THIS SPEECH is not made for the purpose of holding up to ridicule or denouncing men for their misconduct and wickedness even though there are those in this community and in this auditorium who justly deserve much castigation. Jehovah God will inflict punishment on them in his due time. My work is that of one of his witnesses to tell the facts. We have reached the time of greatest crisis in the history of man, and it is of vital importance that everyone know the facts and the reason for the existence of the same.
This speech is not made for the unfaithful clergy, nor for their blind dupes who attempt to hide behind the law and shield themselves in the performance of their wrongful acts. It is made for the benefit of the people who desire righteousness and fair dealing and who are anxious to follow out that course. Men claiming to be law—abiding citizens of New Jersey have tried to prevent the holding of this meeting and to thereby prevent you from hearing the truth. Even the chief of police of this city has asked the owner of this¤theater to cancel his contract or the use thereof on this occasion, and that after the full rental price had been paid. The owner preferred to honorably stand by his contract rather than to yield to sinister influence. I ask you to calmly and dispassionately follow my speech to the end, and I hope that you may receive benefit therefrom.
It is necessary for me to briefly refer to certain events that have recently come to pass in this vicinity. A few weeks ago in the city of Plainfîeld more than fifty good citizens, and known to the officials to be harmless, were arrested without warrant or cause and thrown into prison. Twenty-nine of these prisoners were good, honest and faithful women. At the time the weather was exceedingly hot, and yet these twenty-nine women were crowded into three small cells, each made for one person, and most of them compelled to stand up all night. The next morning they were fingerprinted as ` though they were desperate criminals. In gross violation of the fundamental law of the land, and in utter disregard of the rights of other persons, those arrested were then brought before the so-called “court", unlawfully compelled to testify against themselves, prevented from making their own defense, and were summarily convicted in the absence of law or evidence and immediately incarcerated in prison. Their only an offense was that of going frqm house _to house on Sunday and preaching the gospel of God’s kingdom, for the aid and comfort of the people. A more complete statement of the facts and proceedings of that mock trial is set forth in the Golden Age magazine under date of July 19, 1933, a copy of which magazine you may have only for the asking.
I quote the words of the magistrate before whom this farce trial was had in which he referred to the ordinance which he claims had been broken, to wit: “That law is made to protect your and my family from impostors who go around and rob men." The magistrate knew that all the defendants were Christian men and women and that they could not properly be classed as ‘impost0rs and robbers’; and in proof of this I quote further his words from the record, to wit: "I think your intentions are all right and that you are good Christian people." If he was sincere in this latter statement his other words and conduct in connection with the case were wholly out of order. It is manifest that there was exercised by priests and clergymen some cruel and malicious influence which caused these inoffensive, innocent and— devout Christian people, without just cause or excuse, to be incarcerated in prison.
Many good citizens of this land are asking why such outrageous things are possible in this country, where the fundamental law of the land provides that every person shall worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
In this time of greatest stress and suffering of the people these good Christian men and women, who earn their bread by daily labor, employ their days of rest, and particularly Sundays, in going from house to house to comfort and encourage the people and to point out to them that the hope of relief and blessing for mankind rests entirely upon J ehovah God’s kingdom. The real persecutors of these humble men and women are known to be prominent leaders in the religious world. The people are entitled to know why this religious intolerance is practiced in this day of enlightenment, and I shall submit to you the conclusive answer to that question.
The Bible, or Holy Scriptures, contains Jehovah God’s Word of truth. The clergy are compelled to admit that. Court offîcials lay their hand upon the Bible and solemnly swear by it to tell the truth. All such are therefore precluded from gainsaying the Bible as true, and they tacitly admit that they must be bound by the teachings of the Bible. By the Bible, and it alone, I shall answer the question why religious intolerance is practiced now in this country.
The Creator of heaven and earth is the Almighty God, whose name alone is Jehovah. The name Jehovah means "the Eternal One” and his purposes toward his creatures. There is a mimic god who opposes Jehovah God and who is man’s worst enemy, and the name of·that mimic god is Satan the Devil. He is otherwise known as Serpent and Dragon. Centuries ago the Devil challenged Jehovah to place men on earth who would remain true and faithful to God under all conditions, the Devil claiming that he could turn all men away from and against Jehovah. That challenge raised the issue of who is supreme. J ehovah could have killed the Devil immediately, but had he done so the Devil would have been denied the opportunity to make proof of his challenge and all creation would have been denied the opportunity to choose voluntarily to serve either God or the Devil. Jehovah grants to every man the privilege of exercising freely his own will.
Jehovah God accepted the Devil’s challenge, and fixed a time limit, during which time the Devil should have full opportunity to prove his boasted challenge. Therefore Jehovah said to the Devil, as is recorded in the Scriptures: "But for this cause have I allowed thee to remain, in order to show thee my power; and in order that they may proclaim my name throughout all the earth." (Exodus 9:16, Lccser) This means that in due time Jehovah would have his name declared in all the earth by his witnesses that the people might have the opportunity to choose as to whether they would serve Jehovah God or whether they would continue to serve the Devil. That time has now come; and that is the reason why the question for considération today is of such great importance o you, regardless of what previous religious convictions you may have held. It is to your interest to have the truth, even though the truth proves all religions to be false. It is only by the truth that we shall be made free and learn the way to eternal life.—John 8:32.
From the very beginning the Devil attempted to destroy every one who was faithful to God. He caused Abel to be murdered, and is therefore designated “a murderer from the beginning".(John 8:44) Early in the age of man the Devil organized religion and used it as a means of deception to turn the people away from Jehovah. In the name of religion the greatest amount of intolerance has been practiced amongst men.
Intolerance is never employed by J ehovah or by any of his faithful servants, but it is used by and is limited entirely to Satan and to his servants. The religions which the Devil has employed to turn men away from Jehovah God appear at different times under different names, but the general Bible name therefor is Baalism.
The word “Baal" is derived from the word meaning devil; and therefore every religion, regardless of name, and which the Devil has employed to turn men away from Jehovah, is properly called "Baalism". For centuries the Devil has been the invisible ruler of this world and, as such, has constantly blinded men lest they learn the truth. (2 Corinthians 4: 4) Long centuries ago Jehovah gave his word that in his due time he would send a righteous ruler who would `rule in the stead of Satan and who would destroy the Devil and his organization and who would then give abundant blessings of peace and life to the obedient ones of the human race. God always keeps his promises and that promise is absolutely certain to be fulfilled.
Jehovah God organized the Jews, or Israelites, into a nation and gave them the truth. He did not do this because the Jews were naturally better than others, but because he would use them as his typical people by whom he would teach others lessons of great importance, and especially, that if they would live they must be obedient to Jehovah God. The Jews agreed to obey Jehovah’s law, but later they yielded to the subtle and seductive influence of the Devil and that nation, with but a few exceptions, turned away from Jehovah God.
To his chosen people Jehovah sent his faithful prophets, whom he made his witnesses in the earth to testify his truth to the people. Because these faithful prophets testitied to the truth they suffered all manner of persecution at the hands of bigots and intolerant ones in the religious organization. From the Scriptures quote the following concerning those faithful witnesses of Jehovah, to wit: "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets; who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. And others had trial of cruel mockings and g scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, attlicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise."—Heb. ll: 32, 33, 36-39.
Who caused the persecution of those faithfulprophets? It is obvious that Satan by and through his intolerant religious agents did so.God’s agents would not torture and persecute his own people. God permitted Satan to do his worst against those men, and at the same time afforded an opportunity to them to prove their integrity and faithfulness to God. They proved their faithfulness, sealing their testimony with their lifeblood. · l
Then Jehovah God sent to earth his great Prophet and Witness, Jesus, his beloved Son.Today big religionists, public olïicials and the metropolitan press speak with scorn and ridicule of men and women because they designate ,themselves "Jehovah’s witnesses". In this connection I mention the fact that Jesus Christ was Jehovah’s Great Witness, and it is man’s greatest privilege to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and to be a witness to the name of Jehovah. When on earth Jesus bore witness to the name of Jehovah. He was haled before the then great Roman ruler of Palestine, and in answer to a question of Pilate he said: "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.
Jesus, the holy and harmless One, who never , did a wrong, yet was charged with every crime known to the calendar, and time and again men sought to kill him. Finally he was arrested on the false charge of sedition and was brought before the court, and his trial was had, which trial was a farce and mockery from beginning to end. The trial of the fifty witnesses of Jehovah in Plainfield a short time ago forcibly reminds one of the trial of Christ Jesus. Read, if you will, the history of that trial in the book designated Deliverance and mark the similarity between the two. Jesus was compelled to testify against himself, even as men and women were made to bear witness against themselves in the Plainfield trial recently had. In both instances such course of action was unlawful. Jesus was convicted without just cause or excuse and was put to an ignominious death, and this was done by a court made up of religionists Who claimed to be servants of Jehovah God. Today history is being reenacted.
Jesus and his apostles did not build houses in which they assembled the people to preach to them, but they went from house to house, to the homes of the people, and taught them the truth, even as Jehovah’s wîtnesses are doing in this day. (Acts 20: 20; Luke 19: 5) The apostles of Jesus Christ, because they preached the gospel, were also maltreated, arrested and thrown into prison. These faithful apostles were abused by court officers and ordered to leave the community and to refrain from their work, and to them the apostles replied: "We ought to obey God rather than men," because “we are , his witnesses”. (Acts 5:29,32) The faithful apostles continued to bear witness to the name of Jehovah, and their maltreatment and persecution continued and they all died as martyrs, sealing their testimony with their lifeblood.
Following the days of the apostles true Christianity continued to grow, and the Roman emperor Constantine, manifestly for a sellish purpose, formed a state religion and labeled it "Christianity" on earth. There is where the Papal system of Rome had its birth. Thereafter followed the most wicked inquisition and persecution of the true followers of Christ Jesus. The fires of torture were kept burning for years in the countries of Italy, Spain, France, Mexico and other places, and millions of people, by such inquisition and torture, were compelled to support the Papal religious system or Catholic hierarchy. I am referring to these facts briefly in order to show the constant course of religious intolerance that has existed and persisted for centuries, and then I shallpoint out from divine prophecy the cause for such unjust and wickedtreatment of innocent human creatures.
Religious intolerance and persecution maliciously practiced in Europe drove brave men and women to the bleak shores of America,. that there they might iind a refuge where they could worship God in peace and without interference. It was those brave souls who laid the foundation of the American republic. So completely had religious intolerance been burned into the minds of these early immigrants to America that the framers of the United States Constitution and the constitutions of the various states expressly prohibited by such fundamental law any interference with any person in preaching the gospel, and provided that men should be privileged to serve God and preach the gospel according to the dictates of their own conscience.
Selfish and cruel organizations, parading under the name of "Christian", have steadily and constantly increased in America. They have grown in numbers and grown in power. One of these organizations, particularly the Papal system, has made every possible attempt to control the United States Government, but up to this hour, thank God, it has never been able toput -one of its crowd in the office of president of the United States. The people of America, knowing the history of this system, have resisted every encroachment upon the political affairs, and for this reason the Papal representatives have been the ones who have howled the loudest about bigotry and intolerance.
In these last days, when the faithful followers of Christ Jesus under the clear command of the Almighty God go about to tell the truth to the people in order that the people may be aided and receive comfort, these witnesses are subjected to the most vicious persecution, and this is done upon the pretext of ‘protecting the people from impostors and robbers’. It is apparent to all that such pretexts or claims are hypocritical and false in the extreme. The persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses in Plainfield and vicinity during the past few months has greatly shamed and stunned those who love the principles upon Which the American government is founded. The fiasco in the form of a court trial that was enacted in Plainiield recently by men who had sworn to render fair and even-handed justiceto its citizens shocks the sensibilities of every self-respecting American lawyer and causes all honest Americans to hang their heads in shame and to ask, How is it possible for such religious intolerance to be practiced in America now?
The fact that men claim to represent and serve Jehovah God is no evidence that their claim is true. On the contrary, the known facts abundantly show that Wicked men and Wicked systems parade under the name of God and his Christ Who do not have the spirit of Christ, but who are cruel in the extreme and Who manifest the spirit of Satan the Devil. Those who caused the persecution of Jehovah’s prophets were all religionists. The men who persistently persecuted Jesus, and who caused his death, were the clergymen of that day, and Who posed before the people as teachers of God’s Word. The great inquisition practiced for years in Spain and other countries Was instigated and carried forWard by clergymen of the Papal system. The intolerant persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New Jersey and other places in this day is ` instigated and pushed forward by the clergymen who pose before the people as preachers and servants of J ehovah God. Jehovah is the God of justice and love, and he never persecutes any creature; and no one Who is the servant of God could or Would persecute any man. VVhom then, do these instigators of religious persecution in modern times represent? Jesus answered that question When he said to the clergymen of his day who Were persecuting him`: "Ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: . Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:40,43,44) Jesus authoritatively shows that those men who fraudulently claimed to represent God were in fact the active agents of Satan the Devil. That rule applies at all times.
Then turning to his true followers Christ Jesus said to them: “If they [the clergy] have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20) And thus he fixes the responsibility for such persecutions upon the clergy. It was the clergy class that persecuted the apostles of Jesus to death.It was the clergy who have instigated and are pushing forward the intolerant persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses in NewJersey; and, upon the authority of the statement made by Jesus, these persecutors fraudulently claim to be Christîans and to represent God but in fact are the agents and representatives of the Devil and his bidding they will do.
Now I submit to you the conclusive proof from the Scriptures as to why religious, intolerance is practiced in this day; and the specific answer is of vital importance to every human creature, regardless of religious convictions. Jehovah God declares in his Word that he permits Satan to go on unhindered in his Wicked Work until the end of a certain and fixed time and at that time he would then destroy Satan and all of his agencies. When Jesus ascended on high Jehovah said to him: 'You must Wait until my due time to put down the enemy and destroy him.’ (Psalm 110:1) The Scripturesi then show that the year 1914 marks the end of that period of time for Waiting and the beginning of the reign of Christ. In his great prophecy recorded in Matthew twenty-four Jesus states that that time would be marked by a World War, followed quickly by famine, pestilence, revolution and distress of nations. All of these things have come to pass since, and o which began to have fullilment in 1914. At the same time the Scriptures show that a War Was fought in heaven by Jesus and his angels against Satan and his forces and that Satan was ousted from heaven and cast down to the earth. This record is found in the twelfth chapter of Revelation. All of you know that since 1914 the peoples of earth have been in great distress and perplexity. The reason for such suffering and perplexity on the part of the people is made clear by the Words of Jesus recorded in Revelation 12: 12, Which read: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great Wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
Satan knows that his time is short until the great battle of Armageddon, which will then be decisive as to who is supreme, and at which time Satan’s organization shall be destroyed. Before that great battle takes place, however, God commands that his witnesses must go through the 1and and bear testimony before the rulers and before the people of and concerning Jehovah and his kingdom. (Isaiah 43: 10-12;Matthew 24: 14) This is done in order that the people may be informed of God’s purpose to destroy the Wicked one and to establish a righteous government on earth which will be the means of the complete uplift and blessing of the human race.
In obedience to this commandment of Jehovah faithful men and women devoted to God and his kingdom now go from house to house preaching the good news or gospel of the Kingdom; They are not doing such work for commercial gain, but they are doing it at great financial loss to themselves. They work in the shops and in the fields to earn their bread and then devote their spare time to preaching the gospel according to God’s commandment, and this they do because they love God and have agreed to do his will. In doing this they are but pursuing their divinely given rights of worshiping God according to the dictates of their conscience, andwith which rights no municipality, state or other government can properly and rightfully interfere.
Since the Constitution forbids the enactment of any law or laws interfering with the preaching of the gospel, then why are these faithful witnesses of Jehovah arrested and thrown into jail? That question is answered by the Lord, at Revelation 12: 17. Jehovah’s testimony is committed primarily to Christ Jesus, and he commits to his faithful followers, who are also Jehovah’s witnesses, the obligation of delivering such testimony. For this reason Satan the Devil seeks to destroy every one who is telling God’s truth. Jehovah’s witnesses now on earth constitute the remnant of God’s organization, which organization is symbolized in this scripture by a woman, and the Lord says concerning these that the Devil is extremely mad at them and goes forth to make war against those who keep the commandments of God and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17) That scripture is conclusive proof that the Devil is the one who instigates and carries forward the persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses and that the visible persecutors of these witnesses of Jehovah are acting for and as agents of the Devil. Even though priest, clergymen and other associates in persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses claim to be Christian, the facts show that such claims are false, for the reason that God and Christ Jesus do not persecute anyone and certainly God would not have one set of his servants to intolerantly persecute another company of his servants.
If these fifty or more men and Women who were recently persecuted and imprisoned upon the charge of being peddlers and hawkers are in truth and in fact Jehovah’s witnesses and his representatives and if the charge is false why then would Jehovah permit them to be thus wrongfully treated and persecuted by men who represent the Devil'? The answer is in order to cause the enemies of God to identify and mark themselves and to afford opportunity for Jehovah’s witnesses to prove their faithfulness.
The Scriptural answer to that question is illuminating and of vital importance. The Scriptures declare that what came to pass upon the Jews, or Israelites, foreshadowed what must come to pass on "organized Christianity" at the end of the world, where we now are. (1 Corinthians 10: ll) "Christendom,” or "organized Christianity", is the antitype of ancient Israel. The Devil overreached the Israelites and turned them away from God. Because the Jews indulged in Baal religion and persecuted Jehovah’s faithful prophets who were sent to teach them, Jehovah selected Jehu, made him His executioner, and sent him to inflict punishment upon the Baal worshipers of Jewry. On that occasion Jehu was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God has appointed to execute his judgment against all of his enernies, and particularly against "Christendom".
Jehu called a great assembly of the people, and every one of the Baal worshipers assembled at one place. Then Jehu commanded that all the preachers, prophets, clergymen, priests, servants and worshipers of Baal should put on garments by which they Would identify themselves as the followers and worshipers of Baal, and this they did. In that manner Jehu caused every one of them to identify himself, and to take his stand either 0n the side of Baal or on the side of Jehovah God. This marvelous picture is set forth in 2 Kings 10:19-28. When the identification and division was complete, then Jehu directed his soldiers to slay utterly every one of the Baal worshipers, and this was done; and thus ended Baal worship in Palestine at that time.
That graphic identification and the slaying prophetically foretold the identification and destruction of all false religions in the world, and particularly the destruction of all those who defame God’s name and persecute his faithful witnesses.
The purpose of Jehovah’s witnesses in going from house to 'house in this day and preaching the gospel of God’s kingdom is not to convert the world. The purpose, according to the commandment Of God, is to notify the rulers and the people that Jehovah is the God supreme, and that his kingdom is at hand, and that God will now vindicate his name, and that he will now afford the opportunity to all who hear to identify themselves as being either on the side of Jehovah God or on the side of his enemy the Devil. That explains why during the time since the World War Jehovah’s witnesses have been permitted to.,proclaim the message of his kingdom throughout "Christendom", and explains why it has been possible in that time to print the message of the kingdom in fifty-eight different languages and to put into the hands of the people more than 140 million books containing that message. All this work has been done at God’s commandment to give the people an opportunity to identify themselves as to where they stand. This is God’s work, and no human power can stop it. The intolerant per-secutors may throw many of Jehovah’s witness into prison and kill others, but that will not stop the witness work. Where one falls in the ranks Jehovah God will raise up others to take his place. He has decreed that the testimony must be given, and it will be given.
Jehovah’s witnesses are preaching the gospel of the kingdom, not for filthy money, but in obedience to God’s commandments, and the only way for men to be faithful to Jehovah and to their covenant is to obey his commandment. Like the early apostles the witnesses count not their lives dear unto themselves, and they are determined to obey God and not man; and for this reason they go on amidst great opposition, bearing testimony to the kingdom of Jehovah.
The proof shows that in every instance it has been and is the priests, pastors or clergymen of so-called "organized Christianity" who cause the persecution and ill treatment of JeHovah’s witnesses. Those clergymen are therefore most reprehensible. By their action they have identified themselves as being against God and for his enemy the Devil. The message of the kingdom in printed form has been supplied to them by Jehovah’s witnesses, and that without charge, and they now. without just cause or excuse attempt to hide their wrongful action behind some municipal ordinance and use this as a shield while they carry on the persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses. Thus they completely identify and mark themselves. The rulers of "Christendom” have likewise been served with copies of the message of the kingdom, which affords them an opportunity to °take their stand on one side or the other. Police officers, magistrates and judges of the courts are also putting on the garments and thus identifying themselves as to where they stand. Jehovah God permits the persecution of his faithful witnesses now, therefore, for the very purpose of furnishing opportunity for men to identify and mark themselves and to thus take their stand on one side or on the other.
Now the message of the kingdom must go to the people, that they may have an opportunity to identify themselves and to take their stand on one side or the other. The message or gospel of the kingdom is therefore separating the people into two general classes, and Christ Jesus is the one who is doing that separating work. With which class will you identify yourself? That is a question now which every one who hears must answer. You cannot identify yourselves as being on God’s side and at the same time connive at and sympathize with or approve the persecution of J ehovah’s witnesses. One of the reasons, therefore, that God permits his witnesses to thus suffer is for your benefit, that you may see the truth and have the opportunity of identifying yourself with the right side.
SHEEP AND GOATS
The last prophetic parable Jesus spoke when on earth was that concerning the sheep and the goats, and which prophecy he said would find its fulfilment at the time of his coming for judgment. That time is now here, and the people are thus gathered and by him made to identify themselves, even as Jehu, the prototype of Jesus, caused the Israelites and Baal worshipers to identify themselves. Jehovah has given the people of the nations of “Christendom" a knowledge of his kingdom, and thus he has gathered them before his Executioner, and who says as it is written in Matthew 25: "And he shall separate them [the people] as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." "His sheep" means the class that are on the Lord’s side, while the goats represent the class that are against the Lord and on the Devil’s side. Continuing, then Jesus said: "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." (Matthew 25:33) In this striking prophetic parable Jesus counts his true and faithful followers as though they were himself, and the people who have been good to his followers he credits as being good unto himself, and those who have illtreated his brethren or followers he counts as doing evil to himself. Thus he brings the application of the soripture right down to the present day. He shows that if a person abuses, illtreats or persecutes Jehovah’s witnesses, that person thus identifies himself as an enemy of God and of Christ.
Many of you people have been glad to have Jehovah’s witnesses call at your door and tell you the conforting message concerning God’s gracious provision for your blessing. In turn you have given them a cup of refreshing water to drink; and if you found one of them sick you gladly ministered unto that sick one. When the twenty—nine harmless women were crowded into those hot prison cells and required to stand there all night amidst suffering, some of you stood in the streets at midnight and sympathized with them and wished that you might do some good to them. You wanted to comfort them by your presence. The Lord knew your heart condition and your desire and your kind sympathy and he counts that goodness as unto himself and he likens such who thus sympathize with him to sheep. To such Jesus says: "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: l was in prison, and `ye came unto me." (Matthew 25: 35, 36) On the other hand there is a class of persons pictured by goats, because such men are cruel and heartless. Such men are extremely selfish. They have caused innocent men and women to be thrown into prison because they wanted to keep you in ignorance of the goodness of God’s kingdom and to save themselves from being exposed as false teachers and impostors. When men and women assembled in the streets in close proximity to the prison for the purpose of expressing by their presence their sympathy and comfort to the imprisoned ones, and when some tried to make a photograph of the sympathizers and the prisoners, such sympathizers, as well as the prisoners, were illtreated and thrown into prison. Thus the harsh ones, cruel and intolerant persecutors, put themselves in the goat class, and to these billy goats Jesus now says: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me o meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink,I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matthew 25:42-45) Thus Jehovah permits cruel and selfish men to intolerantly persecute his faithful witnesses in order that his faithful ones may bear testimony to his name and at the same time cause the persecutors to identify themselves as being against God and his kingdom. Clergymen who pose as your spiritual advisers, and public officials who have sworn to look well to your general interest, have violated their obligation, played the people false, reproached and sneered at and defamed the name of Jehovah God and his Christ, and thus they have put on the garments and have identified themselves as God’s enemies.
Now, if you will, hear the words of final judgment of Jehovah pronounced by Christ Jesus concerning these two classes who have thus identified themselves. To those who identify themselves as lovers of truth and righteousness, and who are designated under the symbol of harniless sheep and whom the Lord thus places in his right hand of favor, he now says: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Happy is the lot of such!
To the cruel, malicious and ruthless persecutors of Jehovah’s witnesses and defamers of God’s name, the great Judge, Christ Jesus, now says, as it is written (verses 41 and 46): "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels .... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." Furthermore Jesus said: "Shall not God avenge his own elect [witnesses] ” Then he answers his own question and says: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.”—Luke 18: 7, 8.
In the past two years and more the clergy of this state have persistently and intolerantly persecuted Jehovah’s witnesses, not for doing wrong, but because these faithful men and women at great financial and physical inconvenience to themselves have walked in the roads and come to your homes to bring you aid and comfort by bearing testimony to the name of Jehovah and his kingdom. By the intolerance ofthese priests and clergymen, aided and supported by policemen, they have thus prevented many honest Catholics and Protestants from hearing the message of God’s kingdom. They have done the people a positive injury and have abused and defamed God’s holy name. It appears to me that by the long and cruel persecution of these faithful men and women God has permitted this day to come that the honest people may hear the truth and have the opportunity to see how they have been grossly deceived by men who should know better. As further proof that God has permitted his faithful witnesses to suffer at the hands of intolerant persecutors in order to cause the persecutors to identify themselves as against Jehovah, note the words of Jesus addressed to his faithful followers at Mark 13: 9: "They [the intolerant persecutors, or clergy and their allies] shall deliver you up to [the courts] ; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, [ for a testimony against them] that is, against your persecutors. Every man must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and these men who have wrongfully and intolerantly caused the persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses will never be heard to make the defense that they did not know they were fighting against God. .(2 Corinthians 5: 10) They claim to be teachers of the Bible, and they are bound to know what is therein contained. By their course of action they oppose the message of God’s kingdom, and thus they bear testimony against themselves that they are guilty before God. The hypocritical and false claim that they are punishing Christian men and women in order to ‘protect the people against impostors and robbers’ will be no excuse or defense before the Lord.
The faithful witnesses of Jehovah who thus suffer for righteousness’ sake thereby maintain their integrity before God. Filthy prisons will not deter these men and women from continuing to give their testimony. They will rejoice to a continue their faithfulness unto God even unto death an_d to suffer as Christ Jesus suffered. To them therefore the Lord caused these words to be written, at 1 Peter 4: 14: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorif1ed." But shame upon the priests and clergymen who have connived at and caused the persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses in order that they might keep the people in ignorance of the truth and thus shield themselves from exposure; shame upon those public officers who have been ready and willing to class Jehovah’s witnesses as selfish peddlers and hawkers in order that they might serve their own selfish ends; shame upon the lawyers who practice upon the bench and before the bar, who because of fear of losing some personal advantage have side—stepped the issue and failed and refused to decide squarely the question as to whether or not men can be prevented from preaching the gospel of God.