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1967 Sermon - “Stay Alive to Seventy Five”

When the Watchtower talks about the excitement and expectation that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had with regard 1975, they dismiss the fact that they had nothing to do with it and blame the congregational members for “Reading too much into the significance into the year 1975”.  Please also see 1975.

Well below is the transcript of a public address by a district overseer in 1967, and you tell us if the Witnesses were to blame for the high expectations?

Public Address by District Overseer Bro. Charles Sunutko in Spring 1967 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

"Serving With Everlasting Life in View"

… for whether they be in the more affluent countries of the earth, we'll all still hold on for life, because as long as there is life, we find that there is hope.

If this is true of most persons, how much more true would it be of Jehovah's Witnesses. Because not only do we have the present life to hold onto and to live for, but we hold onto the hope of everlasting life. Because Jesus promised this in Romans the Sixth chapter, that the reward God would give would be everlasting life. So we have a strong desire and instinct to wanna survive and pursue it. And to eventually realize paradisiacal conditions in God's New Order.

But in this run for life, some of us looking forward to a change in this old system and its destruction for many years now, there are some of us who get a little weary. And a little tired. And sometimes we just want to throw our hands up and say 'I just don't know if I can go on any further.'

But, just like a runner when he's running a course, and he gets near to the end, just about the time he thinks he can't go on any further, he realizes 'well there's the goal ahead of [inaudible]' He's come around the last lap, and there it is! Well all of a sudden he just seems to get some reserve power from nowhere, and with a sudden surge of energy, on he goes to break the finish line rope and win the prize.

Well now, as Jehovah's Witnesses, as runners, even though some of us have become a little weary, it almost seems as though Jehovah has provided meat in due season. Because he's held up before all of us, a new goal. A new year. Something to reach out for and it just seems it has given all of us so much more energy and power in this final burst of speed to the finish line. And that's the year 1975.

There's been a lot of talk about the year, in fact even this week some individuals have been wondering, 'well, what does it mean? Do we dare talk about it? Is it something we can discuss among ourselves, even though we may not talk much about it in public? Do we really know what it means?'

Well, we don't have to guess what the year 1975 means if we read the Watchtower. Because the Watchtower has been very explicit as to what the year 1975 means to us. If you wish to write down the page, 262, in the [May 1] 1967 issue of the Watchtower, we read:

What does the year 1975 mean for humankind? The end of 6000 years of human existence, and possibly, [voice raising dramatically] the time when God executes the wicked and starts off a thousand-year reign under his son Jesus Christ.

Unquote. What did it say? The end of 6000 years of human existence and that's all? NO, it gave us a little more to think about there. Did it say for certainty the time when God executes the wicked and starts off a thousand year reign by Jesus Christ? No. But it did give us a glimmer of light. It says [voice rising] possibly, possibly the time when God executes the wicked and starts off the thousand year reign of his son Jesus Christ, [voice returning to normal] 1975.

Doesn't that give you a little bit of excitement about the future? Even if there is the possibility, [voice rising] that's it, when God will bring the battle of Armageddon, and clean this old Earth off? And you'll be ushered right into a paradise Earth for ever more [voice returning to normal]. Never again to be afflicted with this old Satanic system of things. It will be GONE, DOWN. That should excite all of us.

There are the skeptics who say 'well, I'm not going to think about it and not worry about it. I'm not going to pay attention to it.' Well now remember brothers, the faithful and discreet slave is used by Jesus to to what? Jesus says 'to provide meat in due season.' This is meat, and it's come at the right time. And it's in its due season. And it's not wrong to think about it, and to look forward to it.

As far as knowing for sure? Well, we know what we know for sure. We just read it. [voice rising] 'The end of Six Thousand years of human history, and possibly the execution of the wicked and the beginning of the Thousand year reign.' And that should be exciting enough, and talk enough for us.

When you think about it, what a fantastic, short span of time that is. How many of you here were in New York City in 1958? Would you hold up your hands. A great majority of you here. Where has the time gone since then? Just seemed like yesterday that we were there. But [voice rising] do you realize that more time has passed away since that assembly in 1958 where a quarter-of-a-million Jehovah's Witnesses gathered, [voice returns to normal] than what is left to 1975? Hard to imagine, isn't it? Yes, that was nine years ago. It's only eight years to Seventy-Five.

How little time there is left. How much to happen.

We just wait now, with everlasting life in view, and we serve with the future unveiling in front of us. Very soon now we wait for Babylon the Great to be turned upon and severely scathed and destroyed and decimated 'til where there's nothing left of her.

And then the cry 'Peace and Safety. We finally got rid of the old harlot, she's off our back. No more religion to bother us' the nations say. Uh oh. There they are. Rearing there ugly heads up above the dust. Jehovah's Witnesses. Now with a message more fierce than has ever been heard before. Now with a taunt song to the nations. 'You see? We told you Babylon the Great was going down, was going to be destroyed, you said it would never happen, but you did it yourself. Now you're next. Jehovah will destroy you.' You think they're going to like that? That's when they all combine. All the communistic and democratic powers together, with one objective in mind: 'wipe out those people. Then truly we'll be rid of all antagonists and have peace and safety, and we'll have our unified world.'

But when they begin to attack Jehovah's Witnesses, strange things begin to happen. It seems to be calamities are brought by Jehovah God in a fierce and horrifying way, as though they've never seen things of this nature before. Flesh eating plagues are mentioned by Zechariah that will seep this Earth, rot the eyes out of the sockets, and the tongues out of the mouths. [voice raised] They'll run screaming out of their houses with this striking them [voice returning to normal], and yet they'll see Jehovah's Witnesses are untouched. 'How will we get in now? Let me be one of you!' Well, it's too late now.

And then Jehovah God seems to bring the natural forces against this old system. Terror on air, in land, and in the sea. Fratricidal warfare, neighbor against neighbor. Every un-human, inhumane thing that could occur, not only from men, but even from natural forces.

And Armageddon seems to have two phases now. The latest Watchtower brought out, if you've read it, where it says there is such a thing as a just war, Phase One: All united efforts among the nations destroyed, all political organization gone. All that's left are the kings, standing by themselves, without an ally or friend in the world, all super-suspicious of each other, all standing there tense. Phase Two: Jehovah strikes confusion into their hearts, and in a mad fury and flurry then turn on each other, destroying one another. And what is left? Then Jehovah God calls his super-natural angels and the cavalry of Jesus Christ to close in on them, 200 million angels, with all their destructive power, and what a power that's going to be.

One angel, in one night, when the Syrian forces of [inaudible] came against Israel, destroyed 185,000. Let's say the the 200 million angels of Jesus Christ are limited in power and they can only destroy 185,000. [Voice rising] That would give them the potential to destroy 37 trillion persons. [voice returns to normal] There aren't near that many on the Earth. In fact, that's 12, 333 times the number of people even alive. All that power wrapped up in the cavalry of Jesus Christ. And all of that, possibly, has to happen and be finished within the year 1975.

Exciting years ahead of us! And then look beyond that: the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ. Know what that means? All the dead being brought back. Just think of the dear ones you've lost, maybe in the last five or ten years. Don't you look forward to seeing them coming back? Well it won't be long now. Look at what's ahead.

You think you're going to mind having to work with the crops and the land when you find out that your loved ones are going to come back and you have to plant a little extra for them? You think you're going to mind, when you are notified maybe a little in advance, that you need some shelter? As you are going to have to build [inaudible] for your loved ones temporary living quarters for when they come back?

Just think what it's going to be like when the family is notified it's time, and you all gather there, waiting, and you see them rise up out of the dust. Like Isaiah says, "Awake you in the dust, you residents. Come alive." Think you're going to mind seeing that?

That's our future. What a wonderful one. The resurrection is something to stagger the imagination with immensity. When it comes to the number that will be back, we don't know for sure, but some comments have been made by the Society, that could give some idea.

You may want to make note of these references, read them later.

"Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie" paragraph 12, page 350: "Billions who died before Jesus, billions who died since will be back."

The latest publication, "Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God" page 393 paragraph 26: "Thousands of millions."

The Watchtower 1964, page 722, paragraph 24, and listen to this: "TENS of billions will be back".

How many are tens of billions? Well at least 20 billion. 'Cause to have tens of billions in the billions, you have to have two sets of ten billion. So at the very minimum figure, lets say even 20 billion coming back. What a fantastic accomplishment that's going to be for our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In fact, there was a tract one time, printed by the Society, called "Millennial Hope Explained" where it mentioned an estimated 20 billion would be back in the resurrection, could be.

This gives you an idea. Fires the imagination. Do you realize what an accomplishment and what an undertaking that's going to be? Why if just 20 billion were brought back from the dead, every day for a thousand years, you'd have to bring back 60,000. Every day, for a thousand years.

Of course, it most likely won't take the whole thousand years, the Society has indicated. We don't know how long the resurrection will take, but that will probably squeeze the number up to where possibly, even more would be coming back.

What a thrilling time we have to live for, my brothers. How much we have to gain, by serving God with everlasting life in view.

But you know that sad part of it? There are going to be some of use here who won't see it, possibly. Wouldn't that be an awful thing, with all that in the future? Some of use here tonight may not live to see it.

Will you? You know there's a way to find out? There's a way to decide, right here and now, whether you'll make it, or whether you will not. Let us see what that is.

Turning to Luke the 13th chapter, we get some information on it. Luke 13, let's begin to read Jesus' words. Luke 13, starting with the 22nd verse. Now Jesus is going village to village, and city to city. In verse 23 it says:

Now a certain man said to him: "Lord, are those who are being saved few?" He said to them: 24 "Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell YOU, will seek to get in but will not be able, 25 when once the householder has got up and locked the door, and YOU start to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Sir, open to us.' But in answer he will say to YOU, 'I do not know where YOU are from.' 26 Then YOU will start saying, 'We ate and drank in front of you, and you taught in our broad ways.' 27 But he will speak and say to YOU, 'I do not know where YOU are from. Get away from me, all YOU workers of unrighteousness!' 28 There is where [YOUR] weeping and the gnashing of [YOUR] teeth will be…

What's Jesus saying here? What do you think he's saying here? Well first of all, those of us here tonight, that do not do what he says in verse 24, "exert yourselves vigorously" will not be able to get in. That's step number one. Exert ourselves vigorously through the narrow door. But then he describes a certain "class" of Christians, in God's organization, who would find themselves in this position. It says: "once the householder has got up and locked the door, [inserted by speaker: then] YOU start to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Sir, open to us.' " Well, who would that refer to? Well as far as closing the door, when does it shut down? The destruction of Babylon the Great, the door will be shut down. And then it says some of us will come and want to get into the Lord's organization then, and then we'll say "Lord, open to us" and Jesus will look out at us and say "I don't even know you."

But then we panic and we say "But we ate and drank in front of you taught us in our broad ways." What's that a desperation attempt to do? It's a desperation attempt to say to Jesus, "Its me! You remember me! I sat in front of you, and you taught us in your broad ways. Remember I came to the Watchtower study once a week? And remember when the Circuit Servant was there, I never missed? And every memorial I came?"

What does he say then? "I'm sorry, I don't know you. I don't recognize you. You didn't love the Lord's people enough to be there all the time. You didn't love my house enough to be there all the time. Now why try to come and show you love me? If you loved me you would have been there. So I don't recognize you as one of my people, get away from me. You had time to work righteousness, now get away from me you worker of lawlessness. You had your opportunity. Stand out there with the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth. Beat your chests." And wouldn't we?

Wouldn't we at that time, if we were left outside, beat our chests, and gnash our teeth, and weep, and say "God, I was so close. What did I fool around for? Why didn't I do something for The Truth when I had the opportunity? Why did I make all those excuses? Why did I try to fool Jehovah God?"

Well now, who will be there of use here tonight? Well the Society has made application of this scripture, pointing out, that those of us among Jehovah's Witnesses that are not regularly associating with his people, without good cause such as being flat on our back, will not be in the New Order. And we're the ones that are going to come around when the doors close and say "I want in now. Sir, open to us!" And Jesus will have to say "I'm sorry, I don't even recognize you."

Now wouldn't that be an awful thing? You see now why the Society implores us year in and year out, the same old thing: "Brothers, get in the flock. Don't let any excuses get in our way. Nothing of any nature."

There's only one thing that's going to count when that time comes, and that's that we are inside. And we hope that all of us here tonight are going to listen to the Society's imploring.

We're going to listen to their agonizing entreaty "Brothers get in" because they know what's coming! And it's coming fast. And don't wait 'till 1975. The door is going to be shut before then.

So? What are we going to do now with our future? Why not be like the little piglet? Every see a piglet born? It's quite an amazing thing. They come out from behind the mother's legs, they're blind, they can't see. They're still attached to their mother's umbilical cord. And somehow they've gotta break free of that umbilical cord, come around the mother's legs, and find the milk. How do they do it? Well watch them sometime. They tug and they pull and they scratch. They fall and they get up. And they jerk and they yank. They fall again and they get up again and they tug and pull some more. And pretty soon they break loose and those little legs, they go 'round the mother's legs, and they come up and they find their reward, their milk.

Now we can do the same. We're going to fall once in a while. We're going to slip. It's going to be hard pulling and hard tugging, but don't give in. Get up, get on our feet, and run! The goal is there: everlasting life! Serve with it in view! Do what Jesus Christ says: serve with everlasting view, as long as Jehovah asks us! Jesus urged "Endurance on your part" and then he says "by enduring, you will acquire your souls."

As one brother put it, "Stay alive to Seventy-Five"

[Emphasis Added]


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