Trust in Jehovah—The God of “Times and Seasons”
“He is changing times and seasons, removing kings and setting up kings.”—DAN. 2:21.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
How do creation and fulfilled prophecy show that Jehovah is the Great Timekeeper?
Appreciating that Jehovah is the God of “times and seasons” moves us to do what?
Why is Jehovah’s timetable not controlled by world events and human plans?
JEHOVAH GOD provided the means to measure time long before he created man. On the fourth creative day, God said: “Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years.” (Gen. 1:14, 19, 26) In harmony with Jehovah’s will, that is, of course, what took place.
2 Until now, however, scientists have debated the nature of time. “Time is one of the world’s deepest mysteries,” states one encyclopedia. “No one can say exactly what it is.” Yet, Jehovah fully understands time. After all, he is “the Creator of the heavens, . . . the Former of the earth and the Maker of it.” Jehovah is also “the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done.” (Isa. 45:18; 46:10) With a view to strengthening our faith in him and in his Word, the Bible, let us consider how creation and fulfilled prophecy show that Jehovah is the Great Timekeeper.
CREATION INSPIRES FAITH IN THE GREAT TIMEKEEPER
3 In the physical world, precise timing can be seen on a microscopic as well as on a macroscopic scale. Atoms vibrate at consistent rates. International time-standard clocks regulated by atomic vibrations are accurate to 1 second in 80 million years. The movement of planets and stars is also precisely timed. Their predictable positions in the sky have been used to mark the seasons and to navigate. Jehovah—the Maker of these reliable “timepieces”—is indeed “vigorous in power” and deserves our praise.—Read Isaiah 40:26.
4 Precise timing can be observed in the world of biology. The life cycles of many plants and animals are regulated by internal clocks. Many birds instinctively know when to begin their migration. (Jer. 8:7) Humans too have internal clocks, usually governed by the 24-hour cycle of day and night. After a traveler crosses several time zones by airplane, it may take days for his body to reset these clocks. Truly, the many examples of timing manifest in creation demonstrate the power and wisdom of the God of “times and seasons.” (Read Psalm 104:24.) Yes, the Great Timekeeper is all-wise and all-powerful. We can have faith that he is able to accomplish what he wills!
PROPHECIES FULFILLED ON TIME INSPIRE FAITH
5 The book of creation teaches us much about Jehovah’s “invisible qualities,” but it leaves unanswered such important questions as, What does the future hold for mankind? (Rom. 1:20) For the answer, we must turn to what God has revealed in the pages of his Word, the Bible. When we examine it, we find prophecies that have always been fulfilled right on time! Jehovah can reveal what is yet to occur because he can foresee the future accurately. Moreover, what the Scriptures foretell happens on time because Jehovah God can cause events to take place according to his purpose and timetable.
6 Jehovah wants his worshippers to understand Scriptural prophecies and benefit from them. Although God is not limited by our perception of time, we can relate to the terms he uses when he foretells that an event will occur at a specific time. (Read Psalm 90:4.) For example, the book of Revelation refers to “the four angels” who “have been prepared for the hour and day and month and year”—units of time we can understand. (Rev. 9:14, 15) Seeing how prophecies were fulfilled at specified times should inspire faith in the God of “times and seasons” and in his Word. Let us consider a few examples.
7 First, let us look back to the seventh century B.C.E. “In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah,” the word of the Great Timekeeper “occurred to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah.” (Jer. 25:1) Jehovah foretold the devastation of Jerusalem and the deportation of the Jews from the land of Judah to Babylon. There they would “serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Babylonian armies destroyed Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., and Jews from Judah were indeed deported to Babylon. But what was to happen at the end of 70 years? Jeremiah prophesied: “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘In accord with the fulfilling of seventy years at Babylon I shall turn my attention to you people, and I will establish toward you my good word in bringing you back to this place.’” (Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10) This prophecy was fulfilled right on time—in 537 B.C.E. after the Medes and Persians freed the Jews from Babylon.
8 Consider another prophecy involving God’s people of ancient times. About two years before the Jews left Babylon, God foretold through the prophet Daniel that the Messiah would appear 483 years after the order to rebuild Jerusalem was given. The Medo-Persian king gave that order in 455 B.C.E. Exactly 483 years later—in 29 C.E.—Jesus of Nazareth was anointed by holy spirit at his baptism and thus became the Messiah.*—Neh. 2:1, 5-8; Dan. 9:24, 25; Luke 3:1, 2, 21, 22.
9 Now take note of what the Scriptures foretold regarding the Kingdom. Bible prophecy indicated that the Messianic Kingdom would be established in heaven in 1914. In part, the Bible did so by giving “the sign” of Jesus’ presence, pointing to the time when Satan would be cast out of heaven, which would result in great woe for the earth. (Matt. 24:3-14; Rev. 12:9, 12) Moreover, Bible prophecy pointed to the exact time—1914—when “the appointed times of the nations [would be] fulfilled” and Kingdom rule would begin in heaven.—Luke 21:24; Dan. 4:10-17.*
10 What lies ahead is the “great tribulation” foretold by Jesus. It will be followed by his Thousand Year Reign. There can be no doubt that these things will come to pass right on schedule. When Jesus walked the earth, Jehovah had already set the “day and hour” for these events to occur.—Matt. 24:21, 36; Rev. 20:6.
‘BUY OUT THE OPPORTUNE TIME’
11 How should recognizing that Kingdom rule has begun and that we are living in “the time of the end” affect us? (Dan. 12:4) Many see the worsening world conditions yet fail to acknowledge that these developments fulfill Bible prophecy regarding the last days. They may expect this system to fall apart one day or may believe that somehow human efforts will achieve “peace and security.” (1 Thess. 5:3) But what about us? If we recognize that we are living deep in the last days of Satan’s world, should we not endeavor to use the remaining time to serve the God of “times and seasons” and help others come to know him? (2 Tim. 3:1) We ought to make wise decisions about how we use our time.—Read Ephesians 5:15-17.
12 “Buying out the opportune time” is not easy in a world full of distractions. “Just as the days of Noah were,” warned Jesus, “so the presence of the Son of man will be.” How were the days of Noah? It had been foretold that the world of that time would come to an end. At that time, wicked humans would drown in the waters of a global deluge. As “a preacher of righteousness,” Noah faithfully declared God’s message to the people of his day. (Matt. 24:37; 2 Pet. 2:5) But they were “eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, . . . and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.” Jesus therefore warned his followers: “Prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.” (Matt. 24:38, 39, 44) We must prove to be like Noah, not like the people of his day. What will help us to keep ourselves ready?
13 Although the Son of man is coming at an hour we do not think to be it, we need to remember that Jehovah is the Great Timekeeper. His timetable is not controlled by world events and human plans. Jehovah regulates the timing and outcome of matters to accomplish his will. (Read Daniel 2:21.) In fact, Proverbs 21:1 tells us: “A king’s heart is as streams of water in the hand of Jehovah. Everywhere that he delights to, he turns it.”
14 Jehovah can influence events in order to accomplish his purpose and fulfill it on time. Many of the momentous changes in the world have been fulfilling prophecy, particularly in regard to the global preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom. Think about the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences. Few would have thought that such enormous political changes could happen so quickly. As a result of these changes, however, the good news is now being preached throughout many lands where our work was previously banned. By all means, then, let us buy out the opportune time to serve the God of “times and seasons” faithfully.
EXERCISE FAITH IN JEHOVAH’S TIMING
15 Continuing in the Kingdom-preaching work in these last days requires faith in Jehovah’s timing. The changing world situation may call for some changes in how the disciple-making work is carried on. The organization may occasionally make adjustments to address the needs of our activity as Kingdom proclaimers. We demonstrate faith in the God of “times and seasons” by fully cooperating with such adjustments as we serve loyally under his Son, the “head of the congregation.”—Eph. 5:23.
16 Jehovah wants us to pray to him freely with complete confidence that he will provide needed “help at the right time.” (Heb. 4:16) Does that not demonstrate his loving concern for us as individuals? (Matt. 6:8; 10:29-31) We show our faith in Jehovah God by praying regularly for his help and then acting in harmony with our prayers and his direction. Furthermore, we remember to pray for our fellow believers.
17 Now is not the time to “waver in a lack of faith”; it is the time to become powerful by faith. (Rom. 4:20) God’s enemies—Satan and those under his influence—are trying to stop the work that Jesus assigned to His followers, including us. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Despite the Devil’s attacks, we know Jehovah as “a living God, who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones.” He “knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.”—1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Pet. 2:9.
18 Soon, Jehovah will bring an end to this wicked system of things. While we have not been given all the details and the exact time when this will occur, we do know that at just the right time, Christ will do away with God’s enemies, and Jehovah’s sovereignty will be vindicated. So, then, what a mistake it would be to fail to discern “the times and the seasons” in which we now live! May we never fall into the snare of thinking that “all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.”—1 Thess. 5:1; 2 Pet. 3:3, 4.
“SHOW A WAITING ATTITUDE”
19 Jehovah God’s original purpose for humankind included endless time to learn about him and his beautiful creation. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states: “Everything he [Jehovah] has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the true God has made from the start to the finish.”
20 How glad we can be that Jehovah has never changed his purpose for man! (Mal. 3:6) With God “there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow.” (Jas. 1:17) His timetable is not governed by human means of measuring time, such as the rotation of the earth. Jehovah is “the eternal King.” (1 Tim. 1:17, ftn.) Therefore, let us “show a waiting attitude for the God of [our] salvation.” (Mic. 7:7) Indeed, “be courageous, and may your heart be strong, all you who are waiting for Jehovah.”—Ps. 31:24.
See Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! pages 186-195.
See Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! pages 94-97.
1, 2. What shows that Jehovah fully understands time?
3. How is precise timing manifested in the physical world?
4. How does timing in the biological realm show God’s wisdom?
5. (a) Only in what way can we know about mankind’s future? (b) Why can Jehovah foretell events and their timing?
6. What shows that Jehovah wants us to understand the fulfillment of Bible prophecies?
7. How does the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding Jerusalem and Judah show that Jehovah is the Great Timekeeper?
8, 9. How do Daniel’s prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the heavenly Kingdom show that Jehovah is the God of “times and seasons”?
10. What future events are sure to happen on time?
11. Knowing that we are living in the time of the end should have what effect on us?
12. What can we learn from Jesus’ statement regarding Noah’s day?
13, 14. Remembering what about Jehovah will help us to serve him faithfully while we await the coming of the Son of man?
15. How can we show faith with regard to organizational adjustments?
16. Why can we have faith that Jehovah will provide help at the right time?
17, 18. (a) What action will Jehovah soon take against his enemies? (b) We must avoid what snare?
19, 20. Why should we show a waiting attitude with regard to Jehovah?
[Picture on page 19]
Daniel had faith in the fulfillment of God-given prophecy
[Picture on page 21]
Do you make good use of time to do Jehovah’s will?