Keep Close in Mind Jehovah’s Day
1. When you first learned that deliverance from the heartaches of this old system is near, how did you feel?
ONE of the first things you learned from the Bible was that Jehovah’s purpose is for all the earth to become a paradise. In that new world, war, crime, poverty, sickness, suffering, and death will be no more. Even the dead will come back to life. What marvelous prospects! The nearness of all that is emphasized by evidence that Christ’s invisible presence as ruling King began in 1914 and that since then we have been in the last days of this wicked world. At the end of these last days, Jehovah will destroy this present system of things and usher in the promised new world!
2. What is “the day of Jehovah”?
2 The Bible calls this coming time of destruction “Jehovah’s day.” (2 Peter 3:10) It is “the day of Jehovah’s anger” against Satan’s entire world. (Zephaniah 2:3) It reaches its climax in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty . . . , called in Hebrew Har–Magedon [Armageddon],” in which “the kings of the entire inhabited earth” are annihilated. (Revelation 16:14, 16) Does your way of life demonstrate your conviction that this “day of Jehovah” is near?—Zephaniah 1:14-18; Jeremiah 25:33.
3. (a) When will the day of Jehovah come? (b) How has it proved beneficial that Jehovah did not reveal “that day or the hour”?
3 The Bible does not tell us the exact date when Jesus Christ will come as Jehovah’s Executioner against Satan’s system of things. “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father,” said Jesus. (Mark 13:32) If any do not really love Jehovah, they will be inclined to postpone his day in their minds and turn to secular pursuits. But those who truly love Jehovah will serve him whole-souled, regardless of when the end of this wicked system comes.—Psalm 37:4; 1 John 5:3.
4. What did Jesus say as a caution?
4 In a word of caution to lovers of Jehovah, Jesus says: “Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time is.” (Mark 13:33-37) He urges us not to allow eating and drinking or “anxieties of life” to absorb so much of our attention that we lose sight of the seriousness of the times.—Luke 21:34-36; Matthew 24:37-42.
5. As Peter explained, what will the day of Jehovah bring?
5 Peter similarly counsels us to keep close in mind “the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens being on fire will be dissolved and the elements being intensely hot will melt.” All human governments—“the heavens”—will be destroyed, as will wicked human society in general—“earth”—and its “elements,” the ideas and activities of this evil world, such as its attitude of independence from God and its immoral and materialistic way of life. These will be replaced by a “new heavens [God’s heavenly Kingdom] and a new earth [a new earthly society]” in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:10-13) These world-shattering events will begin suddenly and at an unexpected day and hour.—Matthew 24:44.
Keep Alert to the Sign
6. (a) To what extent did Jesus’ answer to his disciples’ question apply to the end of the Jewish system? (b) What portions of Jesus’ answer focus attention on events and attitudes from 1914 onward?
6 In view of the times in which we live, we should become well acquainted with the details of the composite sign that identifies the last days—“the conclusion of the system of things.” Keep in mind that when Jesus answered his disciples’ question, recorded at Matthew 24:3, some of what he described in verses 4 through 22 had a small-scale fulfillment on the Jewish system between 33 and 70 C.E. But the prophecy has its major fulfillment in the period since 1914, the time of Christ’s “presence and of the conclusion of the system of things.” Matthew 24:23-28 tells what would take place from 70 C.E. to the time of Christ’s presence. The developments described at Matthew 24:29–25:46 take place during the time of the end.
7. (a) Why should we personally be alert to how current conditions fulfill the sign? (b) Answer the questions at the end of this paragraph, showing how the sign has been fulfilled since 1914.
7 We personally ought to be observant of events and attitudes that fulfill the sign. Connecting these things to Bible prophecy will help us to keep close in mind Jehovah’s day. It will also enable us to be persuasive when warning others of the nearness of that day. (Isaiah 61:1, 2) With these objectives in mind, let us review the following questions that highlight parts of the sign, as recorded at Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:10, 11.
In what extraordinary way was the foretold rising of ‘nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom’ fulfilled starting in 1914? Regarding wars, what has happened since then?
In 1918, what pestilence claimed more lives than World War I? Despite man’s medical knowledge, what diseases still kill millions?
To what extent have food shortages affected the earth despite the scientific advances of the last century?
Separating of People
8 There are other significant developments that Jesus associated with the conclusion of the system of things. One of these is the separating of “the sons of the kingdom” from “the sons of the wicked one.” Jesus spoke of this in his parable about a wheat field that an enemy oversowed with weeds. “The wheat” in his illustration represents true anointed Christians. “The weeds” are those who profess to be Christians but prove themselves to be “sons of the wicked one” because they cling to the world of which the Devil is ruler. These are separated from “the sons of [God’s] kingdom” and are marked for destruction. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) Has this actually taken place?
9. (a) After World War I, what great separation of all claiming to be Christian took place? (b) How did anointed Christians give evidence that they were true servants of the Kingdom?
9 After World War I, there was a separating of all who claimed to be Christian into two classes: (1) The clergy of Christendom and their followers, who came out in strong support of the League of Nations (now the United Nations) while still holding fast to their national loyalties, and (2) true Christians of that postwar era, who gave their full support to God’s Messianic Kingdom, not to the nations of this world. (John 17:16) These proved themselves true servants of God’s Kingdom by undertaking the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” earth wide. (Matthew 24:14) With what results?
10. What was the first result of the Kingdom-preaching activity?
10 First, there was the gathering of the remnant of those anointed by God’s spirit, who have the hope of being with Christ as part of the heavenly Kingdom. Though such ones were scattered among the nations, they were brought into organizational unity. The completion of the sealing of these anointed ones draws near.—Revelation 7:3, 4.
11. (a) What gathering work continues, and in harmony with what prophecy? (b) What does fulfillment of this prophecy signify?
11 Then, under Christ’s direction, there began the gathering of “a great crowd . . . out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” These make up the “other sheep” who will survive “the great tribulation” into God’s new world. (Revelation 7:9, 14; John 10:16) This work of preaching God’s Kingdom before the end comes continues right down to the present time. Loyally, the great crowd of other sheep, now numbering into the millions, help the anointed remnant publicize the vital message of the Kingdom. This message is being heard in all nations.
What Lies Ahead?
12. How much more preaching work is to be done before Jehovah’s day arrives?
12 All of the above signifies that we are near the end of the last days and that Jehovah’s day is close at hand. But are there prophecies yet to be fulfilled before that fear-inspiring day begins? Yes. For one thing, the separating of people over the Kingdom issue is not yet finished. In some areas where intense opposition was experienced for years, there is now an increase in new disciples. Even where people reject the good news, Jehovah’s mercy is demonstrated by our giving the witness. So, on with the work! Jesus assures us that when the work is finished, the end will come.
13. As recorded at 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3, what noteworthy event is yet to take place, and what will it mean to us?
13 Another highly significant Bible prophecy foretells: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3) What form that proclamation of “peace and security” will take remains to be seen. But it will certainly not mean that world leaders have truly solved the problems of mankind. Those who are keeping Jehovah’s day close in mind will not be misled by that proclamation. They know that immediately afterward, sudden destruction will come.
14. What events will take place during the great tribulation, and in what order?
14 At the beginning of the great tribulation, the rulers will turn against Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and will annihilate her. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 17:15, 16) After that, the nations will turn against those who uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty, provoking Jehovah’s fury against the political governments and their supporters, resulting in total destruction for them. That will be the Armageddon climax of the great tribulation. Then, Satan and his demons will be abyssed, no longer able to influence mankind. This will conclude Jehovah’s day when his name will be put on high.—Ezekiel 38:18, 22, 23; Revelation 19:11–20:3.
15. Why would it be unwise to reason that Jehovah’s day is yet far off?
15 The end of this system will come exactly on time, according to God’s schedule. It will not be late. (Habakkuk 2:3) Remember, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. came quickly, when the Jews did not expect it, when they thought that danger was past. And what of ancient Babylon? It was powerful, confident, and fortified with massive walls. But it fell in one night. So, too, sudden destruction will come upon the present wicked system. When it does, may we be found united in true worship, having kept close in mind Jehovah’s day.
• Why is it vital to keep close in mind Jehovah’s day? How can we do that?
• How are we personally affected by the separating of people that is taking place?
• What still lies ahead before Jehovah’s day begins? So, what should we personally be doing?
[Pictures on page 180, 181]
Soon the last days will end with the destruction of Satan’s system