What Does It All Mean?
JESUS CHRIST said: “The conclusion of the system of things” would be identified by war, food shortages, pestilence, and earthquakes.—Matthew 24:1-8; Luke 21:10, 11.
Since 1914 life has been marred by wars between nations and between ethnic groups, often as a result of political interference by clergymen and now by widespread terrorist attacks.
In spite of scientific developments, extreme food shortages are the lot of hundreds of millions of people earth wide. Each year millions of people die because of shortage of food.
Pestilence, that is, widespread epidemics of infectious disease, is also part of the sign given by Jesus. Following World War I, an epidemic of influenza claimed over 21,000,000 lives. Unlike fairly localized plagues in ages past, it touched nations earth wide as well as remote islands. AIDS is now sweeping the globe, and such plagues as TB, malaria, river blindness, and Chagas’ disease persist in developing nations.
Reportedly, there are tens of thousands of earthquakes of varying intensity every year. Regardless of available equipment and improved reporting methods, disasters in population centers as a result of earthquakes have become frequent news.
The Bible also foretold: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Do you not agree that we are living in “critical times hard to deal with”?
Have you observed that people, to an excessive extent, are lovers of self, lovers of money, and driven by pride?
Who would dispute that the world is filled with people who are demanding but unthankful, not open to agreement, disloyal?
Are you aware that disobedience to parents along with a shocking lack of affection has dramatically increased, not only in a few places but around the globe?
No doubt you realize that we live in a world that is intoxicated with love of pleasure but is lacking in love of goodness. That is how the Bible describes attitudes that would prevail in “the last days.”
Is more needed in order to identify the time in which we live? Jesus also foretold that during this same time, the good news of God’s Kingdom would be preached in all the inhabited earth. (Matthew 24:14) Is that being done?
The Watchtower, a Bible-based journal that is devoted to announcing the good news of Jehovah’s Kingdom, is regularly printed in more languages than any other periodical.
Every year, Jehovah’s Witnesses devote more than a billion hours to witnessing personally to others about God’s Kingdom.
Literature explaining the Bible is currently published by them in some 400 languages, even languages that reach remote and small population groups. Jehovah’s Witnesses have reached all nations with the good news; they have also preached in many islands and territories that are too small to be significant in the political world. In most lands, they carry on a regular program of Bible education.
Indeed, the good news of God’s Kingdom is being preached in all the inhabited earth, not to convert the world, but to give a witness. People everywhere are being given an opportunity to show whether they care who created the heavens and the earth and whether they will show respect for his laws and demonstrate love for their fellowman.—Luke 10:25-27; Revelation 4:11.
Soon now, God’s Kingdom will cleanse the earth of all the wicked and make it a global paradise.—Luke 23:43.
[Box on page 6]
The Last Days of What?
Not the last days of humankind. For those who do the will of God, the Bible holds out the prospect of living forever.—John 3:16, 36; 1 John 2:17.
Not the last days of the earth. God’s Word promises that the inhabited earth will endure forever.—Psalm 37:29; 104:5; Isaiah 45:18.
Instead, these are the last days of this violent, loveless system of things and those who cling to its ways.—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
[Box/Picture on page 7]
Is the Bible Really God’s Word?
Repeatedly, the Bible prophets wrote: “This is what Jehovah has said.” (Isaiah 43:14; Jeremiah 2:2) Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, emphasized that he ‘did not speak of his own originality.’ (John 14:10) The Bible itself clearly says: “All Scripture is inspired of God.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
No other book is published in as many languages—over 2,200, as reported by the United Bible Societies. No other book has such a large circulation—now more than four billion copies. Is that not what you would expect of a message from God that is for all mankind?
For a fuller discussion of the evidences that the Bible is inspired of God, see the book The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s?, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
If you read the Bible with appreciation for the fact that it truly is God’s Word, you will greatly benefit.
[Box/Pictures on page 8]
What Is God’s Kingdom?
It is the government in heaven that expresses rulership by the true God, Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth.—Jeremiah 10:10, 12.
The Bible identifies Jesus Christ as the one to whom God gives such ruling authority. (Revelation 11:15) When on earth, Jesus demonstrated that he already had amazing authority from God—authority that enabled him to control the natural elements, to cure all sorts of illnesses, and even to raise the dead. (Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 4:37-41; John 11:11-44) Inspired Bible prophecy foretold that God would also give him “rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him.” (Daniel 7:13, 14) That government is called the Kingdom of heaven; it is from heaven that Jesus Christ now exercises his rulership.
[Pictures on page 7]
Global preaching of the good news