Who Will Share in the Final Witness?
1. What history repeats itself? Will our generation find it so?
MEN say that history repeats itself. The history of past divine warnings and executed judgments will, for God’s Word says that “it all happened to them by way of warning for others, and it was written down for the purpose of instructing us whose lot has been cast in the closing hours of the world”. (1 Cor. 10:11, Moffatt) Who can deny the typicalness of the rainfalls of water and of fire and brimstone during the days of Noah and Lot, and the accompanying warnings indifferently received by peoples who unconcernedly continued their daily routine of living as though their world would go on undisturbed indefinitely? Did not Jesus say as much when he spoke of his second presence in these “last days”?—“As it was in the time of Noah, so will it also be in the time of the Son of Man. Men were eating and drinking, taking wives and giving wives, up to the very day Noah entered the Ark, and the Deluge came and destroyed them all. As it was also in the time of Lot; they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building; but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from the sky and destroyed them all. Exactly so will it be on the day that the veil is lifted from the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26-30, Weymouth) Christ Jesus has been present since 1914 and witness has been given of the signs that prove it, but the veil will not lift from the sightless “eyes of understanding” of humanity’s majority till his power is revealed in Armageddon’s fury.
2. What did Egypt and Babylon prefigure? Why?
2 That the Egypt which Moses warned and whose power was broken when Jehovah liberated His people was typical and symbolical is proved by Revelation 11:8: “Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city that is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where their Lord also was crucified.” (An Amer. Trans.) The murdered “bodies” picture the stopping of a certain phase of God’s witness work toward the close of World War I. Yet it was in this same symbolical Egypt of this twentieth century that Jesus was persecuted and killed, nineteen centuries ago. Egypt, the first world power, figuratively stands for the world-organization, “this present evil world” that through the centuries has oppressed Jehovah’s people. The book of Revelation also shows that the Babylon divinely warned by Isaiah and others was typical of a greater Babylon to come, for long after literal Babylon’s collapse chapter 18 foretells the fall of a “Babylon the great”.
3. What was prefigured by Jerusalem and Judah? How well so?
3 As for Jerusalem and Judah that took God’s name but fell so far short of living up to it, how fittingly they prefigured Christendom of today! Christendom takes the name of God and Christ’s kingdom, but, like the Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s time, she has abandoned true worship for false gods; she serves self, idolizes money, power, creatures, statues and images, sacrifices her children to the god of war and mocks and jails and sometimes kills Jehovah’s witnesses that warn her of her derelictions. Like faithless Jerusalem of Jesus’ day, she has a form of godliness but denies God’s power, her priests and preachers ape the Pharisees by their garb and titles, their philosophy and tradition, their ceremony and creed, their hypocrisy and pious front, their words and works said and done for publicity’s sake. It is in just such parallel conditions that Christ’s true followers can walk in his footsteps, doing a similar work, by similar methods, through similar trials, with similar response to a similar message and warning. But with this difference: the present witness is this world’s final witness. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”—Matt. 24:14.
WHO SHARE IN THE WORK?
4, 5. Who do not share in the final witness? And why not?
4 Who share in giving the final witness concerning Jehovah’s kingdom and this world’s doom at Armageddon? Not the highly esteemed ones of this world, for they are an abomination in the sight of God. Not the worldly wise, not the wielders of influence, not the nobility nor socialites, not the self-styled realists and practical minds that scoff at what they consider unrealistic and foolish gospel-preaching. Jesus said: “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Paul wrote: “For consider, brothers, what happened when God called you. Not many of you were what men call wise, not many of you were influential, not many were of high birth. But it was what the world calls foolish that God chose to put the wise to shame with, and it was what the world calls weak that God chose to shame its strength with, and it was what the world calls low and insignificant and unreal that God chose to nullify its realities, so that in his presence no human being might have anything to boast of.”—Luke 16:15; 1 Cor. 1:26-29, An Amer. Trans.
5 None, whether in fields commercial or political or religious, who support and champion this world and seek to perpetuate its existence despite God’s warning of its early end would or could share in giving the final witness. Those who would please Jehovah God will heed his warning concerning this world-organization: ‘Christ is not of this world; his kingdom is not of this world; pray not for this world; I have chosen you Christians out of this world; love not the world, neither the things in the world; be not conformed to this world, but set your affections on things above; Satan is the prince of this world, the god of this world, and the whole world lieth in that evil one; finally, those warring for God’s cause do not entangle themselves in the affairs of this world, and friends of the world are enemies of God.’ (John 17:9, 14, 16; 18:36; 14:30; 15:18, 19; Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:2; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; 5:19, Am. Stan. Ver.; 2 Tim. 2:4; Jas. 4:4) Does not this barrage of divine pronouncements sweep even the influential and esteemed orthodox clergy of Christendom from the ranks of true Christian ministers?
6. But who are proved to be God’s ministers, to evidence what?
6 On the other hand, does not the foregoing indicate that the unesteemed, weak, lowly, insignificant, uninfluential, unworldly group known as Jehovah’s witnesses are God’s ministers? They are considered unrealistic and ignorant and foolish by this smart world. Moreover, they are the only ones preaching the good news of the established kingdom of Christ and warning of Armageddon’s visit upon this generation. By hundreds of millions of books and booklets, in some eighty-eight languages, plus more millions of magazines and tracts and thousands of public lectures weekly, Jehovah’s witnesses have given witness that the wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, strifes and persecutions, unrest and fears, increased world delinquencies and immoralities, failures in national rules and world governments—all are but physical facts fitting the signs Jesus foretold to accompany his second presence and on the heels of which comes Armageddon. Just as at Jesus’ first coming the fulfillment of scores of Hebrew Scripture prophecies proved him to be the Messiah, so today his second presence is evidenced by events in fulfillment of prophecy. But just as the influential religious and political leaders rejected him nineteen centuries ago, the same classes reject him today and turn to this world and its schemes for perpetuating itself.—Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; 1 Pet. 2:4-8.
7. Who accept the obligation to preach? With what performance?
7 Christians consecrated to do God’s will accept the obligation to share in the final witness, as commanded by Christ Jesus. (Matt. 24:14) Their consecration vow is not the quickly forgotten babble of wordy fools: “A fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Eccl. 5:3-5) Nor are they like the empty clouds and blowing winds of Proverbs 25:14 (Moff.): “Clouds and wind that bring no rain—like him who promises what he never gives!” Christians do not merely assemble for a few minutes one day a week in a besteepled building and pay some titled cleric to preach to them. Each and every Christian is a minister and must preach to others.—Jas. 1:22-25.
HOW THE WITNESS IS GIVEN
8. What voiceless means have also been used to preach?
8 Christians make effective use of printed Bibles and Bible helps. This is not new. Moses presented commands written on tablets of stone. Joshua wrote upon stone altars. Jeremiah wrote a witness to the captives in Babylon and Baruch recorded some of Jeremiah’s prophecies on a roll that was placed with King Jehoiakim. A hand from God wrote a message of doom on the palace wall of King Belshazzar. Apostles and other early Christians wrote epistles, and Paul was particularly anxious about some parchments. (Ex. 31:18; Josh. 8:32; Jer. 29:1; 36:1-32; Dan. 5:5, 25-28; 2 Tim. 4:13) These are only a few of many examples where writing was used to preach, in addition to the written scrolls that eventually made up the sixty-six books of the Bible itself.
9. Have such been a weariness to the flesh or otherwise? Why?
9 Today high-speed printing presses flood out an endless stream of reading matter that makes more pointed than ever before Solomon’s warning against the endless making of books whose study is a weariness of the flesh. But King Solomon exempted certain material from this warning, saying: “The words of the wise are like goads; and collections which are given by one teacher are like nails driven with a sledge.” (Eccl. 12:12, 11, An Amer. Trans.) In ancient times goads, long sticks with iron points, were used to keep oxen moving in the right direction. Wise words from the Bible or based upon the Bible keep true Christians moving forward in Kingdom service, not allowing them to lag or hold back or stray down wrong pathways without pricking guilty consciences. (Acts 26:14) Scriptural exhortation is pointed and sharp. All sixty-six books of the Bible, inspired by the one Teacher Jehovah God and collected under the guidance of his spirit, contain pointed truths that must be driven deep into one’s mind. Like nails sledged into a board, they will not pull out but can be held onto with confidence, serving as a sure anchor to keep us from being slapped and tossed and battered about by the blowing winds of worldly propaganda. (Jas. 1:6-8) Hence the Bible and reliable Bible helps such as distributed by Jehovah’s witnesses are not wearisome. Rather than weary the flesh, their counsel heeded will return flesh to the freshness of childhood!—Job 33:25.
10. How is this distributed? Why appropriately so?
10 Today Jehovah’s witnesses are aided in giving the final witness by huge supplies of literature. Far more than faithful men of old and early Christians who sounded the past warnings of Bible times. And having more committed to them, more is demanded, namely, a world-wide witness to all nations spread over the entire globe. (Luke 12:48; Mark 13:10) Bibles and Bible literature they distribute by going from house to house. Jesus preached by this method and trained his followers to conduct themselves properly at the doors of the people. (Matt. 10:7-15) Also, “In every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” Even over in Babylon centuries before Christ’s coming the doorways were considered appropriate places to discuss God’s message.—Acts 5:42; 20:20; Ezek. 33:30.
11. How do they act on placing of literature? After whose example?
11 “I am no peddler of God’s message.” (2 Cor. 2:17, An Amer. Trans.) Like Paul, Jehovah’s witnesses today can say this because they do not stop with the placement of literature in the homes of the people. Book peddlers have completed their work with the distribution of their wares, but not so the minister placing Bible helps. In his wielding of the “sword of the spirit” he does not make one thrust in the form of a book placement and then sheathe the truth-sword, but follows through by making a stab for a home Bible study. He is zealous to revisit those willing to hear him again on these vital subjects. (Acts 15:36; 17:32, An Amer. Trans.) And on such revisits he conducts Bible studies free of charge. Jesus taught in homes and revisited homes where there was special interest. (Luke 10:38-42; John 12:1-3) He continues to do so till this day, not in person, but representatively by his footstep followers: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”—Rev. 3:20.
12. In what public places also do they offer the message, rightly?
12 On busy streets Christian ministers take up strategic positions, holding forth the word of life to passers-by. The streets and public squares were long ago used as places to declare God’s wisdom: “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, she lifts up her voice in the squares; at the head of noisy thoroughfares she calls, at the openings of the city gates she utters her words.” Again, “Does not Wisdom call, and Reason lift up her voice? At the head of the highways, on the road, between the streets she takes her stand; by the gates that enter the city, at the doorways she cries aloud.” (Prov. 1:20, 21; 8:1-3, An Amer. Trans.) Of Christ Jesus the people said: “Thou hast taught in our streets.” (Luke 13:26) In the public squares or marketplaces Paul preached to those present.—Acts 17:17; An Amer. Trans.
13. What Scripture proof do we offer for our places to preach?
13 Hence when persons accustomed to the orthodox religious rut of Sunday sermons in a church building demand to know why we do not conform to that method, we can point to the foregoing scriptures to show we are conforming to our Exemplar, Christ Jesus. We can add, “The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” (Acts 7:48) Nevertheless, we can show that as Jesus and his apostles used the temple and synagogues Jehovah’s witnesses do use Kingdom Halls for holding congregational meetings, including public lectures. Also, they conduct open-air meetings in parks and elsewhere, as did Christ Jesus nineteen centuries ago.
ARE ANY EXEMPT?
14. How, to what extent, do some preach under varying conditions?
14 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season.” (2 Tim. 4:2) This all of Jehovah’s faithful witnesses do. Some are able to devote full time to the preaching work; others can be only part-timers, having to do some secular work to provide their livelihood. There are circumstances that limit the activity of some, but all can find opportunities to share in the final witness. Physical ailments may incapacitate some, but even these can preach by word of mouth to neighbors, to friends, to callers at the door or over the telephone, or by writing letters and sending literature through the mail. Indeed, what circumstance could knock the faithful witness out of Jehovah’s service completely?
15, 16. Are any too old or too young to preach? What shows so?
15 Are any too young to serve? Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians A.D. 50, and in that epistle referred to Timothy as a “minister of God”. He must have been a lad in his teens, for more than ten years later he was still young, and Paul advised, “Let no man despise thy youth.” (1 Thess. 3:2; 1 Tim. 4:12) At the age of twelve years Jesus preached and amazed hearers with his wisdom. (Luke 2:42, 46, 47) Jeremiah was only a child when he started to warn Jerusalem of her fall. (Jer. 1:5, 6) And, do you know, Samuel ministered unto Jehovah at the tabernacle and prophesied right after he was weaned! (1 Sam. 2:11, 18; 3:1-21) Are you younger than that?
16 Some may plead old age as a reason to retire. Aaron was ordained a priest when 83 years old, and Moses was 80 when he was launched into service as a mediator between Jehovah and Israel, in which capacity he foreshadowed Christ Jesus and served till his death, at the age of 120. (Ex. 7:7; 28:1-4; Deut. 34:7) When first a prisoner at Rome because of faithfulness to God Paul referred to himself as “Paul the aged”, but after his release and for some years he still preached. (Philem. 9) And the apostle John was around one hundred years of age when he wrote his contributions that completed the Bible canon. Are you older than a hundred?
17. Should physical infirmity halt preaching completely? Why?
17 Ill health limits service activity, but should it halt preaching entirely? Recall the case of Job. After suffering the loss of his children and material riches, he was smitten with a loathsome disease. Elephantiasis, or black leprosy! This ulcerous disease covers the skin with dark scales and swells the legs to two or three times natural size till they appear like shuffling elephant feet, hence the names black leprosy and elephantiasis. Job’s physical activity was greatly limited and suffering was intense, yet when three callers visited him he zealously witnessed to them and maintained integrity. (Job 2:7, 8, 11; 3:1) Even youthful Timothy had stomach trouble and “frequent attacks of illness”, and Paul served despite a “bitter physical affliction”. (1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Cor. 12:7, An Amer. Trans.) Today there are witnesses who preach in spite of such extreme physical handicaps as crippling paralysis, blindness and inability to either hear or speak.
18. Should any be too occupied to preach? Why your answer?
18 Too busy to preach? Like some in Jesus’ day, do any make excuses that they have a farm, or livestock, or a wife that takes their time and leaves no time for the new world? (Luke 14:17-20) Do they allow thorny entanglements with this world and its cares and riches to choke out gospel-preaching? (Matt. 13:7, 22) Do not most persons find some time for less essential things, such as secular work? shopping for food? reading the newspaper? listening to the radio? visiting friends? relaxing by some form of recreation? and perhaps even sleeping in some Sunday mornings? The last query reminds of the next—too lazy? Proverbs 6:6-11 says (Moff.): “You sluggard, how long will you sleep? When will you rise from your slumber? ‘Let me sleep for a little, a little! let me fold my hands for a little, to rest?’ yes, and poverty will pounce on you, want will overpower you.” But perhaps such ones are too tired to live forever, and prefer to sleep forever, in death, undisturbed by clanging alarm clocks or resurrections!
19. Should fear of men or of inability stop one? Why?
19 Others may hold back because of timidity or fear. Jeremiah surmounted that obstacle. (Jer. 1:6-9, 17-19) Perfect love for God casts out the ensnaring fear of men. (1 John 4:18; Prov. 29:25) Do you feel unable to speak in Kingdom service? Both Jeremiah and Moses felt the same way at the start, but look at the stirring oral testimony they gave after they overcame this false fear. (Ex. 4:10-12) Nor need fear of questions hard to answer block one from sharing in the final witness. Theological training in a religious seminary does not equip one for Jehovah’s service now, no more than it did in Jesus’ day when he and the apostles confounded such trained ones. Private study of the Bible and group study with other witnesses, plus Jehovah’s spirit, give ability to answer second to none! “Thy commands make me wiser than my foes; I am never without them. I have more insight than all these oracles, for I muse on thine injunctions! I know more than these sages, for I carry out thy behests!” (Ps. 119:98-100, Moff.) Note how young Elihu extols Jehovah’s spirit as the vital factor in wisdom: “I am of few days, while you are aged; therefore I feared and was afraid to show you my knowledge. I thought days should speak, and many years should teach wisdom. However, it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty, that makes them intelligent; it is not the old that are wise.”—Job 32:6-9, An Amer. Trans.
STUDY AND PREACH WITH THE ORGANIZATION
20, 21. (a) How much faith need we to preach? (b) How do we develop the irrepressible urge to preach? As shown by what examples?
20 To preach requires faith, but not much. As little as a grain of mustard seed will move a mountain. Less than even that little bit should move us into field service, we are so much smaller than mountains! None should need to be driven by others or by themselves to be active in witnessing. But what if one does not feel the urge to preach? Study. Meditate in God’s law day and night. Talk about the Scriptures at congregational meetings, listen to the comments of others. Take in the truth through eye and ear till it fills the mind and heart, till it wells up inside and overflows out the mouth in field service. It will do this of itself. We talk of what is in our mind and heart. “Of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45) Some gossip, carry tales, air family troubles, detail their ailments and describe their operations, or nag or complain or quarrel. That is what fills their mind. What is on our mind, we want to get off. So get the truth on your mind, and then get it off your mind in your witnessing territory!
21 If we feed our minds upon God’s truth and fill our hearts with it, we will tell it or burst, must let it flow from our lips to get relief! Elihu experienced just such feelings when he stood impatiently by and heard the false and blasphemous mouthings of Job’s three “comforters”. At a lull in their words Elihu spoke out: “I also will answer my share, I too will declare my knowledge. For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me. Behold, my bosom is like wine that has no vent; like skins of new wine it is ready to burst. Let me speak, that I may get relief; let me open my lips, and reply.” (Job 32:17-20, An Amer. Trans.) Keeping silent will be more torturous than the persecution that public witnessing might bring, as Jeremiah discovered: “I have become a laughing-stock all day long, everyone mocks me. As often as I speak, I must cry out, I must call, ‘Violence and spoil!’ For the word of the LORD has become to me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not think of it, nor speak any more in his name,’ it is in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones; I am worn out with holding it in—I cannot endure it.”—Jer. 20:7-9, An Amer. Trans.
22. How must gospel-preaching be directed? For what reason?
22 Let none wear themselves out holding in the truth, but unload the flimsy reasons and excuses that curtail Kingdom service, that tire you more to carry around and battle with your conscience than would the witness work. Let other publishers in the organization help you direct your zeal, now that it is fired by knowledge to a burning pitch. Direct it into tactful and organized gospel-preaching. Jehovah’s visible organization can use you, but can get along without you too. But you cannot get along without it. Fruitless ones are eventually pruned off and never missed as new ones are grafted in. Pruned-off branches soon wither and die, being cut off from the circulating, life-giving sap. Likewise, if a hand or foot is cut from the human body the severed member perishes, or if it is kept inactive in a cramped position it goes to sleep, gets numb, loses its ability to move. The blood in which is the life fails to circulate to those parts, fails to bring in new food supplies and carry off waste matter. So it is with Jehovah’s visible organization. All must associate together, get the life-giving spiritual food that God circulates to his people through the organization, get the new truths that take away old ideas and the admonition that keeps down queer personal ideas, all of which keeps us fresh and strong and active, seeing eye to eye and fighting shoulder to shoulder. Don’t become a withered branch or a paralyzed foot. Don’t amputate yourself from the organization and commit spiritual suicide.—John 15:1-8.
THE PEOPLES DIVIDED
23. What fate awaits the scoffers and the indifferent?
23 Leave the suicidal course to this old world of unrighteousness. Let it sneer and mock and say to us, as the Jerusalemites said to Jeremiah: ‘God is not interested in the earth. He has forsaken it. He will not do good or evil. And even if Armageddon comes someday, it will not come in our day, not in this generation.’ The warning witness is indifferently brushed aside by millions who may not violently persecute but who merely fail to act upon it. That indifference is enough to class them as “goats”. (Matt. 25:41-46) Those smugly indifferent or those whose supposed superior intelligence will not let them consider the warning, who brush it aside with an airy dismissal that deluded simpletons were warning of the world’s end in their father’s day or grandfather’s day, who say things will go on as they have in times past, should remember that the scoffers reasoned the same in Noah’s day and in Lot’s day and in Jeremiah’s day. The apostle Peter warned of the presence of such superior scoffers in the “last days”.—2 Pet. 3:3-7.
24, 25. What class of inactive ones are associated with us? How fated?
24 There is another class that manifests itself during these days of final witness. They know about the witness work of Jehovah’s witnesses. They believe that Jehovah’s witnesses have the best religion and that their publications present the most harmonious explanation of the Bible. Specially lovely and delightful do they consider the truths concerning the blessed conditions of living in Jehovah’s new world, and they come and listen as though to a beautiful song. They always come to the meetings when their favorite speakers are on the program, and seldom miss conventions, and never Memorial services. But they do not act upon what they hear, and zealous witnesses are likely to be considered extremists and fanatical by them. They will come to their senses too late, according to Ezekiel 33:31-33:
25 “They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.” Christ Jesus spoke of this class as foolish, saying: “Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”—Matt. 7:26, 27.
26. Preaching brings what others into the open? In what numbers?
26 But if the final witness stirs up scoffers and persecutors, and tickles the ears of the indolent and selfish and foolish, it also brings into the open a sheeplike class of lovers of righteousness. They not only listen but give heed, see the signs proving Christ’s second presence, believe the warning of Armageddon’s approach, and take to heart the admonition to flee from old-world entanglements. Isaiah foretold this glorious increase and ingathering as a result of letting the light of truth shine abroad into all the earth. As the abundance of the seas they would be converted, as doves that darken the sky by their flying masses they come to the only light of Jehovah’s organization. The gates of the organization are open continually, shut neither day nor night. Though false religion, politics, commerce, militarism, demons and the Devil himself try to slam shut the gates, they will never close for a moment, but remain open to let the light shine out and receive in the “other sheep” of the Lord! A little one becomes a thousand, a small one a strong nation, and Jehovah hastens to accomplish it as his ministers give the final witness.—Isa. 60:1-22.
SHARE IN THE WITNESS AND THE VICTORY!
27. What course of action do these take, and for how long?
27 These incoming lovers of righteousness do not come to Jehovah’s visible organization to greedily consume spiritual food to fatten self or to have ears tickled by pleasant truths of Kingdom blessings. No, they are prompted by no such selfish motives, but count it a greater blessing to give out the truth to others than it was to receive it themselves in the first place. They fall in step with others of Jehovah’s witnesses, take their places in the ranks, march with the antitypical locust army, herald abroad the message that burns the lush pastures where the clergy have made hay, burns it as thoroughly as did the jackal-borne firebrands that Samson loosed in the standing grain of the faithless Philistines. Only today the anointed witnesses and their good-will companions have no jackals to carry the firebrands of truth. But with voices joined to swell the volume of the growing shout of witness, they will continue till the final witness is given to all nations, till the end comes, till “the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate”.—Acts 20:35; Joel 2:1-11; Jer. 25:36; Judg. 15:4, 5; Isa. 6:11.
28. What is now our experience for preaching the truth?
28 Then ahead of obedient mankind will stretch endless blessings in a new world; but to reap those blessings then we must sow the seed of truth now. Faithfulness in so doing will bring down persecution on our heads. Men will prey like lions on God’s witnesses, blaze against them, fire mobs to attack them. The enemies are burned up by the message of doom and set aflame by the fiery judgments. Hence they roast the witnesses in the public press and pulpits and use their teeth and tongues as spears and swords to pierce the good reputation of the witnesses by hurling names and smears at them. As David said: “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” (Ps. 57:4) But Jehovah supplies a godly armor that turns aside the fiery darts of the wicked, and where human power and might fail his spirit gives the victory!—Eph. 6:10-17; Zech. 4:6.
29. How long yet is the time, and why preach now or never?
29 Share in the glorious treasure of giving the final witness now, that you may feed on the fruits of victory. The time is short—even Satan knows that! (Rev. 12:12) The time will not drag if spent in zealous work. Why, the Bible says that “Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her”. And when the time lengthened beyond his expectations, it still passed quickly. (Gen. 29:20, 27, 28) Because of the love we have for God and his King and the Kingdom work the time separating us from Armageddon will seem as a fast stream of pleasant days. When those days are past the history of the final witness will be recorded, and that is a history that will not repeat itself. (Nah. 1:9; Matt. 24:21) This old world has been weighed in the balances and found wanting, its days are numbered, its hours are numbered, as God knows its final hour. (Matt. 24:36) Our hours for gospel-preaching are numbered with it. The Devil uses the short time remaining as a wild, raging, roaring lion seeking to prove his challenge; we should use our time as zealously for good as he uses his for evil. Gone will be the time for proving him a liar and sharing in the final witness when the great clock of God strikes and booms out the fateful hour of Armageddon! Share in the final witness now or never!