The Biggest Optimists
“But the complete end of all things has drawn close.”—1 Pet. 4:7, NW.
JEHOVAH is the biggest optimist in the universe, and his inspired Book, the Holy Bible, rings with optimism from the opening of Genesis to the close of Revelation. His witnesses, who have run a continuous course for the past six thousand years, are the biggest optimists on earth in this last half of the twentieth century.
2 “Ah,” says some objector, “but you people are preaching the most pessimistic message on earth. For the past seventy years in particular you have been preaching the end of the world. What could be more gloomy and pessimistic than that? And as a natural result you don’t join in with the world in its efforts to hold together and in its humanitarian efforts to improve the material and social lot of the people. What right have you to speak of yourselves as being the biggest optimists?”
3 We have every right. Today, with more earnestness than ever, we take up the words of the Christian apostle Peter: “But the complete end of all things has drawn close. Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:7, NW) But the acceptance of the fact that the end of all things has drawn close does not make us feel that there is nothing to live for any more. It does not make us lose all interest in living and make us retire from contact with human society and go into a hermit’s hut or a religious monastery and loaf around and do nothing but pray. Actually it makes us appreciate that we have everything to live for, yes, every inducement to live. For our expecting this old world to end soon means we are looking for a new world to begin with the most wonderful opportunities for living. It is not a false, baseless optimism, but is based on God’s own Word.
4 Men of this world are really the ones expressing pessimism, offering nothing hopeful to look forward to. Greatly sobered by the terrible possibilities, they make world-wide recommendations on what to do to prevent the worst. Under the heading “Atomic Scientists Back World Union”, a newspaper article dated Los Alamos, New Mexico, April 28, said: “A strong movement for world government exists in this community where atomic weapons are manufactured. Many scientists at the Government’s research laboratory assert that what they are doing may mean the end of civilization as it is known today unless a way is found to control atomic weapons and prevent war. . . . Many scientists here agree that world government is essential to atomic control, but differ as to the best method of achieving it.”—New York Times, April 29, 1951.
5 In view of the need for underground shelters many men of the world who do not understand the Bible expect that, as a result of the use of atomic weapons and other deadly means of mass destruction, humanity will be reduced to the level of the cave man, a great setback in civilization, indeed. Yet the science of war takes the command position in human thought all over the world. The effect is to stifle ambition in the hearts of countless multitudes. It makes them concerned with living only for the present and getting the most out of it, rightly or wrongly.
6 However, the realization that this world is fast approaching its end does not render the witnesses of Jehovah aimless in living and cause them to droop their hands. No; but it spurs them to action, to more intensive activity for God’s cause than ever before. Look, they say, at the Devil, who has been cast out of heaven and down to earth since God’s kingdom was born in the heavens in 1914. The prophetic vision at Revelation 12:12 says about him: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (NW) Satan the Devil is driven to action, frenzied by the realization that the end of this world has drawn close and he has but a short time left till the “war of the great day of God the Almighty”. So he is out to do all the damage he can on earth, to induce men to become bitter and oppose God, so that when he, the Devil, goes down all humanity will go down with him into destruction. His vicious intent is that, when Jehovah God does gain the victory at Armageddon’s battle, He will have none on earth over whom to exercise his universal sovereignty. Now, if that is the effect on the Devil, then no less so the realization of the near end of the Devil’s world rouses Jehovah’s witnesses to unusual efforts.
7 Even religious clergymen in Christendom are compelled to admit that Jehovah’s witnesses, despite their conviction of the world’s end soon, have more zeal for Christian activity than the clergy and their religious flocks have. They are the biggest optimists on earth today.