What to Do in the Face of the End
1. Why is the Bible doctrine of the world’s end scientific, and why will Christendom be the first part of it to end?
SECTARIAN religionists in the past persuaded themselves that the destruction of the sun, moon, stars and earth was at hand, and did many foolish things that brought ridicule upon them and made the subject of the end of the world one that provoked a smile of incredulity or that was carefully avoided. The things done were foolish because they were not the things which God’s Word tells Christians who are facing the real end to do. The subject of the end of the world is not a crazy, crackbrained idea meant for only religious fanatics to snap up, resulting in silly conduct that brings the jeers of the world. The end of the world is scientific. It does not spell the destruction of God’s material universe which he spent measureless time to bring to glorious existence. Since “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork”, why should he destroy these scientific marvels? He will not do so. Let us rid the doctrine of the end of the world from the silly, unscriptural interpretations which Christendom has attached to it and which have led to unreasonable conduct. The end of the world does not mean the destruction of our globe and of the material creations in the sky. It means the end of Satan the Devil’s wicked organization invisible and visible. Christendom has made herself a part of his organization, although she claims to be the “house of God”. For this hypocrisy she will receive the severer judgment and will be the first part of this world to end.
2. How do we learn the sensible and right thing to do in the face of the world’s end?
2 Worldly people think there is nothing to do unless you mix in with this world. They think there is nothing to keep you busy unless you pitch in with the world. They think that to withdraw from being a part of this world means getting away from the people and secluding oneself in a nunnery or a monkery. But what did Noah do while he walked with God? What did he and his family do as they faced the end of the antediluvian world? What did the apostle Peter tell Christians to do because the complete end of all things had drawn close? By consulting the Bible records concerning what the servants of Jehovah God did as they faced a calamity from his hand, we learn what is the sensible and right thing to do as we face the world’s end.
3. What does God serve in advance of a calamity from his hand, and how does time figure in here?
3 It is now a truism, at least among Jehovah’s witnesses, that Almighty God always serves notice beforehand of a calamity which he brings upon some or upon all of mankind. That was true of the first global calamity or world calamity. That must and will be true of the impending world calamity, for Jehovah’s greatest witness, Jesus Christ, said our days were to be parallel with those of Noah: “Just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17:26, NW) Jehovah God timed the arrival of the Flood to the very day. He also timed the beginning of the serving of public notice of its coming, timing this far enough in advance to carry out his purpose by the witness given. So, too, now with regard to this great world calamity.
4. What is the purpose of serving notice thus in advance?
4 His causing notice to be served in advance is not just for creating an end-of-the-world scare. He is not one who scares converts to his side, nor are the worldly scoffers the ones to yield to such scaring. Those who try to create a scare generally want to cause a sensation and they have an unscriptural explanation of what the calamity is to be. They look for publicity and notoriety and want to induce a lot of excitement and emotionalism. But Jehovah has considerateness in his serving of advance notice, and so the ones who do not take heed can never say they did not have a chance.
5. Whom does God choose and not choose to serve notice, and why?
5 Necessarily those who publish the advance notice of the act of God must be his witnesses. This service is a favor and an honor, and Jehovah would not choose any others than people who are loyal to him and who will speak the word which he lays upon them to speak, no matter who scoffs. He would not choose those who are out of harmony with him and who are ashamed of his Word and who treat it lightly, placing the philosophies, scientific theories, and religious traditions of men ahead of God’s Word, and who commit spiritual adultery with this world. Psalm 50:16-21 states: “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, and that thou hast taken my covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee? When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” (AS) Religious hypocrites can never deceive God, and he would never mistakenly select them for his heralds to announce the approach of the end. He chooses those who walk with him.
6. To be saved from the world calamity what must we be, and how is this fact shown?
6 As for saving anybody, Jehovah’s first concern is to save his worthy witnesses. The apostle Peter makes a strong point out of this. After telling how Noah and his family were saved through the flood and then righteous Lot was rescued from the destruction of Sodom by fire and brimstone from heaven, Peter comments: “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off, especially, however, those who go on after flesh with the desire to defile it and who look down on lordship.” (2 Pet. 2:5-10, NW) He also saves those who give heed to this witness and who aid in spreading it to others. This was why the apostle Paul said: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Tim. 4:16, NW) By this we appreciate more fully how we need to be one of the witnesses of Jehovah God in order to be saved from the world calamity.
GOD DISCHARGES HIS RESPONSIBILITY
7. What must be behind the far-reaching, persistent activities of Jehovah’s witnesses as the cause therefor?
7 There must be something other than mere religious emotionalism and fanaticism behind it when Jehovah’s witnesses persist in going to the people in their home territories over and over again and also spread their preaching work out to as many lands as they can reach, proclaiming their message now in more than ninety languages and dialects and in one hundred and fifteen lands, and this in the face of great hostility, religious persecution and political oppression. Yes, they are ridiculed. But that means nothing, for Jesus Christ himself was ridiculed and misrepresented and he forewarned us that his followers would be treated that way too. So the intensive witness that this comparatively small band persists in giving must be the effect of some valid cause, for the witness has not been spread by fire and sword as Mohammedanism has done nor has it curried political favor and enjoyed political protection. The Almighty God and his spirit must be behind it, for these witnesses appeal to God’s Word for their message, not to just mere portions and partial selections from the Bible but to all of it as one harmonious whole. The valid cause behind their irrepressible witness is the fact that Jehovah’s kingdom has been born in the heavens and his Son has been enthroned as acting King and the end of Satan’s world in a global calamity is at hand. Jehovah’s witnesses can prove this by fact and by prophecies that have come true.
8. How did God tell Amos there would be certain causes for certain effects, and so what is the cause for serving notice now?
8 In this time of world crisis God is at work in the earth before he performs the terrific act of God which he has foretold. He tells us there must be adequate causes for certain observable effects. He also tells us he would keep his witnesses informed of his purposes and of his coming act. Through his prophet, therefore, the Lord God Jehovah long ago said: “Do two men walk together, unless they have made an appointment? Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion send forth his voice from his lair, unless he has seized something? Does a bird fall to the ground, when there is no snare for it? Does a trap spring from the ground, when it has taken nothing at all? If a trumpet be blown in a city, do the people not tremble? If there be disaster in a city, has not the LORD caused it? Surely, he will do nothing, the Lord GOD, except he reveal his purpose to his servants the prophets. When the lion roars, who does not fear? When the Lord GOD speaks, who will not prophesy?” (Amos 3:3-8, AT) Since Jehovah God long ago spoke by his recorded Word foretelling the world calamity, and since he now makes this recorded Word of prophecy talk through fulfillment of the prophecy which marks the “time of the end”, how can Jehovah’s witnesses do otherwise than prophesy? They cannot do otherwise. And they are not doing otherwise than prophesy, let the doomed world like it or not. Hence the certain end of the world is the valid reason for giving preliminary witness about it now.
9. (a) What is the reason for the world’s end? (b) Who need not be looked to for right information about its end, and why?
9 The end of the world is for a good reason. It is for the purpose of vindicating the universal sovereignty of the Most High God, by obliterating the Devil’s entire organization, and not for burning up the literal earth. Jehovah God is not interested in just wiping off every creature from this earth and reducing it to an uninhabited cinder. He did not make it for that purpose, and he did not change his purpose about the ultimate destiny of this earth when man sinned in the paradise of Eden. His purpose still remains as originally. It will be vindicated when his kingdom brings to ruin those who ruin the earth and transforms the whole earth into a paradise for perfected obedient mankind to inhabit. Since Jehovah takes the responsibility for bringing the destructive catastrophe upon Satan’s world, he obligates himself to serve advance notice of it, to explain the just cause for which he brings the destruction and to tell how the heedful ones may escape. Those who are part of this world and who walk with it in friendship and in compromise could never be looked to to be the ones sent by God to notify the world of its end. That is why the people of Christendom need never look to their clergy to give them accurate information on the end of this world. Rather they should expect the clergy to keep the people in ignorance of it.
10. Why is the notice Jehovah’s witnesses serve now most unusual, and hence who fight and rage against it?
10 Jehovah must set himself right, not only before men, but also before angels. That means holy angels as well as hostile ones, Satan’s demons. Although a world ended in Noah’s day, yet Jehovah God did not send Noah to serve notice upon Satan the Devil to inform him that that wicked one was then to be destroyed. Now, however, God Almighty is causing a most unusual message to be delivered. Most unusual in what way? In that it serves notice upon Satan and all his demons that they too are to be destroyed at the end of this world. At the climax of its fiery end they are to be seized, bound and cast into the abyss, away from all human contact as well as away from the holy angels. Already since 1914 they have been ejected from heaven because of the birth of God’s kingdom, but that was only a preliminary notice of what is further due at Armageddon. When ejected from heaven, they were abased only down to this earth and allowed to carry on here. But at Armageddon they will be cast still lower, into the great abyss to be held in solitary confinement there for a thousand years. Their pride keenly hurt, they object to being reminded of this now by the preaching of Jehovah’s witnesses. Neither do they want people on earth to be told about it. That is why they fight against the proclamation made by Jehovah’s witnesses. Satan now rages against them like a lion cornered in his lair.
11. What merciful reason is there for God’s time allowance since 1914?
11 So there is good reason for the time allowance which God has granted since 1914. It is not just to let human suffering take place on a scale greater than ever before or more flagrant wickedness to be carried on. Not that! But it is in order to discharge God’s responsibility to serve final notice and in order to send his chosen witnesses with a final warning in this “time of the end”. So this is a period of God’s undeserved kindness, allowing people of good will who are in danger to take advantage of God’s patience and mercy. They are thus given a fair opportunity to act and work for their own salvation by God’s means, and not by human means. They should never presume upon God’s patience and think he is slow and they may linger a little longer with the world and enjoy more of it before making a last-minute break for safety under God’s organization. There is now no time to lose, and we should all take the viewpoint that Peter said to take: “Consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Pet. 3:15, NW; Rev. 12:13-17) So work for salvation.
12, 13. In face of the ancient world’s end, what did Noah do?
12 In discussing the world’s end Peter mentions Noah in both of his letters to the Christian congregation. So, briefly, what did Noah do in the face of the end of the antediluvian world? He and his sons were already married, but they did not build themselves permanent homes on the earth. They did not engage in the general building, planting, feeding and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. At God’s command they built themselves a big chest, an ark the size of a great ship. Building such a boat high upon land without waterways or skids to launch it onto the waters was unusual. They used this strange building program as an occasion for giving a witness concerning the coming act of God. By building something different from the world, they showed they believed what God had told Noah. Noah took the lead in preaching the world’s end, but he preached the right explanation of it. He did not expect to go to heaven at its end, but expected to stay right here on this earth, even if it did get very rain-soaked. Noah, therefore, could not have preached the destruction of the earth; no more than Jehovah’s witnesses today preach such. Besides the world’s destruction, Noah preached righteousness. Over six hundred years before this, Noah’s great-grandfather Enoch had preached about God’s coming day of judgment, and Noah took up Enoch’s message. In fact, Noah wrote a document containing a brief account of Enoch’s life and its unusual finish.—Jude 14, 15; Gen. 5:3 to 6:9.
13 In harmony with his message of righteousness, Noah carried on Jehovah’s worship with his family. This accounts for it that the first thing he did when he emerged from the ark after the Flood was to build an altar to Jehovah and restore his clean worship on the dry land. In love of animal life he provided safe quarters for specimens of all the land animals and birds in the ark. This was why he was instructed to build the ark so large. More animals lived through the Flood than humans. God cares for man and beast.
14. Was Noah a pessimist? How did he show himself an optimist?
14 So, then, was Noah left idle, trusting to God to make every provision for saving him through the deluge? No. He had plenty to do in the face of the Flood. He was most active with building and preaching and witnessing according to God’s commands. Was he an old pessimist, as the antediluvians called him? Yes, as far as that ungodly world was concerned. But could he have any grounds for optimism too? Yes, he could; and the big ark that he built was the tangible, visible expression of his immense optimism for mankind’s future and for God’s clean worship in the earth.
15. How was Noah scientific in his views and preaching, and how are we today also interested in perpetuating human life?
15 Was Noah really scientific in his views and preaching? He was, although he was thought to be the queerest crank of the times. His science and weather predictions were the only ones right against the religious and scientific theories of people who scoffed at him. None of the people living today are the descendants of those scoffers. They have descended from Noah. Noah’s walking with God and carrying out his commands and instructions resulted in saving him and his family and in thus perpetuating the human family to this day. At least Jehovah’s witnesses thank Noah for that. They think his example is the most scientific, and that to follow it in this “time of the end” of the postdiluvian world guarantees life. Like Noah and his family, Jehovah’s witnesses of today are interested in perpetuating the human family beyond the cataclysm of Armageddon. In harmony with this they are imitating Noah’s example of faith and are bringing in droves of God’s “other sheep” under his theocratic organization in the face of the approaching world’s end.
16. Why do we examine Peter’s writings to learn what to do?
16 Peter, in his letters, stressed the end of this world so much and referred to Noah’s days for fine illustrations. What, then, does Peter say Christians should do now in view of the impending “end of all things”, the end of all the worldly things he had been discussing? Let us briefly examine them and determine whether he advised anything unreasonable, emotional, frantic.
17. What does Peter advise us to be mentally? How do we do this?
17 Christendom’s evangelists try to work people up into an emotional frenzy in order to induce them to join the sectarian religious systems as the means of salvation. But Peter advises us: “Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:7, NW) The world thinks we are unsound in mind for now applying Peter’s words that the complete end of all things has drawn close, but the worldlings are the ones who are mentally unsound. Unscripturally and unscientifically Christendom teaches the end of the world to mean fiery destruction for our earth and all the material creation. But Jehovah God has given us the spirit of soundness of mind. So we declare his promise that the earth will survive Armageddon and that God’s will is to be done here in converting the entire globe into a paradise. Armageddon survivors and those resurrected from the graves may prove themselves worthy to inhabit it forevermore. So in the face of the end we do not lose our mental balance, but we act consistent with our belief and use our time in God’s way.
18. Why do we need to watch and pray, and for what?
18 Besides keeping a sound mind by studying and applying God’s Word, we need to pray to him. We need to keep vigilant to do this, both privately and in company with our brothers. Prayer makes our appreciation of our relation with our heavenly Father and Deliverer stronger. It keeps us in communication with him. We have a real fight on our hands, not against blood and flesh with carnal arms, but against superhuman enemies, the wicked spirits in the invisible realms who have now been abased to this earth. Our personal armor is the complete spiritual outfit which God has provided for us. As we fight against these spiritual hosts with this complete suit of armor on, we need to keep awake, alert to pray and to appeal for heavenly aid. We cannot get along without prayer. It really has an effect if we pray with faith and earnestness, in harmony with God’s will. We need to pray for boldness to preach God’s Word and deliver the witness, in favorable season, in troublesome season. We are privileged to pray, not for ourselves only, but for all our brothers throughout the earth, that they may zealously carry out their obligations as Jehovah’s witnesses in these closing years of this old world and may keep their integrity and gain life with us.
EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE
19. What quality must we cultivate intensely now, and why? In order to cover what is it needed?
19 More than ever, now, the abased Devil is breeding hate throughout the world, hatred of God and hatred of fellow man. Hence, in view of the end, says Peter, “above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet. 4:8, NW) We have to stick together as Noah’s family did before the flood. We have to love God’s organization and to love those who are members of his theocratic organization or who are sheltered under it. Love is the perfect bond of union for us. We must exercise it in imitation of God and must resist the hate-breeding infection of this selfish world. None of us are perfect yet, even though we are so near the new world of righteousness. Hence unintentionally, through weakness and imperfection, we are going to commit sins against one an other. These we must forgive and cover over, and love alone will help us to do this. Satan’s world will never destroy this love from among God’s organization, but love will live through Armageddon and on into the new world. The old world will be destroyed for its selfishness. So we avoid selfishness.
20. How can we be hospitable and also get true benefit from it?
20 “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling,” Peter’s advice continues. For such hospitality there is great need in view of the emergencies, privations and hard conditions of this day. So we can open our homes for conducting home Bible studies and for holding local public Bible lectures. We can entertain Bible conventioners and pioneers whom we can assist this way in actively serving God in the witness work afield. We can engage in relief work to help our brothers in lands that have suffered from war, dictatorships and persecution of God’s people by totalitarian rulers with concentration camps. (1 Pet. 4:9, NW) That we may get the benefit from doing this, we must do it ungrudgingly.
21. How must we use the spiritual resources at our command?
21 Then, too, we must keep busy in upbuilding our brothers with all the spiritual resources we have at our command. Says Peter: “In proportion as each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as the right kind of stewards over God’s undeserved kindness which is expressed in various ways.” Remember that any gift with which God has endowed you or which he has helped you to cultivate is to be put to use, especially now in the “time of the end”, when it is so urgently needed. Use all your abilities and talents, depending upon the strength that God supplies, in nothing looking for praise and adulation for yourself but turning all the credit and thanksgiving and praise to God for his glory. Show that his undeserved kindness has not been wasted on you.—1 Pet. 4:10, 11, NW.
FINISHING OUR TRAINING
22. Why is a trial upon us now? Why are we not puzzled about it?
22 As a mark of this time of the end, human suffering has been intensified and Satan and his demons, bitter through their abasement and confinement to this earth, are waging warfare as never before against the witnesses of Jehovah. As we confidently face the end, here, then, is what Peter says we must do about the great trial upon us: “Beloved ones, do not be puzzled at the burning among you which is happening to you for a trial, as though a strange thing were befalling you. On the contrary, go on rejoicing forasmuch as you are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ, that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory.” We have enlightenment from God through his Word and theocratic organization. So we have no reason now to be puzzled.
23. Why is our suffering thus a favor from God to us, and what must we keep resting upon us through it all?
23 We understand that the chief issue involved is the vindication of Jehovah’s rightful sovereignty over all creation. It is a favor from God to us to endure the fiery trial of our faith, not mournfully and gloomily, but joyfully. Having joy over why we are suffering strengthens us to keep our integrity under test. We are sharers, not just in the common sufferings of mankind, but in the sufferings of the Christ. This suffering must precede the glory of living in the new world, after Christ fully reveals himself at Armageddon. Through all the suffering, let us keep sound in mind and keep God’s spirit upon us. “If you are being reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy, because the spirit of glory, even the spirit of God, is resting upon you.” You may not have outward glory upon you now, but God’s spirit upon you now is a “spirit of glory”, the guarantee of glory to come in reward for the present suffering. Be sympathetic with your brothers who are suffering elsewhere. Set a good example yourself of faithfully enduring suffering. Always see to it that your suffering is for no selfish wrongdoing nor for religious hypocrisy. Then you will keep that happifying “spirit of glory” upon you, for your sufferings will be those in harmony with God’s will. You will be able to commend the keeping of your souls to him with all confidence, and so be fearless even when faced with the danger of death.—1 Pet. 4:12-14, 19, NW.
24. Why is Peter’s admonition to shepherd the flock of God now very appropriate? By whom and how must this be done?
24 In this time of the end, also, the Chief Shepherd of God is gathering together all the sheep that are now on earth. These are the last members of the “little flock” who will receive the heavenly kingdom and the great crowd of “other sheep” who take delight in doing good to Christ’s spiritual brothers as if they were doing it directly to him. How fitting, then, is Peter’s admonition to those who are older spiritually among the congregation of God’s people: “Shepherd the flock of God among you”! As the Chief Shepherd continues to bring more of the “other sheep” into the one flock under the one Shepherd, what a lot of shepherding work there is to do today! As we do this shepherding work, let us be certain we do it in the right way, as Peter prescribes, willingly, eagerly, as examples to the flock, and not under compulsion, nor for love of dishonest gain, nor lording it over those who are God’s sheep. Not only the older ones spiritually but also the younger ones should be humble, subject to the leading of God’s hand. We must all do this for the sake of hunting, gathering and feeding the Great Shepherd’s sheep. As the “other sheep” are now being divided off from the worldly goats, let us welcome them all, as many as come, to the flock. Let us all get along peaceably, lovingly, with one another, that we may go through Armageddon together as one indivisible flock.—1 Pet. 5:1-6, NW.
25. Against whom must we take our stand, not running for cover?
25 Remember that Satan the Devil is our chief adversary. Do not fear him and become panicky because he musters his entire world against you and subjects you and your brothers to cruel suffering. He is near his end, not you yours. So, to quote Peter further, “keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, is walking about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour. But take your stand against him, solid in the faith, knowing that the same things in the way of sufferings are being accomplished in the entire association of your brothers in the world.” None are exempt, and you cannot be exempt either, anywhere in this world, if you are faithful. Hence do not run for cover and isolate yourself. Keep shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and bear the sufferings with them and thus stand up against the Devil with solidity of faith.—1 Pet. 5:8, 9, NW.
26. What is God’s purpose in letting us suffer thus, and what will our coming off completely victorious mean?
26 The world is abandoned to its destruction, and Christendom along with it. But Jehovah God is very close to us and is dealing with us, with a view to our complete salvation. He is not letting suffering come upon us to destroy us, but is seeking to perfect us in obedience by the things we suffer. He is training us for faithful service in the future, to make us immovable in his service, and strong spiritually. So let us not wilt under continuous sufferings. “But,” Peter assures us, “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness, who called you to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish your training, he will make you firm, he will make you strong.” (1 Pet. 5:10, NW) Hence when the climax of the final test comes shortly under the all-out effort of the combined foe, with everything the enemy has, we shall come off completely victorious for God’s vindication and thus survive the end.
27. What, then, clearly is our duty, and, in determination to fulfill it, what do we carry forward?
27 Our duty, then, is clear in the face of the world’s end. As a theocratic organization we must push on through 1951 and the remaining time of God’s forbearance toward this world. We must hold together by love, unitedly fighting, unitedly serving God, unitedly enduring and praying, throughout all the earth. Are we determined to do it? Then onward with the final work! Onward with preaching this good news of God’s kingdom in all the earth for a witness, not stopping until the accomplished end comes and Jehovah God himself rises for his climactic witness and his new world follows, into which we shall survive to his everlasting praise by Christ Jesus.
You are standing firm in one spirit, with one soul fighting side by side for the faith of the good news, and in no respect being frightened by your opponents. This very thing is a proof of destruction for them, but of salvation for you.—Philippians 1:27, 28, NW.