Preparing Yourself for the World’s End
Why should Jehovah destroy the world? What has it done to deserve such a fate? Can we escape the destruction?
“THE complete end of all things has drawn close. Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.” This vital warning was penned by the inspired apostle Peter. For those who inquire what ‘end’ of what ‘things’ he had in mind, the apostle clarifies the matter by explaining further: “Yet Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.” It is the complete end of the present world of wickedness that has drawn close. What shall we do? How shall we act? Where can we find protection, and how? Many questions quickly come to the mind once the fact comes home that the complete end of this evil world has drawn close.—1 Pet. 4:7; 2 Pet. 3:10.
Many reading the publications of Jehovah’s witnesses see considerable in the message pointing to the troubles in the earth, to the nearness of the great battle of Armageddon and to the terrible wickedness now rampant. Whether anything were published about it or not, the trouble is here. Jehovah’s people did not bring it, are not responsible for it now that it is here, and they have nothing to do with deciding when it will end. However, they do use their time, strength and money to tell others what it means, not to benefit some selfish scheme or organization, but to help their fellow man and to carry out the will of God. Have you ever thought how terrible it would be were the end of the world to come without your being informed or being provided any opportunity to escape it?
And why will Jehovah destroy this evil world? The answer is furnished by pointing to His dealings with Israel. He turned that beautiful land into a howling wilderness. Why did Jehovah do this? He declares: “And the future generation of your sons who will rise up after you will be bound to say, . . . yes, all the nations will be bound to say, ‘Why did Jehovah do like this to this land? Why the heat of this great anger?’ Then they will have to say, ‘It was because they abandoned the covenant of Jehovah the God of their forefathers, . . . And they proceeded to go and serve other gods and to bow down to them, gods that they had not known and he had not apportioned to them. Then Jehovah’s anger blazed against that land by bringing upon it the whole malediction written in this book.’”—Deut. 29:22, 24-27.
Hundreds of years later, in 607 B.C., this destruction actually did take place. The prophet Jeremiah warned Israel in advance and explained to those then seeking a reason: “Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith Jehovah, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law; and ye have done evil more than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the stubbornness of his evil heart, so that ye hearken not unto me.” (Jer. 16:11, 12, AS) The Lord Jesus pronounced the same judgment on false worshipers of his day. “Serpents, offspring of vipers, how are you to flee from the judgment of Gehenna? . . . there may come upon you all the righteous blood spilled on earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation.”—Matt. 23:33, 35, 36.
FORSAKING JEHOVAH TODAY
This modern-day evil world has likewise forsaken Jehovah God. The many professing Christian nations are that in name only. The Word of Jehovah is pushed on one side, worship of Jehovah is forsaken. Idolatry is everywhere. The people will not listen to the warning. They are rebellious. They refuse to forsake their abominable ways and turn and serve only the true God. So-called Christendom is guilty of all the sins committed by Israel of old that brought on the well-merited destructions of Jerusalem in 607 B.C. and A.D. 70. So God’s judgments are upon this evil world now.
His prophetic Word describing the sins of the typical people of old applies now with greater force to the nations of the world today. Note how the prophecies of Scripture make this certain: “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” “Fear ye not me? saith Jehovah: will ye not tremble at my presence, . . . this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart.” “The earth also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are found guilty: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 13:11; Jer. 5:22, 23; Isa. 24:5, 6, AS) The nations not only reject the truth but fight against Jehovah, against his Anointed and against Christ’s kingdom, form a conspiracy to thwart Jehovah’s purpose, become agents and mouthpieces of Satan, are lovers of evil, blasphemers, covenant breakers, scoffers, having a form of godly devotion but denying the power. (Psalm 2; Isa. 8:9-15, AV; Rev. 16:13, 14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Pet. 3:3, 4) The doom of destruction, therefore, is justly decreed upon all nations, including Christendom.
How widespread will be this destruction? The apostle Peter says, “the complete end of all things.” He also speaks of the whole world being destroyed. Jeremiah foretells its extent, saying: “Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest shall be raised up from the uttermost parts of the earth. And the slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the face of the ground.” (Jer. 25:32, 33, AS) Speaking of this same devastating event, Jesus said: “Keep praying that your flight may not occur in wintertime nor on the sabbath day; for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Matt. 24:20, 21) Thus do the Scriptures graphically describe the “end of all things”—a destruction that will strike at all nations.
THE WISE COURSE
The apostle Peter says: “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion.” (2 Pet. 3:11) Again he writes: “Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:7) To be sound in mind means to be sober, self-controlled and temperate. It means doing justice to one’s neighbor, duly honoring and worshiping Jehovah God. The mind affects everything we do, what we hear and read, how we converse, how we pray, how we teach, preach, follow up interest on back-calls, conduct Bible studies, meet adversity. By soundness of mind we avoid credulity, presumption, pride, covetousness, materialism, excesses and impatience. In these days when the world is being shaken to its foundations, we need balance, soundness of mind. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
“Be vigilant with a view to prayers.” To be vigilant means to be awake, watchful. How can this be with a view to prayers? The Lord Jesus said: “Men, keep on the watch and praying, in order that you do not come into temptation. The spirit, of course, is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38) The Devil is always on the prowl to destroy our faith and bring about death-meriting disobedience and disloyalty. Watch lest you fall into his deceptive snares. Pray without ceasing while watching for further opportunities of doing Jehovah’s will and helping His people. We are in the last days. Be vigilant! We must not treat prayer lightly. We are actually speaking to the great Creator and Most High God of the universe. Never slip into a careless state regarding prayer. It is a precious privilege.
Pray that you may escape the destruction coming now on the world, for your neighbor, whom you must love as yourself. Pray with purpose in mind. Watch unto prayer, be frequent in your prayers. Never let one day go by without offering prayer with thanksgiving. Have a clear conscience before Jehovah God so your prayers will not be hindered. Pray and continue praying.
If you go along with this old world, if now you do not get clear of its ways, then you will not be able to pray properly, for you will try to have your eyes on two things at one time, and that cannot be. You would be double-minded. Look for the new world of righteousness. Look for the end of the old world of wickedness. Pray to Jehovah through Christ Jesus that you may be one found approved to escape these terrible things coming upon the old world. Always keep in mind, the old world has been condemned and is to be destroyed and “the complete end of all things has drawn close.” How close? Who can state the day or hour? Surely sufficient it should be that we see these things prophesied now coming to pass. Also these signs will be fulfilled during this generation, signs that began in 1914. Yes, the complete end has drawn close. Let us, therefore, be sound in mind, be vigilant with a view to prayers. Let all be sober in thought and action and pray unceasingly. So may we live out our lives as God’s children in holiness and purity and perform our ministry, to the blessing of ourselves and yet further multitudes of sheeplike persons, and to the vindication of the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah.