The Crucial Time for Staying Awake
1. Against what military background does Jesus’ critical warning to stay awake now apply, and on what side do we need to stay awake?
THE critical warning, “Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments,” was given by the glorified Jesus Christ against a prophetic background now being dramatically staged on a world-wide scale. Kings, the rulers of the entire earth and the Rulers of heaven, are on the march! Throughout heaven and earth is heard the rumble of military hosts that are now being deployed for the battle of battles, the universal war of the Mountain of Megiddo. There is no neutrality in this war. Everybody alive is being forced to a decision, the consequence of which will be either life or death, survival or destruction. There is a pressing need to be aware of the issue that has to be settled. There is a continual need to stay awake and prove faithful and dependable on the right side of the issue. Note how the timely advice to do this is interjected in the prophetic signs given long ago to foreshadow things now taking place:
2. Between what prophetic signs was Jesus’ timely advice at Revelation 16:15 interjected?
2 “And the fifth [angel] poured out his bowl [of the anger of God] upon the throne of the wild beast. And its kingdom became darkened, and they began to gnaw their tongues for their pain, but they blasphemed the God of heaven for their pains and for their ulcers, and they did not repent of their works. And the sixth [angel] poured out his bowl [of the anger of God] upon the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun. And I saw three unclean inspired expressions that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. ‘Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one that stays awake and keeps his outer garments, that he may not walk naked and people look upon his parts of shame.’ And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Har–Magedon [the Mountain of Megiddo].”—Rev. 16:1, 10-16.
3. What would the mention of Magedón or Megiddo recall to Hebrews like Jesus Christ and the apostle John?
3 To a Hebrew, such as Jesus Christ had been on earth and such as his apostle John then was, the mention of Magedón or Megiddo recalled the battle-marked history of that place. When the Israelites were subduing the land of Canaan, Jehovah’s judge Joshua fought at the city of Megiddo and defeated its pagan king. (Josh. 12:7, 21) Jehovah’s judge Barak also fought there and subdued the oppressive kings of Canaan. (Judg. 5:1, 19-21) King Josiah, who sat upon “Jehovah’s throne” at Jerusalem, later fought an ill-advised battle against the Egyptians “in the valley plain of Megiddo” and was wounded to death, his army also suffering defeat.—2 Chron. 35:20-25.
4, 5. (a) With what meaning, therefore, does the name Megiddo become filled when applied to the war of God’s great day? (b) Before which kings did ancient Babylon fall, and how was the Euphrates involved?
4 The name Megiddo was therefore pregnant with solemn meaning when applied to the universal war of the “great day of God the Almighty,” in which he battles against the “kings of the entire inhabited earth,” to deal them an everlasting defeat. It is at that time also that the great worldly system pictured by ancient Babylon on the Euphrates River, 525 miles east of Megiddo, must fall before God the Almighty and his Son Jesus Christ. These two heavenly Kings are the ones who are signified by the “kings from the rising of the sun” and before whom the water of the symbolic “great river Euphrates” is dried up to prepare a way for gaining entrance into symbolic Babylon. The “anger of God” is upon that symbolic river for contributing to the commerce and enrichment of symbolic Babylon and also for affording Babylon a strong protection.
5 Long ago, on an October night in 539 B.C., the waters of the literal river Euphrates were drained away by military engineers. Then the armies of the two kings from the east, Median Darius and Persian Cyrus, marched down the dried-up riverbed and got into Babylon through its open gates and killed King Belshazzar. The Babylonian world power fell. Shortly afterward the people of the prophet Daniel, Jehovah’s people, were let go free by King Cyrus to rebuild the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem.
6. What will be the modern counterpart of this fall of Babylon, and what place of worship will remain standing?
6 As a modern counterpart of this, symbolic Babylon of today will fall before the anger of Jehovah and his associated King, Jesus Christ. The kings of the entire inhabited earth will be unable to come to Babylon’s aid. Demon-inspired propaganda and policies now gather these kings to the aid of Babylon and to the attack upon Jehovah’s liberated people, his dedicated witnesses on earth today. This provokes the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” and the kings of the entire inhabited earth meet with defeat and destruction as at Megiddo long ago. But the spiritual temple of God remains standing, and his worship continues at it in triumph.
7, 8. (a) Who will continue ministering at the true temple, and why will there be an increasing need of ministers there? (b) Why does the need for staying awake and watching become all the greater the farther along that we go?
7 However, who will continue ministering to God at his true spiritual temple? Those true Christians who take heed to Jesus’ warning sandwiched in between the prophetic description of how the kings of the entire inhabited earth are gathered to Armageddon by demonic propaganda and policies. True Christians need to keep watch and stay awake at the spiritual temple, for, whereas the water of the symbolic Euphrates must dry up to leave symbolic Babylon without support and defense, the streams of people going up to the “mountain of the house of Jehovah” must keep getting fuller and fuller, running perennially. Hence the temple gates will have to be kept open all the time, not being closed night or day, in order to receive into the temple courts the inpouring crowds of dedicated worshipers. (Isa. 2:2-4; 60:11-13) There will be an increasing need of ministers in behalf of all the added worshipers.
8 Anyone unclean and evil-intentioned trying to get in and pollute the holy temple will have to be screened out. All the faithful worshipers will join in keeping it clean and holy as a “house of prayer for all the peoples.” (Isa. 56:7) The need for staying awake and watching against any infiltration of what is unclean and spiritually dangerous becomes all the greater as the time gets nearer for the kings of the entire inhabited earth under the leadership of the symbolic dragon, Gog of Magog, to make their do-or-die assault on Jehovah’s faithful Christian worshipers at Armageddon.—Ezek. 38:1 to 39:8.
HOW TO STAY AWAKE
9. Falling asleep puts the sleeper in what danger, and so what will God’s loving worshipers do?
9 Falling asleep at one’s post as a minister of Jehovah puts the sleeper in danger of being caught by the Chief Temple Inspector, Jesus Christ, who comes as a thief at Armageddon and makes his final inspection of all the religious realm that professes to be Christian, and then executes finally the judgment. It exposes the sleeper to being stripped naked and having his symbolic garments burned.a Any worshiper who loves God with exclusive devotion and who loves his Chief Inspector and longs for his coming to the final judgment will resolutely strive to stay awake. He will watch after the pure worship of Jehovah and the precious interests of his kingdom by Christ. How will the worshiper stay awake spiritually?
10, 11. (a) To stay awake what does a person need to do, as also advised by Jesus in his prophecy? (b) In what way, therefore, do we not want to act like Babylonians, and why not?
10 Basically, to stay awake a person needs to get his proper rest first, and also to avoid overindulgence in eating and drinking. Jesus said to his followers who questioned him as to when and as to what would be the sign when the things foretold would occur: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth. Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and to hold your position before the Son of man.”—Luke 21:7, 34-36.
11 We do not want to be Babylonish like the world of mankind, celebrating a Belshazzar’s feast and carousing carelessly and depending upon the military establishment of this world and misusing the things of Jehovah God and blaspheming him, doing all this on the very night of doom, when the miraculous handwriting has appeared on the wall and the miraculous interpretation has been given. (Dan. 5:1-30) Such Babylonish self-indulgence and unspiritual worldliness would be certain to induce drowsiness and ease-taking and to throw us off guard, and to stifle prayer to God. It would dull one to one’s responsibilities as a Christian minister of the good news of God’s kingdom and weaken one in standing for principle, and cause one to forget the lateness of the time. Only a wicked slave eats and drinks and gets drunk, in the thought that his master will be a long time in coming home and taking an account.—Luke 12:43.
12. During this emergency need, what helps us to stay awake beneficially, and why?
12 When there is an emergency need for us to stay awake and on watch, under great strain, we are helped by taking a stimulant to wakefulness. It should be a stimulant that gives strength and that does not draw on one’s future reserve of strength, thus really sapping one’s vitality and leading to future weakness. When any worshiper of Jehovah God studies God’s Word purposefully and intelligently, seeking certain information to equip himself for carrying on his ministry and for meeting a foreseen occasion, it serves as a spiritual stimulant to him. This needs to be done regularly, prayerfully to God, for he gives wisdom generously and without reproaching the one that prays for his lack. (Jas. 1:5) Says wisdom personified: “Happy is the man that is listening to me by keeping awake at my doors day by day, by watching at the posts of my entrances. For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets good will from Jehovah.” (Prov. 8:34, 35) Happiness stimulates.
13. What should be our condition when studying, and why must our study be progressive?
13 However, we need to be awake when studying. We need to make progress in study, really adding to our knowledge and understanding because of study. Moreover, we must keep up with the advance of knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and purposes. To do this, we must study what progresses farther ahead of what we already know and understand. What we study should be progressive in its information, not dwelling continually on the primary things of Christian truth like a growing child that cannot pull himself away from his toys. What we study should be upbuilding to our proper desires and impulses. Then our study becomes very refreshing and stimulating to mental and spiritual alertness. By such study we grow to Christian matureness.—Heb. 5:14; 6:1-3.
14. How will we clinch what progress we make in knowledge and understanding, and with what emotional effect upon ourselves?
14 We need to clinch what progress we make in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word by serving our gains in knowledge and understanding out to others. If we become full of our gains of new and enlightening things, we will overflow spontaneously. We will serve out the new, progressive things that we are enjoying to others, to all those with whom we come into association. Especially will this be true at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses, or at the home where a weekly study of the Bible is held with a Bible study aid by certain members of the congregation, or in the homes of the people when we are witnessing from house to house or when we are calling back on sheeplike persons interested in studying the Bible. All this serving of progressive knowledge out to others pleasantly makes us stir up the knowledge in our own mind and impresses it there; and the process of explaining it to others helps us to understand it better ourselves. It gladdens us at perceiving that we have a grasp of the progressive knowledge and have positively made it our very own, useful to us as educators in God’s Word.
15. How does stimulation of this kind affect us with regard to the future?
15 Such stimulation as the above puts new life into us and fortifies us for our future needs, instead of drawing now upon the reserves we need for the future.
16, 17. (a) What other stimulant is there that is commanded upon Jehovah’s worshipers? (b) Why is there greater urgency now to act on this command?
16 Another powerful stimulant to wakefulness and to keeping active in the ministry and alert to what is going on and to what it means is our regularly meeting together with progress-minded fellow Christian witnesses, who are worshiping at the same spiritual temple of Jehovah. The fact is, our attending at meetings with fellow worshipers is commanded by Jehovah upon his worshipers. The day of the final inspection by the High Priest of Jehovah and the execution of judgment at the universal war of Armageddon is drawing closer and closer. There is therefore all the greater urgency to act on the course recommended under inspiration at Hebrews 10:23-25, 35-37:
17 “Let us hold fast the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised. And let us consider one another to incite to love and right works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near. Do not, therefore, throw away your freeness of speech, which has a great reward to be paid it. For you have need of endurance, in order that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the fulfillment of the promise. For yet ‘a very little while’, and ‘he who is coming will arrive and will not delay’.”
18. Why in this cold world do we need all the encouragement and incitation that we can get by meeting together?
18 We need all the encouragement and incitation that we can get by meeting with the faithful brothers and by engaging with them in an interchange of comfort, faith and hope. In this cold world where the love of the greater number has cooled off, the encouragement, admonitions and incitements that the faithful brothers give us at meetings are like the slaps that the German witnesses of Jehovah gave to one another when imprisoned naked in a Nazi dungeon, where the bitter cold induced to sluggishness and drowsiness, in order to keep one another awake and active and thus prevent freezing to death. Slaps may sting but be lifesaving for us. “The wounds inflicted by a lover are faithful.” (Prov. 27:6) Said David, who did not despise reproof: “Should the righteous one strike me, it would be a loving-kindness; and should he reprove me, it would be oil upon the head, which my head would not want to refuse.” (Ps. 141:5) So meeting together with our fellow worshipers and ministers results in a powerful stimulation to stay awake.
19. Why are reminders and warnings needful for us in behalf of our ministry?
19 We need to remind and inform ourselves as regards our Christian duties at Jehovah’s spiritual temple and also to have others remind us of the same things. We should always seek to improve ourselves in carrying out our ministry, since improvement results in greater enjoyment of the ministry as well as brings in greater joy-producing results. “The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise.” (Ps. 19:7) One gains wisdom by taking to heart the reminders and warnings that come from Jehovah God through his visible organization of our faithful co-workers.
20. What further stimulant has been provided for our use, and how did Jesus under the greatest temptation illustrate the effectiveness of this stimulant?
20 One further stimulant to awakeness is our privilege of prayer to God. More than need the brothers we need God; and the loving God has set up a communication system between himself and us. This provision was made because of our need for it, to use and not to ignore and spurn. In his last visit with his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ found prayer to his heavenly Father a great preventive of spiritual sleepiness. He must have prayed a considerable time, to come and find his trusted disciples sleeping on his return. He said: “Could you men not so much as watch one hour with me? Keep on the watch and praying, that you may not enter into temptation. . . . At such a time as this you are sleeping and taking your rest!” Because of not praying they slept and entered into temptation. Jesus prayed and stayed awake and resisted the greatest temptation. (Matt. 26:36-45) In our bloodless warfare against the “wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places,” including the demon-inspired propaganda that comes forth from the symbolic dragon, wild beast and false prophet, we need more than the “complete suit of armor from God.” We need prayer, too.—Eph. 6:18.
21. Besides taking up the complete suit of armor from God, what did Paul say that Christian warriors should do in addition?
21 Besides instructing us to take up the “complete suit of armor from God” in order to make a successful resistance in this wicked day, the apostle Paul said: “While with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones, also for me, that ability to speak may be given me with the opening of my mouth, with all freeness of speech to make known the sacred secret of the good news, for which I am acting as an ambassador in chains, that I may speak in connection with it with boldness as I ought to speak.”—Eph. 6:11-20.
22. In view of the end of all things, what did Peter say to do?
22 No doubt writing under inspiration for our day especially, the apostle Peter says: “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) We need to be watchful for occasions to pray, realizing clearly what to pray for, as well as be kept awake by indulging in prayer.
LOSS OF OUTER GARMENTS
23. (a) By keeping ourselves informed and up to date, why would we not want to go to sleep? (b) In view of the thieflikeness of the Chief inspector’s coming, what danger should we bestir ourselves to avoid?
23 If we keep ourselves informed and up to date on what is going on within the purpose of Jehovah God, the time should be too exciting for us to want to go to sleep and to miss anything or lose anything. The thieflikeness of the coming of the Chief Inspector to the execution of divine judgments at the approaching battle of Armageddon should bestir us to make every effort and arrangement to stay awake. Danger lies in making arrangements to render ourselves comfortable materially and take our ease, with the idea that the uncertainty of the time of the Inspector’s coming means that he will be a long time yet in coming, during which long time we can take things comfortably, intending to move into action when we get more sensational evidence of the close nearness of his coming.
24. Why will the Chief inspector not let us know of Armageddon’s definite time in advance, and so what will be a great help to us to keep watching for him?
24 The Inspector will not let us know of Armageddon’s day and hour in advance so that we can set some sort of alarm clock and wake up the shortest amount of time before he arrives and then put on an appearance of having been alert, awake and busy at one’s assigned post of service all the time. In reality, the divine alarm sounds now, not just before Armageddon. Consequently, we must wake up now and thoroughly accomplish our ministry, to get as much done as possible before the grand Inspector comes. We do not want to play the hypocrite to him—as if we could do that—but we want to win his approval with a good conscience, all because we love this coming one. It is a great help to us if we keep up our interest in the reason for his coming and what will be the outcome of it.
25, 26. (a) Why will the loss of one’s outer garments mean a great unhappiness to the loser, in view of what meaning of such garments? (b) What will the removal of one’s ministerial garments signify, and why is it a serious matter for a guard to fall asleep?
25 If we do not keep our outer garments, it will mean great unhappiness for us, because he removes them from us as unworthy of wearing them and then burns them beyond recovery. What will the disrobing of a minister obligated to stay awake and watch mean? Also the burning of his outer garments? The symbolic outer garments are the outward evidences that one has an appointment to the ministry at the spiritual temple of Jehovah. In recognition, God’s holy spirit or active force rests on such appointed minister to aid him in performing his duties, and he is favored with opportunities and privileges of preaching the good news of God’s kingdom and of gathering the sheeplike worshipers out of all nations and then feeding them with spiritual food and safeguarding them spiritually.
26 The removal of one’s ministerial outer garments would signify loss of divine recognition and the taking away of all these privileges of divine service because one had proved unfaithful and unappreciative in one’s ministry. This is to be expected with respect to the minister who fails to carry out his duties or assigned tasks because of falling asleep at his post and becoming inactive through taking his ease. It is apparent that the religious clergy of Christendom have never had on these true ministerial “outer garments,” but they have been “naked” in God’s sight all along. Long ago Peter warned: “It is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God. Now if it starts first with us, what will the complete end be of those who are not obedient to the good news of God? ‘And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, where will the ungodly man and the sinner make a showing?’” (1 Pet. 4:17, 18) It is a serious matter for a guard to fall asleep and thus leave exposed to loss or defilement the things committed to his oversight. In worldly armies sentries found asleep at their guardpost during times of war used to be shot to death. Why? Because they had put in danger the lives or freedom of the many soldiers over whom they stood guard.
27. (a) What warning did Jehovah give the prophet Ezekiel regarding the accountability of a watchman, and how did Ezekiel keep his ministerial garments? (b) Over what is the watch of ministers, so that they should be so careful?
27 A watchman who falls asleep cannot see or note the approach of danger to the city or community and so cannot sound the alarm and awaken others to the approaching danger. Over 2,500 years ago, when Jerusalem was about to be destroyed by the conquering armies of Babylon, Jehovah God warned the prophet Ezekiel, whom he had made a watchman to the endangered Israelites: “If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes, and takes any one of them; that man is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.” So Ezekiel was told to stay awake and keep on the watch and warn the wicked who were threatened with the sword of destruction. (Ezek. 33:6-9, RS) He did so. Unfaithful Jerusalem fell, the wicked ones died in its destruction, but Ezekiel kept his prophetic, ministerial “outer garments.” The watch of ministers is over precious lives or souls. This fact is emphasized in the instruction to Christians: “Be obedient to those who are governing you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will render an account, that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you.”—Heb. 13:17.
28. (a) Why did stripping of a sleeping guard leave him in great embarrassment? (b) How is the rendering of an unfaithful guard spiritually “naked” a punishment for his failure?
28 The stripping of a sleeping guard of his outer garments and the burning of these left the undependable guard naked. To his embarrassment his private parts thus became exposed. Not that God the Creator has made any part of the human body shameful; but that because of the entrance of sin into the world and the operation of immoral passion in the fallen flesh, self-respecting persons feel a measure of shame at having their private parts exposed to public gaze, bringing on scorn, ridicule and humiliation. (Gen. 2:25; 3:7; 1 Cor. 12:22, 23) So the rendering of the unfaithful ministerial guard naked is a punishment for his failure. To sheeplike men and to angels it shows that he has not been active in Jehovah’s service and has not been fulfilling his Christian commission and his obligations under that commission. He has not been fulfilling the purpose of being a Christian, that of being one of Jehovah’s witnesses and ministers. Only in name has he been a Christian, having a mere form of godly devotion but really proving false to its power. (2 Tim. 3:5) He is unfaithful, lazy, loving ease, careless, not taking his duties seriously in a theocratic spirit. He does not prize the things of Jehovah God and try to preserve them and keep them clean. He is not watching out for the increase of the earthly interests of God’s kingdom or for preserving and expanding the spiritual paradise of Jehovah’s faithful witnesses on earth.
29. Why is the sleeper’s being rendered “naked” more shameful than the nakedness of any worldly person, and in what does his punishment result?
29 The sleeper becomes as “naked” as any worldly person who is a sinner, only more shamefully naked because once he was clothed with the honorable Christian ministry and should have known better and lived up to his responsibility. His punishment becomes like that of the “evil slave,” as described in these words: “The master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.” (Matt. 24:48-51) He will die with the unfaithful and the hypocrites during the execution of God’s judgments at Armageddon by Jesus Christ, the royal Inspector. He will die with the “naked” clergy who hypocritically minister in their religious vestments at Christendom’s so-called temple of God. That means a hopeless death, second death.—Rev. 21:8.
THE HAPPINESS OF KEEPING ONE’S OUTER GARMENTS
30. (a) Our discerning of the unhappiness coming upon the sleeper helps us to appreciate what more fully? (b) Like Israel’s priests when being ordained, what will we carry out in love, and for this what shall we receive from God?
30 Our discerning the terrible consequences of falling asleep and forfeiting one’s outer garments aids us in appreciating more fully the happiness of those who stay awake and are privileged to keep their outer garments as God’s ministers. The thieflike coming of the royal Inspector at Armageddon must not take us by surprise and find us idle, unoccupied, inactive in the Kingdom service. For the complete period of our test we will carry out our dedication to God in love. We will stay awake at our duties and keep within the bounds of our holy commission or assignment of service, just as the priests did who were being ordained for temple service and who were commanded: “You will stay at the entrance of the tent of meeting day and night for seven days, and you must keep the obligatory watch of Jehovah, that you may not die.” (Lev. 8:35, 36) So, as faithful wide-awake watchers, we shall receive God’s approval through his Inspector Jesus Christ. O, then what a happiness!
31. What are the consequences of keeping our outer garments on us?
31 This results in our keeping our outer garments on us in active service. Our retaining our official garments means that we are favored with God’s continued recognition as his ministers and are retained in his holy service. Our garments of official service at his temple are not taken away and burned, obliging us to “walk naked” and be disgraced before the universe, exposed as being a part of this world that is to be destroyed at Armageddon. At Armageddon the Inspector and Executioner spares our lives. Our life prospects for the new world of righteousness are preserved for us. In this way we can “stay awake” forever and can enjoy living in God’s everlasting new world.—Compare Revelation 3:3-6.
32. How will the watchful ministers be rewarded as regards the matter of worship?
32 As a reward for staying awake, ever on the watch at the temple against what is unclean and harmful, we have a joyful share in maintaining on earth the true religion, “the form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father.” We thus share in loyally vindicating the worship of the only true and enduring God, Jehovah, thus clearing his holy name of reproach. His is the only worship that will continue in practice under divine approval clear through the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” and be practiced in the new order of things under God’s kingdom by Jesus Christ. In harmony with this, the approved watchful ministers will have the reward of forever worshiping and adoring the victorious King of eternity, and joining with the “living creatures” throughout the universe in ceaselessly saying: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.” (Rev. 4:8) The approved watchful ministers will thus fulfill the highest purpose of their living, which is to glorify and magnify God the Creator forever.
33. In the face of the great privilege that it is now, in what way will it be a privilege to wear our God-given outer garments when “Jehovah’s day” comes as a thief?
33 How glorious and honorable it is to serve Jehovah God at his spiritual temple now! What inexpressible happiness there is even now amid this dark, evil world in serving God by proclaiming the good news of his Messianic kingdom! What a privilege it is to wear our God-given outer garments worthily as his ministers! What a privilege it will be thus to wear these garments of the ministry when “Jehovah’s day” comes “exactly as a thief in the night” and destroys Christendom’s hypocritical temple of God and overthrows the symbolic dragon and wild beast and false prophet and all the “kings of the entire inhabited earth” whom the demon-inspired propaganda and policies are now gathering to Armageddon for their destruction! (1 Thess. 5:2, 3; 2 Pet. 3:9, 10; Rev. 19:19 to 20:3) The ministerial watchmen found awake then and actively on duty will see Jehovah’s eternal victory over these foes of his true religion and of his only rightful government of all the universe.
34. In place of nakedness and shame, into what will the worthy ministers enter and when is the crucial time for them to stay awake?
34 Thus in place of nakedness and shame they will survive and enter into beauty and honor as worthy ministers of the Most High God of the universe in his wonderful new world. They will each be found to be a “vessel for an honorable purpose, sanctified, useful to his owner, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21) Happy indeed is the reward of those staying awake at the spiritual temple of Jehovah God. But the crucial time for staying awake is NOW!
a See page 746, paragraph 7; page 747, paragraphs 8-10.