Day of Decision
What is the day of decision? Why should it concern you and your family? What will its end bring?
THE period since 1914 has been a critical time in the history of the human race. It has witnessed two world wars that were the most destructive of human life and property that mankind ever waged. It has seen atomic weapons make their entrance on the world stage with the spectacular destruction of two modern cities and has watched those weapons grow in destructive power to the point where all earthly life is threatened. It has seen the world become divided into two violently opposed camps, with each side poised and ready to wage an all-out atomic war.
This small moment in the great stream of time has been far from pleasant for the more than two and a half billion people inhabiting the earth. It has not brought them happiness, peace or a feeling of security. In spite of the phenomenal progress made by science during this period man feels less certain of the future than at any time in his past.
More than 1900 years ago Jesus Christ foresaw this turbulent period and prophesied about it. The things he foretold have come to pass. They mark this period as the time of the end for the present world or system of things. This is the time for a great change to take place. It will be a change for the good of mankind because it will be of God’s making. The prophet Daniel spoke of it when he said: “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”—Dan. 2:44, AS.
That kingdom will bring about the end of this present wicked system of things and will establish a new system of things that will bring perpetual peace and security to this war-torn planet. The fact that we are now living in the period when this change for the better is due to take place means we are in a day of decision. Everyone must decide whether he wants to live in that new system of things under the rule of God’s kingdom or cling to this old system of things and perish with it.
This is not a fanciful dream but a statement of fact. Consider it as a warning that is given for your own good. It is during this day of decision that God purposed that this warning should be proclaimed throughout the earth. He is giving earth’s teeming millions ample time to decide whether they want to live under the rule of his kingdom or not.
LIKE NOAH’S DAY
The situation in this period since 1914 is remarkably similar to that of the last days of the world before the great Flood. That world was also a wicked system that brought forth bad fruits. Its day of decision was during the period when Noah was warning of the flood. It was during that period that they were free to decide their own fate. They could choose to separate from that world and submit to the will of God, or they could cling to it and perish with it. Only eight persons made the wise decision. They were the ones who survived the end of that system of things.
Christ drew a parallel between that ancient day of decision and the one in which we now live. He said: “Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage, until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26, 27) This modern age is manifesting the same indifference to the divine warning as did the age before the Flood.
This modern-day warning as well as the proclamation of the good news that God’s kingdom under Christ now rules from the invisible heavens is making available to earth’s inhabitants the necessary knowledge for making a right decision. It is actually separating them into two groups, just as the preaching of Noah produced two groups. One group heeds the warning and rejoices over the good news of the Kingdom’s establishment and of Christ’s enthronement in the invisible heavens. The other group rejects the proclamation and ignores it. They react to it just as the people of Noah’s day reacted to his message.
SHEEP AND GOATS
Christ gave an illustration that foretold how earth’s inhabitants would be divided by their attitudes toward the good news of the Kingdom and the proclaimers of it. He said: “When the Son of man arrives in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.” (Matt. 25:31-33) Thus the two groups that result from the world-wide preaching of the good news of the established Kingdom will be separated to Christ’s right hand of favor and to his left hand of disfavor.
This dividing work has to be done while the old system of things with its sea of mixed peoples is still existing. It is not something that can be done quickly; it requires a period of time, just as Noah’s preaching did. Since Christ revealed in his illustration that he, the King, would be the One to supervise the separating of the people, he must be ruling in Kingdom power during the time when it is being done. Thus he would rule for a period while his enemies are still in power, and that is precisely what he has been doing since the last days of this system of things began in 1914.
The separating of earth’s inhabitants by the good news of the Kingdom has been in progress for many years, but it will not continue beyond the lifetime of those who were living when it began shortly after 1914. Jesus made that clear when he said. “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Matt. 24:34) He meant the generation living when the world events that he foretold as marking the last days would be taking place.
As it is impossible to serve faithfully two masters who are enemies of each other so is it impossible to serve the King, Christ Jesus, and at the same time serve the interests of this corrupt world. The Bible writer James said regarding this: “Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.”—Jas. 4:4.
A person has to decide whether he will stand with God’s kingdom under Christ and serve God’s interests as his “sheep” or stand with this corrupt world and serve its selfish interests and be classed with the “goats.” It is a serious decision that cannot be avoided.
EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT
Christ foretold that “this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) As long as that preaching is being done earth’s inhabitants will continue under the King’s judgment, but when it ends his decision will be final. His judgment will then be executed. Regarding those who end up on the King’s left, in the goat class, God said through his prophet Isaiah: “I will destine you men to the sword, and you will all of you bow down to being slaughtered, for the reason that I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not listen; and you kept doing what was bad in my eyes, and the thing in which I took no delight you chose.”—Isa. 65:12.
This execution of divine judgment through the King, Christ Jesus, will take place at the coming battle of Armageddon. At that time God’s King will destroy this wicked system of things and all who are clinging to it. The words of Enoch will then be fulfilled: “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.”—Jude 14, 15.
But what about those on the King’s right hand, those he judges as his sheep? Christ tells us in his illustration: “Then the king will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.’” (Matt. 25:34) They receive this favorable judgment because they made the right decision.
The period in which we live is critical not only because of an atomic-war threat but because all people are on trial before God’s enthroned King. They are under judgment with their lives at stake. That is why this day of decision is of vital concern to everyone.