The Time Is Short
WAILING police sirens paused only momentarily to permit the warning message by loudspeaker: “This is a tornado alert! This is the real thing! Take all emergency steps!” Wise citizens grabbed a few essentials and hastened to shelters. Unwise ones dallied, toying with the thought that it might, after all, be only a false alarm. But suddenly they found themselves engulfed in the fury of the storm as wild winds and flying objects smashed larger buildings like matchwood and lifted scores of smaller ones high into the air.
People living throughout the earth today might well ponder the lesson of such a situation. Survivors often come forth from the shelters to scenes of appalling desolation, but at least they are alive! The victims are usually those who failed to heed the warning. What if it should at times turn out to be a false alarm? Would it not be far wiser to take precautions and protect one’s life? When all the signs point unmistakably to the approach of the tornado, how foolish to ignore warnings!
Yet today a vast multitude of earth’s inhabitants are acting and living as though the blackening horizon of our times did not point to a world storm of unprecedented proportions. Yes, all the signs today point to the closeness of God’s great war against all the kingdoms of the whole inhabited earth, the war of Armageddon, that must clear the way for a New Order of peace and righteousness. (Rev. 16:14, 16; Dan. 2:44) What is your attitude? Will you heed the warning and take steps for survival, or will you join the heedless ridiculers, who say: “Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning”?—2 Pet. 3:4.
IN THE PATH OF THE STORM
For almost fifty years now Jehovah’s witnesses have been sounding the warning. There is no doubt about the reality of this great world storm that is bearing down upon a whole world of disobedient men. Warned Jesus Christ: “Those days will be days of a tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation which God created until that time.” (Mark 13:19) Think of that! The slaughter in countless wars waged on earth, all of history’s earthquakes and famines that have swept millions into their graves, disease epidemics whose victims have run into the billions, yes, even the destructive forces unleashed during two world wars—all these were accounted by Jesus of little consequence when compared to the great tribulation or time of trouble he was foretelling!
And Jeremiah, God’s prophet, foretold that our whole terrestrial globe would be in the path of this unparalleled tempest. Under inspiration he wrote: “Look! A calamity is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest itself will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth. And those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth.”—Jer. 25:32, 33.
Just as the tornado smashes everything in its path, sparing neither the wealthy nor the influential, so the warning of the coming great world storm declares: “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury; but by the fire of his zeal the whole earth will be devoured, because he will make an extermination, indeed a terrible one, of all the inhabitants of the earth.”—Zeph. 1:18.
NO TIME TO LOSE
But how do we know that the foretold world storm did not already come in the past? Because, since the great deluge of Noah’s time, no world calamity has measured up to the intensity of this calamity. Consider these further words of the prophet Jeremiah, for example: “They will not be bewailed, neither will they [the victims] be gathered up or be buried. As manure on the surface of the ground they will become.” (Jer. 25:33) Nothing so all-consuming and destructive has yet taken place. It is yet future.
But how far into the future? Not far, for all the evidences around us point to this time in which we live as the “last days” spoken about by so many of God’s inspired penmen. You have only to look around in this restless world of men and compare what you see with the apostle Paul’s prophecy at 2 Timothy 3:1-4; and with the apostle Peter’s words at 2 Peter 3:3, 4; and with Jesus’ own words recorded at Luke 21:25, 26. Note the rising tide of senseless violence and crime, the ridiculing of things that are sacred and true by men devoid of faith in God’s existence, the anguished fear of those who sense impending catastrophe but who see no way out. Yes, we are facing the greatest crisis of all times!
Further stressing the shortness of the time remaining, Jesus prophesied about a generation that would witness the fulfillment of the many-featured “sign” marking the conclusion of this system of things, such as global wars, followed by food shortages and earthquakes, and by the worldwide heralding of the good news of God’s kingdom. Said he: “This generation [witnessing these events] will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”—Matt. 24:34.
You belong to a generation that has either seen those world developments or one that has been told about them by your parents. You have heard about the heralding of the Kingdom message by Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the earth, a work now shared in by more than a million Witnesses in 197 lands, a work that began almost fifty years ago and has continuously increased in intensity. Proof, all this, that the “generation” spoken of by Jesus is now close to passing away! The time is truly short!
WHERE DO YOU STAND?
In view of all this, where do you stand? Have you lived your life thus far with thought only for your own ambitions and pleasures? Has your time, your attention, been absorbed in the pursuit of ‘all those things that the nations are eagerly pursuing’? (Matt. 6:32) Of what lasting value are all these things when all the things in the world, yes, and the world of unbelieving mankind itself, are to pass away within the lifetime of the generation that saw World War I?—1 John 2:15-17; 2 Pet. 3:10.
You may even have taken notice of Jehovah’s witnesses and read some of the Bible helps they distribute. But where do you stand before God right now? Have you done anything to merit his approval, anything more, that is, than people of pagan religions have done? Yes, you have probably been charitable and tried to deal justly with your fellowmen. But have not people of so-called “heathen” nations done as much?
The vital question is: In view of the shortness of the time before irretrievable calamity befalls this wicked system of things on earth, what is your position in relation to the great God who can grant life or take it away? (Ps. 36:9) If you have virtually ignored him until now and run your own life to suit yourself, surely it is time to show him proper respect by listening to the message that he has provided for all men in the Bible, and especially for these critical times!—2 Thess. 1:7-9.
WHAT TO DO NOW
God caused his prophet Zephaniah to point the way for those desiring refuge and protection during the storm of his wrath upon all nations. “Seek righteousness, seek meekness,” was his message. “Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:2, 3) So it is urgent to get to know, not the human view, but God’s view of “righteousness” and “meekness.” The Bible holds the answer, and that is the Book that must become the basis for your study for you to know what is God’s will for you.
The loving God has also provided an organization of true worshipers from whom you can obtain help to study the Bible and learn also how to apply the things learned in your life. You are welcome to attend regularly at any one of the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s witnesses. There you can learn not only to help yourself but also how to extend aid to others—your own family, your relatives and friends. They need to be impressed with the danger in which they stand in view of the oncoming tempest of Jehovah’s wrath upon the nations. There may yet be time for you to aid them.
This is no time for complacency. It is not the time to hesitate between two opinions. It is God you must please, not men, in order to gain eternal life and happiness. You may not safely procrastinate. Warned Jesus: “Just as it occurred in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building. But on the day that Lot came out of Sodom it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all. The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.” (Luke 17:28-30) Lot and his daughters escaped. Will you?