The Promise Fulfilled to Doers of God’s Will
1, 2. (a) Though the world makes it hard for doers of God’s will, what are we determined to do? (b) Where do we have God’s word for it that the needed power of endurance will be supplied to us?
THIS world tries to make it hard for a person to do God’s will. Yet, for as long as this world lasts—and that will not be much longer—we are determined to persist in doing His will. Our doing so will call for us to endure further world opposition and persecution. But God gives us his glorious promise to strengthen us to keep on enduring until his promise is fulfilled. So it remains for us to have faith in His promise, just as Abraham of ancient time did. God Almighty can supply us the needed faith and power of endurance. We have His word for it in Romans 15:4, 5:
2 “All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who supplies endurance and comfort grant you to have among yourselves the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had [not pleasing himself, but pleasing God].”
3. (a) How did Christ’s mental attitude function, leading to what reward? (b) In consideration of what on our part shall we be rewarded with the fulfillment of God’s promise?
3 The mental attitude of Christ Jesus leaned ever toward doing the will of God his heavenly Father. His mental attitude inclined him to endure whatever befell him for doing God’s will. Consequently he never wavered. Never did he shrink back. The prospect of enduring a sacrificial death as foretold for him in the Scriptures “written aforetime” did not turn him aside from doing his Father’s will. For enduring a martyr’s death he was rewarded with a resurrection to heavenly life. Thus he endured until the fulfillment of God’s promise to him, even though he knew that this required God to perform his mightiest act in his behalf. (Eph. 1:19-21) In harmony with Christ’s own case, the apostle Paul prayed for God Almighty to supply endurance to us. (Rom. 15:5) This prayer will never fail as long as we persevere in doing God’s will. As a reward for our enduring down to the finish we shall receive the gladdening fulfillment of God’s promise to us.
4. What is now required of doers of God’s will who have the mental attitude of Christ, and for how much longer?
4 May the mental attitude of Christ support us in bearing up under whatever God yet permits to come upon us from a hostile world, in which we are “aliens and temporary residents.” Let us constantly keep in mind what is required of doers of God’s will now during what is left of this “time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4) “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.’” (Heb. 10:36, 37) Can we endure “yet ‘a very little while’” longer? If we do so, then God, “he who is coming,” will arrive on time and fulfill his promise to us.
“HE WHO IS COMING WILL ARRIVE”
5. According to the Hebrew reading of Habakkuk 2:2, 3, the observer of the vision was to keep in expectation of what?
5 In Hebrews 10:37 the apostle Paul makes quotations from the inspired pre-Christian Scriptures. But he does so, not from the original Hebrew reading, but from the Greek translation thereof known as the Greek Septuagint Version (LXX), made during the three centuries immediately before our Common Era. According to the Hebrew, Habakkuk 2:2, 3 reads: “And Jehovah proceeded to answer me and to say: ‘Write down the vision, and set it out plainly upon tablets, in order that the one reading aloud from it may do so fluently. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.’”
6. According to the Greek Septuagint Version, from which Paul quoted, there is to be a waiting for a thing or for a person—which?
6 However, according to The Septuagint Bible by Charles Thomson and the Septuagint Version as published by S. Bagster and Sons, Ltd., Habakkuk 2:2, 3 reads: “And the Lord answered [me] and said: Write a vision; write it distinctly in a book that the reader may trace these things [may run]; for the vision is for a time yet to come. But it will spring up at last and will not be vain. Though he may tarry, wait for him; for he will assuredly come and will not fail [and will not tarry].”
7. How may Paul have been influenced by the Greek Septuagint to speak about “endurance” in order to receive the fulfillment of the promise?
7 Thus the Septuagint Version turns our attention from the vision to a coming person. Also, when it says, “wait for him,” the Greek text uses the verb that means “to endure,” so that the idea would be one of enduring waitingly until the coming one arrived. Likely this use of the Greek verb meaning “to endure” influenced the apostle Paul to use the related Greek noun in the preceding verse (Hebrews 10:36), saying: “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.”
“A VERY LITTLE WHILE”
8. According to Paul’s quotation from Haggai 2:6, when, or how soon, will the coming one arrive as Executioner for our relief?
8 The coming one, who is to arrive on time, is Jehovah God, then bent on executing judgment, vengeance, against the oppressors of His people. His coming will also be in fulfillment of the recorded “vision.” When, or how soon, is He to come as Executioner? The apostle Paul writes: “Yet ‘a very little while.’” Here he quotes from Haggai 2:6, which reads: “This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Yet once—it is a little while—and I am rocking the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry ground.’” Thus Jehovah applies to himself the time limit, “a little while.” And since the apostle Paul, under inspiration, connects up this same time period with Jehovah’s coming without any delay, we can be certain that Jehovah’s coming to execute judgment upon our opposers and persecutors will now occur before not very long.
9, 10. (a) Why may we be sure that what God specifies as “a very little while” will now not be a very long time for us? (b) What do Satan and his demon army know about their time of freedom of action here at the earth?
9 What is “a very little while” for the Eternal God could be a very long time for us. Nevertheless, let us ever remember where we are on the stream of the “time of the end.” (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8; Dan. 12:4) Our greatest adversary, Satan the Devil, realizes that we are close to the end of the system of things long under his control, inasmuch as he is “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31) He knows that now it is practically six thousand years since he set out on his rebellious course and induced our first human parents to join him in rebellion against the universal sovereignty of the Most High God. His further time for freedom of action in misleading the entire inhabited earth is very near its end. After God’s Messianic kingdom was born in the heavens at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914, Satan the Devil and his army of demon angels were cast down in defeat from heaven to the vicinity of this earth. Then they heard the victorious cry ring out:
10 “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! And they conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death. On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:10-12.
11. To whom does the “woe” mentioned in Revelation 12:12 apply, and how?
11 So the Devil and his demon army know that they have a short period of time since their ouster from the holy heavens. During this short period of time they have been able to do a lot of damage here at the earth. The “woe for the earth and for the sea” does not apply to the Christian brothers whom the Devil and his demons have accused before our God. That “woe” applies to the worldlings here on land and sea. These are lying in the power of the wicked one. (1 John 5:19) That “woe” includes all the difficulties and hardships of a political, social, economic and religious kind that Satan and his demons are causing in their “great anger.” Victimized humans are thereby threatened with utter destruction at the hands of the coming Executioner in the “great tribulation” now so near for the world. (Rev. 7:14) Satan and his demons are bent on doing the greatest damage possible in the tiny portion of their “short period of time” that yet remains.—Rev. 12:12.
WAR ON THE REMNANT OF THE WOMAN’S SEED
12. How does Satan act like a dragon toward mankind in general, and what does he try to do about the Kingdom preachers?
12 By bringing “woe” on worldlings who selfishly do business on land and sea, Satan the Devil like a dragon swallows down mankind in general to make them a part of his visible earthly organization. He keeps them so preoccupied with their selfish, materialistic pursuits due to the “woe” upon them, that they have no time, attention or enthusiasm for the newborn Messianic kingdom of God. Very few of them take seriously or act upon “this good news of the kingdom” that is being preached world wide by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. However, Satan the Devil is not satisfied with this. In his malicious desire to defeat the purpose of Jehovah God, he desperately tries to force the Kingdom preachers into his camp, where people still favor world domination by man-made political governments. During the “short period of time” allowed to him, how has the “dragon” proceeded to do this?
13. So how has Satan proceeded, and how does this line up with what God said in Genesis 3:15?
13 He does this by making war upon Christ’s disciples who are in line for a place with him in his heavenly kingdom of a thousand years. This warfare is, not imaginary, but as real as what Jehovah said to the symbolical serpent in the Garden of Eden after the rebellion of Adam and Eve. There Jehovah said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Gen. 3:14, 15) That “enmity” has persisted to this day. That “original serpent,” the symbolic “dragon,” Satan the Devil, knows that God’s Messianic kingdom was born in the heavens in 1914, despite his efforts to prevent this. (Rev. 12:1-5, 9) The Kingdom’s birth is an accomplished fact that he cannot undo.
14. Whom does Satan now make his target of attack?
14 However, all during these past nineteen centuries, Satan has known that Jehovah has been calling and choosing joint heirs of Jesus Christ to reign with him for a millennium. There is now left on earth just a small remnant of such prospective joint heirs of Jesus Christ. These Satan makes his target of attack.
15. (a) How, for the Kingdom remnant, does God counteract the “woe” that afflicts mankind? (b) To defeat God’s Kingdom purpose, what does Satan still strive to do?
15 The remnant are “glad” with God’s “woman,” Jehovah’s heavenly organization, over the birth of her Kingdom “seed.” That remnant of Christ’s prospective joint heirs are the remaining ones of the “seed” of God’s heavenly “woman.” (Rev. 12:12, 17) Jehovah has not made it a woeful time for the Kingdom remnant yet on earth because of his having the “dragon” and his demon angels hurled down from heaven to earth. Rather, he has made this “time of the end” an increasingly blessed time for the Kingdom remnant. This spiritual blessedness counteracts the “woe” that afflicts those under the Devil’s rulership. But Satan the Devil tries to wreck the blessedness of the remnant of the Kingdom “seed.” He is still bent on trying to defeat God’s purpose to have 144,000 joint heirs of Christ. Desperately he still tries to prevent the remnant from proving worthy of a share in the Kingdom. How?
16. According to Revelation 12:17, how does Satan try to keep the remnant from proving worthy of the Kingdom, and since when?
16 Revelation 12:17 tells how. It tells what the “dragon,” Satan the Devil, and his demon angels do after being dislodged from heaven, namely: “And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” The symbolic “dragon” and his demon angels had battled unsuccessfully to maintain their position in the holy heavens after the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in 1914 C.E. So now during their detention here in the neighborhood of our earth they spitefully direct their warfare against those on earth who are called to the Messianic kingdom against which they battled up in heaven.—Rev. 12:7-13.
17. How is this “war” really a “hot” one against the doers of God’s will, and how will Jesus put an end to it?
17 This is really a “hot war.” It has already cost the lives of many hundreds of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses in violent deaths, both among the “remaining ones” of Christ’s prospective joint heirs and among the “great crowd” of those who are preparing now to be earthly subjects of Christ’s thousand-year kingdom. (Rev. 7:9-17; 20:4-6) Unitedly the Kingdom remnant and the “great crowd” engage in doing the “will of God” by observing His commandments and carrying out the work of “bearing witness to Jesus.” They bear witness to Jesus as being now enthroned in heaven and making ready to put an end to the “dragon’s” warfare against his faithful disciples by destroying all the dragon’s earthly agents and thereafter binding and imprisoning him and his demon angels for the thousand years of His peace-bringing reign.
18. What fulfillment of God’s promise will the faithful remnant get, and with what effect on the Kingdom membership?
18 To those who are doers of God’s will on earth to the end, his promise will be fulfilled. The “dragon’s” all-out efforts to keep the remnant from gaining entrance into the heavenly kingdom are doomed to failure. Revelation 20:4-6 assures us that these doers of God’s will who are yet needed to complete the full membership of 144,000 Kingdom joint heirs will endure in faithfulness to the death, that they may know the happiness of having a part in “the first resurrection.” God’s Messianic kingdom will not be lacking even one of its foreordained number of Christ’s joint heirs.
19. What fulfillment of God’s promise will the “great crowd” get, and because of what on their part?
19 As for the “great crowd” of the prospective earthly subjects of Christ’s kingdom, these give loyal cooperation and support to the Kingdom remnant in their endeavors to do the “will of God” to the finish. They courageously join the remnant in doing the divine will, down till the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God is vindicated. To this faithful, obedient “great crowd” God’s promise of a Paradise earthly home will without fail be fulfilled. Unspeakable joy will be theirs when they hear the reigning Son of God extend to them his loving invitation: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit [the earthly realm of] the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”—Matt. 25:34.