How You Must Act!
1. How do congregational meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses benefit families?
THERE are today more than 43,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the earth. These come together each week in their Kingdom Halls for Bible study and meetings that are open without cost to anyone who sincerely desires to improve his knowledge of the Bible. Entire families, with children of all ages, attend these meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Here, great benefits will come to you in addition to finding answers to many Bible questions that have puzzled you in the past. As your whole family participates in such meetings for one or more hours each week, and as all take in knowledge of Bible principles, causes of strife and lack of communication in the family will gradually disappear. (Psalm 119:165) There will be greater harmony, greater trust in one another. Is that not just what families need?
2. In what different walks of life will application of Bible principles help, and in what ways?
2 Learning and applying Bible principles in your daily life will prove to be a boon to you in many situations and circumstances. Doing so will give purpose to the student in school, improving his ability to take in instruction and profit from it. This will help the housewife to appreciate the importance of her role in the family. It will result in the employee having better relations with fellow employees, and in the value of the employee being recognized by the employer. The employer will come to appreciate, too, that as he deals with those under his authority, so Jehovah will deal with him. Thus reasonableness and cooperation will replace the selfish, independent attitudes that are rife in this old world.—James 3:17, 18.
“I Am with You All the Days”
3. What hard fight must servants of God put up, yet with what assurance?
3 As the standards and practices of this present system go on deteriorating, those who love God and follow Christ will not descend to the depths of degradation that are going to merit divine punishment in the greatest trouble of all time. Unitedly, faithful witnesses of the true God will put up a hard fight for the faith, despite the efforts of God’s enemies to infiltrate their ranks and influence them wrongly. (Compare Jude 3, 4.) These servants of Jehovah have the promise of the now invisible King of God’s choice: “Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the [present wicked] system of things.”—Matthew 28:20.
4. What changed conditions may be expected after the “great tribulation”?
4 Being with them until that time means, too, that Christ Jesus will usher survivors of the “great tribulation” into a completely changed situation on earth, a situation in which Christ’s rule from heaven will ensure that “they will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain [kingdom]; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” (Isaiah 11:9; Revelation 7:14) Gone will be the ruiners of the earth with all their sophisticated nuclear weaponry! Gone will be oppressors and liars and murderers! During his reign of a 1,000 years, Christ Jesus will firmly but gently lead earth’s human inhabitants along the way to human perfection.—Revelation 21:4.
5 Swiftly, the radical change in the world scene will now be upon us, at a time when the majority do not expect it, for they have not paid attention to the Bible’s warning: “Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing [favorably] before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36) Tremendous convulsions will occur amid the visible and invisible rulerships of this wicked system of things. Peter, writing under inspiration, warned: “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.” (2 Peter 3:10) Yes, Jehovah will thoroughly expose all the machinations of wicked men and demons as he brings an entire world system to its well-deserved end.—Jeremiah 25:31-33.
6. (a) What do the signs of the times indicate for the immediate future? (b) How destructive will God’s act prove to be?
6 Just as the signs in the literal skies give advance warning of storms and widespread desolation, so the signs of the times speak of the final storm and desolations that loom on the world horizon. (Luke 12:54-56) How destructive will be the effects of that divine act on this iniquitous system of world rulership? Judge for yourself from these words of an inspired prophet of God: “Jehovah has indignation against all the nations, and rage against all their army. He must devote them to destruction; he must give them to the slaughter. And all those of the army of the heavens must rot away. And the heavens must be rolled up, just like a book scroll; and their army will all shrivel away, just as the leafage shrivels off the vine and like a shriveled fig off the fig tree.”—Isaiah 34:2, 4.
7. (a) How does Isaiah 51:6 describe the end of the world system? (b) How are Jehovah’s salvation and righteousness involved?
7 Again prophesying about the end of an entire world system, with its lofty starlike rulers and those who support and back them, the prophet declares at Isaiah 51:6: “Raise your eyes to the heavens themselves, and look at the earth beneath. For the very heavens must be dispersed in fragments just like smoke, and like a garment the earth itself will wear out, and its inhabitants themselves will die like a mere gnat. But as for my salvation [says Jehovah], it will prove to be even to time indefinite, and my own righteousness will not be shattered.”
8. What are the features of the dire message recorded at Revelation 6:12-17?
8 Then, too, the glorified King, Christ Jesus, by his angel instructed the apostle John to write this dire message: “And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and a great earthquake occurred; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the entire moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as when a fig tree shaken by a high wind casts its unripe figs. And the heaven departed as a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and every island were removed from their places. And the kings of the earth and the top-ranking ones and the military commanders and the rich and the strong ones and every slave and every free person hid themselves in the caves and in the rock-masses of the mountains. And they keep saying to the mountains and to the rock-masses: ‘Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne [Jehovah] and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:12-17) No enemy of Jehovah and of Christ the King will survive!
9 The Bible here shows that the mighty ones of the earth—the rulers of the nations, the military leaders, the wealthy business magnates—and all who support them, whether conscripted or volunteers, will have to meet up with Jehovah’s judgment. They will have no way to flee! Their selfish schemes and efforts to preserve this old wicked system will fail. They will be forced to see that heaven’s favor is not upon them. The prayer of Psalm 83:17, 18 will be answered, for these enemies of God will “become abashed and perish.” And why? “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” Yes, it will be Jehovah’s time to carry out his declaration repeated some 60 times through his prophet Ezekiel, that they “will have to know that I am Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 39:6, 7.
Happy Those Who Survive
10. Where will men fail to find cover during the tribulation?
10 To preserve their lives through the greatest tribulation of all human history men will run for cover. But where? They will not be trusting in Jehovah, but in their own organizations. Hence, they will turn to human, political governments and commercial organizations, which dominate the earth like lofty mountains, as backbones of the present system of things. Thus it is that they will try to hide themselves, seeking to escape the wrath of Jehovah. Divine prophecy will inevitably be fulfilled. What is forecast in the signs of the times will have caught up with them as everlasting cutting off in destruction descends upon all opposers of the kingdom of God.
11. What will be some of the reasons for happiness among the survivors?
11 But what a glorious day that will be for all the meek ones of the earth! It will be like awakening from a bad dream. Happy will be those survivors. Love of money, which is “a root of all sorts of injurious things” such as cheating and cutthroat competition, will have been eradicated. (1 Timothy 6:10) The inhabitants will labor under happy conditions and will rejoice in the fruits of their work, for the prophet of God declares: “And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken it.” (Micah 4:4) Imagine! All causes of tension and worry removed forever! Do we rejoice at such a prospect?
12. (a) To what healing does Malachi 4:2 point forward? (b) What disabilities will God himself remove from mankind?
12 In place of the scorching sun of misrule and oppression by Satan, the mimic god, Jehovah of armies promises that ‘to those who are in fear of my name the sun of righteousness will certainly shine forth, with healing in its wings (or, rays).’ (Malachi 4:2) And not only the physical ailments will be healed, but also the mental and emotional ailments that have resulted from so much sorrow in the past. In what way? By the canceling out of death and its ravages among the human family. Of this we can be certain in view of God’s comforting message: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:3, 4.
13. (a) How does the Bible express the resurrection hope? (b) What “first” opportunities will many then have?
13 However, what of the billions that have died and who have been ‘sleeping in the dust of the earth’? (Daniel 12:2) Is there any hope for them? Yes, for in accord with the teaching of Christ Jesus, his faithful apostle Paul said: “I have hope toward God, . . . that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) The 1,000-year reign of Christ will furnish many of these returnees from the grave the first opportunity to have a clear understanding of God’s purposes, the first opportunity to bring their lives willingly into harmony with God’s will. What a glorious time of happy reunion that will be!
14. (a) At what vantage point do we now stand? (b) How should the signs of the times motivate us?
14 Surely we are privileged in standing here today at this vantage point of time! We now see all around us the signs that point to an imminent and sweeping change. We can understand that Jehovah has refrained from interfering with rule of the nations by selfish men and depraved demons for a reasonable time in order to show up their utter inability to bring about peace and prosperity for all. Now the signs of the times reveal to our discerning eyes that there is not a moment to lose. It is urgent for us to take steps that will merit God’s favor. The apostle Paul’s words to a crowd of listeners in ancient Athens should move us to act now. He said that God ‘is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent.’ (Acts 17:30) By our doing so, on the basis of accurate knowledge, and then dedicating ourselves to God, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to the great Judge of all that we are in favor of his kingdom under Christ. But we must take the steps now, without delay, and while Satanic rule still holds sway over the earth. This will provide the acid test of our genuine love for God’s truth and righteousness.—1 Peter 1:6, 7.
15. (a) What questions may you now answer, to your own benefit? (b) As shown in the 146th Psalm Ps 146, what action on your part will lead to true happiness?
15 Will you be among that happy throng of survivors? Will you have taken your stand against Satan and all unrighteousness and for God and his kingdom by Christ in complete loyalty to God? Will you have shared in warning your fellow creatures and given them the opportunity to save themselves from the doom of a wicked generation? May that be your blessed portion, and may your voice be forever joined in the chorus of thankful praise to Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.—Psalm 146:1, 2, 5, 6.
DO YOU RECALL?
□ How regular association in the true Christian congregation brings benefits
□ What Jesus counseled in concluding his prophecy on the sign (Luke 21:36)
□ Some scriptures pointing up the extent of and reasons for Jehovah’s judgment act
□ What happy prospects lie ahead for the survivors and for those now dead in gravedom
□ What positive action is now needed on the part of all who hope to survive
[Picture on page 24]
At Armageddon there will be no refuge for the wicked