“The Time Left Is Reduced”
1. Why do some think that time is running out for mankind?
TIME is running out for this system of things. One reason why many have come to this conclusion is that the very existence of humankind is imperiled. Why, a nuclear holocaust seems so close today that it is said to be just “three minutes to midnight”!
2. What has one journalist said about the nuclear threat?
2 Writing on the subject “The Shadow of the Bomb,” Australian journalist Nick Brash stated: “A stick of gelignite weighing half a kilogram is enough to blow a man apart. Yet the nuclear stockpile is the equivalent today of four tonnes of gelignite for every man, woman and child on earth. More than $500 billion has been ploughed into nuclear weapons and more than $40 billion will be spent on weapons around the world this year . It’s an awesome amount of overkill. Equivalent to spraying a lone mosquito with 10 cans of [the insecticide] Mortein.”—The Sun Weekend Magazine (Melbourne, Australia), April 23, 1983.
3. What can be said about the probable effects of nuclear warfare?
3 It is hard to imagine the probable effects of nuclear warfare. Besides the death of hundreds of millions, the pall of global fallout, the ecological impact and the like, there would be incredible disruption of social, political and economic affairs earth wide. In fact, Dr. Brian Martin, a physicist and researcher at the Australian National University, admits: “Simply not enough is known to predict with confidence all the global effects of nuclear war.”
4. (a) Why can we be sure that mankind will not wipe itself out in a nuclear holocaust? (b) How do we know that time is running out for the present system of things?
4 The future seems ominous indeed. But lovers of God, take heart! Although time is running out for the present system of things, mankind will not destroy itself in a chaotic nuclear holocaust. Of that we can be certain, for Jehovah, “the Shaper and Maker” of the earth, “did not create it as a chaos, he shaped it to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18, Byington) Of course, if mankind is to be saved from annihilation, prompt superhuman action must be taken to end this system, as well as its nuclear madness. Happily, the Creator of planet Earth and mankind will soon destroy this wicked, suicidal system. Its time is short because “the great day of Jehovah” is imminent! (Zephaniah 1:14-18) Yet, how comforting to know that during that rapidly approaching day of reckoning, ‘Jehovah will guard all those loving him, but all the wicked ones he will annihilate’!—Psalm 145:20.
How Much Time Is Left?
5. According to Revelation 6:9, 10, what were Jesus’ anointed followers interested in learning?
5 God will unquestionably act against his enemies. But how much longer will it be before he puts an end to this wicked system of things and brings in his New Order of peace and righteousness? You may be a witness of Jehovah who would like to know the answer to that question. In this respect, you feel much like the slaughtered anointed Christians represented in Revelation as crying out: “Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9, 10) Yes, figuratively those anointed ones wanted to know when God would avenge their blood. No wonder all of Jehovah’s Witnesses today are eagerly anticipating “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon!—Revelation 16:14-16.
6, 7. (a) Regarding time, what did Paul say at 1 Corinthians 7:29? (b) What statement of Peter emphasizes the fact that this system will have a disastrous end?
6 Those anointed witnesses whose blood had been shed because of their faithfulness to Jehovah were in line for a reward, for the Bible account states: “A white robe was given to each of them; and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled also of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they also had been.” (Revelation 6:11) We can be certain that God will act at his appointed time. In fact, the words of the apostle Paul at 1 Corinthians 7:29 are most appropriate. He plainly told fellow believers: “The time left is reduced.”
7 Paul’s words not only bring Jehovah’s modern-day servants encouragement but also indicate that the life of Christians should be focused on the urgent work God has assigned to them. In a similar vein, the apostle Peter wrote: “The end of all things has drawn close.” (1 Peter 4:7) Peter knew that this system is slated for a disastrous end. That is where it is headed!
8. The fact that this system’s end is near should have what effect on Jehovah’s people?
8 Both Paul and Peter emphasized the fact that this system of things is doomed. This is something that true Christians should never forget. The end will come in our day, and all the evidence indicates that it is very near indeed. Hence, day after day our pattern of life should reflect that conviction. Moreover, the fact that we have progressed so far into the final days of this system should fill us with determination to do our utmost in the fine and very urgent work of declaring the good news as Jehovah’s cleansed and zealous witnesses.—Titus 2:13, 14.
Deep in “the Time of the End”
9. With what are people in general preoccupied today, and has this ever happened before?
9 Jesus Christ foretold that during his invisible presence people would be preoccupied with the affairs of life. They would be distracted, as people were in the days of Noah and of Lot. “The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed,” said Jesus, referring to the time of his invisible presence, when destruction would be executed upon this wicked system.—Luke 17:26-30.
10, 11. What evidence is here presented to show that this system’s end is near?
10 Consider also the prophecies recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Jesus foretold things utterly beyond the control of man—such things as pestilences and great earthquakes. Moreover, there has been an “increasing of lawlessness” since 1914. Today’s news, particularly in big cities, often is nothing more than a chronicle of crime and corruption. There is more to this than rising crime statistics, for a spirit of disregard for legal restraints now prevails, and the love of the greater number definitely is cooling off.—Matthew 24:12.
11 Moreover, “anguish of nations” now is evident because men do not know the way out of their multiplying difficulties. (Luke 21:25, 26) Then, too, there has been a dwindling in the number of those of “this generation” of 1914, which is not to pass away before the fulfillment of all that Jesus foretold for our time. (Matthew 24:34) This is another clear indication that this system’s end is near.
12. What is doubtless the greatest proof that we are deep in “the time of the end”?
12 Much additional evidence could be presented to prove that we are deep in “the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) But no doubt the greatest proof that we are near the end of this system is the worldwide Kingdom-preaching work being done by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Never before has such a thing occurred. Indeed, in 205 lands around the globe more than 2,650,000 witnesses of Jehovah are zealously doing the fine work of spreading the heartening message that Christ has been ruling in Kingdom power since 1914. And Jesus declared that when this good news of the Kingdom has been preached in all the inhabited earth, then “the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14.
Live in Accord With Bible Counsel
13. How should we view Paul’s statement that ‘those having wives should be as though they had none’?
13 With the remaining time clearly reduced and the end near, Jehovah’s people need to live in accord with the Bible’s counsel, such as the apostle Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 7:29-31. Right after saying that “the time left is reduced,” he wrote: “Henceforth let those who have wives be as though they had none.” Here the apostle did not mean that a Christian husband is to ignore his wife. No, but while a man faithfully cares for his marital responsibilities, he should have first in heart and mind his relationship with God, seeing to it that his marriage contributes to this.
14. According to 1 Corinthians 7:30, how should Kingdom proclaimers look upon personal problems, and so forth?
14 In 1Co 7 verse 30, Paul went on to say: “Also [let] those who weep be as those who do not weep, and those who rejoice as those who do not rejoice, and those who buy as those not possessing.” What does that mean? These inspired words underscore the fact that personal matters, whether they involve possessions, sorrows or joys, are not the big things for Kingdom ministers. “Time and unforeseen occurrence” befall all of us and can change our circumstances suddenly. (Ecclesiastes 9:11; James 4:14) So it would be unwise to become so preoccupied with sorrows, hardships and various personal problems that these concerns seriously interfere with our ministry, our privileged activity of preaching the Kingdom good news.
15. Why would it be the height of folly for a Christian to become absorbed in personal matters involving material possessions, and the like?
15 At 1 Corinthians 7:31, the apostle Paul said: “[Let] those making use of the world [be] as those not using it to the full.” Because people of the world lack a Bible-based hope, they are wrapped up in thinking about their daily needs and ambitions. Often they seek to impress others by means of material possessions. But, as the apostle John made clear, “the showy display of one’s means of life” is one manifestation of “everything in the world” that “does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” And John assures us that “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:16, 17) Hence, it would be the height of folly for any Christian, with the prospect of an eternal future before him, to become so absorbed in personal matters that he has no time left for Kingdom interests. (Matthew 6:25-32; compare Philippians 2:19-22; 2 Timothy 4:10.) Though it is not improper to enjoy beneficial material possessions and even some wholesome pleasure, we must never allow these things to become the focal point of our life.—Luke 12:15.
16. What attitude and goals do worldly people often have, but what should be of utmost importance to Jehovah’s servants?
16 It is not uncommon for worldly people, or those lacking true spirituality, to complain about their lot in life. (Compare Jude 16.) If they are sickly, they may always be complaining about not being well. Similarly, the poor may complain because they are not rich. Why, such things as good health and great wealth may become consuming goals in their life! They struggle to achieve them, and failure may sink them into deep depression. But for Jehovah’s dedicated people “sacred service” is of utmost importance. (Romans 12:1, 2) True, although we are servants of Jehovah, we have problems to face. Yet these do not turn us into murmurers, complainers about our lot in life. We have God-given work to do, and to this blessed activity we give foremost attention. Indeed, we are joyful because we keep Kingdom interests first in life.—Matthew 6:33.
17. As regards possible distractions, what must Jehovah’s people not permit?
17 What, then, is the wise course for Jehovah’s servants? Well, we can use some things and services the world supplies, but let us never permit distractions to divert us from God’s service. (Luke 21:34-36) Remember that nothing in the present system is permanent. Its very changeableness can be a source of distraction. Yes, as Paul said, “The scene of this world is changing.” (1 Corinthians 7:31) But we must not permit this to distract us from Jehovah’s service.
Do the Lord’s Work Diligently
18. (a) Inasmuch as we have been in “the time of the end” since 1914, with what work should we fill our lives? (b) If we keep busy in the Lord’s work, what is likely to happen to the problems of life?
18 Having spiritual discernment, we acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that we have been in “the time of the end” since 1914. Surely, then, we do not want to use the world to the full as though we would be missing out on something if we did not do so. Rather, let us fill our lives with “the work of the Lord.” We should ‘have plenty to do in the Lord’s work, knowing that our labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58) So be absorbed in preaching and teaching Kingdom truths. Then what is likely to happen to the problems of life? Why, they will tend to recede into the background and become less important, less troublesome!
19. What does it mean to ‘endure to the end’?
19 When giving his great prophecy regarding this system’s final days, Jesus said that his followers would be “objects of hatred by all people” on account of his name. “But,” he added, “he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.” (Mark 13:10-13) For us as individuals dedicated to Jehovah, “the end” may be either “the conclusion of the system of things” or our own death, perhaps after suffering at the hands of persecutors. (Matthew 24:3) In either case, we have a limited time to do the Lord’s work. Should we not, therefore, be diligent and zealous in proclaiming the Kingdom message? Unquestionably, we should be!
High Time for Action!
20. How were the Israelites freed from Babylonian captivity able to show their concern for the worship of Jehovah?
20 When the Jewish exiles were released from Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C.E., they had to make a decision. Would they return to their homeland and restore Jehovah’s worship there, or would they remain in Babylon? Israelites who stayed in that city were not necessarily wicked, for aged Daniel was one of them. They could give the returning remnant material and moral support and could also send along a “voluntary offering” for Jehovah’s house in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:2-4) Thus they could help to advance true worship. How happy all of Jehovah’s worshipers could be as the remnant set out for their homeland, carrying along the sacred utensils for use at Jehovah’s temple! And the carriers of sanctuary articles had to make sure that they had cleansed themselves of all possible defilement with Babylon’s religious and moral uncleanness.—Isaiah 52:11.
21. (a) What questions are presented for your consideration? (b) Since “the time left is reduced,” what is true of opportunities to spread the good news?
21 Are you as concerned about true worship as were those freed Israelites of some 25 centuries ago? Do you consider it a joyous privilege to render sacred service to Jehovah as part of a cleansed and zealous organization that honors his holy name? Can you discern the many evidences that we are living deep in “the time of the end”? If you answer yes to these questions, then make sure that you are taking positive action right now. Concentrate on keeping Kingdom interests first in your life. Since “the time left is reduced,” our present opportunities to spread the good news take on greater and greater importance. Blessed are all who center their life around the Kingdom as loyal witnesses of Jehovah with plenty to do in preaching the good news while there is still time!
What Answers Would You Give?
□ Why is time running out for this system of things?
□ How do we know that we are deep in “the time of the end”?
□ If we keep busy in the Lord’s work, what is likely to happen to our problems?
□ Since the end is near, around what should we center our lives?
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May life’s problems not distract us from the Kingdom-preaching work