Jehovah’s Goodness in “the Final Part of the Days”
“Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah.”—ISAIAH 2:3.
1, 2. (a) What grave danger now threatens mankind? (b) What are world leaders saying about Armageddon?
“THE FINAL PART OF THE DAYS.” Why does Bible prophecy repeatedly use this expression? Does it mean that the days of mankind are numbered and that finally our earth and all life upon it will perish in some global catastrophe? World leaders often talk apprehensively of such a possibility. For example, in a television interview on January 13, 1985, Moscow’s foreign minister Andrei Gromyko warned the people of the Soviet Union that “a grave danger, a grave threat is looming over the whole of mankind.” He added: “Everything possible should be done to remove that threat, so that the Armageddon with which people have been scared for centuries should not happen.”
2 On a number of occasions, President Ronald Reagan of the United States has also referred to Armageddon. The New York Daily News of October 30, 1983, quoted him as saying: “I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if—if we’re the generation that is going to see that come about.” More recently, on February 8, 1985, The Wall Street Journal reported: “President Reagan says he thinks and talks about Armageddon, . . . but he isn’t planning for it.”
3. (a) What really is Armageddon? (b) What is meant by “the final part of the days”?
3 Yes, world leaders are talking about Armageddon. But do they realize what that Bible word means? Apparently not, for Armageddon is no man-made holocaust. It is God’s universal war by which he and his associate King, Jesus Christ, execute judgment upon wicked nations and wicked men. It comes as a climax to “the final part of the days.” (Daniel 10:14; Revelation 16:14, 16) And what are we to understand by “the final part of the days”? Other translations render this expression as “the afterpart of the days,” “the latter end of the days.” (Rotherham, Young) The Hebrew words so translated are ‘a·charithʹ hay·ya·mimʹ. According to the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, they often mean “The End Time,” indicating not merely the future but “how history will culminate, thus its outcome.”
4. How will the “End Time” move to its culmination, and with what outcome?
4 For some 70 years, mankind has been living through “the conclusion of the system of things,” foretold by Jesus at Matthew 24:3–25:46. This period, beginning in 1914, is the “End Time” during which events progressively move forward to their culmination. That will be in the “great tribulation” when all of Satan’s wicked organization will be destroyed. (Matthew 24:21, 22) The grand outcome will be the vindication of Jehovah’s holy name.—Ezekiel 38:16, 23.
5. What encouraging words are found at Hosea 3:5?
5 Jehovah is a God of encouragement. What marvelously stimulating expressions he has scattered throughout his Word, the Holy Bible! One such expression is to be found at Hosea 3:5, which reads: “Afterwards the sons of Israel will come back and certainly look for Jehovah their God, and for David their king; and they will certainly come quivering to Jehovah and to his goodness in the final part of the days.”
6. How has spiritual Israel differed from Christendom’s sects?
6 A remnant of Israel returned from captivity in Babylon in 537 B.C.E. to resume worshiping Jehovah in Jerusalem. Similarly in modern times, in 1919 the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel ‘came back’ from captivity to Satan’s organization, earnestly ‘looking for Jehovah their God.’ How different from the apostate sects of Christendom! None of these want to recognize Jehovah as “their God.” Rather than “look for Jehovah,” they avoid any use of his name.
7. How have Jehovah’s people honored his name?
7 Early in “the final part of the days,” the January 1, 1926, issue of The Watch Tower published the challenging article “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” The regathered remnant of spiritual Israel loyally answered that call, and in 1931 they rejoiced to accept the name Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Isaiah 43:10, 12) To this day they continue to hold the name of Jehovah prominently before earth’s inhabitants. Why, in 1984 they published, by the millions of copies in many languages, the attractive color brochure entitled The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever.
8, 9. (a) What is meant by ‘looking for David their king’? (b) When and where was the King installed? (c) How did Jehovah’s people come to understand this matter?
8 However, Hosea also foretold that these spiritual sons would “come back and certainly look for . . . David their king.” Fleshly Israel has had no king since the overthrow of the Davidic dynasty in 607 B.C.E. That began 2,520 years of godless rule—“the appointed times of the nations,” or Gentile Times. (Luke 21:24; Daniel 4:16) But in 1914, as “the final part of the days” began, God installed the One whom David typified—Jesus Christ—as King in Zion, the “heavenly Jerusalem.”—Hebrews 12:22; Psalm 2:6.
9 Jehovah’s people on earth did not immediately understand all of this. However, their search for ‘David our king’ was climaxed when The Watch Tower of March 1, 1925, published the article “Birth of the Nation.” This set forth conclusive proof, based on Revelation chapter 12, that Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom had been born in the heavens in 1914 and that Christ is now ‘ruling in the midst of his enemies.’—Psalm 110:1, 2, King James Version; Ps 2:1-6.
10. (a) Who “come quivering to Jehovah,” and how? (b) Why is “the fear of Jehovah” so important today?
10 The anointed remnant, and indeed all who make a dedication to Jehovah, are deeply conscious of their sins of former times. Humbly, they have “come quivering to Jehovah,” asking forgiveness for past sins. And now as “the final part of the days” moves on toward its climax, lovers of Jehovah watch all the more carefully that they do not transgress against God and his righteous laws. We must continue to “come quivering to Jehovah,” pummeling our bodies, in order to find salvation into God’s New Order. (1 Corinthians 9:27) We must always remember that “the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom.”—Psalm 111:10.
11. (a) In what respects is Jehovah good? (b) Why must we ‘come quivering to Jehovah’s goodness’?
11 How, though, may we “come quivering . . . to his goodness”? Jehovah is altogether good. He is the epitome of moral excellence. He is complete in providing for our every need. Thus, we can confidently say as did David: “Jehovah is my Shepherd. I shall lack nothing. . . . Surely goodness and loving-kindness themselves will pursue me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23:1-6) Now, and through to the end of “the final part of the days,” we must ‘come quivering to Jehovah’s goodness,’ confident that our sins will be covered by the precious sacrifice of his Son, Jesus. (1 John 2:1, 2) Thankfully, we declare: “O Jehovah, . . . how abundant your goodness is, which you have treasured up for those fearing you!”—Psalm 31:17, 19.
12. (a) How may we imitate Jehovah’s goodness? (b) Why is it essential that we do so?
12 As Satan’s world sinks ever deeper into the morass of badness, may we imitate Jehovah’s goodness by making known to our neighbors the Kingdom good news and by displaying godly qualities in our own lives. May we really cultivate the fruits of the spirit, including goodness, in all our relationships—in our families, in our congregations, and in our contacts with people of the world. (Galatians 5:22, 23; Psalm 119:65-68) Doing this is essential if we are to survive “the final part of the days.”
13. (a) Who today may benefit by considering Jacob’s deathbed prophecy? (b) What counsel does that prophecy contain?
13 Some 3,700 years ago, the patriarch Jacob (also named Israel) gave a deathbed prophecy. Addressing his 12 sons, the heads of Israel’s tribes, he said: “Gather yourselves together that I may tell you what will happen to you in the final part of the days.” His words apply today to the remaining ones of spiritual Israel and by extension to their companions, the “other sheep.” None of these may with impunity disregard Jehovah’s moral standards, as did Reuben, nor can they allow room for violent dispositions like those of Simeon and Levi. Rather, they must cultivate qualities such as courage, reliance on Jehovah, and fruitfulness, as displayed by other sons of Israel.—Genesis 49:1, 3-7, 9, 18, 22; John 10:16; compare 2 Peter 1:8-11.*
14. What two related prophecies on the “End Time” provide counsel particularly for the “other sheep”?
14 However, particular counsel is provided for the “other sheep” who have the prospect of surviving the “End Time.” We find this stated, as if for emphasis, in two related Bible prophecies, at Isaiah 2:2-5 and Micah 4:1-5.
Streaming to God’s House
15. (a) How has Isaiah 2:2 been fulfilled? (b) What contrast do meek persons now see, and how do they respond?
15 Isaiah 2:2 reads: “And it must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream.” For more than 50 years, since 1935, these “desirable things of all the nations” have been gathering to Jehovah’s house of worship, ‘filling that house with glory.’ This ‘streaming’ appears to intensify as “the final part of the days” moves ever closer to its culmination. The symbolic mountain of Jehovah’s pure worship is becoming more prominent, so that meek persons can see how it contrasts with the sectarian “hills” and “mountains” of Satan’s permissive world. They “get out” of false religion and flee in growing numbers to Jehovah’s mountain of worship.—Haggai 2:7; Revelation 18:2, 4, 5; Psalm 37:10, 11.
16. (a) What call do meek ones now answer? (b) How is Jehovah fulfilling his promise to “speed it up”?
16 These meek ones answer the call of Isaiah 2:3: “‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem.” Already, Jehovah is fulfilling his promise to “speed it up in its own time.” (Isaiah 60:22) An increasing “great crowd . . . out of all nations” are flocking to Jehovah’s worship. Of these, 138,540 were baptized in 1982; 161,896 in 1983; and 179,421 in 1984. They want to be saved through “the final part of the days.”—Revelation 7:9, 14.
17. (a) How may new Witnesses show appreciation for Jehovah’s goodness? (b) What positive commands do all of us need to obey?
17 These new Witnesses appreciate Jehovah’s goodness in bringing them to the light of truth, and they are earnestly desirous of showing goodness to others. They welcome the instruction that Jehovah provides through his Word and his organization. The Law of Moses contained many ‘must nots,’ and Israel properly had to observe these. (See Exodus 20:3-17.) But the two great commandments for Christians, as stated by Jesus, are positive commands to ‘love Jehovah our God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourself.’ (Mark 12:29-31) Unitedly, Jehovah’s Witnesses now obey the “law” that God sends forth from the “heavenly Jerusalem,” applying its righteous principles.
18. (a) What kinds of rules do we need to observe? (b) Of what advantage is it to obey healthful rules?
18 This does not mean, however, that Jehovah’s people do not need to observe any rules. The apostle Paul reminds us: “Let all things take place decently and according to order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40, NW Ref. Bi., footnote) A few rules may be needed at our Kingdom Halls, for example, to economize on the use of electricity or to prevent young children from using God’s house of worship as a playground after meetings. Family heads may need to make some orderly arrangements, such as providing for regular consideration of the daily Bible text in the home. In Bethel families there are rules, such as requiring that family members adorn the good news by modest dress and grooming. (1 Timothy 2:9) The “scrolls” to be opened during Jesus’ Thousand Year Reign will no doubt contain rules that will benefit mankind. It is good now to become accustomed to obeying healthful rules that are made for orderliness and out of consideration for others.—Revelation 20:12; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3, 4.
In This World of Violence
19, 20. (a) How have Jehovah’s people reacted to the principle at Micah 4:3? (b) How is this benefiting them during “the final part of the days”?
19 We are moving rapidly toward the time when every man’s hand will “come up against the hand of his companion.” (Zechariah 14:13) As the world becomes ever more lawless and violent, how do Jehovah’s people react? They act in harmony with Micah 4:3, which says: “They will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears.” Jehovah’s Witnesses renounce every kind of violence. “Neither will they learn war anymore.” Doubtless, this will continue to work to their advantage throughout “the final part of the days.” It has done so already.
20 For example, when the July 15, 1983, Watchtower magazine pointed out that guns were not for Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses in New Caledonia got rid of their firearms. Shortly thereafter, a local political group searched through a town, burning down every house where they found firearms. But no Witness houses were destroyed. Known neutrality is often the best defense, as has proved true in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, and other lands.
21. (a) What call should we answer, and what resolve should we make if we want to be truly happy? (b) How may we be assured of sharing in Jehovah’s goodness?
21 Happy we are if we answer the call of Isaiah 2:5: “Come and let us walk in the light of Jehovah”! Happy, too, are all of us who join in the firm resolve expressed by the prophet Micah who, after describing the paradisaic security and peace that exist among God’s own people, goes on to say: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” Surely Jehovah’s goodness will be expressed toward all of us who continue to unite peacefully in true worship, for survival through “the final part of the days.”
See the Watchtower issues of June 15 and July 1, 1962, for a detailed discussion of Jacob’s prophecy.
Questions in Summary
□ What do you understand by “the final part of the days”?
□ How may we ‘come quivering to Jehovah and his goodness’?
□ What guidance does Jacob’s deathbed prophecy provide?
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Hosea encourages us to imitate Jehovah’s goodness
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Jacob describes desirable and undesirable qualities
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Isaiah invites us to “walk in the light of Jehovah”
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Micah encourages us to ‘walk in Jehovah’s name forever’