Triumphing in “the Final Part of the Days”
“There exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known . . . what is to occur in the final part of the days.”—DANIEL 2:28.
1. (a) How are the prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel of vital interest to us today? (b) Why were those inspired writings preserved?
JEREMIAH, EZEKIEL, DANIEL—what thrilling prophecies those names bring to mind! Almost 2,600 years ago, those three courageous servants of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah lived through the final days of an apostate Jerusalem, though serving in different locations and under far different circumstances. But each from his own vantage point prophesied concerning events that would culminate in a later “final part of the days.” Those inspired writings have been preserved for the encouragement of all who love God and righteousness, and who desire to survive the “great tribulation” that impends in our time.—Matthew 24:3-22; Romans 15:4.
2. Why did Jeremiah need strength from Jehovah?
2 Jeremiah prophesied at Jerusalem. As calamity approached, both rulers and people had fallen into lawlessness and corruption. Hence, Jehovah strengthened his prophet like “a fortified copper wall” to stand firm amid their badness.—Jeremiah 15:11, 20; 23:13, 14.
Prophets of Peace
3. What false words were the prophets speaking?
3 Concerning Jerusalem’s delinquent religious leaders, Jehovah declared through Jeremiah: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you people. They are making you become vain. The vision of their own heart is what they speak—not from the mouth of Jehovah. They are saying again and again to those who are disrespectful of me, ‘Jehovah has spoken: “Peace is what you people will come to have.”’” Those false prophets were saying, “There is peace! There is peace!” when there was no peace.—Jeremiah 23:16, 17; 6:14.
4. To what hope do many in Christendom cling?
4 Likewise, in apostate Christendom today, there are prophets of peace. Many of these cling to what Pope Paul VI described as “the last hope of concord and peace,” the United Nations. Shortly, that body is to proclaim 1986 as the International Year of Peace. In announcing its intention to participate in the Year, the Holy See declared that it “nourishes the hope that this Year will produce the desired results and will mark a significant stage in bringing about peaceful relations among peoples and nations.” But is it realistic to expect the nations to establish true peace?
5. What does Jehovah foretell, and how will it be fulfilled in “the final part of the days”?
5 God himself describes what will happen: “Look! The windstorm of Jehovah, rage itself, will certainly go forth, even a whirling tempest. Upon the head of the wicked ones it will whirl itself. The anger of Jehovah will not turn back until he will have carried out and until he will have made the ideas of his heart come true. In the final part of the days you people will give your consideration to it with understanding [or, “you will fully understand,” The New English Bible].” (Jeremiah 23:19, 20; see also 30:23, 24.) Yes, the leaders of false religion will come to understand what “the final part of the days” means for them. But any consideration they give to it will be too late!—Compare Revelation 18:10, 16; 19:11-16; Matthew 24:30.
6. What happy outcome will there be for many?
6 Happily, though, many individuals who were once captives to false religion are ‘giving consideration to it.’ They answer the call: “Get out of her [false religion], my people,” since they do not want to share in her sins or receive part of God’s judgment against her. If you are one of these, may you continue to heed what God’s Word says about “the final part of the days” and the glorious era of peace to follow.—Revelation 18:2, 4, 5; 21:3, 4.
Attack by Gog
7. Under what circumstances did Ezekiel prophesy?
7 How do God’s own people fare during “the final part of the days”? Let the prophet Ezekiel tell us. As a young man, he doubtless knew Jeremiah, but then Ezekiel was carried away to Babylonia. There, by the river Chebar, he was commissioned in 613 B.C.E. to act as Jehovah’s prophet and watchman on behalf of the Jews in exile, a service that he faithfully carried out for at least 22 years. However, his prophecies look far beyond his own time. In chapters 38 and 39, he tells about ‘Gog of Magog.’
8, 9. (a) What major issue must be settled, and when? (b) Who is Gog, who follow him, and what policy does he pursue? (c) What will Jehovah do to Gog?
8 Who is this ‘Gog of Magog’? Well, who is Jehovah’s arch enemy with whom he must settle the major issue of “the final part of the days,” that of universal sovereignty? He is Satan the Devil, whom the Shepherd-King, Jesus Christ, hurled down from heaven following His own enthronement in 1914. The debased and angry Gog is now confined to a limited spirit realm, “the land of Magog,” close to this earth. This means “woe for the earth” because Gog knows that time is short for carrying out his nefarious policy of ‘rule or ruin.’—Ezekiel 37:24-28; 38:1, 2; Revelation 11:18; 12:9-17.
9 Ezekiel quotes the Sovereign Lord Jehovah as saying: “Here I am against you, O Gog, you head chieftain [world ruler] . . . And I shall certainly turn you around and put hooks in your jaws and bring you forth with all your military force, . . . many peoples with you.” (Ezekiel 38:3-6; John 12:31) Yes, Gog has many peoples with him, for “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Yet, Jehovah can put figurative hooks in Gog’s jaws to maneuver him. But why, and how?
10. (a) In contrast to the nations, where do Jehovah’s Witnesses place their trust? (b) Why do Gog and his mob become enraged? (c) We must do what in order to survive?
10 Under Gog’s prompting, the superpowers today argue that world peace depends on their stockpiling ever more horrendous nuclear armaments. And other nations lend their support. However, God’s people “gathered together out of the nations” have renounced weapons of violence. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only “nation” on earth that can truthfully state, “In God we trust.” (Isaiah 2:4; 31:1; Proverbs 3:5) These peaceable witnesses of Jehovah are “dwelling in security, all of them dwelling without wall, and they do not have even bar and doors.” They are “dwelling in the center of the earth,” for in all nations, they hold the center stage as the one people that Gog has not overreached. (Ezekiel 38:11, 12) Hence, the infuriated Gog of Magog brings his entire demonic organization to the war zone. Like a roaring lion, the debased Satan gets ready for an all-out assault. For survival, we must all ‘take our stand against him, solid in the faith.’—1 Peter 5:8, 9.
11. How does Jehovah ‘bring Gog against His land,’ and for what purpose?
11 Jehovah instructs Ezekiel: “Therefore prophesy, O son of man, and you must say to Gog, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Will it not be in that day when my people [spiritual] Israel are dwelling in security that you will know it?”’” Gog and his mob envy the security and prosperity that they see among Jehovah’s Witnesses today. They are enraged that these should make themselves “no part of [Satan’s] world.” Thus Jehovah taunts Gog, arousing him to attack the defenseless Witnesses. Jehovah tells Gog: “You will be bound to come up against my people Israel, like clouds to cover the land. In the final part of the days it will occur, and I shall certainly bring you against my land, for the purpose that the nations may know me when I sanctify myself in you before their eyes, O Gog.”—Ezekiel 38:14, 16; John 17:14, 16.
12. According to Ezekiel 38:18-23, what is the outcome of Gog’s attack?
12 The enraged Gog moves to invade the prosperous “land” of Jehovah’s people. However, is Gog the only one to be enraged? What of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah’s rage against Gog and his dupes? At Ezekiel 38:18-23 Jehovah describes how he ‘sanctifies himself in the eyes of the nations’ by bringing Gog to ruin and rescuing his loyal servants. Closing out the report of his triumph over Gog and his mob, the Sovereign Lord himself declares: “They will have to know that I am Jehovah.” His glorious name is vindicated!
13. How did Daniel set a fine example for youthful Witnesses?
13 While Ezekiel was prophesying among the exiled Jews near Babylon, youthful Daniel, who was of princely Jewish descent, was being educated in the royal court of Nebuchadnezzar. There, as an integrity keeper, he set a fine example for all young servants of Jehovah today.—Daniel 1:8, 9.
14. In what matter did young Daniel give all credit to God?
14 In the second year after Jerusalem’s fall, Nebuchadnezzar was agitated by a dream. On awakening, he could not even remember the dream. But God-fearing Daniel made known to the king both the dream and its interpretation. In doing so, he gave God all the credit, saying to the king: “There exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part of the days.” (Daniel 2:28). What do we learn from the dream and its application to “the final part of the days”?
15, 16. What is the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
15 Here we see a colossus, an immense image, made up for the most part of different metals in succession. Daniel explains that these represent a series of kingdoms and tells Nebuchadnezzar, “You yourself are the head of gold,” referring apparently to the Babylonian dynasty. There follow other world powers, the silver breasts and arms standing for Medo-Persia, the copper belly and thighs for Greece, and the iron legs for Rome and, later, the world power of Britain and America. (Daniel 2:31-40) Down through “the appointed times of the nations,” from 607 B.C.E. to 1914 C.E., these powers have held sway in the kingdom of ‘the god of this world.’—Luke 21:24; 4:5, 6; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
16 However, it is “in the final part of the days” that “the offspring of mankind,” the common man, comes to the fore. In many lands kings, kaisers, and czars are replaced by revolutionary and democratic rulers. Human misrule of the earth becomes a hodgepodge of harsh dictatorships and more pliable democratic forms of government. Like iron and clay, these do not mix. Even in the United Nations they do not cleave together but engage, rather, in angry debates and threats. Truly, ‘the kingdom proves to be divided.’—Daniel 2:41-43.
17. How is the prophecy fulfilled at “the final part of the days”?
17 Thus, in “the final part of the days,” the issue of world domination comes to its culmination. And what is the solution? Look! Already set in motion since 1914 is God’s Messianic Kingdom. It is the “stone” cut out of the “mountain” of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. No human politician shares in that! Here it comes, right on course, with pinpoint accuracy. At God’s due time, it smashes the feet of the image and grinds the entire colossus to powder. Like chaff before the wind, man-rule is carried away, with no trace being left. But the “stone”—the Kingdom of the grand God and his Christ—becomes a large mountain that fills the whole earth. That kingdom ‘will never be brought to ruin and will never be passed on to any other people.’ It will stand forever. How we thank Jehovah for his advance ‘revealing’ of such secrets!—Daniel 2:29, 44, 45.
A Modern-Day “Pushing”
18. (a) What later vision was given to Daniel? (b) What is remarkable about this vision?
18 However, Daniel had something more to say about human government and “the final part of the days.” Some 70 years after making known Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the aged Daniel was still in Babylon but serving under Cyrus, king of Persia. While he was on the bank of the river Hiddekel, an angel appeared to him, saying: “I have come to cause you to discern what will befall your people in the final part of the days, because it is a vision yet for the days to come.” (Daniel 10:14) The angel went on to describe in great detail rulers and events that would appear in the history of Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Germanic, Anglo-American, and socialistic forms of rulership. How remarkable that all this history, covering more than 2,500 years, could be written in advance! It gives us great confidence in the inspired prophetic Word of Jehovah God!*
19. What modern events does the prophecy foretell?
19 This prophecy tells that, in the course of time, two superpowers would appear, “the king of the south” and “the king of the north.” At last, the angel says, the northern king will “magnify himself above every god; and against the God of gods he will speak marvelous things”—not favorable things, for it is ‘to the god of fortresses that he gives glory.’ Against this boastful “king,” there is pitted “the king of the south,” who is also powerful in military might. As foretold, these two kings “engage . . . in a pushing.” The modern-day cold war between the superpowers is well illustrated by this. At times they ‘push’ rather rudely as they argue for some parity of nuclear armaments, while escalating their war preparations to the limit.—Daniel 11:36-45.
20. What determines the outcome, and how is “Michael” involved in this?
20 Though the prophecy predicts that “the king of the north” will storm like a flood into many lands, that will not determine the outcome. The determining factor is stated at Daniel 12:1: “And during that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people.” This Michael is Jesus Christ, who ‘stood up’ in his Kingdom in 1914, promptly to eject Satan from the heavens. And it is this “King of kings” who goes into action at Armageddon to consign all “the kings of the earth,” including those of the “north” and the “south,” to destruction.—Revelation 12:7-10; 19:11-19.
21. What, then, is the outcome at “the final part of the days”?
21 There, at the culmination of “the final part of the days,” the outcome will become apparent, with the triumph of God’s Kingdom. The angel describes it in these further words: “And there will certainly occur a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time.”—Daniel 12:1; compare Jeremiah 25:31-33; Mark 13:19.
22. As God’s people, how should we react to these prophecies and with what prospect?
22 Should we fear that time of tribulation and distress? Not if we are on Jehovah’s side, for the angel goes on to say: “During that time your people will escape, every one who is found written down in the book.” (Daniel 12:1) Let all of us, therefore, apply ourselves in diligent Bible study and exert ourselves in serving Jehovah. Thus, at “the final part of the days,” may we find our names written in God’s “book of remembrance” that is “written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16) So doing, we shall be privileged to share in his triumph “in the final part of the days.”
For details, see the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” published in 1958 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., pages 220-323.
With regard to “the final part of the days”—
□ What outcome did Jeremiah prophesy as to world peace?
□ Gog’s attack results in settling what issue, and how?
□ Nebuchadnezzar’s dream points to what grand climax?
□ How will the power struggle between the two “kings” end?
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THE LOGO approved by the UN for its International Year of Peace (1986) shows an olive wreath, a dove, and human hands. These are explained as follows: “The dove is the symbol of peace in association with the olive wreath emblem of the United Nations. Human hands supporting the dove ready for flight underline the role of human beings in the maintenance of peace.”
In this nuclear age, there is indeed a crying need to establish and maintain peace. But can human hands accomplish that? Jeremiah reminds us: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” And the prophet adds this petition: “O Jehovah, . . . pour out your rage upon the nations who have ignored you.”—Jeremiah 10:23-25.
The dove and the olive leaf are borrowed from the Bible record about Noah’s day. (Genesis 8:11) How was peace restored at that time? It was by an act of God, the global deluge that wiped out a corrupt generation of mankind. Jesus said that “the days of Noah,” with their violence and badness, were prophetic of the time of his “presence,” which is now.—Matthew 24:37-39; Genesis 6:5-12.
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Jeremiah points to the true hope for peace
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Ezekiel warns us to prepare now for the attack by Gog
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Daniel discloses the outcome of “the final part of the days”