Jehovah—The God of Times and Seasons
“For everything there is an appointed time.”—ECCLESIASTES 3:1.
1, 2. (a) In what ways are humans conscious of time? (b) What would happen to much of life today if we had no way of telling time?
IN EVERYDAY life, we are quite conscious of time. For example, when a clock shows that it is evening and we see the sun setting and the skies darkening, we know that nighttime has approached. Too, in certain parts of the earth, when the calendar shows that it is late autumn and we see the temperature dropping week by week and the leaves of trees falling off, we confirm that winter is near. So the evidences of what time or season it is verify what clocks and calendars tell us.
2 Not being able to tell times and seasons would turn much of life today into a sort of anarchy. For instance, think of hundreds of airplanes trying to land at a busy airport if there was no way of telling time in order to schedule them! Or think of millions of people trying to get to work on schedule if they had no way of telling time!
3. Who originated times and seasons?
3 Who originated times and seasons? It was the Creator of the universe, Jehovah God. Genesis 1:14 states: “And God went on to say: ‘Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night; and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years.’”
More Important Times and Seasons
4-6. (a) What is more important than knowing times or seasons for human activities? Why? (b) What questions should we ask?
4 Although knowing the time or the season is important for human activities, there is something far more important: What time or season is it from God’s viewpoint? Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: “For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens.” While this is true from the human viewpoint, it is even more so from God’s viewpoint. He has definite times and seasons for accomplishing his purpose. If we do not harmonize our lives with this fact, then all the arranging of our lives to conform to clocks or to calendars will eventually prove to be useless.
5 Why is this so? Because Jehovah has a purpose for this earth and for human creatures on it; otherwise he would not have created them. If we do not coordinate our lives with that purpose, we will not be included in it. And his purpose is certain to be carried out right on schedule. He declares: “So my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11.
6 Thus we need to ask: What time or season is it from Jehovah’s viewpoint? How do the nations and peoples of this world fit in with his timetable? Indeed, how do you fit in? Have you planned your life in harmony with God’s purpose and timetable?
Is This World Fulfilling God’s Purpose?
7. What view do most religious people have, but why is it without substance?
7 Many people feel that they are included in God’s purpose because they say that they believe in God. Yet, when you ask them to show you from God’s own Word what that purpose is, they are unable to do it. They go their own way, and still they feel that somehow God will favor them. Most world rulers have had a similar attitude throughout the centuries. They have felt that God was working out his purpose through them, regardless of their actions. But they, too, are unable to say what that purpose is.
8. Why is it unreasonable to think that the Creator could be backing the rulers and people of this world?
8 Does the Bible show that God backs this world, including the rulers and people who have a religion? Consider this: God’s power is awesome. He created the universe, which includes billions of galaxies, each containing many billions of stars. (Psalm 147:4) In addition, God has infinite wisdom. If God, with his power and wisdom, were backing the nations, would they have experienced so much violence, war, injustice, and suffering for so many centuries? Would God direct national leaders and millions of their people to go to war and kill other national leaders and millions of their people who also claim to be directed by God? Is that reasonable?
9. What does God’s Word say must be the spiritual condition of his true servants?
9 The Bible tells us at First Corinthians 14:33 that “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.” Further, Jehovah tells those who are truly his people: “You should all speak in agreement, and . . . there should not be divisions among you . . . that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) If any among God’s people do not conform to this standard, what then? Romans 16:17 counsels: “Keep your eye on those who cause divisions . . . contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them.” So national and religious divisions and conflicts are clear evidences that God is not backing such nations, religious leaders, and their followers.
10, 11. What scriptures show who is backing the rulers and people of this world?
10 Then who actually is backing them? First John chapter 3, verses 10 to 12, states: “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother.” Also, First John chapter 4, verse 20, says: “If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen.” Thus Jesus laid down this rule at John 13:35: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”
11 Do you see any resemblance between the love and unity that must exist among God’s true servants and the course that world leaders and people in general have followed for centuries? In our century alone, the slaughter of religious people by other religious people has taken tens of millions of lives. Often those killing one another have been of the very same religion! That is sure evidence that God is not backing them. Instead, as God’s Word shows, their backer is no one else but Satan the Devil. That is why the apostle John could say: “We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Yes, Satan is “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) He is the power behind the leaders and people of this world whose actions show that these men cannot be from God.
Jehovah’s Purpose for Meek Ones
12, 13. What is God’s purpose for this earth and for humans?
12 However, when Jehovah created humans, he purposed that the entire earth should become a paradise like the garden of Eden, populated by perfect, unified, happy people. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15; Isaiah 45:18) That purpose has not been canceled by rebellious humans and wicked spirit creatures. Also, since Jehovah is a God of times and seasons, his purpose will be accomplished at the appointed time that he has set for it. He will not allow human rule independent of him to continue fighting against his purpose beyond the allotted time.
13 Jesus had complete confidence in Jehovah’s purpose for this earth. He said to an evildoer who showed some faith in him: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) That was the earthly Paradise to come. On an earlier occasion, Jesus had said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Here, Jesus likely referred to the thought in Psalm 37:11, which says: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
14. What kind of people will inherit the earth?
14 Who are these who will inherit the earth? Psalm 37:34 states: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.” Verses 37 and 38 of Ps 37 add: “Watch the blameless one and keep the upright one in sight, for the future of that man will be peaceful. But the transgressors themselves will certainly be annihilated together; the future of wicked people will indeed be cut off.” Thus people who will inherit the earth must come to know Jehovah, believe his promises, and be considered by him upright and blameless because they obey his laws. As First John 2:17 declares: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”
15. For major beneficial world changes to take place, what is one vital thing that must happen?
15 However, for those changes to take place would require an enormous reversal of the state of affairs that now exists. For one thing, it would have to mean the removal of all present rulerships of the earth, since human rule has never brought about desirable conditions. But such earthshaking changes are well within the ability of Jehovah. For example, the Bible states: “He is changing times and seasons, removing kings and setting up kings.”—Daniel 2:21.
16, 17. (a) How did Jehovah deal with the Pharaoh who opposed His purpose? (b) How was Jehovah’s prophetic word confirmed?
16 Consider what Jehovah has done to powerful rulers and dynasties in the past, especially to those who have tried to interfere with his purposes. They have been broken and scattered to the winds like mere dust, as have their empires. For instance, there was the Pharaoh of Egypt who had enslaved God’s people. But Jehovah had a purpose for his servants, and he sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to free them. Instead, Pharaoh arrogantly declared: “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice?” He added: “I do not know Jehovah at all and, what is more, I am not going to send Israel away.”—Exodus 5:2.
17 Jehovah gave Pharaoh many opportunities to change his mind. Yet, time after time, as Exodus 11:10 says, Pharaoh ‘became obstinate.’ However, Jehovah has irresistible power. When his appointed time came, he drowned Pharaoh and his armies in the Red Sea. Exodus 14:28 says: “Not so much as one among them was let remain.” On the other hand, Jehovah’s servants were protected and freed. This, moreover, came at the exact time that Jehovah’s prophetic word had foretold, at the end of a 400-year period he had spoken about to faithful Abraham centuries before.
18. What did Jehovah do with Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon? Why?
18 Then there was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He got to boasting about his power and accomplishments, as though he were a god. But Daniel 4:31 says that “while the word was yet in the king’s mouth, there was a voice that fell from the heavens: ‘To you it is being said, O Nebuchadnezzar the king, “The kingdom itself has gone away from you.”’” Jehovah told him that he would be brought low like a beast of the field until, as verse 32 of Dan 4 says, he would know “that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind, and that to the one whom he wants to he gives it.” That is just what happened at the exact time that Jehovah had purposed for it.
19. Why did Jehovah’s adverse judgment come against Babylon and its ruler, Belshazzar?
19 The last king to rule in Babylon was Belshazzar. It was then Jehovah’s time for that monstrous empire to fall. Why? Because the Babylonians held Jehovah’s people captive and blasphemed Jehovah. Daniel chapter 5 relates that Belshazzar made a big feast for a thousand of his officials. Then Belshazzar “said to bring in the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken away from [Jehovah’s] temple that was in Jerusalem, . . . and from them the king and his grandees, his concubines and his secondary wives drank.” (Daniel 5:2, 3) Note what they did next: “They drank wine, and they praised the gods of gold and of silver, copper, iron, wood and stone.” (Daniel 5:4) By drinking from the sacred utensils that had been used in Jehovah’s worship, they mocked and blasphemed Jehovah. By worshiping their false gods, they worshiped Satan.
20, 21. What message did Daniel deliver to Belshazzar, and how was it fulfilled?
20 However, at that moment a startling thing happened. The fingers of a hand were seen writing on the wall of the palace! It shocked the king so much that “his very complexion was changed in him, and his own thoughts began to frighten him, and his hip joints were loosening and his very knees were knocking each other.” (Daniel 5:6) None of Belshazzar’s religious advisers could understand the handwriting, so Jehovah’s servant Daniel was called in to interpret it. Daniel informed the king that the message was from Jehovah, and it was this: “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and has finished it. . . . You have been weighed in the balances and have been found deficient. . . . Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”—Daniel 5:26-28.
21 That very night, Medo-Persian armies invaded the city through gates carelessly left open. As Daniel 5:30 concludes: “In that very night Belshazzar . . . was killed.” Babylon’s fall allowed for Jehovah’s people to return to their homeland exactly 70 years from the start of their captivity. That was precisely according to Jehovah’s timetable, as revealed at Jeremiah 29:10.
22, 23. How did Jehovah deal with King Herod Agrippa I, who opposed Christians in the first century?
22 In the first century, King Herod Agrippa I was the last ruler of Palestine, part of the Roman Empire. Herod had the apostle Peter imprisoned, and he persecuted other Christians. He even had the apostle James killed. (Acts 12:1, 2) Herod also arranged murderous gladiatorial combats and other pagan shows. All of this gave the lie to his claim that he was a worshiper of God.
23 But, then, Jehovah’s due time came for executing this opposer. Acts 12:21 to 23 tells us: “On a set day Herod clothed himself with royal raiment and sat down upon the judgment seat and began giving them a public address. In turn the assembled people began shouting: ‘A god’s voice, and not a man’s!’” What happened next? The Bible says: “Instantly the angel of Jehovah struck him, because he did not give the glory to God; and he became eaten up with worms and expired.” Here was another example of Jehovah’s “removing kings,” as Daniel 2:21 had stated.
24. To what do such historical facts testify?
24 Such historical events testify that Jehovah has his times and seasons for his purposes. They also demonstrate that he surely has the ability and the power to fulfill his purpose to transform this earth into a paradise where “righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:13.
Do You Recall?
□ Why is it so important to know Jehovah’s times and seasons?
□ Why is God not backing the rulers and people of this world?
□ What kind of people will inherit the incoming Paradise on earth?
□ How has Jehovah shown his ability to bring down rulers who oppose him?