What Will the Lord’s Day Mean for You?
“Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.”—PSALM 110:2.
1-3. (a) Why has the beginning of the Lord’s day been a time of conflict, and what have been some of Jesus’ successes? (b) How will Jesus “complete his conquest”?
BACK in 1914, Jesus was installed as King of God’s Kingdom, and the Lord’s day began. Immediately, the new King faced violent opposition from Satan the Devil and his agents here on earth. (Psalm 2:1-6) So these early years of the Lord’s day have been a time of conflict in which Jesus has gone ‘subduing in the midst of his enemies.’—Psalm 110:2.
2 The new King’s conquests have been impressive. After 1914, Satan tried to “devour” the newborn Kingdom but, instead, was ignominiously cast out of heaven. (Revelation 12:1-12) He then ‘waged war’ with the remaining ones of the anointed, but he was unable to prevent their ‘standing up’ in 1919 or their accepting “the little scroll” from the hand of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 10:8-11; 11:11, 12; 12:17) He was equally powerless to prevent the gathering of the final ones of the 144,000 and the assembling of the great crowd (out of all the nations), who render “sacred service day and night in [Jehovah’s] temple.”—Revelation 7:1-3, 9-15.
3 Indeed, since 1914 Jesus has ‘gone forth conquering.’ Nevertheless, much remains to be done. Jesus has yet “to complete his conquest.” He has yet to take action in removing all traces of Satan’s world system of things. (Revelation 6:1, 2; 19:11-21) What will this momentous act mean for us as individuals?
Public Stripping of Babylon the Great
4. How is false religion described in Revelation?
4 The destruction of Satan’s world begins with the end of false religion. Revelation describes the whole world empire of false religion—including Christendom—as a prostitute, Babylon the Great, who has relations with the kings of the earth and makes mankind drunk with her fornication. She herself is also drunk—revoltingly—from drinking blood, the blood of God’s servants. (Revelation 17:1-6) Revelation also describes the end of this disgusting old harlot, and we can better understand what this will mean if we consider what happened to another religious harlot that existed back in the seventh century before our Common Era.
5, 6. Why was unfaithful Jerusalem called a prostitute, and what judgment did this bring on her from the hand of Jehovah?
5 That harlot was the city of Jerusalem. She was supposed to be the center of Jehovah’s worship on earth, but God said to her: “By your blood that you have shed you have become guilty.” (Ezekiel 22:4) She was also supposed to be spiritually pure, but she had prostituted herself by consorting with the nations. “O how I am filled up with rage against you,” Jehovah said to her, “by your doing all these things, the work of a woman, a domineering prostitute!”—Ezekiel 16:30; 23:1-21; James 4:4.
6 Consider, then, Jehovah’s judgment on this harlot: “Here I am collecting together all those [the nations] passionately loving you toward whom you were pleasurable and all those whom you loved . . . , and they must strip you of your garments and take your beautiful articles and leave you behind naked and nude. And they must burn your houses with fire.” (Ezekiel 16:37, 39, 41; 23:25-30) History records what happened. The Babylonians came in 607 B.C.E. and stripped Jerusalem bare. Her people and her wealth were carried off to Babylon. The city was destroyed, the temple was burned, and the land was left desolate.—2 Chronicles 36:17-21.
7. What will be the end of Babylon the Great?
7 Something similar will happen to Babylon the Great. Revelation warns: “These [modern “kings,” or rulers with whom Babylon the Great has committed spiritual fornication] will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:2, 16) From the example of ancient Jerusalem, we know what this will mean. False religion will be destroyed by national governments who formerly ‘loved’ her. Her wealth will be ripped away, and she will be burned, completely destroyed. A fitting end to a disgusting organization!
The Heavens Darkened
8. What kind of time will the great tribulation be for mankind?
8 With the destruction of Babylon the Great, we will have entered the “great tribulation” prophesied by Jesus. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14) Speaking of that time, Revelation says: “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.” (Revelation 6:12, 13) This great earthquake is the “great quaking” in “the soil of Israel” that Ezekiel prophesied. (Ezekiel 38:18, 19; Joel 3:14-16) It is the final destruction of this wicked system of things. Will anything happen to the literal sun, moon, and stars at that time?
9, 10. What did Ezekiel prophesy in the case of Egypt, and how was this fulfilled?
9 Ezekiel, warning of the coming fall of Israel’s large southern neighbor, Egypt, said: “‘And when you [Pharaoh] get extinguished I will cover the heavens and darken their stars. As for the sun, with clouds I shall cover it, and the moon itself will not let its light shine. All the luminaries of light in the heavens—I shall darken them on your account, and I will put darkness upon your land,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 32:7, 8.
10 When Pharaoh and his armies fell, the literal heavens did not darken. But Egypt’s future became very dark. As Bible scholar C. F. Keil notes, “the darkness consequent [upon Pharaoh’s fall] is a figurative representation of utterly hopeless circumstances.” Forever finished as an independent world power, Egypt was dominated by one world power after another! Today, most of the territory of the ancient Pharaonic world power is ruled by an Arab nation.
11. (a) What is prefigured by what happened to Egypt? (b) How will the future be absolutely black for Satan’s world at the great tribulation?
11 But Keil saw a further meaning in Ezekiel’s prophecy. He writes: “The overthrow of this world-power [Egypt] is an omen and prelude of the overthrow of every ungodly world-power on the day of the last judgment.” This is, in substance, true. As Revelation shows, at the great tribulation ungodly mankind’s prospects will be as black as were those of Egypt. It will be as if the sun gave no light by day and the night sky were devoid of any warm light from the moon and without any friendly, twinkling stars. Those who refuse to honor Jehovah’s King will perish without even an honorable burial as the Rider on the white horse completes his conquest. (Revelation 19:11, 17-21; Ezekiel 39:4, 17-19) No wonder ungodly men will cry out “to the mountains and to the rock-masses: ‘Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”—Revelation 6:16, 17; Matthew 24:30.
12. How has Satan expressed his hatred of Jesus Christ during the Lord’s day?
12 What, though, of Christians in these times? Well, they have been greatly affected by the ceaseless warfare between Satan and the Rider on the white horse. Since Satan has been unable to get at Jesus personally, he has unleashed the full force of his fury on the remaining ones of the anointed and—more recently—on the great crowd of other sheep that has gathered around them. As Jesus warned, these have been “objects of hatred by all the nations on account of [his] name.” (Matthew 24:9) Satan has used every weapon at his disposal, including mobbing, imprisonment, torture, and murder, to fight against them.—2 Timothy 3:12.
13. How has Satan used guile in his warfare against God’s people?
13 Satan has also skillfully used guile. (Ephesians 6:11) Using “the deceptive power of riches,” he has tempted some to slow down or even to cease their sacred service. (Matthew 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:9, 10) Others he has lured into uncleanness and immorality. (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2) Many are under heavy pressure because of the “anxieties of life,” and Satan takes advantage of this to try to ‘weigh them down.’ (Luke 21:34) In other cases, he has used personality conflicts or rebellious tendencies to distract from “the more important things.”—Philippians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 1:11, 12; James 4:1-3.
14, 15. How can we conquer in our struggle against Satan?
14 Hence, Christians have needed to cultivate endurance during the Lord’s day. Some have failed, and each failure has been a small victory for Satan. (1 Peter 5:8) But most have heeded Jesus’ promise: “He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) With help from Jehovah, they have conquered and brought joy to his heart.—Proverbs 27:11; 1 John 2:13, 14.
15 Surely, none of us want to give Satan the satisfaction of seeing us quit! Hence, let us follow Paul’s counsel and arm ourselves with truth, righteousness, and faith—preaching the good news with zeal and studying to keep our faith strong. Let us also pray incessantly and stay alert. In that way, we will “be open to no accusation in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:8; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Peter 4:7) Rather, the Lord’s day will be a source of rich blessings for us.
Marvelous Privileges of Service
16. Why was John told not to write down what the seven thunders said, and what did this mean for anointed Christians in 1919?
16 At Revelation 10:3, 4, John says that he heard “the seven thunders” utter their own voices. He wanted to write down what he had heard, but he reports: “I heard a voice out of heaven say: ‘Seal up the things the seven thunders spoke, and do not write them down.’” Evidently, it was not yet time for such information to be released. Instead, John was told to take the little scroll and eat it. The seven thunders appear to represent a complete expression of Jehovah’s purposes. (Psalm 29:3; John 12:28, 29; Revelation 4:5) Back in 1919, when anointed Christians figuratively ate the little scroll, it was not time for them to have a complete understanding of Jehovah’s purposes. (Compare Daniel 12:8, 9.) But they fearlessly forged ahead with what understanding they had and proved themselves worthy of further enlightenment.
17. What are some of the new insights that Jehovah has granted to his people in the years since 1919?
17 Then, over the years, they were given a progressively clearer understanding of Jehovah’s will. For example, they came to realize that the sheep of Jesus’ parable were, even before Armageddon, being separated from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) They saw that the birth of the Kingdom in 1914 was in fulfillment of Revelation chapter 12. They came to a deeper appreciation of the importance of Jehovah’s name, and they learned who the great crowd of Revelation chapter 7 really are. What confidence these progressive revelations gave to God’s people!—Proverbs 4:18; 2 Peter 1:19.
18. What outstanding privileges of service have Jehovah’s people shared in during the Lord’s day, and what awareness does this build in our hearts?
18 At the same time, Jehovah entrusted his earthly servants with outstanding privileges of service. In a lofty vision, John saw angels proclaiming everlasting good news for mankind, proclaiming the fall of Babylon the Great, and warning against receiving the mark of the beast. (Revelation 14:6-10) While angels undoubtedly oversaw these divine service privileges, it was humans, Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth, who actually spoke these messages to mankind. John also saw Jesus reaping “the harvest of the earth.” (Revelation 14:14-16) But it has been through the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work of Jesus’ subjects on earth that he has reaped this harvest. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) What a privilege it is to share with the angels and with Jesus Christ himself in service privileges of such vital importance! In so doing, we feel ourselves truly in harmony with Jehovah’s great, invisible heavenly organization of faithful spirit creatures.
19. (a) What will be the climax of Satan’s hostility toward God’s people? (b) Who will conquer in the final, climactic conflict?
19 As the end of his world approaches, Satan will put more and more pressure upon Christians. The climax of his hostility is described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39, where he is prophetically called Gog of Magog. According to this inspired prophecy, Satan will make an all-out attack to try to destroy God’s people once and for all. Will he succeed? Revelation answers: “The ten horns [modern-day “kings,” or rulers] . . . will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.” (Revelation 17:12, 14) Faithful Christians will be certain to conquer if they remain faithful to their great, conquering King. Gog’s forces will be utterly destroyed.—Ezekiel 39:3, 4, 17-19; Revelation 19:17-21.
20. What blessings will the Lord’s day bring to faithful Christians at the great tribulation?
20 Thus, the Lord’s day means salvation for God’s people. Those of the anointed still alive as humans at the great tribulation will have their heavenly position guaranteed, and they will be unwaveringly determined to finish their life’s course in faithfulness. (Revelation 7:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:6-8) The great crowd will also survive, and Jesus “will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:14, 17) What a fine reward for faithful endurance!
21. What will happen on earth during the Lord’s day after the great tribulation?
21 Now the Lord’s day enters into a wonderful phase: the Thousand Year Reign of Christ Jesus. (Revelation 20:6, 11-15) The river of water of life, prophesied both in Revelation and in Ezekiel, will flow down from Jehovah’s throne to mankind, and those who drink of it will gradually be raised to human perfection. (Ezekiel 47:1-12; Revelation 22:1, 2) Hades will be emptied, and billions of those who have died will also have the opportunity to drink of this river.—John 5:28, 29.
22. What momentous events await mankind at the end of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ?
22 At the end of the thousand years, mankind will have been raised to perfection. What an appropriate time for Satan to make his final appearance on the earthly scene! Once again he will try to deceive mankind, and some will follow him, even then. These are significantly called “Gog and Magog” since they will manifest the same evil spirit as that shown by ‘Gog’s crowd’ in Ezekiel’s prophecy. But their rebellious spirit will be wiped out for all eternity when they, along with Satan himself and his demons, are cast into the symbolic lake of fire. (Revelation 20:7-10; Ezekiel 39:11) A truly blessed future awaits those who remain faithful through that final test, and then the perfected human race will become one with Jehovah’s righteous universal organization. Jehovah God himself will be “all things to everyone”!—1 Corinthians 15:24, 28; Revelation 20:5.
23. In view of the time we are living in, what counsel of Paul is it most appropriate for each one of us to heed?
23 What unimaginable blessings, then, await us if we endure! Remember, the Lord’s day is now well under way. Wonderful things have already started to happen. Fitting, then, are Paul’s words: “Let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out.” (Galatians 6:9) Let us indeed “not give up in doing what is fine” in this the Lord’s day. If we endure, this day will bring eternal benefits to each one of us.
Can You Explain?
□ What is the first stage of the destruction of Satan’s world?
□ How will Jesus “complete his conquest” of his enemies?
□ How has Satan fought against Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Lord’s day?
□ What remarkable blessings have God’s people enjoyed since 1919?
□ In view of where we are in the stream of time, what are you personally determined to do?
[Picture on page 16]
The fate of ancient Jerusalem shows what will soon happen to Babylon the Great