Encourage One Another As the Day Draws Near
“[Be] encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”—HEBREWS 10:25.
1, 2. What day draws near, and what should be the attitude of Jehovah’s people?
THOSE who today share in saying, ‘Come and partake of the water of life,’ do not isolate themselves. As the great day of Jehovah’s victory approaches, they apply the Biblical counsel: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
2 The Scriptures prophesy about that “day” as “Jehovah’s day.” (2 Peter 3:10) Inasmuch as Jehovah is the Most High, the omnipotent God, no day could possibly outshine his day. (Acts 2:20) It means the vindicating of his sovereignty as God over all the universe. That day of unparalleled importance draws near.
3. How was Jehovah’s day drawing near for the Christians in the first century, and what about for us today?
3 The apostle Paul told Christians in the first century of our Common Era that Jehovah’s day was approaching. They looked forward to the coming of that day, but back there, that day was more than 1,900 years off. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) Despite that fact, they were to be encouraged because that day was definitely due to come, and if the Christians steadily pressed on in that faith, they would enter into that blessed day. (2 Timothy 4:8) Back there, that day was seen to be drawing near. As for us today, Jehovah’s day has indeed drawn near. All the marvelous fulfillments of Bible prophecy verify this joy-inspiring fact. Soon, the name of our God, Jehovah, will be sanctified for all eternity.—Luke 11:2.
Encouraged by the Divine Name
4. According to Revelation 19:6, who is to become King, and how is his name discerned?
4 The divine name should be a matter of interest to the entire human family. Today’s English Version states: “Praise God! For the Lord, our Almighty God, is King!” (Revelation 19:6) According to that 20th-century Bible translation, he is the Lord, the almighty God. That version, as well as many other modern versions, does not give the name of the divine Being who begins to rule as King. However, the divine name is included in the exclamation “Hallelujah!” (“Praise Jah” or, “Praise Jehovah”) found in the Revised Standard Version, the New International Version, and Moffatt’s translation of Revelation 19:6. For much of our Common Era, the divine name has been basically obscured in Bible translations. As we shall see, however, that name has been of great encouragement to God’s people, in both ancient and modern times.
5, 6. (a) Why did Moses need to know the name of the God whom he represented? (b) What must have been the effect on the Israelites when Moses emphasized the divine name?
5 We recall that when Moses was sent by the Most High God to the people of Israel enslaved in the land of Egypt, the question of who sent him raised itself in the minds of the people to whom Moses was sent. Moses anticipated that the suffering Jewish people would want to know the name of the God whom he represented. In this regard we read at Exodus 3:15: “God said once more to Moses: ‘This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, “Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.”’ This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.”
6 When this information was emphasized to them, the Israelites must have felt very encouraged. Their deliverance was assured by the only true God, Jehovah. And how encouraging it must have been to have the prospect of getting acquainted with God when he would demonstrate the meaning of his personal name—not haughtily isolating himself!—Exodus 3:13; 4:29-31.
7. (a) How do we know that Jesus’ disciples were acquainted with the divine name? (b) How was God’s name pushed into the background?
7 The disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were also greatly encouraged by the divine name, Jehovah, and what it stood for. (John 17:6, 26) During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he certainly did not push the divine name into the background, and it was not his purpose to have his own name, Jesus, take precedence. Only after the beginning of the foretold apostasy from the true Christian faith did the divine name get pushed into the background, yes, practically wiped out of the Christian interchange of conversation. (Acts 20:29, 30) Once the name of the Son of God would begin to be given greater prominence, overshadowing that of the Father, professed Christians would find their worship of the Father increasingly impersonal, lacking family closeness, and so not very encouraging.
8. What has been the continuing effect upon God’s people of the adoption of the name Jehovah’s Witnesses?
8 Thus, it was a reason for unspeakable joy when the International Bible Students associated with the Watch Tower Society adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. Not only was it joy-inspiring but it was most encouraging. On this account, the newly named Bible students could encourage one another.—Compare Isaiah 43:12.
9. How do true Christians feel about the One of whom they are Witnesses?
9 Consequently, true Christians today find it appropriate to identify the One of whom they are the foretold Witnesses, even as Jesus Christ their Leader did when he was here on earth. (Revelation 1:1, 2) Yes, they identify him alone as the one whose name is Jehovah.—Psalm 83:18.
Filled With Joy and Holy Spirit
10-12. (a) What would be the effect of the active force upon Jesus’ followers? (b) How do the joy-inspired Witnesses of Jehovah want to treat one another?
10 Jesus Christ said in his parting words to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 28:19, 20.
11 Note that newly taught Christians were to be baptized in the name of the holy spirit. This holy spirit is not a person but the active force of Jehovah God, which He employs by means of Jesus Christ. At Pentecost, Jehovah God, through Jesus, poured out this active force upon the dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:33) They were filled with this holy spirit, and one of the expressions, or fruits, of the holy spirit is joy. (Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:18-20) Joy is a stimulating quality. The disciples are to be filled with the joy of the holy spirit. The prayer worded by the apostle Paul is most appropriate: “May the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your believing, that you may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.”—Romans 15:13.
12 Filled with this joy-inspiring spirit, Witnesses of Jehovah today, including the “great crowd,” will want, yes, will be moved, to encourage one another in the midst of this unfriendly system of things. Accordingly, the apostle Paul spoke of “an interchange of encouragement.”—Revelation 7:9, 10; Romans 1:12; 14:17.
Every Reason to Be Encouraged
13. What reasons do we have for being encouraged and for encouraging one another?
13 Finding themselves to be in the midst of this system of things, of which the opposer of everything righteous is the ruler and even the god, Christians will want to encourage one another within the worldwide Christian congregation, which is permeated with the holy spirit of Jehovah God. (Hebrews 10:24, 25; Acts 20:28) We have every reason to be encouraged. Yes, how thankful we are to have accurate knowledge of Jehovah and of His Son and of the active force they use, namely, the holy spirit! How grateful we are for the hope that they give! Our worship is thus filled with joy. The apostle Paul told the Christians to whom he addressed his letter that they should encourage one another and be building one another up in their most holy faith. They were to do this ‘all the more so as they figuratively beheld the day drawing near.’ Moreover, when the political powers of this earth wipe out nominal Christianity, together with all other false religions, the situation will demand that we encourage one another even more.
14. Who should be encouraging one another, and how?
14 While the elders take the lead in encouraging the flock in their individual congregations, all Christians need to encourage one another, just as Hebrews 10:25 admonishes. In fact, this is a Christian requirement. If you are a member of a congregation, do you give this encouragement? You may wonder, ‘How can I? What can I do?’ First, just by your presence at meetings and by your support of the Christian arrangement, are not all the other brothers and sisters encouraged, even as you yourself are likely encouraged when seeing others faithfully attending the congregation meetings? They can also be encouraged by your example of faithful endurance. By your continuing in the Christian course despite life’s problems and difficulties, never giving out, you can set an inspiring example.
Counteract Discouragement From the Devil
15. Why does the Devil have “great anger,” and against whom?
15 We are not the only ones who know that Jehovah’s day is near. Satan the Devil does too. Revelation 12:12 tells us that there is now woe for the earth “because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” As Revelation 12:17 indicates, his great anger is directed against those “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” No doubt about it—the Devil wants to discourage us! And he knows just how to try to do it. He knows our weaknesses and problems, and he plays upon these.
16. Why does Satan use discouragement as a weapon?
16 Why does the Devil use discouragement as a weapon? Because it often works. Even a person who has endured outright opposition and persecution may fall prey to discouragement. Satan wants to taunt Jehovah God and try to prove he can turn people away from serving Him. (Proverbs 27:11; compare Job 2:4, 5; Revelation 12:10.) If he can discourage you, he may cause you to slow down in your service to God; he may even cause you to stop, to become inactive in the preaching of the Kingdom good news.—2 Corinthians 2:10, 11; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8.
17. How were the negative effects of discouragement evident in Moses’ day?
17 The negative effects of discouragement can be noted in the case of the Israelites in ancient Egypt. After Moses spoke to Pharaoh, that tyrant greatly increased their burdens and his oppression of them. God told Moses to assure the Israelites that He would indeed deliver them, make them His people, provide their escape, and bring them into the land of promise. Moses spoke to this effect to the sons of Israel. But Exodus 6:9 reports: “They did not listen to Moses out of discouragement and for the hard slavery.” Until Jehovah convinced Moses and encouraged him, this reaction even discouraged Moses from wanting to speak to Pharaoh as he was commanded.—Exodus 6:10-13.
18. Why is there great need for God’s people to counteract discouragement caused by the Devil?
18 Satan the Devil well knows the negative effect that discouragement can have on a servant of God. As Proverbs 24:10 says: “Have you shown yourself discouraged in the day of distress? Your power will be scanty.” Since we are living so deep in the time of the end, we need to be powerful and strong spiritually. It is bad enough that we have to contend with our imperfections, weaknesses, and faults that may hold us back; but with Satan trying to exploit these faults, we need help.
Rely Firmly on Christ’s Sacrifice
19. What will help us counteract discouragement, and why?
19 A great help in this regard is the ransom provision that Jehovah made possible by means of Jesus Christ. We can be overcomers by relying firmly on the ransom. It is dangerous to minimize this provision. Yes, we will still err, or sin, as long as we are imperfect. But we do not have to be discouraged and quit, feeling there is no hope, and thereby fall into Satan’s trap. We know that we have a full sacrifice for sin. The ransom is able to remove sins. If we are of the “great crowd,” we must have full faith and trust that we can wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.—Revelation 7:9, 14.
20. How does Revelation 12:11 indicate that the great discourager, the Devil, can be overcome?
20 At Revelation 12:10 Satan is described as “the accuser of our brothers . . . who accuses them day and night before our God.” How can we conquer such a wicked accuser and monstrous discourager? Re 12 Verse 11 of that chapter provides the answer: “They conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death.” So Jehovah’s people need to keep full confidence in the ransom sacrifice, the blood of the Lamb. Keep strong the encouragement that comes from witnessing, regularly sharing the good news of God’s Kingdom with everyone you can.
21. How might we inadvertently share in the Devil’s work of discouraging our brothers?
21 Sometimes, even inadvertently, we may share in the Devil’s work of discouraging our brothers. How? By becoming too critical, being too demanding, or being righteous overmuch. (Ecclesiastes 7:16) All of us have deficiencies and weaknesses. Let us not play upon them as does the Devil. Rather, let us speak encouragingly about our brothers and Jehovah’s people as an organized group. We want to keep on enheartening one another and so keep from disheartening one another.
Encouraging as the Day Nears
22, 23. (a) Why should we not leave it just to the elders to be sources of encouragement? (b) How can overseers in the Christian congregation be encouraged?
22 We should make it our firm resolve always to encourage one another as the day draws near. Encourage others by your faithful example and words of comfort. Imitate Jehovah and the Lord Jesus Christ in this regard. Do not leave it just to the congregation elders to be the source of encouragement. Why, the elders themselves need encouragement. They have weaknesses and frailties just as the rest of the flock, and they have to cope with the same problems in providing for their families in a decaying world. In addition to that, they have what Paul described as the anxiety for the congregations. (2 Corinthians 11:28, 29) Theirs is hard work—they need encouragement.
23 You can greatly encourage those in positions of oversight in the Christian congregation by cooperating with them. Then you will be following the counsel of Hebrews 13:17: “Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will render an account; that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you.”
24. In this day of discouragement, what should we be doing, and why?
24 We live in a day of discouragement. Men’s hearts are indeed faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, as Jesus foretold. (Luke 21:25, 26) With so many problems that tend to depress and dishearten, be “encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” Follow the apostle Paul’s good counsel at 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Keep comforting one another and building one another up, just as you are in fact doing.”
How Would You Answer?
□ Why should Christians be encouraging one another, even more than formerly?
□ How has knowledge of the divine name been encouraging to Jehovah’s people?
□ In what ways can we individually encourage one another?
□ Why must we avoid sharing in the Devil’s work of discouraging our brothers?
[Picture on page 17]
Elders take the lead in encouraging the flock in their congregations