Deliverance at the Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Go on rejoicing . . . that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory.”—1 PETER 4:13.
1. How has Jehovah enriched his servants?
JEHOVAH has enriched his Witnesses with many gifts. As our Grand Instructor, he has enlightened us with a fullness of knowledge concerning his will and purpose. Through his holy spirit, he has cultivated in us the ability to shed forth light with boldness. The inspired apostle Paul tells us at 1 Corinthians 1:6, 7: “The witness about the Christ has been rendered firm among you, so that you do not fall short in any gift at all, while you are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2. What joyful prospect does the “revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” hold forth?
2 “The revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”—what does that mean? It refers to the time when Jesus is revealed as a glorious King, taking action to reward his faithful followers and to execute vengeance on the ungodly. As 1 Peter 4:13 indicates, it will be a time for integrity-keeping spirit-anointed Christians and their loyal companions of the great crowd to “rejoice and be overjoyed,” for it signals the end of Satan’s system of things.
3. How must we stand firm, as did our brothers in Thessalonica?
3 As that time draws close, Satan in his anger increases pressure on us. Like a roaring lion, he tries to devour us. We must stand firm! (1 Peter 5:8-10) Our brothers in ancient Thessalonica, when new in the truth, suffered tribulations similar to those experienced by many of Jehovah’s Witnesses today. Hence, the apostle Paul’s words to them are very meaningful for us. He wrote: “It is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you, but, to you who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8) Yes, relief will come!
4. Why do the clergy merit the judgment that will be executed at Jesus’ revelation?
4 In Paul’s time much of the tribulation was caused by the Jewish religious leaders. Similarly today, opposition to the peace-loving Witnesses of Jehovah has often been instigated by those who claim to represent God, in particular the clergy of Christendom. These pretend to know God, but they reject the “one Jehovah” of the Bible, replacing him with a mystic Trinity. (Mark 12:29) They do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus, looking to man-rule for relief and rejecting the good news of Christ’s incoming Kingdom of righteousness. All these religious opposers must perish at the time of “the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven”!
The “Coming” of Jesus Christ
5. How is Jesus’ revelation vividly portrayed at Matthew 24:29, 30?
5 That revelation is vividly portrayed by Jesus at Matthew 24:29, 30. In describing various features of the sign of his presence and of the conclusion of the system of things, he says: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” At that time “the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven.” The nations of the earth “will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man [God’s Messianic King] coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” This “coming,” er·khoʹme·non in Greek, refers to Jesus’ appearing as Jehovah’s Vindicator.
6, 7. How is it that “every eye will see him,” and who are included in this?
6 This “coming” is described also by the apostle John at Revelation 1:7, where he says: “Look! He is coming with the clouds.” Oh, those enemies will not actually see Jesus with literal eyes, for “the clouds” signifies that he comes invisibly to execute judgment. If mere humans were to behold his heavenly glory with the naked eye, they would be blinded, just as Saul, on the road to Damascus, was struck blind when the glorified Jesus appeared to him in a great flashing light.—Acts 9:3-8; 22:6-11.
7 The Revelation account states that “every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him.” This means that opposers on earth will discern in the destruction that Jesus rains down on them that he has come with power and great glory as Jehovah’s Executioner. Why are these enemies described as “those who pierced him”? It is because their attitude of bitterness toward Jehovah’s servants today is like that of Jesus’ persecutors. They will, indeed, ‘beat themselves bitterly in grief because of him.’
8. What warning do both Jesus and Paul sound regarding sudden destruction?
8 How will that day of Jehovah’s vengeance arrive? In the prophecy at Luke chapter 21, Jesus describes the catastrophic events that have served as the sign of his presence since 1914. Then, in verses 34 and 35, Jesus warns: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth.” Yes, that day of Jehovah’s vengeance comes suddenly, instantly! The apostle Paul confirms this at 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3, saying: “Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.” Even now the nations are talking about peace and security and proposing to strengthen the United Nations to police trouble spots by means of military power.
9. For whom does ‘light flash up,’ and why?
9 In 1Th 5 verses 4 and 5, the apostle goes on to tell us: “But you, brothers, you are not in darkness, so that that day should overtake you as it would thieves, for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We belong neither to night nor to darkness.” We rejoice to be sons of light—light bearers to others who yearn for true peace and security in God’s new world. At Psalm 97:10, 11, we read: “O you lovers of Jehovah, hate what is bad. He is guarding the souls of his loyal ones; out of the hand of the wicked ones he delivers them. Light itself has flashed up for the righteous one, and rejoicing even for the ones upright in heart.”
The Order of Events
10. What advance notice should we heed regarding God’s day of reckoning? (Revelation 16:15)
10 What will be the order of events when the great tribulation strikes? Let us turn to Revelation chapter 16. Notice, as described in verses 13 through 16, that unclean, demonic spirits gather the nations of the entire earth to Har–Magedon, the war of the great day of God the Almighty. Again, the thieflike approach of the day of reckoning is emphasized, and we are warned to stay awake—to keep on the spiritual garments that mark us for salvation. The time has arrived for judging the peoples of earth, the nations, and—someone else. Who is that?
11. How has the woman of Revelation 17:5 identified herself?
11 It is a figurative woman who has really tried to make herself “someone.” She is described at Revelation 17:5 as “a mystery: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.’” But she is no longer a mystery to Jehovah’s Witnesses. She has clearly identified herself as the world empire of false religion, of which Christendom’s sects make up the dominant part. Disgusting in Jehovah’s eyes are her dabbling in political affairs, her becoming “drunk with the blood of the holy ones” by persecuting true Christians, and her being responsible for the blood “of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth,” including more than a hundred million killed in the wars of this 20th century alone.—Revelation 17:2, 6; 18:24.
12. Why do Christendom’s sects stand condemned?
12 Worst of all, Christendom’s sects have brought reproach on the name of the God whom they hypocritically claim to represent. They have taught Babylonian and Grecian philosophies instead of the pure Word of God and have contributed to the moral delinquency of entire nations by approving permissive life-styles that flout Bible principles. Greedy wheeler-dealers among them stand condemned by the words of James 5:1, 5: “Come, now, you rich men, weep, howling over your miseries that are coming upon you. You have lived in luxury upon the earth and have gone in for sensual pleasure. You have fattened your hearts on the day of slaughter.”
Down With Babylon the Great!
13. How does the opening salvo of the great tribulation come, and what urgency is emphasized at Revelation 18:4, 5?
13 The opening salvo of the great tribulation comes with the execution of Jehovah’s judgment on Babylon the Great. Revelation 17:15-18 graphically describes God’s “thought”—to maneuver “ten horns,” powerful forces from within the multinational UN “wild beast,” to dispose of her. “And the ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these 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. For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought.” No wonder a heavenly voice sounds an urgent warning at Revelation 18:4, 5: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” The call continues to go forth: Cut all ties with false religion, before it is too late!
14. Who will mourn over the devastating of Babylon the Great, and why?
14 How will the world regard the devastating of Babylon the Great? From a distance, corrupt politicians—“kings of the earth”—grieve over her because they had for centuries found mutual pleasure in their spiritual fornication. Also weeping and mourning over her are greedy men of commerce, “traveling merchants . . . , who became rich from her.” These also distance themselves from her, saying: “Too bad, too bad—the great city, clothed with fine linen and purple and scarlet, and richly adorned with gold ornament and precious stone and pearl, because in one hour such great riches have been devastated!” All the finery of ecclesiastical garments and the magnificence of the world’s great cathedrals will be gone forever! (Revelation 18:9-17) But will everyone mourn over Babylon the Great?
15, 16. What cause for rejoicing will God’s people have?
15 Revelation 18:20, 21 answers: “Be glad over her, O heaven, also you holy ones and you apostles and you prophets, because God has judicially exacted punishment for you from her!” Like a great millstone hurled into the sea, “with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city [have been] hurled down, and she will never be found again.”
16 What cause for rejoicing! Revelation 19:1-8 bears this out. Four times the call, “Praise Jah, you people!” rings forth from heaven. The first three of these Hallelujahs praise Jehovah because he has executed righteous judgment on the infamous harlot, Babylon the Great. The world empire of false religion is no more! A voice issues from God’s throne, saying: “Be praising our God, all you his slaves, who fear him, the small ones and the great.” How privileged we will be to share in that song!
The Marriage of the Lamb
17 The fourth Hallelujah introduces another theme: “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.” But was not a similar refrain taken up at Revelation 11:17? There we read: “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, . . . because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king.” Yes. However, the context of Revelation 11:17 refers to Jehovah’s bringing forth the Messianic Kingdom in 1914 “to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” (Revelation 12:5) Revelation 19:6 is in the context of the destruction of Babylon the Great. With the removal of harlotlike religion, Jehovah’s Godship stands vindicated. Worship of him as Supreme Sovereign and King will prevail now for all eternity!
18. The removal of Babylon the Great opens the way for what exultant announcement?
18 Hence, the exultant announcement may be made: “Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give [Jah] the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself. Yes, it has been granted to her to be arrayed in bright, clean, fine linen, for the fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the holy ones.” (Revelation 19:7, 8) Just when the anointed yet remaining on earth will receive their heavenly resurrection is not stated. But we are assured in the context here that their sharing in the marriage of the Lamb, Christ Jesus, will be a happy time, and all the more so since they will have witnessed firsthand the humiliation of the infamous harlot, Babylon the Great.
Satan’s World Destroyed
19. What other development is described at Revelation 19:11-21?
19 The white horse first mentioned at Revelation 6:2 comes to view again. We read at Revelation 19:11: “The one seated upon [the white horse] is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness.” Thus the “King of kings and Lord of lords” rides forth to strike the nations and to tread “the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty.” In vain do “the kings of the earth and their armies” gather to wage the war of Har—Magedon. The Rider of the white horse completes his conquest. Nothing remains of Satan’s earthly organization.—Revelation 19:12-21.
20. What befalls the Devil himself?
20 But what of the Devil himself? At Revelation 20:1-6, Christ Jesus is described as “an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.” He seizes the dragon, the original Serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, binds him, hurls him into the abyss, and shuts and seals it over him. With Satan out of the way and unable to mislead the nations anymore, the glorious Millennial Reign of the Lamb and his bride gets under way. No more tears of sorrow! No more Adamic death! No mourning, no outcry, no pain! “The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:4.
21. As we eagerly await the revelation of Jesus Christ, what should be our determination?
21 While we eagerly await the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us show zeal in telling others about God’s loving Kingdom promises. Deliverance is at hand! May we walk forward, ever forward, as enlightened children of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah!
□ What indicates that the revelation of Jesus Christ is near at hand?
□ How will the day of Jehovah’s vengeance arrive?
□ How should “lovers of Jehovah” view the present world situation?
□ What will be the order of events when the great tribulation strikes?
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Jesus ‘comes with clouds,’ invisibly, to execute judgment
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Soon false religion, Satan’s wicked system, and Satan himself will all go down