Who Will Survive “the Day of Jehovah”?
“What sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!”—2 PETER 3:11, 12.
1. Who have worked with Elijah’s spirit and power?
JEHOVAH GOD has selected from among mankind individuals who will become joint heirs with his Son, Jesus Christ, in the heavenly Kingdom. (Romans 8:16, 17) While they are still on earth, anointed Christians have worked with Elijah’s spirit and power. (Luke 1:17) In the preceding article, we noted certain parallels between their activities and those of the prophet Elijah. But what about the work of Elijah’s successor, the prophet Elisha?—1 Kings 19:15, 16.
2. (a) What was Elijah’s last miracle, and Elisha’s first? (b) What proof is there that Elijah did not go to heaven?
2 The last miracle performed by Elijah was that of dividing the waters of the Jordan River by striking them with his official garment. This allowed Elijah and Elisha to cross on dry ground. As they walked on the eastern side of the river, a windstorm carried Elijah away to another location on the earth. (See the box on page 15 entitled “To Which Heavens Did Elijah Ascend?”) Left behind was Elijah’s official garment. When Elisha used it to strike the Jordan, its waters were again divided, enabling him to return on dry ground. This miracle made it clear that Elisha had become Elijah’s successor in promoting true worship in Israel.—2 Kings 2:6-15.
Godly Qualities Essential
3. What did Paul and Peter say about Jesus’ presence and “the day of Jehovah”?
3 Centuries after the days of Elijah and Elisha, the apostles Paul and Peter associated a coming “day of Jehovah” with Jesus Christ’s presence and the then future “new heavens and a new earth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2; 2 Peter 3:10-13) To survive Jehovah’s great day—when God destroys his enemies and saves his people—we must seek Jehovah and display meekness and righteousness. (Zephaniah 2:1-3) But some additional qualities come to the fore as we consider events involving the prophet Elisha.
4. What role does zeal play in Jehovah’s service?
4 Zeal for God’s service is vital if we are to survive “the day of Jehovah.” Elijah and Elisha were zealous in Jehovah’s service. With similar zeal, the remnant of anointed Christians today render sacred service to Jehovah and take the lead in preaching the good news.* Since the mid-1930’s, they have encouraged all those accepting the Kingdom message and hoping to live forever on earth to dedicate themselves to Jehovah and get baptized. (Mark 8:34; 1 Peter 3:21) Millions have responded favorably to this encouragement. Once they were in spiritual darkness and dead in sin, but now they have learned God’s truth, have embraced the hope of eternal life in an earthly paradise, and are zealous in Jehovah’s service. (Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:3-5) By their zeal, cooperation, hospitality, and other good works, they bring great refreshment to Christ’s spiritual brothers yet on earth.—Matthew 25:31-46.
5. Why is it so important to do good things for Jesus’ “brothers,” and what example do we have from Elisha’s day?
5 Those who do good things for Jesus’ “brothers” because these anointed ones are his followers have the hope of surviving “the day of Jehovah.” A married couple in the village of Shunem were greatly blessed for being kind and hospitable to Elisha and his attendant. This couple had no son, and the husband was old. But Elisha promised the Shunammite woman that she would give birth to a son, and this did occur. When this only son died some years later, Elisha went to Shunem and resurrected him. (2 Kings 4:8-17, 32-37) What rich rewards for showing hospitality to Elisha!
6, 7. What example did Naaman set, and what bearing does this have on surviving “the day of Jehovah”?
6 Humility is needed in order to accept Bible-based direction from Christ’s “brothers” with the hope of surviving Jehovah’s day. The leprous Syrian army chief Naaman had to show humility to follow the suggestion of a captive Israelite girl and seek a cure by going to Israel to find Elisha. Instead of coming out of his house to meet Naaman, Elisha sent him this message: “You must bathe seven times in the Jordan that your flesh may come back to you; and be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10) Naaman’s pride was hurt, and he became angry, but after he humbly went and plunged into the Jordan seven times, “his flesh came back like the flesh of a little boy and he became clean.” (2 Kings 5:14) Before returning home, Naaman journeyed all the way back to Samaria to thank Jehovah’s prophet. Determined not to profit materially from God-given powers, Elisha came out to meet Naaman but would not accept any gifts. Naaman humbly told Elisha: “Your servant will no more render up a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other gods but to Jehovah.”—2 Kings 5:17.
7 By humbly following the Scriptural counsel of anointed ones, millions are richly blessed today. Moreover, by exercising faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, these honesthearted ones have been spiritually cleansed. They now enjoy the privilege of being friends of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. (Psalm 15:1, 2; Luke 16:9) And their devotion to God and his service will be rewarded in their being spared from the eternal destruction about to befall proud, unrepentant sinners in the rapidly approaching “day of Jehovah.”—Luke 13:24; 1 John 1:7.
“Who Is With Me? Who?”
8. (a) Those who will survive “the day of Jehovah” have what attitude toward doing the divine will? (b) What commission was Jehu given? (c) What was to happen to Jezebel?
8 Those hoping to survive “the day of Jehovah” must also be decisive in doing the divine will. Elijah boldly foretold the destruction of King Ahab’s murderous, Baal-worshiping family. (1 Kings 21:17-26) Before this execution was carried out, however, Elijah’s successor Elisha had to complete some unfinished work. (1 Kings 19:15-17) When Jehovah’s due time came, Elisha instructed an attendant to go and anoint the army chief Jehu as Israel’s new king. After pouring oil on Jehu’s head, the messenger told him: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said, ‘I do anoint you as king over Jehovah’s people, that is, over Israel. And you must strike down the house of Ahab your lord, and I must avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the servants of Jehovah at the hand of Jezebel. And the whole house of Ahab must perish.’” Wicked Queen Jezebel would be thrown to the dogs and have no decent burial.—2 Kings 9:1-10.
9, 10. How was Elijah’s word fulfilled in the case of Jezebel?
9 Jehu’s men recognized the validity of his anointing and proclaimed him the new king of Israel. Acting decisively, Jehu raced toward Jezreel to begin his work of executing the apostate ringleaders of Baal worship. First to feel Jehu’s arrow of execution was Ahab’s son, King Jehoram. He rode out of the city to ask if Jehu had come on a mission of peace. “What peace could there be as long as there are the fornications of Jezebel your mother and her many sorceries?” replied Jehu. With that, Jehu’s arrow pierced Jehoram’s heart.—2 Kings 9:22-24.
10 Godly women avoid being like Jezebel or any of her kind. (Revelation 2:18-23) By the time Jehu reached Jezreel, she had tried to make herself attractive. Looking down from a window, she greeted him with a veiled threat. He asked her attendants: “Who is with me? Who?” Immediately, two or three court officials looked down. Were they on Jehu’s side? “Let her drop!” he urged. At that, they acted decisively, throwing evil Jezebel out of the window. She was trampled, presumably under the horses’ hooves. When people came to bury her, ‘they found nothing but her skull and feet and the palms of her hands.’ What a dramatic fulfillment of Elijah’s word: “The dogs will eat the flesh of Jezebel”!—2 Kings 9:30-37.
Heartfelt Support of True Worship
11. Who was Jehonadab, and how did he show his support for true worship?
11 Those hoping to survive “the day of Jehovah” and live forever on earth must wholeheartedly support true worship. They must be like Jehonadab, or Jonadab, a non-Israelite worshiper of Jehovah. As Jehu continued to fulfill his commission with zeal, Jehonadab wanted to show his approval and support. So he went out to meet Israel’s new king, who was heading for Samaria to execute the remaining ones of Ahab’s house. Seeing Jehonadab, Jehu asked: “Is your heart upright with me, just as my own heart is with your heart?” Jehonadab’s positive reply moved Jehu to extend his hand and invite Jehonadab into his war chariot, saying: “Do go along with me and look upon my toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” Without delay, Jehonadab accepted the privilege of showing his support for Jehovah’s anointed executioner.—2 Kings 10:15-17.
12. Why does Jehovah rightly demand exclusive devotion?
12 Heartfelt support of true worship surely is fitting, for Jehovah is the Creator and Universal Sovereign, who rightly demands and deserves our exclusive devotion. He commanded the Israelites: “You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion.” (Exodus 20:4, 5) Those who hope to survive “the day of Jehovah” must worship him exclusively, doing so “with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23, 24) They must be firm for true worship, like Elijah, Elisha, and Jehonadab.
13. As Jehonadab’s heart was with Jehu, who acknowledge the Messianic King, and how do they show this?
13 After the execution of Ahab’s house, King Jehu took other steps to identify Baal worshipers and eliminate this false religion in Israel. (2 Kings 10:18-28) Today, the heavenly King Jesus Christ has been appointed to execute Jehovah’s enemies and vindicate His sovereignty. As Jehonadab’s heart was with Jehu, the “great crowd” of Jesus’ “other sheep” today wholeheartedly acknowledge Christ as the Messianic King and cooperate with his spiritual brothers on earth. (Revelation 7:9, 10; John 10:16) They give evidence of this by practicing true religion and having a zealous share in the Christian ministry, warning God’s enemies of the fast-approaching “day of Jehovah.”—Matthew 10:32, 33; Romans 10:9, 10.
Dramatic Events Lie Just Ahead!
14. What lies ahead for false religion?
14 Jehu took action to end Baal worship in Israel. In our day, through the Greater Jehu, Jesus Christ, God will bring about the destruction of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. We will soon see the fulfillment of the angel’s words to the apostle John: “The ten horns that you saw, and the wild beast, these will hate the harlot [Babylon the Great] 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, even to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished.” (Revelation 17:16, 17; 18:2-5) “The ten horns” depict the militarized political powers holding sway on earth. Though they now have a spiritually adulterous relationship with Babylon the Great, her time is short. This world’s political element will destroy false religion, and “the wild beast”—the United Nations—will have a principal role with “the ten horns” in devastating her.* What an occasion for praising Jehovah!—Revelation 19:1-6.
15. What will happen when an attempt is made to destroy God’s earthly organization?
15 After King Jehu’s onslaught against Baal worship, his royal house turned attention to Israel’s political enemies. The King Jesus Christ will take similar action. Political powers will remain after the destruction of Baallike false religion. Under the influence of Satan the Devil, these enemies of Jehovah’s sovereignty will make an all-out attack in an attempt to destroy God’s earthly organization. (Ezekiel 38:14-16) But Jehovah will have the King Jesus Christ strike them down by destroying them at Har–Magedon, “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” completing the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty.—Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21; Ezekiel 38:18-23.
Serving With Elisha’s Zeal
16, 17. (a) How do we know that Elisha was zealous to the end of his life? (b) What should we do with the arrows of truth?
16 Until “the day of Jehovah” brings an end to Satan’s entire wicked system of things, God’s servants will be as courageous and zealous as Elisha. Besides his work as Elijah’s attendant, Elisha served alone as Jehovah’s prophet for over 50 years! And Elisha was zealous to the very end of his long life. Just before his death, he was visited by Jehu’s grandson, King Jehoash. Elisha told him to shoot an arrow out the window. The arrow sped to its mark, and Elisha exclaimed: “Jehovah’s arrow of salvation, even the arrow of salvation against Syria! And you will certainly strike down Syria at Aphek to the finishing point.” At Elisha’s request, Jehoash next struck the earth with his arrows. But he did this with a lack of zeal, striking only three times. Elisha then said that, as a result, Jehoash would be granted only three victories over Syria, and that is what happened. (2 Kings 13:14-19, 25) King Jehoash did not strike the Syrians down fully, “to the finishing point.”
17 With zeal like that of Elisha, though, the anointed remnant keeps up the offensive against false worship. Their companions with earthly hopes are doing the same thing. Moreover, all hoping to survive “the day of Jehovah” do well to bear in mind zealous Elisha’s words about smiting the earth. Let us take the arrows of truth and zealously strike with them—again and again—yes, until Jehovah says our work with them has been completed.
18. How should we respond to the words of 2 Peter 3:11, 12?
18 “The day of Jehovah” will soon bring an end to the present wicked system of things. Let us therefore allow ourselves to be spurred on by the apostle Peter’s heartening words. “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved,” Peter exclaimed, “what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah!” (2 Peter 3:11, 12) When every part of this system is dissolved by the fire of God’s anger expressed through Jesus Christ, only those with a record of upright conduct and godly devotion will escape. Moral and spiritual purity is essential. So is love for fellow humans, shown by responding to their needs, especially in a spiritual way through our Christian ministry.
19. What must we do to survive “the day of Jehovah”?
19 Do your words and deeds identify you as a faithful and zealous servant of God? If so, you can entertain the hope of surviving “the day of Jehovah” into God’s promised new world. Yes, survival may be your experience if you do good to Christ’s spiritual brothers because they are his followers, as the Shunammite couple were hospitable to Elisha. For survival you must also be like Naaman, who humbly accepted divine instruction and became a worshiper of Jehovah. If you yearn to live forever in an earthly paradise, you must demonstrate heartfelt support for true worship, as Jehonadab did. Then you may be among Jehovah’s faithful servants, who will soon experience the fulfillment of Jesus’ words: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”—Matthew 25:34.
See chapters 18 and 19 of the book “Let Your Name Be Sanctified,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
See pages 254-6 of Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand!, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
How Would You Respond?
□ What are some qualities needed in order to survive “the day of Jehovah”?
□ What example was set by the Shunammite couple in Elisha’s day?
□ What lesson can be learned from Naaman?
□ How can we follow Jehonadab’s example?
□ How should 2 Peter 3:11, 12 affect us?