“A Time for Peace” Is at Hand!
1. What ironic situation has existed during the 20th century as regards war and peace?
MOST people yearn for peace, for good reason. The 20th century has experienced less peace than any century in history. Ironically so, because never before was so much done to secure peace. In 1920 the League of Nations was formed. In 1928 the Kellogg-Briand Pact, called by one reference work “the most grandiose of a series of peacekeeping efforts after World War I,” was subscribed to by “nearly all the nations of the world . . . agreeing to renounce war as an instrument of national policy.” Then, in 1945 the United Nations organization was set up to replace the defunct League of Nations.
2. What is the professed goal of the United Nations, and to what extent has it had success?
2 Like the League, the professed goal of the United Nations is to secure world peace. But its success has been limited. Granted, the world is nowhere experiencing war on the scale of the two world wars. Nevertheless, dozens of smaller conflicts are still robbing hundreds of thousands of their peace of mind, their belongings, and often their very lives. Dare we hope that the United Nations can turn the 21st century into “a time for peace”?
The Basis for True Peace
3. Why can genuine peace not exist alongside hatred?
3 Peace between peoples and nations requires more than just toleration. Can anyone really be at peace with someone he hates? Not according to 1 John 3:15: “Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer.” As recent history proves, deep hatreds easily escalate into acts of violence.
4. Who only can experience peace, and why?
4 Since Jehovah is “the God who gives peace,” peace can be experienced only by people who have love for God and deep respect for his righteous principles. Clearly, Jehovah does not grant peace to everyone. “‘There is no peace,’ my God has said, ‘for the wicked ones.’” This is because the wicked refuse to let themselves be guided by God’s holy spirit, a fruit of which is peace.—Romans 15:33; Isaiah 57:21; Galatians 5:22.
5. What is unthinkable for true Christians?
5 To wage war on fellow humans—as so-called Christians have so often done, particularly in the 20th century—is unthinkable for genuine Christians. (James 4:1-4) True, they war against teachings that misrepresent God, but this warfare is designed to help individuals, not to harm them. To persecute others because of religious differences or to inflict physical harm for nationalistic reasons stands in sharp contrast with true Christianity. “If possible, as far as it depends upon you,” Paul instructed Christians in Rome, “be peaceable with all men.”—Romans 12:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:24, 25.
6. Where only can genuine peace be found today?
6 Today, divinely granted peace is to be found only among true worshipers of Jehovah God. (Psalm 119:165; Isaiah 48:18) No political differences disturb their unity, since they are everywhere politically neutral. (John 15:19; 17:14) Because they are “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought,” no religious differences threaten their peace. (1 Corinthians 1:10) The peace Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy is a modern-day miracle, one brought about by God in harmony with his promise: “I will appoint peace as your overseers and righteousness as your task assigners.”—Isaiah 60:17; Hebrews 8:10.
Why “a Time for War”?
7, 8. (a) Despite their peaceful stand, how do Jehovah’s Witnesses view the present time? (b) What is the chief weapon of a Christian’s warfare?
7 Despite their peaceful stand, Jehovah’s Witnesses nevertheless consider the present to be predominantly “a time for war.” Not literal warfare, of course, since forcing the Bible’s message upon others by armed might would contradict God’s invitation to “let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” (Revelation 22:17) No forced conversions here! The warfare Jehovah’s Witnesses wage is strictly spiritual. Paul wrote: “The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things.”—2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Timothy 1:18.
8 Chief among “the weapons of our warfare” is “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.” (Ephesians 6:17) This sword is powerful. “The word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) By using this sword, Christians are able to overturn “reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) It enables them to expose false doctrines, harmful practices, and philosophies that reflect human rather than divine wisdom.—1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Ephesians 6:11-13.
9. Why can there be no letup in our war against the sinful flesh?
9 Another type of spiritual warfare is the one waged against the sinful flesh. Christians follow the example of Paul, who admitted: “I pummel my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow.” (1 Corinthians 9:27) The Christians in Colossae were admonished to deaden their “body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) And Bible writer Jude exhorted Christians “to put up a hard fight for the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones.” (Jude 3) Why must we do so? Paul answers: “If you live in accord with the flesh you are sure to die; but if you put the practices of the body to death by the spirit, you will live.” (Romans 8:13) In view of this clear statement, there can be no letup in our war against bad tendencies.
10. What occurred in 1914, leading up to what in the near future?
10 Yet another reason why the present can be viewed as a time for war is that “the day of vengeance on the part of our God” is imminent. (Isaiah 61:1, 2) In 1914, Jehovah’s appointed time had arrived to establish the Messianic Kingdom and to authorize it to wage active war against Satan’s system. The allotted time period for humans to experiment with man-made rule without divine interference expired at that time. Instead of accepting God’s Messianic Ruler, most people continue to reject him, even as most did in the first century. (Acts 28:27) Consequently, in the face of Kingdom opposition, Christ has been forced to “go subduing in the midst of [his] enemies.” (Psalm 110:2) Happily, Revelation 6:2 promises that he will “complete his conquest.” This he will do during “the war of the great day of God the Almighty . . . , called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.”—Revelation 16:14, 16.
“A Time to Speak” Is Here
11. Why has Jehovah been extremely patient, but what will eventually come?
11 Since the 1914 turning point in human affairs, 85 years have passed. Jehovah has been extremely patient with humankind. He has made his Witnesses fully aware of the urgency of the situation. Millions of lives are at stake. These multitudes deserve to be warned because “Jehovah . . . does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Nevertheless, soon will come “the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels.” Then, all those who have willfully rejected the message of God’s Kingdom will experience the “vengeance” that Jesus will bring “upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.”—2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.
12. (a) Why is speculation as to when the great tribulation might begin of no value? (b) Of what danger in this regard did Jesus warn?
12 When will Jehovah’s patience finally run out? Any speculation as to when the “great tribulation” might begin is of no value. Jesus clearly stated: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows.” On the other hand, he admonished: “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. . . . Prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.” (Matthew 24:21, 36, 42, 44) Plainly expressed, this means that every day we should remain watchful of world events and reckon with the outbreak of the great tribulation. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5) How dangerous to think that we can take it easy, living so-called normal lives, waiting to see how things might develop! Jesus said: “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.” (Luke 21:34, 35) Of this we can be sure: The “four winds” of destruction presently being held back by Jehovah’s “four angels” will not be held back forever.—Revelation 7:1-3.
13. What have nearly six million persons recognized?
13 In view of this fast-approaching day of reckoning, Solomon’s words about there being “a time to speak” take on special meaning. (Ecclesiastes 3:7) Having recognized that now is indeed a time to speak, nearly six million Jehovah’s Witnesses are zealously talking about the glory of God’s kingship and warning of his day of vengeance. They offer themselves willingly on this day of Christ’s military force.—Psalm 110:3; 145:10-12.
Those Who Speak “Peace, When There Is No Peace”
14. What false prophets existed during the seventh century B.C.E.?
14 During the seventh century B.C.E., God’s prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel delivered divine messages of judgment against Jerusalem for its wayward course in disobedience to God. The destruction they foretold took place in 607 B.C.E., even though God’s messengers had been contradicted by prominent and influential religious leaders. These latter ones proved to be “stupid prophets [who] . . . led [God’s] people astray, saying, ‘There is peace!’ when there is no peace.”—Ezekiel 13:1-16; Jeremiah 6:14, 15; 8:8-12.
15. Do similar false prophets exist today? Explain.
15 Like the “stupid prophets” of that time, most religious leaders today also fail to warn people of God’s coming day of judgment. Instead, they paint an optimistic picture that political groups will ultimately achieve peace and security. More anxious to please humans than God, they tell their parishioners what they want to hear instead of explaining that God’s Kingdom is established and that the Messianic King is soon to complete his conquest. (Daniel 2:44; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4; Revelation 6:2) As false prophets, they too speak of “peace, when there is no peace.” But their conviction will soon turn into sudden horror when they must face the fury of the One they have misrepresented and upon whose name they have brought untold reproach. The leaders of the world empire of false religion, described in the Bible as an immoral woman, will choke on their own misleading cries of peace.—Revelation 18:7, 8.
16. (a) As being what have Jehovah’s Witnesses gone on record? (b) How do they differ from those who cry “peace, when there is no peace”?
16 That the majority of prominent and influential leaders persist in their hypocritical promise of peace does not shake the confidence of those who have faith in God’s promise of true peace. For over a century, Jehovah’s Witnesses have gone on record as being loyal defenders of God’s Word, courageous opponents of false religion, and resolute supporters of God’s Kingdom. Far from lulling people to sleep with sweet-sounding platitudes about peace, they diligently strive to awaken them to the reality that today is a time for war.—Isaiah 56:10-12; Romans 13:11, 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:6.
Jehovah Breaks His Silence
17. What does it mean that Jehovah will soon break his silence?
17 Solomon also said: “The true God will judge both the righteous one and the wicked one, for there is a time for every affair.” (Ecclesiastes 3:17) Yes, Jehovah has an appointed time for executing judgment on false religion and on “the kings of earth [who] take their stand . . . against Jehovah and against his anointed one.” (Psalm 2:1-6; Revelation 16:13-16) Once that time has arrived, Jehovah’s days of staying “quiet” will be over. (Psalm 83:1; Isaiah 62:1; Jeremiah 47:6, 7) Through his enthroned Messianic King, Jesus Christ, he will “speak” in the only language his opposers apparently understand: “Like a mighty man Jehovah himself will go forth. Like a warrior he will awaken zeal. He will shout, yes, he will let out a war cry; over his enemies he will show himself mightier. ‘I have kept quiet for a long time. I continued silent. I kept exercising self-control. Like a woman giving birth I am going to groan, pant, and gasp at the same time. I shall devastate mountains and hills, and all their vegetation I shall dry up. And I will turn rivers into islands, and reedy pools I shall dry up. And I will make the blind ones walk in a way that they have not known; in a roadway that they have not known I shall cause them to tread. I shall turn a dark place before them into light, and rugged terrain into level land. These are the things that I will do for them, and I will not leave them.’”—Isaiah 42:13-16.
18. In what respect will God’s people soon “keep quiet”?
18 When Jehovah ‘speaks out’ in defense of his Godship, his people will no longer need to speak out in their own defense. It will be their turn “to keep quiet.” As they did to servants of God in times past, these words will apply: “You will not need to fight in this instance. Take your position, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf.”—2 Chronicles 20:17.
19. What privilege will Christ’s spiritual brothers soon have?
19 What a crushing defeat for Satan and his organization! The glorified brothers of Christ will take part in striking an outstanding victory for righteousness, in accord with the promise: “For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:20) The long-awaited time for peace is finally at hand.
20. For what will it soon be the time?
20 How blessed the lot of all on earth who survive this great manifestation of Jehovah’s power! Soon afterward they will be joined by faithful men and women of the past whose appointed time for resurrection will have arrived. Christ’s Thousand Year Reign will truly be “a time to plant . . . , a time to heal . . . , a time to build . . . , a time to laugh . . . , a time to skip about . . . , a time to embrace and . . . a time to love.” Yes, and it will everlastingly be “a time for peace”!—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 29:11; 37:11; 72:7.
What Is Your Answer?
□ What is the basis for lasting peace?
□ Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses consider the present “a time for war”?
□ When are God’s people “to speak,” and when are they “to keep quiet”?
□ How and when will Jehovah break his silence?
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Jehovah Has an Appointed Time for
□ performing the marriage of the Lamb.—Revelation 19:6, 7
□ binding Satan to start Jesus’ Thousand Year Reign.—Revelation 20:1-3
These events are simply listed in the order in which they are referred to in the Scriptures. We can be sure that all five events will occur in the order that Jehovah determines and exactly when he determines.
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Christ’s Thousand Year Reign will truly be a time . . .
to laugh . . .
to embrace . . .
to love . . .
to plant . . .
to skip about . . .
to build . . .