Questions From Readers
Does the word “probably” at Zephaniah 2:3 mean that servants of God cannot be sure of receiving eternal life?
This scripture reads: “Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” Why does this verse say “probably”?
To understand how Jehovah will deal with his faithful ones at Armageddon, it is helpful to recall what the Bible teaches concerning what God will do for those who die before that time of judgment. Some will experience a resurrection to immortal life as spirit creatures in the heavens, while others will be resurrected to the earth with the prospect of living forever in Paradise. (John 5:28, 29; 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54) If Jehovah remembers and rewards his loyal ones who die before Armageddon, he will surely deal similarly with his servants who are alive on the day of his anger.
The inspired words of the apostle Peter are also encouraging. He wrote: “[God] kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people; and by reducing the cities Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them, . . . and he delivered righteous Lot . . . Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off.” (2 Peter 2:5-9) Though Jehovah brought destruction on the wicked in times past, he preserved alive both Noah and Lot, who served him faithfully. Jehovah will also deliver people of godly devotion when he brings destruction on the wicked at Armageddon. “A great crowd” of righteous ones will survive.—Revelation 7:9, 14.
It seems, then, that “probably” is not used at Zephaniah 2:3 because of any uncertainty about God’s ability to preserve those who have his approval. Rather, a person’s being concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger is only a probability when he begins to seek righteousness and meekness. Preservation will depend on an individual’s continuing to seek meekness and righteousness.—Zephaniah 2:3.
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“Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial”