“Be steadfast, immovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.”—1 COR. 15:58.
SONG 58 Searching for Friends of Peace
1. What convinces us that we are living in “the last days”?
WERE you born after the year 1914? If so, you have lived your entire life during “the last days” of the present system of things. (2 Tim. 3:1) All of us have heard about the events that Jesus foretold for this time. These include wars, food shortages, earthquakes, pestilences, an increasing of lawlessness, and the persecution of Jehovah’s people. (Matt. 24:3, 7-9, 12; Luke 21:10-12) We have also seen people behave in the way foretold by the apostle Paul. (See the box “The Way People Are Now.”) As worshippers of Jehovah, we are convinced that we are living during “the final part of the days.”—Mic. 4:1.
2. What questions do we need answered?
2 Because so much time has passed since 1914, we must now be living in the last of “the last days.” Since the end is so near, we need to know the answers to some important questions: What events will occur at the end of “the last days”? And what does Jehovah expect us to do while we wait for those events?
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE END OF “THE LAST DAYS”?
3. According to the prophecy at 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, what proclamation will the nations make?
3 Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. Paul mentions “Jehovah’s day.” As used in this context, this refers to the time period that begins with the attack on “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, and ends with Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14, 16; 17:5) Just before that “day” begins, the nations will be proclaiming “Peace and security!” (Some translations say: “Peace and safety.”) World leaders sometimes use similar expressions when they talk about stabilizing relationships between nations.b However, the announcement of “peace and security” that the Bible describes will be different. Why? When this happens, people may think that world leaders have succeeded in making the world a safer, more secure place. But in reality, “sudden destruction” will follow as the “great tribulation” unfolds.—Matt. 24:21.
4. (a) What must we wait to see about the declaration of “peace and security”? (b) What do we already know about it?
4 We know some things about the declaration of “peace and security.” However, other things we do not know. We do not know what will lead up to it or how the declaration will be made. And we do not know whether it will involve just one proclamation or a series of announcements. Whatever happens, we do know this: We should not be fooled into thinking that world leaders can actually achieve world peace. Rather, it is that declaration that we have been told to watch for. It is the signal that “Jehovah’s day” is about to begin!
5. How does 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 help us to be ready for “Jehovah’s day”?
5 Read 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6. Paul’s exhortation tells us how we can make sure that we are ready for “Jehovah’s day.” We should “not sleep on as the rest do.” We must “stay awake” and remain alert. For example, we need to be alert to the danger of compromising our neutrality by getting drawn into the world’s political issues. If we were to get involved, we could become “part of the world.” (John 15:19) We know that God’s Kingdom is the only hope for world peace.
6. What do we want to help others do, and why?
6 Besides staying awake ourselves, we also want to help others wake up to what the Bible foretold would happen in the world. Let us remember that once the great tribulation begins, it will be too late for people to turn to Jehovah. That is why our preaching work is so urgent!c
KEEP BUSY PREACHING
7. What does Jehovah expect us to do now?
7 In the short time remaining before his “day” begins, Jehovah expects us to keep busy in the preaching work. We need to make sure that we are “having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) Jesus foretold what we would do. When he spoke about all the significant things that would happen during the last days, he added: “Also, in all the nations, the good news has to be preached first.” (Mark 13:4, 8, 10; Matt. 24:14) Just think: Every time you go in the ministry, you are having a share in fulfilling that Bible prophecy!
8. How is the Kingdom-preaching work continuing to progress?
8 What can we say about the progress of the Kingdom-preaching work? Year by year, this work is moving ahead. For example, think about the increase in the number of Kingdom proclaimers worldwide during the last days. In 1914, there were 5,155 publishers in 43 lands. Today, there are some 8.5 million publishers in 240 lands! Even so, our work is not yet over. We must keep proclaiming God’s Kingdom as the only solution to all mankind’s problems.—Ps. 145:11-13.
9. Why must we keep preaching the Kingdom message?
9 Our Kingdom-preaching work will not be finished until Jehovah says it is over. How much time is left for people to come to know Jehovah God and Jesus Christ? (John 17:3) We cannot say. We do know that until the great tribulation begins, any who are “rightly disposed for everlasting life” can still respond to the good news. (Acts 13:48) How can we help these people before it is too late?
10. What help is Jehovah giving us to teach people the truth?
10 Through his organization, Jehovah is giving us all that we need to teach people the truth. For example, we receive training each week at the midweek meeting. This meeting helps us know what to say on initial calls and return visits. And it teaches us how to conduct Bible studies. Jehovah’s organization has also provided the items in our Teaching Toolbox. These items help us to . . .
motivate people to want to learn more,
teach the truth on Bible studies, and
invite interested ones to visit our website and our Kingdom Halls.
Of course, it is not enough simply to have these tools. We must use them.d For example, if after a refreshing conversation with an interested person, you leave him a tract or magazine, he will be able to do further reading until you are able to contact him again. It is our personal responsibility to keep busy every month in the Kingdom-preaching work.
11. Why were Online Bible Study Lessons created?
11 As another example of how Jehovah is helping people learn the truth, consider the Online Bible Study Lessons on jw.org®. (Look under BIBLE TEACHINGS > ONLINE LESSONS.) Why were these lessons created? Each month, tens of thousands of people around the world search the Internet for Bible lessons. The lessons on our website can introduce these people to the truth of God’s Word. Some of the people you talk to may be hesitant to accept a personal Bible study. If so, show them this feature on our website or send them a link to the lessons.e
12. What can a person learn from the Online Bible Study Lessons?
12 Our Online Bible Study Lessons cover these subjects: “The Bible and Its Author,” “The Bible’s Main Characters,” and “The Bible’s Message of Hope.” Within those subjects, they teach:
How the Bible can help a person
Who Jehovah, Jesus, and the angels are
Why God created humans
Why suffering and evil exist
The lessons also discuss how Jehovah will . . .
end suffering and death,
bring the dead back to life, and
replace failed human governments with God’s Kingdom.
13. Do the online lessons replace the Bible study arrangement? Explain.
13 The online lessons do not replace the Bible study arrangement. Jesus has given us the privilege of making disciples. We hope that interested ones will go through the online lessons, appreciate what they learn, and want to learn more. If so, perhaps they will accept a Bible study. At the end of each lesson, the reader is invited to submit a request for a personal instructor to study the Bible with him. Through our website, on average worldwide, we are receiving over 230 Bible study requests each day! That personal one-on-one instruction is vital!
KEEP TRYING TO MAKE DISCIPLES
14. According to Jesus’ instructions recorded at Matthew 28:19, 20, what do we try our best to do, and why?
14 Read Matthew 28:19, 20. As we conduct Bible studies, we have to try our best to “make disciples . . . , teaching them to observe all the things [Jesus has] commanded.” We need to help people understand how important it is for them to take their stand for Jehovah and his Kingdom. This means trying to motivate people to make the truth their own by applying what they learn, dedicating their life to Jehovah, and getting baptized. Only then will they survive Jehovah’s day.—1 Pet. 3:21.
15. What can we not afford to do, and why?
15 As mentioned earlier, there is very little time between now and the end of this system of things. For this reason, we cannot afford to keep studying the Bible with people who have no clear intention of becoming Christ’s disciples. (1 Cor. 9:26) Our work is urgent! There are many people who have yet to hear the Kingdom message before it is too late.
KEEP CLEAR OF ALL FALSE RELIGION
16 Read Revelation 18:2, 4, 5, 8. These verses identify something else that Jehovah expects of his worshippers. All true Christians must maintain a clear distinction between themselves and Babylon the Great. Before learning the truth, a Bible student may have been a member of a false religion. He may have attended its religious services and shared in its activities. Or he may have contributed money to such an organization. Before a Bible student can be approved as an unbaptized publisher, he must break all ties with false religion. He should submit a letter of resignation or otherwise completely sever his membership in his former church and in any other organization that has ties to Babylon the Great.f
17. What sort of secular employment must a Christian avoid, and why?
17 A true Christian must make sure that his secular employment has nothing to do with Babylon the Great. (2 Cor. 6:14-17) For example, he would not be an employee of a church. Furthermore, a Christian who is employed by some other business would not want to do extensive work at a facility that promotes false worship. And if he owns a business, he would certainly not bid on a job or do contract work for any part of Babylon the Great. Why do we take such a firm stand? Because we do not want to share in the works and sins of religious organizations that are unclean in God’s eyes.—Isa. 52:11.g
18. How did one brother stick to Bible principles regarding his secular work?
18 Years ago, a self-employed elder was asked by a contractor to accept a small carpentry job at a church in the town where the brother lived. The contractor knew that the brother had always said he would not work on churches. But this time the contractor was desperate to find someone for the job. Even so, the brother stuck to Bible principles and declined the work. The next week, the local newspaper showed a photograph of another carpenter attaching a cross to the church. If our brother had compromised his stand, it could have been his picture in the paper. Think of how damaging that would have been to his reputation among his fellow Christians! Think, too, of how Jehovah would have felt.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
19-20. (a) What have we learned so far? (b) What more do we need to learn?
19 According to Bible prophecy, the next major event that will soon take place on the world scene is the nations’ proclamation of “peace and security.” Thanks to what Jehovah has taught us, we know that the nations will not achieve real and lasting peace. What should we do before that event occurs and sudden destruction follows? Jehovah expects us to keep busy preaching the Kingdom message and trying to make more disciples. At the same time, we need to keep separate from all false religion. That includes withdrawing from any memberships and avoiding employment associated with Babylon the Great.
20 There are other events to follow during the last of “the last days.” There are also other things that Jehovah expects us to do. What are these, and how can we prepare ourselves for everything that is coming in the near future? We will see in the next article.
SONG 71 We Are Jehovah’s Army!
a Soon we expect to hear the nations claim that they have achieved “peace and security!” That will be the signal that the great tribulation is about to begin. What does Jehovah expect us to do between now and then? This article will help us find the answer.
b For example, on its website the United Nations claims to “maintain international peace and security.”
c See the article “God’s Judgments—Does He Always Give Enough Warning?” in this issue.
e The lessons are currently available in English and Portuguese, with more languages to come.
f We also need to avoid such organizations as youth camps or recreational facilities that have ties to false religion. For example, regarding membership in the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), see “Questions From Readers” in the January 1, 1979, issue of The Watchtower. The same stand must be taken toward the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association). Even though some local affiliates try to downplay the religious aspects of their activities, these are, in fact, organizations with religious roots and objectives.
h PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Patrons at a coffee shop react to “Breaking News” on television about a proclamation of “peace and security.” A Witness couple, taking a break from field service, are not fooled by this report.