“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”—REV. 22:20.
SONG 142 Holding Fast to Our Hope
1. What important decision do all humans need to make?
PEOPLE today have an important decision to make. Will they support Jehovah God as the rightful Ruler of the universe, or will they stand behind his vicious enemy, Satan the Devil? There is no middle ground. Whatever decision they make will affect their everlasting future. (Matt. 25:31-33, 46) During “the great tribulation,” they will be marked either for survival or for destruction.—Rev. 7:14; 14:9-11; Ezek. 9:4, 6.
2. (a) What does Hebrews 10:35-39 encourage us to do? (b) How can the book of Revelation help us?
2 Read Hebrews 10:35-39. If you have chosen to support Jehovah’s rulership, you have made a wise decision. Now you are eager to help others make the right choice. To that end, you can use the information in the book of Revelation to help them. That remarkable book reveals what will happen to those who oppose Jehovah, but it also highlights the blessings that come to those who loyally support his rulership. We do well to consider such vital truths. Doing so will strengthen our resolve to keep on serving Jehovah. In addition, we can use what we have learned to help others make the right decision and stick to it.
3. What will we consider in this article?
3 In this article, we will consider these questions: What is in store for those who support God’s rulership? On the other hand, what will happen to those who choose to support the scarlet-colored wild beast, portrayed in the pages of the book of Revelation?
WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR FAITHFUL ONES
4. What group does the apostle John see with Jesus in heaven?
4 In a vision, the apostle John sees two groups who support Jehovah’s rulership and receive the blessings of everlasting life. The first group numbers 144,000. (Rev. 7:4) They are taken from the earth to form a government, or Kingdom, with Jesus in heaven. Along with him, they rule over the earth. (Rev. 5:9, 10; 14:3, 4) In the vision, John sees them standing with Jesus on heavenly Mount Zion.—Rev. 14:1.
5. What will soon happen to the remaining ones of the 144,000?
5 Down through the centuries, thousands have been selected to be part of the 144,000. (Luke 12:32; Rom. 8:17) John, however, is told that only a remnant, or a small number, would be alive on earth during the last days. These “remaining ones” will receive their final “seal” of Jehovah’s approval before the outbreak of the great tribulation. (Rev. 7:2, 3; 12:17) Then sometime during the great tribulation, this remnant will be taken to heaven to join the rest of the 144,000, who have already died faithful. There they will become corulers with Jesus in God’s Kingdom.—Matt. 24:31; Rev. 5:9, 10.
6-7. (a) What group does John next see, and what do we learn about them? (b) Why should Revelation chapter 7 be of interest to both the remnant and the “great crowd”?
6 After seeing the heavenly group, John sees “a great crowd.” Unlike the 144,000, this group cannot be numbered. (Rev. 7:9, 10) What do we learn about them? John is told: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14) Upon surviving the great tribulation, this “great crowd” will live here on earth and enjoy amazing blessings.—Ps. 37:9-11, 27-29; Prov. 2:21, 22; Rev. 7:16, 17.
7 Whether we have been selected to go to heaven or will remain here on earth, do we see ourselves in this description recorded in Revelation chapter 7? We should. What an exciting time that will be for both groups of God’s servants! We will be overjoyed that we chose to support Jehovah’s rulership. What else does the book of Revelation tell us about the great tribulation?—Matt. 24:21.
WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD
8. How will the great tribulation start, and how will most people be affected?
8 As mentioned in the preceding article, the political elements of this world will soon turn on Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. (Rev. 17:16, 17) This action will mark the beginning of the great tribulation. Will this result in a flood of new ones deciding to turn to the worship of Jehovah? No. To the contrary, Revelation chapter 6 shows that at that critical time, people who are not serving Jehovah will seek protection from the political and commercial systems of this world, which are compared to mountains. Since those people will not take a stand in favor of God’s Kingdom, Jehovah will consider them to be opposers.—Luke 11:23; Rev. 6:15-17.
9. How will Jehovah’s people stand out as different during the great tribulation, and with what result?
9 Truly, Jehovah’s faithful servants will stand out as different during that desperate time of tribulation. They will still be the only group of people on earth serving Jehovah God and refusing to give their support to “the wild beast.” (Rev. 13:14-17) Their firm stand will provoke the rage of those who oppose Jehovah. As a result, a coalition of nations will attack God’s people all over the earth. This act of mad aggression is described prophetically as the attack of Gog of Magog.—Ezek. 38:14-16.
10. As described at Revelation 19:19-21, how will Jehovah react to this attack on his people?
10 How will Jehovah react to this vicious attack? He tells us: “My great rage will flare up.” (Ezek. 38:18, 21-23) Revelation chapter 19 describes what happens next. Jehovah sends forth His Son to defend His people and to defeat their enemies. Jesus will be joined in this counterattack by “the armies in heaven”—the faithful angels together with the 144,000. (Rev. 17:14; 19:11-15) What is the outcome of this war? The total annihilation of all humans and organizations opposing Jehovah!—Read Revelation 19:19-21.
AFTER THE WAR, A WEDDING
11. What special event takes place as the climax of the book of Revelation?
11 Just imagine how faithful ones on earth will feel to survive the total destruction of God’s enemies! What a time of rejoicing that will be! Although there will be a great shout of joy in heaven when Babylon the Great is destroyed, there is something else that will bring greater joy. (Rev. 19:1-3) It is, in fact, the climax of the book of Revelation—“the marriage of the Lamb.”—Rev. 19:6-9.
12. As indicated at Revelation 21:1, 2, when will the marriage of the Lamb take place?
12 When does the marriage take place? All the 144,000 will be in heaven just before the war of Armageddon is fought. However, that will not be the time for the marriage of the Lamb. (Read Revelation 21:1, 2.) The marriage of the Lamb takes place after the war of Armageddon has been fought and all of God’s enemies have been removed.—Ps. 45:3, 4, 13-17.
13. What does the marriage of the Lamb really mean for those involved?
13 What does the marriage of the Lamb really mean for those involved? Well, just as a marriage joins a man and a woman together, so this symbolic marriage unites the King, Jesus Christ, with his “bride,” the 144,000. That climactic event inaugurates the new government that will rule the earth for 1,000 years.—Rev. 20:6.
A GLORIOUS CITY AND YOUR FUTURE
14-15. To what does Revelation chapter 21 compare the 144,000? (See cover picture.)
14 Next, Revelation chapter 21 compares the 144,000 to an extremely beautiful city called “New Jerusalem.” (Rev. 21:2, 9) This city is based on 12 foundation stones that have written on them “the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.” Why would this fact capture John’s interest? Because he saw his name written on one of those stones. What a grand privilege!—Rev. 21:10-14; Eph. 2:20.
15 This symbolic city looks like no other. It has a main street of pure gold, 12 gates of pearl, walls and foundations adorned with precious stones—and with perfectly balanced measurements. (Rev. 21:15-21) Still, something seems to be missing! Notice what John next tells us: “I did not see a temple in it, for Jehovah God the Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb is. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp was the Lamb.” (Rev. 21:22, 23) Those who make up the New Jerusalem will have direct access to Jehovah. (Heb. 7:27; Rev. 22:3, 4) Thus, Jehovah and Jesus are the temple in that city.
16. What will mankind experience during the Thousand Year Reign of God’s Kingdom?
16 It is thrilling for the anointed to contemplate this city. But those who cherish the earthly hope also have reason to be interested in it. During the Thousand Year Reign of God’s Kingdom, the New Jerusalem will bring countless blessings. John sees these blessings flowing forth as “a river of water of life.” And on both sides of the river are “trees of life” that produce leaves “for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:1, 2) All humans then living will have an opportunity to benefit from those provisions. Gradually, all obedient humankind will be brought to perfection. There will be no more sickness, no more pain, and no more tears of sorrow.—Rev. 21:3-5.
17. As Revelation 20:11-13 shows, who will benefit from the Thousand Year Reign?
17 Who will benefit from these wonderful provisions? First of all, the great crowd of Armageddon survivors, along with any children who may be born in the new world. But Revelation chapter 20 also promises that the dead will be resurrected. (Read Revelation 20:11-13.) Faithful “righteous” ones who died in the past along with “unrighteous” ones—who did not receive an adequate opportunity to learn about Jehovah—will all come back to life here on the earth. (Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29) Does this mean that everyone will be resurrected to life on earth during the Thousand Year Reign? No. Those who wickedly rejected the opportunity to serve Jehovah before their death will not be raised to life. They had their chance and proved that they were not worthy of life on the Paradise earth.—Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 17:8; 20:15.
THE FINAL OUTCOME
18. What will be the situation on earth by the end of the 1,000 years?
18 By the end of the 1,000 years, all those living on earth will have been restored to perfect life. No longer will anyone living be affected by the sin that was originally inherited from Adam. (Rom. 5:12) The curse of Adamic sin will have been completely removed. In that way, those on earth will “come to life” as perfect humans at the end of the 1,000 years.—Rev. 20:5.
19. Why is there a need for a final test?
19 We know that Jesus resisted Satan’s efforts to make him compromise his integrity. He remained faithful under test. But will all perfect humans be willing to do so when Satan is given an opportunity to test them? Each one will be able to answer this question for himself when Satan is released from the abyss at the end of the 1,000 years. (Rev. 20:7) Those who prove faithful during this final test will receive everlasting life and finally enjoy true freedom. (Rom. 8:21) Those who rebel will be destroyed forever, along with the Devil and his demons.—Rev. 20:8-10.
20. How do you feel about the thrilling prophecies found in the book of Revelation?
20 How do you feel after considering this brief overview of the book of Revelation? Is it not exciting to see yourself in these amazing prophecies? Does it not make you want to invite others to join us in the pure worship of our God? (Rev. 22:17) As our minds and hearts are stirred by these intriguing future events, we are certainly motivated to echo the words of the apostle John, who said: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”—Rev. 22:20.
SONG 27 The Revealing of God’s Sons
a This is the final article in the series on the book of Revelation. As we will see in this article, those who remain faithful to Jehovah will have a bright future, but those who oppose God’s rulership will come to a humiliating end.