“I will show a waiting attitude.”—MICAH 7:7.
1. What could make us impatient?
THE last days of Satan’s system began in 1914 when Christ was made King in heaven. That year, a war started in heaven, and at some point Jesus threw the Devil and his demons down to the earth. (Read Revelation 12:7-9.) Satan knows that he has only “a short period of time” left. (Revelation 12:12) But this “short period” has lasted longer than some of us expected. Have we become impatient while we wait for Jehovah to bring Satan’s system to an end?
2. What questions will this article answer?
2 It can be dangerous to be impatient. Why? Because when we are impatient, we might do things without first thinking carefully. So, what can help us to have a waiting attitude? This article will help us by answering the following questions. (1) What can we learn about patience from the example of the prophet Micah? (2) What events will be the signal that the end is near? (3) How can we show that we are grateful for Jehovah’s patience?
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM MICAH’S EXAMPLE?
3. What were conditions like in Israel during Micah’s time?
3 Read Micah 7:2-6. Jehovah’s prophet Micah saw the Israelites become less and less faithful to Jehovah, and during the rule of King Ahaz, they became extremely unfaithful. Micah compared the unfaithful Israelites to a plant with thorns that can injure a person. Those Israelites were like that plant because they treated others badly, causing them harm. The situation was so bad that even family members did not love one another anymore. Micah understood that he could not change the situation himself, so he prayed to Jehovah with his whole heart. Then he waited patiently for God to act. Micah was sure that Jehovah would correct the situation in His own time.
Micah was sure that Jehovah would correct the situation at the right time
4. What difficulties do we have?
4 Like Micah, we too have to live among selfish people. Many are “unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection.” (2 Timothy 3:2, 3) It may make our life very stressful when workmates, schoolmates, and neighbors show a selfish attitude. But some of us have an even bigger challenge. Jesus said that his followers would have opposition from their family. His words are similar to what we read at Micah 7:6. Jesus said: “I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a young wife against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man’s enemies will be persons of his own household.” (Matthew 10:35, 36) It can be very difficult when family members who do not serve Jehovah make fun of us and oppose us. If this is our situation, we should not give in to this pressure. Instead, we must remain loyal to Jehovah and patiently wait for him to correct the situation. If we continue praying for his help, he will give us the strength and wisdom we need to remain faithful to him.
5, 6. How did Jehovah bless Micah? What did Micah not see happen?
5 Jehovah rewarded Micah for his patience. Micah saw the end of wicked King Ahaz and his rule. He saw Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, become king and help the Israelites return to pure worship. Micah also saw how the prophecy he had written about Samaria was fulfilled when the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel.—Micah 1:6.
6 But Micah died before he could see the fulfillment of all the prophecies Jehovah had inspired him to write. For example, Micah wrote: “In the final part of the days . . . the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. And many nations will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah.’” (Micah 4:1, 2) Micah was determined to remain loyal to Jehovah even to death, no matter what people around him did. He wrote: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Micah 4:5) Micah waited patiently during difficult times because he was sure that Jehovah would fulfill all of His promises. The faithful prophet trusted in Jehovah.
7, 8. (a) What reason do we have to trust in Jehovah? (b) What will make time seem to pass more quickly?
7 Do we trust in Jehovah as Micah did? We have good reason to do so. We have seen the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy. During these last days, millions of people from all nations and tribes and tongues have come to “the mountain of the house of Jehovah.” Even though they are from nations that often fight one another, these worshippers have beaten “their swords into plowshares,” and they refuse to “learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3) It is a great honor to be one of Jehovah’s peaceful people!
It is a great honor to be one of Jehovah’s peaceful people
8 We all want Jehovah to bring an end to this wicked system soon. But for us to wait patiently, we need to think the way Jehovah thinks. He has chosen Jesus Christ to judge people, and He has already set a day to do this. (Acts 17:31) But before that day comes, God is giving all people the opportunity to get “accurate knowledge of truth,” to apply what they learn, and to be saved. We need to remember that lives are in danger. (Read 1 Timothy 2:3, 4.) Soon, the end will come. If we are busy helping people to get to know Jehovah, it will seem that the time left is passing more quickly. And when the end comes, we will be glad that we kept busy in the preaching work!
WHAT EVENTS WILL BE THE SIGNAL THAT THE END IS NEAR?
9-11. Has 1 Thessalonians 5:3 been fulfilled? Explain.
9 Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. Soon, the nations will say “Peace and security!” If we do not want to be deceived by this, we need to “stay awake and keep our senses.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6) We will now discuss some events that have prepared the way for this important announcement.
10 After each of the two world wars, the nations desperately wanted peace. After the first world war, the League of Nations was formed to bring peace. Later, after the second world war, people hoped that the United Nations could bring peace. Government and religious leaders have trusted in those two organizations. For example, the United Nations declared 1986 as an International Year of Peace. That year, many political and religious leaders met with the head of the Catholic Church to pray for peace.
11 However, that announcement and others like it did not fulfill the prophecy at 1 Thessalonians 5:3 about “peace and security.” Why not? Because “sudden destruction” has not yet happened.
12. What do we know about the announcement of “Peace and security”?
12 Who will make this significant future announcement of “Peace and security”? What role will the leaders of Christendom and of other religions have in this? How will the governments be involved? The Bible does not tell us. What we do know is that no matter how this announcement is made and how convincing it sounds, there will not be true “peace and security.” Satan will still be in control of this system. It is completely rotten and will not change. It would be very sad if we believed this satanic propaganda and did not stay neutral!
13. Why are angels holding back the winds of destruction?
13 Read Revelation 7:1-4. While we wait for 1 Thessalonians 5:3 to be fulfilled, powerful angels are holding back the destructive winds of the great tribulation. What are they waiting for? The apostle John wrote that the anointed “slaves of our God” must receive their final sealing.* (See footnote.) When this important event is finished, the angels will let go of the winds of destruction. What will happen then?
When Babylon the Great is destroyed, we will be very grateful that we waited for Jehovah
14. What shows us that Babylon the Great will soon be destroyed?
14 Babylon the Great, that is, the world empire of false religion, will be destroyed, just as she deserves. When that happens, no one will be able to help her. We can already see that her end is near. (Revelation 16:12; 17:15-18; 18:7, 8, 21) A lack of support can now be seen when news reports criticize religions and their leaders. Despite this, religious leaders do not feel that they are in real danger. They are so wrong! After the announcement of “Peace and security!” the governments will suddenly attack false religion and completely destroy it. Babylon the Great will be gone forever! Surely it is worth waiting patiently for these historic events.—Revelation 18:8, 10.
HOW CAN WE SHOW THAT WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR GOD’S PATIENCE?
15. Why has Jehovah waited patiently?
15 Even though people have dishonored Jehovah’s name, he has waited patiently for the right time to act. Jehovah does not want any honesthearted people to be destroyed. (2 Peter 3:9, 10) Do we feel the same way? Before the end comes, there are different ways to show Jehovah that we are grateful for his patience.
16, 17. (a) Why should we want to help those who have stopped serving Jehovah? (b) Why is it urgent that those who have stopped serving Jehovah return to him now?
16 Help those who have become inactive. Jesus said that there is joy in heaven when just one lost sheep is found. (Matthew 18:14; Luke 15:3-7) Jehovah cares deeply about those who have shown that they love him, even if they are not serving him right now. It makes Jehovah and the angels happy when we help people return to Jehovah.
Jehovah cares very much about those who have shown that they love him, even if they are not serving him right now
17 Are you among those who are not serving God right now? Maybe you stopped going to the meetings because someone in the congregation hurt your feelings. Perhaps some time has passed since then. So ask yourself: ‘Is my life better now, and am I happier? Did Jehovah offend me, or did an imperfect human offend me? Has Jehovah God ever done anything to harm me?’ Jehovah has always treated us well. Even though at this moment we may not be keeping our promise to serve him, he still lets us enjoy the good things he offers. (James 1:16, 17) However, soon Jehovah’s day will come. Now is the time to return to our loving Father, Jehovah, and to the congregation. This is the only safe place to be in these last days.—Deuteronomy 33:27; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
18. Why should we support those taking the lead?
18 Loyally support those who take the lead. As a loving Shepherd, Jehovah guides and protects us. He has appointed his Son to be the Chief Shepherd of the flock. (1 Peter 5:4) Elders in more than 100,000 congregations take time to shepherd each one of God’s sheep. (Acts 20:28) When we loyally support those who take the lead, we show Jehovah and Jesus that we are grateful for all they have done for us.
19. How can we close ranks?
19 Draw close to your brothers. What does that mean? When a trained army is attacked by an enemy, the soldiers close ranks, that is, they come closer together so that there are no gaps in the fighting line. That way they create a defense that cannot be broken. Satan is increasing his attacks on God’s people. Now is not the time to fight against our brothers. Now is the time to draw close to one another, to overlook the imperfections of our brothers, and to trust in Jehovah.
20. What should we do now?
20 So let us keep our relationship with Jehovah strong and show a waiting attitude. Let us patiently wait for the announcement of “Peace and security!” and for the final sealing of the anointed. After that, the four angels will let go of the destructive winds, and Babylon the Great will be destroyed. While we wait for these historic events to happen, let us follow the direction from those assigned to take the lead in Jehovah’s organization. Close ranks against the Devil and the demons! Now is the time to follow the counsel of the psalmist: “Be courageous, and may your heart be strong, all you who are waiting for Jehovah.”—Psalm 31:24.
For more information about the difference between the initial sealing of members of the anointed and their final sealing, see the January 1, 2007, issue of The Watchtower, pages 30-31.