upon such brutality inflicted upon their own children, even infants. Think also of the horror experienced by these mothers at seeing them slaughtered before their very eyes, for that also occurred! By reason of her emotional makeup it is very natural for a woman to show deep concern for those she loves, those of her own family. How much greater is her concern when dire circumstances threaten the well-being and life of her offspring! So let us not minimize the suffering of women at that time. For those who were pregnant things were naturally more difficult. During a time of calamity maternal protective instincts assert themselves all the more. So just imagine the intense suffering, the utter feeling of helplessness, that must have been experienced by nursing mothers in Jerusalem of the first century as they themselves were subjected to cruelties and as they witnessed the suffering of their offspring! Indeed, it was a time of woe to pregnant women and those suckling babies!
Humans can well understand a mother’s love. For example, Paul saw fit to illustrate his gentleness toward Christians at Thessalonica with the words: “To the contrary, we became gentle in the midst of you, as when a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” (1 Thess. 2:7) We can also readily comprehend the intense concern of a pregnant woman or a nursing mother because of what might happen to her child at a crucial time. So, at Matthew 24:19, Jesus was putting in human and very understandable terms the manner in which the things destined to occur would affect persons. There would be great difficulties. Extremely trying times were ahead.
Christ’s words of woe to pregnant women and those suckling babies apply to our day. The major fulfillment of this prophecy takes place in these last days. And Jesus’ statement applies specially to persons outside the Christian congregation. The days ahead as this old world draws to its Armageddon end will be days of woe and hardship. They will not be easy times for anyone.
Let it be noted, however, that at Matthew 24:19 Jesus Christ was not discussing the propriety of Christian married couples having children in these last days. Christians today are not under command to have children, but neither are they under a command not to have them. This is a matter to be decided by marriage mates themselves. It is their own business.—Gal. 6:5.
Hardship, then, is to be expected by all persons as this world comes to its end. That surely includes pregnant women and those suckling babies. If pregnant women or women with small children allow this situation to keep them from fleeing this world and dedicating themselves to God through Christ, they will miss out on divine protection. Yet mothers who take advantage of the time left to flee to Jehovah’s “mountain” of safety will be protected. They will experience hardship, to be sure, but Jehovah’s protection can extend to them and to their children, born and unborn.—Ps. 91:7, 8, 14-16.
During the month of October, Jehovah’s witnesses, with courage and faith in their God, will take advantage of every opportunity to acquaint others with Jehovah’s kingdom and the blessings in store for all who love and serve him. As an aid in this work, they will offer a year’s subscription for the Awake! magazine, together with three booklets on Bible themes, on a contribution of $1.
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“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
November 10: When God Is King over All the Earth, ¶1-30. Page 613.
November 17: When God Is King over All the Earth, ¶31-56. Page 620.