God in Israel.” (1 Sam. 17:26, 34-36, 45, 46, RS) At that David, sling in hand, unerringly aimed the stone at the giant’s forehead! It hit the mark! Jehovah gave David the triumph. The giant fell dead. Because of his fearlessness and love of Jehovah, David is named as one of those who met Jehovah’s approval. (Heb. 11:32-34) He is sure of his prize of triumph.
19. Why did Paul list some of these triumphant contenders at Hebrews 11?
19 Some of these triumphant contenders for the faith Paul listed among Jehovah’s ancient witnesses to encourage us today to run continually in the triumphant manner that they did. For us Paul wrote: “So, then, because we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also put off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the leader and perfecter of our faith, Jesus.”—Heb. 12:1, 2, NW.
20-22. What course leads to death, and what course to winning the prize of life in God’s new world?
20 Now the question is: Will you be one of the active Christians running triumphantly toward the prize of life? Or will you be one of the inactive covenant-breakers or sluggards, drifting to your doom of everlasting death? (Rom. 1:28-32) Do not be an inactive sluggard, too lazy even to feed yourself, and die. (Prov. 19:24; 14:14, RS) Remember, if you are not actively for Jesus you are against him and must face the fate of his enemies. (Matt. 12:30) Have you wandered off the racecourse into the mire of inactivity? Take hold of yourself and swing back quickly! The most thrilling and final of all contests, Armageddon, is just ahead. By our activity let us all triumphantly “put up a hard fight for the faith.”—Jude 3, NW.
21 Under Jehovah’s searching gaze, may all of us at seeing the triumphant kingdom established in the heavens determine to escape inactivity and death. Let us, instead, by activity, win the prize of triumph, LIFE in the new world under Jehovah’s kingdom.
22 Jehovah our God bless you as you “contend for victory in the right contest of the faith.”—1 Tim. 6:12, NW.
Questions From Readers
● At Revelation 14:1, 3 (NW) we read: “And I saw, and look! the Lamb standing upon the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. And they are singing as if a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the persons of advanced age; and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been purchased from the earth.” Who are the persons of advanced age here mentioned?—C. F., United States.
We are still at agreement with what the book Light, Volumes I and II (published in 1930), had to say on the matter. Since these “elders” or “persons of advanced age” are part of a symbolic vision and are symbolic in their meaning, we can determine whom they picture only by noting features that mark them and by comparing these with scriptures that identify the ones who are to bear these features.
The first mention of them, at Revelation 4:4, 10, states that they are twenty-four in number, that they are in heaven and sit on thrones around God’s throne, that they are dressed in white outer garments, and wear golden crowns on their heads, and that they worship God, falling down from their thrones before him and ascribing the source of rulership to him by casting their crowns before him.
These features argue that they picture the 144,000 followers of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, although symbolically these persons of