Are You Ready for Jehovah’s Day?
“The great day of Jehovah is near. It is near, and there is a hurrying of it very much.”—ZEPHANIAH 1:14.
1-3. (a) What does the Bible say about Jehovah’s day? (b) We face which “day of Jehovah”?
JEHOVAH’S great day is not 24 hours long. It is an extended period during which divine judgment is executed upon the wicked. The ungodly have reason to dread that day of darkness, fury, burning anger, distress, and desolation. (Isaiah 13:9; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:15) “Alas for the day,” says Joel’s prophecy, “because the day of Jehovah is near, and like a despoiling from the Almighty One it will come!” (Joel 1:15) On that great day, however, God will be the Savior of those “upright in heart.”—Psalm 7:10.
2 The expression “day of Jehovah” applies to the execution of divine judgment at various times. For instance, a “day of Jehovah” came upon Jerusalem’s residents at Babylonian hands in 607 B.C.E. (Zephaniah 1:4-7) A comparable execution of God’s judgment occurred in 70 C.E. when God used the Romans to execute his judgment upon the Jewish nation that rejected his Son. (Daniel 9:24-27; John 19:15) The Bible also foretells a “day of Jehovah” when he will ‘war against all the nations.’ (Zechariah 14:1-3) Under inspiration, the apostle Paul associated that day with Christ’s presence, which began with Jesus’ enthronement as heavenly King in 1914. (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) With the day of Jehovah looming on the horizon, the yeartext of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 2007 has been especially appropriate. Taken from Zephaniah 1:14, it reads: “The great day of Jehovah is near.”
3 Since God’s great day is near, now is the time to prove yourself ready. How can you prepare for that day? Do you need to take additional steps to get ready for Jehovah’s day?
Prove Yourself Ready
4. For what great test did Jesus prepare himself?
4 In his prophecy regarding the conclusion of the system of things, Jesus Christ said to his disciples: “Prove yourselves ready.” (Matthew 24:44) When Jesus made that statement, he himself was ready for a great test—his death as a ransom sacrifice. (Matthew 20:28) What can we learn from the way Jesus had prepared himself?
5, 6. (a) How does love for God and for people play a part in our being prepared for Jehovah’s day? (b) Regarding love of neighbor, what example did Jesus set?
5 Jesus had wholehearted love for Jehovah and for His righteous standards. Concerning Jesus, Hebrews 1:9 states: “You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners.” Because he loved his heavenly Father, Jesus maintained integrity to him. If we have similar love for God and live up to his requirements, he will safeguard us. (Psalm 31:23) Such love and obedience will help us to be ready for the great day of Jehovah.
6 Love for people was a notable feature of Jesus’ personality. Indeed, “he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Consequently, Jesus preached the good news to the people, just as love motivates us to proclaim the Kingdom message to our neighbors. Love for God and for our neighbor keeps us active as Christian ministers and thus helps to prepare us for the great day of Jehovah.—Matthew 22:37-39.
7. As we wait for Jehovah’s day, why can we have joy?
7 Jesus delighted to do Jehovah’s will. (Psalm 40:8) If we have the same attitude, we will find joy in rendering sacred service to God. Like Jesus, we will be unselfish givers, and this will make us truly happy. (Acts 20:35) Yes, “the joy of Jehovah is [our] stronghold.” With it, we will be better prepared for God’s great day.—Nehemiah 8:10.
8. Why should we draw closer to Jehovah in prayer?
8 Fervent prayer to God helped to prepare Jesus for tests of faith. He was praying when John baptized him. Jesus prayed for an entire night when he chose his apostles. (Luke 6:12-16) And what Bible reader is not impressed with Jesus’ heartfelt prayers on the last night of his earthly life? (Mark 14:32-42; John 17:1-26) Are you a person of prayer, as Jesus was? Approach Jehovah often, linger in prayer, seek the direction of holy spirit, and be quick to accept that direction when it becomes evident. A strong relationship with our heavenly Father is vital at this critical time when God’s great day is approaching rapidly. By all means, then, draw ever closer to Jehovah in prayer.—James 4:8.
9. How important is concern about the sanctification of Jehovah’s name?
9 Concern about the sanctification of Jehovah’s holy name also helped Jesus to be prepared for the trials he faced. In fact, he taught his followers that their prayers to God should include the request: “Let your name be sanctified.” (Matthew 6:9) If we deeply desire that Jehovah’s name be sanctified, or held sacred, we will strive to avoid doing anything that would bring reproach upon it. As a result, we will be better prepared for the great day of Jehovah.
Should You Make Some Changes?
10. Why is it appropriate to examine our life?
10 If Jehovah’s day comes tomorrow, will you really be ready for it? Each of us would do well to examine his or her life to see if any actions or attitudes need to be adjusted. In view of the brevity and uncertainty of present human life, every one of us needs to be spiritually alert each day. (Ecclesiastes 9:11, 12; James 4:13-15) So let us consider some factors that may require attention in our lives.
11. What is your Bible-reading goal?
11 One key factor is the admonition of ‘the faithful slave’ to read the Bible daily. (Matthew 24:45) You might make it your goal to read the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation meditatively once every year. By reading about four chapters a day, you can read the Bible’s 1,189 chapters in one year. Each king of Israel was to read Jehovah’s Law “all the days of his life.” Evidently, Joshua did something similar. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20; Joshua 1:7, 8) How important it is that spiritual shepherds read God’s Word daily, for this helps them to impart “healthful teaching”!—Titus 2:1.
12. The nearness of Jehovah’s day should move you to do what?
12 The nearness of Jehovah’s day should move you to attend Christian meetings regularly and participate in them as fully as possible. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Doing so will help you to hone your skills as a Kingdom proclaimer who seeks to find and help those rightly disposed for everlasting life. (Acts 13:48) Perhaps you could be more active in the congregation in other ways too, such as by helping the elderly and encouraging the young. How satisfying these efforts can be!
Your Relationship With Others
13. What questions might we ask ourselves about putting on the new personality?
13 Since Jehovah’s day is imminent, do you need to make a greater effort to “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty”? (Ephesians 4:20-24) As you cultivate godly qualities, others are likely to see that you are ‘walking by God’s spirit’ and displaying its fruitage. (Galatians 5:16, 22-25) Can you point to specific actions showing that you and your family have put on the new personality? (Colossians 3:9, 10) For instance, are you known for deeds of kindness to fellow believers and others? (Galatians 6:10) A regular study of the Scriptures will assist you in developing godly qualities that will prepare you for Jehovah’s day.
14. Why should a person pray for holy spirit as he works on cultivating self-control?
14 What if you have a quick temper and realize that you need more self-control? That quality is part of the fruitage that God’s holy spirit can produce within you. Therefore, pray for holy spirit, in line with Jesus’ words: “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you. . . . If you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!”—Luke 11:9-13.
15. What should be done if there are strained relations between you and a fellow believer?
15 Suppose that strained relations exist between you and a certain fellow believer. In that case, make every effort to repair the breach, thus promoting the peace and unity of the congregation. (Psalm 133:1-3) Apply the counsel of Jesus as recorded at Matthew 5:23, 24 or Matthew 18:15-17. If you have been letting the sun set while you are still in a provoked state, be quick to correct matters. Often all that is needed is a willingness to forgive. Paul wrote: “Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.”—Ephesians 4:25, 26, 32.
16. In what ways is compassion required in marriage?
16 The marital relationship calls for tender compassion and, at times, forgiveness. If you need to be more loving and compassionate toward your marriage mate, work to attain this objective with the help of God and his Word. Is something needed on your part to comply with 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 so as to lessen stress and avoid unfaithfulness? Surely this is an area of life that calls upon a husband or a wife to be “tenderly compassionate.”
17. What steps should be taken if one has sinned seriously?
17 What if you have sinned seriously in some way? Take remedial steps as soon as possible. By all means, seek the assistance of Christian elders. Their prayers and counsel will help restore you to spiritual health. (James 5:13-16) Pray to Jehovah with a repentant attitude. Failure to do so would leave you with a sense of guilt and a troubled conscience. David had that experience, but how good it was to get the relief that came with confession to Jehovah! David wrote: “Happy is the one whose revolt is pardoned, whose sin is covered. Happy is the man to whose account Jehovah does not put error, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1-5) Jehovah forgives those who sin but are genuinely repentant.—Psalm 103:8-14; Proverbs 28:13.
Remain No Part of the World
18. How should you view the world?
18 You undoubtedly look forward to the wonderful new world promised by our heavenly Father. How, then, do you view the world of unrighteous human society alienated from God? Satan, “the ruler of the world,” had no hold on Jesus Christ. (John 12:31; 14:30) You surely do not want the Devil and his world to have a hold on you, so take to heart the apostle John’s words: “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world.” That is the wise course, for “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:15-17.
19. Christian youths are urged to have what kind of goals?
19 Are you helping your children to ‘keep themselves without spot from the world’? (James 1:27) Satan would like to reel in your children as a man reels in fish. Various clubs and other organizations are designed to make young people fit in with Satan’s world. But Jehovah’s servants already belong to the only organization that will survive the end of this wicked system of things. So Christian youths should be encouraged to have “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Godly parents need to assist their children to set goals that will give them a happy and rewarding life that honors God and helps them to be ready for Jehovah’s day.
Look Beyond Jehovah’s Great Day
20. Why should we keep everlasting life in view?
20 You will be able to await Jehovah’s day with a calm heart if you keep everlasting life in view. (Jude 20, 21) You look forward to eternal life in Paradise, and thus you have the hope of renewed youthful vitality and unlimited time to pursue wholesome goals and learn more about Jehovah. You can actually go on learning about God forever because humans now know only “the fringes of his ways.” (Job 26:14) What exciting prospects!
21, 22. What interchange may there be between you and resurrected ones?
21 In Paradise, resurrected ones will be able to fill in some gaps in our knowledge of the past. Enoch will be there to explain how he had the courage needed to declare Jehovah’s message to ungodly people. (Jude 14, 15) Noah will certainly relate what it was like to build the ark. Abraham and Sarah will be able to reveal how they felt about leaving the comforts of Ur and living in tents. Think of Esther supplying details about how she stood up for her people and foiled Haman’s plot against them. (Esther 7:1-6) Imagine Jonah telling about his three days in the belly of the big fish or John the Baptizer describing his feelings when he baptized Jesus. (Luke 3:21, 22; 7:28) What intriguing things to learn!
22 During Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, you may be privileged to help resurrected ones to gain “the very knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-6) Today, what a pleasure it is to see people take in knowledge of Jehovah God and act upon it! But think of your joy at that future time when Jehovah blesses your efforts to instruct people from bygone eras and they respond with appreciative hearts!
23. What should we be determined to do?
23 The benefits we now enjoy as Jehovah’s people are beyond our imperfect efforts to number or evaluate. (Psalm 40:5) Especially are we grateful for God’s spiritual provisions. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Regardless of our circumstances, let us wholeheartedly render sacred service as we await the great day of Jehovah.
How Would You Respond?
• What is “the day of Jehovah”?
• How can you prove yourself ready for Jehovah’s day?
• With God’s great day so near, what changes might we need to make?
• What do you look forward to when Jehovah’s day is over?
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Jesus proved himself ready for trials
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What a privilege it will be to help resurrected ones gain knowledge of Jehovah!