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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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THE WATCHTOWER MAY 2015

 COVER SUBJECT

Is the End Near?

Is the End Near?

Will God let humans continue to dominate one another and threaten the future of mankind? No, as we have seen, he will step in and bring an end to centuries of misery and oppression. The Creator of humans and the earth wants you to know that his time to take action is approaching. How does he reveal that vital knowledge?

Consider this illustration: When you travel by car, you might first consult online sources, maps, and written directions. Then, as you see signs and landmarks that match what the directions say, you gain confidence that you are nearing your destination. In a similar way, God has given us his Word, which describes striking global trends. As we see those landmark events unfolding, we become convinced that we are in the time period leading up to the end.

The Bible explains that world history would reach a unique, pivotal time period that would culminate in the end. That time would see a combination of worldwide events and circumstances that differs from anything in mankind’s history. Consider some of the features mentioned in God’s Word.

1. WORLDWIDE UPHEAVALS A prophecy recorded in Matthew chapter 24 lists events on the earth that would make up a composite sign. That sign would mark “the conclusion of the system of things” and lead to the time when “the end will come.” (Verses 3, 14) These features include major wars, food shortages, earthquakes in one place after another, an increase of lawlessness, a lack of love, and sly efforts by religious leaders to mislead people. (Verses 6-26) Of course, to some extent, such events have been taking place for centuries. However, as the end approaches, they would all occur in the same troubled era. They would also accompany the next three warning signals.

2. THE ATTITUDES OF PEOPLE The Bible says that “the last days”—the time period leading to the end—would be marked by a major deterioration of peoples’ attitudes. We read: “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4) True, disrespect for fellow humans is not new, but only in “the last days” would that spirit reach such extremes that the era could rightly be described as “critical times hard to deal with.” Have you noticed this ugly downward trend in people’s attitudes?

3. THE EARTH IS BEING RUINED The Bible states that God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) In what ways would people be ruining the earth? The time period when Noah lived was described in a similar way: “The earth had become ruined in the sight of the true God, and the earth was filled with violence. Yes, God looked upon the earth, and it was ruined.” So God said of that corrupt society: “I am bringing them to ruin.” (Genesis 6:11-13) Have you noticed the mounting evidence that the earth is becoming filled with violence? Additionally, humans have arrived at a unique point in history: They have the potential literally to ruin the earth by wiping out all human life on it. They have the weaponry in their hands. And the earth is being ruined in another way. The systems that support life on earth—the air we breathe, the animal  and plant ecosystems, the oceans—are steadily being degraded because of human mismanagement.

Ask yourself, ‘Just over a century ago, did mankind even have the power of complete self-destruction?’ But now humans are exerting that power by amassing advanced weaponry and by devastating the environment. The rapid developments in technology seem to be outpacing man’s ability to understand or control the consequences. However, earth’s destiny is not for man to decide or control. Before all life on this earth is eradicated, God will step in to destroy those destroying the earth. That is his promise!

4. A GLOBAL PREACHING WORK Another part of the sign of the end foretold that an unprecedented work would be under way: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) This preaching campaign would differ significantly from most religious proselytizing carried out over the centuries. During the last days, a specific message would be emphasized, “this good news of the Kingdom.” Do you know of any religious group that highlights that particular message? And even if some seem to be preaching such a message, are they a local group, or have they spread this good news to “all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations”?

God’s Kingdom is being proclaimed worldwide in hundreds of languages

The Web site www.jw.org focuses on “this good news of the Kingdom.” The site features literature explaining that message in over 700 languages. Do you know of any other initiative that emphasizes the Kingdom good news to such a global extent? Long before the Internet was available, Jehovah’s Witnesses had gained a reputation for their efforts to spread the good news about God’s Kingdom. Since 1939, the cover of each issue of The Watchtower magazine has displayed the words “Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.” A book on religions commented that the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been “almost unparalleled in its intensity and scope.” This witnessing emphasizes the good news that very soon “the end will come” through the action of God’s Kingdom.

A PIVOTAL POINT IN WORLD HISTORY

Have you noticed that all four of the Bible’s warning signals described in this article have been evident during your lifetime? For over one hundred years, this magazine has been providing its readers with information about world  events to help them personally verify that we are nearing the end. Of course, some skeptics disagree, asserting that facts and statistics are subjective and can be manipulated. They also claim that since worldwide communication continues to increase, world conditions only appear to be worsening. Nonetheless, there is ever-increasing evidence that we are at the conclusion of a unique period in the history of humanity.

Some experts feel that we are approaching major changes to this earth. For example, in 2014, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned the United Nations Security Council about major threats to the existence of mankind. Those scientists testified: “A careful review of these threats leads us to conclude that the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high.” Many people are increasingly convinced that we have reached a pivotal point in world history. The publishers of this magazine and many of its readers have no doubt that this unique period really is the last days and that the end is near. But rather than dreading the future, you can be happy about the outcome. Why is that so? Because you can survive the end!