Trust in Jehovah—The God of “Times and Seasons”
“He is changing times and seasons, removing kings and setting up kings.”—DANIEL 2:21.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
How do created things and fulfilled prophecies prove that Jehovah can make his purpose come true at his chosen time?
Since we know that Jehovah is the God of “times and seasons,” what will we do?
No matter what humans do, why does Jehovah not need to change the time he has chosen to fulfill his purpose?
1, 2. Why can we say that Jehovah completely understands time?
LONG before Jehovah God created humans, he made it possible to measure time. On the fourth day of creation, God said that sources of light should appear in heaven to “make a division between the day and the night” and to “serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years.” (Genesis 1:14, 19, 26) According to Jehovah’s will, that is exactly what happened.
2 Scientists still cannot explain what time really is. One encyclopedia says: “No one can say exactly what it is.” But Jehovah completely understands time. He is “the Creator of the heavens” and “the Former of the earth and the Maker of it.” Jehovah can know what will happen in the future. The Bible says that he is “the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done.” (Isaiah 45:18; 46:10) We will now discuss two things that will strengthen our faith in Jehovah and in the Bible. They will prove that Jehovah is the Great Timekeeper, that is, he always fulfills his purpose at his chosen time. They are (1) things that Jehovah created and (2) prophecies that were fulfilled.
THINGS JEHOVAH CREATED STRENGTHEN FAITH
3. What are some examples of things that are very accurate in keeping time?
3 Many things that Jehovah created, both small and big, are very accurate in keeping time. For example, atoms vibrate with a rhythm that never changes. Special clocks that use atoms to measure time would not miss a second even in 80 million years. Planets and stars move in such a way that we can know in advance their exact position in the sky. These positions have helped people to know the seasons and to find the right direction when traveling. Since Jehovah made both atoms and stars, he is “vigorous in power” and deserves our praise.—Read Isaiah 40:26.
4. How does the fact that living things are controlled by time prove that Jehovah is wise?
4 Living things are controlled by time. Many plants and animals seem to follow some kind of clock inside of them. That is why many birds know by instinct when to begin their migration. (Jeremiah 8:7) Humans too are controlled by time. For example, our body tells us when it is day and when it is night. If we travel by airplane to another part of the world where the time is very different, our body may need a few days to adjust to the new time. So in the things Jehovah created, there are many examples that prove that he is the God of “times and seasons” and that he is very powerful and wise. (Read Psalm 104:24.) And because Jehovah has endless wisdom and power, we can have faith that he is able to fulfill his purpose!
PROPHECIES FULFILLED ON TIME STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH
5. (a) What is the only way that we can know about mankind’s future? (b) Why can Jehovah tell us what is going to happen and when?
5 The things Jehovah created teach us much about his “invisible qualities,” but they do not answer such important questions as, What will mankind’s future be? (Romans 1:20) The only way to find the answer is to study what God says in the Bible. There are many examples of prophecies that have been fulfilled exactly on time. Jehovah can tell us what is going to happen because he can know the future. Also, Bible prophecies always come true on time because Jehovah can make things happen according to his purpose and at his chosen time.
6. How do we know that Jehovah wants us to understand Bible prophecies?
6 Even though God does not view time as we do, he uses language that we can understand when he tells us that something will happen at a specific time. (Read Psalm 90:4.) For example, the book of Revelation mentions “four angels” who “have been prepared for the hour and day and month and year.” As humans, we can understand what an hour, a day, a month, and a year are. (Revelation 9:14, 15) When we understand that prophecies were fulfilled exactly at the time that God had said, our faith in him as the God of “times and seasons” is strengthened. Our faith in the Bible is also strengthened. We will now discuss a few examples.
7. How does Jeremiah’s prophecy about Jerusalem and Judah show that Jehovah always fulfills his purpose at his chosen time?
7 First, let us consider what happened in the seventh century before Christ. “In the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah,” Jehovah spoke to Jeremiah about the people of Judah. (Jeremiah 25:1) Jehovah said that the Babylonians would destroy Jerusalem and take the Jews from the land of Judah to Babylon. There, the Jews would “serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” In the year 607 before Christ, the Babylonian armies destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jews from Judah to Babylon. But what did Jehovah say would happen at the end of 70 years? Jehovah told his people that at the end of “seventy years at Babylon,” he would keep his promise to bring them back to their land. (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10) This prophecy was fulfilled exactly on time. The Jews returned to their land in the year 537 before Christ, after the Medes and Persians freed them from Babylon.
8, 9. How do Daniel’s prophecies show that Jehovah is the God of “times and seasons”?
8 About two years before the Jews left Babylon, another prophecy that affected them was written by Daniel. In this prophecy, God said that the Messiah would appear 483 years after the order to rebuild Jerusalem was given. The king of the Medes and Persians gave that order in the year 455 before Christ. Exactly 483 years later, in the year 29, Jesus of Nazareth was anointed by holy spirit at his baptism, and so he became the Messiah. * (See footnote.)—Nehemiah 2:1, 5-8; Daniel 9:24, 25; Luke 3:1, 2, 21, 22.
9 Now think of what the Bible prophesied about God’s Kingdom. The Bible indicated that Christ would become King in heaven in 1914. For example, the Bible gave “the sign” of Jesus’ presence and said that at that time, there would be great troubles on earth because Satan would be thrown out of heaven. (Matthew 24:3-14; Revelation 12:9, 12) Other prophecies in the Bible help us to know the exact time when “the appointed times of the nations” ended and Christ became King in heaven. This happened in 1914.—Luke 21:24; Daniel 4:10-17. *—See footnote.
10. What events will certainly happen on time?
10 Soon, the “great tribulation” prophesied by Jesus will come. After that, Jesus will rule for a thousand years. There can be no doubt that all these events will happen exactly on time. When Jesus was on earth, Jehovah had already chosen the “day and hour” when these events would happen.—Matthew 24:21, 36; Revelation 20:6.
USE YOUR TIME WISELY
11. If we believe that we are living in the time of the end, what should we do?
11 Since we know that Christ has become King and that we are living in “the time of the end,” what should we do? (Daniel 12:4) Many people notice that problems in the world are getting worse, but they do not understand that this is exactly what the Bible prophesied about the last days. Some expect that these problems will get completely out of control. Others believe that humans will bring “peace and security.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) Do we believe that we are living very near the end of Satan’s world? If we do, we will use our time to serve Jehovah and help others to come to know him. (2 Timothy 3:1) We must buy out the opportune time, that is, make wise decisions about how we use our time.—Read Ephesians 5:15-17.
12. What can we learn from what Jesus said about the days of Noah?
12 Since there are many things in this world that can distract us, it is not easy to use our time wisely. Jesus warned: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” How were the days of Noah? God had told Noah that the world of that time would come to an end. Wicked humans would drown in a flood that would happen all over the earth. Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.” He faithfully preached God’s message to the people of his time. (Matthew 24:37; 2 Peter 2:5) But they were “eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage,” and “they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.” That is why Jesus warned: “Prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.” (Matthew 24:38, 39, 44) We must be like Noah, not like the people of his time. What will help us to be ready?
13, 14. While we wait for the coming of the Son of man, what must we remember about Jehovah that will help us to serve him?
13 Even though the Son of man is coming at a time that we do not expect, we need to remember that Jehovah always fulfills his purpose at his chosen time. No matter what may happen in the world or what humans plan to do, Jehovah can decide when things will happen and what the results will be. (Read Daniel 2:21.) In fact, Proverbs 21:1 tells us: “A king’s heart is as streams of water in the hand of Jehovah. Everywhere that he delights to, he turns it.”
14 Jehovah can control events to fulfill his purpose on time. The end result of many big changes in the world is that Bible prophecies have come true, especially prophecies about the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom in all the earth. Think about what happened after the government of the Soviet Union lost its power. Few people expected that such big changes in government could happen so quickly. But as a result of these changes, the good news is now being preached in many countries where our work was banned in the past. So let us make sure that we use our time wisely to continue serving Jehovah, the God of “times and seasons.”
SHOW FAITH THAT JEHOVAH FULFILLS HIS PURPOSE AT THE RIGHT TIME
15. How can we show faith when Jehovah’s organization makes changes?
15 To keep preaching in these last days, we need to have faith that Jehovah fulfills his purpose at the right time. Because the world situation keeps changing, sometimes we might need to make changes in the way we preach. Jehovah’s organization may at times make changes to help us preach the good news in the most effective way. We show our faith in the God of “times and seasons” by fully cooperating with these changes and loyally serving under his Son, the “head of the congregation.”—Ephesians 5:23.
16. Why can we have faith that Jehovah will help us at the right time?
16 Jehovah wants us to pray to him at any time and with complete faith that he will give us “help at the right time.” (Hebrews 4:16) This shows how much he loves us and cares about each one of us. (Matthew 6:8; 10:29-31) We show our faith in Jehovah God when we keep on praying for his help and then follow his direction. Also, we remember to pray for our brothers and sisters.
17, 18. (a) What will Jehovah soon do to his enemies? (b) What danger must we avoid?
17 Now is not the time to have weak faith. It is the time to have strong faith that will give us courage to do God’s will. (Romans 4:20) Satan and those under his influence are trying to stop the work that Jesus commanded us to do. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Even though the Devil attacks us, we know that Jehovah is “a living God, who is a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones.” He “knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.”—1 Timothy 4:10; 2 Peter 2:9.
18 Soon, Jehovah will destroy this wicked system. We do not know exactly how and when this will happen, but we do know that Christ will destroy God’s enemies at just the right time. Then, everyone will know that Jehovah has the right to rule the universe. So it would be very dangerous to forget the meaning of “the times and the seasons” in which we now live. We must be careful that we never start to think that “all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.”—1 Thessalonians 5:1; 2 Peter 3:3, 4.
“SHOW A WAITING ATTITUDE”
19, 20. Why should we show a waiting attitude for Jehovah?
19 When Jehovah created humans, he wanted them to live forever so that they could keep learning about him and all the beautiful things he created. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says about Jehovah: “Everything he has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the true God has made from the start to the finish.”
20 We are very glad that Jehovah has never changed his purpose for man. (Malachi 3:6) The Bible says that with God “there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow.” (James 1:17) Shadows keep changing because of the rotation of the earth, but Jehovah is not affected by the passing of time. He is “the eternal King.” (1 Timothy 1:17, footnote) So let us “show a waiting attitude” for Jehovah. (Micah 7:7) And as the Bible says, “be courageous, and may your heart be strong, all you who are waiting for Jehovah.”—Psalm 31:24.
^ par. 8 See Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! pages 186-195.
^ par. 9 See Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! pages 94-97.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Jehovah can be called the Great Timekeeper because he can choose a specific time when he wants to fulfill his purpose and then fulfill it at that specific time
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Jehovah can control events to fulfill his purpose on time
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Jehovah will make sure that the good news is preached to all the nations
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Never accept the idea that “all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning”
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Daniel had faith that God’s prophecies would be fulfilled
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Do you wisely use your time to do Jehovah’s will?