Jehovah`s Witness and the end times
Jesus taught his followers that there would be a coming "great tribulation" such as never occurred before nor will ever occur again, that will come upon the entire inhabited earth. After the end of this system, the Bible promises that the earth will be a paradise. For Jehovah's Witnesses, the words of Jesus always have come to mind, "When you see these things start to occur, lift your heads up for your deliverance is getting near." Luke 21:28. So rather than look upon the end of this system, or "the end of the world" negatively, or as a doomsday prophecy, Jehovah's Witnesses look forward to "the end of the world," because this means the begnning of the promised "new world"! Who wouldn't look forward to that! Matthew 24:3-44.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Viktor Vasnetsov 1887
Based on Revelation (Apocalypse) 6:1-8
This is part of the sign that Jesus gave. The various parts of this sign can be found in three chapters of the Bible:
* Matthew 24
* Mark 13
* Luke 21
* 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Paul's writings)
What would mark the time of the end, according to Jesus:
* Significant wars and reports of wars
* Food shortages
* Earthquakes in one place after another
* Men faint out of fear out of the things coming upon the earth
* Love of the greater number cooling off
* Persons characterized by betraying one another
* Persecution of Christians
* Good news of the Kingdom being preached in all the inhabited earth
Jesus said, "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."
Jehovah's Witnesses have always been anxious for the end of this system to come and God's new world to commence. At times, they have been overanxious as were the Apostles of Jesus, and felt that the end of this system was closer than it really was. They have had to learn to patiently wait on the fulfilling of prophecies in the Bible rather than trying to discern the fulfillment of Bible time prophecies, which are evident in te Bible. See Daniel Chapter 12 for a number of examples of time prophecies in the Bible.
However, what Jesus said, Jehovah's Witnesses take very seriously at Matthew 24:21-44.
"For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.
“Now learn from the fig tree as an illustration this point: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and it puts forth leaves, YOU know that summer is near. Likewise also YOU, when YOU see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to YOU that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.
"Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 38 For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned; two women will be grinding at the hand mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned. Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day YOUR Lord is coming.
“But know one thing, that if the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. On this account YOU too prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that YOU do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming."
Even though Jehovah's Witnesses have jumped the gun a few times, they have endeavored for both themselves and for other people, to help all to "keep on the watch" as Jesus warned. It is like a sprinter waiting for the gun of the final sprint, who might jump out of the sprinter's box too early, but the sprinter was right there in the race, and ready to run, that is how Jehovah's Witnesses have been. They are alert to the fulfillment of the time of the end and the countdown to the last days and the final day.
For further consideration of the idea of the expectation of the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecies concerning the time of the end, failed expectations and predictions of various churches, an in depth analysis is given at this page by Hall Flemings, 1991: The Churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Question of Unfulfilled Prophetic Expectations.
The Apostles were in expectation as to God's Kingdom, which was something yet thousands of years in the future. They asked Jesus this question:
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:7,8
Jehovah's Witnesses are not among those who, like many in the days of the Apostles, and the days of Noah, ridicule the divine prophecies of the Bible,
"For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires 4 and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.” 2 Peter 4:3,4 New World Translation
"For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the )whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. "Behold, am coming like a thief Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame." And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon." Revelation 16:14-16 New American Standard Bible
Jehovah's Witnesses take the prophecies of the Bible very seriously, as coming from God himself.
2 Timothy 3:16,17 Persons that spend their time creating websites to ridicule Jehovah's Witnesses, do better to spend their time teaching persons who don't know about Jesus, what the Bible says.