Have you shown yourself discouraged in the day of distress? Your power will be scanty.—Prov. 24:10.
In today’s world so full of disasters, challenges, and pressures, many feel overwhelmed. Even some Christians have felt that way. Lani, who was enjoying the full-time service in Australia, says that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was devastating and struck like a bolt of lightning. She says, “The treatments made me very ill, and I was left with no self-esteem.” On top of everything else, she had to care for her husband, who had undergone spinal surgery. If we find ourselves in such a situation, what can we do? We do well to remember that Satan wants to use the tribulations we suffer to undermine our faith. However, we must not allow him to sap our joy in this way. Meditating on Biblical examples of servants of God who faced life’s trials with courage will help us to muster up courage in the face of any adversities that we may encounter. w12 10/15 1:8, 9
Whenever it is that they are saying: “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.—1 Thess. 5:3.
The first phase of this “sudden destruction” is the attack against “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, also known as “the harlot.” (Rev. 17:5, 6, 15) That attack against all forms of false religion, including Christendom, is the start of the “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21; 2 Thess. 2:8) God’s Word identifies the harlot’s attacker as a “wild beast” with “ten horns.” A study of the book of Revelation shows that the wild beast refers to the United Nations (UN). “The ten horns” represent all present political powers that support this “scarlet-colored wild beast.” (Rev. 17:3, 5, 11, 12) How devastating will the attack be? The nations of the UN will plunder the harlot’s wealth, expose her real character, devour her, and “completely burn her.” Her destruction will be final.—Rev. 17:16. w12 9/15 1:3, 5, 6
The words are made secret and sealed up until the time of the end.—Dan. 12:9.
Today, we can grasp the meaning of prophecies that remained a “secret” for ages but are now being fulfilled in this time of the end. These include those found throughout the Scriptures, especially in the Gospels and the book of Revelation. Jehovah has even helped us understand events that we could not see with our eyes—the enthronement of Jesus, the war in heaven, and the hurling of Satan down to the earth. (Rev. 12:7-12) God has also given us insight into the meaning of what we can see—wars, earthquakes, pestilences, food shortages, as well as godless people who contribute to these “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Luke 21:10, 11) How grateful we are that “the helper,” God’s holy spirit, has been sent to guide Jesus’ followers “into all the truth”! (John 16:7, 13) May we always treasure “the true knowledge” and unselfishly share it with others!—Dan. 12:4. w12 8/15 1:7, 8
Hate what is bad, and love what is good.—Amos 5:15.
The boundaries that Jehovah has set for his intelligent creatures are for their benefit and protection. Take, for example, the physical laws that govern energy and matter. People do not complain of being oppressed by those laws. Rather, they appreciate them, recognizing that natural laws are essential for their welfare. Likewise, Jehovah’s moral and spiritual standards, reflected in “the perfect law” of the Christ, are for man’s benefit. (Jas. 1:25) This law also allows us to satisfy all our proper desires without harming ourselves or encroaching on the rights and freedoms of others. The secret, then, to being truly free—being able to do what we desire—is to cultivate the right desires, those that harmonize with Jehovah’s personality and standards. In other words, we have to learn to love what Jehovah loves and to hate what he hates, which the law of freedom helps us to do. w12 7/15 1:6, 7
There are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet arrived.—Rev. 17:10.
The first head of the beast mentioned at Revelation 17:3 represents Egypt. Why? Because Egypt was the first major power to express enmity toward God’s people. The descendants of Abraham—through whom the promised seed of the woman would come—grew numerous in Egypt. Then, Egypt oppressed Israel. Satan attempted to wipe out God’s people before the seed could arrive. How? By motivating Pharaoh to execute all male Israelite children. Jehovah thwarted that attempt and liberated his people from enslavement to Egypt. (Ex. 1:15-20; 14:13) The second head of the beast represents Assyria. This mighty kingdom also attempted to wipe out God’s people by attacking Jerusalem. Satan may have had the goal of obliterating the royal line that would eventually lead to Jesus. Jehovah miraculously delivered his faithful people by destroying the invaders.—2 Ki. 19:32-35; Isa. 10:5, 6, 12-15. w12 6/15 1:6-8
His days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.—Gen. 6:3.
Jehovah did not have the ark built and then decide when to bring the floodwaters, as if he needed to keep the timing of the start of the Flood flexible in case the construction project ran behind schedule. Rather, long before he said anything to Noah about building an ark, God fixed the time for the Flood to begin. How do we know that? From Jehovah’s words in today’s text. This was not a statement regarding the average human lifespan. It was a judicial decree in which Jehovah declared when he would act to cleanse the earth of ungodliness. Since the Flood began in 2370 B.C.E., we infer that God made this pronouncement in 2490 B.C.E. At that time, Noah was 480 years old. (Gen. 7:6) Some 20 years later, in the year 2470 B.C.E., Noah’s sons began to be born. (Gen. 5:32) About one hundred years remained before the Flood was to begin. w12 4/15 4:4, 5
The true knowledge will become abundant.—Dan. 12:4.
Following the death of the apostles, foretold apostasy from genuine Christianity developed and spread like fire. (Acts 20:28-30; 2 Thess. 2:1-3) For centuries thereafter, “the true knowledge” was far from abundant. However, in the 1870’s, a small group of sincere Christians in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., met together to study the Bible diligently and to search for “the true knowledge.” They called themselves Bible Students. These were not “the wise and intellectual ones” from whom Jesus said that knowledge was to be hidden. (Matt. 11:25) They were humble people who sincerely desired to do God’s will. Carefully and prayerfully, they read, discussed, and meditated on the Scriptures. They also compared Bible passages and examined the writings of others who had made a similar search. Gradually, these Bible Students came to discern truths that had been obscured for centuries. w128/15 1:3, 4
[Peer] into the perfect law that belongs to freedom.—Jas. 1:25.
“The perfect law that belongs to freedom” is not the Mosaic Law, for that code made transgressions manifest and was fulfilled in Christ. (Matt. 5:17; Gal. 3:19) To what law, then, was James referring? He had in mind “the law of the Christ,” also called “the law of faith” and “the law of a free people.” (Gal. 6:2; Rom. 3:27; Jas. 2:12) “The perfect law,” therefore, encompasses everything that Jehovah requires of us. Both anointed Christians and the “other sheep” benefit from it. (John 10:16) Unlike the law codes of many countries, “the perfect law” is neither complex nor burdensome but consists of simple commandments and basic principles. (1 John 5:3) “My yoke is kindly and my load is light,” said Jesus. (Matt. 11:29, 30) Additionally, “the perfect law” has no need for a long list of sanctions, or penalties, for it is founded on love and is engraved on minds and hearts.—Heb. 8:6, 10. w12 7/15 1:4, 5