The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
"A New Earth"
 
    “A NEW earth!” What can it mean? The burning up of our present planet, and its replacement by a new globe? No, not that; for the sure Word of God declares: "The earth abideth for ever." (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalms 78:69; 119:90) But that there will be a new earth is made certain by the Creator's own promise: "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." (Isaiah 65:17) If, then, not a new earthly sphere, what is the "new earth"? What conditions will prevail in it, and how and when will it come into existence? Doubtless questions like those fill your mind, as you consider the prospect of a new earth.
    The term "earth", as used in the Bible, does not always apply to this inanimate globe. In Psalm 96:1, for example, the command is issued: "Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth." Not to the literal planet is this exhortation given, but to intelligent human servants of the Most High, who dwell in the earth. In like manner the expression "a new earth" is used to identify, not the planet itself, but a new human society under new social arrangements. It can rightly be said that God's perfect human son Adam served in Eden as the animate "earth" or visible part of the Creator's original righteous world. "The first man is out of the earth and made of dust." (1 Corinthians 15:47) Had Adam remained obedient to his Maker, he would undoubtedly have occupied a prophetic position, handing down to his offspring God's perfect law, by virtue of which the paradise of Eden would be spread to the four quarters of the earth. However, disobedience lost for Adam forever the blessed privilege of serving as God's earthly representative.
    Nevertheless, God will have on earth righteous, faithful representatives, men of perfect hearts through whom his just decrees and endless blessings will be dispensed to the human race. Not from among sin-laden worldly rulers alive today will these be selected, but from among men who prove faithful servants and witnesses of God. "Incredible!" you may say, "because that would include many men now long dead." That is true: it will include many such men, according to what the Bible reveals. In Hebrews, chapter eleven, are enumerated the names of some members of a great "cloud of witnesses", persons who lived before Jesus' death and resurrection. (Hebrews 11:1 to 12:1) The record preserved of their lives stamps them as being trustworthy, men of faith and devotion, centering their hopes solely in the then future "city [or Kingdom] having real foundations and the builder and creator of which is God". Faithfulness to death earned for them the promise of a "better resurrection", a raising to life, not in heaven, but on earth under a divine government under which they need never die again but may attain to human perfection.—Hebrews 11:10,35; Acts 2:34; Matthew 11:11.
    Many of the faithful men of old had the privilege of actually being the forefathers of the man Jesus and are spoken of as "fathers". (Romans 9:5; 15:8; Acts 3:13) Today, however, these "fathers" of Jesus are dead, and also the other faithful witnesses of old like them, whereas Christ Jesus is fully alive. (Hebrews 11:13; Acts 2:29; Revelation 1:18) Can they return to life and be commissioned to serve in a representative capacity in the "new earth"? Yes, but only through the life-restoring power of Jesus, who said: "I am the resurrection, and the life." Thus, those called "fathers" and their fellow faithful ones must become the children of the "everlasting Father", Christ Jesus, through the resurrection. (John 11:25; Isaiah 9:6) Hence God's Word prophetically said to Christ Jesus the King: "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children." And what is the special position to which these resurrected servants are appointed? The latter part of Psalm 45:16 answers: "Whom thou mayest make princes [sarim] in all the earth."
    By an early resurrection many faithful witnesses long dead, from Abel onward, will be made available for a new, visible governing organization created by God's hands. Along with them many faithful witnesses of today, who are the Right Shepherd's "other sheep", will be made "princes", even surviving the war of Armageddon into the new earth. (John 10:16) What a contrast with the Devilish wicked earth of today the "new earth" will be! Justice, goodness and uprightness will mark every move of its "princes", as they work in perfect accord with their King-Father, Christ Jesus. (Isaiah 66:22; 2 Peter 3:10, 13; Psalm 85:11) And when may we expect the setting up of the "new earth"? After Armageddon, although now a "great crowd" of those who will become a part of that "new earth" is being gathered.—Revelation 7:9-17.

    "OTHER SHEEP"

    Yes, even now the King of the new world is being hailed by a "great crowd" of persons, "out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues". These are persons now living who diligently study God's Word, in their desire to acquire right knowledge. They are lovers of righteousness, who during this interval of God's patience come out of the great tribulation inflicted upon this world and dedicate their lives wholly to the continual service of their God and his Lamb Christ Jesus. (Revelation 7:9, 10, 14, 15) By him these meek persons of good will have been named his "other sheep", for they are not of the heavenly "little flock". (Luke 12:32) Their hope of future life lies in a paradise earth. In this day they delight to share in the obligation resting on every Christian, that of preaching this good news of God's kingdom. Gladly they go, from house to house, on the streets, and in public-meeting places, making known to righteously disposed Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and those professing other religious beliefs, or none at all, God's way to life.—Matthew 24:14; Revelation 22:17.
    Unbelievable as it may sound, many of these "other sheep" may never die. They were fore-shadowed by Noah's sons and daughters-in-law, who, because of their faith and righteous works in the midst of a corrupt world, passed alive through the flood with Noah. As in Noah's day, so today, wickedness overruns the earth. Millions forget God and seek to perpetuate this old world. The "other sheep", however, remember their Creator, hold fast their faith, and break clean away from the satanic elements that now reign. Zealously they preach of Armageddon's approach and of the Kingdom blessings to follow. Continuing faithful till Armageddon, the other sheep who seek righteousness and meekness will, like the flood survivors of Noah's day, be hid in the antitypical ark, Jehovah's theocratic system of things, and come through into an earth cleansed of evil. (Genesis 6:5,11,18, 22; 7:1; Matthew 24:37; 25:31-46; Zephaniah 2:1-3; Isaiah 26:20) Those of the other sheep who die now rest assured of a "resurrection of life", with full enjoyment of the many earthly blessings promised, even the opportunity to be some of the "princes in all the earth". Cast now your eye to the future and glimpse some of the new world blessings in store.

    NEW EARTH CONDITIONS

    The clearing out of the wicked rule paves the way for new visible rule of the "new earth" in which righteousness is to dwell. Then in all quarters of the globe the worshipful survivors of Armageddon will carry forward the new world society on the cleansed earth. "What shall we now do?" the other sheep may ask, as they then seek divine guidance through God's princely visible representatives. If any old-world war tanks, cannon and other murderous weapons are then to be found, the divine command will apply: 'Beat them into plowshares and pruninghooks'; for all weapons of destruction must be turned into implements of construction. In the new world this planet will never again be subjected to the ravages of international war, with its wanton flow of blood, its heartless brutality, and its tragic aftermath, for "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".—Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3.
    Why should there ever be another international war? Those members of the "new earth" are not divided into opposing factions by bitter racial or national or religious differences. All such barriers to lasting peace and unity will have been stamped out. One worship remains: the clean, pure and right worship of the true God of the universe, Jehovah. It is this united worship of their Creator that binds together unbreakably the post-Armageddon occupants of our globe.—Isaiah 66:23; Zechariah 14:16.
    Then, with the end of worldly warfare, freedom in the full sense of the word sets in. Freedom from fear will be there, for no more will atomic or hydrogen bombs or the devilish demonic heavens hang like a threatening cloud over the people. Gone will be the need for armed troops to 'preserve international peace', or even a local police force, to subdue crime and maintain order. Lawlessness and vice, together with casualty-producing accidents, fires and floods, will be things of the old-world past. Neither will there then be millions of unemployed or displaced persons wandering aimlessly from one city to another, for Jehovah's promise is: "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid."—Isaiah 11:9; Micah 4:4.
    Famine and drought, together with rationing and black marketing, will cease for all time, as freedom from want makes itself felt. Jehovah's assurance is that "then shall the earth yield her increase". The terrestrial globe, free of those who ruin the earth, takes on a new appearance, developing into a place of Edenic grandeur and beauty such as the human mind cannot now visualize. (Psalm 67:6; Revelation 11:18; Psalm 96:11,12; Genesis 2:8,9) Righteous man will again be authorized to "subdue" the earth and "have dominion" over the lower animal creation, for then even the beasts of the field will be at peace with one another and their guardian, man.—Genesis 1:28; Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25.
    The visible part of the new world will be a disease-less "new earth", for the curative power of the divine Physician will be turned toward mankind. Aches and pains will die out, as radiant health, unmarred by cancer, influenza, or even a toothache, implants itself in every soul. (Matthew 4:23; Psalm 103:2, 3; Revelation 21:4) This means the vanishing of old age, with its wrinkled skin, its gray hair, its feebleness. It means that vigorous, energetic youth, so fleeting today, will be the eternal lot of every faithful human. To enjoy these blessings perpetually necessitates the removal of man's long-time enemy, death. And this Jehovah, the Fountain of life, has promised to bring about. (Psalm 36:9; 1 Corinthians 15:26) Describing this sublime new world state, his recorded Word foretells: "I saw a new heaven and a new earth." "Look! the tent of God is with humankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4, WW) No dream is this, nor propaganda scheme to solicit support for a man-made "better world", but it is the truth. Such conditions are certain to come, for Jehovah added to the above words this command: "Write, because these words are trustworthy and true."
    But that is not all, for the Armageddon survivors will enjoy also the grand privilege of fulfilling a divine mandate to procreate. This earth was created, not to be destroyed, but to be inhabited forever by righteous, perfect men and women. (Isaiah 45:12,18; Proverbs 10:30) To this end God commanded the perfect pair in Eden: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." (Genesis 1:28) Sadly, through sin Adam and Eve became unrighteous and forfeited the privilege of bringing forth a righteous race. But God's purpose never fails; his mandate to have righteous creatures bring forth offspring of their kind will be carried out. (Isaiah 14:24,27; 55:11) But when, and how?
Following the deluge of Noah's day, Jehovah repeated to the flood-survivors his mandate: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." Although counted righteous by reason of their faith, the family of Noah could not, in reality, fulfill this mandate. (Genesis 9:1; Hebrews 11:7) But why? Because Jesus had not yet come, to relieve men of inherent sin and condemnation. (Romans 5:12; 1 John 1:7) The reissuing of the mandate to fill the earth following the flood was, therefore, but a small-scale pattern of the real fulfillment by those whom Noah's sons and daughters-in-law pictured, namely, the "great crowd" of Armageddon survivors. In the purified earth, free from evil satanic influence, and with the sin-canceling merit of Christ's sacrifice operating toward them, the Armageddon survivors under the direction of the King and his visible princes will marry and bring forth children in righteousness, to the glory of God. (Matthew 24:37-39) At birth their offspring will be born in the way of life. Hence infant-death with its overwhelming grief will be unknown. Every child, reared in the "discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah", will have full opportu-nity for life through Christ the King. Any not desiring to serve Jehovah will be executed, rightly. —Isaiah 65:20,23; 38:19; Ephesians 6:4; Psalm 145:20.

    RETURN OF THE DEAD

    The carrying out of the mandate to fill the earth will not proceed to the extent of making it inconvenient and impossible to accommodate the resurrection of those dead in the memorial tombs. Filling the earth will include transforming it into a paradise like Eden and will not require the full thousand years of Christ's reign. During that time the Devil and his demons are in the abyss into which they have been hurled bound, and his death-dealing organization will be out of existence. An extensive educational work will therefore be necessary in the course of the thousand year reign when millions of "unrighteous" dead, needing instruction in God's law, are scheduled to arise from their tombs. At the very end of this period the abyssed Devil and his demons will be released. His mental attitude unchanged, he will again seek to usurp Jehovah's position of universal sovereignty and endeavor to turn all perfected mankind against God. Some will be misled, like Adam in Eden, while those who keep integrity in this concluding test of faith will share in the final vindication of Jehovah's sovereignty. Those supporting Satan will, with the Devil himself, be cast into the "lake of fire and sulphur". "This means the second death, the lake of fire." They are drowned in everlasting destruction, and for them there is no resurrection.—Revelation 20:1-15; 21:8.
    Then, in the righteous world, the Almighty by means of his kingdom will shower down upon earth's billions of perfect, loyal inhabitants an overflow of divine blessings that will fill their hearts with everlasting gladness. Here will be a world without Adamic death, illness, sorrow, tears, or religious confusion. A secure world it will be, worshiping Jehovah and filled with love and joy and all things desirable. It will remain, not for a thousand, or a million, or even a thousand-million years, but forever.—Psalm 72:5-7.
    This is the world everlasting. Would you enjoy living in it? If yes, then become one of the "other sheep" now, share in giving out the heart-cheering proclamation of the Kingdom, and be assured of God's blessing, guidance and protection, as your steps lead you into full realization of the glorious prospect of life ahead.—Psalms 148:12, 13; 145:10-13,21.