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.
This is the official website of
The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
Earth's Destiny After this World's End
 
    "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." - Rev. 20:11 and 21:1.
    Jehovah is the majestic One who sits as Judge upon the "great white throne' in the heavens. It is to him that the prayer has ascended for the past nineteen hundred years: "Our Father in heaven, your name be revered! Your kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven!" (Matt. 6:9,10) Manifestly at the time that this model prayer was first taught, the kingdom of Jehovah God the Father had not yet come to our earth and his will was not yet being done on earth as it was in the heavens where he resides in righteousness. The heavens and the earth are his creation, and so our planet earth is a place over which his kingdom should rule and where his righteous will should be done among all his earthly subjects, the same as in all the rest of the universe. He had a marvelous purpose in creating the earth, and his purpose will not be blocked and go unrealized. In his own appointed time he will have the earth fully inhabited by perfect men and women, every one of these a devoted subject lovingly doing the divine will. This purpose is indelibly recorded in these words: "For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste [or, not in vain], that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else." (Isa. 45:18) In keeping with his purpose he has now at last taken to himself his great power to rule and to make the authority of his throne felt by all men on earth.—Rev. 11:17,18.
    There is no known reason for Jehovah God to destroy our planet earth which is a part of a universe he occupied unknown trillions of years to create. What reason is there for him to destroy the earth after his purpose for it is realized and his holy will is perfectly done on it by all its human inhabitants? Still, you ask, why does the vision given to the apostle John say that when God sits on his great white throne of judgment and turns his face to our earth to give it the attention that it needs, then "the earth and the heaven fled away'' from his face? (Rev. 20:11) It is because such earth and heaven are symbolic. They are not the literal earth and heaven that He created. Concerning the heaven and earth which he made and which are therefore good we read: "Thus saith Jehovah, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool." (Isa. 66:1) Reasonably Jehovah God the Creator would not destroy his own throne and footstool. His sanctuary is in the heavens, and the earth is as eternal as it, for we read: "He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which he hath established for ever." (Ps. 78:69) Seeing that the literal earth and heaven which God created must abide forever, according to his good purpose, then we must understand that the heaven and earth that flee away are symbolical. They have God's disapproval because they are created by his enemies, and they must make way for God's glorious kingdom.
    The fact that "there was found no place for them" (Rev. 20:11) shows that such disapproved heaven and earth are destroyed. Their flight into destruction takes place at the end of this world. Many scriptures show this. For example, the apostle Peter first tells of the end of the pre-flood world in Noah's time and then describes the end of the present world in a fiery trouble, saying: "You . . . await and hasten towards the coming of the day of God, by which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved and the elements will melt away by reason of the heat of the fire! But we look for new heavens and a new earth, according to his promises, wherein dwells justice." (2 Pet. 3:12, 13) It is therefore clear that the flight of the heaven and earth from before the face of God on his great white throne occurs before the thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, his Son. That being the case, then the destruction of such heaven and earth corresponds with the things described at Revelation 19:11 to 20:3. Why so? Because the things there described take place in heaven and in earth immediately before the thousand-year reign of Christ begins.
    With the use of quite a number of symbolic expressions Revelation 19:11-21 describes the appearing of mankind's rightful Ruler, Christ Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the total war that the "kings of the earth and their armies'' wage against Mm. The Revelation makes no political distinctions between any of these earthly kings or rulers, but shows that they are all against him and are all on the side of a symbolic beast and false prophet. They are all a part of this doomed world.
    Whether this world is acting beastly and following false prophecies contrary to God s Word we leave it for all honest people to judge. The fact remains that all the "kings of the earth", whether inside or outside of Christendom, do not want the real, living, personal Christ Jesus to rule over this planet with absolute power. They themselves want to dominate the earth by their respective political forms of government. And in this political effort these "kings of the earth" have the prayers and support of all the religious leaders inside and outside of Christendom. Describing the destruction of all these "kings of the earth" and their supporters and followers at the world's end, Revelation 19:20,21 says: "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, who wrought signs before him, wherewith he seduced them who received the character of the beast, and who adored his image. These two were cast alive into the pool of fire, burning with brimstone. And the rest were slain by the sword of him [Christ Jesus] that sitteth upon the horse, which proceedeth out of his mouth; and all the birds were filled with their flesh." (Apoc. 19: 20, 21) This denotes that a terrific loss of human life will mark this world's end and that many bodies will lie around unburied for wild beasts and birds of carrion to gorge themselves upon. It will be the complete fulfillment of the prophecy, at Jeremiah 25: 31-33:
    "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest shall be raised up from the uttermost parts of the earth. And the slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the face of the ground."
    "The prophecy at Ezekiel 39:1-21, which gives details of the fight of Gog and Magog and all of Gog's allies at this Avorld's end, refers to the same thing as the above prophecies of Revelation and Jeremiah. All political observers of today must agree that such a wholesale destruction of the "kings of the earth" and their backers and followers will mean the end of our present so-called "civilization", the end of our present earthly organization and arrangement of things. And in this electronic age, with its atomic bomb, who is there to say the end of the present earthly arrangement of human society will not be in a very fiery time both literally and figuratively? Such destruction of all present political, commercial and religious arrangements under God's disapproval is what is symbolized by the fleeing of the earth from before his face. And if no place is to be found for it any more, then surely it will never again exist upon our planet earth, which is God's footstool.
    In harmony with that fact, Revelation 19: 20 foretells that the "beast" and the "false prophet" will be pitched alive "into a lake of fire burning with brimstone", and Revelation 20:14,15 says: "This is the second death—the fiery lake. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was flung into the fiery lake." Plainly the things symbolized by the "beast" and the "false prophet" are judged unfit to live any further. They deserve annihilation, for they induce the "kings of the earth and their armies" to fight God's King of kings and Lord of lords.

    THE FLIGHT OF THE HEAVENS

    Even in a physical sense our planet earth is dominated by the heavens from which the sun, moon and stars exercise an effect upon it and cosmic rays beat down upon it unceasingly. In like manner the symbolic earth, the arrangement today of human society, is affected and dominated by unseen higher intelligences. The organization made up of such superior invisible intelligences is what the Bible speaks of as the symbolic heaven. Since the flood of Noah's time such heaven has been wicked. It has exercised upon human society an influence only toward selfishness and wickedness. Many men would like to get rid of the debasing influence of such wicked heaven, but to this day they have been unable to do so. It is impossible for mankind to do away with the unseen domination of such heaven. Almighty God Jehovah is the only One able to do away with it, and he will soon do so by Christ Jesus, his King of kings and Lord of lords. After first describing how the symbolic earth flees away into the land of nowhere, the vision of Revelation immediately shows how the flight of the symbolic heaven from before the face of the Supreme Judge upon his great white-throne takes place. At Revelation 20:1-3 the apostle John says:
    "And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time."
    Thus the vision graphically foretells that at this world's end the Devil will be bound and cast into the abyss. This will be a thousand years before he is cast into the "pool of fire", where the "beast" and the "false prophet" are. As The Watchtower showed in its issue of October 1, 1948, God's angel or deputy who binds Satan the Devil and hurls him into the abyss of restraint is Christ Jesus, who has been given all power in heaven and earth. Since the enthronement of Christ Jesus in heaven in the year 1914, Satan the Devil has been cast out of heaven, and his wicked angels with him, and these have been confined to the vicinity of our earth. These are the ones that are responsible for the political, commercial, religious, social and physical woes that have come upon mankind since A.D. 1918. In proof of this, Revelation 12:12 says: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." For thousands of years the wicked angels have worked with the Devil in deceiving the
whole world, and hence, if the "dragon, that old Serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan", is not to deceive the nations for a thousand years to come, his angels must also be restrained with him when he is restrained from his deceptive work. Revelation 20:1-3 does not specifically say his angels are put into the abyss with the "dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan". But his angels were cast down to the earth with him, and it must be that later, when he is abyssed, his angels or demons are
restrained in the abyss with him.
    Binding and abyssing the Serpent, the Devil, is what is meant by crushing the serpent's head. His angels must be crushed with him. Back there in the garden of Eden God said to the Serpent, the Devil: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel." (Gen. 3:15) The wicked angels or demons are a part of the Serpent's seed; they are the invisible, spiritual part. Since the Seed of God's woman, namely, Christ Jesus, restrains the Serpent's seed together with the Serpent, then the restraining of the wicked demons apparently means their being abyssed with the Devil, "the prince of the demons." All along the demons have feared to go into the abyss. Notice the gospel account of Jesus' encounter with a man under the control of many such spirit demons: "And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I beseech thee, torment [Greek, basanidzo] me not. For he was commanding the unclean spirit to come out from the man. For oftentimes it had seized him: and he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters; and break-ing the bands asunder, he was driven of the demon into the deserts. And Jesus asked him, What is thy name 1 And he said, Legion; for many demons were entered into him. And they entreated him that he would not command them to depart into the abyss." It was not then the due time for Jesus to bind and abyss Satan, the prince of the demons. Hence Jesus did not then torment the demons by abyssing them. —Luke 8:26-33.
    Satan the Devil and his legions of demons have composed a great invisible empire, one not of flesh and blood, but of spirit. These are the ones meant when Paul writes to his fellow Christians: "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high." (Eph. 6:12) Since the flood of Noah's time these organized spirits under the prince of the demons have made up the symbolic heavens, "the heavens that now are," as the apostle Peter calls them. (2 Pet. 3:7) These, then, are the heavens that are destroyed at this end of the world, and not Jehovah God's creations, the sun, moon, stars and spiral nebulae. Now the vision that John had shows that the destruction of the wicked heavens comes after Satan the Devil witnesses the annihilation of his wicked earthly organization. Therefore the destruction of the heavens by abyssing Satan and his demon angels is what is pictured by the fleeing of the heaven, never to be organized again as they have been for these thousands of years since the flood. But the glorious sun, moon and stars of the literal skies will remain for all time. In proof, Psalm 72: 5,7 says of the rule of Christ, the "Son of David": "They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth." And Psalm 89: 35-37 says: "Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed [Christ] shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven."

    NEVER A DEPOPULATED EARTH

    Some religionists wrongly teach that the binding and casting of Satan into the abyss means he will be given the free run of the earth for the thousand years of Christ's reign but that during this time the earth will be absolutely void and waste as it was at the beginning, so that Satan will not be in contact with the earthly nations to tempt and deceive them. True, Christ's thousand-year reign and Satan's imprisonment in the abyss continue during the same period of time. But it is a religious mistake to apply to the earth during that time the following scripture prophecies:
    "Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. ... The earth shall be utterly emptied, and utterly laid waste; for Jehovah hath sjjoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the lofty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are found guilty: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left."— Isa. 24:1-6.
    This prophecy had its first fulfillment upon the land of Judah and Jerusalem twenty-five centuries ago, but it has a larger and final fulfillment upon the organization of Christendom at this end of the world. It was the land of Judah, and not our entire globe, that Jehovah made empty of its unfaithful inhabitants in GOT B.C. To that end he let the mighty Babylonian conqueror Nebuchadnezzar overrun that land and desolate its towns and cities and even its capital Jerusalem, and then deport to Babylon most of the surviving Jews. Even those who were left in the land finally became fearful and fled down to Egypt. Thus Jehovah brought his curse upon the profaned Land of Promise and emptied it of man and domesticated beast, just as if it were a bowl that he turned upside down so as to dump out its contents. He did not then depopulate the entire globe, but left the Gentile nations on the earth that they might dominate the globe for "seven times", and he scattered the former Jewish inhabitants of Judah among all these Gentile nations. For the next seventy years he left the land of Judah lie forsaken with all its cities in ruin, its temple at Jerusalem robbed and burned, and its fields and forests unattended. So the land became like a primeval wilderness, the haunt of wild beasts and birds.
    There was, though, a faithful remnant among those Jews who were scattered among the nations, and with regard to these the twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah further says: "Therefore the inhabitants of the earth waste away, and few are the mortals that are left. . . . For so will it be in the midst of the earth, among the peoples, as when an olive tree is beaten, or at the gleaning of grapes, when the vintage is over. Yonder, men lift up their voice, they sing for joy, at the majesty of the LORD they shout more loudly than the sea: 'Therefore glorify the LORD throughout the east, on the coast-lands of the sea praise the name of the LORD, the God of Israel!' From the end of the earth have we heard songs of praise: 'Glory for the righteous!' And that the complete fulfillment of this occurs at the time that Jehovah God enthrones his anointed King, Jesus Christ, to rule for him, the last verse of the chapter shows, saying: "For the LORD of hosts will be king on Mount Zion, and will reveal his glory before his elders in Jerusalem."—Isa. 24: 6,13-16, 23.
    The same is true with regard to the prophecy at Jeremiah 4: 22-28, namely: "For my people are foolish, they know me not; they are sottish children, and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved to and fro. I beheld, and, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of Jehovah, and before his fierce anger. For thus saith Jehovah, The whole land shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full end. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, 1 have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it.".
    In these verses Jeremiah is inspired to prophesy first about the seventy-year desolation of the land of Jehovah's chosen people, the Israelites, from 607 to 537 B.C. During that time the land of Judah and Jerusalem was waste and void and the favor of heaven did not shine down upon it. It was under the divine curse, and "there was no man" in it. For this reason it became a wilderness. Not merely in this fourth chapter, but all through the book of Jeremiah, he describes how this desolate, manless condition of Judah and Jerusalem was to come about by the invasion of the Babylonian hordes, the destruction of the Jewish cities, and the deportation of most of the survivors to Babylon and the flight of the rest to Egypt. For example, Jeremiah 36: 29 reads: "The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast." At the end of the seventy years of desolation Jehovah's prophecy by Jeremiah came true: "And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans." (Jer. 32:43; also 33:10-13) And by Ezekiel Jehovah prophesied to the desolate "mountains of Israel": "I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, … and ye shall know that I am Jehovah."—Ezek. 36:8-11.
    Yes, the land of Judah was depopulated for seventy years, but this does not typify an unpeopled, chaotic, formless globe during the thousand years that Satan the Devil is bound. No; but that total desolation which came upon ancient Judah for the unfaithfulness of the Jews prophetically pictured the complete destruction due to be visited soon upon its modern counterpart, the organization of Christendom. Because she professes to be Christian, but is permeated with paganism and brings reproach upon God's holy name, Christendom will be wiped out at this world's end. She will never be restored, because the true Christians who are members of the "body of Christ" will enter their heavenly inheritance to reign with him for the thousand years. Thus the true basis for calling any part of our globe "Christendom" will have-been forever removed. The end of this world will result not only in the destruction of so-called "Christendom" but also in the destruction of all the symbolic earth, the Devil's visible organization of human society. Yet, this will not result in a totally depopulated planet.
    When predicting the end of this world Jesus said: "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." The flood took away in destruction all those who did not know the day and hour of its coming and did not enter into the ark; but did it take away Noah and his household who did enter the ark? No! (Matt. 24:37-39) Likewise, the end of this world will take away in destruction Christendom and the rest of wicked humanity, but those now taking a position in support of Jehovah's universal sovereignty and his kingdom by Christ Jesus have the promise of surviving this world's end, just as Noah and his household lived through the global flood. Earth's glorious destiny is only beginning after this world's end!