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

 
The Destiny of Man
 
    Where shall I spend eternity? Nearly every human creature has to face this question at some time in life. Those who die in infancy escape its consideration, and some who are suddenly swept out of existence by accident or calamity have never given it proper thought. In the excitement of youth, the young do not pause to consider; in the busy activities of manhood's and womanhood's estate the subject is pushed aside, because it is an unpleasant one, and the necessary daily duties are allowed to submerge it; but when life's span is measured by a few hours, or days, or weeks, or months, it becomes a subject for solemn consideration. Then there are some who have dragged out long years in almost daily expectation of death, who have had the subject forced upon their attention for all those weary years.
    With the majority of people the plunge into eternity is taken without any very definite hope. At home and in Sunday school, they were taught that those who are reasonably good will somehow manage to get to heaven, while those who are vile and degraded will spend eternity in a place of torment. These teachings are accepted because they are taught in the creeds and by religious leaders. Notwithstanding these facts, when faced by death there is usually doubt, foreboding and dread, due to the fact that the dying one is not sure that the creeds and the religious leaders are right in their teachings. He realizes that these teachings have never been proven to be correct.
    Thus it occurs that with the majority of people the exit from this life is accomplished with uncertainty as to whether they will spend eternity in heaven in indescribable bliss, or in hell in indescribable agony. The exceptions to this rule are a few people who have convinced themselves that they are so far above 'the common herd' that they are sure of a place in bliss. They have convinced themselves that they are deserving of God's best gift, and that heaven's portals will swing wide open to them and that they will be welcomed with glad acclaim.
    The fact that persons are sure they are going to heaven does not prove a thing about the existence of such a place or about the existence of a hell of torment. The devout Buddhist, Confucianist and Indian will die in all complacency, secure in their fanatical belief that they are to be changed into another form of life or go to their happy hunting ground at the moment of death. This serenity in death, however, does not prove that their beliefs are right, and all believers in the Bible know that those beliefs are wrong. Just so the fact that someone professing to be a Christian dies in calmness, serenity, and confidence that he is fit for heaven is no proof that he will go there.
    The only place that satisfactory proof can be found is in the Bible. Any faith that is not founded on the Bible is unstable, unreliable and invariably untrue. If anyone wishes to know definitely what is the destiny of man he can go to the Bible with honest heart and reverent mind and get full information. It is not necessary to delve into science, nor to try to get in touch with the dead. Neither is it necessary to consult spirit mediums, nor the opinions of so-called great men who have lived and died in the past. All these sources of information are useless, and even worse than useless, because the information given is invariably false and misleading.
    God is the Creator of all life, and the Giver of every blessing that men possess. More than that, he is the one who shall decide what man's destiny shall be. He inspired holy men to write the Bible, which contains the information; and for his creatures to disregard his Word and seek information from other sources manifests a disrespect and lack of reverence for him which cannot be otherwise than displeasing to him.
    According to the Bible each member of the human race will spend eternity in one of three places; namely, in heaven, on the earth, or in everlasting destruction (called second death). According to the Bible no one will spend eternity in eternal torment; neither will all the saved be in heaven. Of course this statement will not be regarded as "orthodox", but we must bear in mind that "orthodox" beliefs are the teachings of men, and not of the Bible. If one believes the Bible he will invariably be considered "unorthodox". The wonder is that men can be found who possess so much self-esteem that they dare set up their opinions in opposition to the teachings of the Bible.
    When God created Adam he told him to multiply and increase and replenish the earth, and have dominion over the earth and over the birds, beasts and fish. It should be noted that God did not tell Adam that he would ever go to heaven. His home was to be the earth, and he was told that if he disobeyed he would surely die. After his disobedience God told him that he would return to dust again, and he was driven out of the garden; but not one word was Adam told about his going to eternal torment. Eternal torment is one of the "orthodox" teachings of men, but is not taught in the Bible.
    Adam's one sin brought the condemnation of death upon himself and all his posterity. God has purposed to deliver the race from this condemnation and to restore to them what Adam lost. To accomplish this purpose God sent Jesus into the earth to die for the race to redeem them from death, so that they could be restored to life again by a resurrection of the dead. Therefore it is written: "The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." (1 John 4:14) Jesus said: "The Son of man came ... to give his life a ransom for many." Again he said: "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Since Adam lost only an earthly home and estate, not a heavenly one, it follows that that is what will be restored.
    The work of resurrecting and restoring the race to perfect life right here on the earth will be accomplished by the resurrected and glorified Jesus during his thousand-year reign, which is just now beginning, and which will be in full operation as soon as the present evil world is destroyed in the battle of Armageddon, which is just ahead of us.
    After this battle, which will destroy Satan's wicked empire which now cumbers the earth, and incidentally destroy all orthodox teachings of men, the resurrection of the dead will follow. All will then be properly instructed as to what God's will is; all will be required to obey that will or else be destroyed in the second death. The obedient ones will live on the earth forever. That will be their destiny.
In proof, the following texts are cited. In Psalm 37: 29 we read: "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever." In violent contrast with this text the clergy have taught that all the righteous will go to heaven. Again, in Isaiah 60:21 we read: "Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever."
    The clergy say the earth is to be destroyed; but in Ecclesiastes 1: 4 we read that "the earth abideth for ever". Of course, if men are to live on the earth forever it will not be destroyed. In Jesus' prayer he taught us to pray for the time when God's will would be done on earth as it is done in heaven. And all the prophets and apostles tell us of a time when the knowledge of Jehovah will fill the earth as the waters cover the deep. They tell us of a time when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to the glory of God, both of things in heaven and things in earth. Scores of texts tell us that men are destined to live on earth forever.
    When Jesus was on earth, he began to preach a new message which was never heard before his time, and that message was,'' The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'' He chose his disciples and sent them out to preach that same message. This message means that from that time on God has been selecting from the race a class composed of 144,000 persons, who must be faithful unto death; they must follow in his steps. These must learn obedience through suffering, as Jesus did. To all of this class is promised the first resurrection, and that they will reign with Jesus during that thousand years. Their destiny will be a heavenly one. They will be like Jesus and see him as he is. Revelation 20: 6 says of these: '' Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death- hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
    When the first resurrection shall bring them together in heaven as a divine, immortal, invisible company, their destiny will be to be with the Lord forever. They, together with Jesus as their Head, will be the kingdom, while the earth full of human creatures will be the subjects of the kingdom. Tins heavenly class is called "the church", also "the bride, the Lamb's wife". They are called "the elect", "the overcomers," and are referred to as " join theirs with Christ". Speaking to this class, Jesus said: 'I appoint unto you a kingdom even as my Father hath appointed unto me.' (Luke 22:29) Again, Jesus said to these: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
    The Scriptures describe another class, who will be unfaithful, stubborn and rebellious; who will resist the mercy and favor of God, and who will continue this rebellion and resistance until God cuts them off from all life in the second death. That will be their destiny. The second death is called "everlasting destruction", in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, which reads: "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This is the class to whom Jesus referred when he said: "These shall go away into everlasting punishment.'' He did not say that they would go away into everlasting torment, as the clergy have taught. He simply says that they will go into everlasting punishment, and the Scriptures show that the punishment is to be death, second death, or everlasting destruction.
    Over and over we are told that all the wicked will God destroy; that they will perish like the beasts of the field, and that they will be as though they had not been, that is, as though they never had an existence. This class will be composed of all who have come to a knowledge of the truth and then take their stand against it
    Thus we see the destiny of the entire human family, according to the purpose of God as shown in his Word.
    (1)    A small portion of the race will attain to heavenly glory and be associated with Jesus in the kingdom and in the kingdom work.
    (2)    The vast majority of the race will come back on the earth again and be privileged to enjoy everlasting life here on earth if they obey the laws of the kingdom.
    (3)    A relatively small number will be destroyed for ever as rebels against God.
Thank God no human creature is destined to spend eternity is agonizing torment as the clergy have selfishly taught!