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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Themes Archive

 
Corrupt World of That Time Destroyed
 
    A corrupt world came into existence when Adam joined Eve in eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, thereby expressing his approval of her disobedient act and transgression of God's law. How long would this corrupt world of that time last? God decided.
    The day of Adam's eating of the forbidden fruit was present. Without God's saying a word to him about it, Adam's conscience already condemned him. (Rom. 2:15) All Adam could now expect for himself and his wife was death, annihilation. Would God change this into a sentence of eternal torture for Adam and Eve in a fiery hell after their death? For God to be changeable about his laws and decrees would make him unreliable. Since he is absolutely trustworthy, it must be that he does not change in this respect. Christendom's false religion argues that he changed the penalty of his law at Eden, but at Malachi 3:6 (AS) the Supreme Judge declares: "I, Jehovah, change not." His judgment shows he did not change.
   God, by his official Word, his only-begotten Son, must now come and let the guilty convict themselves and then he must pronounce judg-ment. "Later they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden about the breezy part of the day, and the man and his wife went into hiding from the face of Jehovah God in between the trees of the garden. And Jehovah God kept calling to the man and saying to him: 'Where are you?' Finally he said: 'I heard your voice in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and so I hid myself.' " Under investigation the man blamed his sin upon the God-given woman, and the woman blamed her sin upon the serpent. There was no word of repentance.—Gen. 3:8-13, NW.
   The covering cherub, identifying himself with the serpent, had turned against Jehovah's uni-versal sovereignty and against the interests of Jehovah's universal organization. The universal organization is Jehovah's woman or his wife by a comparison with the perfect man's wife. The covering cherub was one of the children or mem-bers of that universal organization, and so it was his mother. Therefore by disobedience the cherub had dishonored his mother, God's symbolic wom-an. By his sentence upon the unfaithful cherub, the original Serpent, God showed that he cast that wicked one, Satan the Devil, out of his bright theocratic organization into the darkness outside and that he set his obedient wife, his or-ganizational "woman", in opposition to Satan the Devil, the Serpent. "And Jehovah God proceeded to say to the serpent: 'Because you have done this thing, you are the cursed one out of all the domes-tic animals and out of all the wild beasts of the field. Upon your belly you will go and dust is what you will eat all the days of your life. And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.' " —Gen. 3:14, 15, NW.
   God did not then and there kill the literal serpent but degraded it. This pictured that God did not then and there destroy the unfaithful covering cherub, but degraded him, throwing him out of the mountain of God, out of the theocratic universal organization of the heavenly sons of God. Notice that God did not sentence the wicked one to a hell of fire and brimstone, either to have charge of such a place or to be tormented there. God sentenced him to have his head bruised. Why did not God have some seed or member of his heavenly organization, his woman, crush the great Serpent's head at once? It was because the Serpent must have time to develop a seed or offspring. Also the Serpent could not bruise the heel of a heavenly son of God, especially the only-begotten Son of God, whom God had used to create the anointed covering cherub and who was higher and more powerful than that cherub. The Serpent must get at the only-begotten Son of God in a lower position than that of angels, where he could really hurt him, namely, in the position of a man on earth, where he could also test his integrity as he had also tested Adam's integrity. Up to that time there had been no death of any angels, nor any killing of them, and God's Word plainly states that such a thing is not to take place until the "war of the great day of God the Almighty", in our day.
   At Eden was not the time or place to destroy the original Serpent, Satan the Devil. As in the case of Egypt's Pharaoh who resisted the prophet Moses, God would let Satan live on and grow harder and harder against God and his woman and bring forth his wicked seed to fight against God and the seed of his woman. The destruction to which the great Serpent was doomed would come in God's due time, after he had served God's purpose in trying out the integrity of God's universal organization and its seed. So Satan served as a vessel "made fit for destruction".—Rom. 9:14-24; 16:20, NW.
   If God did not at once destroy the great insti-gator of sin in the universe, we should not expect him to destroy at once the first victims, Eve and Adam. Nor did God do so. His great sabbath day of 7,000 years was now in progress and he had desisted from earthly creation. So he refrained from immediately putting the sinful couple to death and desisted from creating a new human pair to fill the earth with a righteous race, subdue the entire earth to a state like the paradise of Eden and have the lower creatures in subjection. God had a better way than that to fulfill his original purpose and prove his supremacy over Satan, who wanted to pervert or thwart his pur-pose. God would faithfully carry his original pur-pose to success despite any interference the Devil would raise, thus displaying his invincible power over the Devil. God would do so by means of the now promised seed of his woman.
   By letting Adam and Eve live in their condemned condition for a time Eve could bring forth children, but now she must do so in great pain, while at the same time her husband dominated her. God did pronounce the sentence of death, not upon her, but upon Adam as her responsible head. "And to Adam he said: 'Because you listened to your wife's voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command: "You must not eat from it," cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life. And thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field. In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.' "—Gen. 3:16-19, NW. Death did not mean that a soul taken from heaven and encased in Adam's earthly body would escape and return to heaven and live there immortally. No! At death Adam would return to the dust. His body had been taken from there and had been made alive by God's power so that Adam became a "living soul". Accordingly, when Adam returned to the dust, that living soul would die; it was a mortal soul and God could destroy it. God's Word has never changed about that. More than 3,400 years after Adam's sin Jehovah God inspired his prophet Ezekiel to write: "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. 18:4, 20) So for Adam death meant a return to nonexistence. "And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit re-turns to God who gave it." (Eccl. 12:7, AT) The invisible active force that energized Adam's body would depart and return to its Giver, God, and the body would crumble to dust. The sinner soul Adam would no longer have that activating force or spirit in his body. He would become a "dead soul".—Num. 6:6 and Lev. 19:28; 21:1, NW.
   Adam brought death not only upon himself but also upon all the race descended from him. God's Word is outspoken on this: "By one man's trespass many died,... For the judgment resulted in condemnation from one trespass,... by the trespass of the one man death ruled as king through that one,... through one trespass the result to men of all kinds was condemnation,... through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners." (Rom. 5:15-19, NW) This disastrous effect spread to the entire human race, because the race was yet unborn in Adam's loins at the time that he followed his wife into sin. "Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned." "In Adam all are dying." (Rom. 5:12 and 1 Cor. 15:22, NW) On God's part this was no injustice to the human race, for he did not owe it to them to let Adam and Eve live as condemned sinners and bring the race into existence. It was a case of mercy and toleration on God's part to let an imperfect sinful race come into existence. Furthermore, it was wise economy on his part. As the race inherited sin and death through one man, it allowed for God to make salvation justly available for that one man's descendants of all kinds through one faithful man, the "man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all". (1 Tim. 2:5, 6, NW) Hence, to God's vindication, "through the obe-dience of the one person many will be constituted righteous."—Rom. 5:19, NW.
   The garden of Eden with the tree of life in the middle was no place for the sinners condemned to death to keep living and to bring forth their sinful offspring. God so stated to his official Word, his only-begotten Son. "And Jehovah God went on to say: 'Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also of the tree of life and eat and live forever,—' With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. And so he drove the man out and posted at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning itself continually to guard the way to the tree of life."—Gen. 3:22-24, NW.
    What form those cherubs took visible to man the record does not here reveal, although elsewhere it gives us a symbolic description. (Ex. 25:18-22; IKi. 6:23-35; Ezek. 9:3; 10:1-20; 41:18-25) The unfaithful covering cherub would have liked to lead Adam and Eve back into Eden to eat of the tree of life that they might live as his subjects and worshipers forever, but the cherubs at Eden's entrance upheld Jehovah's universal sovereignty. They kept their commission faithfully and so held to God's woman or organization.

   THE SERPENT'S SEED DEVELOPS

    The original Serpent, Satan the Devil, proeeeded to develop his wicked seed outside of Eden, and to build up an earthly, human society, ac-cording to his selfish pattern. The first one named as part of the Serpent's seed was Cain, the first boy of Adam and Eve. He had no love for his younger brother Abel. "We should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother. And for the sake of what did he slaughter him? Be-cause his own works were wicked, but those of his brother were righteous." (1 John 3:11, 12, NW; Gen. 4:1-16) Abel proved himself Jehovah's first witness outside of Eden. Jehovah has had human witnesses ever since.—Heb. 11:4 to 12:2, NW.    Did Satan the Devil remain alone in his disobedience in heaven? No, for other angels copied his example of disobedience and became an invisible part of the seed of the Serpent. "God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned." (2 Pet. 2:4, NW) When did they sin? Taking nothing for granted, but consulting the revealed Word, we are informed it was in Noah's day at the latest. With regard to Jesus Christ in spirit form it is written: "In this state also he went his way and preached to the spirits in prison, which had once been disobedient when the patience of God was waiting in Noah's days, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water." (1 Pet. 3:18-20, NW) The record of Noah's day does not leave us in doubt as to what form their disobedience took.
   Noah's day began 599 years before the Flood, or 2,969 B.C. This was about 1,056 years after the covering cherub's rebellion against Jehovah's sovereignty. By then there were many women on the earth. The first daughter of Adam mentioned (but not named) is the one that married his murderous son Cain. "Meanwhile he became father to sons and daughters. So all the days of Adam that he lived amounted to nine hundred and thirty years [or seventy years less than a thousand-year day] and he died." (Gen. 4:17; 5:4, 5, NW) Noah, the tenth in line from Adam, was born 127 years after Adam's death.
   "Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking, and they went to taking wives for themselves of all whom they selected. After that Jehovah said: 'My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.' The Nephilim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of that world, the men of fame."—Gen. 6:1-4, NW.
   "These sons of God were from among those "sons of God" that had shouted for joy in heaven at God's founding of the planet earth. (Job 38:7) The covering cherub had coveted the worship and service of the human family. The spirit sons of God who turned disobedient craved sexual com-panionship with the daughters of the human family. Angels do not marry among themselves. Their proper dwelling place is in the invisible heavens. Their original and permanent position is on a spirit level above mankind, not on a human level. The disobedient spirits, heavenly sons of God to begin with, became discontented and did not find full satisfaction in the companionship of only angels. Their desire gravitated earthward and led them into temptation. No, they did not want merely to obsess or take invisible possession of human creatures, men and women alike. By contemplating how good-looking the daughters of men were they developed an appetite for their flesh in sexual connection. They wanted to imitate men and marry these sub-angelic women and give them marriage dues as husbands. This meant that such sons of God must materialize in flesh—doubtless the way the cherubs at Eden's entrance had done —and take up living with their human wives and abandon their service of God in his invisible heavenly theocratic organization. Marriage of human daughters to angels was unnatural. So, like the homosexuals of Sodom who desired the bodies of two materialized angels who as males visited Lot there, the disobedient sons of God craved female flesh for unnatural use.
   The Christian disciple Jude identifies those sons of God as angels when he shows that even angels can get out of a safe or saved condition and become subject to the judgment of death: "The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling-place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day." (Jude 5-7, NW) The unnatural marriage did not produce angels for heaven. Since daughters of men could produce only the human kind and since it is the mother that gives the body (a fleshly body) to the offspring, the unnatural marriage produced hybrids, human freaks, with more than ordinary size and vitality due to their angelic fathers. "They were the mighty ones who were of that world, the men of fame." Because they were violent, brutal and oppressive toward the weaker, imperfect human race they were called Nephilim, which means "fellers", or those who cause others to fall. "And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the God and the earth became filled with violence. So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth." —Gen. 6:11, 12, NW.
   The disobedient "sons of God", the fathers of the Nephilim, thus dominated the earth. Together with Satan, who exercised his unseen influence over mankind and who approved the course of the disobedient spirits, they formed a heavenly control body, a symbolic "heavens" over mankind. Morally ruined mankind in their social, religious and political arrangements of that time formed an earthly organization, a symbolic earth. Together, this symbolic heavens and earth constituted the "world of that time". It was corrupt in God's sight. As for the physical earth, its circumstances were as described at 2 Peter 3:5, 6 (NW): "There were heavens in ancient times and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God, and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water." This corresponded with the way the earth was left on God's third creative day: The dry land called Earth was apparent, "standing compactly out of water." At the same time it was "in the midst of water" in that the waters that God had caused to go into suspension above the expanse were still up there and prevented mankind on earth from having a clear, unobstructed view of the sun, moon and stars. But it would not continue so for long now.
   The faithful prophet Enoch had passed off the earthly scene in 3,039 B.C., or 70 years before Noah's birth; and now Noah had become Jehovah's outstanding witness and his prophet. Noah was 479 years old when God declared that the world of that day would be tolerated only 120 years longer. There was no faith in the true God prevalent in that world. But Noah was no part of that world. By his faith "Noah walked with the God". So he had a righteous standing in God's sight and won His good pleasure. In the great prophetic drama that God now proceeded to stage God used (1) Noah as a prophetic figure of Jesus Christ, (2) Noah's wife as a prophetic figure of the congregation of Jesus' anointed followers, and (3) Noah's three sons and their wives as a group prophetic of faithful people of good will toward God in our own momentous day. Of this we shall speak more fully in a later chapter. We do well to pay close attention to conditions and events in Noah's day, because the Greater Noah, Jesus Christ, made a prophecy concerning our day of world-wide corruption and violence and predicted: "Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be." (Matt. 24:37 and Gen. 6:8-10, NW) Hence we should imitate the course, not of the world, but of Noah's family.
   "And as for me," said Jehovah to Noah, "here I am bringing the deluge* of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active from under the heavens." Noah was there instructed to build a big three-story ark or chest, with sufficient cells, cabins or compartments, and to bring his wife, his three sons and their three wives into the ark along with at least a pair of each of the family kinds of the land animals and flying creatures for the perpetuation of all these kinds of creature life beyond the global deluge. He was also to stock the ark with food enough to satisfy all these forms of life while the deluge period lasted. A tremendous test of Noah's faith and courage this, but he met it. "By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household, and through this faith he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."—Heb. 11:7; NW; Gen. 6:13-22, NW.
   On beholding Noah and his sons constructing the ark over the years and on learning the reason for it men of that world scoffed at the possibility of a global deluge. Just so today, scientists scoff at the actual happening of such a world catastrophe. But we have the written testimony of three eyewitnesses of that horrendous swamping of an entire corrupt world. Besides that, Jesus Christ, a witness of it from the invisible spirit realm, confirmed their written testimony as true. We have faith to accept it and to quote from it. After probably some decades of work on the ark it was completed in the six hundredth year of Noah's life. According to our present-day calendar the month of October came, or the Hebrew month Bui, which name is understood to mean "rain". With perfect timing Jehovah told Noah to move into the ark with all his family and the specified number of animals and birds, two each of the unclean kinds and seven each of the clean kinds. Noah obeyed with no waste of time. "And they kept going to Noah inside the ark, two by two, of every sort of flesh in which the force of life was active. And those going in, male and female of every sort of flesh, went in, just as God had commanded him. After that Jehovah shut the door behind him." (Gen. 7:1-10,13-16, NW) After that, if anyone outside tried to make it to the ark that very day when the water began to flood the earth, they just "missed the boat".
   But, physically and scientifically, how could such a global inundation as predicted possibly occur? Simply by putting the water back over all the globe where it had been when God began his creative week, as described at Genesis 1:1, 2. Shem, Ham and Japheth, as three eyewitnesses and survivors of the deluge, explain the phenomenon for us. Their written record relates: "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month [Bui], on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the fountains of the great water canopy [or, many surging waters] were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights the deluge went on for forty days upon the earth, and the waters kept increasing and began carrying the ark and it was floating high above the earth. And the waters became overwhelming and kept in-creasing greatly upon the earth, but the ark kept going on the surface of the waters. And the waters overwhelmed the earth so greatly that all the tall mountains that were under the whole heavens came to be covered. Up to fifteen cubits the waters overwhelmed them and the mountains became covered. And this is the history of Noah's sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth."—Gen. 7:11, 12, 17-20; 10:1, NW.
   By those elemental forces the antediluvian world ended suddenly inside of forty days. "By those means," says 2 Peter 3:6 (NW), "the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water." When, by God's power, "the fountains of the water canopy and the floodgates of the heavens became stopped up and so the downpour from the heavens was restrained," the planet presented the spectacle of a water globe. It was like the planet before God's creative week began, except that in the sunlight and moonlight that now clearly beamed upon it a tar-covered ark floated, loaded with four married human couples and the mated couples of the many family kinds of the animal and bird realm, all saved out of the world destruction. In the far northern and southern areas the water had congealed and vast icecaps had suddenly massed, refrigerating many forms of life. Marine life swam over the other parts of the submerged globe, whales came up to blow over what is now Vermont in America, and flying fish leaped out of the waters and porpoises gracefully arched their bodies above the waters.
    As for the symbolic earth, or human society living under the various arrangements and systems of things of that time, it was buried out of sight with water. As for the symbolic heavens of that corrupt world, the Nephilim were drowned and their fathers, the disobedient spirit sons of God, could not live like fish in their human bodies in the depths of the flood. Their marriages were dissolved by the death of their wives, and they were forced to dematerialize and get back to their proper dwelling place, but not to their original position. Why not? Having sinned and gone over onto the Devil's side, they had ceased to be sons of God. They had become demons, devils, and had no further part with God. They could not be admitted back to their former position of favor and service in Jehovah's theocratic organization, his "woman" who had mothered many spirit children. They had become the invisible seed of the Serpent. But the great Judge Jehovah did not then destroy them, any more than he destroyed Satan the Devil at the Flood. He did doom them to destruction, but as an immediate punishment he debased them to the lowest degree, pictured by Tartarus. Says 2 Peter 2:4, 5 (NW): "God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tartarus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment; and he did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people." Those angel sinners are no more to be preserved and saved than that ancient world was of which they had made themselves a visible, superhuman part. God has reserved them "with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day". That great day is now at hand. Till now those disobedient angels have been allowed to live with the great Serpent, but under dense dark-ness, outside of the light of God's favor and spiritual illumination, and with no power to ma-terialize again and remarry women. At most now they can only obsess poor human victims.
   The corrupt world had ended indeed, as re-gards both its heavens and its earth. But the planet earth remained, and eight human witnesses of Jehovah God survived under his protection, to carry forward his purpose toward earth and toward man and animal on it.—Eccl. 1:4.