Time of Rest and Refreshment at Hand
OUR generation will see the end of the present pressure-ridden order. In fact, there is even good reason to hope that a new order of God’s making may begin within the present decade. Why is this?
From the year 1914 on, the pressures on mankind have grown dramatically, building up to a near-exploding point. As shown earlier in this issue, fulfilled Bible prophecy marks that year 1914 as the start of the foretold “time of the end” for the present stress-filled order. But at the same time it makes the generation then living a ‘marked’ generation. How so?
Jesus showed this in his great prophecy recorded at Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. True, much of that prophecy had a fulfillment in the first century. It forecast the collapse of the Jewish order and the desolating of Jerusalem and its temple. But Jesus’ own words make very clear that this prophecy would have another fulfillment, a major fulfillment, at the time of his ‘second presence.’ That major fulfillment is taking place in this “time of the end” that began in 1914.—Matt. 24:27, 30.
Jesus foretold the wars, famine, disease, earthquakes, increase in crime and other distress that have combined to bring such a tremendous strain on this generation since 1914. He spoke of “anguish of nations” because of their not knowing the way out of the existing dilemma, with men becoming “faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” Those words fit the condition among mankind from 1914 on as they do in no other period of human history.
Happily, though, Jesus said to those putting their trust and hope in his Kingdom government: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near. . . . Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.”—Luke 21:25-32.
The Jewish generation that heard that prophecy in the first century saw the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy about Jerusalem come true less than four decades later, when Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 C.E. We can be certain that the major fulfillment of that prophecy in our own time will prove no less reliable.
The generation living in 1914 when ‘these things started to occur’ has now grown old. In the more than half a century that has passed, that generation’s numbers have considerably diminished. Yet the “all things” foretold by Jesus for our day must occur fully before ‘this generation passes completely away.’ That means that the due time for their full occurrence must be near at hand, very close.
All the other features of Jesus’ prophecy have now come true with startling accuracy. We need not doubt that he spoke inspired truth when he said that the generation seeing the start of this “time of the end” will also see its windup. That will mean the end of the present unsatisfying, selfish, oppressive old order and the introduction of God’s righteous, refreshing new order.
But why is there reason to hope that this changeover may take place even within the present decade?
The Bible shows that we are nearing the close of 6,000 years of human history. Bible chronology reveals that human life began with Adam’s creation some 4,058 years before the death of Jesus (in the spring of the year 33 C.E.). By adding to this the years from Jesus’ death till now, we find that the completion of 6,000 years of man’s existence will come near the middle of this decade of the 1970’s. This is significant. Why?
The answer is found in the Law covenant God gave to ancient Israel through his mediator Moses. The Bible assures us that that Law had “a shadow of the good things to come.” (Heb. 10:1) Follow a shadow and you eventually come to the reality, the substantial thing of which the shadow is but an outline. The things foreshadowed by the Law covenant lead us to the reality of God’s kingdom in the hands of his Son, Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:16, 17 shows that the sabbath arrangement is included among those ‘shadows of things to come.’ According to that sabbath arrangement every seventh day was a day of rest from all labor. Also, every seventh year was a year of rest for the land, with no plowing nor sowing being done. Thereby not only did the land have opportunity to renew its productive strength, but so did the people.—Ex. 20:8-11; Lev. 25:1-8.
What “good things” did this foreshadow? That sabbath arrangement foreshadowed grand blessings and relief for all mankind by means of Christ’s kingdom. The book of Revelation shows that, with the end of the present unrighteous order, Christ’s kingdom will bring in a thousand-year rule of peace and divine blessings. This will result in a sabbathlike rest for the earth and all its inhabitants. It will see mankind receive the full benefits of Christ’s ransom, bringing them eventually to full freedom from sin. It will also see the abyssing of Satan and his demon forces, freeing mankind from their oppressive rule.—Rev. 20:1-6; 21:1-4.
If we apply the Bible statement that to Jehovah God ‘a thousand years is as one day,’ this would mean that the six thousand years of man’s existence are like just six days in God’s sight. (Ps. 90:2; 2 Pet. 3:8) The coming thousand-year reign of his Son would then be a seventh “day” following those six. It would fit perfectly the prophetic pattern of a sabbath period of rest following six periods of toil and labor. So, as we draw close to the completion of six thousand years of human existence during this decade, there is the thrilling hope that a grand Sabbath of rest and relief is indeed at hand. Then frustrating, wearisome pressures will end. In their place will be refreshing freedom and enjoyment of good.
What must you do if you want to gain life in that refreshing new order under God’s government by his Son? Consider the information in the next article.
[Diagram on page 27]
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1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000
MAN’S NOACHIAN DEATH OF 1914 MILLENNIAL
CREATION FLOOD JESUS CHRIST REIGN OF
33 C.E. CHRIST JESUS?
As we near the end of 6,000 years of human history in the mid-1970’s there is the thrilling hope of a grand relief