Seize the Opportunity Now!
IT IS a fine thing for mankind that their maker is also their loving Provider and Caretaker. Because of this, he did not leave humanity on its own after man’s fall into sin and death. He did not show unconcern as though he were “dead” to their hopes, their loves, their vicissitudes. On the contrary, he manifested the greatest concern by laying a foundation for human recovery by giving his own Son. And he has progressively moved closer and closer to the realization of his full purpose toward humankind—fullness of life on a beautified earth.
To understand this purpose is to know why we are here on earth. But more importantly, it gives us direction for what we are to do now. We come to realize that it is not merely a matter of looking to the time ahead when life will be more purposeful, but living now with, real purpose. The apostle speaks absolute truth, therefore, when he says: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.”—1 Tim. 4:8.
So that we can devote ourselves to the truthful, sensible, upbuilding things, God stands nearby. He allows himself to be approached for guidance toward a purposeful life. The apostle Paul addressed a group of non-Christians in Athens, among them a number of Greek philosophers who were seeking the reasons for life. He explained to them that God had provided a way for men to seek him, “if they might grope for him and really find him, although, in fact, he is not far off from each one of us.”—Acts 17:24-27.
Can any one of us say that he does not need guidance from someone of higher wisdom and experience? All of humankind are in sad need of it in these serious times. Guidance in a purposeful life brings greater happiness now to us and to our loved ones. Furthermore, it is something to be seized now because it equips us so as to be in line for ‘the life to come.’
The ‘Life to Come’
The ‘life to come’ for billions of people will actually be the kind of life that God purposed for man at the beginning. He told Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) There was no mention of death to this couple except for disobedience. (Gen. 2:17) God’s purpose was for them to have an uninterrupted existence forever if they obeyed. Certainly obedience to him was no unreasonable requirement from the Maker of the vast universe, who definitely knows what mankind needs for happiness.—Matt. 6:8.
To live forever on earth! That is actually what God says is his purpose for man. This would require first, of course, that the earth remain forever. The psalmist was inspired to write for our comfort: “[God] has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.” (Ps. 104:5) Repeatedly the Bible speaks of God’s destroying wickedness off the earth and leaving righteous survivors.—Ps. 37:1, 2, 9, 11, 20, 27, 34; 115:16.
The Bible’s last book, Revelation, deals extensively with ‘the life that is to come.’ It tells of God’s determination to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth” and of a great number surviving the final “great tribulation” that will destroy the wicked. (Rev. 11:18; Matt. 24:21) Of ‘the life that is to come’ for the survivors, God’s promise is: “The One seated on the throne will spread his tent [of protection and security] over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb [Jesus Christ], who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Rev. 7:9, 14-17.
The “River of Water of Life”
Of those “waters of life,” the last chapter of Revelation gives more details. Since Jesus said, earlier, “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life,” we see that the “waters of life” are connected with Jesus’ atonement sacrifice for mankind. (John 4:14) Therefore, as we read Revelation’s description we understand that the sum total of all the provisions for mankind’s life through Jesus Christ is represented by the “river of water of life” there depicted. We read:
“And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way [the stream comes through “New Jerusalem,” the heavenly capital, wherein the glorified Jesus Christ and his associate heavenly kings reside]. And on this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations.”—Rev. 22:1, 2.
The people in that new arrangement of things on earth will regularly receive the curative application of the value of Christ’s sacrifice to remove their sins and to heal them of all their sicknesses and imperfections. Sin, which causes death, finally being removed from all of them, “death will be no more.” (Rev. 21:4; 1 Cor. 15:26) This assures everlasting life for those who partake of God’s provisions. Now is the time for all who hear to seize the opportunity, getting what is now available of the “river of water of life.” The invitation is: “Let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.”—Rev. 22:17; 2 Cor. 6:1, 2.
Everlasting Life Not Monotonous or Boring
‘But,’ someone may ask, ‘would a person have a more purposeful life in living forever than he can have now? Would he not just experience the same cycle of life—eating, sleeping, working, for endless time? Is it not as purposeful to live as many do now, trying to achieve something for future generations, and then letting these take over?’
To answer such questions, consider just how far people actually succeed in accomplishing a purpose in life today. How many are able to contribute something that is genuinely lasting, that serves to preserve lives or to make living better for others? In reality, circumstances and a limited life-span often thwart such efforts. (Eccl. 2:11, 17-21) But think what a person could do with an unlimited span of life! He could continually add to his knowledge and ability. He could enrich his personality. His valuable ability to contribute to human society would not be diminished—it would continually be enhanced. He would not deteriorate into old age. Today many people are saddened by the fact that their productive days are inexorably dwindling and their life nearing its end. That is why the Bible recommends: ‘Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your youth.’—Eccl. 12:1.
Furthermore, with everlasting life, a person, while never ceasing to learn, would never be able to discover everything about this earth and the things in it. The study of this great scientific “laboratory,” which the earth is, will never end. Each discovery will open up countless new “doors” and vistas. And association with our fellowman, who is progressing in the same way, but in other fields of endeavor, will lend delightful variety. Enjoying the talents and personalities of one another will be an endless pleasure.
But far more exhilarating than these things will be continuing to take in knowledge of the unfathomable God and receiving the riches of his love and wisdom. Jesus, who, before coming to earth, had a heavenly existence of unknown duration with God, said of himself: “I live because of the Father,” and, “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 6:57; 17:3.
“Fill the Earth”
Would the end of death mean that the earth would eventually become intolerably overpopulated? No. Having a purpose toward the earth, the Creator said to the original pair: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) Certainly a wise Creator knows what the earth will support and would allow it to be filled only to the extent that life would be comfortable, not overfilled. Just as he is able to create, causing his creations to work in harmony for the general well-being, so he can carry out this stated purpose without hurt or sorrow to any.
If you seize the opportunity to learn about God’s purpose, you will experience God’s promise of “the life now.” You will be exhilarated by progressive understanding of the pattern of his marvelous purpose in its care for every detail that will make mankind happy. You will see that all doubts that you might have had as to why things are as they are today, and about the wisdom of God’s purposes, were because of human inability and lack of information. To those who challenged the wisdom of God’s dealings in times of old, he said: “Would you dare question me concerning my children, or instruct me in my handiwork? I alone, I made the earth and created man upon it.”—Isa. 45:11, 12, NE.
The Bible, revealing God’s purpose, can be an open book to you. And, more than a good life now, it also opens up the wonderful prospect of a reunion with your loved ones, in a righteous earth where death will be no more. (Rev. 21:3, 4) Seize the opportunity now. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to help you to study the Bible in your own home, free of charge.
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The many things earth contains will forever delight all mankind
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Earth is an unfathomable scientific ‘laboratory.’ It has provided many comforts for man now. What will it provide for man’s delight forever in the paradise earth?
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With unity, friendliness, hospitality and generosity on all sides, would life ever be boring?