How Old Age Will Be Reversed
THE fact that we do not really want to grow old and die is revealing. As long as possible, we want to hold on to the vitality that comes with youth.
This fundamental longing harmonizes with another basic fact: We were not made to grow old and die. Old age and death are not only undesirable, but unnatural as well.
But is this not how God created us, that is, to live for a short while, then to grow old and die? Did he not arrange for the aging process, and the death that follows, as the normal state of affairs for humans?
The answer that comes from God’s own inspired Word is, NO! Humans were not created to die. They were not created even to grow old in the sense that we now experience. Old age and death were completely alien to the human family at its beginning.
Please read the account of God’s creating man and woman, found in the first three chapters of the Bible in Genesis. Nowhere does it say that humans were created to age and die as a natural sequence of life.
Instead, the Bible clearly reveals that old age and death were the consequences of breaking God’s law, of rebelling against God. (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-5, 17-19) Had our first parents continued obedient to God’s laws, had they remained in subjection to Him, they would still be alive today. They would be perfect humans who would not grow old and die, although having lived thousands of years.
God’s purpose in creating humans on earth was to have a perfect race of people inhabit it, living amid paradise conditions, and doing so forever. That is still his purpose, which is why Jesus promised a dying man who expressed faith: “You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Jesus had in mind the time that was coming when old age and death would once again be foreign to mankind. He knew that ultimately every person living on earth would have perfect, vibrant health and never again be tormented with the problems of old age and death.
Happily, we are fast nearing the time when a dramatic breakthrough will take place that will mark the beginning of the end for old age and death. That breakthrough will pave the way for these plagues to be nullified once and for all time. Then, even without Ponce de León’s “Fountain of Youth,” all who will live will be able to enjoy the good health and vitality that will come with a perfect body, combining it with the experience and wisdom that will come with living many, yes, an endless number of years.
Too, all of this will be enjoyed in a world where the disagreeable conditions of today no longer prevail. They will have been taken out of the way. Instead, there will be such peace and security that “there will be no one making them tremble.” (Mic. 4:4) “They will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:11) For how long? “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Ps. 37:29.
Are we discussing some fantastic scientific breakthrough that is about to take place? No, it is something far more profound and enduring. Scientific breakthroughs may help in some ways, but they cause many problems in other ways. And no scientist will ever find the formula for ending old age and death. Nor can any scientist unite peoples of all nationalities in a worldwide bond of peace, happiness and genuine love.
At Whose Hands?
The coming change from mankind’s present pitiful condition will not be at the hands of mere mortals. (Dan. 2:44) Humans have had long enough to show what they can do on their own. When we review the past record of man’s hatreds, wars, selfishness, crime, hypocrisy and prejudices, we must acknowledge that the record is hardly one that inspires confidence. In truth, the record is downright miserable. No, we cannot look to humans for a meaningful breakthrough where old age and death are concerned.
There is only One who is capable of bringing about such a breakthrough. This is the One who knows the human mechanism, the body and mind, more intimately than anyone else. This is mankind’s Creator, the Almighty One, Jehovah. It is he who is in position to make the needed changes. He has the wisdom, power, love and will to halt aging and death.
Has God’s time neared for this to take place? Yes! Those keeping abreast with Bible prophecy and its fulfillment in modern times know that we live in the final generation of human history where old age and death would prevail. Soon, God’s toleration and time limit for this present unsatisfactory world will run out and he will crush it out of existence. That it would take place in “this generation,” our lifetime, Jesus noted in his prophecy about “the conclusion of the system of things.” Thus, when the present worldly system of things ends, aging and death will begin to come to an end too.—Matt. 24:3, 34.
The end of this system will pave the way for “a new earth.” This was foretold in the inspired writings of the apostle Peter. (2 Pet. 3:13) The “new earth” will mean a new human society under God’s rulership. The benefits that will then flow to those living on earth will be like those given to the first man and woman in the paradise of Eden.—Gen. 2:8.
Many Bible prophecies, directly or indirectly, reveal the thrilling uplift that is in store for mankind in God’s “new earth.” Note a few of them:
“At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.”—Isa. 35:5, 6.
“And no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’ The people that are dwelling in the land will be those pardoned for their error.”—Isa. 33:24.
“Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.”—Job 33:25.
Is the prospect of return to youth and enjoyment of good health too good to be true? Not at all. Do not forget what took place in the first century of our Common Era. That was when Jesus, by means of God’s power, demonstrated that such healing and restoration are part of God’s purpose for mankind.
The Bible tells of what Jesus did: “Then great crowds approached him [Jesus], having along with them people that were lame, maimed, blind, dumb, and many otherwise, and they fairly threw them at his feet, and he cured them; so that the crowd felt amazement as they saw the dumb speaking and the lame walking and the blind seeing.”—Matt. 15:30, 31.
Jesus did even more. He not only performed marvelous cures for the sick and infirm but also showed that in God’s “new earth” there would be consideration for the dead. The Bible relates several instances of Jesus’ raising the dead back to life on earth. Lazarus was one of these. He had been dead for four days, but Jesus resurrected him.—John 11:38-44.
On another occasion, Jesus said: “All those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29) Later, the apostle Paul similarly declared: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”—Acts 24:15.
The restoring of dead ones to life presents no problem at all to the Creator, since he created man and woman in the first place. Re-creating people from his divine memory will be for God a simple task. Surely, since mere humans can even now re-create to a degree a person’s looks, actions, voice and personality by means of motion pictures and voice recordings, cannot man’s Creator, with infinitely more power and wisdom, do better?
Beautifully, God’s Word describes the conquering of death and old age. Notice some of the scriptures that bear on this:
“He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isa. 25:8.
“And he [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Rev. 21:4.
“As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.”—1 Cor. 15:26.
“‘Death is swallowed up forever.’ ‘Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’”—1 Cor. 15:54, 55.
What a marvelous day it will be when dead loved ones are welcomed back to life so they, too, can benefit from God’s great healing and restoration program!
This grand hope of release from the grip of old age and death gives great encouragement to older persons in these trying times. For example, a woman in Florida who began examining the Bible’s promises after her husband’s death said that the hope of her husband’s resurrection was what really interested her in God’s new order. That comforting hope helped to sustain her in her grief, and gave her the best reason for living.
Think of it! The day is dawning when older folks will see the aging process reversed, with fewer and fewer wrinkles as time passes. Eyesight will be restored so they can throw away their eyeglasses. Hearing will improve too, so they can get rid of hearing aids. Infirmities will be eliminated, so they can walk without a cane. And on top of all of that, they will be able to welcome back to life dead loved ones.
So thrilling and satisfying will that time be that God’s Word says: “The former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” (Isa. 65:17) In God’s new order, there will be such a flood of good things happening that the saddening, painful, frustrating life led now will be but a dim memory, in no way interfering with the delights of each new day of life then.
Can such promises be trusted? Well, whom would you rather trust—humans who have already demonstrated their unreliability or God, who, as the Bible says, “cannot lie”?—Titus 1:2.
The answer given by the Israelite leader Joshua, who saw some of God’s marvelous works, was: “You well know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.”—Josh. 23:14.
If you knew a doctor that could cure heart disease, cancer, and every other illness, would you go to him for treatment? If he could also reverse the aging process and eliminate death, would you turn to him? And if at the same time he had the power to create a delightful paradise for you to live in, how much would you give for his services? Would you say: “I don’t have time, I’m too busy”? Or would you object: “I’m not interested”?
Jehovah God has far greater powers for cure and restoration than any doctor. And he can be trusted to do the job right. What does he ask in return? That we turn to him in faith, and work on behalf of his interests, for “he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
A Better Life Now
This solid hope has proved to be a ‘rock of Gibraltar’ in the lives of many elderly people today. It provides motivation, uplift and purpose for the present, as well as hope for the future, and, in addition, it brings them into comforting association with many others with similar hopes.
The hope of God’s new order “does not lead to disappointment.” (Rom. 5:5) It does much to dispel depression and insecurity. And coming into association with others who have the same hope forges a bond of love that dispels loneliness and a feeling of unworthiness. Too, it gives a person the opportunity to perform very worthwhile activity, since the hope of a new order is one that can be shared with others.
An elderly lady in a Caribbean land retired from teaching school mainly because of age, but also because she had trouble with her voice. On learning the Bible’s truths about the new order, and God’s great restoration program, she began to teach others. For many years thereafter she was ‘unretired,’ daily spending as much, and often more time in her teaching God’s truths to others than she formerly did in her school teaching.
In Spain, a 74-year-old man wanted to spend his full time telling others about God’s new order. When he first started, he said he wished to serve in that upbuilding work as long as his physical faculties would allow it. Seven years later, at 81, he was still going strong. He found that there could be no more upbuilding and satisfying work than to share the good news of God’s incoming “new earth” with others. No, there was no boring inactivity, loneliness, or feeling of worthlessness marring his old age.
A 96-year-old woman in South Africa, when asked if she intended to retire as a teacher of the Bible, replied that she could never do that. She stated: “As long as I have power of speech and a steady hand, I shall continue to preach the ‘good news.’ With Jehovah’s help I will continue to tell people about the wonderful blessings to be experienced under his kingdom.” Although she suffered constant pain from arthritis, and was not able to go out very often, she wrote many letters to console others, discussing an upbuilding Bible subject and enclosing further information in printed form. She spent much time profitably in preparing interesting topics to discuss in her letters, which helped to fortify her mind against depression. Too, she regularly attended meetings with those who had the same hope. There she was greatly encouraged by hearing the expressions of faith of others, and by associating with so many “brothers” and “sisters” of like faith. In turn, her very presence at those meetings was an encouraging example to all.
Also encouraging to older ones is the cooperation they get from younger ones who have been trained in God’s laws and principles. After a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Fresno, California, an elderly woman wrote:
“I think it is the younger people and the cooperation of the organization all working together that helps me to keep on serving and enduring.
“I had an experience with a couple of younger Witnesses at this assembly. It is hard for me to get up and down the steps, and I was trying to get down the steps when two little boys on two different occasions came up to me. I didn’t know who they were, but they said: ‘Sister, can we help you down the steps?’ It is wonderful that the younger ones are looking after our older ones.”
The living hope of God’s new order, the association of others who have the same hope, the love and unity shared with several million “brothers” and “sisters” throughout the world are testimony to the fact that life can be, indeed is, worth while for aging ones.
Yes, knowing about God’s purposes can make the older years really “golden.” And even if death should temporarily seem to be the victor, life in God’s new order is still assured by means of the resurrection. There, in that new system, everyone will be completely and permanently freed from today’s calamities, including old age and death.
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“Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.”—Job 33:25.