When the Whole Earth Will Be a Sanctuary
DO YOU want to see the most dangerous creature in the world? Then look in a mirror! Yes, we, mankind, are earth’s worst predator! We even kill each other on a massive scale.
To make the earth safe for wildlife, even in zoos—especially if they become a final refuge—war, mankind’s plague, must be eliminated. Only 91 of the Berlin Zoo’s 12,000 animals survived World War II. Many other zoos suffered similarly. In the recent war in the Balkans, courageous zoo staff evacuated many animals to safety; but hundreds of others, including deer, big cats, bears, and wolves, were killed. Recently, in the jungles of Cambodia, according to officials quoted in the newspaper The Australian, the Khmer Rouge have deliberately slaughtered many rare animals. Why? To exchange their skins and other products for weapons!
Ecological vandalism, such as that perpetrated on the isolated Peron Islands, southwest of Darwin, Australia, is another evil to be conquered if animals are to be safe—inside or outside zoos. Twice in three years, the pelican rookery on these islands has been torched, apparently for no reason other than to kill, in a most cruel way, thousands of young birds that did not yet fly.
In recent decades, however, the greatest loss of species is not borne of malice; it is the side effect of a burgeoning human population desperate for space to live in and land to cultivate. Because of this relentless encroachment on animal habitats and the accompanying pollution, The World Zoo Conservation Strategy warns: “The outlook for the 21st century for the earth’s entire natural system is bleak. There is nothing to indicate that the destruction occurring in practically all parts of the world will soon cease.”
In view of the growing concern about earth’s future, a time when the whole planet will be a sanctuary may sound just too fantastic. Yet, that hope is solidly founded, not on short-sighted humans—who as little as 50 years ago, according to one science writer, had no idea of the present ecological devastation—but on the one who did foresee it, Jehovah God. Over nineteen hundred years ago, he foretold that mankind, in our time, would be caught in the act of “ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) Spoken when the earth was scantily populated by humans, that prophecy may have seemed like fantasy to many living then, but how accurate it has proved to be!
Paradoxically, this ruining is occurring at a time when science and technology seem capable of little short of miracles: microtransmitters and satellites keep tabs on endangered species, rain-forest destruction is measured by the square meter from outer space, and air pollution is measured in parts per million. Yet, with rare exceptions, man seems incapable of acting on this mountain of data. Perhaps man is like the driver of a runaway train. He has a console crammed with electronic wizardry and monitors telling him everything that is happening, but he cannot stop the train!
Why Are Efforts Failing?
Imagine that in a large factory, the proud, unprincipled manager overhears the owner say that he will not be promoted but, rather, that he will be dismissed in a few months. Embittered and spiteful, he uses lies, bribes, and all sorts of underhanded tricks to get a number of workers to create havoc. They cause machines to fail, production to slow, and products to be faulty—yet in such a clever way as to avoid blame. Meantime, honest employees, oblivious to what is really going on, try to make repairs; but the harder they try, the worse things get.
This world’s crooked “manager” has schemed similarly against mankind and the earth. But in this instance we need not remain “ignorant of his designs,” for the Bible tears away his cover and reveals an embittered spirit creature—Satan the Devil—an angel who became a megalomaniac and craved to be worshiped. (2 Corinthians 2:11; 4:4) God threw him out of His heavenly family and sentenced him to destruction.—Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20.
Like the crooked factory manager, this “father of the lie” also employs an arsenal of underhanded methods to vent his anger. He hates Jehovah God and wants to wreck His creation. (John 8:44) Satan’s most potent tools are lying propaganda, greed, materialism, and hurtful religious teachings. With these he has ‘misled the entire inhabited earth’ and turned humans—earth’s intended custodians—into its most ruthless predators, in effect, disciples of ancient Nimrod, “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.”—Revelation 12:9, 12; Genesis 1:28; 10:9.
The Only Realistic Hope for an Earthly Sanctuary
However, victory over human and superhuman forces of extinction is not impossible. The almighty Creator of all living things can lift us from this terrible vortex, and this he has promised to do by means of his heavenly government. He promises to bring to ruin those predators who are ruining the earth. We pray for this when we say: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matthew 6:9, 10, King James Version; Revelation 11:18.
Did you notice that the Kingdom’s coming is linked to God’s will being done on earth? This is because God’s Kingdom is God’s government over the earth. And being a kingdom, it has a king—Jesus Christ, the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:16) It also has subjects. In fact, Jesus said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Yes, these mild-tempered ones are its earthly subjects, and with the help of God’s Kingdom, they will lovingly care for their inheritance, turning it into a thriving paradise bursting with life. Interestingly, Strategy states: “The future of human beings and nature is only ensured if the whole of humankind can live in a new harmony with nature.”
History and imperfect human nature bespeak the impossibility of the “whole of humankind” today ever living in such a “new harmony” with nature, for they leave Jehovah out of the picture. In fact, to prove the futility of human self-rule is one reason why God has allowed this world to go on for so long. But soon, those who yearn for Christ’s rulership will enjoy exquisite peace. Isaiah 11:9 confirms this, and it also points to the reason why these alone will be able to live in a “new harmony” with nature: “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” Yes, divine education is the key. And is that not reasonable, for who else but nature’s Author has such wisdom?
What about those who persist in ignoring Jehovah? “As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth,” says Proverbs 2:22. Yes, their belligerence or their apathy will cost them their lives in the fast-approaching “great tribulation”—God’s means of meting out justice to all who persist in selfishly exploiting and vandalizing his creation.—Revelation 7:14; 11:18.
Do you want to share in earth’s rehabilitation program? Then please learn what God requires of you by studying the Bible. It alone has the power to attune your thinking to the Creator’s. (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12) Additionally, by applying what you learn, not only will you become a better citizen now but you will also prove that you are indeed the kind of person to whom Jehovah will entrust his fast-approaching “new earth.”—2 Peter 3:13.
The publishers of this magazine or the nearest congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be delighted to assist you with a free home Bible study or additional literature explaining these matters if you so desire.