Righteous Rule Makes Earth a Paradise
1. (a) What conditions show the need for a righteous rule over all the earth? (b) Will God yet make the earth a paradise?
HOW much mankind needs a righteous rule over all the earth! Everyone must agree that this planet today is no paradise. Poverty and hunger are the daily experience of millions of persons. Ugly cities rob earth of much of its natural beauty and poison the air and water around them. More and more cities are becoming ‘jungles’ of crime, where people are afraid to leave their homes at night. How different this is from God’s original purpose for man! But how good it is to know that God has not abandoned his purpose! For he assures us: “My word that goes forth from my mouth . . . will not return to me without results.” (Isaiah 55:11; see also Genesis 2:8, 15; 1:28.) He will yet make this earth a glorious paradise.
2. How may we survive into God’s new system?
2 Jehovah will soon bring to its end all the present wicked system. If you gain Jehovah’s approval now, you may be privileged to survive into God’s new system. What will this mean for you?
A RIGHTEOUS ADMINISTRATION
3. What is God’s means for restoring righteousness?
3 Mankind’s greatest need, for nearly six thousand years, has been to be brought back into full harmony with Jehovah God, his Creator. (2 Corinthians 5:20) To restore righteousness to this planet Jehovah himself has made provision for “an administration at the full limit of the appointed times.” This administration or rule is by Christ’s kingdom. As we have seen, the Kingdom has already come to power in the heavens and will soon take full charge of earth’s affairs. What is its main purpose in doing this? “To gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Ephesians 1:9, 10) This administration is God’s means for bringing all those living on earth into full harmony with his heavenly rule. This is what we pray for when we say: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:10.
4. (a) What changes will the Kingdom bring to human relations? (b) Why will there be no more war, and what will this mean to mankind?
4 What will this mean with regard to human relations? United in pure worship of their heavenly Father, people of all races and nationalities will live together as one family of brothers and sisters! (Acts 10:34, 35; 17:26) With God’s kingdom by his “Prince of Peace” ruling over the entire globe, the earth will no longer be divided politically. There will be no proud nationalism to arouse hatred, conflict and bloodshed. (Isaiah 9:6, 7) Any death-dealing weapons of war that remain after Armageddon will soon be destroyed forever. (Ezekiel 39:9, 10; Psalm 46:8, 9 [45:9, 10, Dy]) So there will be no more newspaper lists of war casualties, no more war widows or war orphans, no more homes and cities bombed into ruins. What a blessing this will be for mankind!
5. Under Christ’s rule, why will there be no injustice?
5 From his heavenly throne Jesus Christ will administer earth’s affairs in a way that will bring lasting benefits. How wonderfully he has already demonstrated his qualifications, even laying down his own life on behalf of those who will be his subjects! Furthermore, the Bible record shows that nothing—temptations, pressures, reproach, even death itself—could turn Jesus aside from doing what is right. We can be sure, then, that under his rule there will be no oppression, injustice or corruption.—Isaiah 11:2-5.
6. What kind of person is Jesus, so that we should be grateful to have him as Ruler?
6 Would you not appreciate, also, a ruler who always speaks the truth? Jesus is that kind of person. (John 1:14; 18:37) And who would not feel drawn to one who shows genuine warmth and sincere interest in others? When Jesus traveled about declaring the good news, the Bible tells us, he freely used the power that God had given him to heal the sick, both physically and in a spiritual way. (Matthew 9:35, 36) While it would have been grand to live during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it will be far grander to live on earth when he uses this power on behalf of all mankind.
7. What kind of persons are those who will rule with Jesus in his heavenly kingdom?
7 Associated with Jesus in his heavenly kingdom will be 144,000 kings and priests taken from among mankind and made perfect by God. (Revelation 5:10) These, too, are persons who prove their love of righteousness down to the death.—Revelation 14:1, 4, 5; 2:10.
8. (a) Will there be visible representatives of Christ’s heavenly kingdom? (b) Who will select them?
8 But will this heavenly government have any visible representatives? Yes, indeed! Why, even now the heavenly administration appoints faithful men as its representatives in the Christian congregation, doing so by means of God’s holy spirit. (Isaiah 32:1, 2; Acts 20:28) So we can be confident that Christ will see to it that the right men on earth are assigned to represent the Kingdom government, for then he will be taking a direct hand in earth’s affairs. Because these men represent the King in a special way, the Bible calls them “princes.” These will all have proved their loyalty to God and their love for their fellowmen. The same spirit of God that motivates their heavenly King will also guide them.—Psalm 45:16 [44:17, Dy].
9. Will the color of one’s skin or his place of birth influence how he is treated then?
9 Neither race, nor color, nor place of birth will have any bearing on the way these princely representatives apply God’s righteous laws. (Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:11) Following the example of their King, the “princes” will serve humbly and helpfully, bringing refreshment to their fellowmen. Yet they will be firm in upholding God’s righteousness.—Matthew 11:29; 20:25-28.
10. In contrast with the insecurity and fear so common today, what will be the conditions under Christ’s righteous rule?
10 The earth having been cleansed of all evildoers, crime will never be allowed to take root again. (Psalm 37:9-11 [36:9-11, Dy]) Never again will there be a need for policemen, jails, handcuffs, burglar alarms, safes, locks and keys. Under the Kingdom’s righteous rule, you will know that anyone knocking at your door is a friend. There will be complete freedom from fear of any harm. Nevermore will anyone be afraid to stroll through a park at night to view the starry handiwork of the Creator. Even as is true of God’s congregation today in a spiritual way, so then in a literal way, “they will actually dwell in security, with no one to make them tremble.”—Ezekiel 34:28.
FREEDOM FROM SIN BRINGS HEALTH AND LIFE
11. Besides serving as kings, in what other capacity will the members of Christ’s heavenly government serve? Why?
11 The initial program Of the Kingdom will cover a period of one thousand years. During that time Jesus Christ and the members of his heavenly government will serve not only as kings but also as priests of God on behalf of all their human subjects. (Revelation 20:6) Why? Because all persons on earth will need to be “set free from enslavement to corruption” in order to have “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) Even after the wicked have been destroyed, the earthly survivors will still be imperfect due to sin inherited from Adam. The wrong desires of their imperfect flesh will still be warring against the right desires of mind and heart. (Romans 7:21-23) So, to be accepted fully into God’s family of sons, they first need the services of the heavenly priests of God. What will these do?
12. (a) What unique power will the members of Christ’s heavenly kingdom have? (b) To what blessed state will people attain?
12 They will have a power that has been lacking in all human governments till now: the power to cleanse persons of sin and imperfection. This power rests in God’s heavenly priesthood by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. God’s Son and his associate priests will then apply the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice directly to all obedient ones. (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) This provision is pictured in the Bible by the symbolic “river of water of life” that flows from the “throne of God and of the Lamb” and “the leaves of the trees . . . for the curing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1, 2) By making continual progress in righteousness and with the help of the heavenly priesthood, they will progressively grow young and strong, until they reach perfection of health in mind and body. They will be set completely free from the bondage to sin and death inherited from Adam.—John 11:26.
13. (a) How does Revelation 21:4 describe the blessings the Kingdom will bring? (b) What did Jesus do when he was on earth that shows he can bring about these blessings?
13 Yes, in this way, God will “wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) How marvelous it will be to enjoy perfect health! Even as God’s Son cured lepers and healed the lame and blind when on earth, so his righteous rule will bring an end to all disease and suffering. (Mark 1:40-42; John 5:5-9; Matthew 9:35) Gone then will be the need for hospitals and health insurance! With sickness and death removed, a worldwide cause for tears will be gone. (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26) How wonderful it will be to enjoy full freedom from sin, and to be able to measure up perfectly to God’s righteous standards in speech, thought and conduct!
WELCOMING PERSONS BACK FROM THE DEAD
14. What prospect for the dead did Jesus reveal at John 5:28, 29?
14 There is also the happy prospect that your loved ones who have died will be able to enjoy the blessings of the righteous rule of God’s Son over the earth. Jesus revealed the hope for the countless millions who have died, saying: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29) What a time of thrilling joy it will be when first the news is flashed around the earth: “The dead are being raised up!”
15. Why can we have confidence that Jesus will raise the dead?
15 We can have full confidence that this will be a reality. Keep in mind that, while on earth, Jesus not only cured the sick and crippled; he also brought dead persons back to life. (Matthew 11:2-6) This demonstrated God’s wonderful power of resurrecting the dead, a power he has granted to Jesus Christ. Perhaps you recall the occasion when Jesus came to the house of a man whose twelve-year-old daughter had died. Addressing himself to the dead girl, Jesus said: “Maiden, I say to you, Get up!” What was the result? The Bible tells us: “Immediately the maiden rose and began walking.” How did her parents and the other observers react to this miracle? “At once they were beside themselves with great ecstasy.” They could hardly contain their happiness.—Mark 5:35, 38-42; see also John 11:38-44; Luke 7:11-16.
16. Who will be raised from the dead, and how will this affect the living?
16 When paradise is restored to earth, Jesus will again use his power to raise the dead. For the Bible assures us that “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) What joy there will be earth wide when group after group of dead persons come back to life! Imagine what happy reunions of loved relatives there will be! Instead of obituary columns, there may well be announcements of newly resurrected ones to bring joy to their loved ones.
17. Why is it no problem for God to remember all those who are to be resurrected?
17 Many millions of persons have died, but that poses no problem for God. He can remember them all. Why, the Bible tells us that God “is counting the number of the stars; all of them he calls by their names.” (Psalm 147:4 [146:4, Dy]) Consider what that means. There are said to be hundreds of millions of galaxies, each galaxy containing hundreds of millions of individual stars, and yet God knows each star by name. The number of all the humans that have ever lived is small by comparison. So it will not be difficult for God to remember all who have died and who come under Christ’s ransom provision. (Matthew 19:26) They will be restored to life right here on earth. What a thrilling privilege to be on hand to welcome them back from the dead!
18. In the resurrection, will you be able to recognize those you knew before? Why?
18 When they come back will they be the same persons? Will we know them? Yes! Even man can indefinitely preserve pictures and voices on magnetic tape for later use on television. God can do even more than that. At resurrection time he can provide each one with a suitable body, just as he did in creating the first man, and then reimplant in the brain the exact memories of all that the person learned and experienced during his former life. Thus in the resurrection that person will come forth with the same personality that he had at death, just as the resurrected Jesus retained his own personality. (Hebrews 13:8) You will recognize those you knew before. What a wonderful prospect!—Job 14:13-15.
19. What does the book of Revelation show as to the dead? So what will be gone?
19 The apostle John was given a vision of these thrilling events that will take place during Christ’s reign, and it is found in the book of Revelation. His vision shows that death and Hades (mankind’s common grave) will ‘give up those dead in them.’ None will be left there. Then death due to inherited sin will be gone forever. (Revelation 20:13, 14; Isaiah 25:8) Gone will be funeral parlors and tombstones! No graveyards will remain to mar the beauty of the paradise earth.
20. (a) What opportunity will be open to the resurrected ones, and what will they need to do? (b) On what basis will they be judged? (c) How will changes take place in the ways of persons who may previously have been dangerous?
20 Those resurrected to life on earth will come forth to the opportunity of gaining eternal life in paradise. It will be a time of education for them. “Scrolls” containing instruction from God will be opened, and they will need to follow these in making their minds over in harmony with God’s will. They will be “judged individually according to their deeds”; that is, the deeds they do after being resurrected and after learning the contents of the “scrolls.” (Revelation 20:11-13) By responding to the education provided, even those who were once as dangerous as wild animals will change their ways, just as many have already done upon coming into association with the Christian congregation.—Isaiah 11:9; 26:9; 35:8, 9.
EARTH RETURNS TO PARADISE CONDITIONS
21. What blessing of the Kingdom rule is described at Isaiah 25:6?
21 Progress in righteousness will bring material blessings too. There will be a literal fulfillment of the prophetic words of Isaiah 25:6: “And Jehovah of armies will certainly make for all the peoples, in this mountain, a banquet of well-oiled dishes.” None will ever again know the gnawing pain and weakness of starvation. But how will God provide this banquet?
22. (a) As shown in the Bible, how will this material plenty be provided? (b) To what condition will the entire globe be transformed?
22 When the Israelites were God’s chosen people, his blessing brought them great prosperity. Their lands produced fine crops of grain. Their orchards grew excellent fruits. Jehovah opened up to them his “good storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain on [their] land in its season.” (Deuteronomy 28:12; see also De 28 verse 8.) Similar blessings will abound in fullest measure under the rule of Christ’s kingdom. (Psalm 67:6, 7 [66:7, 8, Dy]) The earthly subjects of the Kingdom will fulfill the command that Adam and Eve never carried out. They will “subdue” the earth, making the entire globe a paradise. It was concerning such a prospect, and with the hope of resurrection in view, that Jesus said to the sympathetic evildoer who was executed with him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:39-43.
23. How do the Psalms describe the happy condition that will prevail on earth?
23 Then the whole earth will radiate happiness. It will be as if its meadows and mountains, its trees and flowers, its rivers and seas, are all rejoicing at Jehovah’s righteous rule. (Psalm 96:11-13 [95:11-13, Dy]; Ps 98:7-9 [97:7-9, Dy]) The fresh air will no longer suffer contamination. Every river and stream will sparkle with fresh, pure water. There will be no more ruining of the land.
24. What will Christ’s rule do for mankind with regard to the animal creation?
24 All earth—its forests, its fields, its mountains—will be one beautiful park, alive with colorful varieties of animals and birds. These, too, will be subject to the wise control of Jehovah’s Son. And in that “inhabited earth to come” he will bring them all into harmless subjection to mankind.—Hebrews 2:5-8; Psalm 8:4-8 [8:5-9, Dy].
FINAL TEST DETERMINES WORTHINESS FOR ETERNAL LIFE
25. (a) By the close of the first thousand years, what will the Kingdom have accomplished? (b) What test will then take place, and why?
25 God’s kingdom by Christ will rule for all eternity. However, by the close of the first thousand years it will have accomplished a particular purpose toward the earth. It will have removed every trace of unrighteousness. All humankind on earth will stand as perfect creatures before the throne of the Supreme Judge, Jehovah God. In every respect they will be equal to the first perfect humans in Eden. (1 Corinthians 15:24) Will they be worthy to have God grant them the right to everlasting life? It will be proper that the Kingdom subjects be tested as to their devotion to God’s righteous rule. Jehovah will give them the opportunity to show their loyalty. How? By releasing Satan and his demons from their condition of restraint in the “abyss.” (Revelation 20:7) By this test each one in God’s earthly family may individually have the privilege of giving a personal answer to the challenge made to their heavenly Father by Satan.
26. What will be the outcome for (a) those who stay loyal to God? (b) those who turn against God? (c) Satan and his demons?
26 Those who stay loyal to God will be judged worthy of everlasting life. Jehovah will give this right to them, writing their names in his “book of life.” Any who rebelliously turn against God will be destroyed in the “second death.” Then, Satan the Devil, along with his demons, will be destroyed forever. (Revelation 20:7-10, 15) Never, no, never, will the earth, or any other part of God’s vast universe, be disturbed again by sin and rebellion. Made into a paradise where righteousness prevails, the earth will serve for all time to come as a jewel of praise to Jehovah’s name.
27. If we really want life in the paradise earth, what should we do now?
27 Does God’s purpose for a righteous rule over a paradise earth deepen your respect for his righteousness? Does it increase your appreciation of his wisdom? Does it move you to express your love for him? If so, then you should do all you can now to serve him wholeheartedly. Share in telling others of Jehovah’s name and purpose. (Psalm 89:14-16 [88:15-97, Dy]; 1 John 4:19) Live now according to God’s righteous principles, and so prepare for life eternal in the paradise earth under the Kingdom’s righteous rule.
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Even the dead were raised to life by Jesus