A Secure Future—How You Can Find It
1. What kind of security would you like for yourself and your loved ones?
PEOPLE of all walks of life have a real desire for security. Surely that is what you want for yourself and your loved ones. Most persons want more than just a promise of better conditions to come at some indefinite, future time. There are urgent problems of life that face us right now. What is needed is something that provides genuine security now and that will keep doing so in the years to come. Is such security possible?
2. (a) What does the Bible, at Isaiah 32:17, 18, say about security? (b) Do such conditions appeal to you?
2 There are people of all races, living in all parts of the earth, who believe that it is possible. The security that interests them was described long ago by an inspired prophet of God who wrote: “The work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite. And my people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places.” (Isaiah 32:17, 18)a Hundreds of thousands of persons in all parts of the earth are already beginning to enjoy peaceful security in spite of the present world turmoil, and they have reason to look forward to an even brighter future. You too can share such benefits with them.
3. Is there anything else that the Bible promises that will result in security for mankind? (Revelation 21:4, 5)
3 These persons anticipate the time, now very near, when ‘there will be no one making people tremble’—a time when there will be an end of crime, an end of danger to one’s property and to one’s person. (Micah 4:4) They have sound reason to believe that many people now living will see the day when hunger will be no more, because “there will come to be plenty of grain on the earth.” (Psalm 72:16) And they look forward to seeing for themselves fulfillment of the promise that ‘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.’ (Revelation 21:3, 4) How can they be so sure that such things will really take place? Because these promises are found in God’s own Word, the Bible.
4. Although men were used to do the writing, why are the things written in the Bible really from God? (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
4 What the Bible says about our future is not simply the result of human efforts to interpret the trends of history. Men were used to write, but their minds were directed by God’s spirit. Thus the message is from God. Concerning the source of its contents, the Bible itself says: “No prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20, 21) It should not be difficult for us today to understand how God could do this. Even men traveling in outer space have sent messages back to the earth, and these have been received with remarkable clarity. Could not God in heaven, in a far superior manner, have transmitted messages to faithful men who were in tune with him? Certainly! With good reason, then, we invite you to examine what the Bible says about how you can find a secure future.
Where Real Help Can Be Found
5. What realistic view does the Bible encourage us to take toward money and other material possessions? (Ecclesiastes 7:12)
5 The Bible helps us to look at life realistically. With a view to our lasting welfare, it urges us to put our confidence in what will endure. Today millions of persons put their trust in material possessions. Though acknowledging the value of money and other material possessions, the Bible shows that these are not the big thing in life. It states the undeniable truth that “even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Possessions can lose their value. They can be stolen or destroyed. The life of the owner may even be endangered by someone trying to steal his money. Real security must lie elsewhere. But where?
6. Why is it not reasonable to build all our hopes for the future around what human leaders promise?
6 There are people who build all their hopes for the future around what human leaders promise. But should you? Without even raising the question as to whether individual leaders are honest or capable, the Bible gets to the core of the matter by reminding us that all of them die. Wisely it cautions: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” (Psalm 146:3, 4) So, at most, human leaders influence the affairs of a portion of humankind for only a few years. As for long-term security, they cannot give it to you any more than they can provide it for themselves.
7. (a) Who really is able to provide us with long-term security, and why? (Acts 17:28) (b) What do we need if we are to enjoy that security?
7 But there is One who can give it. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Before this earth was formed, he existed; and long after this twentieth century has passed, he will continue to be. As Psalm 90:2 says to him: “Even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.” He is the Source of life and the One who has given Earth the capacity to sustain living things. Thus, our present well-being and our prospects for the future depend on him. That is why we need a good relationship with him if we are to enjoy any real security.
8. (a) For what kind of persons is God looking? (b) So, what should we as individuals be willing to do in order to meet that requirement? (Matthew 7:21-23)
8 Does this mean that all that is needed is to have some religion in one’s life? It would be a mistake to conclude that. Those to whom God grants a favorable relationship with himself are a certain kind of people. What kind? The Bible describes them in this way: “True worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23, 24) Are you a person who worships God ‘with truth’? Have you examined your beliefs in the light of God’s Word, to see whether they fully agree with what is set out there by the “God of truth”? (Psalm 31:5) Are you willing to do so? Teachings and practices that do not conform to the truth are of no lasting benefit to anyone. They cause people to ignore the way things actually are; they lead people in the wrong direction. The contentment that comes with true security can be had only if a person really wants to know the truth, and is willing to make adjustments when necessary to bring his life into line with the truth. One of the most important truths involves the identity of God himself.
9, 10. (a) What is God’s personal name? (b) What scripture would you use to prove to a friend what God’s name is? (c) How have some translators endeavored to hide that name? (Psalm 110:1, AV)
9 Do you know his personal name? It is not “God” or “Lord.” Those are titles, just as “Mister” and “King” are titles. However, according to the Authorized Version of the Bible (translated in 1611 C.E.), Psalm 83:18 says: “Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” This is not a name that men have given to God. As shown in the Revised Version of the Bible (American Standard Edition, published in 1901 C.E.), God speaks for himself when he says: “I am Jehovah, that is my name.” (Isaiah 42:8) Some translations of the original Hebrew Scriptures render the name as “Yahweh.” Others simply use the term “LORD,” but in these particular cases they usually print it as shown here, with a capital “L” followed by small capital letters, thus indicating that there is more in the original-language text than they are stating in their translation.
10 As an example, why not look up Psalm 8:9 in your own Bible. According to the Common Bible (published in 1973 with endorsement by Catholic and Protestant theologians), it reads: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!” Notice the different type styles for the two occurrences of the word “Lord” in this one verse. In the first instance, after the capital “L” small capital letters are used; but the second time that the same word appears it is printed with an initial capital letter and then the remainder is in lowercase letters. (In the Catholic New American Bible this is found at Psalm 8:10.b) Other translations, however, not trying to hide anything, render the verse: “O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is in all the earth!”
11. (a) Is it really important to know and to use God’s name? (Acts 15:14) (b) If we love Jehovah, how should we personally use that name? (Isaiah 43:10)
11 Certain translators may think that they make the Bible acceptable to more people by not using a personal name for God, but are they being honest as translators when they try to hide the name that appears far more often than any other in the original-language text? The true God wants people to know his name. He made this clear when he told his servant Moses to inform a ruler of ancient Egypt as to why God had spared him till that time. Why was it? “For the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth,” God said. (Exodus 9:16) It is important for us to use God’s name, doing so with respect. And if we love the truth, we will not hesitate to identify ourselves as worshipers of Jehovah, the only true God.
12. How does God view the use of images in worship? (Psalm 115:3-8; Deuteronomy 7:25)
12 We must be careful, however, not to associate the name of God with something that he does not approve. Remember, “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) If we appreciate the fact that “God is a Spirit,” and if we worship him “with spirit,” that is, in spiritual ways, we will not use material objects to represent God. ‘No man has ever seen God,’ according to John 1:18, so it is impossible to make any picture or carved representation of him. An image that cannot see or hear or speak, that cannot raise even a finger to help those who worship before it, could never properly represent the living God. Of course, some images are not meant to represent God himself, but the question is, Are they objects of religious devotion? When God gave the Ten Commandments, he specifically stated that no images were to be made for such a purpose. He commanded: “You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything . . . you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” (Exodus 20:4, 5, Catholic Jerusalem Bible) Instead of our using objects that Jehovah does not approve, love for the truth will aid us to come to know God as he really is.
13. (a) What kind of God is Jehovah? (b) Which of his qualities especially appeal to you?
13 His qualities are such that they win the confidence of everyone who loves righteousness. Some of these qualities, such as almighty power and wisdom that far surpasses that of any man, are evident from his works of material creation. And do you not agree that the beauty of sunsets, the sweet melody of birds, the fragrance of flowers, and the many tastes that you enjoy all reflect God’s love for mankind? But the Bible goes beyond this, telling us more about God. It reveals that Jehovah upholds what is right, but that he is also compassionate and considerate. It describes him in this way: “Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin, but by no means will he give exemption from punishment.” (Exodus 34:6, 7) And the Bible tells of God’s dealings for many centuries with the nation of ancient Israel, dealings that vividly demonstrate those qualities. That written record also proves that “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) He wants all kinds of people to enjoy a good relationship with him, and he has kindly made provision so that this is possible.
14. How is a person’s life affected when he really puts his trust in Jehovah? (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
14 As a person develops appreciation for the many admirable qualities of the true God, what happens? The “name” of God grows in meaning for him. He puts his trust in Jehovah, doing things in God’s way and, as a result, he experiences protection. It is as Proverbs 18:10 says: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.”
15. (a) Why does our future depend on Jehovah? (b) What serious decision confronts each person? (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20)
15 That protection includes one’s prospects for the future. Really, it is upon Jehovah that the future of all mankind depends. Why? Because this earth is his creation and all who live on it are dependent on his provisions to sustain life. In the Bible he has stated his purpose to provide secure, happy living conditions for his people. Nothing in heaven or on earth can prevent the Almighty God from carrying out his purpose. However, that purpose does not deprive us of free will. It does not fix the destiny of each one of us without our having any say in the matter. But it does present us with a serious decision: Does appreciation for all that Jehovah has done for us, and will yet do in the future, move us to bring our lives into harmony with his will? One’s failure to believe is not going to change the fact that Jehovah is the true God, nor will it alter His purpose. But it can determine whether one personally benefits from that loving purpose. The choice is actually between life and death.
Why Insecurity Mars Human Life
16. What are some of the things that make life today insecure?
16 To appreciate how Jehovah’s purpose results in true security, we might beneficially remind ourselves first of some of the things that make life today insecure. Among these are lack of love, disregard for law, failure to respect the property of others, and resorting to lies and violence to achieve one’s ends. In addition, we cannot overlook illness and the realization that sooner or later people die. From both personal experience and observation, we know how these things affect human life. But how did it all come about? The answer is found in the Bible.
17. At the beginning, what contributed to the security enjoyed by Adam and Eve? (Genesis 1:31; 2:8, 15)
17 The very first book of the Bible informs us that when Jehovah created our first human parents, Adam and Eve, his work was very good. There was no flaw in their makeup that would result in illness; before them they had the prospect of living forever. Lovingly, God gave them a garden park, a paradise in Eden, as their home. Generously he included in their garden home an abundance of seed-bearing vegetation and fruit-bearing trees to sustain them. He also filled their lives with purpose by instructing them to exercise control over the fish, the birds and all animals, and to cultivate the earth and populate it with their offspring until the entire globe was like the paradise in which he had placed them. In such surroundings the feeling of security was only natural. But something was required of them if they were to continue to enjoy that security.
18. (a) What was required of Adam and Eve if they were to continue to be secure? (b) How did Jehovah test their obedience, and why was this an important matter? (Luke 16:10)
18 They needed to recognize their position in relationship to God. The earth and all the things in it belonged to their Creator, so he had the right to decide how these were to be used. Life itself was a conditional gift; that is, Adam and Eve could continue to enjoy it on the condition that they continued to meet the requirement of loving obedience to their heavenly Father. To emphasize the seriousness of this requirement, Jehovah laid this command upon the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17) Obedience would demonstrate man’s acceptance of God as Ruler; disobedience would mean rejection of God’s perfect will. This law involved no hardship; it did not deprive the man of anything that he needed, but it set forth a simple, though effective, test, one that was appropriate to the circumstances in which he lived. It gave Adam and his wife Eve the opportunity to demonstrate love for their heavenly Father.
19. (a) What things that cause insecurity were first evident in connection with the sin of Adam and Eve and thereafter? (b) As explained at Romans 5:12, how have all the offspring of Adam been affected?
19 The Bible record in Genesis chapter three shows that they failed. They deliberately ate from the tree that God had set “off bounds.” The security previously enjoyed by the human pair was shattered. The very things that cause insecurity today came into existence for the first time back then. There was lack of love for God, disregard for his law, failure to respect his property. Disapproved by God, Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden. Outside the paradise, many of their offspring, including their own son Cain, became further degraded as they resorted to violence. Even those who have not deliberately ignored God’s law have felt in their own bodies the effects of the inheritance of sin. As Romans 5:12 explains: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”
20. (a) With whom did the rebellion in Eden originate? (Revelation 12:9) (b) How did he become Satan the Devil? (James 1:14, 15)
20 It should be noted, however, that the first move toward rebellion did not originate with Adam or his wife. The Bible mentions a “serpent” as speaking to Eve, enticing her by deception to violate God’s law. Of course, a literal serpent cannot talk; and the Bible later identifies the power behind that serpent as an invisible spirit person. This spirit person had not been created to be wicked. But, as was true of humans, this spirit son of God had free will, the ability to choose how he would use his faculties. By entertaining wrong desires, he developed pride; he wanted other creatures to worship him as a god. By the course that he pursued to reach his goal he made himself an opposer of God, a Satan, and a slanderer, a Devil.
21. (a) When speaking to Eve, what claims did Satan make? (b) Why did she not improve her situation by acting on what Satan said?
21 He approached Eve, first asking questions and then directly contradicting God by telling Eve: “You positively will not die [if you eat from the forbidden tree]. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” (Genesis 3:1-5) To the woman this sounded like something better than what she had. But by believing it, did she really gain greater security? Did her husband improve his lot by joining her in transgression? No; it was all a lie. This was proved conclusively when they died, and down to this day humans continue to die.
22. (a) What vital issues were raised there in Eden, and how do these affect the security of all creation? (b) In the days of Job, what further charge was made, and what did it imply? (Job 1:7-12; 2:1-5)
22 Vital issues were raised there in Eden, and these affect the security of all creation. The truthfulness of God was challenged, and this called into question the rightfulness and righteousness of his rulership. It was suggested that man would be better off making his own decisions as to what is good and what is bad, setting his own standards, acting as his own ruler. The rebellion of Satan and the failure of the first human pair to prove loyal to God raised the question as to what others of God’s intelligent creatures would do. Would anyone remain loyal to God? Later, in the days of the man Job, Satan charged that those who served God did so only because of selfish considerations, not out of love. “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God?” Satan argued. (Job 1:9) He implied that no one would maintain integrity to Jehovah’s rulership if he, God’s adversary, were allowed to put him to the test. Not until these issues were settled would mankind ever again enjoy complete security. However, Jehovah knew that those issues could be settled to the full satisfaction of all lovers of righteousness, and he made provisions with that in view.
Provisions That Make Possible a Secure Future
23. (a) When passing judgment on our first parents, what did Jehovah make possible for us? (2 Peter 3:9) (b) Around whom does Jehovah’s provision for mankind’s future revolve?
23 When judgment was passed on our first parents for their rebellion against God, Jehovah did not forget their unborn offspring. Lovingly he formed a purpose that makes it possible for each one of us to choose for ourselves whether we want to live under divine rulership. That purpose revolves around God’s Son Jesus Christ.
24. (a) What kind of life did Jesus have before he became a human? (b) Why should we not speak of him as God or as one equal to God? (John 17:3)
24 This Son was the very first of Jehovah’s creation in the heavenly realm. “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth,” the Bible informs us. (Colossians 1:15-17) But at God’s appointed time, his Son left behind his heavenly glory and was miraculously born as a human on earth. The angel Gabriel, who was sent in advance to tell of the birth, did not say that the child to be born would be God. Rather, he announced it as the birth of “God’s Son.” (Luke 1:35) Jesus himself did not claim to be God. He did not act like Satan, who sought worship for himself. Truthfully he said: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) To enjoy a right relationship with the God of truth, therefore, we should not ascribe a different position to his Son, speaking of him as God or as one equal to God.
25. What was accomplished by Jesus’ proving his integrity under great pressure as a man on earth?
25 Here on earth Jesus underwent experiences that he had never had before. In heaven he had been faultless in the doing of his Father’s will. But would he continue to prove loyal as a man on earth, especially if he were subjected to pain and undeserved humiliation? Satan was determined to prove that no one, not even this foremost Son of God, would be faithful when put to the test. But Jesus loyally stuck to God’s Word, relying on it as his guide, quoting it in turning back temptation. Firmly he rejected pressure to do wrong, saying: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Matthew 4:10) Right down to death Jesus maintained his loyalty to Jehovah as Ruler, and this under tests far more severe than any that Adam had faced. In this way Jesus cleared his Father’s name of the false charges that had been made by Satan. By his example Jesus showed us how to overcome temptations, and how to demonstrate that we too are loyal upholders of Jehovah’s rulership.
26. What else resulted from the death of Jesus as a perfect human, and what does that make possible for us? (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
26 More than just a fine example was provided for us by God’s Son, however. Jesus himself explained that he came “to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Mark 10:45) This was necessary if mankind was ever to be relieved of sin, and of the sickness and death that result from sin. According to God’s law, the ransom price must be a perfect human life, to correspond with the perfect human life lost by Adam. No imperfect descendant of Adam could have provided it. Lovingly Jehovah himself made the provision. He sent his own Son to the earth. Then, following Jesus’ death, God raised him to life again, now as a spirit person, and accepted the value of his human life as a sacrifice on behalf of mankind. This opened the opportunity for us to regain what Adam lost. As the Bible explains: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) What marvelous prospects that makes possible for us, if only we exercise faith in God’s Son, learning what he taught and living in full harmony with it!
27. (a) Why did Jesus not get involved in political affairs? (John 18:36) (b) What attitude as to governments did Jesus teach his followers to have? (Matthew 22:17-21)
27 Such faith includes appreciation of the role that Jehovah has given to his Son in government. Jesus did not get involved in the political affairs of his day; he knew that no human government upheld Jehovah’s rulership. Regardless of what such rulers might say about belief in God, they were all setting their own standards as to good and bad. Thus, whether they acknowledged it or not, they were all following the lead of God’s adversary, Satan the Devil, whom the Bible identifies as “the ruler of the world.” (John 14:30) Jesus taught his disciples to pay their taxes, to be law-abiding, as long as God permitted governments of men to exist. But he made it clear that the only hope for a secure future is by means of the kingdom of God, a truly righteous government operating from heaven itself and exercising authority over all mankind. Therefore, he taught them to pray to God: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” Jesus urged them to live in harmony with the laws of that kingdom as set out in the Bible. And he commissioned them to preach “this good news of the kingdom” to people everywhere.—Matthew 6:10; 24:14.
28. What is God’s kingdom, and how can we show our appreciation for it? (Matthew 6:33)
28 That kingdom is Jehovah’s agency for the carrying out of his will. It will unify all intelligent creation again under Jehovah’s kingship. Included in the membership of that heavenly government will be persons taken from this earth who have proved their loyal support of Jehovah’s sovereignty, his rulership. These are spoken of as a “little flock.” (Luke 12:32) The last book of the Bible shows that they are limited to a “hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth.” (Revelation 14:1, 3) The principal one to whom kingly power is entrusted, however, is God’s own Son Jesus Christ. In fulfillment of divine prophecy, he is the one to whom Jehovah grants “rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him.” (Daniel 7:13, 14) It is vital for each one of us to live in full harmony with that divine arrangement. Those who refuse to do so will not forever be allowed to interfere with the security of others.
29. (a) For how long has there been human rulership, and why will it not continue much longer now? (Jeremiah 17:5) (b) What will this mean for Satan? (c) What will happen to human governments? (d) What is going to become of wicked persons? (e) What will happen to those who are indifferent toward Jehovah’s rulership? (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9)
29 Since the rebellion in Eden, humans have had nearly six thousand years to taste the fruitage of human rulership. It has been a disaster. Appropriately, the Bible points to this generation as the one during which God will execute his judgments. What will this mean for mankind’s chief enemy, Satan the Devil? He and his demons will be completely put out of operation, ‘hurled into the abyss,’ unable to mislead mankind. (Revelation 20:1-3) What will the execution of God’s judgments mean for the governments of men? The Bible foretells, “The kingdom . . . will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [of men], and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) What will it mean for liars, thieves, and those who practice violence? “The wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.” (Psalm 37:10) What will it mean for those who indifferently ignore Jehovah’s rulership? In the days of Noah, “they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away,” and it will be similar now when God uses his Son to execute justice.—Matthew 24:39.
30. What will all of this mean for loyal supporters of Jehovah’s rulership? (Revelation 7:9, 10, 13, 14)
30 But what will all of this mean for those who have proved that they are loyal supporters of Jehovah’s rulership? It will mean deliverance into God’s righteous new order. In God’s dealings with the ancient nation of Israel, an example was provided of the effect that this will have on life. It took place just as God had instructed Moses to say: “You must . . . dwell in the land that Jehovah your God is giving you as a possession, and he will certainly give you rest from all your enemies round about, and you will indeed dwell in security.” (Deuteronomy 12:10) Concerning conditions during the reign of King Solomon, it was written: “Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan [far to the north] to Beer-sheba [in the south].” (1 Kings 4:25) In accord with God’s law, every household had its own land to cultivate and on which to live. Obedience to God resulted in his blessing, and, as he had promised, this included ‘rain for the land at its appointed time.’ (Deuteronomy 11:13-15) There was economic security.
31. As described in Psalm 72, what conditions that contribute to security will prevail throughout the earth under God’s kingdom?
31 That was recorded in the Bible, not merely as a matter of historical record, but for our encouragement. The Lord Jesus Christ, the one whom Jehovah has appointed to be king over all the earth, is spoken of in the Scriptures as “something more than Solomon.” (Luke 11:31) Under Christ’s reign, conditions even better than those that existed in Judah and Israel during the days of Solomon will extend around the earth. Psalm 72 beautifully describes the blessings in this way: “In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more. And he will have subjects from sea to sea and from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul, and their blood will be precious in his eyes. There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.” (Psalm 72:7, 8, 14, 16) The condition that will prevail then will be what was described by Jesus Christ to a man who had asked to be remembered when Jesus got into his kingdom. Jesus told him: “You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.
32. (a) How will it be possible for even the dead to benefit from these grand provisions? (b) From where will the resurrected ones be returning? (Ezekiel 18:4; Job 14:13)
32 Those who may already have died because of their inheriting sin from Adam will not then be forgotten. They too are covered by the ransom sacrifice of God’s Son. Encouragingly the Bible foretells: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) What does this mean? The Bible says that “the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) They are lifeless in the grave. Resurrection, then, means coming back to life. Apart from those of the “little flock” who will share heavenly life with Jesus Christ, all those raised will be in human form, with the prospect before them of living eternally right here on earth.
33. (a) By what means will sickness and death be removed? (Mark 2:1-12) (b) Do you personally want to benefit from these provisions that Jehovah has made for a secure future?
33 This will be a time of renewal for the human family. Under the direction of the heavenly kingdom every trace of sin and all its effects will be removed by applying the value of Jesus’ sacrifice to all who exercise faith. When on earth, Jesus demonstrated what this would mean for mankind. He cured every sort of ailment, even restoring sight to the blind and healing the lame. In God’s new order the earth will be filled with persons who will experience such blessings. The divine promise is: “He 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.” (Revelation 21:4) Yes, all the things that have made life insecure will be gone. What a grand prospect that is!
34. Is there any real security that can be enjoyed right now?
34 But not everything that results in security is reserved for the future. Much can be enjoyed right now.
Security That Can Be Enjoyed Now
35. What things mentioned here would result in considerable personal security?
35 Regardless of what other circumstances in life one must face, most persons would agree that anyone for whom daily food and enough clothing are guaranteed has a high degree of security. If, in addition, the people with whom he mainly associates have real love for one another, this would add another dimension to that security. And if he knew what the future held, this, too, would help to keep any feeling of uncertainty to a minimum. But the majority of people enjoy no such feeling of security. Does that mean that the promises of security given in God’s Word will come true only in the future? Or can persons even now find security through putting faith in those promises and acting in harmony with them? Are there persons now doing so in a united way?
36. (a) Under what circumstances does God say that he will provide daily food and clothing right now? (b) Who enjoy such security, and how do they obtain these provisions? (Ephesians 4:28)
36 Those Christians known as Jehovah’s witnesses have found God’s Word to be true and have experienced that putting it to work in their lives brings splendid benefits right now. Those benefits come from giving the right importance to spiritual matters in one’s daily life. Of course, everyone on earth, whether spiritually inclined or not, can benefit from what the earth produces. But the Bible shows that God takes a special interest in the welfare of those who put his service first. To strengthen the faith of his disciples, Jesus said: “Never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33) But how do they get these “other things,” the things that are needed to sustain one in a physical way? It is not that the Christian congregation supports them financially. Rather, they are all willing workers. And, when people truly make Jehovah’s kingdom and his righteousness the big things in their lives, God blesses their efforts to obtain the necessities of life. He answers their prayer to “give us today our bread for this day.” (Matthew 6:11) Jehovah does not promise his servants material abundance while the present world exists, but he does assure them that they will have what they really need. And there is no one else who is better able to see that they get it.
37. (a) What kinds of conduct and attitude breed insecurity? (b) Basically, what quality is missing among people of that kind? (c) Where did Jesus say that such love would be found?
37 The great Provider of material needs also makes available something else that is important to security now. As you can well appreciate, having the material necessities of life is not going to make a person feel content and secure if his associates are people who have no real interest in him. Insecurity is bred when people lie and cheat; when they use their tongue with little concern for the feelings of others; when they judge others on the basis of material possessions, skin color or national origin; and when “kindness” is often prompted by a hidden, selfish motive. What is most lacking among people of that sort is love—genuine unselfish concern for other people. Can such love really be found—not merely among a few individuals, but as an outstanding trait of an entire society of people? Jesus Christ assures us that it can be. He said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” And he knew that there would be such people in our day, because he told his disciples: “Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—John 13:35; Matthew 28:20.
38. How does the Bible help us to identify the ones who have such love? (1 John 4:20, 21)
38 If you have found this love to be lacking among your associates, then you need to look elsewhere. The Bible, at 1 John 4:8, provides the needed direction, saying: “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.” Thus, it is among the people who do “know God” that such love can be found. This certainly does not mean that you will find it with all people who are religious; you know that that is not the case. But you will find it among those who know Jehovah, the only true God, who treat his name with respect and who sincerely try to conform their lives to his will. The benefits from such association are obvious.
39. Besides simply being among such people, what else can a person do that will contribute to his security and his enjoyment of life?
39 Of course, a person does not in this way become immune to the effects of the lawless conduct of the rest of the world. Nevertheless, when he personally acknowledges his own dependence upon God and fully accepts God’s standard of right and wrong as set out in the Bible, he benefits greatly. He is safeguarded against involvement in activities that would result only in heartache and grief. As Proverbs 1:33 says: “As for the one listening to me [that is, to divine wisdom], he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” His life can become filled with real meaning if he uses it in harmony with the will of the Creator. Instead of experiencing the frustration that so many people do, he can share the joy that results from helping others to learn about the only real solution to mankind’s problems—the kingdom of God. Jesus Christ foretold such a work, saying: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14.
40. How do Jehovah’s witnesses feel about the future, and why? (Luke 21:28-32)
40 As those who share in this preaching activity look to the future, they are not filled with fear. Having studied the Bible, and believing what it says, they know what the future holds. Instead of being frustrated by every unpleasant development in world affairs, they see in these things the fulfillment of Bible prophecies concerning the end of this system of things. They know that soon now, in this generation, God is going to destroy all who continue to disregard his rightful rulership and who insist on spoiling the enjoyment of life for their fellowmen. With confidence they look forward to fulfillment of the hope set out at 2 Peter 3:13, which says: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”
41, 42. (a) So, why is it that Jehovah’s witnesses enjoy a high degree of security right now, even though they live in the midst of a troubled world? (b) Is the security that is enjoyed by Jehovah’s witnesses something that you want?
41 That is the kind of security that is enjoyed right now by Christian worshipers of Jehovah God, by those who “worship the Father with spirit and truth.” It results from their submitting to Jehovah’s righteous standards and putting them to work in their lives. As foretold at Isaiah 32:17, 18: “The work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite. And my people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places.” They are loyal supporters of Jehovah’s sovereignty. They do not set their own standards of good and bad. They are not trying to solve the world’s problems on their own. Gratefully they accept and support the loving provision that Jehovah has made, his kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ.
42 Would you like to share the security that they enjoy? You can.
What You Can Do About It
43. By going to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, what will you be able to see for yourself?
43 One of the first steps is to associate with the people who enjoy such security. In this way you can see for yourself whether this is really what you have been seeking. Jehovah’s witnesses warmly welcome you to come to their meetings at the Kingdom Hall in your area. You will find that their meetings are not filled with ritual, and no collections are taken. Instead, there is meaningful discussion of God’s Word and how it affects our lives. The Bible counsels: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) It is this spirit that you will find at the Kingdom Hall.
44. (a) If you personally are to enjoy the security that you see in the lives of others at the Kingdom Hall, what do you need? (b) Why can none of us take such a relationship for granted, but how can it be obtained?
44 Attending such meetings will enable you to see the security that others enjoy, and you will no doubt enjoy the association. But something more is required if you personally are to have such security. Your greatest need is an approved relationship with Jehovah God. He is the One upon whom both your present well-being and all your prospects for the future depend. Such a relationship is not something that any of us can take for granted. We were not born with it. All of us are descendants of the sinner Adam, so we were born into a human family that is alienated from God. To gain Jehovah’s favor, we need to become reconciled to him, and this is possible only on the basis of faith in the loving provision that he has made through the sacrifice of his Son. As Jesus himself said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”—John 14:6.
45. (a) What do we first need to appreciate about life and how our lives are to be used? (Revelation 4:11) (b) To please Jehovah, how must we personally feel about him? (c) Why is water immersion important, and what is necessary before a person is ready to be baptized? (Matthew 28:19, 20)
45 We need to appreciate that we owe our lives to God and that any failure to use our lives in obedience to God is wrong. If we sincerely regret any past failure to use our lives in harmony with God’s will we will reject that wrong course and turn around, bringing our lives into harmony with God’s will. This includes doing what Jesus said his disciples must do, namely, ‘disowning themselves.’ (Matthew 16:24) One who does this no longer claims that he has the “right” to live his life just to satisfy his own selfish desires, with no concern for God’s will. Instead, he submits himself fully to the doing of God’s will as directed by his Son. And he does this because it is right and because he is convinced that everything that Jehovah does has a good and righteous purpose, and that what God does will result in blessings for us if we love righteousness. He truly loves Jehovah ‘with his whole heart, mind, soul and strength.’ (Mark 12:29, 30) Having made such a commitment in his own heart, he is ready to present himself for public water immersion, in imitation of Jesus Christ and in obedience to the instructions that he gave to his disciples. Only in this way, outlined in God’s Word, can one come into an approved relationship with the true God and share the security that his servants enjoy.
46. How do we demonstrate that we really want Jehovah as our Ruler?
46 Thereafter, it is vital to continue to demonstrate that you truly have rejected the independent course advocated by Satan; that you do not set your own standard of good and bad; that you really want Jehovah as your Ruler. You will need to do as stated at Proverbs 3:5, 6: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” Yes, he will direct your paths in the way of true and lasting security.
47. What security comes to those who truly accept Jehovah’s loving provisions?
47 What grand blessings come to all who truly do accept the loving provisions that Jehovah has made for mankind! Taking a firm stand under his rulership, they are safeguarded now, and they have confident expectations for the future. Because of Jehovah’s loving-kindness and his trueness, they will share in the fully satisfying security that will come to mankind under the kingdom of God in the hands of his Son Jesus Christ.
a Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations in this publication are from the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
b In the New English Bible this device used by the translators can better be seen at Psalm 135:5 and at Nehemiah 10:29.
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People now living will see the day when hunger will be no more
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Our prospects for the future depend on the One who created the heavens and the earth
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The Bible record about our first parents shows why insecurity mars human life today
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Under God’s kingdom there will be an end of crime, an end of danger to one’s property and one’s person
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God’s Word promises that sickness and death will be eliminated—yes, even loved ones who have died will be raised to live again