The Kind of Life That Awaits Survivors
1. Why will the coming “day of Jehovah” not leave the earth a desolate ruin? (Isaiah 45:18)
FEAR-INSPIRING though the coming “day of Jehovah” will be, it will not leave the earth ruined for habitation. Its effects will not be like those of a nuclear holocaust, which it is feared would throw the ecology into chaos and cause survivors to suffer hideous effects from radiation. Instead of his spoiling the earth for human habitation, the Creator is going to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Joel 2:30, 31; Revelation 11:18.
2. What gives us confidence that Jehovah will deliver faithful ones through the great tribulation?
2 There is not a shred of doubt in the minds of Jehovah’s faithful servants that God can deliver them regardless of the destructive forces he will then unleash around them. They know that when morally corrupt Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by ‘sulphur and fire from heaven,’ angels of Jehovah delivered Lot and his two daughters. (Genesis 19:15-17, 24-26) They are also aware that when the firstborn of all Egypt were destroyed in the days of Moses, Jehovah’s angel of execution passed over the homes of the Israelites, those homes marked with the blood of the Passover lamb. (Exodus 12:21-29) So, too, when the destructive fury of the great tribulation breaks out, Jehovah will deliver those who have made him their refuge.—Psalm 91:1, 2, 14-16; Isaiah 26:20.
3. Why will the vast number of dead bodies not endanger the health of survivors?
3 True, as a result of the great destruction, the earth will be strewed with those slain by Jehovah. But no one knows better than God what needs to be done to safeguard the health of the survivors. He tells us that he will invite the birds of heaven and the beasts of the field to his “great evening meal” and that they will have their fill from the fleshy parts of those slain. (Revelation 19:17, 18; Ezekiel 39:17-20) What they do not consume he can dispose of by other means. God’s purpose for the earth as stated in Eden will then move forward to its fulfillment.
WHAT GOD’S ORIGINAL PURPOSE REVEALS
4. What kind of start did Jehovah give the first human pair, and why is that of special interest to us?
4 An indication of what the future holds for survivors of the great tribulation is found in the kind of start that Jehovah gave the human family in Eden. In preparing the earth for habitation by mankind, the Creator produced abundant vegetation, also fish, birds and land animals in delightful variety. “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Genesis 2:8) But God did not make all the earth a paradise and then maintain it as a park for man. Instead, Jehovah gave the first human pair a wonderful start, bestowed his blessing on them and gave them an assignment of work. He set before them projects that would enable them to use to the full their abilities and to find satisfaction in their accomplishments. This would fill their lives with meaning. What a fascinating assignment was theirs—rearing children to reflect godly qualities, extending Paradise to the ends of the earth and caring for it with its teeming creature life! If Adam and Eve continued to respect Jehovah’s sovereignty, they would never die. They would enjoy perfect life on earth forever.—Genesis 1:26-28; 2:16, 17.
5. So, what prospects will lie before survivors of the great tribulation?
5 Of course, conditions on earth immediately after the great tribulation will not be like those in Eden. But God’s original purpose for the earth and mankind will remain unchanged. Paradise is to encompass the globe, humankind will be its caretakers, and they will all be united in worship of the true God. Before them will lie the opportunity to live forever, enjoying the glorious freedom of the children of God.—Luke 23:42, 43; Revelation 21:3, 4; Romans 8:20, 21.
6. (a) What will become of any military equipment? (b) Why will no one ever be obliged to go hungry again?
6 At the outset, the ruins of the old system will undoubtedly need to be cleared away. Military equipment that remains will be converted to peaceful uses. (Ezekiel 39:8-10; compare Micah 4:3.) Crops still in the fields will no doubt be harvested to sustain the survivors. Then as seed is sown and new harvests are reaped, the promise will come true: “The earth itself will certainly give its produce; God, our God, will bless us.” (Psalm 67:6; compare Deuteronomy 28:8.) With the selfish and divisive elements of the old system gone, never again will anyone be obliged to go to bed hungry at night.—Psalm 72:16.
7. How does Jehovah’s selection of earth’s new King reflect God’s own wisdom and love?
7 This will be a world made up of people who appreciate the importance of having Jehovah’s direction and blessing. And these will be provided in a manner that reflects God’s own wisdom and love. The one whom Jehovah has assigned as earth’s new King is his own Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals that by means of him God created the earth and all the various kinds of life upon it. (Colossians 1:15-17) The Son of God thoroughly understands what the perpetuation of life on earth requires and he has a special fondness for the things pertaining to mankind.—Proverbs 8:30, 31.
8. What response to Jehovah’s sovereignty will Christ help his earthly subjects to cultivate?
8 Above all, the Son loyally upholds Jehovah’s sovereignty. Concerning Jesus it was foretold: “Upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah.” (Isaiah 11:2, 3) He will help his earthly subjects to find similar enjoyment in conforming their lives to Jehovah’s ways. Under his kingship, the survivors of the great tribulation will be restored to the kind of life that God purposed for mankind when our first parents were given Eden as their home.
WHAT JESUS’ MINISTRY REVEALS
9. (a) What are some of the grievous effects of inherited sin? (b) What hope do Jesus’ miracles hold out?
9 To enjoy that kind of life, however, we need relief from the grievous effects of sin. All of us have inherited sin from Adam, who lost his perfection when he showed lawless disregard for Jehovah’s sovereignty. The results of sin are manifest in a variety of ways. It can give rise to illness, physical defects, also a tendency to think and say and do things out of wrong motives. Finally it produces death. (Romans 5:12; 6:23) During his earthly ministry, Jesus performed many miracles that demonstrated what he will do to bring relief to those who are subjects of God’s Kingdom.
10. Why is it not unreasonable that Jesus could perform miracles that scientists cannot duplicate?
10 But when some persons read the thrilling Bible accounts about the miracles of Jesus, they express doubt. Why? Because we live in a world where skepticism has become popular. Skeptics may feel that for miracles to be believable, scientists today should be able to repeat them or explain them. But why do scientists continue to devote great amounts of time and money to research? Because there is much that they do not understand. What is really at issue in our attitude toward Jesus’ ministry is a willingness to acknowledge divine intervention in human affairs.
11. At Acts 2:22, what expressions are used to describe Jesus’ miracles, and what do these indicate?
11 To a crowd in Jerusalem in 33 C.E., the apostle Peter spoke of Jesus as “a man publicly shown by God to you through powerful works and portents and signs that God did through him.” (Acts 2:22) The miracles were, as Peter here indicated, “powerful works,” not deeds that other men could duplicate or explain, but evidence that God’s power was operating through Jesus. They were “signs” that he truly was the Messiah, God’s own Son. They were also “portents,” occurrences that pointed to heartwarming future events.
12. (a) Why do you find the accounts about the cleansing of persons who had leprosy to be encouraging? (b) What was especially noteworthy about Jesus’ healing of a paralytic?
12 Read the Gospel accounts in the Bible, and as you do so, keep in mind that the miracles performed by Jesus give a preview of what he will do for mankind who will live on earth under God’s Messianic Kingdom. That will be a time when persons with such disfiguring diseases as leprosy will be made clean—just as Jesus cleansed ten leprous men while he was en route to Jerusalem in the year 33 C.E. He demonstrated that he can help such persons and that he really wants to do so. (Luke 17:11-19; Mark 1:40-42) Many have been victims of paralysis. For them, too, healing will be available—as it was for a bedfast paralytic whom Jesus healed, associating this with forgiving the man’s sins.—Mark 2:1-12.
13. Tell about one of Jesus’ miracles that holds out hope for (a) the blind, (b) those who are deaf or have a speech defect, (c) persons who have been treated by many doctors without getting relief. (d) How do you know that Jesus will be able to cure all kinds of diseases and infirmities?
13 Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears will be unstopped and those with speech defects will have their tongues loosed—even as Jesus did these things for persons in Galilee and in the Decapolis in the first century. (Matthew 9:27-30; Mark 7:31-37) For many persons today, doctors can provide no cure. That was the situation of a woman in Capernaum who “had been put to many pains by many physicians and had spent all her resources and had not been benefited.” But Jesus healed her, and he will do the same for many more like her. (Mark 5:25-29) Cancer, heart disease, malaria, snail fever—none will be too difficult, as he demonstrated when he cured “every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity” during his ministry in Galilee.—Matthew 9:35.
14. How do accounts about Jesus’ raising the dead indicate what resurrection will mean to survivors?
14 That will also be a time when there will be opportunity for the dead—not those destroyed by God in the great tribulation, but for billions of others who have died through the centuries—to live again, and with prospects that were never before within their grasp. What will that mean to the survivors? Near the village of Nain, Jesus dried the tears of grief of a widowed mother by restoring her only son to life. In Capernaum he brought great ecstasy to the parents of a young girl by awakening their child from the dead. (Luke 7:11-16; Mark 5:35-42) Would you like to be on hand when your loved ones return from the dead? That will be the thrilling experience of survivors into the “new earth.”
15. (a) How do Jesus’ teachings indicate the kind of people that will live on earth then? (b) In what way can we have a foretaste of that kind of life now?
15 Life then will not be a repetition of the heartache and grief that so often burden down people now. This is shown not only by Jesus’ miracles but also by his teachings, because only those who truly are his disciples will survive into the “new earth.” (John 3:36) He taught his followers to put spiritual values ahead of material pursuits, to rely on Jehovah, to look to Him for guidance and to be appreciative of His blessings. By word and example, Jesus emphasized the importance of love and humility, caring deeply about other people and giving of oneself in their behalf. Already, those who become Christ’s disciples and who truly apply these principles find great refreshment for their souls and they, in turn, bring refreshment to others. (Matthew 11:28, 29; John 13:34, 35) This is but a foretaste of the kind of life that will be enjoyed by those who are still alive when the present loveless world is gone. If you act wisely now, that life can be yours.
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GOD’S ORIGINAL PURPOSE FOR MANKIND
To fill the earth with humans reflecting godly qualities
To extend Paradise earth wide and care for it and its animal life
To enjoy life on earth forever