An Earthly Paradise Soon to Come
1, 2. (a) What is the normal human desire, but what things interfere with its realization? (b) What conditions would be ideal?
WOULD you like your life to go on indefinitely—full and satisfying? Likely your answer is, Yes. There are so many interesting things to do, fascinating places to see and new things to learn.
2 Yet, seemingly unsolvable problems interfere with our enjoyment of life. For example, there is the comparative shortness of our present life span. Then, too, life is often filled with sickness, sorrow and trouble. So for people to enjoy life to the full, in all its dimensions, the ideal would be to have (1) surroundings like a paradise, (2) complete security, (3) absorbing work, (4) radiant health and (5) unending life.
3. Who only can bring about such ideal conditions?
3 But is that asking too much? From the human viewpoint, it certainly is. History has shown that, on their own, humans just cannot bring about such ideal conditions. However, from our Creator’s viewpoint those things not only are possible but are inevitable! Why? Because such desirable conditions were part of God’s original purpose for this earth.—Psalm 127:1; Matthew 19:26.
Paradise to Be Restored
4. What was God’s original purpose for this earth?
4 As we have noted in previous chapters, the first two humans were not like animals. Instead, they were created completely human. Their original home, Eden, was “a paradise of pleasure.” (Genesis 2:8, Douay Version) They were “to cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) Additionally, their role on earth included this very human administrative assignment: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) As their offspring increased, they would have the task of extending the boundaries of this beautiful garden, transforming the whole earth into a paradise. How long was it to last? The Bible consistently notes that the earth will remain “to time indefinite, or forever.” (Psalm 104:5; Ecclesiastes 1:4) So the Paradise earth was meant to serve permanently as a delightful home for perfect humans, who would live there forever.—Isaiah 45:11, 12, 18.
5. Why can we be confident that God’s purpose will be realized?
5 Though the rebellion in Eden temporarily interrupted the fulfillment of God’s purpose, it has not changed that purpose. God has introduced the means for stopping the damage and restoring Paradise. The mechanism for doing this is the Kingdom of God, the heavenly government that Jesus made such a prominent part of his message to mankind. (Matthew 6:10, 33) And we can be certain that the original purpose of God will be accomplished. The all-powerful Creator behind it assures us: “So my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11.
6, 7. (a) How do we know that we are nearing the restoration of Paradise? (b) Who will be preserved through the end of this system of things, and who will not?
6 In our day it is encouraging to see world events fulfilling “the sign” of “the last days.” (Matthew 24:3-14; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) This indicates that the time is near when God’s “word” “will have certain success.” This success is certain because the all-powerful God will intervene in human affairs to see that his purposes are accomplished. (Jeremiah 25:31-33) Very shortly, we can expect to see the fulfillment of the prophetic psalm that says: “Evildoers themselves will be cut off, but those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:9-11, 29; Matthew 5:5.
7 Thus, those who choose to be independent of the Creator will be “cut off.” Those who are “hoping in Jehovah” will live through the end of this system and begin the restoration of Paradise. Gradually it will spread until it encompasses the entire earth. This Paradise is so certain to come that with complete confidence Jesus could promise the thief executed alongside him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.
The Earth Transformed
8, 9. What reversal of conditions will take place regarding the literal earth?
8 The Bible’s description of Paradise is truly breathtaking. For example, it tells of a dramatic change in the condition of the earth itself. You may recall that when expelled from Eden the first humans were told that the ground would bring forth thorns and thistles, and only by the sweat of their face would they be able to grow food from the earth. (Genesis 3:17-19) From then until now it often has been a constant struggle against encroaching deserts, poor soil, drought, weeds, insects, plant diseases and crop failures. Too often famine has won the battle.
9 However, this situation is to be reversed: “The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron. . . . For in the wilderness waters will have burst out, and torrents in the desert plain. And the heat-parched ground will have become as a reedy pool, and the thirsty ground as springs of water.” “Instead of the thicket of thorns the juniper tree will come up. Instead of the stinging nettle the myrtle tree will come up.” (Isaiah 35:1, 6, 7; 55:13) So the working out of God’s purpose means that mankind will have the very enjoyable task of transforming the earth into a place of beauty that will forever bring delight to its inhabitants. But it will mean more than just beauty.
An End to Poverty
10, 11. How will Jehovah eliminate hunger?
10 The transformation of vast deserts and drought-affected areas will mean a huge increase in productive land. With the Creator’s oversight, man’s efforts will succeed in making the earth fruitful as never before: “Jehovah, for his part, will give what is good, and our own land will give its yield.” (Psalm 85:12) That “yield” will bring “plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.” (Psalm 72:16) Never again will millions starve.—Isaiah 25:6.
11 Too, unemployment will be a thing of the past, eliminated forever. And all will enjoy the fruits of their own labor: “They will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. . . . they will not plant and someone else do the eating.” (Isaiah 65:21, 22) All of this will bring the kind of economic security described in Ezekiel 34:27: “The tree of the field must give its fruitage, and the land itself will give its yield, and they will actually prove to be on their soil in security.”
12. Who will enjoy decent housing in Paradise?
12 But humans also inherently desire a decent home and some ground for planting flowers, trees and gardens. Is it decent housing when millions of people are crammed into huge apartment buildings or run-down slums, or are living on the streets? None of that will exist in the coming Paradise because God has purposed: “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy . . . They will not build and someone else have occupancy.” That worldwide building program will be completely successful, and enduring: “The work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing.” (Isaiah 65:21-23) Thus, decent housing will not be the privilege of just a wealthy minority, but it will be enjoyed by all who submit to God’s rule.
No More Sickness, No More Death
13, 14. What will happen to sickness, handicaps, and even death?
13 God’s Word also assures us that the satisfying conditions in Paradise will not be marred by disabilities or sickness, or be cut short by death: “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) “[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 21:4.
14 Imagine a world where all sickness and handicaps will be healed! God’s Word says: “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.” (Isaiah 35:5, 6) What a marvelous transformation! And imagine, too, the amazing prospect, from that point on, of living as long as God lives—eternally! Never again will death curse mankind, because God “will actually swallow up death forever.”—Isaiah 25:8.
15. What will happen to old people who survive this system’s end?
15 But what about those who survive the end of this system and who are already old? Will they merely have good health in old age and stay that way forever? No, for God has, and will yet use, the power to reverse the aging process. As the Bible describes it: “Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.” (Job 33:25) The aged will gradually return to the perfect manhood and womanhood that Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden. This process will be one of the results of the “re-creation” about which Jesus spoke.—Matthew 19:28.
Lasting Global Peace
16, 17. Why will Paradise not be disrupted by war or violence?
16 Will Paradise ever be disrupted by war or violence? Not when “the upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) There can be no war or violence when peacebreakers no longer exist.
17 Why are those who are “left over,” after God cuts off the wicked and the treacherous, called “upright” and “blameless”? Because they had already been educated in God’s standards for peaceful living and had conformed to those standards. That knowledge of God, and submitting to his laws, is the key to peace in Paradise, for the Bible states: “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin . . . because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” (Isaiah 11:9) Jesus also said, “They will all be taught by Jehovah,” and that those who accept this teaching and live by it will have “everlasting life.”—John 6:45-47.
18. Who today are already being educated for peaceful Paradise living?
18 Happily, this God-oriented, global education will result in a totally peaceful and harmonious world free from crime, prejudice and hatred, free from political divisions and war. Already the value of this education is being demonstrated among millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the earth. They form an international brotherhood based on love and mutual respect. (John 13:34, 35) Their global peace and unity are unbreakable. Not even persecution or world wars can make them take up arms against their neighbors anywhere in the world. Since such global peace and unity can exist even in today’s divided world, surely it will be much easier to continue this pattern under God’s rule in Paradise.—Matthew 26:52; 1 John 3:10-12.
19. What fulfillment of prophecy now in progress will continue in Paradise?
19 At the very beginning of the restoration of Paradise, then, earth-wide peace will prevail. And the survivors of God’s global war of Armageddon will continue to abide by the words of the prophecy that they are fulfilling right now: “They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” That is why the prophecy can add: “They will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble.” (Micah 4:3, 4) For how long? The heartwarming promise is: “To peace there will be no end.”—Isaiah 9:7.
20. How will Jehovah deal with the nations and their military equipment?
20 True, the militarized nations today have stockpiled their armaments as never before. But all of that means nothing to the One whose power created the universe. He tells us what he will soon do to the military weapons of the nations: “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.” (Psalm 46:8, 9) The crushing of the nations and their military might will pave the way for lasting global peace in Paradise.—Daniel 2:44; Revelation 19:11-21.
Peace With the Animal Realm
21, 22. What relationship will be restored between humans and animals?
21 To complete the global peace of Paradise, there will be a restoration of the harmony that existed between humans and animals in Eden. (Genesis 1:26-31) Today, man fears many animals and, at the same time, is a threat to them. But that will not be the case in Paradise. In whatever way God maintained the harmony between man and beast in Eden, he will do in Paradise. Thus man’s loving dominion of animals will again be a reality.
22 In this regard the Creator declares: “For them I shall certainly conclude a covenant in that day in connection with the wild beast of the field and with the flying creature of the heavens and the creeping thing of the ground.” (Hosea 2:18) With what result? “I will conclude with them a covenant of peace, and I shall certainly cause the injurious wild beast to cease out of the land, and they will actually dwell in the wilderness in security and sleep in the forests.”—Ezekiel 34:25.
23. What profound change to come within the animal realm does Isaiah foretell?
23 The peace that will exist among humans, and between humans and animals, will also be reflected within the animal realm: “The wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain.”—Isaiah 11:6-9.
24. How does Psalm 37 describe the peace that will exist in Paradise?
24 What a beautiful description the Bible gives of the total peace that will exist in Paradise! It is no wonder that Psalm 37:11 says of life in that new system: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
The Dead Return
25, 26. (a) What promise does God’s Word make regarding the dead? (b) Why is remembering all those who have died no problem for the Creator?
25 The benefits to come in Paradise will flow not just to those who survive the end of this present system of things. Under the rule of God’s heavenly Kingdom a most amazing victory will take place—a total victory over death. For not only will inherited death be overcome, but those already dead will come back to life and be given the opportunity to live in Paradise! God’s Word guarantees: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) What a joyous occasion that will be as, generation after generation, loved ones are brought back from the grave!—Luke 7:11-16; 8:40-56; John 11:38-45.
26 Jesus said: “The hour is coming in which 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) Yes, those in God’s memory will be restored to life. And we should not think that this is too big a task for God. Remember, he created hundreds of billions, yes, trillions, of stars. And the Bible says that he calls all of them “by name.” (Isaiah 40:26) The number of people who have lived and died is only a fraction of that. So they and their life patterns can easily be accommodated in God’s memory.
27. What opportunity will all have in Paradise?
27 All those who are resurrected will be educated in God’s righteous standards in a Paradise environment. They will not be hindered by wickedness, suffering or injustice as they were in their past life. If they accept God’s rule and conform to his standards, they will be judged worthy of continued life. (Ephesians 4:22-24) So if the thief impaled alongside Jesus is to remain in Paradise, he must change from being a thief to becoming honest. But those who rebel against God’s righteous rule will not be allowed to continue living to mar the peace and joy of others. They will receive an adverse judgment. Thus, every person will have a full and fair opportunity to demonstrate whether he really appreciates life on a Paradise earth where “righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:13.
28. Thus, what is immediately ahead of us?
28 Together with the Armageddon survivors, the resurrected dead will then enjoy a life of endless fascination. The perfect human brain, with a vast potential for knowledge, will be able to absorb information forever. Think what we will learn about the earth and about the awesome universe with its billions of galaxies! Consider the challenging and satisfying work that we will do in construction, landscaping, gardening, teaching, art, music and many other fields! Hence, life will not be boring or unproductive. Instead, as the Bible foretells, every day in Paradise will be an “exquisite delight.” (Psalm 37:11) Thus, immediately ahead of us is the beginning of a marvelous new era.
[Blurb on page 232]
Humans cannot achieve ideal conditions, but God can
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There will be a dramatic change in the earth itself
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The crushing of the nations and their military might will pave the way for global peace
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They will find “exquisite delight in the abundance of peace”
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Immediately ahead of us is a marvelous new era
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Such ideal conditions would enable us to enjoy life fully
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Those who choose to be independent of the Creator will be cut off
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“Those hoping in Jehovah” will survive
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Mankind will have the enjoyable task of transforming the earth into a paradise
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There will be economic security for all
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Paradise will not be marred by disabilities, sickness or 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
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There will be no war or violence in Paradise. All weapons will be destroyed.—Ezekiel 39:9, 10
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There will be a restoration of harmony between humans and animals
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The dead will come back to life and be given the opportunity to live in Paradise! God’s Word guarantees: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous”