“Look! I Am Making All Things New”
1-4. (a) In what features of our cover picture would you enjoy sharing? (b) What glorious prospect is here held out to you? (c) What are some Bible texts giving support to such a hope?
SEE the happy people on the cover of this brochure. Would you like to be one of them? ‘Why, yes,’ you say. For here is the peace and harmony desired by all mankind. People of all races—the black, the white, the yellow—are mingling as one family. What joy! What unity! Obviously these people are not worrying about nuclear fallout or the threat of terrorism. Jet warplanes do not shatter the peaceful skies above this lovely park. There are no soldiers, no tanks, no guns. Not even a police baton is needed to keep order. War and crime simply do not exist. And there are no housing shortages, for everyone has a beautiful home to call his own.
2 Just look at those children! Their play is a joy to behold. What animals to play with! No iron bars are needed in this park, for all animals are at peace with mankind and with one another. Even the lion and the lamb have become friends. See those brightly colored birds as they flit here and there, and hear their beautiful songs join children’s laughter in filling the air. No cages? No, for all is freedom and unrestricted joy in this domain. Just smell the fragrance of those flowers, hear the rippling of the stream, feel the tingling warmth of the sun. Oh, for a taste of the fruit in that basket, for it is the best that earth can produce, the very best, like everything that is to be seen and enjoyed in this glorious parklike garden.
3 ‘But stop,’ someone says, ‘where are the old people? Should they, too, not share in enjoying this happy society?’ Actually, the old people are right there, but they are growing young again. In this park no one dies from old age. The young now grow up to mature manhood and grow no older. Whether 20 years or 200 years old, each of the millions of people living in this park rejoices in the zest of youthful living, in perfect health. Millions, you say? Yes, millions, for this park is being extended into every land. It will abound with life, peace, and beauty to the very ends of our earth, from Fuji to the Andes, from Hong Kong to the Mediterranean. For all earth is being transformed into a paradise park. It will be Paradise restored earth wide.
4 ‘Unbelievable,’ did you say? First, though, consider the facts in proof. It is possible for you and your family to survive the passing of the present troubled system of things and to enter the Paradise represented on our cover.a
The Book That Explains Paradise
5. (a) What book explains these things? (b) In what ways is this an outstanding book?
5 All these glorious things, and the certainty of them, are explained in a book, the most wonderful book ever written. It is called the Bible. It is a very ancient book, parts of it having been written some 3,500 years ago. At the same time, it is the most up-to-date book in presenting sound, practical counsel for modern-day living. Its prophecies arouse bright hope for the future. It is the best-seller of all history, over 2,000,000,000 copies of the entire Bible or major sections thereof having been distributed in some 1,810 languages.
6. What distinguishes the Bible from other writings considered holy?
6 No other holy book has had so universal a distribution, and most others are not nearly as old. The Koran of Islam is less than 1,400 years old. Buddha and Confucius lived about 2,500 years ago, and their writings date from that time. The Scriptures of Shinto were composed in their present form no more than 1,200 years ago. The Book of Mormon is only 160 years old. None of these holy books can accurately trace human history back through 6,000 years, as does the Bible. To understand original religion, we must therefore go to the Bible. It is the only book with a universal message for all mankind.
7. What have thinking men said of the Bible?
7 The wisdom and beauty of the Bible message have been acclaimed by thinking men from all nations and from all walks of life. The renowned scientist and discoverer of the law of gravity, Sir Isaac Newton, said: “No sciences are better attested to than the Bible.” Patrick Henry, the American revolutionary leader famous for the words “Give me liberty, or give me death,” also declared: “The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.” Even the great Hindu sage Mohandas K. Gandhi once told the British viceroy of India: “When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems, not only of our countries but those of the whole world.” Gandhi was speaking of Matthew chapters 5 to 7 in the Bible. Read these chapters yourself and see if you do not thrill to their powerful message.
The Bible—An Oriental Book
8, 9. (a) Why is it wrong to call the Bible a Western book? (b) How was the Bible written, and over what period of time? (c) Why can the Bible be called a library? (d) How many men were used to write the Bible? (e) What testimony did some of these men give about the Source of the Bible?
8 Contrary to popular belief, the Bible is not a product of the civilization of the West, nor does it glorify that civilization. Almost the entire Bible was written in Oriental countries. The men who wrote it down were all Orientals. One thousand years before Buddha, in 1513 B.C.E., Moses, who lived in the Middle East, was inspired by God to write the first book of the Bible, called Genesis. From this beginning, the Bible follows one harmonious theme right through to its final book of Revelation. The Bible was completed in 98 C.E., about 600 years after Buddha. Did you know that the Bible is made up of 66 different books? Yes, the Bible is a library in itself!
9 Thus, over a period of 1,600 years from Moses’ time on, some 40 men shared in writing the harmonious record of the Bible. They testify that their writings were inspired by a power far higher than mortal man. The Christian apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.”b (2 Timothy 3:16) And the apostle Peter explained: “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; 2 Samuel 23:2; Luke 1:70.
10. (a) How did the Bible come down to our day? (b) Why can we be sure that we still have the original inspired Bible text?
10 Most remarkable, too, is the way the Bible has come down to this day. For thousands of years, until the invention of printing about 500 years ago, copies of the Bible had to be made by hand. No other literary work of ancient times was so diligently copied and recopied. It was copied over and over again, but always with great care. The copyists made only a few minor errors, and a comparison of these has established the original text inspired by God. A leading authority on Bible manuscripts, Sir Frederic Kenyon, says: “The last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed.” Today, there are still in existence about 16,000 handwritten copies of the Bible or parts of it, some even surviving from the second century before Christ. Moreover, accurate translations have been made from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages in which the Bible was originally written into nearly all the languages of the earth.
11. What modern discoveries are in agreement with the Bible record?
11 Some have tried to discredit the Bible by saying it is inaccurate. However, in recent years archaeologists have dug into the ruins of ancient cities in Bible lands and have found inscriptions and other evidence proving conclusively that the persons and places mentioned even in the oldest Bible records actually existed. They have unearthed much evidence pointing to a global deluge, which the Bible says took place more than 4,000 years ago, in Noah’s day. On this point, Prince Mikasa, a well-known archaeologist, stated: “Was there really a Flood? . . . The fact that the flood actually took place has been convincingly proved.”c
The God of the Bible
12. (a) What do some scoffers say about God? (b) Why does the Bible refer to God as a Father? (c) What does the Bible show God’s name to be?
12 Just as some people have scoffed about the Bible, others scoff about there being an Almighty God. (2 Peter 3:3-7) They say, ‘How can I believe in God, since I cannot see him? Is there proof that an invisible Creator, higher than man, really exists? Does not God dwell in everything?’ Others say, ‘There is no God or Buddha.’ However, the Bible shows that just as all of us received life through an earthly father, so our original ancestors received life from a heavenly Father, or Creator, whose personal name is Jehovah.—Psalm 83:18; 100:3; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4.
13. In what two ways has Jehovah revealed himself to mankind?
13 Jehovah has revealed himself to mankind in two outstanding ways. The principal way is through the Bible, which makes known his truth and his eternal purposes. (John 17:17; 1 Peter 1:24, 25) The other way is through his creation. By observing the wonderful things around them, many people have come to appreciate that there must be a Creator-God whose grand personality is reflected in his works.—Revelation 15:3, 4.
14. What does the Bible tell us about Jehovah?
14 Jehovah God is the Author of the Bible. He is the Great Spirit, existing through all eternity. (John 4:24; Psalm 90:1, 2) His name “Jehovah” calls attention to his purpose toward his creatures. It is his purpose to vindicate that great name by destroying the wicked and rescuing those who love him so they can live on a paradise earth. (Exodus 6:2-8; Isaiah 35:1, 2) Being the Almighty God, he has the power to do this. As the Creator of all the universe, he is far above ordinary national gods and idols.—Isaiah 42:5, 8; Psalm 115:1, 4-8.
15. Studies of creation by intelligent men have led to what conclusions?
15 During recent centuries, men of science have given much time to studying the works of creation. What have they concluded? One of the pioneers in the field of electricity, the well-known British physicist Lord Kelvin, declared: “I believe the more thoroughly science is studied the further does it take us from anything compared to atheism.” The European-born scientist Albert Einstein, though reputed to be an atheist, confessed: “It is enough for me to . . . reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe, which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature.” The American scientist and Nobel prize winner Arthur Holly Compton said: “An orderly unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered—‘In the beginning God.’” He was quoting the opening words of the Bible.
16. How does the universe magnify God’s creative wisdom and power?
16 Rulers of mighty nations may boast of their intelligence and scientific accomplishments in the conquest of outer space. But how insignificant their space satellites are when compared with the moon that orbits the earth, and the planets that orbit the sun! How puny the achievements of these mortal men in comparison with Jehovah’s creation of billions of heavenly galaxies, each containing billions of suns like our own, and his grouping and setting them in space for measureless time! (Psalm 19:1, 2; Job 26:7, 14) It is no wonder that Jehovah regards men as mere grasshoppers, and mighty nations “as nothing.”—Isaiah 40:13-18, 22.
17. Why is it reasonable to believe in a Creator?
17 Do you live in a house? Probably you did not build the house yourself, nor do you know who did. However, the fact that you do not know the builder would not prevent you from accepting the truth that some intelligent person built it. To reason that the house built itself would appear very foolish! Since the great universe, and everything in it, required infinitely greater intelligence for its construction, is it not reasonable to conclude that there must be an Intelligent Creator? Truly, only the senseless one would say in his heart, “There is no Jehovah.”—Psalm 14:1; Hebrews 3:4.
18. What shows that God is a person, and worthy to be praised?
18 The glorious wonders that surround us—the flowers, the birds, the animals, the marvelous creation called man, the miracles of life and of birth—these all testify to the invisible Master Intellect that produced them. (Romans 1:20) Where there is intellect, there is mind. Where there is mind, there is a person. The supreme intellect is that of the Supreme Person, the Creator of all things living, the very Fountain of life. (Psalm 36:9) The Creator is indeed worthy of all praise and adoration.—Psalm 104:24; Revelation 4:11.
19. (a) Why can no nation today claim God-given victory in warfare? (b) Why does God have no part in the wars of the nations?
19 There are some whose belief in God was shaken by the hard experiences of World War II. At that time each country called upon its “God,” whether of the Catholic or Protestant religions or of the Oriental religions. Could it be said that “God” gave victory to some of these nations and allowed others to be defeated? The Bible shows that none of these nations were calling on the true God. Jehovah God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is not responsible for the confusion and wars among the nations. (1 Corinthians 14:33) His thoughts are far above those of the political and militaristic nations of this earth. (Isaiah 55:8, 9) Likewise, the true religion and worship of Jehovah has no part in the wars of the nations. Jehovah is far above nationalistic gods. He is unique in being the God of peace-loving men and women in all nations. As the Bible says: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35) Righteously inclined persons in all nations are now learning the Bible and are embracing the worship of the true “God who gives peace,” the Creator of all mankind.—Romans 16:20; Acts 17:24-27.
20. What shows Christendom to be unchristian and anti-God?
20 Some people point to the divisions and hypocrisy in the religions of Christendom, which claim to follow the Bible. They also say, ‘How can I believe the God of the Bible, when the nations that have the Bible are among those feverishly stockpiling nuclear weapons?’ The fact is that, while the Bible remains always true, the nations of Christendom have become as far removed from Bible Christianity as the North Pole is removed from the South Pole. They are hypocritical in professing Christianity. They have the Bible, but they do not obey its teachings. The American president who ordered the first atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima once exclaimed: “Oh, for an Isaiah or a St. Paul!”—to guide men in this world crisis. Had he agreed with Isaiah of the Bible, he would never have dropped an atom bomb, for Isaiah advocated ‘beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning shears.’ Moreover, it was Paul of the Bible who declared: “We do not wage warfare according to what we are in the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly.” (Isaiah 2:4; 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4) However, instead of following the wise counsel of the Bible, the nations of Christendom have become involved in a suicidal armaments race. Any claims they make to being Bible-obeying Christians are false. They must face God’s judgment for failing to do his will.—Matthew 7:18-23; Zephaniah 1:17, 18.
Jehovah’s Creations and Miracles
21. Why is it reasonable not to doubt God’s miracles?
21 Jehovah creates, and he performs miracles. Have you ever wondered about the turning of water into blood, the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth of Jesus, and other miracles recorded in the Bible? Since man is of limited intellectual power, probably he will never understand how some of these miracles happened, the same as he cannot fully understand the miracle of the sun in rising and setting each day. The creation of man was a miracle. Modern man did not see that miracle, but he knows it happened, for he is alive today to prove it. Indeed, all life and all the universe constitute one perpetual miracle. So are we to doubt when God’s Word, the Bible, says that he performed specific miracles for specific times, even though there is no need for the same miracles today?
22. Describe God’s first creation.
22 All of Jehovah’s creation is miraculous and wonderful! However, his very first creation was the most marvelous of all. It was the creation of a spirit Son, his “firstborn.” (Colossians 1:15) This heavenly Son was named “the Word.” Countless ages after his creation, he came to this earth and was called the “man, Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Then it was said of him: “So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.”—John 1:14.
23. (a) How may the relationship between God and his Son be explained? (b) Through his Son, what did Jehovah create?
23 The relationship of Jehovah and his Son may be compared to that of the owner-manager and his son in a workshop, where the son helps make the items designed by his father. Through his firstborn Son and companion worker, Jehovah created many other spirit creatures, sons of God. Later, these rejoiced to see Jehovah’s Son, his Master Worker, bring forth the material heavens and the earth on which we live. Do you doubt that these things were created? Thousands of years later, Jehovah asked a faithful man: “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you do know understanding. When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?”—Job 38:4, 7; John 1:3.
24. (a) What earthly creation of Jehovah is outstanding, and in what respects? (b) Why is it unreasonable to say that man evolved upward from animals?
24 In course of time, Jehovah created living, material things on this earth, the plants, the trees, the flowers, the fish, the birds, and the animals. (Genesis 1:11-13, 20-25) Then God said to his Master Worker: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness . . . And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26, 27) Being created in the image and likeness of God, with God’s great attributes of love, wisdom, justice, and power, the original man was far superior to the animals. Man is in a class apart from the animals in that he is able to reason, he can plan for the future, and he has the capacity to worship God. Animals do not have intellect to reason with, but they live by instinct. How unreasonable it is to say that there is no Creator but that the richly endowed, intelligent creature man evolved upward from unintelligent lower animals!—Psalm 92:6, 7; 139:14.
25, 26. (a) What grand prospect was placed before man? (b) Why would there be no problem of overpopulating the earth?
25 God placed man in “a garden in Eden, toward the east.” It was a garden of pleasure, like the garden on our cover, though as yet there were only the two humans, Adam and his wife. This original Paradise no longer exists, having been destroyed in the Flood of Noah’s day. But its approximate location in the Middle East is known, because certain rivers named in the Bible as flowing through it exist to this day. (Genesis 2:7-14) Man had the grand opportunity to use this garden as a center from which to spread out and cultivate the entire earth, making it a global paradise.—Isaiah 45:12, 18.
26 As God and his Son are both workers, so too God gave man work to do here on earth. (John 5:17) To Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, he said: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) Did this mean that man was to multiply, fill the earth, and then keep on multiplying until the earth was full to overflowing? No. When someone tells you to fill a cup with tea, you do not keep pouring until the tea overflows the cup and runs all over the table. You fill the cup and then stop. In the same way, Jehovah’s command to man, “Fill the earth,” indicated his purpose to have man comfortably fill the earth, and then reproduction of humankind here on earth would stop. This would present no problem in a perfect human society. It is only in today’s world of imperfect mankind that overpopulation presents a problem.
Bad Things—Why Does God Permit Them?
27. What questions now demand an answer?
27 If God’s purpose is to build a paradise earth, how is it that the earth today is so filled with wickedness, suffering, and sorrow? If God is the Almighty, why has he permitted these conditions for so long? Is there hope of an end to all our troubles? What does the Bible say?
28. How did rebellion enter the Paradise garden?
28 The Bible shows that mankind’s troubles began when one of the spirit sons of God rebelled against Jehovah’s sovereignty, or dominion. (Romans 1:20; Psalm 103:22, NW Ref. Bi., ftn.) No doubt this angel was among those who had rejoiced at seeing the creation of man. But then covetousness and pride took root in his heart, and he was enticed by the desire to have Adam and Eve worship him instead of their Creator, Jehovah. Speaking through a serpent, much as a ventriloquist speaks through a dummy, this angel induced Eve to disobey Almighty God. Her husband Adam then followed her into disobedience.—Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-6; James 1:14, 15.
29. (a) What issues arose for determination? (b) How has God met the challenge? (c) How may you share in providing an answer to Satan’s taunting?
29 That rebellious angel came to be known as “the original serpent.” (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 11:3) He is also named Satan, meaning “Opposer,” and Devil, meaning “Slanderer.” He called into issue the rightness and righteousness of Jehovah’s rulership of earth, and he challenged God that now he, Satan, could turn all mankind aside from true worship. God has allowed Satan some 6,000 years to attempt to prove his challenge, so that the issue over Jehovah’s sovereignty might be settled for all eternity. Man-rule independent of God has failed miserably. But men and women of faith, among whom Jesus is the outstanding example, have kept integrity to God under the severest trials, vindicating Jehovah and proving the Devil a liar. (Luke 4:1-13; Job 1:7-12; 2:1-6; 27:5) You, too, can be an integrity keeper. (Proverbs 27:11) But Satan is not the only enemy that afflicts us. What other enemy is there?
30. What do the Scriptures say about the penalty resulting to man because of disobedience?
30 God had stated the penalty for disobedience—death. In passing sentence upon the first woman, Jehovah said: “I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.” To the man Adam he said: “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:16-19) The disobedient couple were expelled from the Paradise of happiness into the uncultivated earth. In course of time they died.—Genesis 5:5.
31. What is sin, and what has been its result to mankind?
31 It was only after they had fallen from the mark of perfection that Adam and Eve began to produce children. All men today are their descendants in imperfection, and hence all die. One Bible writer explains it in these words: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” What is this “sin”? It is a falling short of the mark of perfection or completeness. Jehovah God does not approve of or keep alive anything that is imperfect. Since all men have inherited sin and imperfection from the first man Adam, death has “ruled as king” over them. (Romans 5:12, 14) Fallen man dies, in the same way that the animals die.—Ecclesiastes 3:19-21.
32. How does the Bible describe the death that we have inherited?
32 What is this “death”? Death is the opposite of life. God had held before man the prospect of endless life on earth if he obeyed. However, he disobeyed, and the penalty was death, unconsciousness, nonexistence. God had said nothing about transferring man’s life to a spirit realm or to a fiery “hell” if he disobeyed and died. He had warned man: “You will positively die.” It was the man-slaying Devil who had lied in saying: “You positively will not die.” (Genesis 2:17; 3:4; John 8:44) What all men have inherited from Adam is dustlike death.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Psalm 115:17; 146:4.
33. (a) What glorious future awaits mankind and this earth? (b) What three important things does Jehovah accomplish through his Son?
33 Is there, then, no future for man who dies? There is a wonderful future! The Bible shows that God’s purpose of a paradise earth for all mankind, including those now dead, will never fail. Says Jehovah: “The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” “I shall glorify the very place of my feet.” (Isaiah 66:1; 60:13) Out of the abundance of his love, Jehovah sent his Son, the Word, to this earth, that the world of mankind might gain life through him. (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9) There are three important things that we must now discuss and that Jehovah accomplishes through his Son, namely, (1) providing a release from the power of death; (2) actually restoring the dead to life; and (3) establishing a perfect government over all mankind.
Release From Death
34, 35. (a) How only could man be redeemed from death? (b) What is a ransom?
34 From ancient times, God’s prophets have expressed their confidence, not in man’s immortality, but in the hope that God would “recover them” from death. (Hosea 13:14) But how could man be released from the bonds of death? Jehovah’s perfect justice required ‘soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ (Deuteronomy 19:21) Hence, since Adam brought inherited death to all mankind by willfully disobeying God and so losing perfection of human life, another perfect human had to substitute for Adam in paying over his perfect life, to buy back what Adam had lost.
35 The just principle of paying ‘like for like’ has been widely accepted throughout history. The expression commonly used is “paying a ransom.” What is a ransom? It is “a price paid to recover a person or thing from one who detains that person or thing in captivity. Hence prisoners of war or slaves are said to be ransomed when they are liberated in exchange for a valuable consideration. . . . Whatever is substituted or exchanged in compensation for the party is his ransom.”d Since Adam’s sin, all mankind have been like prisoners of war or slaves, bound by imperfection and death. To release them, a ransom had to be provided. To avoid any controversy now or later as to the fairness of the ransom price, it would be necessary to sacrifice one perfect human life, that is, the exact equivalent of Adam.
36. How did Jehovah provide a perfect human life as ransom?
36 However, where could such a perfect human life be found? All men, as descendants of the imperfect Adam, have been born imperfect. “Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalm 49:7) In answering the need, Jehovah, motivated by his deep love for mankind, actually provided his precious “firstborn” Son to become the necessary sacrifice. He transferred the perfect life of this spirit Son, the Word, to the womb of a Jewish virgin, Mary. The young woman conceived and in due course brought to birth a son, who was named “Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25) The Creator of life would logically be able to perform such a marvelous miracle.
37. How did Jesus show his love for all humans who desire life?
37 Jesus grew to manhood, presented himself to Jehovah, and was baptized. God then commissioned him to do His will. (Matthew 3:13, 16, 17) Since Jesus’ earthly life came from heaven and he was perfect, he could sacrifice that perfect human life, using it to release mankind from death. (Romans 6:23; 5:18, 19) As he said: “I have come that they might have life and might have it in abundance.” “No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.” (John 10:10; 15:13) When Satan had Jesus killed on a torture stake, Jesus submitted to this cruel death, knowing that humans exercising faith would gain life through this ransom provision.—Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.
Restoration to Life
38. How was the Son of God restored to life, and what proves this?
38 Even though his enemies killed him, the Son of God never lost his right to perfect human life, for he had kept integrity to God. But, being dead in the grave, how could Jesus use this valuable thing, the right to human life, on behalf of humankind? It was here that Jehovah performed another miracle, the first of its kind. On the third day of Jesus’ being in the grave, Jehovah raised him up out of death as a spirit creature, immortal. (Romans 6:9; 1 Peter 3:18) To establish belief in the resurrection, on different occasions Jesus materialized human bodies and appeared to his disciples, at one time to 500 and more of them. None of these, nor the apostle Paul who was later blinded by an appearance of the glorified Jesus, had any reason to doubt the miracle of his resurrection.—1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Acts 9:1-9.
39. (a) How does Jesus use the value of his sacrifice, and first on behalf of whom? (b) Of what other great miracle did Jesus speak?
39 After 40 days the resurrected Jesus ascended into God’s own presence in the heavens, there to present the value of his perfect human sacrifice as a release for mankind. “But this man offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.” (Hebrews 10:12, 13) The first ones to be released through this ransom are a “little flock” of faithful Christians “who belong to the Christ.” (Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 23) These are “bought from among mankind,” and hence in the resurrection they become spirit associates of Christ in the heavens. (Revelation 14:1-5) However, what of the great masses of mankind who now lie dead in their graves? When he was on this earth, Jesus said that his Father had granted him authority to judge and impart life. He added: “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, . . . to a resurrection.” (John 5:26-29) He will restore these to life in the Paradise earth.
40, 41. (a) Explain exactly what is meant by “resurrection.” (b) Why can we have faith in God’s resurrection promise?
40 Note Jesus’ words, “Do not marvel at this.” Even so, how can one long dead be released from death and be brought back to life? Has not his body returned to the dust? Some of the particles that made up that body may even have been assimilated into other living things, such as plants and animals. However, resurrection does not mean bringing the same chemical elements together again. It means that God re-creates the same person, with the same personality. He brings a new body forth from the earthly elements, and in that body he places the same characteristics, the same distinctive qualities, the same memory, the same life pattern that the person had built up by the time of his death.
41 It may have been your experience that your house that you loved very much was burned down. However, you could easily have the same house rebuilt, for the pattern of all its beloved details is very clear in your memory. Surely, then, God who is the Originator of memory can re-create men whom he has kept in his memory because he loved them. (Isaiah 64:8) This is why the Bible uses the expression “memorial tombs.” When it is God’s due time to bring the dead to life again, he will perform that miracle, just as he performed a miracle in creating the first man, only this time he will perform it many times over.—Genesis 2:7; Acts 24:15.
42. Why is everlasting life on earth possible and certain?
42 God will bring mankind back to life, with the prospect of never again dying off the earth. But how is everlasting life on earth possible? It is possible and certain because it is the divine will and purpose. (John 6:37-40; Matthew 6:10) The only reason that man dies off the earth today is that he inherited death from Adam. However, when we consider the infinite variety of wonderful things on earth that man was intended to enjoy, a brief life span of less than a hundred years is far too short! In giving this earth to the children of men, God purposed that man should keep on living to enjoy the splendors of His creation, not just for a hundred years, or even a thousand years, but forever!—Psalm 115:16; 133:3.
The Perfect Government of Peace
43. (a) What need is there for a perfect government? (b) What does Jehovah purpose in this regard?
43 Because our first parents rejected God’s law, human government came under the control of Satan. Appropriately the Bible calls Satan “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) The wars, the cruelties, the corruption, and the instability of man’s governments prove that he is. The League of Nations and the United Nations have failed to bring peace out of the confusion. Mankind cries out for a government of peace. Is it not reasonable that the Creator, who purposes to restore Paradise to this earth, would also provide a perfect government for that Paradise? That is exactly what Jehovah has purposed to do. The King representing Him in this government is his “Prince of Peace,” Christ Jesus, and “to the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.”—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
44. (a) Where will this government be? (b) How will it be made up?
44 The Bible shows that the perfect government will be in heaven. From this vantage point, the King Jesus Christ will effectively rule all the earth in righteousness. Moreover, he will have associate rulers in that invisible, heavenly government. These are chosen from among faithful humans, followers of Jesus who stuck with him through trials and to whom he says: “I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.” (Luke 22:28, 29) It is only a few from humankind who are taken to heaven to rule with Christ Jesus. It is similar to the nations today, where only a few are chosen to rule in the diet or parliament. The Bible shows that Jesus Christ will have just 144,000 associate rulers. So God’s Kingdom, or heavenly government, consists of Christ Jesus and 144,000 people taken from earth to heaven. (Revelation 14:1-4; 5:9, 10) And what about the earth? Psalm 45:16 mentions that the King will appoint “princes in all the earth.” Human “princes,” or governmental overseers, will be appointed from heaven because of their deep devotion to principles of righteousness.—Compare Isaiah 32:1.
45, 46. (a) What was the main theme of Jesus’ preaching on earth? (b) Why was the perfect government not established immediately? (c) How was 1914 C.E. an outstanding year in prophecy and in world events?
45 When and how is the perfect government established? When Jesus was on earth this Kingdom was the main theme of his preaching. (Matthew 4:17; Luke 8:1) However, he did not establish the Kingdom at that time, nor at his resurrection. (Acts 1:6-8) Even when he ascended into the heavens, he still had to wait for Jehovah’s appointed time. (Psalm 110:1, 2; Hebrews 1:13) Bible prophecy shows that appointed time came in 1914 C.E. However, someone will ask, ‘Rather than perfect government, did not 1914 mark the start of increased world woes?’ That is exactly the point! There is a close connection between the coming of God’s Kingdom and the catastrophic events of recent years, as we shall now see.
46 For some 35 years prior to 1914, The Watchtower (now the most widely distributed religious magazine on earth) had been calling attention to 1914 as a year marked in Bible prophecy. These prophecies began to have a remarkable fulfillment in 1914. One of these was Jesus’ own prophecy, uttered 1,900 years ago, concerning “the sign” that would appear at the end of the system of things and that would prove that he was invisibly present with kingly power. In answer to his disciples’ question about this “sign,” he said: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.” (Matthew 24:3, 7, 8) In striking fulfillment, the first of the world wars started in 1914, bringing destruction seven times greater than all the 900 wars of the preceding 2,500 years! Pangs of distress have continued ever since. Have you experienced the war destruction, the food shortages, or any of the great earthquakes that have plagued the earth since 1914? If so, you have been an eyewitness of “the sign” of “the time of the end” of this system of things.—Daniel 12:4.
47. How have events fulfilling “the sign” intensified in recent years?
47 The “pangs of distress” have heightened through World War II, which was four times as destructive as World War I, and on into the nuclear age, fulfilling Jesus’ further prophecy: “On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out . . . , while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” (Luke 21:25, 26) The increase in crime and wickedness, in disobedience and delinquency among children, as well as the growth of godlessness and immorality—these alarming developments were also foretold as marking “the last days” of this evil system.—2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:12.
48. Who is responsible for the woes on earth, and why have they increased since 1914?
48 However, if the heavenly government was established in 1914, why is there all this distress on earth? It is Satan the Devil who is responsible. When Christ received Kingdom power, his first act was to wage war on Satan in the invisible heavens. As a result, Satan, “who is misleading the entire inhabited earth,” was hurled with his angels down to the vicinity of the earth. Knowing that his destruction draws near, he stirs up great trouble on earth. It is “woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Revelation 12:7-9, 12.
49. (a) What will happen to those who are “ruining the earth”? (b) How will Jehovah execute his “judicial decision” on the nations?
49 Will there be an end to these woes? Yes!—when heaven’s government itself, the Kingdom of Almighty God, goes into action to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18; Daniel 2:44) Never will God permit political powers, false Christians, or anyone else to ruin his handiwork, the earth, with their nuclear devices. Rather, he declares: “My judicial decision is to gather nations, for me to collect together kingdoms, in order to pour out upon them my denunciation, all my burning anger.” (Zephaniah 3:8) Jehovah, through his Christ, will use great forces that he controls in the universe in bringing overwhelming destruction to all who follow Satan on earth. This will be on a global scale, similar in magnitude to the Flood of Noah’s day.—Jeremiah 25:31-34; 2 Peter 3:5-7, 10.
50. (a) What is “Armageddon”? (b) Who only will survive Armageddon?
50 In the Bible this destruction of wicked nations is called God’s battle of Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14-16) Only meek persons, those who seek Jehovah and righteousness, may survive Armageddon into God’s peaceful new system. (Zephaniah 2:3; Isaiah 26:20, 21) Concerning these the Bible says: “But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11) The grand work of restoring Paradise to the earth will then commence!
Education for Entering Paradise
51. Why is it necessary for you to take action now?
51 Would you like to live in Paradise? If your answer is ‘Yes,’ you will be thrilled to know that when Jesus spoke of today’s troubled system and “the sign” of its approaching destruction, he added, “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” Some, at least, of the generation that saw the “beginning of pangs of distress” in 1914 will live to see Paradise restored on earth. (Matthew 24:3-8, 34) However, it is a sad fact that most people today are on the broad road that leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13, 14) There is little time left for them to change. How thankful you can be that Jehovah has provided warning in time! Because Jehovah wants you to have life, he will help you to take the right steps.—2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23.
52. What do you need in order to make a wise choice as to religion?
52 Your urgent need now is accurate knowledge. (1 Timothy 2:4; John 17:3) Where can you get this? Can it be found in just any religion? Some people say all religions lead to the same goal, just as all paths on a mountain lead to the summit. How mistaken they are! In order to find the right path, mountaineers use maps, and they hire guides. Likewise, there is only the one religion of truth that will lead to everlasting life, and guidance is needed to find it.—Acts 8:26-31.
53. (a) To gain everlasting life, what must you continue to do? (b) What temptations from Satan may you need to overcome?
53 This brochure has been provided by Jehovah’s Witnesses to help you. It has already helped you to understand some basic Bible truths, has it not? No doubt you have confirmed for yourself that each point is based on God’s inspired Word. Now, to progress toward your goal, you must continue to learn. Just as a proper secular education is necessary to fit a person for a place in everyday society, so a proper Bible education is necessary to equip one for entering the society that will survive to live in the Paradise earth. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Satan may try to distract you by causing close associates to oppose you or by tempting you into selfish materialistic or immoral ways. Do not give in to Satan. Your safety and the whole future of you and your family depend on your studying the Bible further.—Matthew 10:36; 1 John 2:15-17.
54. What further provision for education has Jehovah made in your neighborhood?
54 Besides continuing your present Bible study, there is another way to learn. People in your neighborhood who are interested in Bible education regularly attend the local Kingdom Hall meetings. All who attend are there to take in instruction from the Bible and are sincerely trying to become better people. They readily welcome newcomers, saying, “Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah [his place of worship] . . . and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2:3) Good reasons for attending Bible meetings are explained in Hebrews 10:24, 25, which reads: “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, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”
55. (a) In what ways does Jehovah’s organization differ from others? (b) How are Jehovah’s Witnesses united as no other people?
55 As you associate with Jehovah’s organization, you will find the atmosphere very different from that of temples and churches. There is no soliciting of money, no backbiting or quarreling, and no discrimination because of family background or financial standing. The most outstanding quality among Jehovah’s Witnesses is love. First, they love Jehovah, and second, they love other people. These are marks of true Christians. (Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:35) You should attend their meetings and confirm this for yourself. No doubt you will be impressed by their unity. There are more than three million Witnesses worldwide in over 200 lands. Yet, Witnesses throughout the earth follow the same programs at their meetings. And because of simultaneous printing in many languages, at their weekly meetings most of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world study the same Scriptural subjects within a few hours of one another. The unity of Jehovah’s organization is a modern-day miracle in this divided world.
56. (a) What benefits may you receive from association with Jehovah’s organization? (b) When problems arise, how should you react? (c) Why is it important for you to dedicate your life to Jehovah?
56 As you associate regularly with Jehovah’s people, you will need to clothe yourself with “the new personality” and cultivate the fruitage of God’s spirit—“love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.” (Colossians 3:10, 12-14; Galatians 5:22, 23) This will bring you deep contentment. You may have problems to overcome from time to time because you live in a corrupt world and also because of your own imperfections. But Jehovah will help you. His Word assures those who are sincerely trying to please him: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) You will be drawn by Jehovah’s love, so that you will want to serve him. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to show you how you can dedicate your life to this loving God and become one of his privileged witnesses. (Psalm 104:33; Luke 9:23) Yes, it is a privilege. Just think! As a worshiper of Jehovah, you can reach out for the goal of everlasting life in a paradise here on earth.—Zephaniah 2:3; Isaiah 25:6, 8.
57. (a) In the new system, what intimate relationship will there be between God and mankind? (b) What are some of the blessings you may then enjoy?
57 Continue, then, to study and to grow in love and appreciation of Jehovah God, his Son, and the heavenly government of righteousness. In describing the government of God and the blessings it will shower on mankind, the Bible prophecy says: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them.” “God himself,” who is exalted so far above the selfish, ruinous man-rule of this day, will be very close as a kind Father to all those who love and worship him in that new system. Indeed, there will be only the one religion, the true worship of Jehovah God, and his worshipers will enjoy the intimate relationship of children to the Father. What a loving Father he will show himself to be! “And 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 21:3, 4.
58. Why can you be assured that Jehovah will ‘make all things new’?
58 Thus the great miracle of establishing a paradise earth under a perfect heavenly government will have been accomplished. It is as certain as the fact that the sun will rise and set tomorrow. For the promises of Jehovah God, Creator of heaven and earth, are ever “faithful and true.” He it is who declares from his throne in heaven: “Look! I am making all things new.”—Revelation 21:5.
In reviewing this brochure, how would you answer the following questions?
In what ways is the Bible outstanding?
What did you learn about God?
Who is Christ Jesus?
Who is Satan the Devil?
Why has God permitted wickedness?
Why does man die?
What is the condition of the dead?
What is the ransom?
Where and how does the resurrection take place?
What is the Kingdom, and what will it accomplish?
What is “the sign” of “the conclusion of the system of things”?
How may you prepare for everlasting life in Paradise?
a Bible references in support of the above paragraphs: (1) Acts 17:26; Psalm 46:9; Micah 4:3, 4; Isaiah 65:21-23; (2) Isaiah 65:25; 11:6-9; 55:12, 13; Psalm 67:6, 7; (3) Job 33:25; Isaiah 35:5, 6; 33:24; Psalm 104:24; (4) Isaiah 55:11.
b Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations in this publication are from the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1984 edition.
c Monarchs and Tombs and Peoples—The Dawn of the Orient, page 25.
d Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, by J. McClintock and J. Strong, Volume 8, page 908.
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As a creation, man is far superior to the animals
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Jesus was equal to the perfect man Adam