God’s Purpose Soon to Be Realized
1, 2. Why can we be sure that God will take action to end wickedness and suffering?
1 Although God has permitted imperfection and suffering for a long time from the human viewpoint, he will not allow bad conditions to go on indefinitely. The Bible tells us that God has a specific time period for allowing these things to happen.
2 “For everything there is an appointed time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) When God’s allotted time for permitting wickedness and suffering comes to its conclusion, then he will intervene in human affairs. He will bring an end to wickedness and suffering and will fulfill his original purpose to have the earth filled with a perfect, happy human family enjoying total peace and economic security amid Paradise conditions.
3, 4. How does the book of Proverbs describe the results of God’s intervention?
3 Note a few of the many Bible prophecies that state what God’s intervention, that is, the results of his judgments, will soon mean for the human family:
4 “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.
5, 6. How does Psalm 37 show what will happen when God intervenes?
5 “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 . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:9-11.
6 “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it. Watch the blameless one and keep the upright one in sight, for the future of that man will be peaceful. But the transgressors themselves will certainly be annihilated together; the future of wicked people will indeed be cut off.”—Psalm 37:34, 37, 38.
7. What sound counsel does God’s Word give us?
7 Therefore, in view of the marvelous future that will come to those who recognize the almighty Creator’s right to rule us, we are urged: “My commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you.” In fact, eternal life will be added to those who choose to do God’s will! Thus, God’s Word counsels us: “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.”—Proverbs 3:1, 2, 5, 6.
God’s Rule From Heaven
8, 9. By what means will God cleanse this earth?
8 God will accomplish this cleansing of the earth by means of the best government that mankind could ever have. It is a government that reflects heavenly wisdom because it rules from heaven under God’s direction. And that heavenly Kingdom will remove all forms of human rule from earth. Humans will never again have the option of trying to rule independent of God.
9 In this regard the prophecy at Daniel 2:44 states: “In the days of those kings [present-day governments] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom [in heaven] that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people [humans will never again be permitted to rule independent of God]. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [now existing], and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—See also Revelation 19:11-21; 20:4-6.
10. Why can we be certain that under God’s heavenly Kingdom, there will never again be corruption in rulership?
10 Thus, mankind will never again have corrupt forms of rule, for after God brings this system to its end, human rule independent of him will never exist again. And the Kingdom ruling from heaven will not be corrupted, since God is its Originator and Preserver. Instead, it will operate in the best interests of its human subjects. God’s will is then going to be done throughout the earth as it is in heaven. That is why Jesus could teach his disciples to pray to God: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:10.
How Close Are We?
11. Where in the Bible do we find prophecies that will help us determine how close we are to this system’s end?
11 How close are we to the end of this unsatisfactory system of things and the beginning of God’s new world? Bible prophecy clearly gives us the answer. For instance, Jesus himself foretold what to look for so that we could determine our position in relation to, as the Bible puts it, “the conclusion of the system of things.” This is recorded in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Also, as recorded in 2 Timothy chapter 3, the apostle Paul foretold that there would be a period of time called “the last days” when various events would further verify where we are in the stream of time.
12, 13. What did Jesus and Paul say about the time of the end?
12 Jesus said that this period of time would begin with these events: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.” (Matthew 24:7) Luke 21:11 shows that he also mentioned “in one place after another pestilences.” And he warned, too, of “the increasing of lawlessness.”—Matthew 24:12.
13 The apostle Paul foretold: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power . . . Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13.
14, 15. How do the events of this 20th century verify that we have indeed been in the last days?
14 Have those things that Jesus and Paul foretold taken place in our time? Yes, they certainly have. World War I was by far the worst war up to that time. It was the first world war and was the turning point in modern history. Along with that war went food shortages, disease epidemics, and other calamities. Those events from 1914 onward were, as Jesus put it, “a beginning of pangs of distress.” (Matthew 24:8) They began the foretold period of time called “the last days,” the beginning of the last generation when God would permit wickedness and suffering.
15 Likely you are familiar with the events of the 20th century. You know the chaos that has arisen. Some 100 million people have been killed in wars. Hundreds of millions of others have died from hunger and from sickness. Earthquakes have taken countless lives. Disregard for life and property grows. Fear of crime has become part of everyday life. Moral standards have been shoved aside. The population explosion poses problems that are not being solved. Pollution is spoiling the quality of life and is even endangering it. Truly, we have been in the last days since 1914 and are nearing the culmination of Bible prophecies involving our time.
16. How long a time period do the last days encompass?
16 How long a time period would these last days prove to be? Jesus said regarding the era that would experience the “beginning of pangs of distress” from 1914 onward: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Matthew 24:8, 34-36) Thus, all the features of the last days must take place within the lifetime of one generation, the generation of 1914. So some people who were alive in 1914 will still be alive when this system comes to its end. That generation of people is now very advanced in years, indicating that there is not much time left before God brings this present system of things to an end.
17, 18. What prophecy shows we are very near this world’s end?
17 Another prophecy showing that the end of this system is very near was given by the apostle Paul, who foretold: “Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them . . . , and they will by no means escape.”—1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3; see also Luke 21:34, 35.
18 Today the Cold War is over, and international war may no longer be a major threat. So the nations may feel that they are well on the way toward a new world order. But when they feel that their efforts are succeeding, it will mean the opposite of what they think, for that will be the final signal that this system’s destruction by God is imminent. Remember, political negotiations and treaties are not making any real changes in people. They are not making people love one another. And world leaders are not putting a stop to crime, nor are they eliminating disease and death. So do not put your trust in any development of human peace and security and think that this world is on its way to solving its problems. (Psalm 146:3) What such a cry will really mean is that this world is very near to being on its way out.
Preaching Good News
19, 20. What prophecy involving preaching in the last days do we see undergoing fulfillment?
19 Another prophecy that shows we have been in the last days since 1914 is one that Jesus gave: “In all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” (Mark 13:10) Or as Matthew 24:14 renders it: “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.”
20 Today as never before in history, the good news of this world’s end and of the incoming Paradise new world under God’s Kingdom is being preached all over the earth. By whom? By millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are preaching in every country on earth.
21, 22. What, especially, identifies Jehovah’s Witnesses as true Christians?
21 In addition to their preaching about God’s Kingdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses are behaving in the manner that identifies them as Christ’s true followers, for he declared: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” Thus, Jehovah’s Witnesses are united in a global brotherhood by an unbreakable bond of love.—John 13:35; see also Isaiah 2:2-4; Colossians 3:14; John 15:12-14; 1 John 3:10-12; 4:20, 21; Revelation 7:9, 10.
22 Jehovah’s Witnesses believe what 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) They view their fellow Witnesses in all countries as spiritual brothers and sisters, regardless of race or color. (Matthew 23:8) And the fact that such a global brotherhood does exist in the world today adds to the evidence that God’s purpose will soon be realized.
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God’s perfect heavenly Kingdom will be mankind’s only rulership in the new world