“Be Joyful Forever in What I Am Creating”
1. What reassuring words were penned by the apostle Peter, and what question arises?
WILL we ever see an end to injustices and suffering? Over 1,900 years ago, the apostle Peter penned these reassuring words: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to [God’s] promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) Peter, along with many other faithful servants of God throughout the centuries, looked forward to the grand day when lawlessness, oppression, and violence would cease and righteousness would prevail. Can we be sure that this promise will be fulfilled?
2. Which prophet had spoken of “new heavens and a new earth,” and what fulfillments does that ancient prophecy have?
2 Yes, we can! When Peter spoke of “new heavens and a new earth,” he was not introducing a new idea. About 800 years earlier, Jehovah through the prophet Isaiah uttered similar words. That earlier promise had a small-scale fulfillment in 537 B.C.E. when the Jews were released from Babylonish captivity, enabling them to return to their homeland. But Isaiah’s prophecy is having a grand fulfillment today, and we look forward to an even more thrilling fulfillment in God’s coming new world. Indeed, the heartwarming prophecy given through Isaiah provides a glimpse of the blessings that God has in store for those who love him.
Jehovah Reaches Out to “a Stubborn People”
3. What question is answered for us in Isaiah chapter 65?
3 Recall that Isaiah 63:15–64:12 contains Isaiah’s prophetic prayer on behalf of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. As Isaiah’s words make clear, many Jews are not worshiping Jehovah whole-souled, but some have repented and turned to him. Will Jehovah now restore the nation for the sake of that contrite remnant? We find the answer in Isaiah chapter 65. But before uttering a promise of deliverance for the few who are faithful, Jehovah describes the judgment awaiting the many who are without faith.
4. (a) In contrast with his rebellious people, who will search for Jehovah? (b) How did the apostle Paul apply Isaiah 65:1, 2?
4 Jehovah has put up with persistent rebelliousness on the part of his people. The time will come, however, when he will abandon them to their enemies and kindly welcome others into his favor. Through Isaiah, Jehovah says: “I have let myself be searched for by those who had not asked for me. I have let myself be found by those who had not looked for me. I have said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that was not calling upon my name.” (Isaiah 65:1) It is a sad commentary on Jehovah’s covenant people that those of the nations will come to Jehovah but stubborn Judah as a whole will refuse to do so. Isaiah is not the only prophet to foretell that God will ultimately choose a people not previously recognized. (Hosea 1:10; 2:23) The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 65:1, 2 from the Septuagint to prove that people of the nations would obtain “the righteousness that results from faith” even though natural-born Jews refused to do so.—Romans 9:30; 10:20, 21.
5, 6. (a) What earnest desire has Jehovah manifested, but how have his people responded? (b) What can we learn from Jehovah’s dealings with Judah?
5 Jehovah explains why he will allow his own people to suffer calamity: “I have spread out my hands all day long to a stubborn people, those who are walking in the way that is not good, after their thoughts.” (Isaiah 65:2) To spread out one’s hands denotes an invitation or an entreaty. Jehovah has spread out his hands, not just briefly, but all day long. His heartfelt desire is that Judah return to him. Yet, this stubborn people has failed to respond.
6 What a heartwarming lesson we learn from Jehovah’s words! He wants us to draw close to him because he is an approachable God. (James 4:8) These words also show us that Jehovah is humble. (Psalm 113:5, 6) After all, he continues figuratively to spread out his hands, entreating his people to return despite the fact that their stubbornness has made him “feel hurt.” (Psalm 78:40, 41) Only after appealing to them for centuries does he finally abandon them to their enemies. Even then, he does not close the door on humble individuals among them.
7, 8. In what ways have Jehovah’s stubborn people provoked him?
7 The stubborn Jews have repeatedly provoked Jehovah by their disgraceful conduct. Jehovah describes their offensive actions: “The people made up of those offending me right to my face constantly, sacrificing in the gardens and making sacrificial smoke upon the bricks, seating themselves among the burial places, who also pass the night even in the watch huts, eating the flesh of the pig, even the broth of foul things being in their vessels; those who are saying, ‘Keep close to yourself. Do not approach me, for I shall certainly convey holiness to you.’ These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire burning all day long.” (Isaiah 65:3-5) These seemingly pious ones are offending Jehovah ‘right to his face’—an expression that may imply audacity and disrespect. They make no effort to conceal their abominations. Is it not especially reprehensible to commit sins in the very presence of the One who ought to be honored and obeyed?
8 These self-righteous sinners are, in effect, saying to other Jews: ‘Keep your distance, for I am holier than you.’ What hypocrisy! These “pious” ones are offering sacrifices and burning incense to false deities, which God’s Law condemns. (Exodus 20:2-6) They are sitting among the burial places, which makes them unclean according to the Law. (Numbers 19:14-16) They are eating the flesh of the pig, an unclean food.a (Leviticus 11:7) Yet, their religious activities make them feel holier than other Jews, and they want other people to keep away so that these will not become sanctified, as it were, or clean, by mere association. Nevertheless, that is not at all how the God who exacts “exclusive devotion” views matters!—Deuteronomy 4:24.
9. How does Jehovah view the self-righteous sinners?
9 Rather than considering these self-righteous ones to be holy, Jehovah says: “These are a smoke in my nostrils.” The Hebrew word for “nose” or “nostril” is often used figuratively for anger. Smoke too is associated with Jehovah’s burning anger. (Deuteronomy 29:20) The disgusting idolatry into which his people have fallen has provoked Jehovah’s burning anger.
10. How will Jehovah repay those in Judah for their sins?
10 In his justice, Jehovah cannot let these willful sinners go unpunished. Isaiah writes: “‘Look! It is written before me. I shall not keep still, but I will render a reward; I will even render the reward into their own bosom, for their own errors and for the errors of their forefathers at the same time,’ Jehovah has said. ‘Because they have made sacrificial smoke upon the mountains, and upon the hills they have reproached me, I will also measure out their wages first of all into their own bosom.’” (Isaiah 65:6, 7) By engaging in false worship, these Jews have reproached Jehovah. They have made worship of the true God appear to be no better than that of the nations around them. “For their own errors,” including idolatry and spiritism, Jehovah will recompense them “into their own bosom.” The expression “bosom” evidently refers to a gathered fold of the upper garment that formed a pouch where vendors might pour a measured amount of produce. (Luke 6:38) For apostate Jews, the meaning is clear—Jehovah will measure out their “reward,” or punishment. The God of justice will exact retribution. (Psalm 79:12; Jeremiah 32:18) Since Jehovah does not change, we can be confident that in his due time, he will measure out punishment in a similar way on this wicked system of things.—Malachi 3:6.
“For the Sake of My Servants”
11. How does Jehovah indicate that he will save a faithful remnant?
11 Will Jehovah show mercy to faithful ones among his people? Isaiah explains: “This is what Jehovah has said: ‘In the same way that the new wine is found in the cluster and someone has to say, “Do not ruin it, because there is a blessing in it,” so I shall do for the sake of my servants in order not to bring everybody to ruin. And I will bring forth out of Jacob an offspring and out of Judah the hereditary possessor of my mountains; and my chosen ones must take possession of it, and my own servants will reside there.’” (Isaiah 65:8, 9) In comparing his people to a cluster of grapes, Jehovah uses an illustration that they can readily understand. Grapes are abundant in the land, and wine made from grapes is a blessing for mankind. (Psalm 104:15) The image presented may be that of a cluster on which some, but not all, of the grapes are good. Or the idea may be that one cluster is good, while other clusters are unripe or rotten. In either case, the vinedresser will not destroy good grapes. Jehovah thus reassures his people that he will not utterly destroy the nation but will spare a faithful remnant. He states that this favored remnant will possess his “mountains,” that is, Jerusalem and the land of Judah, the hilly country that Jehovah claimed as his own.
12. What blessings await the faithful remnant?
12 What blessings await this faithful remnant? Jehovah explains: “Sharon must become a pasture ground for sheep and the low plain of Achor a resting-place for cattle, for my people who will have looked for me.” (Isaiah 65:10) Flocks play an important role in the lives of many Jews, and abundant grazing land helps to create prosperity during times of peace. Jehovah refers to two extremities of the land in order to paint a picture of peace and prosperity. To the west the Plain of Sharon, noted for its beauty and fertility, stretches along the Mediterranean Coast. The Valley of Achor forms part of the northeastern boundary of the land. (Joshua 15:7) During the coming exile, these areas will lie waste, along with the rest of the land. Jehovah promises, however, that after the exile they will become beautiful pasture grounds for the returning remnant.—Isaiah 35:2; Hosea 2:15.
Trusting in “the God of Good Luck”
13, 14. What practices show that God’s people have left him, and what will happen to them as a result?
13 Isaiah’s prophecy now turns back to those who have left Jehovah and have persisted in idolatry. It says: “You men are those leaving Jehovah, those forgetting my holy mountain, those setting in order a table for the god of Good Luck and those filling up mixed wine for the god of Destiny.” (Isaiah 65:11) By setting a table of food and drink before “the god of Good Luck” and “the god of Destiny,” these backsliding Jews have fallen into the idolatrous practices of the heathen nations.b What will become of any who naively trust in these gods?
14 Jehovah forthrightly warns them: “I will destine you men to the sword, and you will all of you bow down to being slaughtered; for the reason that I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not listen; and you kept doing what was bad in my eyes, and the thing in which I took no delight you chose.” (Isaiah 65:12) With a pun on the name of the god of Destiny in the original Hebrew, Jehovah says that those who are worshiping this false deity will be ‘destined to the sword,’ that is, to destruction. Jehovah has repeatedly called these men to repentance by means of his prophets, but they have ignored him and have stubbornly chosen to do what they know is bad in his eyes. What contempt they show for God! In fulfillment of God’s warning, the nation will suffer a great catastrophe in 607 B.C.E. when Jehovah allows the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and her temple. At that time “the god of Good Luck” will fail to protect its devotees in Judah and Jerusalem.—2 Chronicles 36:17.
15. In what way do true Christians today heed the warning found at Isaiah 65:11, 12?
15 Today true Christians heed the warning found at Isaiah 65:11, 12. They do not believe in “Good Luck,” as if it were some kind of supernatural force able to bestow favors. Refusing to squander their material possessions in trying to appease “the god of Good Luck,” they avoid all forms of gambling. They are convinced that those devoting themselves to this god will eventually lose everything, for to such ones Jehovah says: “I will destine you men to the sword.”
“Look! My Own Servants Will Rejoice”
16. In what ways will Jehovah bless his faithful servants, but what will be true of those who have forsaken him?
16 In reproving those who have abandoned Jehovah, the prophecy describes the contrasting portions awaiting those who sincerely worship God and those who do so hypocritically: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Look! My own servants will eat, but you yourselves will go hungry. Look! My own servants will drink, but you yourselves will go thirsty. Look! My own servants will rejoice, but you yourselves will suffer shame. Look! My own servants will cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart, but you yourselves will make outcries because of the pain of heart and you will howl because of sheer breakdown of spirit.’” (Isaiah 65:13, 14) Jehovah will bless his faithful servants. With hearts overflowing with joy, they will break out in shouting. Eating, drinking, and rejoicing are terms signifying that Jehovah will abundantly satisfy the needs of his worshipers. In contrast, those who have chosen to forsake Jehovah will hunger and thirst spiritually. Their needs will not be satisfied. They will cry out and howl because of the anguish and distress that will come upon them.
17. Why do God’s people today have good reason to cry out joyfully?
17 Jehovah’s words well describe the spiritual condition today of those who merely claim to serve God. While Christendom’s millions suffer breakdown of spirit, however, Jehovah’s worshipers cry out joyfully. And they have good reason to rejoice. They are well fed spiritually. Jehovah provides them with an abundant supply of spiritual food through Bible-based publications and Christian gatherings. Truly, the upbuilding truths and the comforting promises of God’s Word give us a “good condition of the heart”!
18. What will remain of those who have forsaken Jehovah, and what may be suggested by the use of their name in an oath?
18 Jehovah continues to address those who have forsaken him: “You men will certainly lay up your name for an oath by my chosen ones, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will actually put you individually to death, but his own servants he will call by another name; so that anyone blessing himself in the earth will bless himself by the God of faith, and anyone making a sworn statement in the earth will swear by the God of faith; because the former distresses will actually be forgotten and because they will actually be concealed from my eyes.” (Isaiah 65:15, 16) All that will remain of those who have forsaken Jehovah is their name, which will be used only in an oath, or a curse. This may mean that those who wish to bind themselves in a solemn manner by an oath will, in effect, say: ‘If I do not fulfill this promise, let me experience the punishment that those apostates received.’ It may even mean that their name will be used illustratively, like Sodom and Gomorrah, as a symbol of God’s punishment of the wicked.
19. How will God’s servants be called by another name, and why will they have confidence in the God of faithfulness? (See also footnote.)
19 How different the lot of God’s own servants will be! They will be called by another name. That signifies the blessed condition and honor they will enjoy back in their homeland. They will not seek a blessing from any false god or swear by any lifeless idol. Instead, when they bless themselves or swear an oath, they will do so by the God of faithfulness. (Isaiah 65:16, footnote) The inhabitants of the land will have reason for complete confidence in God, for he will have proved himself to be true to his promises.c Safe in their homeland, the Jews will soon forget the former distresses.
“I Am Creating New Heavens and a New Earth”
20. How was Jehovah’s promise of “new heavens and a new earth” fulfilled in 537 B.C.E.?
20 Jehovah now expands on his promise to restore a repentant remnant after their return from exile in Babylon. Through Isaiah, Jehovah says: “Here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” (Isaiah 65:17) Jehovah’s promise of restoration is certain to be fulfilled, so he speaks of that future restoration as if it were already taking place. This prophecy was initially fulfilled in 537 B.C.E. when the Jewish remnant was restored to Jerusalem. What constituted the “new heavens” at that time? The governorship of Zerubbabel supported by High Priest Joshua and centered at Jerusalem. The restored Jewish remnant made up “a new earth,” a cleansed society that submitted to such rulership and helped to reestablish pure worship in the land. (Ezra 5:1, 2) The joy of that restoration eclipsed all previous suffering; the former distresses were not even called to mind.—Psalm 126:1, 2.
21. What new heavens came into existence in 1914?
21 Recall, however, that Peter echoed Isaiah’s prophecy and showed that it had a future fulfillment. The apostle wrote: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) In 1914 the long-awaited new heavens came into existence. The Messianic Kingdom born in that year rules from heaven itself, and Jehovah has given it authority over all the earth. (Psalm 2:6-8) This Kingdom government, under Christ and his 144,000 corulers, is the new heavens.—Revelation 14:1.
22. Who will make up the new earth, and how are people being prepared even now to become the nucleus of that arrangement?
22 What of the new earth? Following the pattern of the ancient fulfillment, the new earth will be made up of people who gladly submit to the rulership of the new heavenly government. Even now, millions of rightly disposed individuals subject themselves to this government and strive to follow its laws as found in the Bible. These ones come from all nationalities, languages, and races, and they work together to serve the reigning King Jesus Christ. (Micah 4:1-4) After the passing of the present wicked system of things, this group will form the nucleus of a new earth that will eventually be a globe-encircling society of God-fearing humans who inherit the earthly realm of God’s Kingdom.—Matthew 25:34.
23. What information do we find in the book of Revelation concerning “a new heaven and a new earth,” and how will this prophecy be fulfilled?
23 The book of Revelation describes a vision the apostle John saw of the coming day of Jehovah, when this system of things will be removed. After that, Satan will be abyssed. (Revelation 19:11–20:3) Following that description, John echoes the prophetic words of Isaiah, writing: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” The subsequent verses of the account of this glorious vision tell of the time when Jehovah God will radically change conditions on this earth for the better. (Revelation 21:1, 3-5) Clearly, Isaiah’s promise of “new heavens and a new earth” will have a wonderful fulfillment in God’s new world! Under the new governmental heavens, a new earthly society will enjoy a paradise that is both spiritual and physical. Comforting indeed is the promise that “the former things [sicknesses, suffering, and the many other woes humans face] will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” Whatever we may remember at that time will not cause us the deep hurt, or pain, that now burdens the hearts of many.
24. Why will Jehovah rejoice over the restoration of Jerusalem, and what will no longer be heard in the streets of that city?
24 Isaiah’s prophecy continues: “Exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating. For here I am creating Jerusalem a cause for joyfulness and her people a cause for exultation. And I will be joyful in Jerusalem and exult in my people; and no more will there be heard in her the sound of weeping or the sound of a plaintive cry.” (Isaiah 65:18, 19) Not only will the Jews rejoice over being restored to their homeland but God himself will rejoice, for he will make Jerusalem beautiful—once again the center of true worship in the earth. The sound of weeping over calamity, which was heard in the streets of that city decades earlier, will be heard no more.
25, 26. (a) In our day, how does Jehovah make Jerusalem “a cause for joyfulness”? (b) How will Jehovah use New Jerusalem, and why can we today exult?
25 Today, too, Jehovah makes Jerusalem “a cause for joyfulness.” How? As we have already seen, the new heavens that came into existence in 1914 will eventually include 144,000 corulers, who have a share in the heavenly government. These are prophetically described as “New Jerusalem.” (Revelation 21:2) It is with regard to New Jerusalem that God says: “Here I am creating Jerusalem a cause for joyfulness and her people a cause for exultation.” New Jerusalem will be used by God to shower untold blessings on obedient mankind. No more will be heard the sound of weeping or a plaintive cry, for Jehovah will satisfy “the requests of [our] heart.”—Psalm 37:3, 4.
26 Truly, there is every reason for us today to exult! Soon Jehovah will sanctify his illustrious name by destroying all opposers. (Psalm 83:17, 18) Then the new heavens will be in complete control. What wonderful reasons these are to exult and be joyful forever in what God is creating!
The Promise of a Secure Future
27. In what way does Isaiah describe the security that the returning Jews will enjoy in their homeland?
27 In the first fulfillment, what is life to be like for returning Jews under the new heavens? Jehovah says: “No more will there come to be a suckling a few days old from that place, neither an old man that does not fulfill his days; for one will die as a mere boy, although a hundred years of age; and as for the sinner, although a hundred years of age he will have evil called down upon him.” (Isaiah 65:20) What a beautiful picture of the security that the returning exiles will enjoy in their restored homeland! Untimely death will not claim a newborn, who is but a few days old. Neither will such a death take an older man who has not yet lived out a full life span.d How reassuring Isaiah’s words are to the Jews who will return to Judah! Safe in their land, they need not worry that enemies will carry off their babes or slaughter their men.
28. What do we learn from Jehovah’s words about life in the new world under his Kingdom?
28 What do Jehovah’s words tell us about life in the coming new world? Under God’s Kingdom, every child will have the prospect of a secure future. Never will death claim a God-fearing man in his prime. On the contrary, obedient mankind will be safe, secure, able to enjoy life. What of any who choose to rebel against God? Such ones will lose the privilege of life. Even if the rebellious sinner is “a hundred years of age,” he will die. In such a case, he will be “a mere boy” compared to what he could have become—a man with endless life.
29. (a) God’s obedient people will have what joys in the restored land of Judah? (b) Why are trees a fitting illustration of longevity? (See footnote.)
29 Jehovah continues his description of the conditions that will prevail in the restored land of Judah: “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full.” (Isaiah 65:21, 22) After returning to the desolate and no doubt houseless and vineless land of Judah, God’s obedient people will have the joy of living in their own homes and of eating the fruitage of their own vineyards. God will bless their work, and they will have long lives—like the days of a tree—in which to enjoy the fruits of their labors.e
30. What happy situation do Jehovah’s servants enjoy today, and what will they enjoy in the new world?
30 In our day, there has been a fulfillment of this prophecy. Jehovah’s people came forth from spiritual exile in 1919 and began restoring their “land,” or realm of activity and worship. They built congregations and cultivated spiritual fruitfulness. As a result, even now Jehovah’s people enjoy a spiritual paradise and God-given peace. We can be sure that such peace will continue into the physical Paradise. We cannot even begin to imagine what Jehovah will accomplish with the willing hearts and hands of his worshipers in the new world. What a joy it will be to build your own home and then to live in it! Under Kingdom rule, there will be no shortage of satisfying work. How rewarding it will be always to “see good” for the fruits of your own labors! (Ecclesiastes 3:13) Will we have ample time to enjoy to the full the work of our hands? Yes, indeed! The unending lives of faithful humans will be “like the days of a tree”—thousands of years, and more!
31, 32. (a) What blessings will the returning exiles enjoy? (b) In the new world, what prospect will faithful humans have?
31 Jehovah describes more blessings that await the returning exiles: “They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them.” (Isaiah 65:23) Those restored Jews will be blessed by Jehovah, so they will not labor in vain. Parents will not bring forth children merely for these to suffer an early death. The former exiles will not be alone in enjoying the blessings of the restoration; their offspring will be with them. So eager is God to fulfill his people’s needs that he promises: “It will actually occur that before they call out I myself shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I myself shall hear.”—Isaiah 65:24.
32 How will Jehovah fulfill these promises in the coming new world? We will have to wait and see. Jehovah has not provided all the details, but we can be sure that faithful humans will never again “toil for nothing.” The great crowd of Armageddon survivors and any children who may be born to them will have the prospect of a very long and satisfying life—everlasting life! Those who come back in the resurrection and who choose to live in harmony with God’s standards will also find joy in the new world. Jehovah will hear and respond to their needs, even anticipating them. Indeed, Jehovah will open his hand and satisfy the proper “desire of every living thing.”—Psalm 145:16.
33. When the Jews return to their homeland, in what sense will the animals be at peace?
33 How far-reaching will the promised peace and security be? Jehovah concludes this portion of the prophecy: “‘The wolf and the lamb themselves will feed as one, and the lion will eat straw just like the bull; and as for the serpent, his food will be dust. They will do no harm nor cause any ruin in all my holy mountain,’ Jehovah has said.” (Isaiah 65:25) When the faithful Jewish remnant return to their homeland, they will be under Jehovah’s care. A lion will, in effect, eat straw like a bull, for the lion will do no harm to the Jews or their domestic animals. This promise is sure, for it concludes with the words, “Jehovah has said.” And his word always comes true!—Isaiah 55:10, 11.
34. What thrilling fulfillment do Jehovah’s words have today and in the new world?
34 Jehovah’s words are finding a thrilling fulfillment among true worshipers today. Since 1919, God has blessed the spiritual land of his people, transforming it into a spiritual paradise. Those coming into this spiritual paradise make remarkable changes in their lives. (Ephesians 4:22-24) With the help of God’s spirit, individuals who at one time had beastlike personalities—who perhaps exploited or otherwise victimized their fellowman—make progress in taming undesirable traits. As a result, they enjoy peace and unity of worship with fellow believers. The blessings now enjoyed by Jehovah’s people in their spiritual paradise will extend into the physical Paradise, where the peace prevailing among humans will be matched by peace with the animals. We can be sure that in God’s due time, his original commission to mankind will be properly carried out: “Subdue [the earth], 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.
35. Why do we have every reason to “be joyful forever”?
35 How grateful we are for Jehovah’s promise to create “new heavens and a new earth”! That promise had a fulfillment in 537 B.C.E. and is having a further fulfillment today. These two fulfillments point the way to a glorious future for obedient mankind. Jehovah has kindly given us, through Isaiah’s prophecy, a glimpse of what he has in store for those who love him. Truly, we have every reason to heed Jehovah’s words: “Be joyful forever in what I am creating”!—Isaiah 65:18.
a Many think that these sinners were at the burial places attempting to communicate with the dead. Their eating the flesh of the pig may have been connected with idol worship.
b Commenting on this verse, Bible translator Jerome (born in the fourth century C.E.) tells of an ancient custom observed by idolaters on the last day of the final month of their year. He wrote: “They would spread a table covered with various kinds of foods and a cup mixed with sweet wine to ensure good luck for the fertility of either the past or the coming year.”
c According to Isaiah 65:16 in the Hebrew Masoretic text, Jehovah is “the God of Amen.” “Amen” means “so be it,” or “surely,” and is an affirmation or guarantee that something is true or is bound to come true. By carrying out all that he promises, Jehovah shows that what he says is true.
e Trees are a fitting illustration of longevity, for they are among the most enduring living things known. For example, an olive tree produces fruit for hundreds of years and may live up to a thousand years.
[Picture on page 389]
In God’s new world, we will have ample time to enjoy the work of our hands