Hope of Survival Faces the Problem
1. Why can no hope of survival be held out to this generation by worldly elements?
NO HOPE of survival can be held out to this generation by politics, militarism, capitalism, communism, socialism, or the religions of Christendom and pagandom. Their defensive measures for what these see coming will not be able to stand up under the execution of divine judgment upon the nations.
2. From a worldly standpoint, why would previous death be better than survival of another world war, and so why ought we to be thankful for having the Bible?
2 Back in 1952, the then eighty-year-old British author, philosopher, mathematician, Lord Bertrand Russell, was reported as saying: “I should like to live another ten years provided there is not another world war meanwhile. If there is, there will be something to be said for being dead.” To this British lord death beforehand was to be preferred to living on into another world war, the war with nuclear weapons and CBR war weapons. Say that remnants of nations did survive such a war. Yet the nations can offer no hope of there being afterward anything beautiful, uplifting and healthful for which to live on earth. How glad and thankful we ought to be, then, that we have the sacred Bible! It offers the true, reliable hope. With this hope we can face the problem of survival. Without the Bible we should truly be left without hope.
3. How does God show whether he is interested in mankind’s survival, and what assurance did Jesus give us in his prophecy about the greatest tribulation?
3 The God of the sacred Bible is highly interested in mankind’s survival. In his Bible he holds out the only hope for survival. His Bible plainly states that he has provided for man’s eternal survival. On the pages of the Bible Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has assured us of the survival of human flesh on earth when he added to his prophecy about the greatest tribulation of human history: “In fact, unless Jehovaha had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones that he has chosen he has cut short the days.” (Mark 13:19, 20) By such promised miraculous survival Christ’s prophecy will be fulfilled, that it will be just as in Noah’s day, when human flesh as well as flesh of beasts and birds was saved, to live on earth till today.
4. In John, chapter three, how did Jesus point to God’s concern for man’s survival on earth, and what did God’s action include for Jesus?
4 God has given the greatest proof of his desire and purpose for man’s survival on earth. Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, pointed to it in these words recorded in the Bible, in John 3:16, 17: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. For God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.” God’s giving his only-begotten Son meant sending him down from heaven to be born as the human son of a virgin and then letting enemies raise him up on a torture stake to public gaze, to die a shameful death. Just previous to the above-quoted words Jesus said: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up, that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life.”—John 3:13-15; see also Numbers 21:4-9.
5. (a) How is it that Jehovah God has his only-begotten Son back with him in heaven? (b) How did Jesus show himself to be like his Father on the matter of mankind’s survival?
5 For our sake, however, God has his only-begotten Son back again in heaven, not as a human Son such as he was on earth, but as a glorious, superhuman, spiritual Son. For on the third day of his death Almighty God raised him from the dead to heavenly life. (1 Pet. 3:18; 1 Cor. 15:20, 42-46) In this marvelous way the resurrected Son of God ascended to heaven with the value of his human sacrifice and presented its value or merit to his God, his heavenly Father. This value of Jesus’ human sacrifice Jehovah God lovingly accepted in behalf of believers among mankind. So this perfect human sacrifice was not laid down in vain. Its precious value is yet to be fully applied in behalf of mankind. Jesus Christ showed himself to be like his heavenly Father in being interested in mankind’s survival, for he laid down his human life in sacrifice, that humankind might not die off but gain everlasting life here on earth in a paradise condition, through exercising faith.
DIVINE PURPOSE LINKED WITH SURVIVAL
6. What stated purpose of God are the peace-mouthing nations aiming to frustrate?
6 In spite of all their mouthings about peace with justice and universal disarmament, the nations are actually aiming to frustrate God’s purpose in creating man. God’s stated purpose concerning his creating of our earth calls for the survival and preservation of mankind, the human family. Listen to his purpose as he speaks to us through the Bible writer Isaiah: “This is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He The true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” (Isa. 45:18) Like a vast housing project built in a twentieth-century city, our earth was formed by Jehovah God to be inhabited by human creatures. In further explanation of his purpose respecting our earth the Bible says, in Psalm 115:15, 16: “You are the ones blessed by Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth. As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.”
7. What purpose of God was to be fulfilled by the perfect man and woman, and from whom do nations of different color today trace their descent?
7 The earth was to be inhabited by one family, Adam’s or man’s family. All the nations of today, no matter of what color, are the descendants of the original man Adam through Noah. Correctly the Christian apostle Paul said: “The God that made the world and all the things in it, being, as this One is, Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade temples, neither is he attended to by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives to all persons life and breath and all things. And he made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.” (Acts 17:24-26) God said to the first man and woman: “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 creeping upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) This purpose of God was to be fulfilled by the perfect man and wife, beginning from the paradise garden of Eden.
8. Are the expanding nations today working in harmony with God’s purpose for this earth, and how will his execution of judgment not defeat his own purpose?
8 Has this divine purpose yet been fulfilled? The nations of today think there has been a population explosion lately and that the earth is about filled with people almost to being uncomfortable. But just when the nations get the earth quite filled with people, they are pursuing a course calculated to wipe out the whole human race and empty the earth. Shortly there will be a tremendous reduction of earth’s population—when God executes judgment on the nations in this their judgment day, because this world or system of things must be destroyed; but God will not wipe out the whole human race altogether. God will save flesh that is not of this world, by shortening the days of the great tribulation.
9. Why is God’s execution of judgment not to be against those of the “flesh” that will be saved?
9 The flesh saved will be that of those like Noah, those who, like Noah, walk with God amid this world in which the badness of man is great, every inclination of man’s heart being bad all the time. (Gen. 6:5, 9) Those not of this world follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who in his days in the flesh on earth also was not of this world. (John 17:14, 16) God’s judgment upon these is favorable in this day of judgment of the nations. These are the ones taking part in the fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations.” That kingdom is not of this doomed world. Jesus Christ said: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) Hence God’s judgment of destruction is not against the preachers of his New World kingdom.
10. After the completion of the preaching of the Kingdom news, what will come, and to whom or what will this apply?
10 But after the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” and after the witness to all the nations has been completed in all the inhabited earth, what? Jesus went on to tell us: “And then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Not the “accomplished end” of all flesh or of all humankind, but the “accomplished end” of this “system of things,” for its consummation will have reached its climax. (Matt. 24:3, 14) Those who have made themselves a part of this system of things will come to their end with it.
11. (a) In agreement with the result of the Flood, what does the fulfillment of Matthew 24:35 not mean respecting our earth? (b) Why will the Kingdom preachers be excluded from the destruction?
11 With reference to their end Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” (Matt. 24:35) God’s enemies in heaven and on earth, who are opposed to his kingdom as proclaimed by Christ’s followers on earth, are the ones that will pass away when God executes judgment against this wicked system of things. The ancient days of Noah with which our own modern days run parallel were not marked by the destruction of mankind’s earthly home, even as those days were also not marked by the drowning of all flesh in the Flood. (Gen. 7:4) So the fulfillment of Jesus’ words will not mean the literal burning up of the earth and its moon and the cremating of every last one of its human inhabitants. True, the Bible writer Peter says that by God’s word “the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire”; but Peter adds that these wicked heavens and earth “are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:7) But not all men and women alive today are ungodly. Not Christ’s dedicated followers who are no part of the world and who, in proof of that fact, are going from house to house in every nation preaching “this good news of the kingdom.” Like Noah and his godly household in the flood days, they will not be included in the coming “destruction of the ungodly men.”
12. Nineteen hundred years ago what did Peter write about the long-enduring patience of God?
12 The second letter of Peter to faithful Christians was penned about the year 64. So it was nineteen hundred years ago that the apostle Peter wrote the following words about the long-enduring patience of Jehovah God: “Let this one fact not be escaping your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovahb as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. Jehovahc is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. Yet Jehovah’sd day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.”—2 Pet. 3:8-10.
13, 14. To whom, then, are Peter’s next words, in 2 Peter 3:11-14, certainly directed, and evidently why to them?
13 As in the days of Noah’s building the ark, so now over forty years since A.D. 1914 Jehovah’s patience has been waiting a long time. All evidences are indicative, in the light of Bible prophecy, that the day of Jehovah for executing judgment against the ungodly is near, within this generation. To us, then, who lay hold on the Bible hope of survival, Peter’s next words are certainly directed:
14 “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens being on fire will be dissolved and the elements being intensely hot will melt! But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell. Hence, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Pet. 3:11-14.
15. Thus what is Peter telling us of this generation?
15 Thus, by a letter that has survived until today as a part of the sacred Bible, the apostle Peter tells us what to do in order to escape destruction amid the heat, the hissing noise, the fiery flames and the dissolution process with which the symbolic heavens and the symbolic earth of ungodly people will be put out of operation. Peter of nineteen hundred years ago is telling us of this generation the only possible way to survive the complete end of this ungodly system of things. Will we heed his inspired advice?
16. If we act now like those whose coming Peter foretold, what will befall us, and so how should we act?
16 Or will we be like those whose coming Peter foretold and in view of whose coming Peter felt urged to write the above exhortation to godliness in these the “last days” of this system of things with its ungodly heavens and earth? “For you know this first,” wrote Peter, “that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’” (2 Pet. 3:3, 4) If we now act like such foretold ridiculers, then without fail the fiery judgment day of Jehovah will come upon us suddenly like a thief and we shall not be judged worthy to survive and to be saved into the new order of righteous heavens and earth. However, if with appreciation we hold fast to the hope of the new order, then we will face the problem of survival by doing as Peter urged us to do.
SOMETHING TO SURVIVE FOR!
17. Where will godly members of the human family survive, and when will Isaiah 54:5 concerning the “God of the whole earth” apply?
17 No vacuum or void or emptiness will be left in the universe by Jehovah’s destruction of the ungodly heavens and earth. No new hole will be created in outer space with its numberless suns and planets, cosmic dust and galaxies. The literal earth will survive as the place for the approved godly members of the human family to survive on, under the surviving sun and moon and stars. In support, it is written concerning Jehovah as Creator of the symbolic new heavens and new earth: “The God of the whole earth he will be called.” (Isa. 54:5) Today this prophecy is not true in the Communist-dominated one third of the earth, nor even in materialistic, worldly Christendom. The prophecy will be true in all the earth after Jehovah executes judgment in his fiery day for destroying the present ungodly system of things. No longer will Jehovah’s chief adversary, Satan the Devil, be the “god of this system of things” in which he is worshiped. This “present wicked system of things” will have been destroyed forever in the judgment day of Jehovah God. Thus Satan will have no more worshipers on earth, and he and all his wicked demons with him will be abyssed and undeified, as false gods.—2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4; Rev. 20:1-3.
18. (a) How will the prayer of Matthew 6:9, 10 then also be answered? (b) How and why will surviving mankind live under new heavens?
18 Then it must come true also: “Jehovah must become king over all the earth.” (Zech. 14:9) This will be the glorious answer to Jesus’ model prayer, which he taught his followers to pray to their Father in heaven: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) Back in 1914, according to Bible prophecy and time-reckoning, Jehovah installed his Son Jesus Christ at his right hand, in his heavenly throne, to rule in Jehovah’s name over all the earth and thus provide one universal government for surviving mankind. For this reason they will live under new heavens, that is, under a new spiritual government. No longer will Satan the Devil be the “ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2) Then will have been realized the prophetic words of Jesus Christ nineteen hundred years ago at Jerusalem: “Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” “Because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 12:31; 16:11) Satan and his spirit demons will no longer operate unseen as a wicked heaven over worldly mankind, promoting the misrule of the suffering human race.
19, 20. (a) Over whom will the new heavens begin to rule, but who will join these shortly thereafter? (b) Why, according to Jesus’ words, did these latter ones rightly look forward to such a thing?
19 The “new heavens,” God’s kingdom operated by his enthroned Son Jesus Christ, will begin to rule over all godly ones who survive God’s judgment act executed upon the “heavens and the earth that are now.” Without any interference, reproach and persecution from the ungodly people the survivors will continue to walk with Jehovah God, in the same way that Noah walked with the true God after the Flood just as he had done before, in the ancient world of the ungodly. In fact, Noah himself will shortly join the survivors thereafter and will walk alongside them with the same true God. So will other patriarchs and prophets and faithful witnesses of Jehovah God of ancient times before Jesus Christ died upon the torture stake and was raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven to present to God the value of his ransom sacrifice in behalf of all men and women who would become believers in him. Noah and these other pre-Christian witnesses of Jehovah God looked forward to the resurrection from the dead. Rightly so, for Jesus Christ once said to his marveling listeners:
20 “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. . . . just as I hear, I judge, and the judgment that I render is righteous, because I seek not my own will but the will of him that sent me.”—John 5:28-30.
21. Hence by whom is the earth not to be occupied solely, but in what mandate will they take part for a time?
21 Thus the earth is not to be occupied solely by the survivors of the “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now.” For a time those earthly survivors whose hope is that of everlasting life in an earthly paradise will take part in the procreation mandate originally given to the perfect Adam and Eve in the paradise of Eden: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28) This mandate was repeated immediately after the Flood, when Noah and his household came out of the ark and restored Jehovah’s worship on the purged earth and God blessed them, saying: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” (Gen. 8:15 to 9:1) Whatever the condition may be in which the “great tribulation” leaves this earth, the survivors will begin to subdue it as well as to populate it as far as God sees good, by carrying out the procreation mandate.
22. What will appear on the earth, and who will supply the rest of its inhabitants, and for how long?
22 A new earthly paradise will make its appearance and will gradually cover the entire earth by the blessing and help of earth’s Creator. Those who are resurrected from the dead will supply the rest of earth’s population. They too will enjoy the earthwide paradise if they choose to worship Jehovah God faithfully and to be unswervingly loyal and obedient to his theocratic government by Jesus Christ. All these faithful ones on the paradise earth will make up, figuratively speaking, a “new earth,” that is, an earthly society organized on a new basis and functioning according to God’s will as made known through his new heavens. This “new earth” will pass God’s final judgment and will abide forever.
23. What preview did the apostle John give us of the new order of things, and why did he write down the description of it?
23 Do you want a preview of this God-honoring new order of things? The aged apostle John gave it when he wrote the last book of the Bible. He wrote: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea [of ungodly mankind] is no more.” John wrote down the description of the vision, because he was told to do so by Jehovah God on his heavenly throne: “And the one seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also he says: ‘Write, because these words are trustworthy and true.’”—Rev. 21:1, 5.
24. Why, then, can we be thankful for having the sacred Bible, and into what may we survive according to our hope?
24 How thankful we can be, then, that we have the sacred Bible today! If Jehovah God had not preserved his Book the Bible until now, we should not have an accurate record of his deeds, his purposes and his promises. We could not know how to get through the end of this wicked world into the endless new world that God creates. There is indeed something to survive for; and O how grand it is! We hopeful ones can solve today’s problem of survival by living according to our hope. We will not survive into a postwar order with earth, sea and air poisoned by radioactivity and chemicals and disease bacteria. We will survive into a purified earth, for which paradise beauty is reserved. We will survive into a new order, without Satan and his demons, but with the promised righteous Kingdom of God by Christ in perfect control for the eternal blessing of all believing, obedient humans alive or dead.
25. (a) Whom should those who would survive now seek, and why? (b) By heeding what may we survive, and for how long?
25 All you who would survive the great tribulation in which this doomed system of things will perish, seek Jehovah and his kingdom by Christ. Satan the Devil and his worldly system of things are not interested in your survival nor can they assure your survival. (Rev. 12:12) Jehovah God is lovingly interested in your survival. He can also accomplish your survival through his kingly Son Jesus Christ. In this judgment time when the survival of the whole human family is a problem for worldly rulers, seek Jehovah as your God and Life-giver and Preserver. Now, in a sense as true as in the days of Noah, “Jehovah is guarding all those loving him, but all the wicked ones he will annihilate.” (Ps. 145:20) He has guarded his Word for us in his sacred Bible; and his Word will survive forever. (Isa. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:25) Survive forever with his imperishable Word by heeding it and doing it.
26. (a) Of what book should we avail ourselves, and why? (b) What help of God’s provision should Bible readers also accept, and how will they face the problem of survival with success?
26 “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) The sacred Bible, which reveals God’s will, unerringly shows us the solution to the present-day problem of survival. If you are not already the possessor of a copy of the Bible, get a copy quickly in one of its more than one thousand translations. Read it, not just as a piece of beautiful ancient literature, but prayerfully and with faith in it, believing it, “just as it truthfully is, as the Word of God.” (1 Thess. 2:13) Also, accept the help that God provides today for you to understand his written Word, namely, his dedicated witnesses who are preaching “this good news of the kingdom” in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a final witness to all the nations before their catastrophic end comes. (Matt. 24:14) Then you too may qualify to join with them in spreading the glorious Kingdom message of survival and of everlasting life. Rejoice in hope of survival; and by applying the real solution that the sacred Bible provides, face our big problem of survival with success, to God’s glory.
a Seven published Hebrew translations of Mark’s life of Christ read “Jehovah” here instead of “the Lord.” See footnote c of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, of 1950.
b Seven published Hebrew translations read “Jehovah” here.
c Six Hebrew translations read “Jehovah” here.
d Six Hebrew translations read “Jehovah” here.