A Time and Place for Everything
“FOR everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens,” wrote wise King Solomon under inspiration of Almighty God. So it has been found to be. There is “a time for birth and a time to die; . . . a time to kill and a time to heal; . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about; . . . a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”—Eccl. 3:1-8.
During the past nearly 6,000 years this earth has been a place resounding with the cries of weeping and wailing as men filled with hate have warred against one another, killing and causing death. Laughter, skipping about with joy, love and peace have certainly taken a second place. Will it always be this way? Can it be that even in the lives of God’s servants there is a time and place for weeping and wailing, for hatred, and for war and killing and death?
Originally it was not God’s will that man should die or ever experience war and killing. It was his original purpose that humans should live endlessly in perfect peace, never experiencing a time of weeping. However, rebellion against God’s rulership by the first human pair meant alienation from God. Sin and death resulted; and so war, killing and hatred have become the order of the day. God’s servants have found themselves living amid this wicked world opposed to God, and, therefore, under such circumstances, they find that the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes apply in their case.
But how is this so? Should not God’s servants laugh and skip about instead of weep? When would they ever wage war and kill, or hate another?
Solomon said: “Better is vexation than laughter, for by the crossness of the face the heart becomes better.” The one greater than Solomon, Jesus, said: “Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh.” And again, “Woe, you who are laughing now, because you will mourn and weep.” In these perilous, wicked days the peoples are beset by woes, and face sobering dangers. Foolish ones, in a splurge of riotous living, laugh them off as normal, but sensible persons find no pleasure in them. They sigh and groan over all the detestable things being done. They find no cause for joy in this old world but only in God and his righteous new world.—Eccl. 7:3; Luke 6:21, 25; Ezek. 9:4.
War and killing are not foreign to God’s servants. They have found there is a time for them. Abraham waged war to rescue his nephew Lot from wicked captors. David, God’s beloved, was mighty in warfare, ‘striking down tens of thousands.’ Unlike servants of God in the past, Christians “do not wage warfare according to what [they] are in the flesh,” but theirs is a spiritual warfare, “overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.”—Gen. 14:14-16; 1 Sam. 18:7; 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
Jesus encouraged his followers to love their enemies, but God’s Word also says to “hate what is bad.” When a person persists in a way of badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of his make-up, then in order to hate what is bad a Christian must hate the person with whom the badness is inseparably linked. Indicating that Jesus did not mean for us to love the hardened enemies of Jehovah, David expressed this God-approved attitude: “Do I not hate those who are intensely hating you, O Jehovah, and do I not feel a loathing for those revolting against you? With a complete hatred I do hate them. They have become to me real enemies.”—Matt. 5:44; Amos 5:15; Ps. 139:21, 22.
God’s servants look forward to everlasting life. Still there may be a time to die, even for a Christian. For those who will inherit heavenly life as kings and priests with Jesus Christ death is inevitable. There is a time for it. It is necessary in order to realize their heavenly reward. Even though many Christians today entertain the hope of living through the end of this wicked system of things into God’s new world without ever dying, still there may be a time for them to die. Faced with the choice of faithfully obeying God’s law and dying because of it, or of compromising and gaining a temporary extension of life, a servant of God will be faithful until death. Such is the time for him to die!—Matt. 16:25.
Hate, war, killing and death along with weeping and sorrowing are inseparably linked with this wicked world—it has proved to be the place for their existence. As long as this old world remains there will be a time, even in the lives of God’s servants, for the bitter experience mixed with the sweet. But the happy promise of God’s Word is that soon now, “the world is passing away and so is its desire.” Those doing the will of God will survive into a new world of God’s making where he “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” God promises that “he is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth,” and there will be an “abundance of peace until the moon is no more.”—1 John 2:17; Rev. 21:4; Ps. 46:9; 72:7.
God’s new world will be the time and place for enjoying these blessings of Jehovah and he will add no pain with them. The earth will be a place filled with laughter and love, healed ones will skip about, and peace will be endless. The sound of weeping will not be heard and never again will men wage war and kill, or hate one another.—Prov. 10:22.
For all who desire to live then, now is the time to become acquainted with Jehovah’s requirements for life, and live by them. Only in that way can one be assured of a place in God’s new world, to enjoy his blessing, “even life to time indefinite.”—Ps. 133:3.