God’s New World in Our Generation
THE promised new world is at hand—in our generation! This should be good news to all lovers of righteousness, those who have based their hope on God’s soon-to-be-fulfilled promise. Yes, God’s creating of “new heavens and a new earth” goes on, culminating in our day with the triumphant entry of a righteous new world.
How do we know it is our generation that is at the portals of God’s new world? Because the great Prophet, Jesus Christ, foretold certain events to take place just prior to the end of this old world and the entry of the new world of God’s kingdom. Concerning these events, Jesus declared: “Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When they are already in the bud, by observing it you know for yourselves that now the summer is near. In this way you also, when you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.”—Luke 21:29-32.
The generation that sees the start of these foretold events, Jesus showed, would live to see the end. What events? Those that Jesus mentioned in answer to his disciples’ question: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”—Matt. 24:3.
Jesus answered that the sign would be a series of world-shaking events coming upon one generation: “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.” All these things concentrated together would mark the initial “pangs of distress” of this world’s time of the end and the nearness to the new world. Luke’s account of Jesus’ prophecy is similar, but he adds that there will be “on the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and its agitation, while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.”—Matt. 24:7, 8; Luke 21:25, 26.
Today in this nuclear, space age there is indeed “anguish of nations, not knowing the way out.” There is no need for proof of this; it is apparent to anyone who observes world events.
But when did this period of distress of nations begin? With this generation! That is why the new world comes within our generation! World War I marked the beginning of worldwide “anguish of nations.” Little wonder historians admit that the year 1914 changed the affairs of men permanently. One writer, James Cameron, devoted a whole book to that momentous year; reviewing this volume, entitled “1914,” A. L. Rowe, writing in the New York Times Book Review of June 28, 1959, said:
“If ever there was a year that marked the end of an era and the beginning of another, it was 1914. That year brought to an end the old world with its sense of security and began the modern age, characteristic of which is the insecurity that is our daily portion. . . . so long as I can remember, our world has been conditioned by the events of 1914, which shattered peace and established the war-born and war-threatened twentieth century.”
Among other things that the Son of God named as part of the “beginning of pangs of distress” were food shortages and earthquakes. “In recent times more people have died from famine than have been killed in war,” says Lord Boyd-Orr, in the foreword to the book The Geography of Hunger. “But these numbers are small when compared with the number whose diet is inadequate to maintain health. . . . A recent American committee put the number as high as 85 per cent [of the world’s population].”
And “there will be great earthquakes,” said Jesus. (Luke 21:11) That earthquakes have increased in destructiveness during the twentieth century is a matter of record. The first five months of the year 1960 brought the loss of more than 20,000 lives in earthquakes around the globe. But today all mankind is quaking because of world developments and fear of nuclear annihilation.
After Jesus foretold the beginning of world sorrows, he added another evidence to identify the generation concerned. This would be most striking, since it would not be another cause for bad news but cause for the best news mankind could hear: “This good news of the kingdom,” said Jesus, “will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Is this good news of the established kingdom being preached as a witness to all nations since 1914? Let a professor of history, of Northwestern University, answer: “Jehovah’s witnesses have literally covered the earth with their witnessing. . . . It may truly be said that no single religious group in the world displayed more zeal and persistence in the attempt to spread the good news of the Kingdom than the Jehovah’s witnesses.”—C. S. Braden in These Also Believe.
This generation of mankind that is hearing the good news of God’s kingdom and that saw the beginning of world sorrows in 1914 would also see the end of those sorrows in this world’s destruction: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Matt. 24:34) This is nothing to be sorry over. “As these things start to occur,” said Jesus, “raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.”—Luke 21:28.
So while this doomed world is in spasms of fear and perplexity, Jesus’ true followers lift up their heads with joy, knowing that this generation that is still alive from A.D. 1914 is the generation Jesus said would see “all things occur,” including this world’s end. Deliverance for Jesus’ true followers into God’s new world is due within this generation!