How the New World Comes In
FOR the new world to come in there must be a removal of this old world. There will be, because “the heavens and the earth that are now” are doomed by the Word of God. (2 Pet. 3:7) Even while this wicked system of things still remains, the foundation for a righteous new world has been laid; and this generation of mankind is face to face with the biggest change ever to take place in the history of any generation!
Referring to the great climax to take place in our day just prior to the new world’s triumphant entrance, Jesus Christ declared: “Then there will be great tribulation.” What the nations of this world face is something comparable with the great flood of Noah’s day: “Just as it occurred in the days of Noah, . . . the same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.”—Matt. 24:21; Luke 17:26, 30.
What happened at the time of the Noachian flood? Why, a world perished. The apostle Peter assures us that it can and will happen again: “The world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word [of God] the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:6, 7) Only by God’s destroying this old world can a completely new world come in.
To make way for the new world, how will God destroy “the heavens and the earth that are now”? Peter says that they are “stored up for fire.” Is this necessarily or altogether literal fire? No, but the use of the word as a symbol for destruction right after mention of the destruction by water in Noah’s day denotes that God will use a means different from a global flood to clear the way for a righteous new world, a world where there will be no more “ungodly men.”
Long before Peter’s day Isaiah the prophet, the very one God used to foretell his creating of “new heavens and a new earth,” used the word “fire” as a symbol for destruction to take place at this world’s end: “Jehovah himself comes as a very fire, and his chariots are like a stormwind, in order to pay back his anger with sheer rage and his rebuke with flames of fire. For as fire Jehovah himself will for a fact take up the controversy, yes, with his sword, against all flesh; and the slain of Jehovah will certainly become many.” Another inspired writer, the apostle Paul, uses the word “fire” relating to the removal of this present world “at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire.” This description is most apt, especially since the apostle Peter shows that God’s fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was prophetic of the destruction God will bring upon this world: “By reducing the cities Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come.”—Isa. 65:17; 66:15, 16; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8; 2 Pet. 2:6.
By what means does God destroy this present system of things to make way for his everlasting righteous new world? He does it by means of his heavenly kingdom in the hands of his King Jesus Christ. That is why nothing is more important to mankind today than the “kingdom of the heavens.” That is why the work of every true Christian is to bear witness to Jehovah and his kingdom. Men need to know what the Kingdom will shortly do and how they can avoid being crushed by that kingdom when it comes against this world, as the prophet Daniel long ago foretold: “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Dan. 2:44) The crushing of this world’s kingdoms by God’s kingdom means a righteous new world!
The time must come, then, for Jesus Christ to take war action against the nations of this world. At his first presence Jesus Christ did not take up a sword and he carried on no warfare. He was a preacher of God’s kingdom, and he taught others to teach this new-world kingdom. But Jesus Christ is not forever a King without a sword. The time comes for him to carry on warfare in righteousness. Only such kind of warfare could make possible a clear path for a new world. And in the prophecy given by Jesus Christ himself through his angel to the apostle John, God’s anointed King shows that he will be in command of the armies in heaven:
“And I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. His eyes are a fiery flame, and upon his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, and he is arrayed with an outer garment sprinkled with blood, and the name he is called is The Word of God. Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. And out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it.” This striking of the nations with the sword by the King of kings means Armageddon destruction for this old world. The time is at hand, though we do not know the day nor the hour.—Rev. 19:11-15; Matt. 24:36.
What should you do, knowing what this world is faced with and how God’s new world comes in? Put your life in harmony with the counsel given by the apostle Peter: “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.”—2 Pet. 3:11-13.