God’s Kingdom—Mankind’s Only Hope
A SOLID hope for the future—that is what mankind needs as never before. Can man through his disarmament talks, defense programs and efforts at world government provide such a solid hope for survival? Does God offer mankind any other hope?
Indicating that survival has become an overtowering question, when thousands of scientists gathered a few months ago in Denver, Colorado, for the 128th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the survival of mankind in the atomic age was a major topic for consideration. The establishment of a Science of Human Survival was urged, to prepare mankind in the event of a nuclear war. Recently Bertrand Russell, the well-known philosopher, estimated “the odds at forty percent in favor of survival and sixty percent against.”
The steps that have been taken toward the annihilating of the human family have caused sickness of mind and heart among the masses of people. There have been various possibilities offered for the solution of the world’s problems. But the big question is, Which hope will prove to be sound?
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
Millions have placed their hope for a better world in the glowing promises of plenty, prosperity and equality for all under communism. They are presented with tangible proof of communism’s tremendous power and are therefore led to believe that the promises made by communism will be fulfilled. Has not the Soviet Union launched men into space and even hit the moon with one of its rockets? Yes! Not only that, but look at its arsenal bristling with multimegaton bombs!
On the other hand, multitudes of people look to the democratic governments of the West for protection. Their hopes for survival, prosperity and blessings rest on the promises of these powers. From them millions of persons realize tangible benefits and therefore feel they are the best for mankind and must prevail. They hopefully put their confidence in the weapons of the United States, which U.S. Secretary of Defense McNamara said, recently, are “capable of destroying the Soviet target system, even after absorbing an initial attack.”
Despite the fact that the communistic East and democratic West stand opposed to each other, they are joined together in an organization ironically labeled the United Nations. Many hail this organization as the best hope for peace because, in spite of what actually does take place, its purpose is not to pit one side against the other, but to bring them both together as one. Early in its history Pope Pius XII called the United Nations “the fond and holy hope of all men of good will.” Recently a Presbyterian clergyman said “the United Nations is our last best hope for building a peaceful world and avoiding an atomic holocaust.”
The vast majority of mankind place their hopes for the future in these kingdoms and worldly organizations. However, not to be discounted is the hope that God offers. Long ago he promised to establish over mankind a kingdom, a real government, that would provide survival through this time of trouble, and grand blessings in a new world of plenty. His Word promises that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom” and “it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Dan. 2:44.
The vital question that must be resolved is, Where is one going to place his hope for survival? There is only one hope that will prove successful; all others will lead to disappointment and eventual death. Why? Because Jehovah, who is Almighty, declares that his kingdom will crush out of existence the governments of both the East and the West, including the United Nations, and it alone “will stand to times indefinite.” There will be no coexistence with selfish human governments. So what choice will you make? To whom will you lend support? In what will you hope?
GOD’S KINGDOM VERSUS WORLDLY GOVERNMENTS
Will you look to human governments and trust in them? Many do. It is not that they have dismissed God from their thoughts, but they feel that man must bring about the kingdom of God by winning worldly governments over to godly ways. They believe that this is the means by which God’s kingdom will come. But not so. It is not God’s way. This is made unmistakably clear in the example that the Lord Jesus set for Christians to follow. During the entire period of his earthly ministry he never engaged in the political movements around him. He did not try to reform the Roman government, and he even turned down a draft on the part of the Jews to make him their king to liberate them from Rome. Jesus said that his kingdom was no part of this world, and he further said that his followers, those who followed his example in these matters, were to be no part of it. They would pay their taxes, obey all the laws of the Caesar governments that did not conflict with God’s law and be exemplary in their love for their neighbor; but as for the political movements of the nations, in this they would be absolutely neutral.—John 6:15; 15:19; 17:16; 18:36; Matt. 22:17-21, 39.
Others among men have no illusions about causing righteousness to prevail through their efforts, but they are not ready to abandon all hope of survival. They may even agree with the opinion expressed in the London Daily Express of July 27, 1961: “The League of Nations was supposed to ensure the peace and progress of the world. It lasted twenty years and ended in disaster. The United Nations . . . is an even greater flop than the League was.” Yet as long as there is a United Nations or any other agency working for peace, they feel that in the interest of survival the only thing to do is to support it and hope against hope that disaster will be averted. They admit that the outlook is not bright; but the fact is that what they cling to is really no hope at all. There is no government of men that can possibly guarantee to mankind the security they so much desire. Why so?
Because the bringing in of enduring peace involves much more than negotiations among the rulers of the nations. Even if all men should agree on some peace program, they are not in position to put an end to the warmongering activities of the “god of this system of things,” Satan the Devil. Nor can they root out the sin that inclines men in ungodly ways. For these things they must look to God.—2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9; Heb. 2:14, 15.
Furthermore, God has not commissioned the political rulers of mankind as the creators of a new world. It is his Son Jesus Christ whom he has anointed as King. Therefore, when men presumptuously set themselves up as the ones who will bring peace and prosperity to all mankind, they are not seeking the good of their fellowmen, but are grasping for personal glory by usurping the role that God has given to his Son; and in this they can never succeed.—Ps. 2:6-12.
The only hope for mankind lies in the kingdom of God, His heavenly government administering the affairs of the earth in righteousness. It is for this that Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:9, 10.
SUPERIORITY OF THE KINGDOM HOPE
God made provision for that kingdom right after the first human pair rebelled in the garden of Eden. He knew that “it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jer. 10:23) So he promised a Seed that would crush the originator of the rebellion, Satan the Devil, and that would become a righteous ruler for the blessing of all mankind. That Seed, the long-looked-for Messiah, was born as the babe Jesus in Bethlehem some 1,900 years ago. At the announcement of his coming birth the angel said: “He will rule as king . . . and there will be no end of his kingdom.”—Luke 1:30-33; Gen. 3:15; 22:17, 18; Gal. 3:16.
After his death and resurrection Jesus “sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.” (Heb. 10:12, 13) This waiting was to span many centuries. Jesus indicated this when he gave his prophecy concerning his second presence in Kingdom power. He explained that in the then distant future he would begin to rule amid world turmoil. An examination of this prophecy recorded in Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21 establishes conclusively that we are now living in the generation of unprecedented trouble that Jesus was talking about. Scriptural evidence pinpoints the year 1914 as the time God’s long-prayed-for kingdom was established in the heavens. That kingdom assures survival through this time of trouble into a new world of righteousness to all who will put their hope and trust in it.
While man is limited in power and in ability to fulfill his promises, Jehovah is not. Consider for a moment his unlimited power. When man releases the energy from just a small package of invisible atoms of matter he can blow whole cities apart. Just imagine then the incomprehensible power of the One who created the entire material universe, including the vast star systems! Scientists estimated that just one of last fall’s hurricanes generated more energy than would forty-five 100-megaton bombs. Jehovah God, the one who has control of all the forces of nature, will soon use such power to crush all opposers of his kingdom.
There is every reason to trust and hope in Jehovah’s power to save. Call to mind the ancient nation of Israel standing at the edge of the Red Sea with the Egyptian hordes closing in from the rear. Did not Jehovah save his people by opening the waters to provide a way of escape, only to close them upon the Egyptian pursuers? Yes! (Ex., chap. 14) Jesus used two other examples to illustrate God’s power to provide deliverance for his people and yet destroy all those that would oppose his purposes. “For just as the days of Noah were,” Jesus said, “they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” “Likewise,” Jesus continued, “on the day that Lot came out of Sodom it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all. The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.” Just as in the past God acted in behalf of those hoping in him, so he will do again for all who hope in his kingdom.—Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:28-30.
How marvelous the grand blessings of the Kingdom rule that are in store for the survivors! Man has not succeeded in bringing peace even between himself and his neighbor. But not only does God promise that “he is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth,” but he assures that even man and the animals will dwell together peacefully.—Ps. 46:9; Isa. 11:6, 9.
With God’s kingdom directing all of man’s energies toward peaceful pursuits the earth’s appearance will be transformed to that of a parklike paradise. “The earth itself will certainly give its produce” so that never again will there be a food shortage. Under the administration of the Divine Physician man will finally be delivered from his age-long affliction with sickness and disease. Even death must bow to the irresistible power of the Kingdom, for God promises that “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.”—Ps. 67:6; Rev. 21:4.
If you want to be assured of survival and to realize these grand blessings of peace, prosperity, health and security, then make the Kingdom your hope, for it is the only hope that will not lead to disappointment. Study God’s Word the Bible regularly and be convinced of Jehovah’s power to deliver his people. Do not put your hope and trust in the feeble efforts of man to bring about Kingdom blessings, but let your attitude be that expressed by the faithful prophet: “Look! This is our God. We have hoped in him, and he will save us. This is Jehovah. We have hoped in him. Let us be joyful and rejoice in the salvation by him.”—Isa. 25:9.