After Armageddon—A Righteous New World
Armageddon will cleanse the earth of all unrighteousness. But what ensures that the post-Armageddon new world will be forever righteous?
IT SEEMS incredible to many persons that there could ever be a righteous world. How could the inhabitants of such a world be kept in the way of righteousness? What assurance is there that the government would not turn corrupt and oppress the people? Judging merely by the record of secular history, many persons find little reason to hope for a righteous new world. Being doubtful, they may turn agnostic, as did the American lawyer Robert G. Ingersoll, who took a look at past governments and said:
“A government founded upon anything except liberty and justice cannot stand. All the wrecks on either side of the stream of time, all the wrecks of the great cities, and all the nations that have passed away—all are a warning that no nation founded upon injustice can stand. From the sand-enshrouded Egypt, from the marble wilderness of Athens, and from every fallen, crumbling stone of the once mighty Rome, comes a wail as it were, the cry that no nation founded upon injustice can permanently stand.”*
Thus even persons who lack faith in God’s Holy Word, the Bible, tend to recognize that a righteous government is the prime, all-essential requirement for a righteous world. If doubting or agnostic persons would go to the Bible and thoroughly examine God’s promises and see how he has lived up to them in the past, they would find assurance that a righteous new world not only is possible but also is certain.
ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS ROOTED OUT
Before such a world could come in, it is obvious that all unrighteousness must be uprooted, eradicated, so that no corrupting influences remain. Almighty God will do this at “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” That will be a great day, the foretold “day of wrath and of the revealing of God’s righteous judgment,” and, as the apostle Peter calls it, “the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” This will be a thorough job of exterminating wickedness, as Peter goes on to assure us: “Jehovah’s 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.”—Rev. 16:14; Rom. 2:5; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10.
Armageddon, then, will be a time when this earth or human society will be exposed as unrighteous. No unrighteousness will be concealed from God’s eyes so as to go unpunished, for the word of prophecy says: “Look! Jehovah is coming forth from his place to call to account the error of the inhabitant of the land against him, and the land will certainly expose her bloodshed.” (Isa. 26:21) So all unrighteousness will be discovered and punished by Jehovah’s heavenly executioners under the battle command of the King Jesus Christ, of whom it is prophetically written:
“Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, with your dignity and your splendor. And in your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness, and your right hand will instruct you in fear-inspiring things. Your arrows are sharp—under you peoples keep falling—in the heart of the enemies of the king.”—Ps. 45:3-5.
At Armageddon the King Jesus Christ takes his sword, with which to cut down and destroy the nations that are ruining the earth. Besides girding upon him this executioner’s authority pictured by the sword, he girds upon himself dignity and splendor, going forth in the glorious role of Jehovah’s King and Vindicator. God’s Warrior-King rides to the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” in the cause of truth, to establish the truth of all of God’s written Word. He rides his symbolic war mount to Armageddon to vindicate Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and sanctify the divine name—the greatest act of righteousness. He rides on to victory also in the cause of establishing righteousness in all the universe. The book of Revelation pictures the King riding a white horse and having a bow with which to shoot arrows at all his enemies. (Rev. 6:1, 2; 19:11-16) This skilled Archer does not miss his targets, so as to kill off righteous persons; but he speeds his arrows of destruction to the heart of all those who oppose God’s righteous new world. No enemies of righteousness will survive the King’s victorious ride that ensures the triumphant entry of a righteous new world.
RIGHTEOUS RULER AND GOVERNMENT
After describing the King’s Armageddon ride in the cause of righteousness, the inspired psalmist gives us assurance that the government of the new world will never be corrupted, since it is written concerning its Ruler: “God is your throne to time indefinite, even forever; the scepter of your kingship is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved righteousness and you hate wickedness. That is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners.”—Ps. 45:6, 7; Heb. 1:8, 9.
Jesus Christ was anointed with the “oil of exultation” when he was installed in his heavenly throne as King A.D. 1914, in fulfillment of Bible prophecies, as this journal has often explained. That was a time of exultation for Jesus Christ, a most refreshing experience after he had waited for nineteen centuries at God’s right hand. Having been ushered into the joy of being Jehovah’s reigning King over all the universe, he will never abuse his power. The scepter of his kingship is one of uprightness, one in which there will never be the least bit of crookedness. Jesus proved his love for righteousness and his hatred for wickedness when he was on the earth, proving it even down to death in faithfulness to God. But now he has been raised from the dead and placed in a responsible position where he can fight for righteousness and enforce it with all the needed power in heaven and on earth. Moreover, he does not change, since “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.”—Heb. 13:8.
In view of this assurance from God, let all persons who have longed for a righteous government look to Jehovah’s King, rejoicing in the knowledge that he will never turn to crookedness and oppression. The kingdom of God in the hands of Jesus Christ will be the righteous “new heavens” of that new world, and God’s promise will be fulfilled, just as the apostle Peter declared after he described the uncovering and punishing of all unrighteousness: “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. 3:13.
That righteousness will dwell securely in God’s new world is further assured by the fact that Jesus Christ the King will also be the Judge. Concerning this Judge the apostle Paul wrote: “He [God] has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) Jehovah’s raising Jesus Christ from the dead is assurance that all the inhabitants of the new world will be judged righteously, including all those who come back to life in what Jesus called “a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29) God’s Judge and King will not judge from outward appearance or by rumor and gossip but he will have the spirit of wisdom that comes from Jehovah God. Moreover, he has the fear of Jehovah; thus the prophet Isaiah gave this description of the One appointed by God to rule and judge the righteous new world:
“Upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah. And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth.”—Isa. 11:2-4.
Truly Jesus Christ is the ideal Ruler and Judge, for he rules in the fear of Jehovah. What blessings that means for obedient mankind! This blessed time is referred to by King David of old, who, in his last words, said: “The God of Israel said, to me the Rock of Israel spoke, ‘When one ruling over mankind is righteous, ruling in the fear of God, then it is as the light of morning, when the sun shines forth, a morning without clouds. From brightness, from rain, there is grass out of the earth.’” (2 Sam. 23:3, 4) Jehovah thus compares the God-fearing ruler to the influence of sunshine on a cloudless morning after rain, in refreshing and invigorating the growing verdure of the earth, so that tender grass springs out of the ground. Refreshing, then, will be the atmosphere of the new world. Nothing obnoxious, nothing smacking of injustice will mar life in a new world under such a Jehovah-fearing King; hence the psalmist paints this beautiful word picture of that glorious time:
“May he plead the cause of your people with righteousness and of your afflicted ones with judicial decision. He will descend like the rain upon the mown grass, like copious showers that wet the earth. In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.”—Ps. 72:2, 6, 7.
INHABITANTS TO STAY RIGHTEOUS
Not only will the government of the new world stay righteous, but the inhabitants must also keep to the way of righteousness. They will. None will live in that new world who do not love truth and righteousness and who do not stay in line with principles of uprightness. All must learn God’s righteousness, as foretold at Isaiah 26:9: “With my soul I have desired you in the night; yes, with my spirit within me I keep looking for you; because, when there are judgments from you for the earth, righteousness is what the inhabitants of the productive land will certainly learn.” (Isa. 26:9) By keeping in the way of righteousness, the inhabitants of God’s new world will receive bountiful blessings. Their own salvation will be assured: “O you heavens, cause a dripping from above; and let the cloudy skies themselves trickle with righteousness. Let the earth open up, and let it be fruitful with salvation, and let it cause righteousness itself to spring up at the same time. I myself, Jehovah, have created it.”—Isa. 45:8.
To live in God’s righteous new world and be in line for a salvation to everlasting life in perfect health, one cannot wait till after Armageddon to learn righteousness. He must begin now, obeying the command of Jesus Christ: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matt. 6:33) We have to get in line, then, with God’s righteousness now by familiarizing ourselves with the way he wants us to live. We cannot fool God by putting on a mere outward appearance of uprightness, such as that of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Jesus knew what was really in their hearts: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every sort of uncleanness. In that way you also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”—Matt. 23:27, 28.
So we cannot hide a lawless heart with a cloak of outward righteousness; God sees what we are to the core. We must remember that God’s spirit of counsel and of wisdom and knowledge is upon the Judge and King, Jesus Christ, that he is backed up by the Supreme Sovereign of the universe, the Examiner of hearts: “All hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but Jehovah is the examiner of hearts.” (1 Chron. 28:9; Prov. 17:3) This Examiner of hearts does not need any mechanical instruments, such as an X-ray machine. He can easily determine what a person is at the core, what his innermost thoughts are. Thus Jehovah searches out the heart and he determines if one has a good heart, if his thoughts and motives are righteous. Since no unrighteousness will go undiscovered and unpunished at Armageddon, now is the time to begin living for the righteous new world.
This divine examination of hearts, moreover, ensures that the new world will stay forever righteous. Jehovah is interested in a person’s heart condition because he is concerned with justifying creatures to everlasting life in that new world. If someone with an unrighteous heart were granted the right to live forever, then some kind of crookedness or rebellion would crop up in the future. But Jehovah determines whether one’s heart is firmly established in rectitude; then God knows that such a person is worthy of the gift of everlasting life.
Such, then, is the hope for all lovers of what is right. Look to God’s King, Jesus Christ, and to his heavenly kingdom. Show your faith by taking all necessary steps now to live for the righteous new world. Let the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses help you. They are interested in your enjoying the blessings foretold at Psalm 85:10, 11: “As for loving-kindness and trueness, they have met each other; righteousness and peace—they have kissed each other. Trueness itself will sprout out of the very earth, and righteousness itself will look down from the very heavens.”
The Great Quotations, compiled by George Seldes, p. 350.