When Will God’s Will Be Done on Earth?
“LET your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:10.
Nineteen hundred years have passed since those words were first spoken by Jesus of Nazareth as part of a model prayer given to his disciples. Since then they have been repeated by thousands of millions of persons, thousands of millions of times, all over the earth.
Is what we see on earth today a fulfillment of that prayer? The answer obviously is, No! Some persons may try to assure us that mankind is in fine shape and that the future looks good. But their statements have a hollow sound when compared with the actual facts.
Not wild-eyed fanatics, but presidents, statesmen, scientists, historians and other men of repute today voice grave concern about man’s future. They warn that this earth could easily become a colossal graveyard for men and animals if solutions are not found—and found quickly—for the major problems facing the planet’s inhabitants. There is not only the possible triggering of World War III with intercontinental missiles carrying hydrogen bombs lacing the skies, but also the already existing poisoning by mass pollution of air, land and water, the problem of feeding a growing world population that threatens to double in the next thirty years, plus the breakdown in respect for authority and standards of moral conduct.
What solutions, then, do men offer? Recently, Charles A. Lindbergh, discussing the urgent need to prevent further damage to the earth by modern technology, said: “We need a policy and plan that covers our entire planet and extends to the utmost of human capability into space and time.”
But who can offer such an earth-wide plan or formulate a worldwide policy that would work and effectively control human capabilities? Are the scientists—the ones that developed the atomic weapons and the modern technology that now endanger our environment—the ones to formulate such plan? And what government or combination of governments could ensure the enforcement of such a policy if produced?
If your mind turns to the most comprehensive international organization men have yet produced, the United Nations, what assurance do you find? Speaking before a congress of World Federalists, UN Secretary-General U Thant called for reforms in the United Nations and a “body of enforceable world law” backed by “the necessary executive, legislative and judicial functions,” saying: “The degradation of our environment is now so serious that unless immediate measures are taken, the very capacity of the planet itself to sustain human life will be in doubt.”
About two months later, when opening the twenty-fifth annual session of the UN General Assembly, Thant asked: “Is it not high time for the leaders of this world to turn radically away from the errors of the past and to realize that understanding, love and tolerance are the highest forms of interest on our small and interdependent planet?”
“Understanding, love and tolerance”—has the United Nations made progress in teaching these qualities and inculcating them into the minds and hearts of people everywhere, all over the earth? The facts say No. Can we count on the world’s religions to do this? Not when we see how little they have succeeded in their centuries of existence and observe how unsettled and troubled they are themselves.
GOD’S WAY TO BRING THE NEEDED CHANGE
The Bible shows that the Creator of earth, man and all forms of life, is the only One who can and will provide the global direction and moral guidance the inhabitants of this planet so desperately need. His selected means for doing this is a government, heaven based and headed by his own Son, Christ Jesus. That government is the Kingdom for which persons have been praying for centuries.
But someone may here say, “Just how realistic is it to put our hope in God to straighten out matters on earth if, after nineteen centuries, that prayer still has not seen fulfillment?”
Would it not be better to ask: “How realistic is it to keep on putting hope in imperfect men to do the job when, after all these centuries, their leaders now admit their concern and even anxiety for the future of mankind as a whole?” Rather than think it strange to turn to the everlasting God for hope for the future, is it not far stranger that people should keep on trusting dying men to bring them out of the world’s worsening situation?
Men of affairs admit that for any real improvement to come there must be full cooperation on the part of people, rulers and subjects, earth wide. Selfishness, national and individual, must be set aside. Do you personally see any genuine progress in that direction? Are people in your neighborhood changing in that direction?
Make no mistake about it, however. The Bible does not say that the needed change will come about by world conversion of all persons by religious organizations. It foretold in plain terms that conditions on earth would develop to their present point for the very reason that the nations—rulers and people in general—would stubbornly refuse to submit to God’s will and bring their lives into harmony with it.
In the last book of the Bible, the nations of the earth, their armies, and the people, from both the ‘free world’ and the ‘enslaved world,’ are shown as opposing the carrying out of God’s will for the earth by his kingdom. For that reason, Christ Jesus is represented as ‘shepherding the nations with a rod of iron,’ ridding the earth of all who oppose his Kingdom rule. (Rev. 19:11-21) This is, in fact, what you pray for if you pray, “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”
1914 THE TURNING POINT
As far back as its issue of March 1880, this journal, The Watchtower, called attention to Bible prophecies focusing on the year 1914 as the date when what Jesus called the “appointed times of the nations” would end. (Luke 21:24) That would mean this world’s systems would then enter their “last days” leading up to a “great tribulation” that would see those systems forever end, replaced by a new system of God’s making. (2 Tim. 3:1; Matt. 24:21, 22) Every year that has passed since 1914 has served to strengthen our conviction that this has been the case.
As British historian H. R. Trevor-Roper said in 1954: “Since 1914 the world has had a new character: a character of international anarchy.” Ten years later, Konrad Adenauer, then chancellor of Germany, stated: “Security and quiet have disappeared from the lives of men since 1914.”
This magazine has also repeatedly shown from the Scriptures that the distressing conditions that have developed and intensified since 1914 are solid proof that we live in the generation that will see God’s will take place on earth. Yes, that we can now do as Christ Jesus said: “Raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near. . . . 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 21:28-32.
Men of this world offer you nothing stable, nothing sure. Their promises and predictions of better things have failed time and again. Why let yourself be carried along with them in a steadily downward course to ultimate disaster due to rejecting God’s will? God’s prophetic Word has not failed. Time has confirmed its truthfulness, its unerring accuracy. The generation that saw the start of the time of distress that began in 1914 is now dwindling in numbers. Before it passes off the scene the prophesied “great tribulation” will come. You can be among the joyful survivors, experience deliverance from a world system that has proved oppressive, unworkable and death dealing. Why not investigate God’s prophetic Word and seek knowledge and understanding that will give you the faith you need to endure now and to win the privilege of life in God’s righteous new order? Jehovah’s witnesses offer to help you in gaining such strengthening, life-giving knowledge. Why not write us for such help, free of charge?
[Box on page 69]
“WHEN YOU SEE THESE THINGS OCCURRING, KNOW THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR.”
“Nation will rise against Since 1914 two world wars have
nation and kingdom against killed more than 69,000,000.
“There will be food shortages Half the world called
. . . in one place after undernourished, with 3,500,000
another.” dying every year from
“In one place after another From 1918 to 1919 some
pestilences.” 500,000,000 persons stricken
with Spanish flu; 21,000,000
died. Other diseases take their
“There will be . . . earthquakes Since 1914 there have been
in one place after another.” recorded nearly twice as
many major quakes as during
the previous 200 years.
“Increasing of lawlessness.” A plague of violence and
lawlessness is now sweeping
‘Men became faint out of Fear is said to be “the biggest
fear.” single emotion” that dominates
people’s lives today.
“This good news of the Jehovah’s witnesses preach the
kingdom will be preached good news of the kingdom in
in all the inhabited earth 206 lands, their literature
. . . and then the end will appearing in 165 languages.