What Has God Promised?
A NEW order—what will life be like there? Will all earth’s inhabitants have fine, even luxurious homes? What methods of transportation and communication will be used?
The Bible does not say. Why not? Because these are not the most important things to know, particularly at this time. These things do not, in themselves, bring real happiness. What does bring such happiness?
This system of things provides fine homes for many. It can supply a person with luxury in food, clothing, automobiles and pleasures. Yet we see as many broken homes, delinquent children and as much sickness among those having luxury as among poor people.
It is evident, therefore, that spiritual prosperity must precede material prosperity for real happiness. Is it not the spiritual and mental condition of an individual that makes him happy? True and lasting happiness can come only if one has a good conscience toward God and serves the interests of God’s kingdom as directed by the Bible.
Looking at the matter from another angle, what is it that brings unhappiness in this world today? Is it primarily the lack of material things? Or is it people and their attitude? Is it not people’s lack of consideration and respect for others and for their property? The greed, discourtesy and unconcern for neighbor make for unhappiness, no matter what one’s material surroundings may be.
Accordingly, the Bible talks primarily about people. It stresses changing one’s personality. (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9, 10) A person may be rich. He may be poor. But either way he can be happy if he follows the Bible’s admonition and associates with others who have the same genuine faith.
So, while the Bible guarantees that God will preserve this planet Earth, it speaks much more about the preservation of people. It sets forth the requirements for individual survival.
Need we worry or be deeply concerned, then, about what the exact condition, materially, will be in God’s order? True, there are millions of persons on earth who have been forced by circumstances and environment to live under conditions of abject poverty, with no hope of betterment. It is natural and proper for them to desire better material conditions. And it is natural for those hoping in God’s promise to wonder what God will provide. But there is no real advantage in spending time in speculation. However, we are justified in looking to see what the Bible does say.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE INDICATE?
How can the Bible help us to know what God will provide for people in his new order? Mainly by revealing to us God’s personality—what kind of God he is.
First, the Bible tells us that God “becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Heb. 11:6) So it is proper to look for a reward for faithfulness to him. We also learn that the things that bring God’s favor, resulting in all our needs being supplied, are faith and loyalty to Him. King Solomon requested, not riches, but an obedient heart and understanding to direct God’s people Israel. God was pleased, and replied: “For the reason that you have requested this thing and have not requested for yourself many days nor requested for yourself riches nor requested the soul of your enemies, and you have requested for yourself understanding to hear judicial cases, look! I shall certainly do according to your words. Look! I shall certainly give you a wise and understanding heart.” But then God went on to say: “And also what you have not requested I will give you, both riches and glory . . . And if you will walk in my ways by keeping my regulations and my commandments, . . . I will also lengthen your days.”—1 Ki. 3:9-14.
Consequently, we can be assured that everything needed for fullest happiness will be supplied in God’s new order. Of Jehovah God, King David could say from experience: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:16) God knows the human makeup, the things needed to make one happy, the desires of the heart. (Ps. 139:1-4) He knows what we need better than we ourselves do, even before we are aware of the need and ask for it.—Matt. 6:8; compare John 2:25.
The apostle Paul wrote to the materially poor but generous congregation of Christians in Philippi, Macedonia: “My God will fully supply all your need to the extent of his riches in glory by means of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19; 2 Cor. 8:1, 2) What will be needed by those surviving the destruction of this system of things into God’s new order, along with those resurrected during Christ’s thousand-year reign?
HUMAN NEEDS ASSURED
By considering God’s purpose for Adam and Eve we can get some idea of his purpose in his new order. The first human pair were perfect in mind and body. (Gen. 1:31) They were placed in a beautiful garden home, with every food that was necessary for their sustenance and delight. (Gen. 2:9) Their dominion gave them peace with the animals. (Gen. 1:28) Only when Adam and Eve sinned were they driven out of paradise, it thereby being evident that a paradise is God’s provision for the habitation of perfect persons.
It would not be in harmony with God’s loving manner of dealing with his faithful people to bring them through the “great tribulation” of this world’s destruction into his new order only to inherit a condition of complete desolation. He knows that humans need homes of some kind. But after the destruction of this system of things it may take some time before the earth can be built up and beautified to any great extent, according to the ‘architectural’ plans to be furnished by Jehovah God, who knows what his design is for the new order. This does not mean that man’s own ingenuity and talents will be stifled, but that God will determine the general or overall pattern. In the meantime, the needs of all will be cared for.
What God did for his people Israel when they entered the Promised Land reveals that God will certainly provide necessities for those surviving into the new order. Moses told Israel beforehand: “And it must occur that when Jehovah your God will bring you into the land that he swore to your forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give you, great and good-looking cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns hewn out that you did not hew out, vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant, . . . watch out for yourself that you may not forget Jehovah.” Later the inspired proverb stated as a principle: “The wealth of the sinner is something treasured up for the righteous one.”—Deut. 6:10-12; Prov. 13:22.
The Bible does not tell us that there will remain cities, and so forth, after the “great tribulation.” But these statements of God’s Word describing his provision for Israel when they entered the Promised Land prove that those entering into his new order will have ample to supply their material needs along with the priceless inheritance of life on this delightful planet Earth.
What God promises and what he brings are, we can be sure, the very best for all concerned. Often we desire things that, when obtained, are disappointing. We cannot, therefore, determine what will be best for us in God’s new order. But we can take hold of what God gives us now in a spiritual way, the things that are of real value in life.
In God’s due time he will reveal to us all that he has in store for us, things more delightful than our minds can now envision. Our primary concern now should be to get ‘accurate knowledge and full discernment, that we may make sure of the more important things’ so as to be on hand to enjoy his new order of righteousness.—Phil. 1:9, 10.
What these important things are and what we can do in order to have a really good conscience toward God and to practice the things that are right in his eyes will be considered in a later article in this magazine, entitled “Preparing for God’s New Order.”