Is Perfect Health in a Perfect Environment Possible?
THE general health of people is deteriorating day by day. It was alarming to the government of the United States some years ago when a high percentage of young men were found to be physically unfit for military service. A report made later by the then president John F. Kennedy stated, with regard to his physical fitness program: “Twenty percent of all the country’s schools have no regular fitness program, and 20 percent of our schoolchildren cannot pass a minimum test. Eighty percent cannot pass all the parts of a more comprehensive examination. . . . And we have barely begun to work on the vast problem of adult fitness.”
This situation existing in what is generally called one of the world’s most ‘advanced’ nations shows that scientifically oriented society is not bringing people nearer to perfect health. Actually, the environment essential to good health is becoming increasingly polluted.
Nevertheless, there is a sure, firmly founded hope for perfect health in a perfect environment. How can this be?
SOURCE OF TRUE HEALTH
To gain true health, something more than medical treatment and a good environment is needed. As anyone who has gone to a doctor can tell you, medical services, while sometimes helpful, do not bring perfect health. Nor are people who live out in the country, away from the heavy pollution of the cities, free from the deterioration of old age. Mankind today staggers under the inherited burden of sin, and it is this that produces sickness and eventually results in death. No imperfect human can liberate himself or anyone else from this condition. (Rom. 5:12; Ps. 49:7-9) But God has provided the means by which such a release is possible. He has done this through his Son Jesus Christ.
While on earth, Jesus demonstrated that those who exercised faith in him could have their sins forgiven and could by this means be restored to good health. Thus when he told a paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” the man was cured. (Mark 2:1-12) Jesus also showed that when he is given the kingdom of mankind as his domain, the paradise that mankind had enjoyed in Eden would be restored. It was a man who was dying alongside Jesus that said to him: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.” This moved Jesus to reply: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:42, 43.
“Paradise” means “parklike garden.” The paradise home that God gave to the first human pair was lost through disobedience. (Gen. 3:1-7, 17-24) Those who will gain life in the perfect environment of the restored paradise must show that they are not like Adam, but that they do God’s will, obeying him from the heart.
God long ago showed that he recognized man’s needy state and that he cares and will remedy the situation. To his prophet Ezekiel he gave a vision wherein Ezekiel saw a “river of water of life” running from Jehovah’s sanctuary, the Most Holy of the temple, where Jehovah was representatively present. This water issued forth as a stream, but grew into a mighty torrent as it ran eastward toward the rift valley called the Arabah, and flowed directly into the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea. The results that were brought about forecast a marvelous, happy fulfillment, one in which no one of mankind can afford not to take interest. Ezekiel reports on his vision:
“At that he [the angel of God] said to me: ‘Have you seen this, O son of man?’ Then he had me walk and had me return to the bank of the torrent. When I returned, why, look! on the bank of the torrent there were very many trees, on this side and on that side. And he went on to say to me: ‘This water is going forth to the eastern region and must go down through the Arabah. And it must come to the sea. It being brought forth into the sea itself, its water is also actually healed. And it must occur that every living soul that swarms, in every place to which the double-size torrent comes, will get life. And it must occur that there will be very many fish, because there is where this water will certainly come, and the seawater will be healed, and everything will be alive where the torrent comes.”’—Ezek. 47:6-9.
There, in the salty, lifeless water of this lowest surface body of water on earth, Ezekiel saw a miracle take place. The sea began to swarm with living fish! The torrent had sweetened the waters so that they could support life!
Ezekiel was given live evidence that the formerly Dead Sea now was full of life—that the stream from Jehovah’s temple was indeed “water of life.” The angel continues with the description:
“And it must occur that fishers will actually stand alongside it from En-gedi [“Spring of the Kid”] even up to En-eglaim [“Spring of Two Calves,” about eighteen miles north of En-gedi, on the west shore of the Dead Sea]. There will come to be a drying yard for dragnets. In their kinds their fish will prove to be, like the fish of the Great Sea [the Mediterranean], very many.”—Ezek. 47:10.
The vision is very evidently one concerning Christ’s thousand-year reign. Therefore the fishers of this prophecy are not the “fishers of men” that Christ said his disciples would become. (Matt. 4:19) For, in the promised “new earth,” there will be no catching of men like fish to become disciples of Jesus.—2 Pet. 3:13.
So the appearance of fishers in Ezekiel’s vision merely portrays prophetically that the “water of life,” God’s provisions for life through Christ’s ransom sacrifice and priestly services, will impart real, vigorous health and life to humankind.
Today the conditions and circumstances affecting mankind are death dealing, like the environment of the Dead Sea. This is true not only of the modern polluted physical environment, which man is progressively making worse. (Rev. 11:18) More importantly, it includes also the imperfection, the inherited results of the sin of our forefather Adam, bringing death.
There is, however, yet another factor that makes perfect health in a paradise earth impossible under the present circumstances. This fact is expressed in the apostle John’s statement, “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4) Satan the Devil invisibly controls the majority of mankind, and is the chief source of man’s woes. This is especially so now in this world’s time of the end.—Rev. 12:3, 4, 7-13.
Accordingly, the foretold ‘life-giving water’ will not flow to restore perfect health to mankind until God’s mighty Chief Angel, Jesus Christ, removes Satan and his demons by hurling them into the “abyss” so that they cannot trouble the earth. Then the survivors of this world’s destruction will be first to drink freely of life’s water. But they will not be the only ones. The river’s volume will provide enough for all resurrected mankind.—Rev. 20:1-3.
SOME WILL NOT BE HEALED
The fish pictured as caught in the salt sea’s miraculously sweetened waters were “clean” fish, edible under the Mosaic law, not unclean sea creatures. Likewise those healed by the life-giving waters will be those who exercise faith and obedience in pure worship. But what will happen if one is rebellious and disobedient to the laws and arrangements of that system of things under the rule of the Messianic “new heaven”?—Rev. 21:1.
In answer, Ezekiel’s vision says of certain areas not reached by the healing waters: “There are its swampy places and its marshy places, and they will not be healed. To salt they will certainly be given.” (Ezek. 47:11) In a figurative way, this would show that anyone who willfully refuses Jehovah’s healing “water” will not gain everlasting life. It is written concerning the resurrected ones under Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom: “This means the second death, the lake of fire. Furthermore, whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire.” Such faithless, disobedient ones will be removed from the righteous human society of those who receive the “water” of life.—Rev. 20:14, 15.
A PARADISE ENVIRONMENT
Jehovah showed his purpose that perfect humans have a perfect paradise environment when he placed the perfect Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. When they rebelled they were driven out, because to remain in the garden would be the privilege of perfect, righteous persons only.—Gen. 3:24.
Correspondingly, Ezekiel’s vision does not leave out this environmental feature important to perfect happiness. The angel went on to say:
“And alongside the torrent there will come up, along its bank on this side and on that side, all sorts of trees for food. Their leafage will not wither, nor will their fruitage be consumed. In their months they will bear new fruit, because the water for them—it is coming forth from the very sanctuary. And their fruitage must prove to be for food and their leafage for healing.”—Ezek. 47:12.
Jehovah assures us of the certainty of a paradisaic home by providing testimony at the mouth of two witnesses. (2 Cor. 13:1) How? More than six hundred years after Ezekiel’s prophecy, Christ sent his angel to the apostle John with a corroborative vision, proving that Jehovah is the God who does not change and whose purposes are sure of accomplishment. John reports on his vision of the heavenly “New Jerusalem”:
“And the broad way of the city was pure gold, as transparent glass. And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations.”—Rev. 21:21; 22:1, 2.
John’s vision located the fulfillment of the vision at the time when Jehovah reigns through the kingdom of his Messiah, the “Lamb.” John’s and Ezekiel’s visions attest to the heartening good news that the torrent of life-giving water will be accompanied by the growth of plants for beauty and good food, as was true of the original garden of Eden. A continual supply of life-sustaining provisions in abundance, not blighted by drought, disease or pests, will be there for humankind to enjoy, as if by means of fruit trees producing a fresh crop “each month.”
The “leafage” of those trees will be “for the curing of the nations.” This assures us that there will be perfect health continuously, for obedient humankind.
All conditions will then be there for perfect health in happiness. Humans will be fully able to appreciate life, and the healthful, clean environment will make their happiness complete. There will be no fear that the waters will dry up, for their Source is inexhaustible. What energy those drinking thereof will have for work in taking care of the paradise, as Adam and Eve were commissioned to do but failed!
Jehovah, in blessing his people, will also bring about a balanced ecology just as he did in the garden of Eden. Yes, just as he made ‘a covenant in connection with the wild beast of the field’ for the benefit and security of his ancient dedicated people in Israel, much more lasting will be his protection under Kingdom rule, against all dangers to life and health.—Hos. 2:18.
A knowledge of Jehovah’s undeserved kindness through Christ should move all who see it to praise him. This praising is most effectively done by conforming our lives to the requirements set forth in his Word the Bible and by proclaiming this wonderful hope to others. (Rev. 22:17; Rom. 10:10) Nothing could be better than, in a condition of perfect health and in a beautiful, peaceful, crimeless and unpolluted environment, to hear the words:
“Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Rev. 21:3, 4.