A Thousand Years of Relief for Mankind
INFORMED persons today agree on one point—that mankind needs relief. In this they are at unity, though each usually has a different solution to offer. Ross Smyth, past president of the World Federalists of Canada, recently gave a talk in which he said:
“Today the transportation and communications technology has shrunk the earth into a global village. But it is a village without a mayor, without an effective governing council, police force and judicial system. Just as a big jetliner with 365 passengers speeds through the air, our planet earth is hurtling through space with 3-1/2 billion passengers—but nobody is in command.”
Mr. Smyth puts his finger on a basic need, that is, some government that has the authority, power and wisdom to take effective command for the good of the people. He believes that a federated world government is the answer.
For about six thousand years mankind has needed relief, but never so urgently as now. What government really is the answer? God, who created the earth and put man upon it, informs us that he is providing a government that will take only a thousand years to reverse all the damage of the past six thousand years and bring mankind all it needs and desires for happiness. This is God’s Messianic kingdom.
How will it accomplish this relief? The Bible shows that some preparatory work has to be done just prior to the thousand years in order to give God’s government a clear, full thousand years of peace in which to rehabilitate mankind.
As discussed in previous issues of this magazine, false religion and the political and commercial system of this world are to be destroyed. You will find this described in the Bible at Revelation chapters 17-19. The cleaning out of wicked corrupters and destroyers of the earth will bring great relief, but it still leaves the primary source of earth’s woes to be removed. Who or what is this source?
THE REAL SOURCE OF MAN’S WOES
The chief source of mankind’s woes is Satan the Devil, an invisible spirit person. This person has great power. He is not merely a ‘principle of evil,’ nor does he content himself with tempting individuals, here and there, to sin. He is called “the god of this system of things,” “the ruler of the world,” and the one who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—2 Cor. 4:4; John 14:30; Rev. 12:9.
During the period of time since 1914 C.E., the world has suffered its greatest woes. The Bible explains the reason for this. It shows that at that time preliminary action was taken against this enemy of God and man by Jesus Christ, who fought a war with Satan and his associate demons and hurled them out of the heavens of God’s presence down to the vicinity of earth. Of the outcome of this fight, the Bible says: “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:7-12.
The earth has since been the entire scene of operation of the wicked demons, wicked spirit persons, in fact, for more than fifty years now. This accounts for the increase of troubles in our generation. Accordingly, after the earth is cleansed by the destruction of wicked human institutions and their supporters, it is imperative that the Devil and his demons be removed in order that full relief may come.
This the Bible does not ignore or leave for us to guess as to its certainty. Immediately after describing the annihilation of this system of things on earth by Christ’s heavenly forces, the Bible says:
“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while.”—Rev. 20:1-3.
PEACE AND RELEASE FROM DEATH
This act by which Jesus Christ, at Jehovah’s command, puts the Devil (along with his demons) into imprisonment in the “abyss,” makes them as though they ‘were not’ for a thousand years. (Luke 8:30, 31; compare Revelation 17:8.) There will thus be no interference from the invisible spirit realm to mislead humans on earth. This will mean more to mankind than we can fully realize or appreciate. Satan has been the “ruler of the authority of the air,” that is, an invisible ruler. Imagine what it will mean for peaceful relations among humans when Satan himself is no longer “the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience.”—Eph. 2:2.
With the abyssing of Satan the thousand years of the Messianic reign will begin. The small number of spiritual brothers of Jesus Christ remaining on earth, along with their companions, the “great crowd,” who look for blessings on earth under God’s kingdom, will work initially toward beautifying the earth as a paradise garden. Then the resurrection of the dead will begin. The apostle John reports on his vision of this: “And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Hades gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.”—Rev. 20:13.
Among those thus coming forth out of the common grave of mankind will be that evildoer hung on an execution stake alongside Jesus, to whom Jesus said: “Verily I say unto thee this day: With me shalt thou be in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43, Rotherham’s translation; New World Translation) This evildoer will come forth from Hades into the earthly Paradise reestablished for mankind by the kingdom of Jesus Christ. In that Paradise the evildoer will share the opportunity along with all the other resurrected human dead to correct his life course and be cured of human imperfection and sinfulness. In this way, by the end of the thousand years of Christ’s reign, he will be able to reach the goal of human perfection in God’s image and likeness. All those attaining to human perfection and sinlessness on earth by the end of the thousand years must, however, undergo a final test of their loyalty to God’s universal sovereign rule, in order to keep their perfect life.—Rev. 20:7-9.
Those perfected humans on earth who maintain their integrity and prove faithful to God’s rightful rule will be declared righteous by the Supreme Judge, Jehovah God. These innocent ones He will declare to be worthy of eternal life, and He will assign to them the right to endless life in happiness in the earthly Paradise. Free of all condemnation, these obedient ones will then really live from God’s perfect standpoint. In this manner it is, then, that “the rest of the dead [aside from those enjoying the heavenly resurrection] did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” (Rev. 20:5) This expression applies to the “great crowd” of Armageddon survivors as well as to the resurrected ones.
But those perfected humans who do not faithfully pass the test of godly loyalty during the “little while” that Satan is released after the thousand years are ended will be everlastingly destroyed, just as John in his preview presents the matter, saying: “And death and Hades were hurled into the lake of fire. 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.” (Rev. 20:14, 15) So these disloyal ones do not attain to life eternal.
A REAL, DEFINITE THOUSAND YEARS
Is the thousand-year reign of the Messianic kingdom a literal, full, actual thousand years? Some say No. The New Catholic Encyclopedia, after stating that “the 1,000 year reign of Jesus [is] a symbol for the entire life span of the Church,” continues:
“ . . . The chaining of Satan during this same period signifies that the influence of Satan has been notably reduced, not completely removed. The lessening of Satan’s influence is the result of the effectiveness of Christ’s Redemption. After a final struggle near the end of time . . . Satan will be completely conquered by Christ.”
But from what we have considered, it is clear that the thousand-year reign of Christ is not the “life span of the Church,” which began on the day of Pentecost, 33 C.E., and has run until now—more than 1,900 years. Why not? Well, has there actually been such lessening of Satan’s influence, because of the “effectiveness of Christ’s Redemption”? If so, the apostle Peter would not have found it necessary to write to fellow Christians: “Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.”—1 Pet. 5:8.
Neither would the apostle Paul have been impelled to warn his brothers: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a wrestling . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”—Eph. 6:11, 12.
Furthermore, after foretelling the war in heaven, Revelation says: “And the dragon [the Devil] grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Rev. 12:17) Does this sound like a chaining of Satan?
What a disappointing thing for mankind if the thousand years were already past, as this Catholic opinion would imply! There has been no relief during all those years for mankind. Even true Christians have suffered severe persecution. Mankind in general has groaned under many burdens and sufferings, and in the last few years their woes have increased.—Rom. 8:19-22.
Jehovah God is not a God whose promises and works fall short, leaving us frustrated and not completely satisfied and happy. God and his Messianic King both know and feel for man in his unhappy state, and they happily anticipate the thousand years, which God has purposed for the relief of mankind. (Ps. 103:14; Jonah 4:11; Matt. 9:36) And, in his wisdom, Jehovah brings in his Kingdom rule at exactly the proper time to accomplish his purposes.
According to the Bible’s timetable, we are near the end of six thousand years of human history, and Christ’s royal reign for the relief and rehabilitation of mankind to perfection is at our doors. A wonderful prospect! Do you desire to live under that coming rule? It is the only right, natural thing to desire.
If you do wish for such a time of relief, you cannot find it in man-made governments, for the entire matter of a good government rests on right principles. These you do not find in the governments of imperfect men. So if you love right principles, you will be interested in learning more about God’s government and its rulers. This will be considered in future issues of this magazine.