Would You Want to Be There?
WOULD you like to live in a place where you did not have to fight the commercial world to eke out a living? Where you were free from worry about rising prices, shortages, loss of employment or income?
Would you like to get away from governmental corruption, inequalities in rights and opportunities and slackness in the administration of justice?
Do you wish that you could live where there would be no need for lawyers, doctors, hospitals or cemeteries?
You may reply, ‘You’re talking about heaven.’
No. We are talking about the earth. You likely have wished for this very condition. Have you prayed: “Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth”? This prayer is not a request to go to heaven. It asks for the righteous, favorable conditions of God’s heaven to be brought to earth.—Matt. 6:10.
Could such a condition be possible? It can and will be. When? How?
In the very near future, by God’s own hand. Surely you see that this present system as run by men is decadent. There is evidence, however, that there are also unseen forces that exercise vast influence. The Bible identifies these forces as demons, wicked spirits controlled by a master demon, Satan the Devil. Invisibly, he is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—Rev. 12:9; 2 Cor. 4:4.
Consequently, there is a wicked invisible rulership, which the Bible calls a “heaven,” and a wicked visible human society called “earth.” Of these, the Bible says, prophetically: “The earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” (Rev. 20:11) This is foretelling that God will do away with the corrupt system that holds mankind in the viselike grip of fear, corruption, war, disease and death.—2 Pet. 3:7, 13.
A RIGHTEOUS EARTH
The “new heaven” of Jesus Christ and his 144,000 associate kings and priests will then rule invisibly. (Rev. 21:1; 14:1; 20:4-6) Of their qualifications as rulers and judges, The Watchtower has spoken in previous issues. But what about human society under them? It will constitute a “new earth.” In order to make an intelligent decision—to want to be there—one needs to understand its operation.
Who will be the visible administrators of righteousness in the “new earth”? Psalm 45 tells us. It is addressed prophetically to David’s kingly heir, the Lord Jesus Christ. After describing the heavenly “marriage” of Jesus Christ and his “bridal” congregation, the psalm says: “In place of your forefathers there will come to be your sons, whom you will appoint as princes in all the earth.”—Ps 45 Vs. 16.
Who are the “princes” that will help in carrying out justice in the “new earth”? Some of them will be chosen from among Jesus’ ancestors. They, though forefathers of Jesus in a fleshly sense, will be dependent on him for life. These men he will resurrect from the dead, Jesus becoming their “Father,” and they his “sons.” Others will also serve as “princes” from among the survivors of this system’s destruction and from among faithful men of old not in Jesus’ ancestry.
The primary factor qualifying these princes is integrity. Jesus Christ will follow God’s own principle in selecting these men, as stated at Exodus 18:21: You should select “capable men, fearing God, trustworthy men, hating unjust profit.” These princes will not be corruptible, as rulers are today. They will be courageous and protective of what is right, like the princes described in Isaiah 32:1, 2:
“Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself. And each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.” All, regardless of race, color or former nationality, will receive justice. There will be no need of lawyers fighting for civil rights. Justice will not be meted out on the basis of any economic, social or ethnic status.
Under such righteous heavenly and earthly administration, the selfishness that hampers production of food and equitable distribution to all will be eliminated. God’s loving promise will then be a tangible, enjoyable reality: “Jehovah of armies will certainly make for all the peoples, in this mountain [kingdom], a banquet . . . of well-oiled dishes filled with marrow, of wine kept on the dregs, filtered. . . . He will actually swallow up death forever.”—Isa. 25:6-8.
THE THOUSAND-YEAR JUDGMENT
Under Jesus Christ and his 144,000 associate heavenly judges the princes will function. They will have a thousand years to assist the human race to learn obedience to God’s laws and to achieve life. With sparkling, invigorating life, there will be no sickness requiring doctors and hospitals, as are now necessary to alleviate, to some extent, the terrible suffering it causes. God gave the apostle John a vision that provides a fine picture of this judgment day. John writes:
“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. 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. 20:12, 13.
This vision clearly depicts the resurrection of the dead, whether from an earthly grave or a watery one—all the redeemed ones, for whom God accepts the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. This will constitute the majority of mankind who have ever lived.
In addition to the resurrected ones there will be the survivors of the “great tribulation” that destroys this wicked earthly system of things. (Matt. 24:21; Rev. 7:9-17) These will need the help of the heavenly judges and priests in order to be lifted up to perfection, even though some may serve as “princes.” Likewise, the resurrected men appointed as “princes” will need such heavenly help.
All of these must stand before Jehovah’s judgment throne. God has delegated judgment authority during the thousand years to Jesus Christ. (John 5:22) Is the judgment based on the past record of those being judged? No. The judgment is not based on whether their name is in the book of life when they come before the throne. The vision shows that other scrolls were opened and that “the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.” Thus, determination is made as to whether they get the opportunity to have their names in the book of life or not.
The scrolls set forth Jehovah’s laws for living and working in the “new earth.” The people are not judged en masse, but “individually according to their deeds” of obedience or disobedience to these laws administered by the heavenly judges. The earthly princes will assist the people to learn and obey them.
Under these conditions, can we expect the majority of earth’s population then to turn out wicked, disobedient? This does not seem reasonable. At the present time many circumstances cause people to be disobedient to law. One of these is the slow, dragging process of justice in today’s courts, as well as the bribery and favoritism that produce injustice. The situation in this world has encouraged criminality. It has occurred as the Bible says: “Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad.”—Eccl. 8:11.
No such situation will exist during Christ’s thousand-year reign. Throughout this time, as the result of the dripping and trickling down of righteousness from the “new heavens,” the human soil of the “new earth” will respond and become fruitful in a corresponding way. The Bible expresses it beautifully: “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.
Consequently, the path of the righthearted person will not be such rough going as now, but will be smoothed out. God’s prophet Isaiah wrote: “The path of the righteous one is uprightness. You being upright, you will smooth out the very course of a righteous one. Yes, for the path of your judgments, O Jehovah, we have hoped in you. . . . because, when there are judgments from you for the earth, righteousness is what the inhabitants of the productive land will certainly learn.”—Isa. 26:7-9.
Conditions will be the reverse of what they have been under the satanic “god of this system of things” with corrupt political domination and the influence of false religion to keep the people in subjection. The “scrolls” of God’s instructions for handling earth’s affairs will be taught without interference from false ideologies and the materialistic philosophies of selfish men. Greedy commercialism will no longer govern the lives of people by manipulation of earth’s resources so as to cause spiraling prices, inflation, shortages and consequent suffering, along with dissatisfaction, unhappiness and unrest. That which is right and good will be exalted, and no more will it be true that “sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily.”
WHAT ABOUT THOSE NOT OBEDIENT?
Of course, there will undoubtedly be some who are not obedient to the “things written in the scrolls” for the direction of mankind in God’s way. The prophet Isaiah goes on to say: “Though the wicked one should be shown favor, he simply will not learn righteousness. In the land of straightforwardness he will act unjustly and will not see the eminence of Jehovah.”—Isa. 26:10.
The millennial “land of straightforwardness,” of straightforward dealing with the people and among the people, will be a place where great favor is shown to all mankind in their inborn human imperfection. But some members of the human family have gone down more deeply into sinful degradation than others and have been hardened in an unjust personality. Their accustomed bent is toward injustice, even though all around them there is straightforwardness. They will not want to recognize the eminence of Jehovah as the rightful Lawgiver nor the rightness of his standards for living.
Persons who, in the “land of straightforwardness,” receive the “favor” of God in vain, missing its loving purpose, and who prove unreformable, need not necessarily be preserved to the end of the thousand years before being executed as unfit for eternal life in the Paradise restored to earth. Without any injustice to such who prove to be beyond correction, they may be executed by the one whom God has appointed to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness. (Rev. 20:14, 15; Acts 17:31) How wise and prudent it is, then, to be obedient now to the “good news of God” and to cultivate a love of righteousness in view of that coming Judgment Day!—1 Pet. 4:17, 18.
After the end of the thousand-year rule of Christ, there are greater things to come. These will be discussed in the next issue of The Watchtower.
Do you want to be in a world like this? Would you be happier than now if you possessed perfection of health and could welcome back in the resurrection your loved ones and friends? This happy condition will be right here on earth. If you truly want to live in such a world, your heart and conscience will motivate you to look further into God’s Word the Bible. God’s very reason for having this book written was to provide instructions for us during this time. It shows us how to conduct ourselves in order to get onto the way to life in that “new earth.”—Rom. 15:4.
“O God, give your own judicial decisions to the king, and your righteousness to the son of the king. May he plead the cause of your people with righteousness and of your afflicted ones with judicial decision. Let the mountains carry peace to the people, also the hills, through righteousness. Let him judge the afflicted ones of the people, let him save the sons of the poor one, and let him crush the defrauder. In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.”—Ps. 72:1-4, 7.