How Valuable Is Your Life?
TO MOST people life is a treasure. Without it, there is nothing. To others, life is not so important. They are willing to take great risks for fleeting fame or for pleasure. Yet most of these people who appear to count life cheap try to pack all the pleasure or fame that they can into a short time. They reveal by their course that they would actually love long life if they felt that it could be lived under proper conditions. But because of the present bad circumstances they do not see any possibility that life can be a long and happy one.
How does the Creator regard the life that he has given humans? He views it as most precious, a treasure. He has life in the fullest sense and knows what it is and what it can be. Therefore he holds out, through his Son Jesus Christ, the opportunity for everlasting life to mankind, and does not want anyone to lose out on this marvelous gift.—John 6:51.
How valuable is your life to you? Do you want to prolong it? To those who take hold of his provision for obtaining life he gives assurance of deliverance from extinction. Oh, they may die now from sickness or other causes, but they can be fully confident of receiving a resurrection back to this earth during the coming thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ. (John 5:28, 29) God is going to deliver and preserve many, even millions of people, into that righteous “new earth,” for it is near at hand.—2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 20:4, 6; 7:9-17.
It cannot be said that every individual among those serving God has the guarantee of being carried alive down to and through the destruction of this system of things, which has to precede Christ’s thousand-year reign of peace. (2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 19:19-21; 20:1-4) But God assures us in his written Word (and God cannot lie) that, as a body, his people will be protected and delivered into that righteous “new earth.” (Titus 1:2) He wants them to LIVE, not die, and to enjoy fullness of life forever.—Ezek. 18:23, 32.
TAKING UP “THE CUP OF GRAND SALVATION”
The God who has such love for his people inspired one of his psalmists to write about his experience. (Actually, the psalmist seemed to be writing of himself as representing the entire nation of Israel.) He underwent a situation in which his life was on the verge of extinction at the hands of the enemies of God and His people. Then God delivered him from death. The apostle Paul quoted the psalmist’s words at Psalm 116:10 and applied the words to himself and fellow Christians. (2 Cor. 4:13) In appreciation the psalmist said, exultingly:
“What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me? The cup of grand salvation I shall take up, and on the name of Jehovah I shall call. My vows I shall pay to Jehovah, yes, in front of all his people.”—Ps. 116:12-14.
This beautiful psalm, Psalm 116, applies in modern times to the remnant of anointed disciples of Christ from 1919 onward, after they emerged from the hardships and dangers of World War I. But there is a greater deliverance ahead for them and also for the “great crowd” of Christ’s “other sheep,” at the “great tribulation.” And so, when they are delivered from danger by God’s ridding the earth of wicked ones in the “great tribulation,” they will have peace. (Prov. 21:18) There can then follow a preservation of loyal ones all during the thousand years of God’s Messianic kingdom, the loyal ones of the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-17 being the ones that will forever keep living upon the cleansed earth.
The psalmist spoke of a “cup.” A cup contains something to drink or even to pour out as a “drink offering” to Jehovah, as was done in the psalmist’s day. (Num. 28:7; Phil. 2:17) Jehovah offers to his people “the cup of grand salvation” by preserving them through the “great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14) During the thousand years of earth-wide rule by the Messiah they will drink the “grand salvation” provided to them, enjoying life “in the lands of those living.” (Ps. 116:9) As they do so, they will call upon the name of Jehovah through his Messiah to bless and guide them in all their efforts.
PAYING VOWS TO JEHOVAH
What are the “vows” that the delivered ones have to pay to Jehovah? During their danger of imminent death at the hands of God’s enemies, did they make any vows, any solemn promises to God in desire for deliverance on God’s part? If so, then they will pay such “vows” to Jehovah because he acted in harmony with their vows and preserved them. They will do what they vowed to do “in front of all his people,” thereby praising his name publicly.
Continuing to speak in appreciation of Jehovah’s preservation, the psalmist emphasizes the value that Jehovah places on the lives of those who live according to his righteous principles: “Precious in the eyes of Jehovah is the death of his loyal ones. Ah, now, O Jehovah, for I am your servant. I am your servant, the son of your slave girl. You have loosened my bands.” (Ps. 116:15, 16) The psalmist appreciatively knew that Jehovah had considered him loyal by preserving him. He had been in dire danger of death, but Jehovah had loosened the bands with which he appeared to be tied to death. He called himself “the son of [Jehovah’s] slave girl,” which would simply indicate that he was one of Jehovah’s people. He recognized that Jehovah considered him one of His loyal servants.
DEATH OF LOYAL ONES “PRECIOUS”
How is the death of his loyal ones “precious in the eyes of Jehovah”? Well, just as the psalmist was, they are precious slaves to Jehovah. God’s loving-kindness toward his servant moved him to preserve his servant’s life. A person’s life is particularly valuable in Jehovah’s eyes if the person uses it in the right way, as a true worshiper of Him. Jehovah counts the death of the entire body of his loyal ones too costly to let occur. Of course, the loyal ones will express appreciation and thanksgiving for this, because life is exceedingly precious to them. It is a marvelous quality on Jehovah’s part that he is deeply concerned with his servants’ lives. He considers their death as being too high a price to pay, and so does not let the death occur.—Rom. 8:35-39.
Not only is Jehovah’s great love here manifested, but also his regard for justice and righteousness in the universe is shown, for the benefit of all his creatures. For him to let his enemies triumph over his loyal people and wipe all of them from the face of the earth would be a blot upon his universal sovereignty, his rulership over heaven and earth. He is the Creator of the earth and he created it for those loyal to him. (Isa. 45:18) If he cannot preserve his group of loyal ones on earth even under the heaviest, most dastardly attack by anti-God enemies, it would be as if his enemies were more powerful than he is and had the right to say who shall live permanently on earth. He will not have his rulership of earth, in fact, his whole universal sovereignty as well as his name reproached, impugned by such a thing.
Furthermore, if Jehovah let his whole body of loyal ones be effaced from the earth, there would be no one left in the courtyards of his great spiritual temple, which are located here on earth. There would be on earth no basis or foundation for the “new earth” or righteous human society to dwell under the “new heaven.” (Rev. 21:1) How, then, could the thousand-year reign of the Messiah begin, with no earthly subjects? No! The death of the entire group of God’s loyal ones on earth would be too precious, too costly, for Jehovah. Out of respect for Himself, it is too costly to allow.
SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING
For Jehovah’s saving the “great crowd” of “other sheep” to live on earth, for maintaining his purpose and his promises to have the earth a place where righteousness dwells, the “tribulation” survivors render heartfelt praise and appreciation. Jehovah wants them to live as much as they themselves want to live and enjoy life. They, in addition to the remnant of spiritual Israelites, will say, as did the psalmist:
“To you I shall offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and on the name of Jehovah I shall call. My vows I shall pay to Jehovah, yes, in front of all his people, in the courtyards of the house of Jehovah, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise Jah, you people!”—Ps. 116:17-19.
The survivors of the “great tribulation,” the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” will offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise to Jehovah for their deliverance, in the same spirit that Noah and his family offered a grand sacrifice of thanksgiving after being preserved through the global deluge. (Gen. 8:20, 21) Then the “great crowd” on earth will experience even greater delight in seeing billions of persons resurrected on earth for opportunity to take hold upon the desirable prize of life also.—Rev. 20:11-15.
How do you value your own life? Do you think it worth while to live on a peaceful, beautified earth, in perfection of health and with no fear of death, ever? Life, in some instances, may be difficult now, but Jehovah, who knows how marvelous life can be under good circumstances, purposes to provide these circumstances. He desires you and all others to grasp hold of the opportunity he offers through his Word the Bible.
Knowing what Jehovah purposes for us, we can come to know and love him and become his loyal subjects, with the happiest prospects in view. He is the only source of life, real life that can be enjoyed as he created mankind to enjoy it. For this reason the psalmist’s exclamation, “Praise Jah, you people!” can be recognized by us as wholly appropriate. This expression, in Hebrew, is “Hallelujah!” and appears many times in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Greek form it is found toward the closing part of the Bible’s last book, Revelation or Apocalypse. (Rev. 19:1-6) Those proclaiming God’s name are witnesses to Jehovah’s majesty, loving-kindness and magnificence.
Christians today render up this praise through their great High Priest, Jesus Christ, at Jehovah’s spiritual temple. This is no earthly building. However, they meet for Bible study and worship in buildings that they call “Kingdom Halls.” They also conduct free home Bible studies with interested persons. All those who love life can now join them in searching into God’s Word, learning more about his purpose and his promises, and can unite with them in true worship. Grand prospects of survival and life forever will be their happy lot!