The End of 6,000 Years of Man-Rule Approaches—What Has Been Accomplished?
SINCE a new Jewish lunar year began in September 1975 a significant point in human history was reached. What was that? According to the Bible’s count of time, mankind then completed 6,000 years of existence on earth. Yes, the first man Adam, if he had chosen to remain obedient under God’s rulership, would have still been alive and 6,000 years old in September of this year.
Does this mean, then, that mankind has now reached 6,000 years into the 7,000-year period that God ‘blessed and made sacred’ as his great “rest day”? Does it mean that Christ’s millennial Kingdom rule, as the final 1,000 years of that “rest day,” is to be reckoned from September 1975?—Gen. 1:27, 31; 2:2, 3; Rev. 20:1-6.
No, it does not mean that. Why not? Well, the Bible record shows that God’s creations on the “day” just preceding that 7,000-year “rest day” did not end with Adam’s creation. It shows a time lapse between the creation of Adam and that of his wife, Eve. During that time, God had Adam name the animals. Whether that period amounted to weeks or months or years, we do not know. So we do not know exactly when Jehovah’s great “rest day” began, nor do we know exactly when it will end. The same applies to the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign. The Bible provides us no way to fix the date, and so it does us no good to speculate when that date may be.—Gen. 2:18-25; Matt. 24:42, 44.
However, the Bible’s time clock does indicate to us that 6,000 years of human history end in this year 1975. Early in God’s “rest day” Adam became a rebel against God-rule. Thus, for the most part, the first 6,000 years of man’s history have been marked by man-rule. What did man’s independent rulership accomplish during those six millenniums of time, or six spans of 1,000 years each? Let us take a panoramic view of those millenniums, each in its turn.
First Thousand Years
Man’s happiness in the paradise of Eden ended as Adam and Eve rebelled against the sovereignty of their Creator, Jehovah God. Justly, God expelled the man and his wife from the garden into the uncultivated earth, to fend for themselves under the independent government of their choice. Probably that became a form of patriarchal rule. But during the 900-and-more years that remained of Adam’s life, sin-tainted mankind became involved more and more in violence, murder, false religion and a permissive way of life that ended only in death.—Rom. 5:12; Gen. 3:12, 16-19; 4:10, 11, 23, 26.
Second Thousand Years
Under man-rule, “the badness of man” abounded to the point that God, after giving due warning, brought a global deluge to destroy those who had “ruined” the earth and filled it with violence. Though God preserved alive faithful Noah and his family because of their righteousness, their descendants became involved in human politics in defiance of Jehovah God. Less than 200 years after the Flood, Nimrod became a ruthless dictator and king. He exalted himself against the Most High God, so that there came to be a saying, “Just like Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” His hunting exploits no doubt included the killing of men, as well as of animals, so that he established a tyranny over mankind. When his rebellious course culminated in building a city, Babel, and “a tower with its top in the heavens,” Jehovah performed the miracle of confusing the language of mankind. This forced them to abandon their building program, and to be scattered over the earth. The first human dictatorship disintegrated in defeat!—Gen. 6:4, 5, 11; 10:8-12; 11:1-9.
Third Thousand Years
There were wars among mankind, tribe against tribe, city-state against city-state and kingdom against kingdom. Egypt became the dominant world power, but was punished by God because it oppressed his people, Israel. The people of the nations drifted deeper into pagan idolatry, even to the point of offering child sacrifices. Oppressive dictatorships arose and the common people suffered as pawns of the rulers.—Gen. 14:1-16; Ex. 1:8-11; 6:1-6; 14:26-31; Deut. 18:9-12.
Fourth Thousand Years
In Egypt’s wake, a procession of world empires, ruled by ambitious kings, arose in succession. These became prominent in the fourth millennium. Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome—each, in turn, fought with its mighty armies and gained world domination. They were also permitted to gain and wield sovereignty over the nation of Israel. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation both liken such mighty political powers to “beasts.” False religion was always prominent in its support of these cruel dictatorships.—Dan. 7:2-8, 17; 8:3-8, 20-22; Rev. 13:1, 2; 17:3-8, 11; Ezek. 21:25-27.
Fifth Thousand Years
Imperial Rome now held sway over many lands. In the domain of Rome, John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus Christ was impaled, the imperial armies destroyed Jerusalem and Christians were persecuted—all this within the first century of our Common Era. In the fourth century C.E., the unbaptized Caesar Constantine organized Christendom with its clergymen and the politico-religious setup of Rome, and the Catholic Hierarchy brought on the Dark Ages, with all their miserable oppression of the common man, and particularly of those who sought to serve God. The Church-and-State combine was glorified in 800 C.E. when the Roman pope crowned Charlemagne as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.—Mark 6:25, 27; 15:25, 37; Luke 21:20-24; 2 Thess. 2:3.
Sixth Thousand Years
The Roman Empire fragmented into rival and oppressive European states. These sent their warships abroad to seize and colonize the so-called “pagan” areas of the earth. Great Britain became the dominant world power. Colonial America declared and gained its independence from Britain, but continued close alliance in an Anglo-American world-power arrangement. The eighteenth century was a time of industrial revolution, and the twentieth century started an era of world wars, which embraced nearly all political nations, supported by the leading religions. The domination of the democratic “king of the south” was challenged by the Germanic “king of the north,” but dictatorial Germany has now been superseded by the Communist giant as “king.” None of these forms of political government have brought real happiness or security to their subjects. And now a nuclear arms race threatens the annihilation of mankind. Revolution and rebellion against authority, the mushrooming of a permissive society and the rapid growth of crime and pollution have added to man’s problems.—Dan. 11:27-40; Rev. 11:18.
This 6,000-year period of man’s existence was early marked by the loss of paradise. Since then, frustrated mankind has tried many kinds of government in an effort to regain at least some form of material paradise. But what has been accomplished? The result is world confusion. Mankind faces ruination, just as Jesus foretold concerning our day: “On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out . . . while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” But God’s Word holds forth hope!—Luke 21:25, 26.