Who Will Make the Day of Reckoning Work Good for Us?
“Then what can I do when God rises up? And when he calls for an accounting, what can I answer him?”—Job 31:14
1. Why do we who are suffering helplessly from conditions long for a day of reckoning in our lifetime, and on what scale?
A DAY of reckoning is a good thing. There are so many of us who long for things to be set straight with benefit to everybody. Yes, and we could welcome such a day. We are affected by the wrongs committed, the oppression, the defrauding, and we cannot help ourselves and get relief. We cannot call the wrongdoers to account. Our comfort lies in the fact that there is in operation such a thing as “the law of retribution.” So eventually justice will be done. O that this would occur in our own lifetime! Yes, on a worldwide scale! Then everybody suffering injustice would benefit.
2. What may be said about our social and natural environment, with what fear being excited?
2 Today our social environment is in a bad way. Even our natural environment is being polluted and ruined. There is bound to be a day of reckoning for this, shortly—so we are told by authorities on environment. Human society cannot keep on upsetting the balance of natural arrangements of the earth without at last reaping the consequences. Death to all human society is feared, in an earth unfit for life.
3. What may be said about a reckoning with regard to morals, to war preparations and to something considered untouchable, sacrosanct?
3 We might also think of the day of reckoning that is approaching because of the decline in good morals that is taking place in all lands. Likewise, because of the military arms race, with the United Nations organization being no inducement for slowing it down, but with all nations turning to reliance on military preparedness for safety. There is, however, still another sector of human affairs that is due for a reckoning, a sector that may seem to many of us to be an untouchable thing, like something sacrosanct. What is that? It is religion!
4. Why does religion deserve to be overtaken by a day of reckoning, and what will be the effect when this happens?
4 More and more persons are dismissing religion from their lives as being something irrelevant, useless, even hurtful. Nevertheless, religion remains as one of the most potent forces in the life of mankind. Few, if any, are able to escape from its influence. It has proved to be responsible for so much badness in the conduct of men and of nations that it deserves to be overtaken by a day of reckoning. When this happens, it will surprise hundreds of millions, and the outcome will be most awesome.
5. (a) How has religion proved to be the most divisive force on earth? (b) Why could not the many religions of Christendom and the rest of the world all be the truth and be right?
5 In human history, religion has proved to be the most divisive force on earth. It has separated races, nations, peoples, tribes and even members of a family. Thus it has caused human disunity. Difference of religion has led to bitter hatreds and prejudices, and, sad to say, to violent conflicts, to feuds that have lasted for centuries down till now. No exception to this has been that part of the religious world known as Christendom. In fact, she has been most outstanding in this respect. Because of hideous wars her realm has been drenched with seas of human blood. Responsible for this is her being split into many hundreds of religious sects and denominations. In itself, this disunity proves that she is not what she claims to be—Christian. Christendom’s Babel of religions and the differing religions of the rest of the world could not all be right. Truth is one, absolute, for it is at unity with itself.
6. (a) Why must all nations today meet up with a day of reckoning, and now all together? (b) What kind of entity must it be that will hold a reckoning with the nations?
6 Discordant religions, natural environment, standards of morality, management of human affairs—all nations have been involved with these consequential things. No nation has proved faultless. All have proved to be violators of right rules of conduct and of government. In line with the pattern of all past human history, the nations must all meet up with a day of reckoning. Only now, with all the rapid means of communication and transportation and with such interdependence between themselves, the nations will enter that day of reckoning together. But who or what will hold a reckoning with them? Their national god or set of gods? The so-called “sacred cow” of science? The United Nations, or some other international agency for regulating the relations between Communist nations and capitalist nations or between the laboring class and management? Not at all, for the failure of such things is what has brought mankind to its present predicament. Logically, then, it must be some intelligent entity that is more than equal to all the deep-rooted difficulties of peoples and that is impartial to the races and nations, an almighty Intelligence that can turn this day of reckoning into one of relief for all lovers of what is right.
WHAT IS NEEDED FOR AN ACCOUNTING TO BE IMPARTIAL
7. (a) In what state of affairs will the nations be on the day of reckoning of which we here speak? (b) What kind of Judicial Authority would be the proper one for holding the reckoning?
7 We are here not talking about some imaginary “Day of Judgment” in a spirit world after death of the citizens of nations. We are talking about a day of reckoning for all nations while they are still going concerns and striving to perpetuate their rule in the styles of government that they prefer. Will the nations survive the coming day of inspection and of settling accounts with the superhuman Judicial Authority to whom all the nations are accountable? That is the question that concerns us individuals who are members of these guilt-bearing nations. So we desire for the day of reckoning a Judicial Authority that is superior to all the impotent gods of the nations, One that cannot be bribed by the wealthy, highly developed nations, One that does not stand in fear of the heavily militarized superpowers of the world, like the United States of America and Communist Russia.
8. (a) So, whom do our hearts long for as the Final Judge and Administrator of justice? (b) Apart from such a Being, what things about heaven and earth could not be accounted for logically?
8 Ah yes, what our hearts instinctively want is for the Supreme Being of the universe to serve as the Final Judge and Administrator of justice. When we come to think about it, What would not merely our tiny earth but, rather, the whole universe do without such a Supreme Being, such a Universal Sovereign? Where would the harmony, the orderliness, the preciseness of the operation of our universe be without such a universal Lawgiver? Where would the beneficial cooperation of all the interdependent things that make up our natural environment be without such a Designer and Creator, the one Source of life for all animals, plants and human creatures? They would be nowhere. In no way could their existence be accounted for apart from such a Supreme, Almighty Being!
9. (a) How is the eternal existence and activity of such a Being demonstrated? (b) What did Moses rightly call him, and what relation does he have with all national groups?
9 The acknowledged need for such a Being did not force him to come into existence out of nothing, but the existence of all these creations before the appearance of man on earth establishes and demonstrates His eternal existence and activity. Rightly he is called “the God of gods and the Lord of lords.” That is what he was called by the most eminent lawgiver and jurist of ancient times, Moses. Such a comparison Moses could make intelligently, for he was personally acquainted with the gods of ancient Egypt and was also schooled “in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” (Deut. 10:17; Acts 7:22) Centuries later this Supreme God was called to the attention of the highest judicial court in ancient Greece, the court that sat on Mars Hill in Athens. This occasion was when the Christian apostle Paul said to that court: “The God that made the world and all the things in it . . . made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.” (Acts 17:24-26) Because of his superiority over all national groups he is called “King of the nations.”—Jer. 10:7.
10. Why is this “King of the nations” able to take on as his antagonists all the military political superpowers of today?
10 More about this supranational God we can read in the sacred Book written by Moses, Paul and other men who were, in many cases, eyewitnesses of events about which they wrote for our information today. No nations are able to hold their ground against this God. He was able to show his mastery over such world powers as ancient Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. It is foolish to think that he was merely another god of ancient history and that he passed out of existence with the writing of the last book of the Bible 19 centuries ago. This God is immortal, self-existent. Today he is able to take on as his antagonists all the mighty political superpowers of our modern world. As “King of the nations,” he will call them all to account. Lasting good will result to all lovers of righteousness and goodness.
GOD’S AGENT WITH WHOM TO RECKON
11. According to Acts 17:31, what has God appointed for himself on the day of reckoning, and what guarantee has he given?
11 For that coming day of reckoning, God has appointed a personal representative, an associate judge. The Christian apostle Paul referred to this deputy when he further said to the Supreme Court on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece: “He [God] has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.”—Acts 17:31.
12. Why is the existence of this guarantee nothing to be shrugged off, as was the case with the Greek judges who heard Paul?
12 What more remarkable “guarantee” could the Almighty God give of his set day for judgment for all the inhabitants of earth than the resurrecting of his associate judge from a martyr’s death? Just because we may have a different religious view of matters, we ought not to look at God’s “guarantee” as something to be shrugged off, as the majority of those Supreme Court justices on Mars Hill did. This “guarantee” is furnished by the “King of the nations.” It is nothing to be scoffed at as something unscientific and ridiculous. In the first century C.E. there were more than 500 eyewitnesses to the existence of that “guarantee” from God, including the apostle Paul himself.
13, 14. (a) In proof of God’s guarantee, why is the resurrected Jesus Christ not on earth today? (b) How is it that God has not remained alone like a hermit in his spiritual realm?
13 The “man” whose resurrection from the dead is the “guarantee” of the coming “set” day of judgment is identified as Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20) The reason why he is not on earth today is that he sacrificed his perfect human life and was resurrected, in order that dead humankind might also have a resurrection to an opportunity for endless life on a cleansed earth that will be converted into a global paradise. As a reward he has been elevated to heaven and is at the right hand of the Supreme Judge, the God with the power of resurrection. Jesus Christ spoke of himself as the “only-begotten Son” of God and as “the beginning of the creation by God.” (John 3:16; Rev. 3:14) Why is this?
14 It is because he was God’s first creation in heaven and God then used him as His colaborer in making all other things, including our earth and its first inhabitants, Adam and Eve. (Col. 1:15-18) The creating of the invisible heavenly angels preceded the creating of mankind. By reason of the creating of his “only-begotten Son” and all the holy angels, God has not remained alone like a hermit in his own spiritual realm. According to the Bible’s account, these superhuman angels number up into the hundreds of millions.—Ps. 104:4; Dan. 7:9, 10; Heb. 1:7; 12:22.
15. How was the only-begotten Son of God once made “a little lower than angels”?
15 Those myriads of angels will be at God’s beck and call on the day of reckoning for all the earthly nations. They are also at the service of his associate Judge by means of whom he will judge the inhabited earth on his set day. (Matt. 25:31, 32) When God miraculously sent his only-begotten Son to become a perfect man on earth through birth from a virgin Jewess, this Son of God was made “a little lower than angels.”—Heb. 2:9; Ps. 8:4, 5.
16. To what station was Jesus Christ resurrected, and for what beneficial purpose?
16 What, though, is the status of this only-begotten Son of God today—now? He has been resurrected by God to a heavenly station even far higher than that of the angels due to his proving faithful to God down to a sacrificial death in innocence. That this lamblike Son of God might extend the benefits of his sacrifice to all mankind, God resurrected him on the third day, not, though, as a man, inasmuch as he had sacrificed his human nature forever. So God resurrected him to heavenly life, to immortality and to greater superiority over all angels. (1 Pet. 3:22) Thus he could serve as the “seed” for blessing all the nations of the earth.—Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:8-16.
17. In Hebrews 1:3-9, what did Paul write about the glorification of Jesus Christ as the Son of God?
17 So, then, ought we not to be glad over this glorification of Jesus Christ in the heavens? Yes, for now we have a brighter outlook on life in the future. The Christian apostle Paul, who miraculously saw the resurrected Jesus Christ, wrote about his glorification. In a letter to the Hebrews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah of Bible prophecy, Paul wrote: “After he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places. So he has become better than the angels, to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs. . . . Also, with reference to the angels he says: ‘And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire.’ But with reference to the Son: ‘God is your throne forever, and the scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners.’”—Heb. 1:3-9.
18. By means of this Son, what will God do respecting the coming day of reckoning?
18 By means of this super-angelic King as his Deputy Judge, God will make the coming day of reckoning for all the nations work out for our lasting good.
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Judgment of All Earth’s Inhabitants in Righteousness Is Guaranteed by Christ’s Death, Burial and Resurrection