What Blessings on Earth During the Millennium?
What will it be like when ‘God’s will is done on earth’?
Have you offered the famous model prayer that Jesus taught? He said: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:10.
THOUGH millions of persons have repeated such words, do you think that many have seriously considered what it will be like on earth when God fully answers that prayer? Have you yourself wondered what things you and your family will be able to enjoy if privileged to live when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven?
The book of Revelation can help us here. In its 19th chapter we read of the coming war in which Jesus Christ will destroy all of God’s enemies on earth. The 20th chapter tells us that then the Devil, who has been behind wickedness, will be abyssed for 1,000 years. During that millennium, Christ will rule from heaven, to the blessing of God’s human servants, including those resurrected. The wicked elements having been removed, there will be “new heavens and a new earth” in which righteousness will dwell.—Rev. 20:11; 21:1; 2 Pet. 3:13.
Are you interested in a more detailed picture of the earthly blessings during the millennium? Well, Revelation goes on to give some description of what it will be like when Jehovah God turns his attention to the new earthly society of true worshipers. We read:
“He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Rev. 21:4.
Does not the fact that there will be no more tears show that mankind will not continue to be plagued by cruelties such as child or wife abuse, rape, robbery, assault, terrorism and war? Further, God assures us that pain and death—which now often are companions of disease and accidents—will not exist to cause sorrow.
The Bible also gives us basis for expecting other blessings on earth during the millennium. In this regard, we need not resort to fantasy or exaggeration, as some did in the second and third centuries.
EARLY VIEWS ABOUT EARTHLY CONDITIONS
As the previous article mentioned, a falling away from pure Christianity occurred after the apostles died, and some began to teach distorted things. This, in part, was because they mistakenly believed that Jesus and his joint heirs would rule on earth. (John 14:19; 2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Pet. 1:3, 4) Evidently it was reasoned that such supernatural rulers would produce incredible earthly conditions.
We find an example of such unbelievable descriptions in the quoted writings of Papias, a second-century prelate from Phrygia. He imagined that during the millennium this would happen:
“Vines will be produced, each one having a thousand branches, . . . and on each shoot ten thousand clusters, and in each cluster ten thousand grapes . . . Similarly a grain of wheat will produce ten thousand ears, and each ear will have ten thousand grains, and each grain [will yield] ten rounds of clear pure flour.”
Yet, other early writers pointed to the delightful descriptions in Isaiah, believing that these gave indication of what Christ’s 1,000-year reign would do.
“‘They will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be. . . . The wolf and the lamb themselves will feed as one, and the lion will eat straw just like the bull . . . They will do no harm nor cause any ruin in all my holy mountain,’ Jehovah has said.”
Isaiah chapter 11 also speaks of the animals living together in peace, with the lion eating straw just like the bull. And it says that a small boy will lead them.
Irenaeus recognized that these words are a fitting description of how God’s truth can make personality changes in “savage men, both of different nations and various habits, who come to believe, and when they have believed, act in harmony with the righteous.” But he also reasoned that in the millennium these changes in men, from viciousness to peaceableness, logically would be reflected in animal creation. He wrote:
“When the created order is renewed, then the animals ought to be subject to man, and return to the food which God gave them at the first, the fruit of the earth, as they were subject and obedient to Adam.”—Against Heresies V, 33, 4.
As we today read those passages from Isaiah in their context, we can appreciate that Isaiah was prophesying first about the restoration of his people from captivity in Babylon in a miniature or typical way, and, second, about the restoration of spiritual Israelites from Babylon the Great in the “last days” in an antitypical or complete sense. The miniature fulfillment came about in 537 B.C.E. With a new rulership over the land, the restored Israelites could apply themselves to cultivating their land and reestablishing its productivity, beauty and peace. (Isa. 35:1, 2) Jehovah helped them to put away vicious, animalistic qualities and to reflect in their attitudes and ways the peaceableness that is fitting among true worshipers.—Mic. 6:8; see Man’s Salvation out of World Distress at Hand!, pp. 320-322, ¶ 15-19; also “New Heavens and a New Earth,” pp. 324-333, ¶ 18-29.
Since such peaceableness developed among the restored Israelites then, and it is in evidence among true worshipers today, can we not be confident of such on an even grander scale during the millennium? However, such passages give us more to think about.
INDICATIONS FROM EDEN
In pointing forward to the new conditions that the restored Israelites would enjoy, Isaiah drew upon the example of man’s original home, the paradise called the garden of Eden. He wrote:
“For Jehovah will certainly comfort Zion. He will for certain comfort all her devastated places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert plain like the garden of Jehovah.”—Isa. 51:3.
So, in thinking about the earthly blessings of the millennium, we can call to mind what Jehovah God provided for the human family at the outset, in the garden of Eden.
The Genesis account tells us that God put Adam and Eve in a “garden” or “paradise.” (Gen. 2:8, Septuagint Version) It was far more than a flower garden. We read: “Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food.” While there was an abundance of healthful food, the garden of Eden was also a place for rewarding work. Adam and Eve were to cultivate and care for the garden, which would add to their satisfaction in eating its varied produce.—Gen. 2:9, 15, 16; compare Ecclesiastes 2:24; 5:12.
As Adam and Eve lived in that delightful garden, did they have to fear the wild animals? Was their peace marred by animals ferociously preying on one another? What Isaiah wrote in Isa chapters 11 and 65 suggests not. We also have this historical information from Genesis:
“God went on to say [to Adam and Eve]: ‘Here I have given to you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed. To you let it serve as food. And to every wild beast of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving upon the earth in which there is life as a soul I have given all green vegetation for food.’ And it came to be so.”—Gen. 1:29, 30.
As you may know, many persons today, including some of the clergy, do not accept what the Bible says about the garden of Eden and the conditions that prevailed there. Some claim that the account about Adam and Eve is just a myth or an allegory. They thus put themselves in conflict with Jesus Christ, for he accepted the Scriptural account as being factual, actually quoting from it. (Matt. 19:4, 5) Also, many of the clergy do not believe what God’s Word says about the animals in the garden of Eden. Perhaps their view has been affected by the theory of evolution—that what we see in animal life now is an extension of what has always been and that “survival of the fittest” has always ruled among animals and humans.
But with faith in God’s power, and with willingness to accept what the Bible says, we can trust that in Eden the first humans were not sinful, warring persons and that the animals in paradise were at peace. Based on our own experience in observing animals in zoos, on wildlife television programs or on farms, can we not be sure that man’s having in subjection the peaceful animals in paradise must have added to the delight of living?—Gen. 1:26.
LOOKING FORWARD CONFIDENTLY
We can see, then, that God provided a basis for anticipating earthly blessings: The promise at Revelation 21:4 means that we can look forward to the end of sorrow, pain and death. And, logically, that would mean the end of present conditions that produce such things. Also, we have the limited details about the garden of Eden. These give us reason to expect a restored earthly paradise with rewarding work, satisfying and healthful food and man’s once again having animal creation in peaceful subjection.—Luke 23:43; Ps. 72:16.
These conditions will not be restricted to a garden in one locality. Rather, God will fulfill his original purpose, the subduing and beautifying of the entire globe. His purposes never fail.—Isa. 45:18; Gen. 1:28; compare Isaiah 14:24.
The material blessings are by no means the only ones that will make the thousand-year reign a delight. Jehovah assures us of things that are even more important for a truly satisfying life—spiritual things. Recall what Jesus told the tempter: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matt. 4:4) Hence, we can be confident that the millennium will be marked by abundant feeding on spiritual things founded on the Scriptures. Righteousness and trueness will abound, contributing to lasting peace.—Ps. 72:1, 5-7, 17; Isa. 9:6, 7; 32:1, 16-18; compare Isaiah 26:7-9.
For us to enjoy the blessings of the millennium, or even to live until that time, we need faith. God, in his wisdom, did not give us complete details about earthly conditions during the millennium. He did not describe how he will accomplish what may at present seem almost impossible—reversing the desolated conditions now covering vast areas of the earth, eliminating the diseased and crippled state of human bodies and bringing about a peaceful balance in the animal kingdom. But he has included sufficient information in his Word to prove that he has the superhuman ability to accomplish such miracles, and even to resurrect the dead. (Acts 10:37, 38; Luke 7:14-16; 19:37, 38; Gen. 7:6-16) Still, one’s serving God requires faith, believing that he will provide spiritual and earthly blessings.—Heb. 11:1, 6.
With such faith Jehovah’s Witnesses are carrying on an earth-wide educational work. They are helping persons to study the Bible, gain firm faith and develop confidence that soon God, through Christ, will take final action to eliminate wickedness. (Matt. 24:14) Many of those who now exercise faith will survive to see the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign and will enjoy the earthly blessings that we have discussed. We invite you to accept the Bible study help that Jehovah’s Witnesses offer so that you, too, can confidently look forward to blessings during the millennium.
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During the millennium God will reverse desolated conditions on earth, eliminate disease and bring about peaceful balance in the animal kingdom