Millions Get Ready for Uninterrupted Life on Earth
1. (a) What words of Jesus to Martha of Bethany is it now most timely for millions to recall? (b) At what part of those words do millions now thrill, and why?
FOR millions now alive it would be most timely to call to mind the words of Jesus Christ to Martha of Bethany: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.” (John 11:25, 26) It is indeed thrilling for those millions who seek unending life in a righteous world to perceive that it is now that Jesus’ words apply when he said: “And everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.”
2. (a) While he was still on earth, for what individuals was Jesus Christ “the resurrection”? (b) In his words to Martha, to what time in particular was Jesus pointing forward, and why would he have to be “the life” even to millions alive at that time?
2 Even while he was on the earth, Jesus was “the resurrection” for Lazarus and other persons he resurrected. But these words of his, spoken just before he raised Lazarus, referred particularly to the far-distant future from then. Jesus pointed forward to the time when he would become the resurrection and the life not only to his followers who would become joint heirs with him in the heavenly Kingdom but also to dead mankind who will gain eternal life on our earth under his Kingdom. Even in the case of those who would be alive on earth at the time of his Kingdom and who would not need to be resurrected from an earthly grave, Jesus would need to be “the life.” Why so? Because they would still be under condemnation to death due to their sinfulness inherited from disobedient Adam. So they would still be in a dying state.—Romans 5:12.
3. Because of the exercise of what quality does Jesus Christ become “the life” to persons now alive, and how is this quality exercised today?
3 To people now living on earth, the reigning King Jesus Christ becomes “the life” due to the fact that they exercise faith in him, this faith being proved by works. During this “conclusion of the system of things,” these works would include taking an active part in the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy at Matthew 24:14 to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom before “the end” of the system comes. (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3, 4) The exercisers of faith who survive the end of the current system of things and who look forward to life in Paradise restored will never need to die at all. (1 John 2:17) They will ‘return to the days of their youth,’ yes, back to human perfection such as the first man, Adam, possessed. We have basis for believing that there are living today millions of such potential candidates for an unbroken endless life on earth.
4. (a) How does Jesus’ prophecy point to a basis for people to enjoy an unbroken endless life on earth? (b) What “flesh” will be saved into the new system of things?
4 Jesus provided the basis for such a hope when he gave his prophecy concerning the unparalleled time of trouble with which “the conclusion of the system of things” would end. He said: “For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21, 22) So the days of the “great tribulation” are to be cut short, and, accordingly, some human “flesh” will be saved into the new system of things. Such flesh will be mainly other than that of the “chosen ones” who will then still be on earth awaiting their glorification in the heavenly Kingdom with Jesus Christ. Upon surviving the great tribulation, such “saved” flesh will enter the new system of things under the reign of the one who will become their Eternal Father.—Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:20, 22, 27; Revelation 17:14; Isaiah 9:6, 7.
Danger Posed by a Wild Beast
5. What was seen to be in the possession of the Lamb seated on the throne, and whose names are not written on the record?
5 Whose name will be found written on “the scroll of life” spoken about at Revelation 17:8? Yours? Mine? To sound out to us a timely warning, that verse says: “The wild beast that you [John] saw was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction. And when they see how the wild beast was, but is not, and yet will be present, those who dwell on the earth will wonder admiringly, but their names have not been written upon the scroll of life.”
6. (a) When did the symbolic “wild beast” descend into the abyss, and in what form did it come out? (b) What perilous course needs to be avoided?
6 That symbolic “wild beast” was known at first as the League of Nations. It descended into the abyss of inaction during World War II of the years 1939-45 and then ascended out of the abyss in the form of the United Nations after that war. So since 1945 a perilous situation prevails that might affect the seeker after life eternal on a Paradise earth. He may be deceived into taking a course that will disqualify him for having his name written on “the scroll of life.” Hence, we now need to exercise “the intelligence that has wisdom” in our attitude toward the symbolic “wild beast.”—Revelation 17:9.
7. (a) What is the scarlet-colored wild beast of Revelation chapter 17 called in Revelation chapter 13? (b) In what way is “the image of the wild beast” a model of the original wild beast, and what do its seven heads represent?
7 This symbolic “wild beast” of Revelation chapter 17, which is described as scarlet colored, is really a copy of the original “wild beast” spoken about in Revelation chapter 13. This scarlet-colored wild beast proves to be what is called “the image of the wild beast.” (Revelation 17:3; 13:14-18) Like its model, this “image of the wild beast” has seven heads, which have reference to “seven kings.” The five symbolic “kings” that had fallen symbolized the world powers of Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia and the Grecian Empire established by Alexander the Great. The sixth “king” was the Roman Empire of the apostle John’s day. The seventh “king” that was to come after John’s time has historically proved to be the Anglo-American World Power. And an eighth “king,” the scarlet-colored wild beast, as an “image” of the first wild beast, made its appearance in the first instance as the League of Nations.—Revelation 17:9-14.
8. (a) What do “the ten horns” of the beast represent? (b) How long will “the ten horns” reign as kings with the symbolic wild beast, and what will happen to those who wonder admiringly at this beast?
8 As regards “the ten horns” that are upon the seven heads of the scarlet-colored wild beast, they are interpreted to mean “ten kings,” that is to say, all the political rulerships that are represented in the United Nations organization. These “kings” will enjoy worldly prestige or authority for only a short time, as it were, “one hour.” That spells also only a further brief period of life for all those who wonder admiringly at the resurrected “image of the wild beast” and support it. Such ones do not have their names written upon “the scroll of life.” So those who do not want to die off our earth will not join them in worship of “the image of the wild beast.”
9. What battle lines are now being drawn up, and what will the battle’s outcome be?
9 Battle lines are now being drawn up. “The ten horns” are poised for attack. Revelation 17:14 says: “These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so.” This indicates that the remnant yet alive on earth of such called, chosen and faithful ones will face attack by “the ten horns.” However, these “ten horns” will be conquered by the Lamb, which means that “the image of the wild beast” will “go off into destruction.” (Revelation 17:8) The promoters, admirers and supporters of that wild beast will also suffer destruction. Their names are not found written upon “the scroll of life.”
10. What must the remnant of the called and chosen ones yet prove to be?
10 Despite their now being few in number, the yet remaining ones of the called, chosen and faithful ones are not afraid. Even these few must yet prove faithful until Christ completes his conquest over “the image of the wild beast” and the wild beast itself along with all its worshipers on earth. That will be the end of this world! But even though the world ends, the human family goes on!
Why Say “Millions Now Alive”?
11. The declaration that “Millions now alive will never die off our earth” is not based on what, but what grounds are there for expecting this?
11 The eyebrow-raising declaration “Millions now alive will never die off our earth” is not based upon a mere human mathematical calculation, such as one survivor for every 1,000 of the present population of the earth. Jehovah God, the Source of all life, does not decide vital matters on such a basis as this! This was not the case during the Flood that brought the world of Noah’s day to an end. Consistently it is not so today! There are cogent Scriptural grounds for expecting “millions now alive” to survive.
12. Who in 1935 were poised to take their stand on the side of the called, chosen and faithful ones, and how did they manifest their position?
12 Four years before World War II erupted and “the image of the wild beast” went down into the abyss of a deathlike state, the Lamb of God had yet others on earth who were poised to come over unequivocally onto his side in alignment with the remnant of the called, chosen and faithful ones. In 1935, during the memorable convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington, D.C., these persons definitely showed that they stood on the side of the King of kings and against “the image of the wild beast.” How so? By openly getting baptized, 840 of them, as a symbol of their unreservedly dedicating themselves to Jehovah God. They did so on the day after the conventioners listened to the speech “Great Multitude,” which was an explanation of Revelation 7:9-17. (Authorized Version) Thus they acted promptly upon the first opportunity to become part of that “great multitude” that washes its robes in the blood of the Lamb and that comes out of the “great tribulation” that God by Christ brings upon “the image of the wild beast” and all those lined up with it and its “ten horns.”
13. (a) What does the cutting short of the days of the “great tribulation” mean for the remnant of chosen ones? (b) So if the remnant of chosen ones are to survive the end of this world, what follows along with this?
13 That “great tribulation” is to be “cut short” for the sake of Jehovah’s elect ones, his called and chosen ones. (Matthew 24:21, 22) This means that a remnant of them are to survive the tribulation and be eyewitnesses of Jehovah’s strange act by which he will vindicate his sovereignty over heaven and earth. (Isaiah 28:21) Since on their account the days of the tribulation are to be “cut short,” it follows that some “flesh” will be saved through the end of this old world. If the chosen remnant will have Jehovah’s protection assuring their survival, no less so will the “great multitude” of dedicated, baptized and faithful ones survive under divine protection. Today the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of that “great multitude” that is to survive “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at the world setting that is called Har–Magedon, or Armageddon.—Revelation 16:14-16.
14. How great is the membership of the “great multitude,” and how does this compare with the world population?
14 At present the world population is reported as being 4.6 billion people. Since 1935 C.E. those of the “great multitude” should have grown to number millions. Do they? Well, the chosen remnant of a few thousand is almost crowded out of view by the teeming hundreds of thousands of baptized witnesses of Jehovah who are active in ‘preaching this good news of the kingdom’ earth wide “for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10) According to the careful tabulation that is made annually by the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and its 95 branch offices, there are well over 2.4 million regularly active in Jehovah’s prescribed work for this “conclusion of the system of things.” And the ingathering of all those who will make up the final membership of the “great multitude” to its fullest extent is not yet over. It should increase! But for now the ratio is about one of the “great multitude” for every 2,000 people on earth.
15. (a) Why is it reasonable that persons now living will survive the world’s end? (b) Why will the King of the new system not become just a short-time father of them?
15 By now there should not be much left of the “one hour” during which the symbolic “ten horns” rule as kings with the scarlet-colored animal, that is, “the image of the wild beast,” the United Nations organization. Reasonably, then, members of the “great multitude” can survive the approaching destruction of the symbolic “wild beast” and its “image.” Under Jehovah’s protection they will survive the fiery end of this wicked system of things and enter into the righteous new system of things. (Revelation 7:16, 17) There they will not swerve from the divinely marked way of life. Hence, Jesus Christ the King will become their Eternal Father.—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
Getting Ready for Uninterrupted Life
16. What statement may now be made with confidence, and what words of Jesus may here be appropriately recalled?
16 So, then, the statement can now be made with confidence and with due foresight, “Millions now alive will never die off our earth.” Here it is again most fitting to call to mind Jesus’ startling words: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.”—John 11:25, 26.
17. How have those of the “great multitude” already acknowledged that they owe salvation to Jehovah God and to the Lamb, and where are they now serving God in an acceptable way?
17 Already the living members of the “great multitude” are exercising faith in the One who is “the resurrection and the life.” By the dedication of themselves to Jehovah God and by symbolizing this by water baptism, they acknowledge that they owe salvation entirely to “God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” They are in the courtyards of Jehovah’s temple, standing before His throne, acceptably so because they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.—Revelation 7:9, 10, 14.
18. What may now be put to the account of the “great multitude,” and what relationship with God may they be viewed as having?
18 The covering of righteousness being thus imputed to the “great multitude,” life may now also be entered upon their account. (Romans 6:13) Like the pre-Christian patriarch Abraham, to whom righteousness was imputed because of his active faith, they can be looked upon as ‘friends of God.’ (Romans 4:6-22; James 2:23; Psalm 32:2) Because they are maintaining their righteous standing before Jehovah God he will preserve them alive on earth clear through “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon, with which this old system of things will end.
19. (a) What will they not need to “come to life”? (b) Why will they “never die at all”?
19 So Har–Magedon survivors will need no resurrection from the dead in order to “come to life” on earth. In their case the words of Jesus will be true in a very literal sense: “Everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.” (John 11:26) By unswervingly carrying out their dedication to Jehovah God and doing his will as it is made known to them through the King Jesus Christ, they will attain to actual perfect righteousness by the end of the thousand years of Christ’s reign. Under the final test that will be imposed upon all restored mankind at that time, they will prove their whole-souled integrity to the Most High God and will keep their names recorded in “the book of life.”—Revelation 20:7-15.
20. How will their privilege and experience be unique among all those who will dwell in the Paradise earth, and to whom are the thanks for this entirely due?
20 What a unique privilege is now set before the “great multitude” of the Fine Shepherd’s “other sheep”! (John 10:16) The hope that is set before them—that of living in unmarred happiness in a garden of Eden restored to earth and expanded worldwide—is most inviting. Truly they will have something for which to live. Among all mankind that will dwell upon the Paradise earth their experience will indeed be unique and different, that of having survived the end of this wicked system of things and of never dying off our earth. The one to be thanked for this is the Source of perfect life, Jehovah God, through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Questions for Review
□ To whom does Jesus’ promise of ‘never dying at all’ apply?
□ What is the wild beast of Revelation chapter 17, and how is it involved with whether people receive everlasting life or not?
□ Why is it reasonable that people now living will survive the world’s end?
□ How does God view members of the “great multitude,” and what do they have imputed to them?
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How does your attitude toward this “beast” affect your surviving to enjoy everlasting life?
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Millions will never die. How can you be among them?