A Cure for All Diseases—Just a Dream?
JOHN was a very old man. He had been in exile on a small island for some time. It might appear he was to live out his life in isolation. But in that situation he received a message full of encouragement for him—and for us.
In a dramatic vision John heard a loud voice from heaven saying: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind . . . 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.”
Then, he saw a river with sparkling, crystal-clear waters. Along its banks he saw luxuriant fruit trees. The leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations. What an exhilarating experience!
If you heard and saw what John did, would you not be excited to learn that some day all pain and suffering will cease and that all ills will be cured? Indeed, it seems too good to believe!
Why So Hard to Believe
What happened there was a historical event that took place in the year 96 C.E. on the island of Patmos, off the coast of modern-day Turkey. The elderly John was the beloved apostle of Jesus Christ, and what he saw he recorded in the Holy Bible.—Revelation 1:9; 21:3, 4; 22:1, 2.
Even so, most people today find it difficult to believe that there is to be a time when diseases will be no more. Why? Human nature being what it is, we tend to reject anything that seems to go contrary to our common experience.
Regarding man’s long struggle against disease, Richard Fiennes, pathologist to the Zoological Society of London, wrote in his book Man, Nature and Disease:
“Is the end of the battle then in sight? Man fights a hydra. When one head is removed, another appears in its place. Premature illness, incapacity, and death are still the most pressing of human problems; where in days gone by tuberculosis, pneumonia, and death in childbirth were the problems, today, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other ailments have taken their place.”
The killers of “days gone by” are not totally banished either. The Economist of London reports that “in Asia, Africa and South America, one person in 10 is in some way disabled. Most of the poor will suffer diseases such as acute diarrhoea and pneumonia during their lifetimes. . . . Millions more will succumb to parasitic diseases such as malaria or schistosomiasis (ie, bilharzia [caused by a blood parasite]); others will be crippled by leprosy.”
Even in the developed countries other heads of the “hydra” have baffled experts. “Doctors today are encountering exotic diseases that can be even more deadly than the classic killers such as smallpox and diphtheria,” writes Edward Edelson in New York’s Daily News.
A few years ago, the acronym AIDS would have meant hardly anything to most people. Today, this deadly disease has become known virtually to everyone, as have also Legionnaires’ disease and toxic shock syndrome. Waiting in the wings are other potential killers: Ebola fever, Lassa fever, Korean hemorrhagic fever, Reye’s syndrome, Kawasaki disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome, and so on. “One thread that runs through the story of these exotic diseases is that they often present medicine with unsolved puzzles,” says Edelson.
Despite medical advances, most people have resigned themselves to believing that sickness and death are ultimately unavoidable. It is difficult for them to imagine that there could ever be a time when death, pain, and disease will be no more.
What, then, about the stirring vision that John received? Will it finally turn out to be just an unfulfilled dream? We have good reasons to believe that this will not be so. Immediately after hearing the marvelous promises, John received this assurance: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:5; 22:6) How will these words come true? And will we see the fulfillment of them in our lifetime?
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Killers of the past still infect wide areas
Leprosy and Malaria