The Bible—The Book for All Mankind
“LOOK! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne.”
What kind of crowd is that? And what are they doing?
“There were palm branches in their hands,” the account goes on to say. “And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” No, it is not a violent mob demanding something or demonstrating for some cause. Rather, it is a happy, joyful crowd that has just gone through a most exhilarating experience. “These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation . . . They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, . . . and God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”
A Message for All Mankind
The portrayal of that international “great crowd” is found in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, in chapter 7, verses 9 to 17. Rev 7:9-17 In a pictorial manner, it gives us a forward look to the time when mankind will no longer be divided by race, language, and nationality but will unite in peace and harmony and enjoy true freedom from fear and want. That, in essence, is a unique message that the Bible holds out for all mankind.
‘But,’ you might ask, ‘in what way is that message unique? Have not people all around the world been talking about peace and unity?’ Indeed, they have. In this age of international tension, aggravated by political, racial, economic, and religious struggles, who in his right mind is not concerned about world peace? But long before there were such international struggles and long before mankind’s survival was ever an issue, the Bible spoke about a time when all mankind would enjoy peace and unity under one government, God’s Kingdom.
A World View From the Start
Right from its beginning, the Bible presents a world view when it comes to mankind’s future. “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it” was the first command given to Adam and Eve by their Creator, Jehovah God. (Genesis 1:28) Adam and Eve were not to be the ancestors of one particular race or nation. Rather, they were to be the progenitors of the human race. The apostle Paul testified to this fact when he brought the Bible’s message to Greeks in Athens. He told them that God “made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.”—Acts 17:26.
We must admit that the concept of the entire human race’s being brothers and sisters was far in advance of the thinking of the people in general. Even today, in spite of all the talk of world peace and brotherhood, is it not true that racial prejudice and nationalism continue to be among the most divisive forces plaguing mankind? Yet, the Bible transcends these and other barriers. It speaks to people of all nations as one large family and speaks of the earth as one large home for the entire human race. In this sense, it is truly a book for all mankind.
The prospect of having the whole human race live as a happy family earth wide would have been realized had Adam and Eve remained obedient to Jehovah God. But it did not turn out that way. “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned,” the Bible tells us.—Romans 5:12.
In the light of this, no race or nation is superior or inferior to any other race or nation. Here again, the Bible addresses all mankind without prejudice or favoritism. It simply shows that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Though people in certain areas may be materially better off, better educated, and so on, is it not true that everywhere we look, we see people confronted with the same basic problems—sickness, old age, imperfection, and death?
A Promise to Benefit All Mankind
Though the human condition had become desperate, man was not left hopeless. At the crucial point, Jehovah God stepped in with a promise. To Abraham, God said: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Genesis 22:18) Incidentally, this promise has been accepted by three of the world’s major religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—as part of their beliefs. The Bible alone reveals the outworking of this promise by recording the dealings of Jehovah God with Abraham and his descendants, including the ancient nation of Israel.
But here is where many people would take exception. They feel that this is a typical case of nationalistic favoritism or prejudice. On this basis they dismiss the Bible, or at least much of the Hebrew Scriptures, as mere tribal lore. Yet is this sound reasoning? Why did Jehovah show such confidence in Abraham and make the promise to him?
The Bible explains: “‘Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,’ and he came to be called ‘Jehovah’s friend.’” (James 2:23) Interestingly, the Islamic holy book, the Koran, also points to faith as the reason for Abraham’s being accepted by God as a friend. “Who has a better religion than he who submits himself entirely to Allah? And he is the doer of good (to others) and follows the faith of Ibrahim [Abraham], the upright one, and Allah took Ibrahim as a friend.”—SURAH IV, verse 125, Holy Qurʼan, translated by M. H. Shakir.
What about the Israelites? More than 400 years after God made the promise to Abraham, Moses told them: “It was not because of your being the most populous of all the peoples that Jehovah showed affection for you so that he chose you, for you were the least of all the peoples. But it was because of Jehovah’s loving you, and because of his keeping the sworn statement that he had sworn to your forefathers.”—Deuteronomy 7:7, 8.
So it was not because Abraham or the Israelites were of a superior race or nation, or because they were in any way better than other people. Rather, it was because of God’s love and undeserved kindness shown on the basis of faith and right works. The apostle Peter made this point when he said: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
Thus, although Jehovah God dealt exclusively with the nation of Israel for a time, he really had the welfare of all mankind in view. His dealings with Israel were not recorded in the Bible to promote the spirit of nationalism or to elevate one nation over another. Rather, “all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) Yes, these events highlight God’s love and patience in working out the hope that all mankind will once again be united in peace and harmony. How is this hope to be realized?
An Administration for Peace
“It is according to [God’s] good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth,” explained Paul. (Ephesians 1:9, 10) What is this “administration”?
The term is translated from the Greek word oi·ko·no·miʹa, which basically means “the management of a household.” Thus, even though mankind is divided politically, racially, economically, and religiously, God has purposed to eliminate all these divisive forces and to bring all obedient mankind together again as a happy family earth wide. How will he do this? He will accomplish it through the Messianic Kingdom in the hands of his Son, Jesus Christ.—See Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 9:6, 7.
Today, amid global tension and problems, millions of people around the world have responded to the Bible’s message about peace and harmony. They have come forth as that unnumbered “great crowd” described in the book of Revelation. Symbolically, they are already waving palm branches before God’s throne, offering their praise and submission to the one “who is seated on the throne,” Jehovah God, “and to the Lamb,” Jesus Christ.—Revelation 7:9, 10.
Does that message appeal to you? Regardless of your race, nationality, or language, by investigating and accepting the Bible’s message now, you can join that international “great crowd.” With them, you can confidently say: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to [God’s] promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:13.
Indeed, the Bible can be the Book for you!
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Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the human race
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Abraham, who left his homeland, gained God’s favor through faith and right works