What Other Benefits Flow From God?
DO YOU enjoy beautiful flowers, the perfume of roses, the song of birds? Were you thrilled by your baby’s first smile? Do you not appreciate appetizing aromas? And who does not admire a rainbow, a glorious sunset, or the stars on a clear night? God’s marvelous provisions are endless, are they not?
Yet there is so much misery. In spite of earth’s ability to produce plenty for all, millions are underfed. Millions more are poisoned by pollution. And billions today are affected by crime, greed, selfishness, and fear of what the future will bring.
Since the Creator has been so bountiful, why is there so much unhappiness? This planet is a marvelous place, made for us to enjoy. But the world—mankind—is in a pitiful state. For the majority of earth’s inhabitants, the outlook is dark, frightening. Why? What went wrong? Did God make man and then abandon him? Is there any light on this puzzling situation? Do we have any hope for the future?
A Source of Light and Hope
Nearly 2,000 years ago a unique baby boy was born—unique because his mother, Mary, was human, and his father was God himself! ‘Impossible!’ do some say? No, not for the Originator of conception, the Maker of all the complex forms of life. That little boy grew up to be the perfect “man, Christ Jesus.”—1 Timothy 2:5; Matthew 1:18-25.
It was an epoch-making birth. In fact, most nations acknowledge this by dating historical events before his day as B.C.—before Christ. And yet his early years were spent quietly as an assistant carpenter at his adoptive father’s home in Nazareth. Thirty years passed. Then, at the Jordan River, Jesus presented himself to do God’s will and was baptized, and Jehovah God’s holy spirit descended upon him. (Matthew 3:13-17) Jesus then began a dynamic campaign of preaching and teaching. As prophesied by Isaiah, “the people sitting in darkness saw a great light.”—Matthew 4:14-17; Isaiah 9:2.
Jesus became the most famous and widely respected Teacher of all time. No other human teacher has exerted such a powerful influence on mankind or provided so much spiritual light and hope. What was his textbook? The Bible, as it was then—the Hebrew Scriptures, or “Old Testament.” Jesus made them come alive. Many ancient prophecies were fulfilled in him. (Compare Micah 5:2 with Matthew 2:3-6.) He confirmed the account of Genesis regarding man’s origin. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-6) Jesus took up, amplified, and broadcast far and wide the main theme of the Bible—the vindication of Jehovah by means of the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 4:23; 6:10) Moreover, accounts of Jesus Christ’s life and works are prominent portions of the Christian Greek Scriptures, or “New Testament.” Yes, the Bible is a marvelous gift from God, a gleaming light in a dim, sad world.—Psalm 119:105.
Why Is Mankind in a Mess?
Does the Bible answer that question? Yes. It shows that it was not a case of God’s abandoning man but, rather, of man’s abandoning God. Too, the basic principle of freedom of choice was involved. Humans were not created as robots, programmed to obey. We can choose to obey or to disobey.
When God created the first human pair in the beautiful Paradise of Eden, how happy and carefree they must have been! No sickness, no fear, no worries. Delightful birds and animals were present, and there was delicious food in abundance. (Genesis 1:26; 2:7-9) In time, however, an invisible enemy came on the scene. A powerful spirit creature became ambitious, coveting control of the future human family. By telling the first lie, he seduced Eve, and Adam was persuaded to disobey God’s command not to partake of the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:1-7) Like so many today, the first humans thought they would ‘do their own thing.’ But thereby they actually put themselves under the control of Satan, the god of the present evil system of things.—2 Corinthians 4:4.
This raised a tremendous and vital issue: Could man successfully rule himself without God? It would require much time to resolve this question satisfactorily. Meanwhile, Adam and Eve had to pay the penalty God had prescribed—death. And since they had become decadent sinners, neither they nor their offspring had any prospect of everlasting life independent of God.—Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.
A Glorious Future
Since Adam’s day many generations have come and gone. And in the ever-changing scene of men’s affairs, many types of human governments have been tried—autocracy, democracy, socialism, communism, and others. But all have failed. Political, social, and international problems proliferate; so do ghastly weapons of mass destruction that threaten world suicide. During World War II, Western politicians promised that victory would bring freedom from want and fear, but both are increasing.
What is the solution? A massive problem needs a colossal remedy—nothing less than a global cleanup and the bringing in of a new world. Who can accomplish that? Certainly not the United Nations or any other combination of political powers that often break peace agreements almost before the signatures have dried! They are mere helpless pawns in the grip of Satanic power. (1 John 5:19) Only Jehovah, the Almighty, can get rid of Satan and his demons, put an end to the present corrupt world, and bring about a glorious new one under the heavenly Kingdom with his Son, Jesus Christ, as the King of kings.—Matthew 6:9, 10; Daniel 2:44; Revelation 20:1-3.
What will this Kingdom accomplish? Who will survive the devastating global cleanup, or Armageddon? A very interesting fact that more and more people are coming to realize is that this heavenly government is already operating and preparing people to survive Armageddon! (Revelation 16:14-16) What kind of people must they be? Jesus Christ said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones [the meek], since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) He thereby confirmed this ancient prophecy: “Before there comes upon you the day of Jehovah’s anger, seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”—Zephaniah 2:2, 3.
Meek ones not only will survive Armageddon but, by remaining faithful to God, will also inherit everlasting life. How? As already mentioned, Adam’s vast family of descendants lost the prospect of everlasting life through his sinful disobedience. Death came upon the whole human race through Adam. Since he was a perfect man, another perfect man was needed to ransom, or buy back, what Adam lost. Jesus Christ filled that need and gave his life “in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
This ransom provision is God’s greatest gift to man. It will apply not only to those who survive to enter the new world but also to those who come back from the dead. Does that sound too marvelous? Said Jesus: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” What a thrill! How joyful for Armageddon survivors, who will be able to welcome their loved ones back from the dead!—John 5:28, 29.
What a glorious prospect and hope! And all of this is provided by a loving Creator, Jehovah, through his beloved Son, Jesus. Although today the outlook is so dark and alarming, the future is full of light and hope for those who study the Bible and act on its heartening message. We live in thrilling times. The Kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 24:33, 34) Praise Jehovah, the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect present”!—James 1:17.
As you meditate on the many ways in which we benefit from God’s provisions and purposes, you may feel a deep sense of gratitude and a desire to express it in some way. But if you are just beginning to understand and accept the real hope for the future, you may feel the need to delve a bit deeper. We encourage you to do just that. Continue studying God’s Word along with publications like this one that can help you to increase your knowledge and appreciation for God’s glorious purposes.
Those already having a clear conviction that God’s Kingdom is the only solution to mankind’s woes may feel like the inspired psalmist who said: “What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me?” (Psalm 116:12) Such individuals will find that telling others about what God has done for us and the glorious future he holds out to those who love and serve him brings deep satisfaction and real joy. Why? Because, as Jesus said: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
[Box on page 5]
◆ Confirmed the Genesis account of man’s origin—Matthew 19:3-6
◆ Paid back what Adam lost, a perfect human life, thereby enabling those exercising faith in Him to gain everlasting life—John 3:16
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‘What will you repay Jehovah for all his benefits?’