A New World Is At Hand!
STATESMEN have said much about a new world order of their own making. They speak about ridding the world of fears and barriers to cooperation between people and states. But is it up to humans to bring about a new world?
Mankind has had centuries to establish a world of peace and security. Doubtless, many have been very sincere in such endeavors. Regardless of the structure of governments conceived by men to fulfill such objectives, however, the Bible’s words have proved true: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”—Jeremiah 10:23.
A New World Promised
Yet, the same inspired Word of God provides assurance that there will be a new world. After foretelling the end of an old system of things, the Christian apostle Peter declared: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Peter 3:10-13.
Whose promise is this? It is given by none other than Jehovah, “the Most High over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18) He will accomplish what men cannot. Yes, Jehovah God will bring about a new world. But when?
A New World Very Near!
Before God’s promised new world becomes a full-scale reality, the present “world,” or “system of things,” must come to its end. Concerning this, Jesus Christ’s disciples asked: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3, King James Version) As the more accurate New World Translation puts it, Jesus’ followers asked: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”
In reply, Jesus foretold many features of the sign of his invisible presence as a spirit personage in heavenly Kingdom power. (1 Peter 3:18) For instance, he said: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.” From “a beginning of pangs of distress” in 1914, “this generation” pinpointed by Jesus has experienced continuing warfare, food shortages, and earthquakes as part of the sign of his invisible presence.—Matthew 24:7, 8, 34.
Warfare has beset this generation in an unparalleled way since the year 1914. World War I took an estimated 14 million lives. During World War II, 55 million combatants and civilians were killed. Why, since 1914 over 100 million lives have been lost in war! Surely, this marks part of the sign of Jesus’ presence.
Food shortages, also foretold by Christ, ravaged many lands after each of the two world wars. Despite scientific advancements, nearly a quarter of the world is hungry today. Each year, millions of children and others die because of malnutrition. Says The World Book Encyclopedia: “Most of the developing nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America have barely enough food for their people. Millions in these countries go hungry. When food production or imports drop for any reason, famine may strike and thousands or millions of people may die.”
Earthquakes have taken a great toll in lives during this generation marking “the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) Estimates of earthquake casualties vary. But since 1914 destruction by earthquakes has escalated throughout the earth, and these have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Commenting on just two of these, the Yorkshire Post of October 19, 1989, stated: “In 1920 a quake in China’s Jiangsu province killed 180,000, and on July 28, 1976, China suffered the worst quake in its modern history. At least 240,000 died when the northeastern city of Tangshan was almost completely levelled by a quake measuring 7.8 on the open-ended Richter scale.” The newspaper listed more than 30 other major earthquakes in the 20th century.
Kingdom-preaching activity was also foretold as one of the features of the sign of Jesus’ invisible presence. He told his inquiring disciples: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) As Jesus prophesied, this preaching work is now being carried on earth wide in 212 lands by upwards of 4,000,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The present-day fulfillments of these and other prophecies prove that we are indeed living in “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Just ahead of us is the “great tribulation” also foretold by Jesus Christ. Climaxing in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon, it will bring an end to the present wicked system of things. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 16:14-16) Then God’s promised new world will become a reality.a
Blessings Humans Cannot Bring
Statesmen boast about a new world order of their own making. But Jehovah, the God of heaven and earth, never asked humans to replace the present system with a new world. He himself will do that at the day and hour known only to him. (Matthew 24:34, 36) The aged apostle John had this foreview of what God, not man, will do:
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And 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.’ And the One seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also, he says: ‘Write, because these words are faithful and true.’”—Revelation 21:1-5.
The “new heaven” is the heavenly Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The “new earth” is not another earthly globe but a new society of people on this planet—all of them obedient subjects of Christ’s Kingdom, without racial, national, or linguistic divisions. (Compare Psalm 96:1.) The present symbolic heaven and earth—the Devil’s system of things with its governmental structure influenced by Satan and his demons—will have been destroyed. (1 John 5:19) Though literal seas will remain, the figurative sea of restless, wicked mankind will be gone. Jesus’ associate heavenly rulers constitute the New Jerusalem and in association with him form a capital organization that will govern righteous human society. God will ‘tent with’ obedient mankind representatively while they are being fully reconciled with him through Christ during the thousand-year Judgment Day.—Revelation 14:1-4; 20:6.
Under Kingdom rule there will be many reasons for happiness. Mourning, outcry, and pain resulting from illness, grief, and the like will be experiences of the past. Even death that spread to mankind from our first parent, sinful Adam, will be no more. (Romans 5:12) What joy will prevail when this worldwide cause for tears is gone forever!
Not mortal humans but God himself gives a guarantee regarding these blessings. He is the One who says Re 21:5: “Look! I am making all things new.” Yes, and Jehovah God told the apostle John: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”
Basic Needs Fully Satisfied
In the new world of God’s making, the earth will ultimately become a paradise. This is certain, for Jesus promised a contrite evildoer impaled alongside him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Amid paradisaic conditions, such human needs as food and shelter will be fully met.
Food shortages are costing millions of lives today. However noble the efforts to feed the hungry may be, greed and other factors prevent humans from solving such problems. For instance, the Saturday Star, a newspaper of Johannesburg, South Africa, reports: “Political arguments, increased fuel costs and general weariness with Africa’s seemingly never-ending conflicts are combining to delay relief . . . In Sudan, one of the worst-hit countries, between 5 million and 6 million people face starvation in 1991.” But famine will be forgotten in God’s new world. Under Kingdom rule “there will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.”—Psalm 72:16.
Shelter is another human need that is far from adequately met for many in our day. Millions live in mere hovels or are totally homeless. According to The New York Times, in one Oriental land, “at an electronics company . . . , 20-year-old employees face a 73-year waiting list to get housing,” and a government report indicates that some people must live “in warehouses, offices or even toilets.” But how different it will be in the new world! In the future Paradise, “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; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full.”—Isaiah 65:21, 22.
Ecological problems will vanish in God’s promised new world. Health-threatening and crop-damaging air pollution will no longer exist. Pollution and habitat destruction now imperiling numerous plant and animal species will then be no threat. And such factors as ozone-layer depletion will not endanger life on earth. We can be sure that Jehovah God will solve all these problems, for his Word assures us that he will soon “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Revelation 11:18.
In the new world, warfare will also be a thing of the past but not because statesmen have succeeded in disarming the nations. Rather, God will act where political rulers have failed. He will bring peace to obedient mankind in keeping with these words of the psalmist: “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.” (Psalm 46:8, 9) In God’s promised new world so near at hand, people will wage war no more but will enjoy true peace and security.—Micah 4:2-4.
Will You Be There?
The good news of wonderful blessings for obedient mankind is what Jehovah’s Witnesses endeavor to share with all honesthearted people. You should make efforts now to acquire knowledge of the divine purpose, and act on the marvelous promises found in the Holy Scriptures. This course can lead to endless life, for Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Then you will be privileged to enjoy the happy times just ahead, for God’s new world is at hand!
a See chapters 17 and 18 of the book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.