New Creations Brought Forth!
WISE King Solomon once said: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) That is true of the physical world in which we live, but what of the vast realm of Jehovah’s spiritual creation? In that realm, one who is greater than Solomon, indeed, who was the greatest man who ever lived, became an outstanding new creation. How did this come about?
In the year 29 of our Common Era, the perfect man, Jesus, presented himself to be baptized by John at the Jordan River. “After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (Matthew 3:16, 17) Thus, the man Christ Jesus was the first of a new creation, anointed to do God’s will. Later, on the basis of his sacrificial death, Jesus became the Mediator of a new covenant between God and a select group of men. Each of these has become “a new creation,” begotten by God’s spirit to a heavenly hope, with the prospect of ruling with Jesus in his heavenly Kingdom.—2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6; Hebrews 9:15.
Over the centuries, these anointed, spirit-begotten Christians have been gathered into union with Christ as the true Christian congregation, in itself a new creation. God called it out of this world for a purpose, as the apostle Peter states: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Like Christ Jesus, God’s initial new creation, this subsequent new creation has a primary obligation to preach the good news. (Luke 4:18, 19) Individually, its members, ultimately numbering 144,000, must “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Ephesians 4:24; Revelation 14:1, 3) This requires that they cultivate “the fruitage of the spirit,” described at Galatians 5:22, 23, and faithfully care for their stewardship.—1 Corinthians 4:2; 9:16.
What of this new creation in modern times? In the year 1914, as the Bible timetable shows, the words of Revelation 11:15 were fulfilled: “The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” The first act of Christ as newly installed King was to hurl Satan and his demonic angels out of heaven down to earth’s vicinity. This brought “woe for the earth,” in the form of the first world war and its attendant distresses.—Revelation 12:9, 12, 17.
This also served as notice to the remaining ones of the new creation on earth that they must share in fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy: “This good news of the [established] kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” What is that “end”? Jesus goes on to explain: “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 24:3-14, 21, 22.
Jehovah’s spirit moved those anointed ones of his new creation to get busy in the most extensive preaching campaign ever to take place on this earth. From a few thousand in 1919, the number of these zealous Kingdom proclaimers increased to some 50,000 by the mid-1930’s. As prophesied, “into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.”—Romans 10:18.
Would the remaining ones of the new creation be the only ones gathered for salvation? No, for prophecy had stated that God’s angels would hold back the winds of the great tribulation until the gathering was completed not only of these heaven-bound spiritual Israelites but also of others, “a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” What would their destiny be? Why, they would come unscathed “out of the great tribulation” to enjoy everlasting life in a paradise earth!—Revelation 7:1-4, 9, 14.
Happily, this great crowd, gathered from some 229 lands, has mushroomed to almost 4,500,000 active Witnesses. Many more are coming, as indicated by the attendance of 11,431,171 at the Memorial of Jesus’ death on April 17 last year. Of all these millions, only 8,683, who profess to be the remaining ones on earth of the new creation, partook of the Memorial emblems. Those in this small group could never, on their own, have accomplished the vast preaching work of today. The millions who make up the great crowd now work shoulder to shoulder with them in getting the work done. (Zephaniah 3:9) Moreover, well-trained members of the great crowd are now doing administrative and other responsible work alongside the anointed Governing Body of spiritual Israel, just as non-Israelite Nethinim worked with the priests repairing Jerusalem’s walls.—Nehemiah 3:22-26.
Creation of “New Heavens and a New Earth”
What joy accompanies this ingathering! It is just as Jehovah said it would be: “Here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating. For here I am creating Jerusalem a cause for joyfulness and her people a cause for exultation. And I will be joyful in Jerusalem and exult in my people; and no more will there be heard in her the sound of weeping or the sound of a plaintive cry.” (Isaiah 65:17-19) The new heavens of Jehovah’s creation will be made up finally of Christ Jesus and the 144,000 resurrected members of the new creation who have been bought from among mankind over the past 19 centuries. It is far, far more glorious than any earthly government that ruled in literal Jerusalem, even that of Solomon’s day. It incorporates New Jerusalem, a heavenly city, described in all its scintillating beauty in Revelation chapter 21.
New Jerusalem is the spiritual bride of Christ, his 144,000 anointed followers, who join their Bridegroom in heaven after their death and spiritual resurrection. They are pictured at Revelation 21:1-4 as “coming down out of heaven from God,” that is, being used by him in directing blessings to mankind here on earth. In this way the prophecy is fulfilled: “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.”
How thankful we can be for God’s creation of that new heavens! Unlike the transitory, corrupt rulerships that have for so long plagued mankind, this governmental arrangement of God will be permanent. The new creation and their spiritual offspring, the great crowd, exult at God’s further promise: “‘For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making are standing before me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘so the offspring of you people and the name of you people will keep standing.’”—Isaiah 66:22.
“The new earth” gets started with this offspring of the anointed ones of the new creation. It is the new, God-fearing society of mankind on earth. The hatred, crime, violence, corruption, and immorality in human society today certainly underline the need for a complete change to a new earth society, operating under the direction of the benevolent new heavens. That is what Jehovah purposes. Just as he has created new heavens, so he is creating the new earth by assembling the great crowd as the nucleus of a peaceful new world society. This society alone will be saved alive “out of the great tribulation.”—Revelation 7:14.
What can we expect following the great tribulation? Speaking to his apostles, the initial ones of those to make up the new heavens that will govern the new earth, Jesus promised: “Truly I say to you, In the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down upon his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also yourselves sit upon twelve thrones.” (Matthew 19:28) All 144,000 of this New Jerusalem will share with Jesus in judging mankind. Love will then replace selfishness and hatred as the basis on which human society is built. Tribal, racial, and nationalistic problems will be eradicated. The resurrection will progressively bring loved ones back. Faithful mankind in its billions will become one large, united family, uplifted to everlasting life on an earth transformed into a paradise.
This will be much more than a Utopia or a Shangri-la. It will be a permanent creation—“new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell”! (2 Peter 3:13) Surely, this is a marvelous prospect, a magnificent promise by him who said, “Look! I am making all things new,” and who added the faith-inspiring statement: “These words are faithful and true.”—Revelation 21:5.