Deliverance Into a Righteous New World
“They will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—PSALM 37:11.
1, 2. (a) How will Jehovah’s deliverance in our time differ from deliverances of ancient times? (b) Into what kind of world will Jehovah bring his people?
JEHOVAH is a God of deliverance. In ancient times, he delivered his people on many occasions. Those deliverances were temporary, for Jehovah did not in any of those instances permanently execute his judgments against Satan’s entire world. But in our day, Jehovah will soon perform the grandest deliverance of all for his servants. This time he will destroy every trace of Satan’s system earth wide, and he will bring his servants into a permanent, righteous new world.—2 Peter 2:9; 3:10-13.
2 Jehovah promises: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:10, 11) For how long? “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29; Matthew 5:5) However, before that happens, this world will undergo the greatest time of trouble it has ever known.
The “Great Tribulation”
3. How did Jesus describe the “great tribulation”?
3 In 1914 this world entered its “last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) We are now 83 years into that period and are nearing its end when, as Jesus foretold, the following will take place: “There will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Matthew 24:21) Yes, worse than even World War II, when some 50 million lives were taken. What a world-shaking time is fast approaching!
4. Why does God’s judgment come upon “Babylon the Great”?
4 The “great tribulation” will come with astounding suddenness, “in one hour.” (Revelation 18:10) Its outbreak will be marked by God’s execution of judgment on all false religion, which God’s Word calls “Babylon the Great.” (Revelation 17:1-6, 15) Ancient Babylon’s dominant feature was false religion. Modern Babylon is like her ancient counterpart and represents the world empire of false religion. She has played the harlot by compromising with the political elements. She has supported their wars and has blessed armies on opposing sides, resulting in people of the same religion slaughtering one another. (Matthew 26:51, 52; 1 John 4:20, 21) She has winked at the corrupt practices of her adherents and has persecuted true Christians.—Revelation 18:5, 24.
5. How does the “great tribulation” begin?
5 The “great tribulation” begins when the political elements suddenly turn on “Babylon the Great.” They “will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16) Thereafter, her former supporters “will weep and beat themselves in grief over her.” (Revelation 18:9-19) But Jehovah’s servants have long expected this, and they will exclaim: “Praise Jah, . . . for he has executed judgment upon the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged the blood of his slaves at her hand.”—Revelation 19:1, 2.
God’s Servants Attacked
6, 7. Why can Jehovah’s servants be confident when attacked during the “great tribulation”?
6 Having destroyed false religion, the political elements turn on Jehovah’s servants. Satan, “Gog of the land of Magog” in prophecy, says: “I shall come in upon those having no disturbance, dwelling in security.” Thinking that they are easy prey, he attacks them with “a numerous military force . . . , like clouds to cover the land.” (Ezekiel 38:2, 10-16) Jehovah’s people know that this attack will fail because they trust in Jehovah.
7 When Pharaoh and his armies felt that they had God’s servants trapped at the Red Sea, Jehovah miraculously delivered his people and destroyed Egypt’s armies. (Exodus 14:26-28) During the “great tribulation,” when the nations feel that they have Jehovah’s people trapped, he again miraculously comes to the rescue: “In that day . . . my rage will come up into my nose. And in my ardor, in the fire of my fury, I shall have to speak.” (Ezekiel 38:18, 19) The climax of the “great tribulation” will then be imminent!
8. What supernatural events take place before Jehovah executes the wicked, and with what effect?
8 At some point after the “great tribulation” begins, but before Jehovah executes his judgment upon the rest of this world, supernatural events will occur. Note the effect they will have. “Then the sign of the Son of man [Christ] will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29, 30) “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, . . . while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.”—Luke 21:25, 26.
“Your Deliverance Is Getting Near”
9. Why can Jehovah’s servants ‘lift their heads up’ when supernatural events occur?
9 At that particular time, the prophecy of Luke 21:28 applies. Jesus said: “As these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” God’s enemies will be trembling with fear because they will know that the supernatural events taking place come from Jehovah. But Jehovah’s servants will rejoice because they will know that their deliverance is getting near.
10. How does God’s Word describe the climax of the “great tribulation”?
10 Jehovah then delivers the death blow to Satan’s system: “I will bring myself into judgment with [Gog], with pestilence and with blood; and a flooding downpour and hailstones, fire and sulphur I shall rain down upon him and upon his bands . . . And they will have to know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 38:22, 23) All vestiges of Satan’s system are destroyed. The entire human society of God-ignoring people is annihilated. That is the Armageddon climax of the “great tribulation.”—Jeremiah 25:31-33; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8; Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-21.
11. Why are Jehovah’s servants delivered through the “great tribulation”?
11 Delivered through the “great tribulation” will be the millions of worshipers of Jehovah earth wide. These make up the “great crowd” who have come “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” Why are they delivered in such an awe-inspiring way? Because they render Jehovah “sacred service day and night.” So they survive this world’s end and are ushered into a righteous new world. (Revelation 7:9-15) Thus, they witness the fulfillment of Jehovah’s promise: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.”—Psalm 37:34.
The New World
12. To what can Armageddon survivors look forward?
12 What a thrilling time that will be—the elimination of wickedness and the dawn of the most glorious era in all human history! (Revelation 20:1-4) How grateful to Jehovah the Armageddon survivors will be to have entered a bright, clean civilization of God’s making, a new world, on an earth that will be transformed into a paradise! (Luke 23:43) And they will never need to die at all! (John 11:26) Indeed, from that point onward, they will have the amazing, marvelous prospect of living as long as Jehovah lives!
13. How does Jesus resume the healing work he began on earth?
13 Jesus, whom Jehovah has appointed as heavenly King, will oversee the miraculous blessings that the delivered ones will enjoy. When on earth, he opened blind eyes and deaf ears and cured “every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity.” (Matthew 9:35; 15:30, 31) In the new world, he will resume that great healing work but on a global scale. As God’s Agent, he will fulfill the promise: “[God] 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.” (Revelation 21:4) Never again will there be a need for medical practitioners or undertakers!—Isaiah 25:8; 33:24.
14. What deliverance will come to Jehovah’s servants who have already died?
14 Also delivered will be all those faithful servants of God who died in the past. In the new world, they will be rescued from the clutches of the grave. Jehovah guarantees: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Likely, “righteous” ones will be resurrected earlier and contribute to the expanding Paradise. How fascinating it will be for Armageddon survivors to hear the experiences of those faithful dead ones of long ago, now returned to life!—John 5:28, 29.
15. Describe some of the conditions to be experienced in the new world.
15 All those living will then experience what the psalmist said of Jehovah: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16) No more hunger: The earth will be restored to an ecological balance and produce abundantly. (Psalm 72:16) No more homeless people: “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy,” and each one will sit “under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making them tremble.” (Isaiah 65:21, 22; Micah 4:4) No more fear: There will be no war, violence, or crime. (Psalm 46:8, 9; Proverbs 2:22) “The whole earth has come to rest, has become free of disturbance. People have become cheerful with joyful cries.”—Isaiah 14:7.
16. Why will righteousness permeate the new world?
16 In the new world, Satan’s propaganda media will have been removed. Instead, “righteousness is what the inhabitants of the productive land will certainly learn.” (Isaiah 26:9; 54:13) With wholesome spiritual instruction year after year, “the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” (Isaiah 11:9) Upbuilding thoughts and actions will permeate mankind. (Philippians 4:8) Imagine, a worldwide society of people free from crime, egotism, jealousy—an international brotherhood where the fruitage of God’s spirit is produced by all. Indeed, even now such qualities are being cultivated by the great crowd.—Galatians 5:22, 23.
Why So Long?
17. Why has Jehovah waited so long before ending wickedness?
17 However, why has Jehovah waited so long to remove wickedness and deliver his people into the new world? Consider what had to be accomplished. Most important is the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty, his right to rule. By permitting enough time to go by, he has demonstrated beyond any doubt that human rule outside of his sovereignty has turned out to be a colossal failure. (Jeremiah 10:23) So now Jehovah is fully justified in replacing human rule with the rule of his heavenly Kingdom under Christ.—Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10.
18. When would the descendants of Abraham inherit the land of Canaan?
18 What has taken place during all these centuries is similar to what happened in Abraham’s time. Jehovah told Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan—but not for four hundred years “because the error of the Amorites [had] not yet come to completion.” (Genesis 12:1-5; 15:13-16) Here the term “Amorites” (a dominant tribe) likely represents the peoples of Canaan as a whole. So some four centuries would pass before Jehovah would enable his people to take over Canaan. In the meantime Jehovah let the nations in Canaan develop their societies. With what result?
19, 20. What kind of societies did the Canaanites develop?
19 The Bible Handbook, by Henry H. Halley, notes that at Megiddo, archaeologists found the ruins of a temple of Ashtoreth, goddess-wife of Baal. He writes: “Just a few steps from this temple was a cemetery, where many jars were found, containing remains of infants who had been sacrificed in this temple . . . Prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth were official murderers of little children.” “Another horrible practice was [what] they called ‘foundation sacrifices.’ When a house was to be built, a child would be sacrificed, and its body built into the wall.”
20 Halley comments: “The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted in the most extravagant orgies; their temples were centers of vice. . . . Canaanites worshiped, by immoral indulgence, . . . and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than He did.”—Compare 1 Kings 21:25, 26.
21. What similarity is there between the situation of the Canaanites and that of our day?
21 The wickedness of the Amorites had “come to completion.” So Jehovah was now fully justified in exterminating them. The same is true today. This world is filled with violence, immorality, and contempt for God’s laws. And since we are rightly appalled at the hideous child sacrifices in ancient Canaan, what of the sacrifice of tens of millions of young people in the wars of this world, far worse than anything in Canaan? Certainly, Jehovah is now fully justified in bringing this wicked system to an end.
Accomplishing Something Else
22. What is accomplished by Jehovah’s patience in our time?
22 Jehovah’s patience in these last days is accomplishing something else. He is allowing time to gather and educate the great crowd, already numbering more than five million. Under Jehovah’s direction, they have been formed into a forward-moving organization. Men, women, and youths are trained to teach others Bible truths. Through their meetings and Bible publications, they learn God’s loving ways. (John 13:34, 35; Colossians 3:14; Hebrews 10:24, 25) In addition, they are developing skills in construction, electronics, printing, and other fields in order to support the preaching of the “good news.” (Matthew 24:14) Likely such teaching and building skills will be widely used in the new world.
23. Why is it a privilege to be alive at this time?
23 Yes, today Jehovah is preparing his servants to pass through the “great tribulation” into a righteous new world. Then there will be no Satan and his wicked world to contend with, no sickness, sorrow, and death. With great enthusiasm and joy, God’s people will proceed with the happy task of building a paradise, where every day will be an “exquisite delight.” How privileged we are to live at this climax of the ages, to know and serve Jehovah, and to realize that very soon we will ‘lift our heads up because our deliverance is getting near’!—Luke 21:28; Psalm 146:5.
□ What is the “great tribulation,” and how does it begin?
□ Why will Gog’s attack on Jehovah’s servants fail?
□ How does the “great tribulation” end?
□ What marvelous benefits will the new world provide?
□ Why has Jehovah waited so long before bringing this system’s end?
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The whole earth will be transformed into a paradise