World Unity—How Will It Come About?
LIKE a run-down building that has been badly vandalized by uncaring tenants, the present world system is fit for only one thing—demolition and replacement. This is not just another cynical doom-and-gloom scenario. According to the Bible, it is the only realistic view. Why?
The foundations of the present world order are unsafe. The whole structure is riddled with termites and dry rot. The steel frame is rusting. Supporting walls are weakened. The roof is sagging. The plumbing leaks. The power system is faulty and dangerous. The occupants fight incessantly and maliciously cause damage throughout the building. The whole property and its surroundings are vermin-infested and dangerous to life and limb.
“Dancing on the Edge of the Grave”
Because of incessant political conflicts, greed, aggression, and deep-rooted tribal and ethnic animosities, “the whole human race is,” as Gwynne Dyer put it, “dancing on the edge of the grave.” All over the world, determined minorities—pressure groups, freedom fighters, criminal gangs, international terrorists, and others—pursue their own selfish agendas and seem able to wreck any possibilities for peace in the world almost at will. Like disruptive tenants, they can make life miserable for everyone else.
According to many commentators, however, dissident groups or unruly individuals are not alone in preventing world unity. The biggest barrier is the nation-state itself. Independent nations, says writer on warfare S. B. Payne, Jr., exist in “a state of international anarchy.” They do whatever serves their national interests best, with little or no regard for others. As a result, throughout history “man has dominated man to his injury.”—Ecclesiastes 8:9.
True, some national governments have had a measure of success in fighting injustice and oppression within their territorial borders and, to some extent, on an international scale. They have established a measure of international unity from time to time. But even when some have united to act against an aggressor nation, the suspicion often lingers that they acted out of self-interest rather than genuine altruism. The reality is that human governments have no comprehensive, lasting solution to world disunity. Gwynne Dyer points out: “The idea that all the nations of the world will band together to deter or punish aggression by some maverick country is fine in principle, but who defines the aggressor, and who pays the cost in money and lives that may be needed to make him stop?”
Of course, aggression by any one nation against another is only possible when the majority of its citizens do not oppose that aggression. History repeatedly shows that it is not simply in some “maverick country” that citizens have supported their leaders, right or wrong. In fact, the majority of earth’s tenants have done this. They have blindly followed “lies, demagoguery and propaganda,” as Time magazine put it, from a stream of political and religious leaders.
Nationalism has inflamed the passions of otherwise reasonable and compassionate people and has caused them to commit atrocious crimes against men, women, and children of another nationality. With reference to World War I, for example, historian J. M. Roberts comments: “One of the paradoxes of 1914 is that in every country huge numbers of people, of all parties, creeds and blood, seem, surprisingly, to have gone willingly and happily to war.” Have people learned their lesson since then? No! The beast of “blinkered nationalism,” as journalist Rod Usher called it, continues to wreck any chance of world unity.
Outside Forces at Work
There is, however, a greater barrier to world unity. The Bible reveals that outside forces are at work. These are identified as Satan the Devil and his henchmen, the demons. According to the Bible, Satan is “the god of this system of things [who] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,” so that “the glorious good news about the Christ” makes no impression on them.—2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9.
This does not absolve individuals of responsibility for their own actions, of course. But it does explain why human governments can never establish a truly united world. As long as Satan the Devil continues to exist, he will influence men and women to cultivate what the Bible calls “the works of the flesh,” including ‘enmities, strife, contentions, and divisions.’—Galatians 5:19-21.
What, then, is the solution? Some seven hundred years ago, the well-known Italian poet and philosopher Dante pointed to the answer. He argued that only world government could ensure the peace and unity of mankind. To many people the hope of any form of world government is simply a delusion, not something in which to place real confidence. “World government,” concludes aforementioned author Payne, “is out of the question at this stage in history.” Why? Because any successful world government would have to guarantee two things that seem to be totally beyond man’s ability, namely that “a world government will put an end to war and that a world government will not be a global tyranny.”
It is certain that no human government will ever measure up to this. God’s Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, however, can and will remove war. (Psalm 46:9, 10; Matthew 6:10) Indeed, it will remove all warmongers. The prophet Daniel indicates that at the end of God’s appointed time for human rule of the earth, human rulership would “prove to be divided” like “iron mixed with moist clay.” (Daniel 2:41-43) This would result in political fragmentation and inevitable conflict. Yet, Daniel says that God’s Kingdom “will crush and put an end to all these [nationalistic and disunited] kingdoms,” or governments, replacing them with his long-awaited Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ.—Daniel 2:44.
There would be no point in creating a fine environment for people if the earth continued to be inhabited by predatory individuals who kept on making life miserable for others. However, “evildoers themselves will be cut off.” (Psalm 37:1, 2, 9, 38; Proverbs 2:22) Hence, Christ will remove all who willfully reject God’s standards or who lend support to disruptive worldly authorities. He will destroy all those who are defacing this planet. God promises “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Revelation 11:18.
This will not be some kind of global tyranny. Jesus Christ will act “in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness” when he separates the good from the bad. (Psalm 45:3, 4; Matthew 25:31-33) Neither is this simply negative and destructive, an abuse of power. No! It is not as if some lovely old building is going to be destroyed by some greedy property developer. It will be more like the destruction of a rotten slum building to make way for a delightful, clean environment.
But what about the outside forces that have caused such disunity in the past? Will they be free to infiltrate this new system so that its inhabitants will begin the destructive process all over again, fighting with their fellow occupants and making life miserable for everyone? Certainly not. This eviction and renovation is final and complete. “Distress will not rise up a second time.”—Nahum 1:9.
The Bible likens ultimate destruction of Satan to the incineration of garbage. It says that “the Devil who was misleading [earth’s inhabitants] was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur.” (Revelation 20:10) What a powerful symbol! Imagine, destruction likened not simply to some small incinerator with only limited capacity but to a whole lake of fire, consuming and removing from existence everything that is evil and contaminated. No one, neither man nor demon, will be allowed to continue doing things that threaten universal order, that violate God’s standards of right and wrong, or that cause pain to their fellowman. All wreckers of unity will be gone!—Psalm 21:9-11; Zephaniah 1:18; 3:8.
A United People out of All Nations
Survivors of this great cleanup will constitute “a great crowd . . . out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9) National and tribal differences will not divide them. They will have learned to live together in peaceful harmony. (Isaiah 2:2-4) What is even more wonderful, these will be joined by past tenants of the planet who will be restored to occupancy of the cleansed earth through the wonderful provision of the resurrection.—John 5:28, 29.
Would you like to live in such a world? Only those who adhere to God’s requirements will do so, and his requirements are clearly set out in the Bible. (John 17:3; Acts 2:38-42) Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to help you to learn what God requires so that you can hope to enjoy life forever in a truly united world.
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Government in the hands of Jesus Christ will guarantee a united world