Enjoy “the Real Life”
JEHOVAH GOD has given man the perception of eternity. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) This makes humans feel powerless in the face of death but, at the same time, arouses in them an unrelenting desire to live.
The Holy Bible, God’s inspired Word, gives us great hope. (2 Timothy 3:16) Jehovah, who is the essence of love, could not have made man with the ability to grasp the concept of eternity and then condemned him to live for just a few years. Creating us to be tormented over our lot is simply contrary to God’s personality. We were not created like “unreasoning animals born naturally to be caught and destroyed.”—2 Peter 2:12.
In creating Adam and Eve with an intrinsic sense of eternity, Jehovah God made something “very good”; he made them with the potential for living forever. (Genesis 1:31) But sadly, the first couple misused their free will, disobeying an explicit prohibition from the Creator and losing their original perfection. As a result, they died, having transmitted imperfection and death to their descendants.—Genesis 2:17; 3:1-24; Romans 5:12.
The Bible leaves no aura of mystery around the purpose of life and what death means. It says that in death “there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom” and that the dead “are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) In other words, the dead are dead. The doctrine of the immortal soul is not Biblical, so there is no profound mystery to be solved about the condition of the dead.—Genesis 3:19; Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20; Ezekiel 18:4.*
God had a purpose; he did not create the earth “simply for nothing.” He formed it “to be inhabited” by perfect humans in paradise conditions, and God has not changed his purpose. (Isaiah 45:18; Malachi 3:6) To realize it, he sent his Son to the earth. By remaining faithful until death, Jesus Christ provided the means to ransom mankind from sin and death. In fact, Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
Long ago, God promised that he would create “new heavens and a new earth.” (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13) That would involve his choosing a limited group of faithful Christians for life in heaven. Together with Jesus Christ, they form a governmental nucleus. The Bible refers to this as “the kingdom of the heavens,” or “kingdom of God,” which will administer “the things on the earth.” (Matthew 4:17; 12:28; Ephesians 1:10; Revelation 5:9, 10; 14:1, 3) After destroying all godlessness on our globe and purifying it, God will bring in a righteous new human society, or “new earth.” This will include people whom God protects through the imminent destruction of this wicked system of things. (Matthew 24:3, 7-14, 21; Revelation 7:9, 13, 14) They will be joined by those who are brought back to life through the promised resurrection.—John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.
“The Real Life” Then
In confirmation of the thrilling description of life on the future Paradise earth, God says: “Look! I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) It is impossible for the human mind to grasp fully the marvelous works that God will perform for mankind. God will create a worldwide paradise, modeled after Eden. (Luke 23:43) As in Eden, beauty and pleasantness of color, sound, and taste will be abundant. Poverty and food shortages will be no more, for regarding that time the Bible says: “The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4; Psalm 72:16) No more will anyone say, “I am sick,” as illness will be eliminated forever. (Isaiah 33:24) Yes, all causes of pain will disappear, including mankind’s long-standing enemy, death. (1 Corinthians 15:26) In an amazing vision of the “new earth,” the new human society under Christ’s rule, the apostle John heard a voice saying: “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” What could bring greater comfort and joy than the fulfillment of this divine promise?
In describing future life, the Bible particularly emphasizes conditions that will satisfy man’s moral and spiritual aspirations. All the just ideals for which mankind has vainly struggled until now will be fully attained. (Matthew 6:10) Among these is the desire for justice, which has remained unfulfilled because man has often been afflicted by cruel oppressors who have dominated the weak. (Ecclesiastes 8:9) The psalmist wrote prophetically of conditions under Christ’s rule: “In his days uprightness shall flourish, and peace in plenty.”—Psalm 72:7, The New Jerusalem Bible.
Equality is another aspiration for which many have made sacrifices. In the “re-creation,” God will abolish discrimination. (Matthew 19:28) All will enjoy the same dignity. This will not be equality imposed by some harsh governmental regime. On the contrary, the causes of discrimination will be eliminated, including the greed and pride that lead men to seek domination over others or to amass huge amounts of goods. Isaiah prophesied: “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.”—Isaiah 65:21, 22.
How man has suffered because of bloodshed in both personal and collective warfare! This has continued from the murder of Abel down to the wars of the present time. How long humans have hoped and waited, seemingly in vain, for peace to be established! In the restored Paradise, all men will be peaceable and meek; they will “find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11.
Isaiah 11:9 says: “The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.” Because of inherited imperfection, among other things, it is not possible for us today to understand fully the scope of those words. How perfect knowledge of God will unite us with him and how that will result in full joy, we may yet have to learn. But since the Scriptures inform us that Jehovah is a God marvelous in power, wisdom, justice, and love, we can be certain that he will hear all prayers expressed by the inhabitants of the “new earth.”
“The Real Life” Is a Certainty—Grasp It!
For many, eternal life in a better world is just a dream or an illusion. However, for those who truly have faith in the Bible’s promise, this hope is a certainty. It is like an anchor for their lives. (Hebrews 6:19) Just as an anchor holds a ship steady and prevents it from floundering, the hope of eternal life makes people stable and confident and enables them to confront the serious difficulties in life and even overcome them.
We can be sure that God will fulfill his promises. He has even furnished a guarantee by uttering an oath, an irrevocable commitment. The apostle Paul wrote: “God, when he purposed to demonstrate more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his counsel, stepped in with an oath, in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we . . . may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:17, 18) The “two unchangeable things” that God can never annul are his promise and his oath, on which we base our expectations.
Faith in God’s promises provides great comfort and spiritual strength. Joshua, a leader of the people of Israel, had such faith. When Joshua gave his farewell speech to the Israelites, he was old and knew that he was about to die. Yet, he expressed strength and unbreakable loyalty, which sprang from complete trust in God’s promises. After saying that he was going “in the way of all the earth,” the path that leads all mankind to death, Joshua stated: “You well know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.” Yes, three times Joshua repeated that God always keeps all his promises.—Joshua 23:14.
You too can have the same faith in God’s promise of a new world that will soon be established. By earnestly studying the Bible, you will come to understand who Jehovah is and why he deserves your full trust. (Revelation 4:11) Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and other faithful ones of old had unbreakable faith, based on their intimate knowledge of the true God, Jehovah. They remained strong in hope, despite the fact that they “did not get the fulfillment of the promises” while they were alive. Still, “they saw them afar off and welcomed them.”—Hebrews 11:13.
Understanding Bible prophecies, we now see the approach of “the great day of God the Almighty,” during which the earth will be cleansed of all wickedness. (Revelation 16:14, 16) Like faithful men of old, we must remain in confident expectation of future events, motivated by faith as well as by love for God and for “the real life.” The nearness of the new world provides a strong incentive for those who exercise faith in Jehovah and who love him. Such faith and love need to be cultivated in order to gain God’s favor and protection during his great day, which is at hand.—Zephaniah 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Hebrews 10:37-39.
So, do you love life? And do you desire even more “the real life”—life as an approved servant of God, with the prospect of a happy future, yes, with eternal life in view? If that is what you seek, heed the exhortation of the apostle Paul, who wrote that we should ‘rest our hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God.’ Paul continued: “Be rich in fine works,” which honor God, so as to “get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Timothy 6:17-19.
By accepting the offer of a Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you can acquire knowledge that “means everlasting life.” (John 17:3) Lovingly, the Bible records this fatherly invitation to all: “My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you.”—Proverbs 3:1, 2.
For a detailed examination of the subject, see the brochure What Happens to Us When We Die?, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.