Mankind’s Problems Soon to End!
“HUMANITARIAN action is of limited value if it does not form part of a wider strategic and political framework aimed at addressing the root causes of conflict. Experience has shown time and time again that humanitarian action alone cannot solve problems which are fundamentally political in nature.”—The State of the World’s Refugees 2000.
Despite great humanitarian action, mankind’s problems grow inexorably. What chance is there of a lasting political solution? In truth, very little. But where else can we look? In a meaningful passage at the beginning of his letter to Christians in Ephesus, the apostle Paul explains how God will put an end to all of mankind’s problems. He even indicates what agency God will use to do this—an agency that will address the root causes of all the problems that plague us today. Why not consider what Paul has to say? The passage is found at Ephesians 1:3-10.
“To Gather All Things Together Again in the Christ”
God’s purpose, says the apostle, is for what he calls “an administration [or management of affairs] at the full limit of the appointed times.” What does this mean? It means that God has a set time when he will act in such a way as “to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Ephesians 1:10) Yes, God has set in motion an arrangement to bring everything in heaven and on earth back into harmony under his direct control. Interestingly, regarding the term here rendered ‘to gather together again,’ Bible scholar J. H. Thayer notes: “Bring together again for himself . . . all things and beings (hitherto disunited by sin) into one combined state of fellowship in Christ.”
That points to the need for God to do this in view of how disunity arose in the first place. Early in man’s history, our original parents, Adam and Eve, followed Satan the Devil in rebellion against God. They wanted independence in the form of the right to decide for themselves what was good and what was bad. (Genesis 3:1-5) In line with divine justice, they were expelled from God’s family and lost their fellowship with him. They plunged mankind into imperfection with all the terrible consequences we experience today.—Romans 5:12.
Temporary Permission of Evil
‘Why did God let them do that?’ some might ask. ‘Why did he not simply use his supreme power and enforce his will, thus preventing all the pain and suffering we now experience?’ It may be tempting to think that way. But what would such a use of overwhelming power really prove? Do you admire or approve of anyone who at the first sign of dissent simply crushes all opposition because he has the power to do so? Surely not.
Those rebels did not really challenge God’s almighty power. They more particularly challenged the rightfulness and rightness of his way of ruling. To settle once and for all time the fundamental issues raised, Jehovah has allowed his creatures to run their own affairs without his direct control for a limited time. (Ecclesiastes 3:1; Luke 21:24) When that time is up, he will intervene to re-exercise total control of the earth. By then it will be abundantly clear that his way of ruling is the only way that guarantees lasting peace, happiness, and prosperity to earth’s inhabitants. Then all the world’s oppressors will be removed forever.—Psalm 72:12-14; Daniel 2:44.
“Before the Founding of the World”
Jehovah purposed to do all of this long ago. Paul mentions “before the founding of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4) That was not before the creation of the earth or of Adam and Eve. That world was “very good,” and rebellion had not broken out. (Genesis 1:31) What “world” did the apostle Paul mean, then? The world of Adam and Eve’s children—a sinful, imperfect world of mankind having the prospect of being redeemed. Before any children were born, Jehovah already knew how he would handle affairs to provide relief for Adam’s redeemable descendants.—Romans 8:20.
This is not to suggest, of course, that the Sovereign of the universe has to handle matters as humans do. Recognizing that an emergency might arise, they plan various detailed strategies to cope. No, the almighty God simply sets forth his purpose and accomplishes it. Still, Paul does explain how Jehovah decided to work things out so as to bring permanent relief to mankind. What were those measures?
Who Will Bring Relief?
Paul explains that Christ’s spirit-anointed disciples have a special role in undoing the harm caused by Adamic sin. Jehovah “chose us in union with [Christ],” says Paul, to rule with Jesus in his heavenly Kingdom. Explaining this further, Paul says that Jehovah “foreordained us to the adoption through Jesus Christ as sons to himself.” (Ephesians 1:4, 5) Of course, Jehovah did not choose, or foreordain, them as individuals. He did, however, foreordain a class of faithful and devoted people who would share with Christ in undoing the harm that Satan the Devil, along with Adam and Eve, brought on the human family.—Luke 12:32; Hebrews 2:14-18.
What an amazing thing! In his original challenge against God’s sovereignty, Satan implied that God’s human creation was flawed—that given enough pressure or incentive, they would all rebel against God’s rule. (Job 1:7-12; 2:2-5) In a dramatic demonstration of “his glorious undeserved kindness,” Jehovah God in time showed his confidence in his earthly creation by adopting some from Adam’s sinful family to be his spiritual children. Those in this small group would be taken to serve in heaven. For what purpose?—Ephesians 1:3-6; John 14:2, 3; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Peter 1:3, 4.
These adopted sons of God, says the apostle Paul, become “joint heirs with Christ” in his heavenly Kingdom. (Romans 8:14-17) As kings and priests, they will have a part in freeing the human family from the pain and suffering it now experiences. (Revelation 5:10) True, “all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.” Soon, though, these specially chosen sons of God will follow Jesus Christ into action, and all obedient humans “will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God” once again.—Romans 8:18-22.
“Release by Ransom”
All of this has been made possible through what must be the most dramatic and sublime expression of God’s undeserved kindness toward this world of redeemable mankind—the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Paul writes: “By means of [Jesus Christ] we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness.”—Ephesians 1:7.
Jesus Christ is the primary figure in the outworking of God’s purpose. (Hebrews 2:10) His ransom sacrifice provides the legal basis for Jehovah to adopt some of Adam’s descendants into his heavenly family and to relieve humankind of the consequences of Adamic sin, without undermining confidence in His laws and principles. (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6) Jehovah has done things in a way that upholds his righteousness and meets the demands of perfect justice.—Romans 3:22-26.
God’s “Sacred Secret”
For thousands of years, God did not reveal exactly how he would accomplish his purpose for the earth. In the first century C.E., “he made known to [Christians] the sacred secret of his will.” (Ephesians 1:9) Paul and his fellow anointed Christians understood clearly the magnificent role assigned to Jesus Christ in the outworking of God’s purpose. They also began to appreciate their special role as joint heirs with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom. (Ephesians 3:5, 6, 8-11) Yes, the Kingdom government in the hands of Jesus Christ and his associate rulers is the agency God will use to bring lasting peace not just in the heavens but also on the earth. (Matthew 6:9, 10) Through it, Jehovah will restore this earth to the condition he originally purposed for it.—Isaiah 45:18; 65:21-23; Acts 3:21.
His appointed time for direct action to rid the earth of all oppression and injustice lies in the near future. But Jehovah actually began the process of restoration at Pentecost 33 C.E. How? By then starting to gather “the things in the heavens,” those who will rule with Christ in the heavens. These included the Ephesian Christians. (Ephesians 2:4-7) More recently, in our time, Jehovah has been gathering “the things on the earth.” (Ephesians 1:10) Through a global preaching campaign, he is making known to all nations the good news about his Kingdom government in the hands of Jesus Christ. Those who respond are even now being gathered into a place of spiritual protection and healing. (John 10:16) Soon, on a cleansed paradise earth, they will experience complete freedom from all injustice and suffering.—2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 11:18.
“Many stunning steps forward” have been made in humanitarian efforts to help oppressed humanity. (The State of the World’s Children 2000) Yet, the most stunning step will be the imminent intervention by Christ Jesus and his associate rulers in the heavenly Kingdom government. They will address completely all the root causes of conflict and all the other evils that beset us. They will bring to an end all of mankind’s problems.—Revelation 21:1-4.
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Humanitarian acts have not solved mankind’s problems
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Christ’s ransom sacrifice provided mankind with relief from Adamic sin
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It is possible to find spiritual protection and healing today
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Soon, through the Messianic Kingdom, complete relief from problems will come