God’s Purpose for the Earth—Soon to Be Fulfilled
WHEN Adam and Eve were still in Paradise, they received this God-given mandate: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”—Genesis 1:28.
Subduing the earth meant more than cultivating or caring for only a small part of it. Adam and Eve and their offspring were to extend Paradise until it covered the whole globe. However, the first human couple sinned and were driven out of the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:23, 24) But that did not mean that the earth would never be subdued.
Because they will be blessed by God, obedient mankind will be able to subdue the earth. When the people of ancient Israel had God’s blessing, their fields produced fine crops and their orchards excellent fruit. Similar conditions will exist as our globe gradually becomes a paradise. As promised in God’s inspired Word, the Bible, “the earth itself will certainly give its produce; God, our God, will bless us.” (Psalm 67:6) In effect, the earth’s meadows and mountains, its trees and flowers, its rivers and seas will rejoice. (Psalm 96:11-13; 98:7-9) Our globe will be alive with lush vegetation, colorful birds, splendid animals, and warmhearted people.
A New World Soon!
We are now on the threshold of a new world promised by Jehovah God. “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise,” wrote the apostle Peter, “and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) After reading those words of Peter, some may conclude that this planet will never become a paradise. They may think that the physical heavens and earth will be replaced. Can that be so?
What are the “new heavens”? They are not the physical heavens that were created by God. (Psalm 19:1, 2) Peter had just referred to symbolic “heavens”—human governments that are lifted up or exalted above their subjects. (2 Peter 3:10-12) These “heavens” have failed mankind and will pass away. (Jeremiah 10:23; Daniel 2:44) The “new heavens” that will replace them is God’s Kingdom made up of the King Jesus Christ and his 144,000 joint-heirs resurrected to heavenly life.—Romans 8:16, 17; Revelation 5:9, 10; 14:1, 3.
The “new earth” that Peter mentioned is not a new planet. Jehovah made the earth perfect for everlasting human life. (Psalm 104:5) At times, the Bible refers to “the earth” when people are meant. (Genesis 11:1) The earth that will soon be destroyed consists of people who have made themselves part of this wicked world. Similarly, a world of ungodly people suffered destruction in the Flood of Noah’s day. (2 Peter 3:5-7) What, then, is the “new earth”? It is a new society of people—God’s true worshippers, who are “upright in their hearts.” (Psalm 125:4; 1 John 2:17) All laws for the “new earth” will come from the “new heavens.” Faithful men on earth will see that these instructions are carried out.
Things New and Wonderful!
Jehovah certainly gave us a splendid home when he prepared the earth for human life. He himself said that all his earthly work was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Satan the Devil led Adam and Eve into rebellion. (Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9) However, God will soon see to it that the upright have “the real life.” That is “everlasting life” under perfect conditions in Paradise. (1 Timothy 6:12, 19) Let us now consider some of the blessings that will be enjoyed at that time.
During Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, Satan will be restrained and will be unable to bring woe upon humankind. Says the apostle John: “I saw an angel [the archangel Michael, or Jesus Christ] coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.” (Revelation 20:1-3; 12:12) Besides freedom from Satan’s influence while he is abyssed, mankind will enjoy many other blessings under Kingdom rule.
Wickedness, violence, and warfare will be things of the past. The Bible promises: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:10, 11, 29) Jehovah God ‘will make wars cease to the ends of the earth.’ (Psalm 46:9) What wonderful assurances of security and peace!
An abundance of healthful and delicious food will be on our tables. “There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth,” sang the psalmist. “On the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.” (Psalm 72:16) At that time, no one will have to endure dreadful pangs of hunger.
Nobody will suffer from illness and disease. Indeed, “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6) When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he cured lepers and healed the lame and the blind. (Matthew 9:35; Mark 1:40-42; John 5:5-9) Imagine what he will do in the new world! Think of the happiness there will be when the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the speechless are healed.
As obedient mankind advances to human perfection, the ravages of aging will be reversed. Gone will be eyeglasses, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, hospitals, and medicines. What changes there will be as our youthful vigor is restored! (Job 33:25) Each morning, we will awake from a good night’s sleep, refreshed and ready to start another day of joyful activity.
The resurrection of loved ones and others will bring joy to our hearts. (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) How thrilling it will be to welcome Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Job, Moses, Ruth, David, Elijah, Esther, and so many more! Millions of others will also be resurrected. Most of them never learned about Jehovah, but they will be welcomed by people eager to teach them about God, his purposes, and his Son, Jesus Christ. As resurrected ones come to know their Creator, the knowledge of Jehovah will truly cover the earth.
Best of all, we will be able to worship the only true God forever. We will be privileged to “serve Jehovah with rejoicing,” and we will work together harmoniously as we build beautiful homes, till the soil and, ultimately, subdue the whole earth. (Psalm 100:1-3; Isaiah 65:21-24) What a delight it will be to live forever in a productive, peaceful, and beautiful paradise that brings honor to Jehovah’s holy name!—Psalm 145:21; John 17:3.
A Final Test for Mankind
During his Thousand Year Reign, Jesus will apply the benefits of his ransom sacrifice to every obedient human. In time, all sin will thus be removed, and mankind will be lifted to human perfection. (1 John 2:2; Revelation 21:1-4) With the effects of Adam’s sin completely gone, perfect humans will meet God’s standards physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually. They will thus “come to life” in the fullest sense when they reach sinless perfection. (Revelation 20:5) How this and the Paradise earth will glorify Jehovah!
For a short time after Christ’s Thousand Year Reign has ended, Satan the Devil and his demons, or wicked angels, will be released from the abyss into which they were cast some ten centuries earlier. (Revelation 20:1-3) They will be allowed to make a final effort to turn people away from God. Although some people will give in to wrong desires, this rebellion will fail. Jehovah will execute the selfish ones along with Satan and all his demons. Wickedness will never again arise. All wrongdoers will be gone forever, and the righteous will receive life everlasting.—Revelation 20:7-10.
Will You Be There?
An eternity of happiness lies before those who love Jehovah God. There will be nothing boring about everlasting life in Paradise. In fact, life will get more interesting with the passing of time, for there is no limit to the knowledge of Jehovah God. (Romans 11:33) You will always have something new to learn, and you will have plenty of time to take in knowledge. Why? Because you will live, not for just 70 or 80 years, but for eternity.—Psalm 22:26; 90:10; Ecclesiastes 3:11.
If you love God, you will always be very happy doing his will. The apostle John wrote: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) So let nothing stop you when it comes to pleasing Jehovah God by doing what is righteous. Keep in mind the wonderful hope that God’s Word, the Bible, places before you. Set your heart on doing Jehovah’s will, and never turn aside from that course. Then you will be there when God’s purpose for the earth is fulfilled and our global home has become an eternal paradise.
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With God’s blessing, Israel’s fields produced plenty
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What blessings do you hope to enjoy in Paradise?