STUDY ARTICLE 49
We Can Live Forever
“This means everlasting life.”—JOHN 17:3.
SONG 147 Life Everlasting Is Promised
1. How does meditating on Jehovah’s promise of everlasting life affect us?
JEHOVAH promises that those who obey him will have “everlasting life.” (Rom. 6:23) When we meditate on what Jehovah is offering us, our love for him certainly grows stronger. Just think: Our heavenly Father loves us so deeply that we will never be separated from him.
2. How does the promise of everlasting life help us?
2 God’s promise of everlasting life helps us to endure our current trials. Even when our enemies threaten us with death, we will not compromise. Why? In part because we know that if we die faithful to Jehovah, he will raise us from the dead with the prospect of never dying. (John 5:28, 29; 1 Cor. 15:55-58; Heb. 2:15) Why can we be certain that it is possible for us to live forever? Consider the following reasons.
JEHOVAH LIVES FOREVER
3. Why can we be sure that Jehovah is able to keep us alive forever? (Psalm 102:12, 24, 27)
3 We know that Jehovah is able to keep us alive forever because he is the Source of life and he lives forever. (Ps. 36:9) Note just a few Bible passages that confirm that Jehovah has always existed and will always exist. Psalm 90:2 says that Jehovah is “from everlasting to everlasting.” Psalm 102 makes a similar point. (Read Psalm 102:12, 24, 27.) And the prophet Habakkuk wrote regarding our heavenly Father: “Are you not from everlasting, O Jehovah? O my God, my Holy One, you do not die.”—Hab. 1:12.
4. Should we worry if it is difficult to grasp the idea that Jehovah has always existed? Explain.
4 Do you find it difficult to grasp the idea that Jehovah has existed “for all eternity”? (Isa. 40:28) That is not unusual. Elihu said of God: “The number of his years is beyond comprehension.” (Job 36:26) But just because we do not understand something does not mean that it is untrue. For example, though we may not understand fully how light works, does this mean that light does not exist? Not at all! Similarly, we humans may never fully comprehend how it is that Jehovah has always existed and will always exist. But this does not mean that God does not live eternally. The Creator is not limited by what we can or cannot understand. (Rom. 11:33-36) And he existed before the material universe—including light sources such as the sun—came to be. We are assured that Jehovah is “the Maker of the earth by his power.” Yes, he existed before he “stretched out the heavens.” (Jer. 51:15; Acts 17:24) What is another reason why we can be sure that it is possible for us to live forever?
WE WERE CREATED TO LIVE FOREVER
5. What prospect did the first human couple have?
5 Jehovah created living things on earth with a limited life span, except for humans. He gave them the unique prospect of never dying. However, Jehovah warned Adam: “As for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Gen. 2:17) Had Adam and Eve obeyed Jehovah, they would not have died. It is reasonable to conclude that at some point, Jehovah would have allowed them to eat from “the tree of life.” This would have meant that they had his assurance that they would “live forever.”b—Gen. 3:22.
6-7. (a) What else indicates that humans were not meant to die? (b) What interests do you long to pursue? (See pictures.)
6 It is intriguing that some researchers point to scientific evidence that our brain has the capacity to store far more information than we can gather during our present life span. In 2010 an article in the journal Scientific American Mind said that one estimate of the capacity of our brain was approximately 2.5 million gigabytes, the equivalent of three million hours (over 300 years) of recorded TV. That figure may turn out to be a gross underestimation. However, it illustrates that Jehovah designed our brain to handle much more information than we acquire in just 70 or 80 years.—Ps. 90:10.
7 Jehovah has also created within us a strong desire to keep living. The Bible says regarding humans that God has “put eternity in their heart.” (Eccl. 3:11) That is one reason why we view death as an enemy. (1 Cor. 15:26) If we become seriously ill, do we just accept the condition and give up? No. Usually, we visit a physician and perhaps take medicine to combat the disease. In fact, we do all we reasonably can to avoid dying. And when someone we love dies, whether that person is young or old, do we not feel deep and lasting emotional pain? (John 11:32, 33) Certainly, our loving Creator would not give us the desire and the capacity to keep living unless his purpose was for humans to keep living. But we have further compelling reasons to believe that we can have unending life. Let us consider some of Jehovah’s past and present actions that prove he has not changed his original purpose.
JEHOVAH’S PURPOSE HAS NOT CHANGED
8. Regarding Jehovah’s purpose for us, what assurance do we gain from Isaiah 55:11?
8 Even though Adam and Eve sinned and brought death to their children, Jehovah did not change his mind regarding his purpose. (Read Isaiah 55:11.) His purpose is still that faithful humans live forever. Such a conclusion is evident when we consider the things Jehovah has said and done in order to fulfill his purpose.
9. What has God promised? (Daniel 12:2, 13)
9 Jehovah has promised that he will resurrect the dead and make everlasting life available to them. (Acts 24:15; Titus 1:1, 2) The faithful man Job was certain that Jehovah longs to resurrect those who have died. (Job 14:14, 15) The prophet Daniel was aware that humans have the prospect of being resurrected with the opportunity to live forever. (Ps. 37:29; read Daniel 12:2, 13.) Jews in Jesus’ day also knew that Jehovah could grant his faithful servants “everlasting life.” (Luke 10:25; 18:18) Jesus repeatedly spoke of this promise, and he himself was resurrected by his Father.—Matt. 19:29; 22:31, 32; Luke 18:30; John 11:25.
10. What do resurrections in the past prove? (See picture.)
10 Jehovah is the Life-Giver and has the power to bring people back to life. He empowered the prophet Elijah to resurrect the son of the widow of Zarephath. (1 Ki. 17:21-23) Later, with God’s help, the prophet Elisha restored the life of the son of a Shunammite woman. (2 Ki. 4:18-20, 34-37) Those and other resurrections prove that Jehovah has the power to bring people back to life. While on earth, Jesus proved that his Father had given him that power. (John 11:23-25, 43, 44) Now Jesus is in heaven and has been given “all authority . . . in heaven and on the earth.” Thus, he is in position to fulfill the promise that “all those in the memorial tombs” will be raised to life with the prospect of remaining alive forever.—Matt. 28:18; John 5:25-29.
11. How does the ransom make it possible for us to live forever?
11 Why did Jehovah allow his beloved Son to die a painful death? Jesus revealed the reason, saying: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) By giving his Son as a ransom to cover our sins, God makes it possible for us to gain everlasting life. (Matt. 20:28) The apostle Paul summed up this important part of God’s purpose when he wrote: “Since death came through a man, resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.”—1 Cor. 15:21, 22.
12. How will the Kingdom help to accomplish Jehovah’s purpose for us?
12 Jesus taught his followers to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for God’s will to take place on earth. (Matt. 6:9, 10) Part of God’s purpose is for humans to live forever on the earth. To accomplish that, Jehovah has appointed his Son as King of the Messianic Kingdom. God has been gathering 144,000 people from the earth to work with Jesus in fulfilling God’s will.—Rev. 5:9, 10.
13. What is Jehovah doing now, and how are you involved?
13 Jehovah is now drawing together “a great crowd” of people and training them as subjects of his Kingdom. (Rev. 7:9, 10; Jas. 2:8) Despite living today in a world divided by fear and war, those making up this group strive to overcome all national, tribal, and personal hatreds. They are already symbolically beating their swords into plowshares. (Mic. 4:3) Instead of participating in wars that cause so much death, they are helping people to find “the real life” by teaching them about the true God and his purposes. (1 Tim. 6:19) Family members may turn against them or they may suffer financially because they support God’s Kingdom, but Jehovah makes sure that they have the things they need. (Matt. 6:25, 30-33; Luke 18:29, 30) Those facts assure us that God’s Kingdom is a reality and that it will continue to fulfill Jehovah’s purpose.
A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE AHEAD
14-15. How will Jehovah’s promise to eliminate death forever finally be fulfilled?
14 Jesus is now in position in heaven and will fulfill all the promises that Jehovah has made. (2 Cor. 1:20) Since 1914, Jesus has been subduing his enemies. (Ps. 110:1, 2) He and his corulers will soon complete their conquest and will destroy the wicked.—Rev. 6:2.
15 During Jesus’ Thousand Year Reign, the dead will be raised and obedient mankind will be brought to perfection. After the final test, those whom Jehovah judges to be righteous “will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” (Ps. 37:10, 11, 29) Happily, “the last enemy, death,” will be “brought to nothing.”—1 Cor. 15:26.
16. What should be our primary motive for serving Jehovah?
16 As we have seen, our hope of living forever is solidly based on God’s Word. That hope can help us to remain loyal during these difficult last days. But to please Jehovah, we must be motivated by more than just a desire to stay alive. Our primary reason for remaining loyal to Jehovah and Jesus is that we love them deeply. (2 Cor. 5:14, 15) That love motivates us to imitate them and to share with others the hope we have. (Rom. 10:13-15) As we learn to be unselfish and generous, we become the type of people whom Jehovah wants as his friends forever.—Heb. 13:16.
17. What personal responsibility do we have? (Matthew 7:13, 14)
17 Will we be among those who gain everlasting life? Jehovah has opened the door to that possibility. Now it is up to us to stay on the path that leads to life. (Read Matthew 7:13, 14.) What will life be like when we live forever? We will discuss the answer to that question in the next article.
SONG 141 The Miracle of Life
a Do you look forward to living forever? Jehovah has promised us that one day we will be able to live without ever worrying about dying. This article will examine just some of the reasons why we can have complete confidence that Jehovah will fulfill his promise.
b See the box “‘Forever’ in the Bible.”
c PICTURE DESCRIPTION: An elderly brother imagines some of the things he can experience in the everlasting future.