“The world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.”—1 JOHN 2:17.
1, 2. (a) In what way is this wicked world similar to a criminal who is about to be executed? (See opening picture.) (b) How will everyone in heaven and on earth feel after this wicked system is destroyed?
IMAGINE the scene. A dangerous criminal is walking down a prison hallway while the guards with him shout out, “Dead man walking!” Why do they say this? Even though the criminal is alive and looks healthy, he has been sentenced to death and is about to be executed. It is as if he were already dead.*—See footnote.
2 The wicked world we live in is similar to that criminal who is about to be executed. The Bible says: “The world is passing away.” (1 John 2:17) Jehovah has decided that this system will end very soon, so there is no doubt that it will end. But there is one important difference between the end of this system and the execution of that criminal. Some people may feel that the criminal’s judgment was unfair and may protest, hoping that he will not be executed. However, Jehovah is a perfect judge, and his decision to destroy this system is perfectly fair. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Its execution will not be delayed. After this system is finally destroyed, everyone in heaven and on earth will agree that Jehovah’s judgment was right. There will be huge relief!
3. What four problems will be gone when God’s Kingdom comes?
3 What does “the world” that is “passing away” include? It includes the bad things that have become a part of life today. All those things will soon be gone. This is actually part of the “good news of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 24:14) In this article, we will discuss four problems that will be gone when God’s Kingdom comes: wicked people, corrupt organizations, wrong activities, and bad conditions. For each of these we will learn (1) how they affect us now, (2) what Jehovah will do about them, and (3) what he will replace them with.
4. How do wicked people affect us now?
4 How do wicked people affect us now? The apostle Paul said that in the last days, there would be “critical times hard to deal with.” Then he added: “Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) Have you experienced this? Many of us have been victims of wicked people such as violent bullies, hateful racists, and vicious criminals. Some of them do not try to hide the bad things that they do. Others pretend to help people, but in reality they are wicked. Yet, even if we have not been victims of a crime, we are still affected by wicked people. We feel sick when we hear about the cruel way they treat children, the elderly, and others who cannot defend themselves. These wicked people act in a way that makes them seem like wild animals or even demons. (James 3:15) Happily, Jehovah’s Word gives us hope.
5. (a) What opportunity do wicked people still have? (b) What will happen to those who refuse to change?
5 What will Jehovah do? Right now Jehovah is giving wicked people the opportunity to change. (Isaiah 55:7) Although this system will soon be destroyed, they have not been finally judged yet. What, though, will happen to those who refuse to change and who support this system right up to the time of the great tribulation? Jehovah has promised to remove all wicked people from the earth. (Read Psalm 37:10.) Today, many have learned to hide the bad things they do, and oftentimes they are not punished. (Job 21:7, 9) But the Bible reminds us: “God’s eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where wrongdoers can conceal themselves.” (Job 34:21, 22) So there is no way to hide from Jehovah. He can see everything that the wicked are doing. After Armageddon, we may look where they used to be, but we will not see them. They will be gone forever!—Psalm 37:12-15.
6. Who will remain when the wicked people are gone, and why is that good news?
6 Who will remain when the wicked people are gone? Jehovah promises: “The meek will possess the earth, and they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” Later in the same psalm, we read: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” (Psalm 37:11, 29) Who are “the meek” and “the righteous”? The meek are humble ones who learn from and obey Jehovah. The righteous are those who love to do what God says is right. In the world today, there are many more wicked people than righteous ones. But in the new world, there will only be meek and righteous people, and they will make the earth a paradise!
7. How do corrupt organizations affect us today?
7 How do corrupt organizations affect us now? Much of the evil in the world today is not caused by individuals but by organizations. Religious organizations deceive millions of people. For example, they lie about who God is, they say the Bible cannot be trusted, and they deceive people about the future of the earth and mankind. Corrupt governments promote war and racial violence and oppress the poor and defenseless. Such governments become more wealthy and powerful by showing favoritism or accepting bribes. Greedy corporations pollute the environment, destroy natural resources, and take advantage of people so that a few can get rich. Clearly, corrupt organizations are responsible for much of the suffering in the world today.
8. What does the Bible say will happen to organizations that seem strong to many people today?
8 What will Jehovah do? The great tribulation will begin when the political powers attack all false religious organizations, which the Bible describes as a prostitute named Babylon the Great. (Revelation 17:1, 2, 16; 18:1-4) Those religious organizations will be completely destroyed. But what will happen to all other corrupt organizations? The Bible compares them to mountains and islands because they seem to be strong and solid. (Read Revelation 6:14.) But it adds that the governments and all other organizations that do not support God’s Kingdom will be destroyed. This will be the final part of the great tribulation. (Jeremiah 25:31-33) After that, there will be no corrupt organizations at all!
9. Why can we be sure that the new earth will be well-organized?
9 What will replace corrupt organizations? After Armageddon, will there be any organization on earth? The Bible says: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) The old heavens and earth are the corrupt governments and the people whom they control. After they are gone, what will replace them? “New heavens and a new earth.” The new heavens refer to a new government, the Kingdom made up of Jesus Christ and his 144,000 corulers. The new earth refers to the people ruled by God’s Kingdom. Jesus and his corulers will perfectly imitate Jehovah God, who is a God of order. (1 Corinthians 14:33) So the “new earth” will be organized. There will be good men to take care of things. (Psalm 45:16) Those men will be guided by Christ and the 144,000. Imagine a time when all corrupt organizations will be replaced by a single, united organization that can never be corrupted!
10. What kind of wrong activities are common where you live, and how are you and your family affected?
10 How do wrong activities affect us now? We live in a world where immorality, dishonesty, and brutal violence are common. The world’s entertainment makes such things look attractive while making fun of Jehovah’s standards of right and wrong. (Isaiah 5:20) Parents especially must fight to protect their children from such bad influences. In fact, all true Christians have to work hard to protect their relationship with Jehovah in a world that does not respect God’s standards.
11. What do we learn from Jehovah’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah?
11 What will Jehovah do about wrong activities? Consider what Jehovah did about the bad things happening in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Read 2 Peter 2:6-8.) Lot was a righteous man, and he and his family suffered greatly because of all the bad things the people around them were doing. Jehovah destroyed that entire region to end the wicked things happening there. But he was also “setting a pattern” for wicked people today. Just as Jehovah ended all the immoral activities back then, he will also end them today when he destroys this present system.
12. What are some activities that you look forward to when this system is gone?
12 What will replace wrong activities? In the new world, we will be busy with many happy activities. For example, we will turn the earth into a paradise and build homes for ourselves and our loved ones. We will also welcome back to life millions of resurrected ones and teach them about Jehovah and all he has done for humans. (Isaiah 65:21, 22; Acts 24:15) At that time, we will be busy with activities that will make us happy and bring praise to Jehovah!
13. What has resulted from the rebellion in Eden?
13 How do bad conditions affect us now? A world full of wicked people, corrupt organizations, and wrong activities has led to bad living conditions. All of us are affected by things such as war, poverty, racism, sickness, and death. These bad conditions began because Satan, Adam, and Eve rebelled against Jehovah. And all of us have been affected by their rebellion.
14. What will Jehovah do about bad conditions?
14 What will Jehovah do about bad conditions? Consider some examples. Jehovah promises to end all wars. (Read Psalm 46:8, 9.) He will eliminate sickness. (Isaiah 33:24) He will swallow up death forever. (Isaiah 25:8) He will end poverty. (Psalm 72:12-16) And Jehovah will remove all the other bad conditions that make life miserable today. He will even remove the bad influence of Satan and his demons!—Ephesians 2:2.
15. What are some things that will be gone forever after Armageddon?
15 Just imagine what it will be like to live in a world without war, sickness, or death! There will be no armies, weapons, or war memorials. We will not need hospitals, doctors, nurses, morgues, or cemeteries. There will be no crime, so we will not need police, security alarms, or perhaps even locks or keys! All these bad conditions that cause us so much anxiety will be gone forever.
16, 17. (a) How will those who survive Armageddon feel? Illustrate. (b) How can we be sure that we will remain after this old world is gone?
16 What will life be like when bad conditions are gone? It is not easy to imagine. We have lived with bad conditions for so long that we may not even notice how much stress they cause us. To illustrate, people who live near a busy train station may no longer notice the noise. And people who live near a garbage dump may no longer notice the smell. But when Jehovah takes away all bad conditions, it will be a huge relief!
17 What will replace all the stress we feel now? Psalm 37:11 says: “They will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” How comforting it is to know that this is what Jehovah wants for us! During these stressful times, do everything you can to stay close to Jehovah and his organization. Your hope for the future is precious, so think deeply about it, make sure that it is real to you, and share it with others. (1 Timothy 4:15, 16; 1 Peter 3:15) That way, you can be sure that when this system comes to an end, you will remain alive and be happy forever!
This paragraph describes a custom that was common many years ago in prisons in some parts of the United States.