Making All Things New
“The One seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also, he says: ‘Write, because these words are faithful and true.’”—REVELATION 21:5.
1, 2. (a) What question did Solomon pose three millenniums ago? (b) What, today, seems to contradict Solomon’s words?
“THERE is nothing new under the sun.” Those are the words of wise King Solomon. Continuing, he asked: “Does anything exist of which one may say: ‘See this; it is new’?” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, 10) How would we answer that question today?
2 Have not science and technology brought forth many new things during this 20th century? Just look at the world of travel, with its jet airplanes, its high-powered automobiles, and its bullet trains. Then there are the astounding advances in telecommunications, the use of orbiting satellites, and the launching of spaceships that have actually landed men on the moon. And what of the modern kitchen appliances, refrigerators, and laundry machines that adorn so many homes? Some people may be inclined to say, ‘Why, there is everything new under the sun!’
3 But wait a moment! There is also something hideous, most disturbing, to be seen under the sun. What is that? Why, the earth has become an armed camp! This got started in 1914 when World War I erupted. For the first time, machine guns, airplanes, tanks, and submarines were used in warfare. In less than 30 years World War II followed. It was four times as destructive of life and property as was the first world war. It made appalling use of even more murderous devices—flamethrowers, napalm bombs, and finally the atom bomb—forerunner of the demonic nuclear devices that now threaten the very survival of mankind here on earth.
4. (a) To what framework did Solomon refer in speaking of “nothing new”? (b) How are God’s wisdom and love apparent in what he has done and will yet do “under the sun”?
4 Can we truly say, then, that “there is nothing new under the sun”? Yes, we can, for all these productions come within the framework of the material world in which mankind has always lived. Even when man detonates hydrogen-fusion devices, it is nothing new. Hydrogen fusion has been going on within the sun for billions of years. This is the source of the constant blaze of energy that illuminates, warms, and enlivens our earth. Light from the sun also interacts with the chlorophyll in green plants, building the sugars and starches that are the basic food source for a numberless host of living things around us. How grateful we can be that earth’s all-wise Creator arranged for this controlled, beneficial release of nuclear energy for our earth! (Psalm 104:24) Though ungodly men scheme to use nuclear devices for mass murder, happily God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Revelation 11:18.
5. (a) Why was Solomon correct in saying: “There is nothing new under the sun”? (b) How does the life-style of imperfect man bear out Solomon’s words?
5 Solomon was correct in saying: “There is nothing new under the sun.” For there is nothing new about the materials, the energy sources, and the natural laws that form the basis for earth’s physical system of things. These have long been part of God’s creation. (Psalm 24:1; Revelation 4:11) There is nothing new in the rising and setting of the sun, in the weather patterns, and in the natural cycle for watering and renewing the earth. And as for the life-style of imperfect mortal man, there is nothing really new, despite changing fashions. Even in affluent societies, life for many becomes repetitious, and at length “wearisome.” In some 70 or 80 years, sin-stained man ‘walks to his long-lasting house’—the grave. As Solomon states it: “That which has come to be, that is what will come to be; and that which has been done, that is what will be done; and so there is nothing new under the sun.”—Ecclesiastes 1:4-9; 12:5.
“A New Creation” Under the Sun
6. (a) Why are new material creations not to be expected in the near future? (b) How and when did Jehovah proceed to bring forth something “new under the sun”?
6 Truly, in a physical way “there is nothing new under the sun”; nor will Jehovah bring forth new material productions during the present 7,000-year day of resting from his works of creation. But something new has appeared under the sun. When? It was in the year 2 B.C.E. that Jehovah’s angel appeared suddenly to humble shepherds near Bethlehem to make an astoundingly new announcement. He said: “Look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city.” A multitude of holy angels then joined him in praising God and saying: “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.”—Luke 2:8-14.
7. (a) What new thing happened at Jesus’ baptism? (b) How did Jesus open the way for further developments?
7 At 30 years of age, this Savior was baptized in Jordan’s waters. Immediately, another new thing happened under the sun. Luke 3:21, 22 describes it in these words: “As [Jesus] was praying, the heaven was opened up and the holy spirit in bodily shape like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: ‘You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.’” At that point Jesus became “a new creation,” a spirit-begotten Son of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17) During the next three and a half years, Jesus gave a powerful witness to God’s Kingdom, gathering his first disciples. Then, in 33 C.E., after his sacrificial death and his resurrection as a spirit, Jesus appeared “before the person of God” to open the way for further marvelous developments down here “under the sun.”—Hebrews 9:24; 1 Peter 3:18.
8. How was “a new creation” brought forth?
8 On the day of Pentecost in that year, Jesus began to pour out holy spirit upon his faithful disciples, indicating that they had been brought into union with him as sons of God. The apostle Paul speaks of this “new creation” at 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18, saying: “If anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, look! new things have come into existence. But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation.”
9. What purpose does the “new creation” fulfill?
9 The apostle Peter addresses this “new creation,” saying: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) While here on earth, the royal priesthood has zealously proclaimed “the magnificent things of God” related to his Kingdom purposes. Those of this “new creation” who finish their earthly course in integrity get resurrected after Jesus comes to Jehovah’s temple.—Acts 2:11; Romans 8:14-17; Malachi 3:1, 2.
10. (a) What did Jesus say about a “re-creation”? (b) In what are those of the “new creation” invited to share?
10 However, is this “new creation” starting with Jesus Christ the only “new” thing that appears “under the sun”? Not at all! While still here on earth, Jesus told his disciples: “Truly I say to you, In the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down upon his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also yourselves sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28) The “little flock” of Jesus’ tried and proved disciples—144,000 of them—are thus invited to share with Jesus in his Kingdom and “sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.”—Luke 12:32; 22:28-30; Revelation 14:1-5.
11. What two aspects of Jesus’ sacrifice were pictured on Atonement Day, and how?
11 Who, then, are these “twelve tribes”? The arrangement that Jehovah made for the Atonement Day in ancient Israel provides a clue. Each year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the high priest was required to sacrifice a bull as a sin-offering “in behalf of himself and his house.” This pictured Jesus’ sacrifice as applied to “his house” of underpriests. But what of other Israelites? The high priest next drew lots over two goats. One of these he slaughtered as “the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people.” After confessing the people’s sins over the second goat, he sent it away into the wilderness. The disposal of these two goats thus pictured Jesus’ pouring out his lifeblood in sacrifice and his completely carrying away the sins of all mankind other than those of his priestly house.—Leviticus 16:6-10, 15.
12. How does one dictionary elaborate on the meaning of “the re-creation”?
12 “The twelve tribes of Israel” have the same significance at Matthew 19:28. Here the application broadens out beyond Jesus’ spirit-begotten underpriests to include all others of mankind. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine, defines the Greek word here used for “re-creation,” pa·lin·ge·ne·siʹa, as “new birth . . . spiritual regeneration,” and adds: “In Matt[hew] 19:28 the word is used, in the Lord’s discourse, in the wider sense, of the ‘restoration of all things’ (Acts 3:21, R.V.), when, as a result of the Second Advent of Christ, Jehovah ‘sets His King upon His holy hill of Zion’ (Ps. 2:6) . . . Thereby will be accomplished the deliverance of the world from the power and deception of Satan and from the despotic and antichristian rulers of the nations.”
13. (a) What do various Bible versions indicate as to the meaning of pa·lin·ge·ne·siʹa? (b) So, what is to happen “under the sun”?
13 In line with this, Bible translations here render pa·lin·ge·ne·siʹa variously as: regeneration, new world, new birth, world born anew, world that is to be, New Creation, new order of life, new age. Do you get the sense of that? “The twelve tribes of Israel,” representing all the peoples of mankind, are to be judged by Christ and his loyal underpriests. This is to be in connection with a regeneration, a grand renewal of all that Jehovah has purposed for this earth, down here “under the sun.”
“The Times of Restoration”
14. (a) According to Acts 3:20, 21, for what must Jesus wait? (b) How and when is Jesus installed as King?
14 When does that regeneration take place? At Acts 3:20, 21, Peter speaks of “Jesus, whom heaven, indeed, must hold within itself until the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.” This points to Jesus’ waiting at God’s right hand in the heavens until “the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24; Psalm 110:1, 2) Then, in 1914, Jehovah does indeed ‘install his king upon Zion, his holy mountain.’ What restoration then takes place?—Psalm 2:6.
15 First, a new thing is seen under the sun, in that the remaining faithful underpriests of Christ—the last ones of the “new creation”—are gathered and set to work in ‘preaching this good news of the established Kingdom.’ Next, a “great crowd” is assembled “out of all nations” for preservation through “the great tribulation.” (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 7:9, 14) At this present time the enthroned King, Jesus Christ, is separating people one from another, “just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” “The sheep” are those who show themselves righteously disposed toward the King and his spirit-begotten brothers of the “new creation.” These “sheep” are therefore invited to inherit everlasting life in the earthly realm of Jehovah’s Kingdom. Already, they enjoy the spiritual paradise restored here on earth.—Matthew 25:31-34, 46; Isaiah 11:6-9.
16. (a) What judging is now proceeding? (b) What further judging takes place after Armageddon?
16 The judging of the nations and of “the sheep” at this time is as to worthiness for survival during the “great tribulation.” (Matthew 24:21, 22) However, is this the judging referred to in Matthew 19:28? No, for further judging is to be carried out by Christ and his underpriests after that tribulation. It is the judging of the figurative “twelve tribes of Israel,” peoples other than the royal priesthood. The number “twelve” indicates a completeness of those of mankind that will be judged. This includes the survivors of “the great tribulation,” any offspring they may yet have, and the billions of mankind that will be brought forth on earth in the resurrection.
17. Who are then judged, and according to what “deeds”?
17 Concerning this, Paul states at Acts 17:31 that God “has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man [Christ Jesus] whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.” The post-Armageddon “inhabited earth,” made up of all mankind then on earth, will not be judged according to past sins committed during the present system of things. Rather, they will be “judged individually according to their deeds” performed in the new earth as they avail themselves of Christ’s ransom provision.—Revelation 20:13; Matthew 20:28; 1 John 2:2.
18. (a) As indicated by Isaiah, what will then appear “under the sun”? (b) What words of promise will thus be fulfilled, and what may we expect for the eternity ahead? (Romans 8:21)
18 What magnificent things will appear under the sun at that time! The spiritual paradise will expand into a literal paradise, in fulfillment of Jehovah’s original purpose toward this earth. Our God tells us that ‘the earth is his footstool,’ a sanctuary where he should be worshiped, and he also declares: “I shall glorify the very place of my feet.” (Isaiah 66:1; 60:13) So here under the sun, earth is to be made a glorious paradise, a garden of delight, in which a perfect, peaceful, and united mankind will forever praise their God and Creator. “Faithful and true” are Jehovah’s thrilling words of promise: “Look! I am making all things new”! (Revelation 21:5) And in the eternity ahead, what marvelous new creations may our loving God yet bring forth down here under the sun to delight his human family!
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What a shocking commentary it is on so-called civilization that the world is now spending on armaments the colossal sum of 1.9 million dollars each minute! This is more than enough to feed, clothe, and shelter all those of the human race who are living in poverty today. On the other hand, the stockpile of megaton bombs could destroy all humans on earth—five billion of us—12 times over. Yet it is reported that half a million of the world’s best brains are employed in developing even more devastating weapons of destruction.