THE CHERISHED EARTHLY HOPE - PART 1
THE ASSUMED EARTHLY HOPE
May 15, 2012
The earthly hope is portrayed in the Society’s literature as a blissful eternal existence where all of our earthly needs are met. In the tract entitled “Life in a Peaceful New World,” the hope is described like this:
Subheading: Life in God’s New World
God's Kingdom will bring earthly benefits beyond compare, accomplishing everything good that God originally purposed for his people to enjoy on earth. Hatreds and prejudices will cease to exist, and eventually everyone on earth will be a true friend of everyone else. In the Bible, God promises that he will 'make wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.' "Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore." – Psalm 46:9; Isaiah 2:4.
The whole earth will eventually be brought to a gardenlike paradise state. The Bible says: "The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron. . . . For in the wilderness waters will have burst out, and torrents in the desert plain. And the heat-parched ground will have become as a reedy pool, and the thirsty ground as springs of water." – Isaiah 35:1, 6, 7.
There will be every reason to be happy in the Paradise earth. Never again will people hunger for lack of food. "The earth itself will certainly give its produce," the Bible says. (Psalm 67:6; 72:16) All will enjoy the fruits of their own labor, as our Creator promises: "They will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. . . . they will not plant and someone else do the eating." – Isaiah 65:21, 22.
In God's new world, no longer will people be crammed into huge apartment buildings or run-down slums, for God has purposed: "They will certainly build houses and have occupancy . . . They will not build and someone else have occupancy." The Bible also promises: "They will not toil for nothing." (Isaiah 65:21-23) Thus people will have productive, satisfying work. Life will not be boring.
In time, God's Kingdom will even restore the peaceful relations that existed in the garden of Eden between animals, and between animals and humans. The Bible says: "The wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them." – Isaiah 11:6-9; Hosea 2:18.
Just imagine, in the Paradise earth all sicknesses and physical infirmities will also be healed! God's Word assures us: "No resident will say: 'I am sick.'" (Isaiah 33:24) "[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." –Revelation 21:4.
This is truly a beautiful picture, but is this really what the Bible teaches for Christians? Note that not one scriptural reference is from the teachings of Jesus or from any of the Christian Bible writers, except the one reference to the book of Revelation:
“[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
– Revelation 21:4.
The reason for this is that the belief in a paradise earth is the ancient Hebrew belief – the best man could conceive of before Christ arrived. And it is an accurate belief, but it is not the complete picture. Jesus completed the message and revealed that the real life exists in the heavens. As we try to know the purposes of the Father, we cannot circumvent the Christ, as though he never came and never had a message for us.
We can illustrate an incomplete message in this way: One might say that in order to become an attorney, you will need to go to law school. That is a true statement, but not the complete truth. In order to become an attorney, you would not only have to go to law school, but you would have to graduate, leave law school, and pass the state bar exam. So you see, the original statement was true, but not complete.
As for God’s purpose, the complete message was “veiled” or hidden until the Christ arrived:
“Therefore, as we have such a hope, we are using great freeness of speech, and not doing as when Moses would put a veil upon his face, that the sons of Israel might not gaze intently at the end of that which was to be done away with. But their mental powers were dulled. For to this present day the same veil remains unlifted at the reading of the old covenant, because it is done away with by means of Christ. In fact, down till today whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their hearts. But when there is a turning to Jehovah, the veil is taken away.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:12-16
Likewise, when we base our understanding solely on the Old Testament ideas, our understanding will be veiled.
The final article in this series will discuss the complete and unveiled message of hope. For now, we would like to expound on this “assumed” earthly hope. The next article entitled The Reality of the Earthly Hope will discuss what is involved in carrying out the “assumed” hope.
We welcome your comments.