(98) Jehovah’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts. Jehovah’s ways and thoughts are as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth. (Isaiah 55:8,9) He is longsuffering. His plan is to allow mankind to pass through a dreadful night of sorrow and death as a consequence of sin, and He is waiting till that lesson has been fully learned. In the meantime, other features of Jehovah’s plan are being accomplished. From amongst the early disciples, God was selecting the a number of joint-heirs to reign with the Messiah. (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:8-10; 14:1-4; 7:1-4; Romans 8:17) Others that did not attain to the mark of the high call to be joint heirs with Messiah, but remained faithful, are still “heirs of God.” (Galatians 3:29; Romans 8:17) And now in these last days there are those who have washed their garments in the blood of the Messiah, and are being prepared for temple service here on the earth. (Revelation 7:9-17; 21:1-4) All of these share with Jesus in blessing the world as heirs of God.
(99) We have seen, then, that the world in general was condemned in Adam, and that the the unjustified of this age will come forth from the death-state to their first individual trial. That is the purpose for which Messiah is coming to reign. “Because he [God] hath appointed a day in the which he will judge [Greek, Krino, Strong’s # 2919] the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) There is great comfort in that word “assurance”; and notice that the assurance is not to some but “to all men.” What an assurance it is to know that the world is to be judged by the meek and gentle Jesus! The followers of the Messiah are to be associated with Him in this glorious work, as we read: “Do ye not know that the saints [dedicated ones] shall judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2) That is the reason why the followers of the Messiah MUST develop the fruits of the Spirit. — Galatians 5:22-23.
(100) Those who claim that faith without works is sufficient, are shutting their eyes to the plain statements of the Scriptures, that faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) In I Corinthians 13:1-3, it is solemnly declared that we may have all knowledge and such great faith we could move mountains, and yet, if we have not love, it profits us nothing. No one will receive a high position in the kingdom except that by the help of God he builds on the foundation of faith and knowledge the superstructure of love. (II Peter 1:3-9) Before we can be entrusted with the work of judging the world with the Messiah, we must prove that “love” is the great motive power of all our words and actions. Not that God expects of us perfection in the our present fallen condition, but we must grow in his loving kindness and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, becoming “imitators of God” to the best of our ability. — Ephesians 5:1.
(101) If we do this, trusting in the blood of the Messiah, we will be accepted, not because of our own merit, but because of the merit of the Messiah. As Paul says: “we are accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6) Those who are faithful unto the end will hear their Lord say to them: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” — Matthew 25:21.
(102) The Judgment Day is usually thought to be a day of twenty-four hours; but Peter, speaking of that day, says: “Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord [Jehovah] as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” — 2 Peter 3:8.
(103) In the “day” of the world’s judgment, the thousand-year reign of the Messiah, conditions will be in most respects the very reverse of what they are now. The present time is a dark night of sorrow, suffering, and death. (Psalm 30:5) That will be a righteous day, when “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10) A false theology has taught the people to dread the day of judgment, whereas the Scriptures speak of it as a gladsome time “Say among the nations, [Jehovah] reigns; and, The world shall be established, it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples in uprightness. Let the heavens be glad, let the sea roar, and the fullness of it. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then the trees of the forest shall rejoice before [Jehovah]; for He comes; for He comes to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.” — Psalm 96:9-13, King James II Version.
(104) In that day the earth will be full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea, and it will no longer be necessary for anyone to go from house to house, stand on street corners or mount a platform to tell the people about Jehovah, for everyone will know Jehovah from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34) That will indeed be a glorious time. It will be a marked contrast to the present time when “darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.” (Isaiah 60:2) Very few indeed know God at this time. Many believe that the Bible teaches eternal torment. Some time ago, two men were sentenced for throwing a dog into a furnace and watching its agony till it died. The judge rightfully characterized their conduct as brutal. Yet many who would shudder at the bare narrative of such brutality, profess to believe that God is torturing not dogs but human beings, not for a few moments till death ends the scene but for all eternity! What an awful and blasphemous conception of our Creator!
(105) Our heart rejoices to have the glad assurance of God’s Word that in the glorious Millennial reign of the Messiah, the day of the world’s judgment, all men’s eyes will be opened to see that “GOD IS LOVE.” See in the twenty-fifth chapter of Isaiah what the prophet tells us of that glorious Millennial Day! “He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering that covers ALL PEOPLE, and the veil [of blindness] that is woven over ALL NATIONS. He will swallow up death in victory! And the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from all faces….And one will say in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him and He will save us. This is Jehovah; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:7-9) Notice that it is AFTER the people come forth from their graves — after their initial salvation from death — that God will fully save them, which would be, not a salvation [deliverance] from the sin in Adam, but rather a salvation [deliverance] from the threat of the second death.
(106) There are still more privileges for the world of mankind. In the present age the way to life is narrow, and “few be that find it.” Satan still “walks about as a roaring lion,” seeking whom he may devour. But in the Millennial Age a “highway of holiness” will be set up — not a narrow difficult way, but a highway, an easy way, in which even fools will not err. And there will be no “lion” there, for Satan is to be bound during the thousand years. (Isaiah 35:8-10; Revelation 20:2) Satan’s evil influence will be restrained, and then the present aims of making the world a better place to live will be attained. Neither social ills nor any kind of evil will be any longer permitted.
(107) One important reason why men persist in doing evil in the present time, is because they are not always punished at once for every sinful act and word. As the wise man said: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11) Is not that true? Why are our jails overcrowded with prisoners? Simply because that men recognize that the chances of escaping punishment are great, and they are willing to run the risk of being convicted. When the Messiah is reigning king, this evil condition will abolished. In Isaiah 26:9, we are told that when the judgments of Jehovah are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. In that day Jehovah will no longer permit wickedness to flourish. There will be a just measure of punishment for every sinful act and word, and this punishment will bring about reformation of character.
(108) We believe that the Millennial reign of the Messiah is very near at hand, even at the door; but we are not to understand that perfect peace and righteousness will prevail from its very start. Many have false ideas with regard the Millennium. They think everything will immediately be perfect. But this will not be the case. Speaking of the new heavens and the new earth that will be established when the Messiah takes to Himself His great power and begins to reign, the Prophet says: “There shall no more come thence an infant of few days, nor an old man that shall not have full length of his days; for as a lad shall one die a hundred years old; and as a sinner shall be accursed he who dieth at a hundred years old.” (Isaiah 65:20, Leeser’s translation.) This shows that some will be sinners in that Millennial day, and that the incorrigible will possibly get at least a hundred years’ trial. The apostle Paul states plainly (I Corinthians 15:25) that the Messiah “must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” In other words, the Millennium will not be a time of perfect peace and righteousness; it is the “day” appointed by God for the purpose of ESTABLISHING perfect peace and righteousness. — Acts 17:31.
(109) By the end of the Millennium, all mankind will have had restored to them the perfection that was lost by Adam, the perfect human nature; and the whole earth will be restored to the former paradise condition of Eden. (Acts 3:21; Isaiah 35) Then, the thousand years being finished, Satan is to be loosed for a little season. (Revelation 20:3) “Why!” some will say, “that will mar everything! Why should Satan be loosed after paradise is restored?” When Adam and Eve in the beginning were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were perfect, but God permitted Satan to tempt them. Why? In order to test their loyalty to Him and to righteousness. They failed. Sin entered into the world and death through sin; hence all the present sighing, crying and pain, which have continued now for six thousand years, and by means of which men have been learning the bitter lesson of the sinfulness of sin. (Romans 7:13) The Messiah will soon begin his glorious reign. He will call, and all the dead will come forth from the death-state. Those who in the past shared the Messiah’s sufferings and death will now share his glory, and will with the Messiah reign over and judge all those who have died in Adam. These will be gradually lifted up to the perfection lost by Adam, and then, when they have learned the blessings of righteousness and the value of submission to the Lord Jesus, Satan will be permitted to tempt them. Why? For the same reason that he was permitted to tempt Adam and Eve — to test their loyalty to God and to righteousness. We do not know how many will fail, but surely after the long experiences of both sin and righteousness, comparatively few will follow Satan, for all will have had practical experience of the love as well as of the justice of God. Those who do fail will be destroyed in the second death.