Chapter 9:

Making Earth a Paradise

Imagine the gentle dawn, the day after. The violent storm of the night has passed. Around you lies devastation: the weapons of the wicked lie scattered. Their clean-picked bones are everywhere. Roads are buckled, buildings collapsed, wires down. But you don’t mind. The air is fresh and sweet. Lilting, cheerful birdsongs delight your ears. You feel an incredible sense of peace, a heavy load lifted off your heart. The old world is gone! You are alive!

You look around for your family, your friends. There they are, picking their way over the rubble toward you. What a happy reunion! Together you all turn your eyes to the heavens and shout a joyful song of praise to the great God who has brought this wonderful deliverance!

Can you see yourself as a survivor of the end of this world? What will the new world be like? How will it become paradise? Let us look into the Bible for the answer. You may be surprised at how much it has to say about it.

Jesus said: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (Matt 5:5, AV) He was quoting Psalms 37:9-11, which adds, "evil men will be done away with, but those hoping in Jehovah will possess the earth... they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace." Then verse 29 says "they will live forever on it." This is a promise. God keeps his promises. At Proverbs 2:21 he says: "Only the upright will reside in the earth, and the ones who keep integrity will remain in it."

According to Ezekiel’s account of the final war, God’s people will help clean up afterward. They will "build fires with the armor and shields, bows and arrows and handpikes and lances; they will light fires with them for seven years. They will not gather firewood out of the forests, for they will use the armor to light fires. And they will plunder those who had plundered them... there will be men assigned to pass through the land, burying, to cleanse it. For seven months they will keep searching. If one sees the bone of a man he will put a marker by it, until those who do the burying come and bury it. So they will cleanse the land." This is in addition to the work of the birds and other animals in quickly consuming the flesh. —see Ezek 39:9, 10, 14, 15, 17-19.

Many centuries ago, the land of Canaan was "unclean" because of its wicked inhabitants. Jehovah did not destroy the land because of that. No, he had the ungodly people removed and gave the land to his people, the Israelites. They moved into houses they had not built and drank from wells they had not dug. Likewise, at Armageddon, Jehovah does not destroy the earth; he will remove the wicked people and give the earth to the "meek", those who respect and obey him. Whatever buildings and stores and other physical things that are left over should be useful to the survivors for a little while. —Leviticus 18:24-28, Deut 6:10-12.

Unspoiled beauty

Before long, of course, we will begin to reshape the land, to beautify and repair it, to build homes according to our own design. The old system that raped the earth will be gone. The survivors will be godly people who appreciate creation and its Creator. They will not serve the god named "jobs", which justified clearcutting vast areas of forest and polluting the land and water with foul chemicals. Although humans are naturally gregarious and will no doubt choose to live in villages and communities, no more will there be sprawling cities with urban decay and poverty, rush-hour traffic, and great skyscrapers isolating people in stacked offices. The Bible does not spell out the new system in detail, but we can be sure it will not revolve around money like this one does. Rather, it will be centered on serving God and loving life according to His high moral standards. Adam was given the assignment to "cultivate the garden of Eden and to take care of it." We will be able to focus on finally fulfilling that assignment earth wide.

Perfect Law from a Perfect Government

In this old system of things, it is said that we have "government by law." Lawyer’s bookshelves groan from the weight of thousands of thick law books written in impenetrable legaleze. There are so many laws— and many are so incomprehensible— that people often break them without even knowing it. (also see Isaiah 10:1, 2.) Yet for every problem, it seems the cry is "There ought to be a law!" But more law is not the answer. Paul said, "law is made, not for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners." (1 Tim 1:8-11) In other words, if people are good, having godly law written in their hearts, they need very few laws to regulate their dealings with one another. And that is how it will be in the paradise earth after Armageddon. Jeremiah 31:33, 34 says: "I will put my law within them, and in their heart I will write it. And I will become their God, and they will become my people. They will no longer teach each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘know Jehovah!’ for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them." The laws will be so few and so simple that everyone will know them. There will be no need for lawyers!

At Romans 13:8-10 we read: “Do not owe anything to anyone except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. For the law code, ‘You must not commit adultery, you must not murder, you must not steal, you must not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there is, is summed up in this saying: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does not work evil to one's neighbor; therefore, love is the law's fulfillment.” This is the "perfect law that belongs to freedom", the "kingly law", the "law of the Christ". (James 1:25, 2:8, Gal 6:2) What a relief it will be to be freed from the confusing laws, legislatures, and litigation of this world!

Ezekiel 34:23-28 says, "I will raise up one shepherd over them, my servant David, and he will feed them. He himself will feed them and become their shepherd. And I, Jehovah, will become their God, and my servant David a chieftain among them. I myself, Jehovah, have spoken." This loving shepherd is Jesus Christ, reigning as King (see John 10:11, Luke 1:32, 33). Ezekiel continues: "I will make a covenant of peace with them, and I will rid the land of vicious wild beasts, so that they may dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the forests. I will make them and the area around my hill a blessing, and I will cause the rain to fall at the proper time. Blessings will pour down like the rains. The trees of the field will yield their fruit, and the soil will give its produce, and they will dwell securely on the land. And they will have to know that I am Jehovah when I break their yoke bars and rescue them from those who enslaved them. They will no longer become something for the nations to prey upon, and the wild beasts of the earth will not devour them, and they will dwell in security, with no one to make them afraid." Stop and think about that for a while. Let it sink in. Are you eager to be there?

See how beautifully Isaiah describes the new earth: "‘Here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, nor will they come up into the heart. Exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating. . . They will build houses and live in them, and they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else take it from them; they will not plant and others do the eating. For the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, and the work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full. They will not work for nothing, nor will they bear children for distress; because they are the offspring made up of those blessed by Jehovah, and their descendants with them. Even before they call out, I shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I shall hear. The wolf and the little lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw just like the bull; and the serpent's food will be dust. They will do no harm nor cause any ruin in all my holy mountain,’ says Jehovah." —Isa 65:17-25; see also 11:6-9.

No longer will the one building a house have to worry about keeping up the mortgage payments! No longer any need for concern about burglars and arsonists! Forget security alarms, chainlink fences, even locks! Can you imagine a world like that?

Lions eating straw? Now that will be a miracle only God could accomplish. Lions do not have the digestive system to survive on grass like ruminants such as cows and deer. At present they are clearly designed for eating high-protein food, and they are superbly equipped for catching it on the run. For the prophecy to be fulfilled literally, some design changes will have to occur. The primary lesson of the prophecy is that there will be nothing to fear in the new earth. People and animals that are vulnerable and helpless, like little lambs, will live peacefully and safely beside creatures who were once instant death, but now are friendly. It is not so hard to believe. Even now some animals which are very dangerous in the wild have been tamed, and they prove to have an affectionate, loyal side to them.

Concerning the taming of people, Micah was inspired to write: “Many nations will go and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob. He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For law will go out of Zion, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. He will render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore. They will sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.” This learning process has already begun among God’s people. It will reach its complete prosperity in the new earth. Anyone who "likes a good fight" will be gone. If any cause for taking offense ever occurs, we will know how to handle it without bloodshed. Other causes of war, such as greed, racial pride, and envy, are even now being rooted out of our hearts. —Micah 4:2-4, Col 3:12-14.

The result will be, not only peace, but prosperity. The amount of resources wasted in this world on defense readiness and war staggers the imagination: in dollars, trillions; in lives neglected, sickened, injured, or lost, billions; in sorrow, beyond recounting. Micah described the prosperity of the new earth as ‘each one sitting happily and securely under his own vine and fig tree.’ What a change that will be!

Perfect Health in the New Earth

In this old world we have health problems. It is like being trapped in a web from which no amount of struggling will free us. Eventually the sting of death finds us. God knows our pain, and in the new world he will set us completely free. Notice how Isaiah 25:7,8 says it: “In this mountain [his Kingdom] he will do away with the shroud that is enveloping all the peoples and the covering that is woven over all the nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces. The reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it.” God keeps his promises. This promise is repeated near the end of the Bible, at Revelation 21:4: "He will wipe away 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."

Notice that Isaiah 25:8 did not say, ‘his people he will take away from all the earth.’ No, it is the reproach of his people that will be taken away. The context shows this "reproach" to be the sting of death, the grief caused by dying. This proves that the new earth will be this earth, where death is now, made new.

Jesus demonstrated how easy it is for God to cure our sicknesses. He simply told a paralyzed man to get up and walk, and he did! Jesus was merely touched from behind by a woman who was hemorrhaging, and the account says that "power went out of him" and she was cured. He even raised at least three people up from death! One of these had even been dead long enough to begin to decompose. —Luke 5:24, 25, 7:11-16, 8:43-56, John 11:38-44.

With power like that, the prophecy of Isaiah 35:1-6 becomes easy to believe: “The wilderness and the parched land will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron. Without fail it will blossom; it will rejoice and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon [then a scenic forest] will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel [a beautiful mountain] and of Sharon [a plain south of Carmel known for its fertility]. They will see the glory of Jehovah, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the knees that are shaking. Say to those who are anxious at heart: ‘Be strong. Do not be afraid. Look! Your own God will come with vengeance, God will come with retribution. He will come and save you.’ At that time the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. At that time the lame will leap like the deer, and the tongue of the speechless will shout for joy. For waters will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert plain.” —see also Isa 33:24.

Jesus also could control the weather. On one occasion he simply commanded a storm to abate, and it did. (Luke 8:22-25) This assures us that there will be no violently destructive weather to fear in the new world. And areas of the earth now uninhabitable due to extreme climate should then become habitable. Isaiah 35 above mentions deserts blossoming; we can also imagine arctic regions becoming livable as well. On the other hand, Genesis 8:22 says that "summer and winter shall never cease," so we need not expect the weather to be bland and uninteresting.

The Millennium

The Revelation adds detail to this beautiful picture. After describing the war of Armageddon, it shows Satan being caught and bound and put into an "abyss" for a thousand years. The purpose is "so that he could not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended." So, for a while we are to be protected from his influence. This peaceful and prosperous period is also called the "Millennium", which simply means "thousand years." —Rev 20:1-3.

It also describes a "first resurrection." Those "executed for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God," staying faithful under supreme test, are raised up and "authority to do judging was given them." They rule with Christ as kings for the thousand years. They also become "priests of God and of the Christ." This is that "royal priesthood" Peter spoke about. It is that chosen nation, that true Israel through whom all other nations will be blessed. (See Chapter 6, Let Your Kingdom Come, for details.) Real priests teach the truth about God and help people become pleasing to him. And these faithful ones will be true and incorruptible Christian kings, not like the pretenders this world has known. —Rev 20:4-6.

At Rev 7:9, 10, 13-17 John sees a "great crowd out of all nations" praising God. He asks, "who are these?" and gets the answer, "these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation." These are the Armageddon survivors, you and I and millions more. We are not shown as rulers or as judges, but as sheep and as servants. Under the heavenly Kingdom, we will be led to "fountains of waters of life." Our "robes" (our appearance before God) are already white (pure, clean, holy) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus), so why do we need any "water of life"? Because God has used the "blood of the Lamb" only to declare us righteous, to forgive our sins. But we are still imperfect, we continue to sin, despite trying very hard not to. During that Millenium, that will change. We will be cured of all our imperfections. We will have perfect health and clear minds. We will then stand before God like Adam at his creation: perfect, able to serve without sin. —Rev 22:1, 2, 1 Cor 6:11, 1 John 1:7-10.

God's word is sometimes likened to water, refreshing, life-sustaining, and cleansing, so the fountains of water of this new world represents the education we will receive then from God, far beyond what we have today. Accepting this instruction and molding to it will have a healing effect, not just on our bodies, but on our minds, our soul, which has been so damaged by life in Satan's world.

But then, at the end of the Millennium, Satan will be set loose again! Why would God do such a thing? Would this not destroy all the advances made during that time?

Certainly that will be what the Devil will have in mind. The account reads: “Now as soon as the 1,000 years have ended, Satan will be released from his prison, and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog*, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea. And they advanced over the whole earth and encircled the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city.” The original attack of "Gog" was cut short at Armageddon (Rev 19:19). Yet as soon as he is released, Satan goes out to assemble another army of people willing to attack just like before! —Rev 20:7-9.

Satan’s release will be a test on everyone. After a thousand years of peace and healing and godly education, will we be prepared and not listen to his deceptions? Will we do any better than Adam did? This is the purpose for setting Satan loose. (Compare Deut 13:1-4.) His release date should be known in advance, almost to the day. Yet a sizable number apparently will not have the love of God and of righteousness rooted very deeply in their hearts. This stands as a warning to us: we must not merely go through the motions of serving God, being good while it is convenient and popular, yet not really "getting the sense of it" with our hearts. Those who do that will quickly succumb when the going gets tough. —compare Matt 13:19-21.

Those who follow Satan will launch an organized attack on those who are faithful to God. Jehovah does not delay a moment longer: fire roars down out of heaven and destroys them. "And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." —Rev 20:9, 10.

After that, all creation will be united in perfect harmony. There will be no rebels or opposers alive anywhere. Will you be there to see it?

Revelation 20 goes on to describe another resurrection, different from the one for those raised up to reign as kings with Christ. When does this occur? Who are involved? We will consider this in our next chapter, "All Those in the Graves Shall Hear His Voice".

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Review for Chapter 9