Earth’s Coming Morning of Joy

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” —Psalm 30:5

THE long period of time from the fall of man into sin and death, until the “Sun of Righteousness” arises with the establishment of the kingdom of Christ, is a dark night of sin, suffering, and death. But as our text assures us, this nighttime of human suffering is not to last forever—for a morning is coming, with that morning the darkness will be turned into light, and the suffering into joy. The Scriptures have not yet revealed the exact time when earth’s dark night of sin and death will end, but Paul did say in his letter to the church at Rome that “the night is far spent,” and “the day is at hand.”—Rom. 13:12

When Paul wrote these words, approximately four thousand years of earth’s night of sin and death were in the past, and he observed that the night was then “far spent.” One reading Paul’s letter shortly after he wrote it might justifiably conclude that the morning of joy was very close at hand even then; but nearly two thousand years have passed since then, so our perspective of the time involved in this prophecy is of necessity changed. There is every reason to believe that now the rising of the “Sun of righteousness” is very near at hand indeed, and in this we greatly rejoice.—Mal. 4:2

Constant Darkness

In all the more than six thousand years which have passed since man transgressed divine law and brought upon himself and upon his children the condemnation of death there has been essentially no lifting of the shroud of darkness which has covered the earth. Many noble efforts have been made by man to improve his condition, but these have met with failure; but God, in conformity with his plan, will in his own due time usher in the longed-for morning of joy.

The manifestations of darkness have been those abnormal human experiences which, in one way or another, have contributed to the suffering and dying of the human race. From the cradle to the grave man has been a dying creature. Imperfect food has contributed to this, and often-times shortage of food. Wars—tribal, national, and international have also added to the suffering, and hastened the dying of millions; and the human race has seldom been free from war.

Today, probably a larger percentage of the human race are existing on starvation rations than ever before, despite the fact that technologically certain areas of the earth have never been so advanced in knowing how to do things—everything, that is, except to feed the countless millions who go to bed hungry every night, in the backward countries, and ten million of them right in the United States. The “night” is indeed dark for these millions throughout the world.

The Prospects for 1973

At the turn of the year some progress seemed in the offing in certain areas of world experience. The more powerful nations of earth seem inclined to co-operate with one another to a greater extent than for many years past. Business prospects seemed hopeful, and prices on the stock markets had risen to their highest levels in history; and perhaps most important of all, a temporary truce in the Vietnam War seemed about to materialize.

But most of the old and distressing problems are still with us. Nothing has been accomplished toward solving the hunger problem. Mankind is gradually smothering in the pollution created by its own scientific achievements. Oil and gas supplies for heat and light are rapidly dwindling. The devastation left behind by the ravages of war in Indo-China are causing untold suffering for the hapless people in that area of the earth. The use of drugs is rapidly increasing, and the crime rate continues to rise.

Besides, the reign of sin and death continues unabated. Medical science has been able to increase to some extent the average length of human life. This has been done by cutting down the mortality of infants, and by increasing the longevity of the aged, but they have not increased the happiness of senior citizens to any great extent, and in most cases not at all, but have lengthened the suffering of those who inevitably must sooner or later die. Only divine power can solve the problem of sin and death, and this the Lord has promised to do.—Rev. 21:4

The Day at Hand

As we have already quoted, Paul declared that the long night of sin and death was far spent in his day, and that the day of life and happiness was at hand; and it is still at hand, and much nearer than in Paul’s day. Indeed, there are now many signs of the approaching morning of that glad new day of happiness. These signs are outlined in the Word of God which the apostle speaks of as a “sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in your hearts.”—II Pet. 1:19

Those who are carefully studying the signs of the Lord’s presence as set forth in the “sure word of prophecy” can discern the Day Star, which is the Lord Jesus at his second presence, and he has risen in their hearts. The day, or morning star, appears in the heavens shortly before the rising of the sun, and therefore is a sure harbinger of the day. The day star itself does not dispel the darkness of the night, but it is a sure token that the sun is about to rise and usher in the new day. So now, with the Day Star of prophecy visible, we know that the Sun of Righteousness will soon rise “with healing in his wings,” and then the night will change to day, and the world will rejoice.

Joy in the Morning

The first clause of our text (Ps. 30:5) states that God’s anger endureth but for “a moment,” and that “in his favor is life.” God’s favor was withdrawn from his human creation because of original sin, and throughout the ages his anger has been manifested in human experience. We see evidences of it all around us—every graveyard; every doctor’s sign; every hospital; every funeral service; every deathbed scene; every ache and pain, and the weeping of those who have lost their loved ones in death—all of these are reminders that God’s condemnation to death is constantly leading to the tomb.

But while this unhappy experience of the human race has already lasted for more than six thousand years, the psalmist declares that it is “but for a moment”—this, of course by comparison with the endless ages of joy which will come in the “morning.” The marginal translation of this expression reads that “singing” will come in the morning: And what a beautiful contrast this is with the “weeping” that endures throughout the “night.”

In that morning of song, pain and dying will be destroyed by divine power, and in addition to this, those who have fallen asleep in death will be awakened to life. This is described in Isaiah 35:10 as “the ransomed of the Lord” returning from death. They are properly described as “the ransomed of the Lord” because they have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. The full text reads, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

“And Come to Zion”

This precious promise of coming resurrection blessings explains that the resurrected ones will “come to Zion.” Zion, or Mount Zion, is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of Christ’s millennial kingdom. Jesus will be the chief One in that exalted position of rulership, and his faithful followers of the present age, raised from the dead in the “first resurrection,” will live and reign with him “a thousand years.”—Rev. 20:6

This Zion symbolism in mentioned in verse 21 of the one-chapter prophecy of Obadiah, which reads, in part, “Saviors shall come up on mount Zion, … and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” What a happy day that will be when Jesus, and his worthy followers, shall be ruling in mount Zion! They will be “saviors” to the people, lifting them up from sin and death and sorrow, and causing the earth to be filled with gladness.

The Day of Vengeance

The Bible reveals that in addition to the long night of suffering through which mankind has been passing since sin entered into the world, there would be a period of upheaval and chaos at the end of the present age, and just before the establishment of the long-promised kingdom of Christ. This period of worldwide distress is described in the prophecies as the day of God’s vengeance. It is referred to in verse 4 of Isaiah 35. We read, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.”

This “time of trouble,” as it is described in Daniel 12:1, is now upon the world, and it is causing the hearts of the people to be filled with fear as they look ahead to what to them appears to be greater trouble. But in this situation the Lord is saying to his enlightened people—enlightened, that is, by the sure word of prophecy—“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” It is true that the manifestation of God’s vengeance is all around us in this sinful world, but the purpose is not to cause suffering for suffering’s sake, but to prepare the way for the messianic kingdom which will give life and joy to the people —“He will come and save you.”

What a message this is to take to those who will listen! The next verse reads, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.”—vss. 5-7

“An Highway Shall Be There”

Verse 8 of this wonderful chapter reads, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Jesus spoke of a “broad” road which leads to destruction. (Matt. 7:13) He also spoke of a “narrow way” which leads to life. Jesus said that only a few would find this narrow way. It is the way in which the Christian walks, and those who are successful in walking all the way over it will attain to immortality, and to joint-heirship with Jesus in his kingdom.

The “broad” road which Jesus said leads to destruction was opened by original sin, and the majority of mankind have preferred to travel on this broad road because it offers freedom to sin, and it offers no restrictions, and is therefore appealing to mankind.

But the “way of holiness,” which we will call a highway, will be opened for the people at the beginning of the Messianic Age, and it will be the return road from death. The “unclean” shall not pass over it, but it shall be for them. We think of a highway as a means of progress, and this is a road which leads to holiness. The unclean will not be able to travel all the way over it, but through faith in Christ and an expressed desire to obey the laws of the kingdom they will be permitted to make a start on this “way of holiness,” and as they make progress, will reach absolute holiness and perfection at the end.

The text assures us that the way of holiness will be made plain, so plain that the wayfaring man, the ordinary person, and even fools, shall not err therein. How different is this from the straight and narrow way of the Christian! Satan is ever on the alert to deceive these; and there are many pitfalls, trials, and difficulties for those who walk therein. While it leads to the rulership phase of the kingdom, it is through “much tribulation” for all who are overcomers.

Verse 9 reads, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon”—that is, on the way of holiness—“it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.” There are many ravenous beasts of temptation and destruction which plague the way of the Christian. Peter speaks of Satan as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Pet. 5:8) But Satan will be bound during that kingdom age. (Rev. 20:1,2) The only means of safety for the Christian is to put his trust in the Lord, and through the Scriptures seek to be guided by him. Peter puts it, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”—I Pet. 5:7

Satan is described in the Bible as “the prince of darkness,” and his evil influence throughout the ages has been a potent contributing factor in making the long night of sin and death so pitch dark. But when he is bound the darkness will be dispelled, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9) Or, to quote Isaiah again, the “veil” of ignorance pertaining to God and his will shall be removed.—Isa. 25:7

The Lord will then “swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people [by Satan, and the Satan-inspired] shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”—vs. 8

“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”—vs. 9

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |