Trouble Still Plagues Spaceship Earth

THAT magnificent vehicle, Spaceship Earth, rocketing along through the vast unknown at the incomprehensible speed of 65,000 miles an hour, continued in the year just past to be plagued with troubles during its year-long journey of 580,000,000 miles. Distressingly, the perplexed officers and crew, while aware that there is something seriously amiss aboard the ship, still seemed unable to diagnose the trouble, and thus have been unable to initiate satisfactory corrective measures. And their confusion has been communicated to their helpless passengers who, in turn, have themselves become fearful as to the fate of the vehicle.

Not that there was anything wrong with the manufacture of the ship itself. It was marvelously designed and flawlessly constructed by its Maker, who unconditionally guaranteed it forever against all defects of workmanship. It was precisely projected on its predestined course, and was holding perfectly to that course when it was turned over to the management of its crew. It was bountifully stocked with every provision needful for the sustenance and well-being of the crew and passengers all during the long journey—pure air and water, joyous light, food, clothing, shelter.

Starvation—in the Midst of Plenty!

No, the trouble is not with the spaceship itself. The trouble is mainly with the officers and crew in charge of the ship, and to a lesser extent the fault also lies with the passengers on board. For instance, and unbelievable as it may seem, while most of those aboard are well supplied with food, others of their fellow passengers are suffering hunger—in fact, some actually starving! There is an abundance of food aboard, but through unconcern for others, it is not being shared on an equitable basis.

And, even more incredible, the ample but limited supply of oxygen, upon which the life of each one on the ship depends, is being permitted to suffer contamination! Indeed, even the precious water and food supplies are heedlessly becoming polluted because of failure to take the simple precautions necessary to preserve healthful conditions within the ship. As a result, the passengers have become restive, frightened, and finally rebellious, as they observe the futile efforts of those in charge to avoid what seems like impending disaster to all.

Well, so much for the parable. At best, an allegory has but limited application. But if it has assisted somewhat in grasping the fact that, for better or worse, all mankind are in this situation together, it will have served its purpose.

“As a Man Thinketh in His Heart”

As we daily scan the various forms of news media, our minds are endlessly bombarded, often visually and gruesomely, with evidence of man’s inhumanity to man. We are confronted daily with man’s selfishness, his cruelty toward his fellow beings, his avarice—indeed, his foolishness. We witness his almost total unconcern with the destruction of vital areas of the environment. On every side, nations and individuals are largely immersed in their own concerns, in efforts to improve their own well-being as nations or as individuals, with little or no thought for the consequences of their actions on their fellow pilgrims on this wonderful earth.

Our Shrunken Planet

Trite as it may be to liken the planet Earth to a spaceship, the simile is not without merit. One astute observer some time ago referred to the world as a “global village.” And how like a village, in many respects, is the world today! For today in this world, which has been so strikingly shrunken by jet planes, telephones, telegraph, and television, we are, in fact, all neighbors of one another. As in a small village, we all know pretty much what is going on about us, and all about each other. And again, as in a village, and more importantly, that which affects the well-being of one, inevitably affects the comfort and prosperity of all. Mankind is beginning at long last to sense that the destiny of any given nation is inextricably involved with the destiny of the whole world.

Well then, just what has been going on in the village of late? Clearly, little that is good. The year just past, for the most part, was but a continuation and intensification of the problems of the years that have gone before, the solutions to which continue to elude the best efforts of man. The media continue their dismal, endless accounts of crime, corruption in high places, and the quickening downward pace of immorality of every description. The worldwide spread of terrorism, often involving the murder of innocent people, seems completely beyond control.

Racism continues in South Africa, oppression and virtual slavery in Eastern Europe, and the near annihilation of helpless peoples in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. Revolutions and near revolutions are numerous, bloody, and far-flung, involving nations all over the globe—Central America, Africa, the Middle East, the Philippines. In Argentina, people have disappeared without a trace because of their political beliefs, and others are tortured for opposing oppression in South Africa, Iran, the Philippines, and many other nations. Monetary inflation, with skyrocketing consumer prices, is growing, with the threat of worse to come. The financial structure of many of the less developed countries is jeopardized by top-heavy national debt and the burden of interest payments required to be made on those borrowings.

Peace, When There Is No Peace

Appallingly—and superimposed on all the other difficulties—the confrontation between the superpowers has again become ominous. Talks have broken off even as additional, more accurate and more devastating nuclear weapons are being deployed by both sides at relatively close range.

Unsettling as all this truly is, the situation most seriously threatening the peace and stability of the world, and possibly even civilization itself, continues to seethe, apparently out of control in the Middle East, as it has for so long a time. As the years go by, the ingrained national, economic, political, and religious factors that together comprise and complicate that awesome impasse, become stubbornly less amenable to any human solution. And in harmony with Bible prophecy, it is just here, in the Middle East, that the conflicting forces of evil seem destined to erupt into that final great battle of Armageddon which will complete the destruction of this present evil world, preparatory to the establishment in the earth of Christ’s millennial kingdom.—Rev. 16:14-16

“Nevertheless, We … Look for a New” World

But it is not our purpose or wish in this present discussion to dwell on the pervading problems of this present world which will inevitably lead to its destruction. Rather, we would recall a few of the many beautiful and explicit promises the Lord has given to us in his precious Word, that immediately beyond the present time of trouble there lies a glorious new world “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Pet. 3:13) This glorious hope is not based on what man can or will do; it is based on what the Heavenly Father can do, and on what he has promised he will do. It is based on the solid rock of Christ, who redeemed the world of mankind by the voluntary sacrifice of his perfect life as a propitiation for sin.

Just what does the Lord God propose to do for the world of mankind? Far, far more than the human mind can comprehend! But he has revealed through his Word some of the broader aspects of his plans for blessing his human creation.

By their remarkable inventive genius, mankind, without having intended to do so, have been drawn very closely together in a kind of physical sense; the nations are no longer really separated from each other by vast oceans, mighty mountain ranges, arid deserts, or ice-covered continents. But they are still far apart in those many aspects of life that really matter; they are separated by the selfish conditions of their hearts. As with neighbors in a village, which in truth they are, they know each other by name, so to speak; they are aware of their comings and goings, and of their problems or prosperities; but they do not truly love their neighbors as themselves.

An apt quotation was printed some time ago in one of our leading literary publications in which it was stated that what the world needs today is “a declaration of interdependence.” Whether this was expressed as a serious statement, or tossed off as a casual cliché, is immaterial: the principle is sound—indeed, it is essential to the attainment by man of peaceful existence on this earth.

This concept of one world, under the rule of one government, is not new; it has long been advocated by thoughtful men who sensed that if man is to survive and enjoy the fruits of peace there must be universal cooperation between all nations and individuals. The defunct League of Nations was created in that fine spirit, but selfish national interests rendered it powerless, and finally destroyed it. The United Nations organization, similarly, is the product of this same noble ideal; but it, too, is having extremely difficult going, and for the same reason: the world has simply become too small a place to peacefully contain selfishly motivated peoples.

“Wherein Dwelleth Righteousness”!

Attention to this fundamental requirement for world peace and human happiness will be the first order of business in the coming marvelous, new world. The Heavenly Father will install our Lord Jesus as the righteous, all-powerful ruler over the entire earth, even as the Prophet Isaiah long ago foretold:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:6, 7

Associated with Jesus in that righteous reign will be the glorified church, his faithful, footstep-followers of this Gospel Age which is now drawing to a close.—Rev. 20:4,6; Matt. 19:28; 25:31

In one of the most ancient and all-embracing promises to mankind found in the Bible, God declared to Abraham that he would bless “all the nations of the earth [emphasis is ours].” (Gen. 22:18) In order to receive the benefits of this promised blessing, all who are In their graves will be raised up out of the sleep of death. (John 5:25,26; Acts 24:15) Under the terms of the New Covenant then in effect, there will be placed before resurrected mankind the grand opportunity to gain everlasting life on this restored planet Earth. But to obtain this priceless gift will require a profound change in the hearts and lives of mankind in that day. They will have to learn to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, and their neighbors as themselves.—Matt. 22:37; Acts 3:19,23

The prophet explains God’s loving provision for man’s eternal happiness when Christ’s kingdom is established in the earth. He says:

“After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their hearts: and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”—Jer. 31:33,34

In this manner, the Lord God of heaven and earth purposes to get to and remove the very essence of the problem! From the very beginning, all the troubles present in this tormented world may be laid to man’s failure to love the Lord his God with his whole heart, and his neighbor as himself! In Christ’s kingdom, all, who will, may know and love and obey Jehovah God, and gain everlasting, peaceful life. Sin, sickness, suffering, hunger, and wars will be abolished, and there will be no more death. Jehovah will dwell with mankind, and they shall be his people.—Rev. 21:1-5

This entire experience in the history of mankind will have provided an everlasting lesson in the need for all to know and to return to righteousness, to love and serve the Lord, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. How comforting it is to know that He who is seated at the universal, eternal Command Module in the heavens, directing the course and destiny of Spaceship Earth, is wise, and powerful, and kind; and that every single one of its frail human cargo is precious in his sight, and safe in his loving care!

Long ago he promised to send a Savior who would redeem man from sin and the grave, and he did. He told the nation of Israel he would scatter them to the ends of the earth if they failed to keep his Word, and he did. He further stated he would regather his people, Israel, to the land of their fathers, and this remarkable event we have seen with our own eyes in our own day.

Why are we so sure these wonderful blessings shall, indeed, come to pass? Because they are the promises of Jehovah God—and what God has promised, that he will perform!

He foretold a time of trouble that would be unique in the history of the world—a time of trouble so awesome that men’s hearts would fail them for fear of the consequences of that time, and for which they would find no human solution. The Spirit-enlightened footstep-follower of our Lord Jesus discerns that the world is even now experiencing that foretold time of trouble.

Just as surely as Jehovah God’s promises in these matters have been clearly fulfilled, just so surely will his promises for the blessing of all the families of the earth, during Christ’s coming thousand-year reign, come to pass!

Our dear Heavenly Father has graciously assured their fulfillment in a most precious promise stated in his own loving words: “He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”—Rev. 21:5

Dear Lord, may thy glorious kingdom soon come!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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