The Problem of Pollution

THE PROBLEM OF pollution and the effort man is making to contain it was the main theme of the first part of this article. In this ‘time of the end’, God has permitted knowledge and learning to increase bringing on the industrial revolution. It would seem that with the advent of the industrial age, better progress should be made against all the obstacles to man’s life upon earth. The technology which might have lifted him above at least some of the drudgery of an ebbing life is now polluting his environment more than ever before. We have learned to destroy thorns and thistles and other pests, only to poison ourselves, birds, and fish, with polluted air, water, and land. Man made a strenuous effort to lift himself up by his own bootstraps, only to find that human selfishness has him hopelessly bogged down in the pollutants of his own making.

God’s wonderful plan for the salvation of mankind from the result of his own folly and selfishness is presented to us in the Bible in various ways. The outline of one of these begins with the story of the Garden of Eden. We read that in this garden the Lord provided “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden.”—Gen. 2:9,10


The word paradise simply means ‘a garden’, and that beautiful spot prepared for man ‘eastward in Eden’ was a most beautiful and wonderful paradise. Mistakenly, the idea of paradise has been associated with some sort of spiritual existence far removed from this planet. But God’s intention from the beginning was that the earth was to be man’s paradise, and that small section of land which God prepared especially for our first parents was but a sample of what the whole earth was to be, and yet will be, when God’s glorious design concerning man has been fully accomplished.

In the original paradise, much emphasis was placed on beauty. In describing the trees of the garden, those ‘pleasant to the sight’ are mentioned first, and then those which were ‘good for food’. (Gen. 2:9) We conclude from this that God not only made preparation to sustain the lives of his human creatures, but he also wanted them to enjoy their lives through appreciation of the beautiful things of Creation by which they were surrounded. God was delighted with his human creatures, and he wanted them to delight themselves in him by being constantly reminded of his love and care.

How beautiful, indeed, the Earth truly is, or at least was, before man began to pollute it with refuse and poisons. Is there anything more majestic than a range of mountains whose peaks at times are high above the clouds, and which are laden with snow the year around? How beautiful are the rivers, the lakes, and the oceans. Then there is the great variety of trees, each with its own particular type of beauty, and all ‘pleasant to the sight’. Every square mile of the earth’s surface has its special type of beauty—all designed by the Creator to add to the value and zest of living.

Even the food-producing trees of the earth are beautiful. Think how lovely is the growing wheat and other grain as it is wafted to and fro by gentle summer breezes. All this handsome landscape and foliage as it left the hands of God in the garden eastward in Eden must have been beyond words to describe. This was man’s home, and he was commanded to subdue the remainder of the earth, and to fill it with his progeny. It was a glorious outlook, and could have worked to the eternal glory of the Creator and the everlasting joy of man.

Actually, this will yet be the case, for while man has failed through disobedience, and has defiled the earth which he was commanded to subdue, God’s redemptive plan through Christ is designed to restore his human creatures to their lost home, which, when the plan is completed, will see this whole planet one gorgeous paradise, providing health, joy, and life for humanity which by then will fill the whole earth.


The original paradise, in addition to its life-giving trees, contained one called “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen. 2:9) It is not necessary that we know the nature of this tree. The important lesson for us is that our first parents were forbidden to partake of it, and the death penalty was attached to disobedience. At the same time, however, during the long centuries since their disobedience, the human race has been acquiring an experimental knowledge of evil, and during the thousand years of Christ’s kingdom will have the opportunity to acquire a knowledge of good, which will enable them finally to make a considered choice between the two.

In the Garden of Eden there was also a river which “went out of Eden to water the garden.” (Gen. 2:10) Thus, in that original paradise we have the life-giving trees, and we have a river. However, because our first parents disobeyed God they were driven out of that garden into the unfinished earth to die. The record is, “The Lord God sent him [man] forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”—Gen. 3:23,24

The Apostle Paul wrote, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23) Death was the penalty which was inflicted upon man. The “thorns” and “thistles” (Gen. 3:18), and the banishment from Eden and from the ‘tree of life’ were the means used by the Lord to inflict that penalty. And how efficient these ‘executioners’ have been. For more than six thousand years man has been a suffering and dying creature, unable to overcome the hazards of his environment and keep himself alive.


While throughout the centuries, all human plans and efforts to better the condition of the fallen race have failed, God has a plan that will not fail which is his Messianic Kingdom. In brief, this plan is through Christ to reestablish Divine authority in the earth. It is suggested in the prayer which Jesus taught to his disciples: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) Man is in his present, worsening dilemma because of disobedience to Divine law, while only by obedience to the Creator’s law will he be able to survive and to enjoy peace and health and life.

This kingdom remedy for the many ills of man which have been brought on by disobedience is presented to us in various ways in the Bible. One of these is contained in Revelation 22:1,2. Verse 1 speaks of a “river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” The ‘throne’ of God suggests the exercise of Divine authority in the earth. And this is also the throne of the ‘Lamb’, which reminds us that the exercise of this authority will be through Christ, who died for the sins of the world, and thus made possible the reestablishment of the Divine will among the world of mankind for whom he died.


Flowing out from ‘the throne of God and of the Lamb’ is a ‘pure river of water of life, clear as crystal’. While this is a symbolic river, we are reminded how man is now polluting the natural rivers of the earth. Instead of being life-giving agencies, quite the opposite is becoming more and more true. How hopeless would be the outlook for man’s future on this earth but for the wonderful provisions the Lord has made!

Verse 2 continues: “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life.” When our first parents transgressed the Divine law they were driven out of Eden in order that they might not be able to partake of the tree of life which the Lord had planted there.

God saw to it then that man would have no opportunity to perpetuate his life. He had sinned, and now the penalty, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19), fell upon him, and there was to be no way of man’s getting himself out from under it. But God still loved his earthly creatures, and in due time made a provision of his own for their escape from death. That provision was Jesus, who in the symbology of the prophecies became the slain Lamb, the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”—John 1:29

Now we find that Lamb empowered with governmental authority, and from ‘the throne of God and the Lamb’ is flowing the water of life—not a limited supply, but a river—and on either side of this river is the tree of life. It is as though in the outworking of the Divine plan instructions were given from the throne that those cherubim should no longer keep the people away from the tree of life, that the time had now come for them to return to paradise where they could have free access to the source of life of which they had been deprived.


Concerning that future tree of life, the prophecy states that it will “bare twelve manner of fruits,” and that it will yield her fruit “every month.” (Rev. 22:2) The numerology here involved is interesting in that it suggests a continuous, never-failing source of life-giving fruit. It is symbolic language, of course, but again we are reminded of how miserably man has failed to provide the literal necessities of life.

It is true that in certain western countries, such as North America, and in many parts of Europe, food is in plentiful supply, and we are prone to think of the ‘world’ from the standpoint of our restricted surroundings. The truth is that on the earth as a whole, many millions starve to death each year, and half of humanity never has enough to eat. We speak of our affluent society, but let us remember that our world is a very small one, which, while it may be well fed, is quite unlike the world at large, so great a part of which is hungry or starving.

We know not the details of how the Lord will supply an abundance of food for the countless millions who will ultimately be filling the earth in keeping with the Divine decree, but we know that he is fully able to do it. While we need not think of the fruit on the symbolic ‘tree of life’ as representing literal food, we know that man will need food. Then, supplied with all the wholesome food that is needed, through faith and obedience the symbolic fruits of the tree of life will be available and will enable him to live forever.

We are further informed concerning the tree of life that its leaves will be for the healing of the nations. In another prophecy of the river of life, where it is shown flowing from the temple, or sanctuary of the Lord, we read, “On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”—Ezek. 47:12, RSV

How great will be the need of the nations for healing! This will be true of the people of all nations, not only those which exist now, but those who have suffered and died throughout the ages. As the life-giving reign of the kingdom begins, the people of all nations will be pictured as wounded and bleeding, and only the provision which the Lord has made will heal their wounds, and restore them to health and life. It is this that is pictured by the river of life and its tree of life which are provided ‘by the throne of God and of the Lamb’.


Promises and prophecies of the Bible which give assurance of health and life in the kingdom are often misapplied to what it is believed conditions will be like in heaven. For example, Revelation 21:4 assures us of a time when there shall be no more death, and when all tears will be wiped away. Many fail to note the expression, ‘no more death’, which implies that this is a provision of the Lord for people on earth, where for over six thousand years death has been constantly present.

So when we read that the ‘nations’ will be healed, we should remember that the sick nations exist, not in heaven, but here, and that it is here on earth where these refreshing blessings of the river of life will flow out to the people. Nationalism will not exist in the kingdom, but all nationalities of earth will have an opportunity to receive the life-giving blessings of the river of life and its tree of life. This, indeed, is one of the beautiful symbolic pictures of the fulfillment of that original promise which God made to father Abraham when he said to him that through his seed, which is the Christ, all the families or nations of the earth shall be blessed.—Gen. 22:17,18; Gal. 3:16,27-29

Abraham could not know when God made this promise to him that by the time it would be fulfilled the earth would be filled, and that the families of the earth would be scattered to inhabit all its continents and the isles of the sea. Indeed, it is doubtful if Abraham had much idea of the broad expanse of this beautiful earth, the earth which God proposes to transform into a paradise for the eternal joy of all the willing and obedient humans who, under the rulership of the Messianic Kingdom, will turn to him in obedience and faith and thus be among that multitude who will be healed and who will have their tears wiped away.


In Revelation 22:17 there is a further reference to the water of life. We quote, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’. And let him who hears say, ‘Come’. And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.” (RSV) Revelation 19:10 informs us that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” and the reference to the Spirit and the bride saying ‘Come’, surely refers to Jesus and his ‘bride’.

We are told of the time when the marriage of the “Lamb is come,” and when “his wife hath made herself ready.” (Rev. 19:7) And we have a reference to the “holy city, … coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2) In verses 9 and 10 of this chapter the Apostle John writes, “There came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”

There is abundant testimony in the Scriptures to indicate that this prophetic ‘bride of the Lamb’ will be composed of the complete number of Christ’s faithful followers from Pentecost to the full end of the Gospel Age. The expression, ‘his wife hath made herself ready’, is an interesting one and vital to every Christian who aspires to be of this special company of favored ones in the kingdom. Those who will be of the bride class have yielded themselves to the molding influences of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and by this means have become like Christ, and suitable to be members of his bride class. Much suffering and many tests of faith have been involved in this; and as all have finished their preparation, having fully laid down their lives in sacrifice as Jesus did, following the raising of the last members in the ‘first resurrection’ they will become united with him as his bride, in that great ‘holy city’ arrangement of the future.

Here, then, is ‘the Spirit and the bride’, who in due time will say to the people of all nations, ‘Come, … and take the water of life freely’. Many have mistakenly supposed that this invitation has been going out to the world ever since the First Advent of Christ, but this could not be, because during all those centuries there has been no ‘bride’ of Christ to say ‘Come’, for this present age has been set aside in the plan of God as a period in which the bride makes herself ready.

This ‘making ready’ of the bride will not be completed until the last member has finished his course in death. Then the marriage of the Lamb will take place. Then there will be a bride, and then the Spirit and the bride will together say ‘Come’. This is a bright prospect for the future. Not only will the Spirit and the bride say ‘Come’, but all who hear that blessed invitation will have the privilege of joining in the blessed work of extending this invitation until all the families of the earth are reached!

This will be the work of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. Satan will then be bound, and no longer able to pollute men’s minds with all sorts of hallucinations concerning God. The one who has deceived all nations will no longer be permitted to deceive, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.—Rev. 20:12; Isa. 11:9

This is the divine remedy for all the problems which have been created by human sin and selfishness, including the problem posed by nuclear bombs, and the pollution of our environment—both of which can threaten the very existence of the human race. What a wonderful solution it is! When fully activated, it will lead to peace, happiness, and everlasting life among all nations, for the nations will be healed, and the refreshing waters of the river of life will restore the people to that God-provided heritage which through sin they lost awhile, but because of God’s love will have been regained.

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