Choose Life and Live

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.”
—Deuteronomy 30:15

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”
—Deuteronomy 30:19

AMONG THE LAST words spoken by Moses to the nation of Israel were those of our key texts. He was a spokesman for God and was reiterating the words of the Law Covenant given to this nation. They had been given a perfect law but they could not keep it. If they had been able, they would have received life. The only one who was able to keep that Law was Jesus Christ, and he gave his life as a ransom so that Israel could be redeemed not only from the sentence of death, but also from the condemnation of the Law. Moses was aware that Israel would need help to keep the Law and foretold the coming of Jesus saying, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”—Deut. 18:15


Eventually all mankind will benefit from the ransom and be given an opportunity to live. The Scriptures promise “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:22) The only way to life will be through Jesus Christ. God will have all men to come to a knowledge of the Truth, and it is only through obedience to that knowledge that man will be able to keep the terms of the New Covenant and attain life. (I Tim. 2:4) The attainment of secular knowledge will also require obedience to God’s commandments to continue this life.


The twentieth century saw a fulfillment of God’s wonderful promise that knowledge would increase in the time of the end. (Dan.12:4) Never in man’s history has there been such an outburst of knowledge as we have witnessed during this time. Much of it has been applied even though we have only seen the beginnings. Now that we have entered the twenty-first century, we can expect still more knowledge increasing and more applications made. Mankind in his egotism thinks it is all his doing, and believes that science knows all and will accomplish all good. In this vein of thought, a scientist who is in the mainstream of these applications issued a solemn warning in an article he wrote for Wired.Com. It was published by the “Washington Post” in early July, 2000, under the title “Technology Check“. The writer, cofounder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, said,

“In the midst of amazing and rapidly accelerating technological progress, with all the benefits it confers, it’s time to stop and ask where this explosion of science is taking us. For most of a career devoted to solving problems with technology, I gave too little thought to the ultimate consequences of the power that we are beginning to unleash.

“In fact, most of the warnings we have heard have been either in science fiction or have come from Luddites who bring to the debate little more than an anti-technology rant. But this is no excuse for ignoring these questions. Increasingly, I have deep misgivings about the path we are on.

“As terrible as the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons threats—the weapons of mass destruction—were in the twentieth century, the underlying technologies behind them were largely of military use and held closely by a small number of nation states. We have been lucky enough to have avoided large incidents involving weapons of mass destruction for more than fifty years.

“Today we face another, graver, challenge to our survival. Our most powerful twenty-first century technologies—genetic engineering, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR for short)—carry a hidden risk of huge dimensions. They possess two characteristics that make them different from previous technologies: They are self-replicating, and they are “knowledge-enabled”—that is, they are capable of being used by the many individuals and small groups that will know how to operate them, some of whom may be out to cause catastrophic damage. Unless we take strong action, we are liable to find ourselves living with a whole new category of massively destructive technologies, all capable of being put into action by widely available commercial devices.”


The author is saying that, unlike nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, some aspects of the new technology could be used by any individual, whereas previous weapons of destruction are controlled by heads of state and governments. Although it depends on an evil mind to devise some destructive use of the new technology, it appears that there are already several potential adverse applications possible in the new fields of technology. The author suggests three, saying:

“The nearest-term danger is the release of a deadly pathogen: a bio-engineered ‘white plague’ that could be highly infectious, have a long incubation period and be targeted on specific groups.

“Nanotechnology poses the threat of a ‘gray goo,’ perhaps no more interesting than crabgrass, engineered from materials foreign to the environment, which would outcompete the existing biosphere. In both cases, recall of these menaces would be impossible; a global disaster could occur in weeks.

“The robotic threat is farther out, but as Hans Moravec has suggested, ‘biological species rarely survive encounters with superior competitors.’ If we use technology to create robotic intelligences that are superior to ours they might come to view us as expendable.”


Much of this borders on science fiction and will appear so to many, but in the eyes of this scientist these are real threats to mankind’s existence. As long as selfishness and greed motivate mankind it appears that such will indeed be real threats to man’s existence. To Bible Students the absolute necessity to subdue these basic traits in man because of his fallen condition is a ‘must’ situation. Scientists as a rule do not look to any higher power to assist them in this matter. Many do not believe in the existence of a supreme intelligent Creator. Therefore, they look to solutions to such problems from within man’s society. To avoid these potential dangers the author suggested the following, saying,

“Like those who have grappled with the problems of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, we who are involved in advancing the new technologies must devote our best efforts to heading off disaster. I offer here a list of first steps suggested by our history with weapons of mass destruction:

“(1) Have scientists and technologists (and corporate leaders as well) take a vow, along the lines of the Hippocratic Oath, to avoid work on potential and actual weapons of mass destruction. Hans Bethe, a Nobel laureate, has called for such a step.

“(2) Create an international body to publicly examine the dangers and ethical issues of new technology. Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel laureate who has worked on biological and chemical weapons containment, points out that this kind of work was previously partially done, in the United States, by the Office of Technology Assessment, which unfortunately was abolished in the 1990s.

“(3) Use stricter notions of liability, forcing companies to take responsibility for consequences through a private-sector mechanism—insurance. A company might use the published opinion of a new, perhaps international and nongovernmental Office of Technological Assessment to argue for lower insurance rates.

“(4) Internationalize control of knowledge and technologies that have great potential but are judged too dangerous to be made commercially available. This was proposed for military uses of atomic energy in the Acheson-Lilienthal report at the dawn of the atomic age as a way of avoiding the nuclear arms race.

“(5) Relinquish pursuit of that knowledge and development of those technologies so dangerous that we judge it better that they never be available. I, too, believe in the pursuit of knowledge and development of technologies; yet, we already have seen cases, such as biological weapons, where relinquishment is the obvious wise choice.

“We must begin a collective international effort to come up with effective and practical safeguards. The GNR technologies are being pursued commercially, driven forward by intense competition and the accelerating power of computers. It is clear that, left unchecked, they can enable genocide or result in the extinction of the species. Fortunately, we seem to have some time to properly consider and act on the ethical issues, but that time is limited. I believe it would be immoral to do nothing and just take whatever comes. We can do better.”


As we look at these suggestions, we see the frailty of these without the capability of a higher power to enforce their adoption. Concerning number one suggestion, the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors, does not prevent malpractice or deceitfulness among them. On items 2 and 4, the United Nations tried to do this relative to the control of nuclear power and failed, reporting an impasse had been reached on creating an international agency in 1948 after two years of unsuccessful effort. How items 3 and 5 could be implemented and how they would work as true preventives to disaster is questionable.

The only solution to the problems raised by this scientist is that presented in the establishment of the authority of God’s kingdom. That authority is prophesied to come through the house of Jesse and David. Isaiah says of Jesus that “there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isa. 11:1) The Apostle Paul makes clear that this genealogy is referring to Jesus when he gave a historical sketch of God’s favor to Israel in Antioch of Pisidia saying, “They [Israel] desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.”—Acts 13:21-23


Isaiah then speaks of Jesus, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear [reverence] of the Lord.” (Isa. 11:2) With the Spirit of the great supreme Creator of the universe directing him, how could earth have a better or more qualified ruler to take control of earth’s affairs. The prophecy continues, “And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.” (Isa. 11:3,4) For the first time true justice shall prevail. Our Lord’s capability of reading the intents of the heart will not rely on sight and hearing of a case brought to justice as is necessary now. (Matt. 10:26) Instead, evil thoughts intent on causing injury will be intercepted before the evil can be practiced. For this reason Isaiah continues and says, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”—Isa. 11:4,5

Such mighty authority prevailing in the earth will make the earth a safe place for all mankind. If the scientists of our day who can foresee the mishandling of the new technology as wreaking havoc in the earth would only accept the promises made by God through his prophets, how relieved they would be. It is because the authority and true equity brought by the new rulers in God’s kingdom will be so mighty and all-inclusive that the prophet says of that time, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.”—Isa. 11:9


Likewise, the people being brought back from the grave in God’s kingdom must learn to love righteousness, because only by obedience to God’s righteous laws will they be able to live without fear or hazard upon earth. As was the choice for Israel, so it will be for them. God gives them the choice, obedience and life or disobedience and death. But in order to receive life they must develop the fruits of the Spirit.

In the Gospel Age, God has been selecting a ‘people for his name.’ These have learned that the works of the flesh must be subdued and eliminated. In their place the fruits of the Spirit must be developed. A list of both are presented by the Apostle Paul in Gal. 5:19-23. He says, “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:8) The church in their present experiences is learning the meaning of Proverbs 16:18 which says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” They are learning to put away lying and are to “Speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”—Eph. 4:25-31

These requirements for the Church in the Gospel Age will be the same for those in the Millennial Age. The difference will be that under current conditions the Church must develop these fruits of the Spirit while struggling with an imperfect body and the wiles of the Adversary. Whereas in the Millennial Age, each one will have a perfect body and the Adversary will be bound. It will be their choice. “Choose life” says our wonderful Heavenly Father and live! We believe that the great majority of mankind will do so.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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