|Topical Bible Study||December 1961|
God’s Plan for Man—Lesson XXIII
No More Death
THE expression, “natural death,” is often used in contrast to accidental death, or death on the battlefield. Actually, however, so far as humans are concerned, death is never natural. Man was created to live, and not to die. Death became a part of human experience because of sin. (Rom. 5:12) Following the transgression of divine law by our first parents, they were driven out of the Garden of Eden and prevented from partaking of the tree of life, lest they live forever. (Gen. 3:22,23) This implies that man was capable of continuing to live, had God permitted him to enjoy the blessings which had been provided for him.
Because of God’s love for his human creatures, even though they had disobeyed his law, he provided a means of escape from death. This provision was Christ and his redeeming blood, which was a satisfaction for adamic sin. (Rom. 3:25; I John 2:2) This means that upon the basis of faith in the redeeming blood, life can be regained, that no one will need to perish forever.—John 3:16,17
However, the opportunity to accept Christ and receive life through him is not limited to the short span of the present dying experience. It is God’s purpose to save humankind from adamic death by awakening them from the sleep of death, enlightening them with the truth that they may have a full opportunity to believe and obey.—I Tim. 2:3-6
An opportunity to accept Christ and receive everlasting life will be given to all mankind during the thousand years of the messianic kingdom. We are assured by the Word of God that one of the glorious results of Christ’s rulership will be the destruction of death.—Hosea 13:14; I Cor. 15:25,26
In the Old Testament the kingdom of Christ is likened to a great mountain which will fill the whole earth. (Dan. 2:44) God’s promise is that in this mountain tears will be wiped away and death will be destroyed. (Isa. 25:6-9) Sickness is part of the dying process, and the Bible assures us that in the day of Christ’s kingdom sickness will be no more.—Isa. 33:24
One of the Bible’s illustrations of the blessings of health and life which will be vouchsafed to the people during the reign of Christ is a mighty river—the “river of water of life” There are trees of life by this river which bear an ample supply of life-giving fruit, and we are told that the leaves of these “trees” are for the healing of the nations.—Rev. 22:1,2,17
But no one will receive everlasting life who does not obey the laws of the kingdom. All who willfully turn their backs upon divine grace through refusal to believe and obey will be destroyed in the symbolic “lake of fire,” which is stated to be “the second death.” (Rev. 20:14,15) The Apostle Peter confirms this.—Acts 3:23
Thus the restored race of Adam will be free from all sickness and pain. All tears will be wiped away, and there will be no further cause for sorrow, for, as the Lord assures us through the Apostle John, “there shall be no more death.” And we are told that “these words are true and faithful.”—Rev. 21:3-5
It is difficult now to imagine a world in which there is no sickness and death, but this is what the Lord has promised, as the answers to these questions reveal.
Is death a natural and inevitable experience of humans?
What assurance do we have in the Bible that those who die because of Adam’s sin have not perished forever?
Is the opportunity to accept Christ limited to the present short span of life?
When will the world of mankind as a whole have their first genuine opportunity to accept Christ? What will be one of the results of Christ’s kingdom?
What is one of the Old Testament illustrations of the kingdom of Christ?
What is one of the Bible’s illustrations of the blessings of life as they flow out to the people during Christ’s reign?
What will be the destiny of those who willfully refuse to obey?
Will there be any further cause for sorrow after the work of Christ’s kingdom is complete?
“The Divine Plan of the Ages,” pages 191, 192.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
When God’s plan for man is complete all sin, sickness and death will have been eradicated from the earth, and restored humanity will enjoy God’s favor forever.