The World’s Nightmare to End

IN AUGUST when Mr. Gerald Ford succeeded Mr. Richard Nixon as President of the United States he remarked that the country’s nightmare was over. He referred primarily to the long-lasting “Watergate” scandal which had resulted in so many uncertainties to the people as a whole, and worries to those who were involved in it. The new President’s statement was an optimistic one, and certainly everyone will be glad for whatever extent it turns out to be true.

The word “nightmare” well describes the condition in which the world has been ever since the entry of sin and death through our first parents’ disobedience to divine law in the Garden of Eden. Incidentally, we might add in passing that it was disobedience to the laws of the United States as reflected in the Constitution which led to the nightmare referred to by President Ford. Obedience to law is always essential in order that there be peace and tranquility among people, and it has been the lack of obedience to divine law which has resulted in the world’s long nightmare of suffering.

And while the Bible does not use the word nightmare, it does describe mankind as passing through a nighttime of suffering—“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5) How we rejoice in the assurance that the sin-induced suffering of the world is finally to end in a morning of joy! The promises of God are our assurance that this will, in his due time, come to pass, and that due time will be when the kingdom of Christ is established. In Isaiah 11:9 that kingdom is symbolized by a mountain, and we are told that nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all this holy mountain—a mountain which will encompass the whole earth within its blessed influence.

Aspects of the Nightmare

Even if President Ford’s prophecy concerning the nightmare’s being over should turn out to be true, it would be only with respect to that one area of trouble which had brought forth his call to the presidency, and there would still exist many nightmarish situations within the borders of the United States which would continue to plague the people. At the top of the list is the runaway inflation which is plaguing essentially all the people, especially those with more or less limited incomes. Can President Ford brush this aside as with a magic wand? We would all like to think so.

And not only in the United States are economic foundations of the present social order terribly shaken, for the malfunction of the money markets of the world is one of the aspects of the present nightmare through which the world is passing. This is resulting in starvation to millions in the so-called backward nations of earth, and even here in the United States thousands go to bed hungry every night.

There is hope on the part of many that the promises of more prosperous conditions by those who control governments will one day begin to be fulfilled. And it is good that the people have this hope, for it is better than living in continual despair. But there are other areas of world suffering in which, so far as mankind in general is concerned, there is no dim light to be seen at the end of the tunnel of darkness. There is no hope here because almost none of the people can exercise faith in the only sure source of information that can give us hope. We refer to the Bible, and the malady we have in mind is the operation of the death penalty which began back in the Garden of Eden as a result of disobedience to divine law. No king, and no president, has ever hinted that he possessed the ability to heal the sick, much less to raise the dead.

The Nightmare of War

The Bible assures us that in God’s due time he will make “wars to cease unto the end of the earth.” (Ps. 46:9) In Micah 4:1-4 we have a description of some of the messianic kingdom blessings, the kingdom of the Messiah here being likened to a great mountain. We are told that this kingdom shall be established in the “top of the mountains, and … shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” The thought here is that the Lord’s kingdom, when set up in power and great glory, will dominate in the affairs of all mankind; and by then they shall be so weary of the nightmare of unjust and corrupt governments that they will be glad to “flow unto” the new administration, which will be the government of the Lord.

The Supreme Ruler in this new and divine government will be the One described by the Prophet Isaiah, who wrote, “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 with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”—Isa. 9:6,7

Here we are assured that the Lord’s kingdom will bring everlasting and universal peace to all mankind—“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” In the prophecy of Micah the end of war is also foretold. (4:1-4) It comes as a result of the people being taught the Lord’s way. They are represented as saying, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

And when they learn the Lord’s ways “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (vs. 3) How different will be the Lord’s way of establishing peace than the way of the world! Worldly wisdom insists that in order for a nation to have peace it must be prepared for war. This philosophy has never been proven true, and the Lord will demonstrate that lasting and universal peace will come only when the nations obediently adopt the Lord’s way, which will be the destruction of their instruments of war, and learning war no more. Only thus will the nightmare of war be brought to an end.

Economic Security

The lack of economic security is another nightmare for large portions of the human race. Pensions and social security have helped somewhat along this line in some countries, but the nightmare persists with countless millions of people, especially in the backward nations of earth. But the Lord has promised that in his kingdom this situation will be changed; that there will be economic security for all. One of these promises is couched in beautiful symbolic language in the prophecy of Micah which we are considering. We read, “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”—vs. 4

Here the contrast is between those who are provided by the Lord with their own source of supply for the bounties of life, and those who today exist on a “catch-as-catch-can” basis, which leaves millions starving. How we rejoice that in the administration of the Lord’s kingdom this nightmare also will be ended! Then the people will “build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.” And the Lord will be ever near to make sure that his promised blessings are distributed on a just and generous basis. The Prophet Isaiah adds, “It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”—Isa. 65:21,24

The Greatest Nightmare

But to be free from war and to be assured of economic security would not mean that the world had received the most satisfying of all blessings, for sickness, dying, and death would still be rampant throughout the earth. Or what lasting blessing would freedom from the bloodshed of war mean for a race of people existing under the constant threat of being struck down by some crippling and killing disease?

So unless this menace is destroyed the world would continue to exist in the dark night of sin and death in constant fear of what might, and eventually would, happen when disease overtook them, and they knew that the only way out would be through death.

But, as we have already briefly noted, the Lord has promised that in his new social order even disease and death will be destroyed. A reassuring and beautiful prophecy is recorded in Isaiah 25:6-9. In this prophecy the Lord’s kingdom is likened to a mountain, and we read concerning this mountain and the blessings which will flow out from it to the people, “In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. 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.”

Here again the thought of security and plenty is suggested by the expression, “a feast of fat things.” The “veil” that is spread over all nations suggests the lack of understanding of God which has always been so widespread throughout the earth, and especially today. The “rebuke” of God’s people mentioned in the prophecy reminds us that the truly righteous among mankind have almost always been a persecuted people. But when the Lord’s “feast of fat things” is provided through the agencies of his kingdom, then the evils which afflict mankind will be removed. The “veil” of ignorance and superstition will be removed; and the “rebuke” of God’s people will be taken away.

And besides these side benefits of the kingdom, the Lord assures us that even death will be destroyed—“swallowed up in victory,” and that the tears resulting from sickness and death will be removed. And, as we have seen, the other blessings of the kingdom would be but transitory unless death itself, man’s greatest enemy, is destroyed. The New Testament assures us also of this great kingdom boon. Paul wrote concerning Christ and his kingdom, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”—I Cor. 15:25,26

The destruction of death will be so complete that it will mean the resurrection of all those who have died. Paul wrote further, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:21,22) Paul explains further that this promised awakening from the dead will be according to a certain order—“Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”—vs. 23

The “firstfruits” of the resurrection here mentioned are the faithful followers of Christ, who like Jesus himself are, in the resurrection, exalted to heavenly glory, and in the Lord’s kingdom will live and reign with him.

Then there will be the remainder of the world of mankind. These will be awakened from death as humans, and if they then accept the provisions of life made available to them through the redemptive work of Christ, and obey the laws of the Lord’s kingdom then in force, they will be restored to human perfection as enjoyed by our first parents, and will have the privilege of living on the earth forever—an earth free from war, hunger, sickness, and death.

This will be paradise restored—the paradise that was lost when our first parents transgressed divine law. With this restoration of paradise will come the end of the human nightmare which throughout the thousands of years of human history has destroyed the peace and happiness of all mankind. This is the bright outlook which the promises of God present to us, and through belief in those promises we can enjoy peace of mind and heart even in the midst of the present dark night of sin and death. In describing this nighttime of suffering and death the Prophet David adds that “joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5) All who can believe the promises of God can look forward even now to this promised joy.

And there are no “ifs” attached to the promises of God! The new administration in Washington promises to do much for the people of the United States “if” inflation can be brought under control, and other evils remedied. But the “ifs” of human failure have resulted in the continuance of the world’s nightmare of fear and suffering. But God’s new social order will not be based on “ifs.” It is promised and will be implemented by the all-wise and powerful Creator, so we can look forward to it with assurance and joy, for we know that joy will come to all mankind in the morning of that new day which the Scriptures reveal to be near at hand.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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