God's way of life—His law—will be the constitution of the new world He will set up. Let's explore what the Bible says about the role of God's law in the peaceful and prosperous Kingdom of God!
"..for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." - Isaiah 11:9
In the mini-study in the previous issue of The Good News (Sept.-Oct. 2012), we explored what the Bible says about Jesus Christ's return as King of Kings to save us from extinction. In view of the growing number of insolvable problems that threaten to overwhelm us, that is mankind's only real hope!
And after He returns, Bible prophecy promises sweeping changes that will address the causes of this world's problems. In simplest terms, it boils down to two ways of life— get vs. give. This world has been traveling the selfish way of get for thousands of years, and the painful results are all around us. But Jesus Christ will bring a different way, a way of peace, of love, of outgoing concern—in short, the way of give.
The great need for God's law of love
Human laws and justice are flawed at best—too often oppressive and downright evil. The injustice of our age is part of the cycle of evil that's leading our world to the brink of self-destruction. But as our previous study revealed, Jesus Christ promised to return to save us from ourselves! And that will involve His leading us into following the law of God.
Will Jesus Christ return as Judge and Lawgiver as well as King?
"For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us" (Isaiah 33:22).
In human governments, a system of checks and balances is necessary to prevent abuses. But as we saw in the last study, Jesus Christ will rule perfectly, always with the ultimate best interest of everyone in mind. He is worthy and capable of serving in all three roles—executive, legislative and judicial—in the best and most efficient government the world has ever seen.
What does God's law ultimately express?
"Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:8-10).
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3).
God's law defines how to love Him the way He wants to be loved and to love others in the way that is pleasing to Him. Contrary to popular belief, God's commandments are not a burden.
What are some of the benefits of God's law?
". . . Keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good" (Deuteronomy 10:13).
"You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies . . . Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble" (Psalm 119:98, Psalm 119:165).
God's laws were given for our good! James 2:8-12 calls it "the royal law" and "the law of liberty." It is a law of liberty, not bondage as so many describe it.
The world transformed through obedience
When humanity at last learns to walk in the way of God, the entire world will experience great blessings.
What will be changed to make the Millennium under the New Covenant different from the Old Covenant in ancient Israel?
"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people'" (Hebrews 8:7-10).
This explains that the fault was not with the good laws God gave, but with the people (verse 8). Our human hearts have been infected with Satan's attitudes and are deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:7; Revelation 12:9). The change is for God to write His laws in our minds and hearts. This occurs through repentance, baptism (to symbolize the death of our old self) and the transforming power of His Spirit (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-4; 12:1-2). Our Bible study aid booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion covers this in more detail.
Will everyone learn God's laws and way of life?
". . . Your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:20-21).
"Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
This priceless knowledge, long rejected, disbelieved or hidden, will be valued and universally available at last.
As a result, will all be able to know God—have a relationship with Him based on understanding His ways?
"None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them" (Hebrews 8:11).
We can have the priceless privilege of understanding and having this relationship now!
What will be the result of everyone keeping God's law?
"Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18).
"Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
"Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
"The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
"The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
"The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them" (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
God's laws are living laws, designed to automatically bring blessings to those who follow them. They are the instructions in our Creator's manual to show us how to make life work in the best possible way.
How will the laws be applied? What will Christ's judicial system be like?
"His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:3-4).
Jesus Christ will show no partiality (Romans 2:11), but He will show mercy to those who repent. This mercy is made possible by His sacrifice to pay our penalty for us (Romans 5:8; Isaiah 55:7).
How will God's system of law and justice improve relationships between nations?
"He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:4).
After thousands of years of war and destruction, what a wonderful future to look forward to! Nations will no longer need to fear other nations and will be able to devote all their resources to making the lives of their citizens better. Pray that God will speed that day!
Apply what you've learned now
Our mini-study in the previous issue discussed the human tendency for leaders to take advantage of their power. God understood that tendency and gave instructions for future Israelite kings that would help counteract that pull to self-importance and selfishness. God's solution is recorded in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, and especially in Deuteronomy 17:18-20. Take a moment to read these verses now in your own Bible.
Writing down scriptures can help emphasize what we're studying, giving us additional sensory input as well as repetition. And rereading and thinking deeply about God's words can help us keep the right perspective.
Today, take the time to write down the first four of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:3-11. These first four deal with our relationship with God and reveal to us how He wants us to treat Him. We could not deduce these laws through our human reasoning alone. We would not know His will unless He told us, but thankfully He has revealed this to us.
After writing down these four, take time to reread them and to think about how to apply them every day this week. You'll find a chapter about each of them in our Bible study aid booklet The Ten Commandments , which you'll find very helpful in your study of this subject.