Earth: A Redemption Story

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A Redemption Story

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The world today is under "the bondage of corruption" (Romans 8:21 Romans 8:21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
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). But when God created earth, it was not that way! However, this is how God will accomplish His ultimate goal, the purpose of all human life: to bring "many sons to glory" (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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God's plan to redeem earth is almost here. What does it need to be redeemed from, and what will it be like afterwards?

Mankind has turned away from God, and we suffer for it

God's relationship with mankind had a rocky start. The familiar history is found in Genesis 1-3. God created man and woman and put them in a beautiful garden with all kinds of trees for them to eat from. There was one exception: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God warned them that they would die if they ate from that tree. This warning was the first indication of a basic fact of our existence: that death is the result of disobedience to God.

Much like children, their curiosity got the better of them. And when God saw that they had disobeyed Him, He banned them from the Garden of Eden, the only home they had ever known. In addition to living outside the garden, they would have to die for their sin. Once sin entered the world, all of their descendants after them would fall prey to death as well.

This was not what God wanted for them or for us! God didn't create us just to live for a little while and then die and be gone. He created us to live. Forever. With Him.

A person hearing about Adam and Eve for the first time should wonder: "Is God going to forgive them? How can they get back in?" A few generations later, God checked in on mankind:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart (Genesis 6:5-7 Genesis 6:5-7 [5] And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. [6] And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. [7] And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them.
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Because evil had become so deeply ingrained, God ended the lives of all but eight people on earth with an incredible flood.

Today, we have not done any better. We have the technology to behold the magnificence of God’s creation at the atomic level, but we use that knowledge to build nuclear weapons capable of wiping out all life on the earth. Tens of millions of people died in wars during the 20th century. We have built a vast communications network that allows us to instantly access information from anywhere in the world, but more than 30 percent of all Internet traffic today is pornography. We celebrate violence and sexuality in the TV shows and movies we create—we can’t get enough of them.

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37 Matthew 24:37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
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How can God redeem people that completely dishonor Him?

Our God always acts out of love 

God had a greater purpose when He banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. He was working out a master plan when He destroyed the earth with the flood, and He will continue that plan when He pours out His wrath again just before the return of Christ. These actions are of far more significance than merely the deserved penalty for sin (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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)—they are the acts of a loving Father who is desperately trying to turn His children to the right path!

God wants so badly to save us from the consequences of our actions, and He gave us a set of righteous laws to do just that. These laws are not unreasonably restrictive. Rather, they define the absolute best way to live our lives so that we can avoid trouble, hardship, disappointment, and heartache. God wants us to live this way because it is the only way that is worth living—every other path is corrupt and will lead to death.

You might wonder whether God skipped over the redemption step for those caught in the flood, or whether there is hope for all those who will die in the Great Tribulation to come. For more information on how God's mercy will be extended even to them, see the excerpt How Eternal Life Will Ultimately Be Offered to All from our booklet What Happens After Death?. But for now, let's finish the redemption story that God has planned for the earth in the near future.

"The creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God"

The Feast of Tabernacles is one of God's festivals that looks forward to a critical truth about God's plan: that the Kingdom of God is coming to earth. After all of the destruction and wrath is finished, the earth will finally be redeemed. Jesus will be the literal King of the entire world. He will not rule the earth alone, but will lead an entire government with its home in Jerusalem. People will continue living on earth, but they will do so in an unprecedented time of peace and righteousness. The way of God will be taught, understood and followed all over the world. This information is plainly found in Zechariah 14:16-21 Zechariah 14:16-21 [16] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. [17] And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even on them shall be no rain. [18] And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, with which the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. [19] This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. [20] In that day shall there be on the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. [21] Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
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, which we read each year as we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, which pictures this amazing future time.

Another crucial element of God's plan is that the governments of the world as we know them today will cease to exist. The presidents, prime ministers, kings, congresses and other government bodies—in all their forms—will be replaced by "kings and priests" (Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 [4] And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
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), who are God's chosen people. They will not only have governmental authority as kings, but as priests they will help everyone to live a fulfilling, purposeful life of righteousness according to God's law. This is the redemption and the freedom that the creation has been waiting for:

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21 Romans 8:19-21 [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
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All those who answer God's calling today have the opportunity to be a king and a priest in the government of God. They will be part of the greatest epoch of human history—a time that the whole creation eagerly waits for, when the final chapter of God's redemption story will be carried out.