What has the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants longed for and waited for generation after generation? Hasn’t it been for freedom, peace, security, contentment, prosperity and happiness? Yet what have they often received, especially from autocratic leaders? Has it not been oppression, turmoil, discontent, poverty, grief and sadness (Matthew 20:25 Matthew 20:25But Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them.
American King James Version×)?
Even in nations with representative democracies, people observe how politicians stand up and promise that a new administration or new programs or better laws will provide the populace what they need and want. But then the voters watch as these newly elected officials in whom they had placed their trust so often fail to keep their promises. Or that corruption, duplicity and unethical behavior arises. Citizens then become distrustful or cynical about government. Others think that better results can only come from the next election, or a different political party or fresh candidate, or through the succeeding generation of leaders. But what often happens? The same tired, old story repeats itself over and over again, while people keep waiting for genuine, needed change.
In 2006, singer/songwriter John Mayer released a song titled, “Waiting On the World to Change” in which he portrayed the sense of dismay and frustration felt by many people regarding what they see in the world around them. History records that many additional writers and poets have conveyed similar depictions. However, the Eternal Creator inspired the prophet Isaiah to perfectly express people’s deepest feelings about this circumstance when he wrote, “Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us; we look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places” (Isaiah 59:9-10 Isaiah 59:9-10 9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither does justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
American King James Version×).
Although the people of the world are spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×), our great God has revealed through His Word that they will ultimately be rescued out of this dismally inadequate condition. He has prepared a flawless plan that will bring about a wonderful society where people’s real needs and desires will be fulfilled. This magnificent blueprint will start unfolding on the very day of Jesus Christ’s second coming: “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness” (Isaiah 29:18 Isaiah 29:18And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
American King James Version×).
God’s promise of spiritual deliverance
But until God’s Kingdom comes, the people of the world must wait for their time of promised liberation. And as they wait, did you know that there is another group of people who are also waiting on the world to change? They are brethren in the Church of God who greatly anticipate the fulfillment of His promises (2 Corinthians 5:1-4 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed on with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed on, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
American King James Version×). The apostle Paul wrote: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23 Romans 8:22-23 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
He has prepared a flawless plan that will bring about a wonderful society where people’s real needs and desires will be fulfilled.
Christians do not idly wait for the Kingdom. Instead they zealously strive to carry out Jesus’ instruction to “preach the gospel” (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×), to “make disciples” and educate people “to observe all things” that He taught (Matthew 28:19-20 Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×). Since He said in Luke 10:2 Luke 10:2Therefore said he to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
American King James Version×that “the laborers” who perform this momentous work are “few,” we are very grateful for our coworkers and readers of the United News as they assist in the Church’s commission financially and/or with their prayers.
But coworkers and donors also have the opportunity to “grow in the grace and knowledge” of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×). This is why we sincerely encourage our wonderful coworkers and readers to take their support of the Church to the next level by making “God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience” (2 Peter 1:10 2 Peter 1:10Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:
American King James Version×, Good News Translation). This can be accomplished by being baptized, receiving the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit and joining in regular fellowship with members of the Church at Sabbath services. Doing so brings numerous blessings today as they too join those waiting for the future fulfillment of God’s promises.
Certainly all of us were preceded in this waiting period by other faithful individuals who, during past ages, also waited for God’s redemption. For instance, the patriarch Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10 Hebrews 11:10For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
American King James Version×). And others who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (verse 13).
You and I recognize, as did Christians who came before us, that we dwell in a civilization that is not of God’s making. It is a society where sin piles up higher and higher, and where character, righteousness and truth are becoming rare (Hosea 4:6 Hosea 4:6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
American King James Version×; 2 Timothy 3:1-5 2 Timothy 3:1-5 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
American King James Version×). So while we must live in the world and yet be “not of the world,” we must wait patiently for our eventual deliverance (John 17:14 John 17:14I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
American King James Version×; Romans 8:25 Romans 8:25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
American King James Version×). King David declared, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalms 27:14 Psalms 27:14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
American King James Version×).
Often our waiting is accompanied by troubles and trials. Suffering and adversity have always been a part of virtuous people’s lives. The travails of another pioneer in the faith, the patriarch Job, is emblematic of the ordeals encountered by many of God’s people today. Job withstood tremendous pressure but waited steadfastly for the fulfillment of God’s promises. He knew that, even in the grave, his future was completely secure. “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes” (Job 14:14 Job 14:14If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
American King James Version×).
Waiting with fervent desire
After seeing various biblical examples of those who stood firm during trials, now let’s look at what exactly they were waiting for with such fervent desire? What was so precious to them that they were willing to endure so much—including extreme persecution and even death (Matthew 5:12 Matthew 5:12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
American King James Version×; John 15:20 John 15:20Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
American King James Version×)? Similarly, why do you and I strongly reject the ways of this lawless society (Ephesians 4:20-24 Ephesians 4:20-24 20 But you have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
American King James Version×)? Why do we keep striving, enduring and yes, waiting? The scriptures provide the answers.
Paul explained that God “will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever” (Romans 2:7 Romans 2:7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:
American King James Version×, Contemporary English Version). He also wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
American King James Version×). Indeed, we now await the greatest event that could ever occur in the life of a human being—that of being changed into spirit composition and welcomed into God’s own family (Romans 8:16-17 Romans 8:16-17 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
American King James Version×, 29; Hebrews 2:10-11 Hebrews 2:10-11 10 For 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. 11 For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
American King James Version×).
The Father will grant everyone repentance and provide His gift of the Holy Spirit.
Another momentous reason we wait with such intense anticipation is that we look eagerly toward Jesus Christ’s second coming and what it heralds for the world’s suffering people. At that time, He will have Satan and the demons imprisoned for 1,000 years so they can no longer deceive and corrupt humanity (Revelation 20:1-2 Revelation 20:1-2 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
American King James Version×). He will also install God’s divine government on earth which will fully replace deficient human rulership (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×; Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
American King James Version×). Christ will also begin educating every person in the true knowledge of God’s way of life (Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×; Micah 4:2 Micah 4:2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain 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.
American King James Version×). Isaiah wrote: “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
American King James Version×). Furthermore, the Father will grant everyone repentance and provide His gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:18 Acts 11:18When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God also to the Gentiles granted repentance to life.
American King James Version×; Jeremiah 31:33 Jeremiah 31:33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×). “I’ll place My spirit within you, empowering you to live according to My regulations and to keep My just decrees” (Ezekiel 36:27 Ezekiel 36:27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
American King James Version×, International Standard Version).
Finally, Jesus’ reign as Sovereign over the Kingdom of God on Earth will bring the peace, prosperity, security and happiness that people throughout history have long sought (Isaiah 9:7 Isaiah 9:7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
American King James Version×; Psalms 119:165 Psalms 119:165Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.
American King James Version×). All those who had been called out of the world by the Father and remained faithful to Him will hear the following joyful proclamation by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34 Matthew 25:34Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
American King James Version×). And with those words, we will know that we no longer need to be “waiting on the world to change!”