“There is going to be a resurrection.”—ACTS 24:15.
SONG 151 He Will Call
1. Why did Jehovah create life?
THERE was a time when Jehovah was alone. But he was not lonely. He was complete in every way. Nevertheless, God wanted others to enjoy life. Motivated by love, Jehovah began creating.—Ps. 36:9; 1 John 4:19.
2. How did Jesus and the angels feel about Jehovah’s creative works?
2 First, Jehovah created a fellow worker. Then, by means of this first Son, “all other things were created,” including millions of intelligent spirit creatures. (Col. 1:16) Jesus rejoiced at the opportunity to work with his Father. (Prov. 8:30) And the angelic sons of God also had reason to rejoice. They had front-row seats, as it were, when Jehovah and his Master Worker, Jesus, made the heavens and the earth. How did the angels respond? They “began shouting in applause” when the earth was formed, and they no doubt continued to applaud each of Jehovah’s creative works, including his final masterpiece, humans. (Job 38:7; Prov. 8:31, ftn.) Each of these creations revealed Jehovah’s love and wisdom.—Ps. 104:24; Rom. 1:20.
3. As indicated at 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, what does Jesus’ ransom sacrifice make possible?
3 Jehovah intended for the human family to enjoy everlasting life on the beautiful planet that he had created. But when Adam and Eve rebelled against their loving Father, sin and death cast a shadow over the earth. (Rom. 5:12) How did Jehovah respond? Immediately, he stated how he would rescue mankind. (Gen. 3:15) Jehovah purposed to provide a ransom that would make it possible for Adam and Eve’s children to be freed from sin and death. He could then allow each person to choose to serve Him and to receive everlasting life.—John 3:16; Rom. 6:23; read 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.
4. What questions will we consider in this article?
4 God’s promise to resurrect the dead raises a number of questions. For example, how will the resurrection likely take place? Will we be able to recognize our loved ones when they are brought back to life? In what ways will the resurrection bring us joy? And how can meditating on the resurrection build our appreciation for Jehovah’s love, wisdom, and patience? Let us consider each of those questions.
HOW WILL THE RESURRECTION LIKELY TAKE PLACE?
5. Why is it reasonable to believe that people will be resurrected in an orderly, gradual manner?
5 When Jehovah through his Son resurrects countless millions, we may assume that not all of them will come back to life at the same time. Why not? Because an explosion in the earth’s population would likely cause chaos. And Jehovah never does anything in a disorganized, chaotic way. He knows that for peace to last, order must be maintained. (1 Cor. 14:33) Jehovah God was wise and patient when he worked with Jesus to prepare the earth in a gradual manner before creating mankind. In turn, Jesus will display those same qualities during the Thousand Year Reign when he works with Armageddon survivors as they prepare the earth to receive resurrected ones.
6. According to Acts 24:15, who will be among those resurrected by Jehovah?
6 Most important of all, those who survive Armageddon will need to teach resurrected ones about God’s Kingdom and about Jehovah’s requirements. Why? Because the majority of those who return to life will be among “the unrighteous.” (Read Acts 24:15.) They will have to make many changes in order to benefit from Christ’s ransom. Just think of the work involved in teaching the truth about God to millions of people who have no knowledge of Jehovah. Will each person receive individual instruction, similar to the way we conduct Bible studies today? Will these new ones be assigned to congregations and be trained to teach those who are resurrected after them? We will have to wait and see. We do know, however, that by the end of Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, “the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah.” (Isa. 11:9) What a busy but enjoyable thousand years that will be!
7. Why will God’s people have fellow feeling when teaching resurrected ones?
7 During the Thousand Year Rule of Christ, all of Jehovah’s earthly children will have to make changes to please him. So all of them will have true fellow feeling as they help the resurrected ones to combat sinful tendencies and to live by Jehovah’s standards. (1 Pet. 3:8) No doubt those who come back to life will be drawn to Jehovah’s humble people, who will also be “working out [their] own salvation.”—Phil. 2:12.
WILL WE BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THOSE WHO ARE RESURRECTED?
8. Why is it reasonable to assume that those greeting resurrected individuals will be able to recognize their loved ones?
8 For a number of reasons, we can assume that those greeting resurrected individuals will be able to recognize their loved ones. For instance, based on resurrections that have already occurred, it seems that Jehovah will re-create people so that they look, speak, and think in the same way as they did shortly before they died. Remember that Jesus likened death to sleep and the resurrection to being awakened from sleep. (Matt. 9:18, 24; John 11:11-13) When people awaken from sleep, they look and sound the same as when they went to sleep, and they retain their memory. Consider the example of Lazarus. He had been dead for four days, so his body had begun to decay. Yet, when Jesus resurrected him, his sisters immediately recognized him, and Lazarus obviously remembered them.—John 11:38-44; 12:1, 2.
9. Why will resurrected ones not come back with a perfect mind and body?
9 Jehovah promises that no one living under Christ’s rule will say: “I am sick.” (Isa. 33:24; Rom. 6:7) Thus, those who are raised from the dead will be re-created with healthy bodies. However, they will not immediately be perfect. If they were, they might seem unfamiliar to their loved ones. It seems that all mankind will gradually grow to perfection during the Thousand Year Reign of Christ. It is only at the end of the thousand years that Jesus will hand the Kingdom back to his Father. Then the Kingdom will have accomplished its work completely, including the raising of mankind to a perfect state.—1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:1-3.
IN WHAT WAYS WILL THE RESURRECTION BRING US JOY?
10. How will the resurrection affect you?
10 Imagine what it will be like to greet your loved ones again. Will the joy you feel make you laugh or cry? Will you fill the air with songs of praise to Jehovah? One thing is certain, you will feel intense love for your caring Father and his unselfish Son because of the wonderful gift of the resurrection.
11. According to Jesus’ words recorded at John 5:28, 29, what will those who live by God’s righteous standards experience?
11 Imagine the joy that those who are resurrected will feel as they strip off their old personality and live according to God’s righteous standards. Those who make these changes will experience a resurrection of life. On the other hand, those who rebel against God will not be allowed to disrupt the peace of Paradise.—Isa. 65:20; read John 5:28, 29.
12. In what way will all those on earth be blessed by Jehovah?
12 Under Kingdom rule, all of God’s people will experience the truthfulness of what Proverbs 10:22 says: “It is the blessing of Jehovah that makes one rich, and He adds no pain with it.” With Jehovah’s spirit at work on them, God’s people will become spiritually rich, that is, they will become more and more like Christ and will grow toward perfection. (John 13:15-17; Eph. 4:23, 24) Each day they will become stronger, better people. What a joy life will be then! (Job 33:25) How, though, can meditating on the resurrection help you now?
APPRECIATE JEHOVAH’S LOVE
13. In line with Psalm 139:1-4, how will the resurrection show just how much Jehovah knows about us?
13 As we discussed earlier, when Jehovah resurrects people, he will restore their memories and the personality traits that made them who they were. Just think of what that implies. Jehovah loves you so much that he is keeping track of all that you think, feel, say, and do. So if he had to resurrect you, he would easily be able to restore your memories, attitude, and personality traits. King David was aware of just how interested Jehovah is in each one of us. (Read Psalm 139:1-4.) In what way can understanding how well Jehovah knows us affect us now?
14. In what way should we be affected when meditating on how well Jehovah knows us?
14 When we meditate on how well Jehovah knows us, we should not feel worried. Why not? Remember that Jehovah deeply cares for us. He cherishes the traits that make each one of us unique. He carefully notes the experiences in our life that make us who we are. What a comforting thought! Never should we feel that we are alone. Each minute of every day, Jehovah is right beside us, looking for opportunities to help us.—2 Chron. 16:9.
APPRECIATE JEHOVAH’S WISDOM
15. How does the resurrection give evidence of Jehovah’s wisdom?
15 The threat of death is a powerful weapon. Those under Satan’s control use it to force people to betray their friends or to give up their convictions. But that threat is powerless against us. We know that if our enemies kill us, Jehovah will restore us to life. (Rev. 2:10) We are convinced that nothing they do can sever our attachment to Jehovah. (Rom. 8:35-39) What remarkable wisdom Jehovah has shown by giving us the resurrection hope! By means of it, he disarms Satan of one of his most effective weapons and at the same time arms us with unbreakable courage.
16. What questions do you need to ask yourself, and how can the answers help you to know how much you trust in Jehovah?
16 If enemies of Jehovah threaten you with death, will you be willing to entrust him with your life? How can you know? One way is to ask yourself, ‘Do the small decisions I make each day give evidence that I trust in Jehovah?’ (Luke 16:10) Another question could be, ‘Does my lifestyle prove that I trust in Jehovah’s promise to care for my material needs if I seek his Kingdom first?’ (Matt. 6:31-33) If the answer to those questions is yes, then you prove that you trust in Jehovah, and you will be prepared for any trial that comes your way.—Prov. 3:5, 6.
APPRECIATE JEHOVAH’S PATIENCE
17. (a) How does the resurrection show that Jehovah is patient? (b) How can we show our appreciation for Jehovah’s patience?
17 Jehovah has a fixed day and hour when he will bring an end to this old system. (Matt. 24:36) He will not become impatient and act before that time. He has a longing to resurrect the dead, but he is patient. (Job 14:14, 15) He is waiting until the right time arrives to raise them to life. (John 5:28) We have good reasons to appreciate Jehovah’s patience. Just think: Because Jehovah is patient, many people, including us, have had time “to attain to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) Jehovah wants as many people as possible to have the opportunity to gain everlasting life. So let us show that we appreciate his patience. How? By earnestly looking for those who are “rightly disposed for everlasting life” and helping them to love Jehovah and serve him. (Acts 13:48) Then they will benefit from Jehovah’s patience, just as we have.
18. Why should we be patient with others?
18 Jehovah will patiently wait until the end of the thousand years before he expects us to be perfect. Until that time, Jehovah is willing to overlook our sins. Surely, then, we have reason to look for the good in others and to be patient with them. Consider the example of one sister whose husband began suffering from severe anxiety attacks and stopped attending meetings. “This was very painful for me,” she says. “Our plans for our future as a family were turned upside down.” Yet through it all, this loving wife was patient with her husband. She relied on Jehovah and never gave up. Like Jehovah, she looked past the problem and focused on the good things about her husband. She says, “My husband has wonderful qualities, and he is working to recover, little by little.” How important it is that we are patient with those in our family or congregation who are trying to overcome difficult challenges!
19. What should we be determined to do?
19 Jesus and the angels were joyful when the earth was first created. But imagine how happy they will be to see the earth full of perfect people, who love and serve Jehovah. Imagine the joy that those who were brought from the earth to heaven to rule with Christ will feel as they see mankind benefiting from their work. (Rev. 4:4, 9-11; 5:9, 10) And imagine living when tears of joy replace tears of pain, when sickness, sorrow, and death are gone forever. (Rev. 21:4) Until then, be determined to imitate your loving, wise, and patient Father. If you do, you will maintain your joy, no matter what trials you face. (Jas. 1:2-4) How thankful we can be for Jehovah’s promise that “there is going to be a resurrection”!—Acts 24:15.
SONG 141 The Miracle of Life
^ par. 5 Jehovah is a loving, wise, and patient Father. We can see those qualities both in the way he created all things and in his purpose to restore life during the resurrection. This article will discuss some questions we might have about the resurrection and will highlight how we can show appreciation for Jehovah’s love, wisdom, and patience.
^ par. 59 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A native American man who died hundreds of years ago is resurrected during the Thousand Year Rule of Christ. A brother who survived Armageddon gladly teaches the resurrected man what he needs to do to benefit from Christ’s ransom.
^ par. 61 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A brother tells his employer that there are several days in the workweek that he cannot work overtime. He explains that on those days he reserves his evenings for activities related to his worship of Jehovah. However, when he is urgently needed at other times, he is willing to work extra.