Question: I keep reading in your magazine about Jesus Christ's soon-coming Millennial rule on the earth. If God knows that our world is in such a mess, and He knows that only He can make it better, why would he wait thousands of years and allow so much suffering in the meantime? A truly loving God would not wait, would He?
Answer: God is not unaware of mankind's failings, nor is He happy about them. "God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one" (Psalm 53:2 -3).
Most people assume that in spite of the wretched condition of our world, God is trying to save it—and its people—right now. But if we assume that God is trying to save mankind now, His actions may be hard to understand. More than two-thirds of people alive today do not even claim to be Christian, and most of the "Christians" do not believe or practice what Jesus taught. We know that there is no name other than Christ’s by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12), yet we know that most human beings are not now being saved by that name—and countless millions have not even heard it. If God is trying to save mankind now, He is failing miserably.
The truth is that if God were trying to save mankind now, He would be succeeding! Scripture reveals that God is only calling a relative few in our present age. These are the "firstfruits" of the saved (James 1:18; Revelation 14:4). Most people who have lived and died will not hear the true Gospel until God resurrects them to physical life in the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-12). To learn more about this wonderful aspect of God's plan, please read "Will the Dead Live Again?" on page 10 of this issue.
What purpose does this plan serve? Why not save everybody at the same time? God is creating a family, and those whom He is now calling will be married to Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:9) and will be added to His family so they can serve under Christ during the Millennium, when the whole world will be under God's government and will learn to live by His ways. To learn more about God's government, please read "God's Kingdom Is a Real Government!" on page 4 of this issue.
If Jesus Christ returned today, some would still say, "We could have ruled ourselves without Your help!" The truth is that humanity as a whole will not seek God until its ways have brought such great distress and anguish that people conclude there is no way of escaping total annihilation. Left to themselves, human beings will bring the world to the brink of cosmocide. Eventually, our world will face such a time of terrible war and devastation that unless Jesus Christ were to return, all life on the earth would be extinguished. "For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days" (Mark 13:19-20). Until then, God is allowing human beings to prove for themselves that their selfish ways bring only misery, suffering and destruction.
However, as noted above, God is calling only a relatively few people right now. Those whom He is calling will have the amazing opportunity to become "firstfruits"—the first group of human beings to enter into His family as glorified Spirit beings—to assist Jesus Christ in ruling the nations. So: "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6 -7).