Today, many people live in a materialistic world of affluence and abundance. More people enjoy a higher standard of living today than at any other time in human history. Yet with more money in our pockets and more time on our hands, millions of people still find life empty and meaningless. More and more people today are finding that money, material things and searching for the ultimate experience simply do not provide lasting happiness, remove the emptiness or provide meaningful answers to the big questions of life: Why was I born? Why am I here? Why do I exist? What is the real purpose of life? What happens when I die?
Those who take time to look beyond themselves soon notice the tremendous inequities in our modern world, and wonder: Why do millions of human beings suffer from a lack of food, lack of fresh water, lack of sanitation and inadequate shelter? Why are so many people exploited and abused by corrupt leaders in failing countries? Why are wars and deliberate acts of horrific violence and terrorism proliferating around the world? Why is there no peace? Millions want a better world, but know they cannot make it happen. Why, then, does God fail to intervene—if indeed there is a God?
Few people find satisfaction in the vague answers they hear from most religious leaders and secular philosophers. To hear that human beings are merely "trousered apes"—nothing more than bags of DNA struggling to survive in a purposeless universe, awaiting eternal nothingness at death—does not provide an inspiring reason to live. On the other hand, it seems like purposeless fantasy to believe that the goal of life is to spend eternity sitting on a cloud, playing a harp. To hear that "God is love"—and then to witness all the evil and inequality in the world—simply does not add up. Tragically, many today have been led to believe that these answers are "as good as it gets."
But this is nonsense! Most people who assume that these are the best answers to life's big questions have never heard the real answers that God recorded in the Bible! Many theologians either do not know or do not believe what the Bible actually says about life's big questions. Because of our society's prejudice against the supernatural, fostered by biblical scholars who do not believe in the personal and all-powerful God of the Bible, millions have been conditioned to be skeptical of whatever Scripture might reveal about these subjects. However, the Bible provides real answers to life's big questions!
The Purpose of Life
Contrary to popular modern notions that life emerged from hot slimy pools of pre-biotic soup (akin to an idea espoused by pagan Greek philosophers) and that human beings evolved from an ape-like ancestor (as postulated by the disciples of Charles Darwin), the Bible reveals that God created human beings in His own image (Genesis 1:26–28). Whether or not you can believe this statement will depend on whether you can accept the plentiful evidence that the Bible is truly the word of God. According to Scripture, human beings were not created to amuse the gods, as some ancient philosophers assumed. The Bible reveals that God created humans so that they could learn to manage the earth (Genesis 1:26–28; 2:15), and build character by learning to discern right from wrong (Genesis 2:16–17). According to Scripture, God established the institutions of marriage and family (Genesis 2:18–24). He also established roles in marriage and revealed important guidelines so that these divinely ordained institutions would function smoothly and successfully (Matthew 19:3–9; Ephesians 5:22–33; 6:1–4; 1 Timothy 2:8–15; 1 Peter 3:1–7).
The reason for the biblical emphasis on learning to manage our own lives, and on functioning smoothly in marriage and family, is that we have been created to become members of God's spiritual family (see Romans 8:15–17; Hebrews 2:5–11; 1 John 3:1–3). If we qualify to become members of that spiritual family, we will reign with Jesus Christ when He returns to establish the kingdom of God on earth (see Revelation 1:4–6; 5:10). The Bible, when properly understood, clearly reveals that we do not fly off to heaven when we die (see John 3:13; Acts 2:29, 34; 13:36). When you understand what Scripture actually reveals about the purpose of life, you can begin to understand why the teachings of today's "mainstream" Christianity are not very satisfying or convincing. To learn more about the real purpose of life as it is revealed in Scripture, request our free booklet, Your Ultimate Destiny.
The Plan of God
But what is the cause of the human suffering that has occurred down through time? Why is there so much evil in the world? Why does God allow it? If there is a God, why does He fail to act? People ask these questions because they do not understand that God is working out a plan and a purpose on this earth. Scripture reveals His plan, and it is pictured in the Holy Days that He commanded His people to observe (Leviticus 23). God's plan reveals not only the cause of, but also the solution to, the problems we see in our world.
Many today do not believe in God's existence, but even fewer believe that Satan is real. However, Scripture reveals quite a bit about this spirit being. The Bible reveals that Satan was originally an "anointed cherub" covering the throne of God, who sinned, "became filled with violence" and led a rebellion against God involving one-third of the angels (see Ezekiel 28:1–19; Isaiah 14:12–17; Jude 6; Revelation 12:4). We see so much evil in the world today because Satan is the "god of this age… who deceives the whole world" by influencing people to reject the instructions and way of life that God has revealed in the Bible (2 Corinthians 4:3–4: Ephesians 2:1–2). You need to read these scriptures for yourself to verify what the Bible actually says about this individual who has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9).
The biblical Holy Days picture the major steps in God's plan of salvation. Those steps reveal that Jesus Christ came to die for the sins of mankind, to replace Satan as the god of this world. Jesus then raised up His Church (Acts 2)—called the "Church of God" (1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1)—to preach the gospel of God's kingdom to the world (Mark 16:15) and to prepare a group of believers to become the "firstfruits" (James 1:18; Romans 8:23; Revelation 14:1–5) who will reign with Him in the coming kingdom of God for a thousand years—a period called the Millennium (Revelation 20:4–6).
The Bible also reveals that when Christ returns, Satan will be bound and put out of commission (Revelation 20:1–2). This is how God will eliminate evil, and will use the individuals whom He has prepared to solve the world's problems. This will all happen according to God's plan, which is revealed in Scripture. To learn more about God's great plan for humanity, request our free booklet The Holy Days: God's Master Plan. To learn more about the Church that began with Jesus Christ—and the remarkable and perilous course it has traveled through the centuries—request our booklet, God's Church Through the Ages.
The Age to Come
But what is the real hope for the future? Why should we struggle against the trials and temptations of this world? What is the value of learning to live by God's laws and the Bible's instructions? The answers emerge when we understand what the Bible reveals about the kingdom of God, and why it is called the "gospel." The word "gospel" means "good news" and the biblical message about the kingdom of God is good news—it is exciting news! The gospel of the kingdom of God, as described in the Bible, is not about some warm fuzzy feeling in your heart. It is about a coming world government that Jesus Christ will establish on this earth.
The Bible clearly reveals that Jesus will return to Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4). He will take charge of the kingdoms of this world (Revelation 11:15–18) and set up a world government that will bring true justice and lasting peace to this planet. Jesus will be aided by the saints, individuals who understand the laws of God and have learned to function within the family of God, who will serve as civil and religious leaders—"kings and priests" (Revelation 5:10). God's government will bring peace and justice to the earth (Isaiah 9:6–7). The saints will also function as teachers (Isaiah 30:20–21) who will explain the laws of God (Isaiah 2:2–4), show people the way to peace (Psalm 119:165) and help them understand the real causes of strife and war (James 4:1–4). Christians are urged to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord" (2 Peter 3:18) so that they will be prepared to rule with Christ in this coming kingdom.
The Bible reveals that in the coming kingdom of God, rebuilt cities will promote a sense of community and will be in harmony with the environment (Isaiah 61:4; 11:6–9; Amos 9:14–15). Our polluted planet will be restored and made productive (Isaiah 35:1–7; Amos 9:13). The global curse of disease will be eliminated as people learn to live by the Bible's personal and public health laws (see Leviticus 3:17; 7:23–27; 11:1–47). The peoples of the world will learn to speak one language (Zephaniah 3:9), and "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). The Bible speaks of the coming kingdom of God as the "times of refreshing" in which there will be a "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:19–20). The Apostle Paul called this "the world to come" or "the age to come" (Hebrews 2:5). We also call it Tomorrow's World. The Bible holds out these scriptural teachings as our real hope for the future!
Modern critics scoff at taking Scripture literally, at face value. Many preachers do not even mention the exciting biblical information we have covered in this booklet. Instead, most willingly overlook or even ignore what history reveals about the teachings and beliefs of the early Church. Historian Edward Gibbon wrote: "The ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ… a joyful Sabbath of a thousand years; and that Christ, with the triumphant band of the saints and the elect… would reign upon earth… The assurance of such a Millennium was carefully inculcated by a succession of fathers from Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, who conversed with the immediate disciples… Though it might not be universally received, it appears to have been the reigning sentiment of the orthodox believers; and it seems so well adapted to the desires and apprehensions of mankind, that it must have contributed in a very considerable degree to the progress of the Christian faith" (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon, vol. 1, pp. 187–188).
Gibbon wrote plainly that early Christians believed and taught about the Millennium—the coming kingdom of God. The Bible's exciting and inspiring gospel of God's kingdom motivated believers and spurred the growth of the early Church. However, Gibbon also recorded how early theologians, influenced by pagan philosophy—believing they knew better than God's inspired word—gradually watered down this important teaching of Scripture and then explained it away, first calling it allegory, then calling it heresy. Millions have lost sight of—or have never heard—the real biblical answers to life's big questions, because most scholars and religious leaders have rejected—or never heard—those answers! This is one reason why so many today find life empty and meaningless.