It was Jesus who said: “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”. (John 11:26) The people of the world do not yet live, nor have they had an opportunity of life; and this opportunity cannot come to mankind in general until the times of restoration begin. Then the living ones who believe on the Lord shall not die. We should keep in mind, however, that to believe means to act upon that belief, in accordance with it, and to be obedient to the new order that the Lord will establish in the earth. Furthermore Jesus said: “If any man keep my saying, he shall never see death”. (John 8:51) Men cannot keep the sayings of Jesus until they hear them; and the world cannot hear until the Lord’s due time. (1 Timothy 2:5,6) We are now entering that due time and the message of the kingdom is being given out, by the Lord’s grace, that some may hear, and hearing, may profit and live.
The majority of mankind practise unrighteousness. This is due largely to the fact of their imperfections. As the Prophet puts it, each one was born and shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. (Psalm 51:5) They have been surrounded by conditions and influences that have induced wrong-doing. A great many of these have not the power of resistance against evil; but during the reign of Messiah evil will be punished and righteousness rewarded, and evil influences restrained. Then even those who are wicked and turn from unrighteousness to righteousness shall live and shall not die. Of this God gives positive assurance through his Prophet.—Ezekiel 18:27,28.
As further proof that restoration blessings will begin with those living on the earth at the beginning of the Messianic reign, we cite the words of the prophet Job. In poetic phrase he draws a picture of mankind in a condition of suffering and sorrow, almost upon the brink of the grave. This picture describes vividly the conditions now existing in the earth. It depicts those who have a measure of life, all of whom must be brought to a knowledge of the truth. Christ is the messenger of the new covenant, through which mankind must receive the blessing. Job then pictures the appearance of this messenger of the covenant and shows that the message delivered turns many to righteousness. And those who hear, appreciate and obey the message are represented as saying, ’I have found my redeemer’; and then restitution blessings shall follow, and the old shall be restored to a condition of manly youth. Man now is filled with pride and pursues his own selfish purposes. The great time of trouble will break this pride and bring the haughty low. Note Job’s description: