“They Will Hunger No More”
1. How serious is the world’s concern over food?
ONE of the principal problems facing the world today concerns food. High prices cause difficulties for many. Actual starvation confronts others. It was recently reported that each year 40 million people—in some years as many as 50 million—die because they do not have the food they need. About ten times that number suffer severe malnutrition. Although some countries produce much more than they can eat, political rivalry and commercial greed often thwart efforts to make the surplus available to those who need it most.—Compare Revelation 6:5, 6.
2. Even in lands where there is an abundance, why do people have reason to be concerned?
2 Even lands that seem to have an abundance face a disturbing future. Why? The current methods of farming often depend on petroleum, and the global supply is not unlimited. Heavy reliance on commercial fertilizers is polluting their water supplies. The excessive use of pesticides, meant to safeguard crops, is also destroying organisms on which future productivity of the soil depends. In nearly every field of human endeavor, serious problems continue to multiply. Aurelio Peccei, president of an international forum of intellectuals, likened the world to “a ricocheting bullet as it careens from disaster to disaster.” Is it being realistic to pin one’s hopes for the future on a world with such a record?—Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12.
3. Who is able to guarantee plenty of food for all mankind, and what gives you that confidence?
3 Sensibly, millions of persons have faced up to their need for the help that only God can give. Having examined Bible prophecy, they know that Jehovah God has already enthroned his heavenly Son Jesus Christ and has given him all the earth as his possession. (Psalm 2:7, 8) He has the wisdom and the ability to guarantee that all mankind will be generously supplied from earth’s produce. (Psalm 72:7, 8, 16; Colossians 1:15-17) When the present selfish system is removed, Christ will direct the efforts of human survivors so that all the earth will become a fruitful Paradise.
4. To benefit from those physical provisions, what must we do now?
4 The ones who will lastingly benefit from his rule, however, are those who discern that man does not live on bread alone, persons who appreciate spiritual values and the vital need to draw strength from learning and doing God’s will. The Bible repeatedly highlights the importance of this. (John 4:34; 6:27; Jeremiah 15:16) Jesus emphasized it when he said: “It is written, ‘Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.’” (Matthew 4:4) We need such spiritual food now, if we would survive the end of the present world. How we can obtain it is illustrated for us in the Bible account concerning Joseph and his brothers.
“GO TO JOSEPH”
5. How did Joseph come to be a slave in Egypt?
5 God gave to Joseph, a great-grandson of Abraham, dreams indicating that Joseph would have a prominent role in life. Because of this, as well as the fact that he was specially loved by his father, Joseph’s ten half brothers hated Joseph. They plotted to kill him but finally sold him as a slave, and he was taken to Egypt. How was God’s purpose regarding Joseph going to work out now?—Genesis 37:3-11, 28.
6. (a) How was Pharaoh’s attention directed to Joseph? (b) What were the dreams that disturbed Pharaoh?
6 When Joseph was 30 years of age, Jehovah caused Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, to have two dreams that troubled him. In the first he saw seven cows “beautiful in appearance and fat-fleshed,” also seven other cows “ugly in appearance and thin-fleshed.” The skinny cows proceeded to eat the fat ones. In another dream Pharaoh saw seven ears of grain on one stalk, “fat and good,” and seven other ears that were “thin and scorched by the east wind.” Again, the thin ones consumed the fat ones. What did it all mean? None of the wise men of Egypt were able to interpret the dreams. But Pharaoh’s cupbearer recalled that, when he had been in prison, a fellow prisoner, Joseph, had correctly interpreted dreams. Promptly Pharaoh summoned Joseph.—Genesis 41:1-15.
7. (a) How did Joseph become the food administrator for Egypt? (b) When the famine became severe, what did the Egyptians do in order to keep living?
7 Claiming no credit for himself, Joseph told Pharaoh: “The dream of Pharaoh is but one. What the true God is doing he has told to Pharaoh.” (Genesis 41:16, 25) Joseph explained that the second dream meant the same as the first and emphasized its certainty. Seven years of plenty in Egypt were to be followed by seven of famine. He advised Pharaoh to put a capable man in charge of storing grain during the years of plenty in preparation for the famine. Recognizing that God himself had evidently disclosed all of this to Joseph, Pharaoh appointed Joseph as food administrator, giving him authority in Egypt second only to that of Pharaoh himself. Just as predicted, the seven years of unusual abundance came, and Joseph had tremendous quantities of foodstuffs stored away. Then the foretold famine tightened its grip on the land. When the people pleaded with Pharaoh for bread, he answered: “Go to Joseph. Whatever he says to you, you are to do.” So Joseph sold them grain—first paid for with money, then with their livestock, and finally in exchange for themselves and their land. To continue living, they had to give themselves over completely to the service of Pharaoh.—Genesis 41:26-49, 53-56; 47:13-26.
8. (a) To obtain needed foodstuffs, what was required of Joseph’s half brothers? (b) Why has the record of this been preserved?
8 The famine also affected the lands around Egypt. Eventually Joseph’s own half brothers came down from Canaan. Over 20 years had passed since they had sold him into slavery, and they did not recognize him. They bowed before him, as Joseph’s dreams had long previously foretold, and sought to obtain foodstuffs. (Genesis 37:6, 7; 42:5-7) Skillfully Joseph put them to the test and saw convincing evidence that their attitude toward him and their father had indeed changed. Finally he identified himself and explained that it was actually “for the preservation of life” that God had sent him to Egypt ahead of them. At his direction, they moved their father and their families into Egypt. (Genesis 45:1-11) All of this was recorded for our benefit, and its prophetic significance involves events in our day.—Romans 15:4.
SATISFYING OUR HUNGER AND THIRST NOW
9. (a) What accounts for the spiritual famine in the world today? (b) Why is this one of the root causes of mankind’s problems?
9 One of the root causes of mankind’s problems is spiritual famine. Because they have abandoned Jehovah, he does not favor them with understanding of his Word, and, as a result, they experience “a famine, not for bread, and a thirst, not for water, but for hearing the words of Jehovah.” (Amos 8:11) Spiritually famished people grope for answers to such vital questions as: What is the meaning of life? Why do people die? Is there any real hope for the future? Crazed from spiritual hunger, such people often hurt themselves and others as they engage in immoral and criminal conduct to satisfy their cravings.
10. (a) In fulfillment of Isaiah 65:13, 14, what condition exists among Jehovah’s servants? (b) When are the periods of spiritual famine and of spiritual plenty?
10 In contrast, Jehovah has given spiritual abundance to his loyal servants, and genuine love exists among them. He has opened to their understanding the satisfying spiritual truths in his inspired Word and has given them work to do as his witnesses. They gladly share these truths with others who are spiritually hungry and seeking life in relationship with God. (Isaiah 65:13, 14; Luke 6:21) Back in ancient Egypt the seven years of famine followed the seven of plenty. But in our day the periods of spiritual famine and of spiritual abundance run concurrently.
11. (a) Who are pictured by Pharaoh and by Joseph, and why so? (b) How is the course taken by the “great crowd” like that of the famine-stricken Egyptians?
11 Today it is not Pharaoh who is ruler. Jehovah God, the Greater Pharaoh, is Universal Sovereign. He has granted to Jesus Christ authority second only to his own. As the Greater Joseph, Jesus is the One to whom Jehovah has entrusted responsibility to dispense life-sustaining spiritual food. The religious and secular philosophies of the world have left mankind with gnawing spiritual hunger. Only by turning to Jesus Christ and obtaining spiritual food in the way that he directs can they be sustained. Millions of persons, pictured by the famine-stricken Egyptians, are doing that. Through Jesus Christ they are fully dedicating themselves to Jehovah for all time, and thus they are included in the great crowd of prospective survivors of the coming day of divine wrath.
12. (a) How does Jesus in heaven make spiritual food available to us here on earth? (b) What convinces you as to the identity of “the faithful and discreet slave”?
12 But Jesus is in heaven. How does he provide spiritual food to benefit us here on earth? He foretold that he would do so through his “faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45-47) This is a composite “slave,” made up of his congregation of spirit-anointed ones while still on earth. (Compare Isaiah 43:10.) A remnant of these are still on the earthly scene. This true Christian congregation is easily identifiable by comparison of its teachings and practices with the Bible. It genuinely teaches what Jesus commanded. Therefore it is not involved in the political affairs of the world, but all its members are public proclaimers of God’s Kingdom. They are not split up among the sects of Christendom. They are united, as Jesus said they would be—all of them Jehovah’s Witnesses in imitation of their Lord. (See John 17:16, 20, 21; Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20; Revelation 1:5.) They enjoy spiritual abundance and are very willing to share it with others.
13. (a) In what ways have many persons shown themselves to be like Joseph’s ten half brothers? (b) How can all of us benefit from the spiritual food provided by Christ through the “slave” class?
13 Many people have ridiculed these anointed Christians, saying: ‘Do you think you are better than we are? Do you think you are the only ones who are right?’ But in time some humbly recognize that Jehovah truly does have witnesses on the earth and that they really proclaim His word. They come to appreciate that the Bible shows there would be only one true Christian congregation and that its members would be united. (Ephesians 4:5; Romans 12:5) An honest and humble examination of the facts has led them to that organization. Joseph’s ten half brothers foreshadowed such persons, who previously persecuted Jesus’ anointed followers or who gave moral support to such persecutors but who now demonstrate a genuine change of heart. (John 13:20) Gratefully they accept the spiritual food provided by Jesus Christ through his ‘faithful slave’ class. They gain spiritual strength as they feed on Bible truths discussed in Watch Tower publications, regularly attend the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses and share actively in doing God’s will. Are you one of these humble ones?—Hebrews 10:23-25; compare John 4:34.
14. What spiritual conditions are enjoyed by those who live in harmony with the principles learned from this Bible drama?
14 Happy refreshment is enjoyed by all who thus lovingly put their lives at the disposal of their Creator through Jesus Christ. Spiritually, “they will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, . . . because the Lamb [Jesus Christ], who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life.”—Revelation 7:16, 17; Isaiah 25:6-9.