“Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land”
THE following is the public address which was delivered by the president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society to audiences in Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Philippine Islands, Japan, and other places in the Pacific Ocean area during March, April and May of 1951. Because of its cheerful theme and importance we are reproducing it here for reading enjoyment and for close study.
“In the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”—Lev. 25:9, 10.
1, 2. What is this the day for proclaiming, and what makes it fitting?
THIS is the day for liberty to be proclaimed throughout all the earth, among all races and nations. That is the reason for the message here delivered, and we purpose to show that it rests on the right foundation and sounds the right note of liberty.
2 The proclaiming of liberty denotes that people are to be made free. Its proclamation will be welcome news to all those who love justice and truth and who yearn for a true liberty for ALL mankind, and not for just their own nation or race. Since the close of World War I, in the year 1918, the hunger for liberty has been gnawing at the vitals of humanity as never before. Violent endeavors are being made by many to satisfy that hunger. For centuries great masses of people have lain under the oppression of the few, whether those few be a few men as rulers or be a few powerful nations. With conditions in the world continually growing worse, it makes the conditions of oppression seem more and more unbearable. Discontent is everywhere. Certain ideas and systems of rule have long operated, and the sense of revolt against them is growing and spreading, especially under the lash of radical agitators. The long-oppressed ones, being so many more in number, are expressing sympathy toward one another and are feeling their numerical strength. Through their representatives they are growing more outspoken and insistent in their demands.
3. What has been the result from attempts by human liberators?
3 Many sincere men have taken up the cause of the liberty of the people, but what can they offer the people? Only a human theory or scheme of liberty, which falls far short of the true liberty and leaves the people at last disappointed. At the same time many men, greedy for power, have marked the craving of the masses for release from long-established tyrannies and oppressions and have put themselves forward as liberators in order to exploit the people’s desire for liberty to their own advantage and ambitious designs. As a result the masses come under new robbers of liberty. Their plight becomes no better, if not worse, under new rulers who are slaves of their own ambition. As someone of old time with a prophetic vision nicely expressed it: “While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption.”—Quoted from 2 Peter 2:19, NW.
4. How is democracy generally regarded? How secure is it today?
4 It is quite generally thought that to have an independent government and to enjoy self-rule means real liberty. In many lands democracy, which means the rule by the people through public servants of theirs, is held to be the peak of liberty. To win the people’s support and to justify the entering of the United States of America into World War I President Wilson invented the slogan, “Make the world safe for democracy.” But today, after more than thirty years, so-called “democracy” has never been in greater peril. True, many absolute monarchies or kingdoms have disappeared since then, and yet the oppressions upon the people have not decreased nor has their freedom been enlarged.
5. Who fight against the people’s liberation? By what means?
5 There are men who have a contempt for the ability of the people to rule themselves by servants whom the people select and who draw their power from the consent of the people they govern. Certain political figures and certain religious hierarchies resent the effort of the people to gain greater liberties and to have more control of the government over them and to make their rulers answerable to the people. And so to fight against the liberation of the people, they establish totalitarian governments or personal dictatorships or strict authoritarian rule. They glorify the political state. They believe that the state has the absolute right to plan all the activities of human society and to demand the unquestioning obedience of all the citizens. Thus today mankind in general is divided between two political ideas of rule and two ideas of how far the freedom of the people may go. Hot and cold wars that are being fought over these political considerations rage and the liberties of the people are suffering great restrictions and damage. True freedom by human means appears farther off than ever, despite all the modern-day slogans.
NOT ORIGINAL WITH DEMOCRACY
6. Is it fitting to proclaim liberty also in America? If so, why?
6 The United States of America enjoys what some people call a democracy or people’s rule, and some effort is being made to popularize it among other peoples. But not all peoples seem to want the democracy or kind of democracy that the American people enjoy, for they see in it what look like serious flaws; and the way the democracy is being carried out in practice comes under criticism from many quarters. Yes, even in the United States of America, with all its worthy democratic features, the people do not enjoy the real liberty. Even there there is need for the great liberation. There as well as in all other parts of the world it is very fitting to proclaim the great message of true liberty.
7. Did the words of our subject originate with the American Republic? From whom does freedom’s spirit come?
7 It was this American Republic that popularized the famous words contained in the subject of this address. After the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on July 8, 1776, the Liberty Bell was rung from Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On this bell appears the quotation, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.—Lev. xxv, 10.” But these words are really no part of any American propaganda. They did not originate with American republicanism or democracy. They originated with THEOCRACY, which means “God’s rule”. They are not the words of man, even though uttered by the Hebrew prophet Moses. They are the words of God. The God whom the Hebrews worshiped is named “Jehovah”, and these words are a part of His law to them. It is Jehovah God who is the great Liberator and the great Proclaimer of liberty for the people. The spirit of true freedom comes down from Him. Just as one of his proclaimers of liberty wrote under inspiration: “Now Jehovah is the spirit; and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.”—2 Cor. 3:17, NW; Ps. 83:18.
8. Is the proclaiming of liberty now meant to stir up things like those in America in 1776? How do we determine our answer?
8 So the newborn man-made American Republic in 1776 merely adopted the historic words of liberty, but it did not carry out the real meaning of the words. The Republic used the words merely as a slogan to further its rebellion against the sovereignty of the British government. It mixed up these words with a political revolution, a change from a colonial status to independence as a responsible government among the family of nations. A sanguinary revolution followed, which finally made independence secure. However, our proclaiming of liberty throughout all the earth in these uneasy days is not meant to stir up any such things as those political events of 1776. When we examine the words in their original setting, we see they were the words of liberty gained by obedience to the Most High God, liberty through peaceful procedure. We see that this liberty was sounded throughout the land, not by ringing a man-made bell, but by blowing a ram’s horn, the trumpet of Jubilee.
9. What is the substance of Leviticus 25:9-13?
9 Let me quote the original words and context according to a modern translation: “You must hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it is to be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his own possessions, and each of you shall return to his own family. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you, when you must not sow, nor reap any aftergrowth in it, nor gather grapes from the undressed vines in it; for, being a jubilee, it is to be sacred for you; you must eat its produce out of the field. In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own possessions.”—Lev. 25:9-13, AT.
10, 11. (a) Why is that law of interest to us today? (b) Who began the proclamation of liberty, and who must now take it up?
10 In the sixteenth century before our common era or our Anno Domini period, the prophet Moses handed that down as God’s law to his chosen people, the nation of Israel. That law is not being kept today, and so it would have nothing more than a passing historical interest for us in these troublous years if it were not for the fact that that Jubilee law was prophetic in its meaning. It was a good thing for that ancient nation of Israel, and it was a shadow of substantial good things to come in the then distant future, but a future which is now close upon us today.
11 God, whose name alone is Jehovah and who is the great Liberator, was there making a picture of a great liberation to come, not merely to people of the nation of Israel, but to all mankind. One of his inspired proclaimers of liberty tells us this in plain words, saying: “The Law has a shadow of the good things to come.” (Heb. 10:1, NW) Also the man with whom the great movement of real liberation began referred to that ancient Jubilee prophecy and indicated that it foretold the work he was going to do. That man was a son of God, and he had come down from heaven to earth to live for thirty-three and a half years as a man in order that he might begin this liberation movement and its proclamation. His name was Jesus Christ, who was born in the royal line of David, the king of Jerusalem for many years. This Jesus Christ began the proclamation and laid the foundation for the great liberation nineteen hundred years ago. So now his true followers today must take up the joyful proclamation and must boldly sound it as with a trumpet blast to all races, peoples, nations and languages.
12. How did Jesus show authority for his liberation work, and how does his work compare with that of Moses?
12 Toward the beginning of his proclamation work or preaching, Jesus gave a public talk in the religious meeting place of his home town, Nazareth, in the land of Palestine. On that occasion the attendant of the Jewish synagogue handed him the scroll containing the book of the prophecy of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah had also made some reference to the Jubilee year of release for Jehovah’s people. So now Jesus found this passage of Isaiah’s prophecy and read it, saying: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” Then Jesus said to his listeners: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” And with that introduction he gave them a talk that made them all marvel. (Luke 4:16-22, NW) In this way Jesus Christ set out on a work of release or liberation which was to spread beyond the Jews or nation of Israel and to reach all peoples. His work of release was a work greater than that done by the ancient prophet Moses. The Law given through Moses foreshadowed this great benefit to all mankind through Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus Christ was a Greater Moses, and the ancient prophet Moses himself foretold that Jehovah God would raise up a Prophet like Moses but greater than him. That Greater Prophet was Jesus Christ, and he brings a liberation to mankind which was prefigured by the Jubilee law of release.—Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 3:19-23.
ANCIENT PATTERN OF LIBERATION
13. What led up to delivering the Jubilee law?
13 Let us then briefly examine that ancient Jubilee law and see how it means the grandest of things for us today. For more than eighty years the people of Israel, to whom the prophet Moses belonged, had been slaves under cruel, exhausting labor in the land of Egypt. Backed by mighty military power, the oppressive government was trying to wipe out these Israelites. Then Almighty God, Jehovah, sent the prophet Moses to his people and, by means of marvelous miracles, delivered the Israelites from wicked Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai in the land of Arabia. Jehovah God promised to give them the land of Palestine, and now he was leading them there. But before bringing them into the Promised Land he gave them his laws, theocratic laws, for their government when they were finally established in the Promised Land. Among the laws was this one to celebrate the Jubilee every fifty years, and it is set out in detail in Leviticus, chapter 25.
14. What problems now facing us were handled in that law? Why justly so?
14 Among the great problems facing mankind today are the distribution of the land, the preservation of the land in good condition, and the wiping out of poverty among all the people, and the putting of all members of human society on an equal level. The Jubilee law illustrated how these vital problems will be solved by the all-wise God whose name is Jehovah. He is the Author of the Jubilee law and also of its grand fulfillment upon all mankind. It was a just law. It worked no injustice and hardship even to those who up till the Jubilee year had become rich. By a miracle Jehovah God brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, and by further miracles he freed that land of the wicked, devil-worshiping people who had no right in the land. This took years, and then the distribution of the land to the Israelites took further years, fourteen years all together according to tradition, after which the land could be peacefully worked and the Jubilee system begin to count. So the land was a God-given land, and Jehovah had a right to dictate how it should be used. All the earth is his creation. He made provision, no, not for great land barons to hog the land and crowd the common people into the cities, but for every family to have a fair-sized piece of land which was to continue in that family from generation to generation. Not even the king could legally take away this ancestral inheritance from a family. One king tried to do it by underhand means and Jehovah God had him executed for it.
15. How did poverty, landlessness and slavery develop in Israel?
15 God promised the Israelites that if they kept his law there would be no poor in the land. (Deut. 15:4) But God foresaw that because of sin, imperfection and selfishness in this world many Israelites would become poor, whereas some would become rich and would selfishly want to hold onto their riches at the expense of their fellow Israelites. So he added these words: “The poor will never cease to be in your land; that is why I am commanding you to open wide your hand to your poor and needy fellow-countryman in your land.” (Deut. 15:7-11, AT) To meet their expenses some Israelites would become obliged to sell part of their ancestral land or even all of it and thus for the time become landless. Others would have to sell members of their families or sell even themselves to be slaves to their fellow Israelites or to foreigners in the Promised Land. If a relative was not able to buy back his land for him or to settle his debt and procure his release, or if meantime he did not acquire the means to secure these benefits for himself, then the Jubilee year held out bright hope for him.
16. How was the Jubilee a year of release for land and people?
16 The Jubilee year was one of release, of liberation. It took care of all these unfortunate developments, for in that year all such Israelite slaves were to be set free. All ancestral estates that had been sold were to be returned to the rightful owners, and families were to be reunited. As for the land itself, the Jubilee was a year of rest for it. Every seventh year was a sabbath year for the land, when it must lie fallow. The forty-ninth year was thus a sabbath year, but in addition to that the fiftieth year was also a sabbath year for the land, so that it got an extra year to revitalize itself. What grew of itself could be eaten, but it must not be harvested and stored up. Thus not only did the Israelites have a chance to recuperate materially and start out on a new basis, in possession of property and on a level with their fellows, but also the land had an opportunity to build up its productive strength again. By God’s blessing for their faithfulness the forty-eighth year would have yielded such a rich harvest that it would provide food for three successive years, till they reaped the crops they sowed the next year after the Jubilee.
17. How did Jehovah show Israel he took this sabbath-year law seriously?
17 Because of what this wise and loving provision foreshadowed for all mankind’s future, God took this sabbath-year and Jubilee-year arrangement seriously. For improperly keeping these sabbath years he punished the Israelites by exiling them that the God-given land might rest for seventy years while the disobedient Israelites were captives in the land of Babylon. They had sold themselves into this captivity by their sin against Jehovah’s law. But in the spirit of the sabbath-year benefits he acted mercifully as their Liberator. He broke the enemy oppressor’s power and restored them to their homeland. Here again Jehovah displayed himself as the God and Author of liberty.
18. How did the law work no unfairness to legal buyers of land and slaves? Was it carried out with revolution and bloodshed?
18 By requiring slaveholders to free their Israelite servants and by requiring buyers to restore ancestral estates to their rightful owners God committed no unfairness with those who had made legal purchases. All purchases were required to be made based on the number of years that remained till the Jubilee. Furthermore, the land all belonged to earth’s Creator. That is why his law said: “The land must not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is mine, since you are only resident aliens and serfs under me.” (Lev. 25:23, AT) They must all remember, too, that they were liberated slaves, once oppressed in Egypt and later on in Babylon. And just as Jehovah had had mercy upon them for his name’s sake and had delivered them from servitude in the enemies’ land, so they must show the divine quality of mercy and let their Israelite slaves go free on the Jubilee year in obedience to the great Liberator’s command. “For it is to me that the Israelites are slaves, being my slaves whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, I, the LORD, your God.” (Lev. 25:55, AT) Thus the entire arrangement was just and merciful. It was carried out without violent revolution and bloodshed. The Jubilee horn therefore sounded peace and joy throughout all the land.
19. How has man been enslaved by man and the land been handled?
19 This foretells a greater release from debt and slavery for mankind and a greater revitalization of the earth. And to think, it is just at our doors! That man has been enslaved by his fellow man there is no question. This is so, whether it has been done by military power, by usurpation of political power, by great monopolies, cartels and commercial and industrial systems, or by the trickery and hypocrisy of religious clergymen. Moreover, the land has been gobbled up by the selfish, the rulers and the aristocrats and the religious clergy. In recent years there has been some breaking up of the great landed estates and the distribution of these to the people. But this has been brought about with great reluctance on the part of the owners, and only by pressure from governments that favored such a policy. In Italy, the cradle of Roman Catholicism, there have been loud complaints and violent moves because of the slowness of the republican government in carrying out its election promise to distribute the land to the poverty-stricken people. One Oriental ruler has recently announced his purpose to have his large estates broken up and apportioned out to his subjects the people. But this is no part of the fulfillment of the promised Jubilee for mankind. It is only part of the desperate efforts of the rulers and systems of this world to perpetuate man’s rule of man or the people’s rule of themselves independent of Jehovah God. Even if all the workable lands of the earth were distributed among all the families of the earth, there would still remain a great liberation to be effected from mankind’s great oppressors.
THE ESSENTIALS OF TRUE FREEDOM
20. How did the great oppressor scheme to enslave all mankind?
20 The chief oppressor of the human race is Jehovah God’s great adversary, Satan the Devil. His very name Satan means “opposer”, whereas his name “Devil” means “slanderer, false accuser”. Jehovah God stands for true liberty of all his creatures. Satan the Devil stands for their enslavement. He opposes the divine purpose to free them, because this means freeing them from the Devil’s power. For this reason he slanders and falsely accuses the true and living God and wants to have all creation believe that Jehovah is the one who is the tyrant. Satan the Devil has coveted the earth as his possession, and he has sought to wrest it from God’s universal sovereignty. Satan claims all mankind as his slaves. He has challenged God to put on earth a man who would assert his independence of Satan’s rule and swear his allegiance to God and keep it faithfully under the most extreme test. He saw the opportunity to enslave all mankind in man’s original home, the garden of Eden, which lay somewhere over in the Orient in the neighborhood of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. At that time he was a son of God and was a mighty angel whom Jehovah the Creator had stationed over the first man and his wife as their “covering cherub”. (Ezek. 28:13-18) By getting control of our first parents, Adam and Eve, he could make all their offspring his slaves from birth.
21, 22. How, then, did slavery begin in God’s universe?
21 So the “covering cherub” rebelled against Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and transformed himself into Satan, or God’s opposer. Then to win over the man to join in the rebellion he now approached the man’s wife Eve. He made himself a Devil or slanderer by falsely accusing Jehovah God to her, telling her that God was keeping her in ignorance by his commandments and was holding back what would make her and Adam like gods, independent and able to decide for themselves what was right and wrong, good and bad. He said that God’s threat of death to rebels was beyond carrying out, because they certainly would not die for eating the forbidden fruit. So they should make a break for liberty and eat what they saw to be good for themselves. Thoroughly deceived by this fraudulent liberator, Eve broke God’s law and afterward gave some of the fruit to her responsible head, her husband Adam. Under inducement by his wife, Adam ate, and this act spelled his willful rebellion against his Maker and God, Jehovah.
22 In this way slavery began in God’s universe. Satan the Devil became the slave of his own selfish ambition. By their rebellion Adam and Eve lost their true liberty under God and became slaves of God’s opposer, Satan the Devil. For the sake of selfish appetite they sold us all into a slavery from which it is impossible for any of us to make ourselves free. Hence all of mankind, down to us today, have been born from slave ancestors.—Genesis, chapter 3.
23. How has Satan built up an invisible organization? For what purpose?
23 Since then Satan the Devil has built up his organization all about the earth. He not only led mankind into rebellion against the Creator but also induced spirits of heaven, angels who were once sons of God and just as holy as man’s “covering cherub” had been, to desert God’s free organization and join that of Satan the Devil. They have become devils or demons and have flooded the earth with demon worship in one form or another. Deceivers that they are, they have led men under the pious idea of worshiping their ancestors into the worshiping of demons instead of worshiping the true God. So the invisible part of Satan’s organization is superhuman and it is utterly impossible for mankind, or any government of mankind, including the United Nations, to break the power of the invisible satanic control and set men free. Resent our saying it as much as they want to, men cannot rid human society and human governments of the dominating influence and interference of Satan the Devil. He has made himself what the sacred Scriptures call him, “the god of this system of things” who blinds men’s minds to the truth. This accounts for the corruption, the decline and the fall of every man-made government that has existed on the face of the earth.—2 Cor. 4:4, NW.
24. How does mankind’s liberation come, by man, by democracy, or by what?
24 Men who lift themselves up and pose as the liberators of the people are deceiving themselves and also those who follow them as leaders. Democracies and people’s republics do not blaze the trail to freedom. It is THEOCRACY, God’s Government, his great Jubilee Kingdom, that is to deliver mankind. It will wrest this earth, God’s creation, from the grasp of the oppressive land baron, Satan the Devil, and will restore earth’s domain and its inhabitants to the sway of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, as free members of his universal family of intelligent creatures.
BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION
25, 26. Who presented himself as the Apostle of liberty? Who opposed him?
25 But there are other things besides Satan’s organization from which mankind needs to be emancipated. The son of God, “the man Christ Jesus,” plainly pointed out what these things are. He showed, too, how release from them will be brought about. He was not deceiving the people when he presented himself as the Apostle of liberty, but his heavenly Father Jehovah God sent him on this mission to give rest to mankind from all their troubles. He was anointed with his Father’s spirit. So he rightly took upon his lips the prophecy of Isaiah and applied to himself the commission there stated, “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” (Isa. 61:1, 2, AS) He was opposed, no, not specially by the political rulers Pontius Pilate and King Herod, but by the religious oppressors of the people, namely, the priests and their scribes and the religious sects of the Pharisees and Sadducees, clergymen, who, as Jesus said, “bind up heavy loads and put them upon the shoulders of mankind, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger.”—Matt. 23:1-4, NW.
26 To prevent the people’s liberation, these religious opposers wanted to kill Jesus, and he said to them: “You are from your father the Devil and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him.”—John 8:44, NW.
27. To what else did Jesus show the Jews they were slaves?
27 On this same occasion Jesus showed in what way they were slaves who could not escape by their own efforts, and how he must loose them from all enslavers. Yes, they were in the power of Satan the Devil, but they were subject besides to something more personal than the Devil. Slaveholders use lies to get the people in their power. Hence Jesus the Son of God said: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The Jews showed they felt hurt at this hint that they were slaves. And so Jesus exposed the servitude in which they were by saying: “Most truly I say to you, Every doer of sin is a slave of sin. Moreover, the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son remains forever. Therefore if the Son sets you free, you will be actually free.”—John 8:31-36, NW.
28. Despite their descent and laws, why were they still not free?
28 These words of the Son of God prove that all mankind are slaves of sin, because all are doers of sin. The Jews to whom Jesus spoke were descendants of the faithful patriarch Abraham and God had given them his law through Moses. Because of being descendants of Abraham by his free woman, his wife Sarah, the Jews thought themselves to be free, and not subject to the power of Satan the Devil. Also they tried to establish their own righteousness by keeping the law of Moses, and they had a priesthood under this law to offer animal sacrifices for their sins against the Law; and so they considered themselves righteous and not the slaves of sin. But that very law of Moses, instead of declaring the Jews to be righteous, condemned them as sinners and as being liable to God for punishment for sins. They were sinners like all the rest of the world and their mouths could not brag of self-righteousness. By that law of Moses and its ten great commandments we get the knowledge that we are, not self-righteous, but sinners unable to help ourselves. “Now we know,” says the apostle Paul, “that all the things the Law says it addresses to those under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become liable to God for punishment. Therefore by works of law no flesh will be declared righteous before him, for by law is the accurate knowledge of sin.”—Rom. 3:19, 20, NW.
29. Why are we not slaves of sin and corruption because of God’s creation?
29 How is it, then, that all the world are slaves of sin and in the bondage of corruption? It is not because all the visible, material creation is evil, corrupt, or bad in itself; it is not because the great Creator Jehovah God made man and woman evil at the start. That is an impossibility, for Jehovah God is not the source of sin, imperfection and corruption. Showing us that the fault lies with us and not with Jehovah God, we read: “His work is perfect; for all his ways are justice: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have dealt corruptly with him, they are not his children, it is their blemish.” The wise man King Solomon agrees with those words of Moses and says: “Only see this which I have found, that God made mankind upright, but they have sought out many contrivances.” (Deut. 32:4, 5, AS; Eccl. 7:29, AT) The inspired account of man’s creation informs us that God made Adam and Eve absolutely perfect, put them in the paradise of Eden, and commanded them to produce perfect children to fill this earth and to spread out their perfect paradise home to the ends of the earth. But before ever producing any children, Adam and Eve joined Satan the Devil in his rebellion and became sinners against their Creator and Lawgiver.
30. How, then, did we all become subject to sin, corruption and Satan?
30 By this they became the slaves of sin, and were driven out of the paradise of Eden into the uncultivated, unsubdued earth. Themselves now slaves of sin, they could not bring forth perfect, righteous children. Hence all of us their descendants were born as slaves to sin. From our birth we were imperfect and subject to corruption. We were also born into the wicked world of Satan the Devil, “the god of this system of things.” Consequently we were born subject to his power.—Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7, 8.
31, 32. (a) What other king has reigned, and why over all of us? (b) Why is life not through the Mosaic law, and so how is it possible?
31 Together with these circumstances another merciless king has been ruling over us and we have suffered as his subjects and been burdened down with sorrow and mourning. Who is that king who has filled our lives with such grief and heartaches? It is death, and the countless graves are a bitter testimony to his unrelenting rule. How did death become king over all mankind? It is because our first parents sinned against the great Lawgiver and Life-giver before any of us were born. God had warned the first man Adam that if he disobeyed God and sinned he would die. On the other hand, if Adam continued to obey God he would live on the paradise earth forever and would be the father of an earthful of perfect children. But Adam and his wife sold themselves into sin, and God rightfully sentenced them to death. He told the woman Eve that she would bring forth children with great pain and sorrow. Not perfect children, but imperfect, sinful children, condemned to death from their birth. For we read: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” (Job 14:4) So we were all subject to the cruel king death from our birth by being born from Adam, and not even the law of Moses proved to be a way of escape from his reign. This explains why everybody is sinful, imperfect, and dies.
32 Hence we read: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned—. For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law. Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam.” But, whereas the law of Moses only showed up all mankind, including the Jews, to be sinners, God’s undeserved kindness came to man’s rescue and provided a way for fallen mankind to gain righteousness, the reward of which is everlasting life in a righteous new world. So we read further: “But where sin abounded, undeserved kindness abounded still more. To what end? That, just as sin ruled as king with death, likewise also undeserved kindness might rule as king through righteousness with everlasting life in view through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Everlasting life in a restored world of righteousness is therefore possible only through Jesus Christ the Son of God. In proof of this fact, the foregoing Scriptural argument goes on to say: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 5:12-14, 20, 21; 6:23, NW.
THE COST OF LIBERATION
33. In what respects, then, does the Son of God actually set us free?
33 Now we can appreciate why Jesus Christ the Son of God said: “If the Son sets you free, you will be actually free.” We cannot, and no human government on earth can, free us from the slavery to sin, error, death and Satan the Devil. If the law of Moses failed to do it, then no earthly human government can make us righteous by law and give us a clean standing before God. How, then, can we be freed from the condemnation to death which rests upon us because of being born in sin? Only by what God’s undeserved kindness does for us through his Son Jesus Christ. Only through him can we gain a Jubilee rest from the slavery of sin and death under Satan the Devil. This was foreshadowed by the Jubilee-year arrangement. How?
34. (a) What day did Jubilee begin? (b) What did those sacrifices picture?
34 Mark this important fact about that prophetic law: It was on the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month, that is to say, “on the day of atonement,” that the Jubilee trumpet was to be blown, not before the sacrifice for the atonement of the people’s sin had been offered, but after. Thus the Jubilee year could not begin until first the sins of the entire people of Israel against the law of God had been atoned for by the sacrifices made at God’s temple by his priests. (Lev. 25:9, AT) Those atonement sacrifices on the atonement day all pictured the one sufficient sacrifice which the “man Christ Jesus” as High Priest would offer to God for the sins of all mankind. This sacrifice was not some lower animal like a bull or a sheep or a goat, but was his own human life; and he presented the value of this human sacrifice, not in the temple in Jerusalem on earth, but in heaven itself, in God’s very presence, for Jehovah God does not reside in man-made temples on earth. On this we read: “He entered, no, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but with his own blood, once for all time into the holy place and obtained an everlasting release for us. For Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.”—Heb. 9:12, 24, NW.
35. How did Jesus die, and how were the benefits of his death not undone?
35 Jesus, who had been born perfect by God’s miraculous power, kept his sinlessness, and he died, not because of sinning, but as a sacrifice. He died at the hands of his religious enemies, because he bore witness to the truth and preached the coming kingdom of God to be the only rightful rule of the earth and the only hope of all mankind. In order that Jesus’ human sacrifice might not be taken back but might remain for mankind’s benefit, God raised his Son Jesus Christ from the dead as a glorified spirit Son, clothed upon with immortal life. Because he had died faithful to Jehovah God’s universal sovereignty, God resurrected him from the dead to be the heavenly King of the new world.—1 Pet. 3:18, 22.
36. So when first could the grand Jubilee begin?
36 From this we can see that the grand Jubilee release for mankind could not really begin until first after the atonement sacrifice that takes away sin had been laid down by God’s High Priest Jesus Christ on earth and had been presented to God in heaven.
37, 38. (a) What year was the Jubilee, and what day was the spirit poured out? (b) Of what liberation was this a proof, and for whom?
37 It is interesting to note this fact: The Jubilee was the fiftieth year. Correspondingly, fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead came the Jewish feast of weeks or Pentecost. (Pentecost means “fiftieth day”.) It was on this feast day of Pentecost that the faithful disciples had God’s holy spirit poured out upon them, and they began a great work of preaching and of spiritual liberation.
38 This pouring out of the spirit on them was a visible sign that Jesus Christ had ascended to heaven and entered into God’s presence and offered to him the value of his human sacrifice. It was proof that Jesus Christ was now sitting at God’s right hand in heaven as the great Priest and King like the ancient Melchizedek, who was “priest of the most high God”. (Acts 2:1-36; Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7:1-27) Thus those faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who began to receive the holy spirit on that Pentecostal or Fiftieth day were released from the condemnation of sin and were freed from bondage to Satan the Devil, who is “god of this system of things”. The Holy Scriptures inform us that these anointed disciples who prove faithful till death will finally number 144,000. They, too, are to experience a spiritual resurrection from death, a resurrection to immortal life in heaven, there to reign with their Leader Jesus Christ in his heavenly kingdom of the righteous new world.—Rev. 14:1, 3; 2:26-28; 3:21.
THE GOVERNMENT OF EMANCIPATION
39. Why is this now the time to sound out the news of the Jubilee?
39 Now, after nineteen hundred years in which humanity in general has suffered, groaned and died in servitude to sin, imperfection, selfishness, Satan’s world-wide organization, and death, NOW has come the time to sound out the good news of the great Jubilee of the new world as by a blast on a trumpet. At man’s beginning the great Liberator Jehovah permitted mankind to come under bondage to sin, death and Devil, but he never purposed that mankind should forever continue in such bondage. Away back there in the paradise of Eden immediately after sin had entered into the world through Adam and along with it death and the rule of Satan the deceitful Serpent, Jehovah God sounded out a prophecy of liberation for mankind by a Liberator, the Seed of God’s woman. This Seed of his woman, God prophesied, would bruise or crush the head of the great Serpent, Satan the Devil, the originator of what is evil and bad. (Gen. 3:15) That Seed of God’s woman is his Son Jesus Christ. God is the great Timekeeper, the One who fixes times and seasons and who runs things exactly according to his scheduled time. So he fixed a definite time for Satan’s rule to end. That meant he also fixed a set time for himself to rule over the earth by his promised kingdom. We are now in the “time of the end” of Satan’s rule. It began some thirty years ago, in 1914. That date can be determined by the time schedule in God’s Book, the Bible.
40, 41. (a) Why did 1914 mark the time for God’s kingdom? (b) What evidences have we it began there and we are at the world’s end?
40 There the “appointed times of the nations” ran out, because those nations are subject to Satan the Devil and are oppressors of God’s people. The nations, subject to the devilish enslaver, have misruled the earth and failed to bring liberation to the oppressed people. As their “appointed times” of power expired in 1914, the time then arrived for God the Creator to resume his power over the earth, his creation, the same as over all the rest of the universe. (Luke 21:24, NW) This he did by installing his kingdom in the heavens for the government of the earth and its peoples from then on, and this government he put in the hands of his anointed King, Jesus Christ. There need be no uncertainty about this in any honest person’s mind. Shortly before his sacrificial death Jesus foretold the sign which was to give evidence that we were in the “time of the end”, in the “consummation of this system of things”, and that the accomplished end of this oppressive world of slavery was drawing near. We now see the sign. Every informed person knows the world’s history since 1914. It began with the first total war, whole nation ranged against whole nation, entire kingdom against entire kingdom.
41 This first world war was attended by the horrors of food shortages, pestilence, earthquakes, violent persecution of true Christians who are heirs of God’s kingdom, failure of all peace efforts and peace alliances, rising fears of the nations with no knowledge of the way out by human means. ALL these experiences of this generation were foretold by Jesus Christ as stamping our time the “time of the end” of Satan’s world and the time for God’s kingdom to rule in the midst of all its enemies seen and unseen. Jesus said: “When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.”—Luke 21:31, 32, NW.
42. What is therefore at hand for mankind’s emancipation?
42 God’s kingdom by his Son Jesus Christ is the one and only government of liberation. The great atonement sacrifice of Christ Jesus the High Priest has been presented in heaven, and during the past nineteen centuries his faithful followers have received the benefits of it through faith. Now in addition Jehovah’s theocratic government with Christ as King has been established. As the people’s emancipator it must completely destroy the Devil’s world organization, visible and invisible, and bring it to a complete end. This it will do at the universal war of Armageddon, the final battle toward which all the nations are now being marched under the influence of Satan and his demons.—Rev. 16:14-16.
43, 44. (a) How did Jesus foretell the Jubilee proclamation now? (b) What does its proclamation prove?
43 With the covering of mankind’s sins now possible through Christ’s sacrifice and with God’s kingdom now set up, NOW is the time for proclamation of the Jubilee for all mankind to be blasted forth. Who is to proclaim it? Christ’s anointed followers and all persons of good will who receive the message with faith and joy. Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.”
44 Jesus included this preaching of the Kingdom to all nations among the many features of the sign which would mark the “time of the end” and the time of his presence in the Kingdom. In a notable way since 1919 this good news of God’s established kingdom has been preached by Jehovah’s witnesses everywhere on earth to all nations. Every year this Kingdom witness increases in spite of religious, political, judicial and military opposition and persecution. Here, then, we have another powerful visible proof that the Kingdom for mankind’s emancipation is in power, ruling now in the midst of its enemies before it destroys them at Armageddon.—Matt. 24:3-14, NW; Mark 13:4-9; Luke 21:7-28.
45. (a) Where and how will the power of the enslavers be smashed? (b) What must liberty-lovers therefore now do?
45 When the Kingdom witness, the modern-day sounding of the Jubilee trumpet, has been given everywhere to the extent that God has decreed, then at his own appointed day and hour the battle of Armageddon will come suddenly like a thief upon Satan’s world. Its enslaving control over this earth and its inhabitants will be smashed and forever removed. All who continue in willful slavery to it will be destroyed with it. For this reason it is that NOW the Jubilee trumpet must be sounded by giving the witness to God’s kingdom, the government of everlasting life in a free new world. By the power of the truth concerning God’s kingdom the people of good will who hear the Jubilee trumpet must make their break for liberty from Satan’s world of slavery. They must flee to God’s kingdom as the rightful government of all mankind, the one and only answer to the prayer Jesus taught us, “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10, NW) He also assured us, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He said, too, that God’s Word in the Holy Bible is the truth. (John 17:17) So now in this short period before Armageddon listen to the Jubilee proclamation, learn the truth, and then act upon it without further delay, that you may gain your freedom. Then, as free men and women, join your forces world-wide to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof”. By that course you may live through Armageddon and never die!
46. How will the new world complete mankind’s liberation?
46 The righteous war of God at Armageddon will free mankind of Satan’s domination. Then the new world will begin and will complete mankind’s liberation. King Death will reign no more, but all the sinful effects of our birth from Adam which brought death will be removed from all those who obey God’s kingdom. Yes, death will be forced to release those whom it holds lifeless in the graves, for Christ Jesus will utter his voice and all those in the graves will hear his voice and come out. All will be taught the righteous requirements and the truth of the Most High God, and all the obedient will be lifted out of their sinful, imperfect condition to perfect manhood and womanhood.
47. To correspond with the Jubilee, what will be done with the land?
47 Forever it remains true, “The earth is Jehovah’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Ps. 24:1, AS) No more will greedy land barons monopolize the land, or wars for territorial expansion and for natural resources rage and ruin the earth’s surface and reduce the people to homeless poverty. Nor will soil erosion and exhaustion lay the land desolate and uninhabitable. The King Christ Jesus will allot each faithful subject a place in the earth to cultivate and enjoy to Jehovah the great Landowner’s pleasure. Under divine blessing the earth will become most fertile and will yield plenty for all human needs. Paradise will become an earth-wide reality.
48. How will mankind gain the right to everlasting life?
48 The benefits of his perfect human sacrifice Christ Jesus the King will bestow upon all his obedient subjects, to fulfill the prophecy, “His name shall be called . . . Everlasting Father.” (Isa. 9:6, AS) Those who then prove their allegiance to the universal sovereignty of Jehovah and to his King will be declared worthy of the right to everlasting life in the endless world of peace, health and happiness.
49. Thus what word which God has given will he vindicate?
49 Here, then, the great heavenly Liberator, Jehovah God, will vindicate the word which he has given, “that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21, NW) Let the glorious good news of this liberty now at hand be loudly proclaimed throughout all the land to all of earth’s inhabitants. Do your part.
They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of Jehovah of hosts hath spoken it. For all the peoples walk every one in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.—Mic. 4:4, 5, AS.