Freedom From Fear—It Can Be Attained!
ARE you afraid? Many people are today. Sometimes it gets to the point where just reading the newspaper can make fear grip at one’s heart. Listening to the radio, talking to friends, or just thinking about the muddled world situation can bring up the fear of war and the horror of the atomic bomb. The world has war nervousness, not over just the big issues between East and West, but also over other differences between France and Germany, Italy and Yugoslavia, Israel and the Arabs, India and Pakistan. The world is fearful because of the peace failure, because of increasing delinquency. The scientists are frightened and the clergy are fearful.
Britain’s Archbishop of Canterbury said: “We must not for a moment allow ourselves to regard war as inevitable; but the fear of it broods over the face of the earth.” A president of Harvard University said that somehow “youth must be taught to walk with confidence in spite of monstrous weapons . . . inflation . . . depression.” The editor of London’s New Statesman and Nation wrote: “Nothing more astonishes the European visitor [to the United States] than evidence of fear—the directions to public underground shelters in New York, the periodic air-raid practices.”
Man is afraid, not only of atomic war, but of crime and corruption, of inflated bureaucracy, of disease that could maim and cripple him and his family, of loss of wealth and financial failure, and, not the least, of appearing inferior to other men. He is afraid of storms and natural catastrophes, of the unknown, of what “might happen,” of accidents and violent death. Jesus’ prediction has proved true: “On the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out . . . men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”—Luke 21:25, 26, NW.
Has man fought this fear? Yes, he has even gone to war to overcome it. Before Christ was born the Roman orator Cicero said: “Wars are to be undertaken in order that it may be possible to live in peace without molestation.” Two thousand years later wars are still being undertaken, but man does not yet live in peace! World War I did not abolish democracy’s fears; World War II did not establish the four freedoms. Fear continues.
All human attempts to banish it have failed, because the world is still in the dark as to the one behind the increasing causes of fear. Without some light on the matter all man’s efforts against this adversary are just so much beating of the air. Yet, there is no need for this darkness. A bright beacon light points squarely at the one responsible; a light spurned by most men because it is not of their making. It is the light of God’s Word, the Bible. It is a guide to overcoming fear, but modern man in this conceited atomic age often considers God’s Word impractical. Man’s failure is obvious. His fear drives him to spend thousands of millions of dollars on atomic bombs, which add to his dread, but in his stubbornness he will rarely spend a few hours to learn the hope that the atom’s Maker gives for man today.
THE INSTIGATOR OF FEAR
Communism, crooked politicians, an unequal economic system, disease, and even death, these are causes of fear; but the instigator is the actual wicked spirit creature, Satan the Devil, who challenged the supremacy of the Almighty God, was condemned to death, but has been allowed to remain temporarily to have his challenge against God fail, proving once and for all eternity that Jehovah, the Almighty Creator, is the supreme sovereign.—Job 1:9-11; 2:3-5; Ex. 9:16.
Satan’s existence is not just legendary, is not just the imagination of some men, nor merely a personification of evil. That Satan is an actual living creature was shown by Paul, who said: “The god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” And by Peter: “Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” And by the account of Jesus’ temptation: “The Tempter came and said to him . . . Then the Devil took him along into the holy city . . . Again the Devil took him along into an unusually high mountain, . . . and he said to him: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.’ Then Jesus said to him: ‘Go away, Satan!’” It is because of Satan’s wicked rule over earth that Jesus said: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” Thus, Satan is an actual creature, and in his efforts to turn men from God he is prompting the wickedness of earth today.—2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8; Matt. 4:1-11; John 18:36, NW.
However, Satan’s rule is not permanent. The Bible promises it will end. Jesus showed that, just before it would end, fear and perplexity would increase and that all these things would be “a beginning of pangs of distress.” Their increase is at Satan’s instigation: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” Should this add to one’s fear? No: “As these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” Deliverance? Yes, for just as the fig tree’s putting forth leaves indicates summer is near, so the fearful conditions Jesus described in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 indicate Satan’s destruction is at hand, and that “this generation [that sees the present woes] will by no means pass away until all these things [including the end of Satan’s system] occur.”—Matt. 24:8; Rev. 12:12; Luke 21:28; Matt. 24:3, 34, NW.
Obviously, Satan cannot be defeated by man’s weapons, for there is no evidence that even man’s prized atomic or hydrogen bombs would affect a spirit creature. But, while man cannot remove Satan from his wicked overlordship and imprison and execute him, God can. He does not quibble over whether this is possible; the instigator of wickedness must go! Jehovah’s Word promises: “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be.” And again: “All the wicked will he destroy.” It further definitely states that Jehovah will do what man cannot—have Satan seized, bound, abyssed, and have the abyss shut and sealed over him. (Ps. 37:10; 145:20; Rev. 20:1-3) Satan’s wicked rule will then be replaced by a righteous one, the “new heaven and a new earth” of Revelation 21:1-4.
That new rule will bring earth freedom from fear, for it will completely fulfill the Christian’s prayer for God’s will to be done throughout the earth as it is in heaven. There will then be no fear of war, nor of animals, nor of disease, nor even of death.
But even now, before Satan is destroyed, fear can be overcome. When the New York Post asked people on the street, “What frightens you most?” one person said, “The atom bomb”; another, “The thought that a great plague may at some time hit our country.” But one of Jehovah’s witnesses said: “There is nothing that frightens me. The Bible indicates that there will be a new world with perfect conditions. . . . And regardless of what happens, I will live in perfect harmony and contentment.” Was he blind to world conditions? No, but with the aid of the penetrating truth of God’s Word he saw through the present darkness and understood the extent of the protection he has as a servant of Jehovah.
To have such confidence an accurate knowledge of God’s Word is necessary. It is that Word, the Bible, the highest source of information, that shows how Satan works, the dangers he sets before man, and how to withstand his onslaughts. A knowledge of it removes the fear of wars, for Matthew 24 shows that though they would suddenly get worse their getting worse indicates their end is at hand and marks Satan’s last desperate effort to keep man from taking the time to side with Christ. Jesus was not speaking empty words when he uttered the oft-quoted statement: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32, NW) That truth does provide freedom from fear!
The Christian’s love casts out fear, for it includes sincerity of action, helping others to learn, an unselfish devotion to truth. Jehovah’s witnesses, filled with zeal for this, have little time to worry about things that might happen, but rarely do. Their minds are filled with joyful things, with God’s Word and his purposes, with the growth of new persons in the Christian organization, with the promises of a new world and the joyful privilege of helping others to see that new world’s blessings and to live for its righteousness.
Inflation, depression or other economic difficulties do not strike them with dread. They have confidence that they will not starve, and while money’s dwindling value may inconvenience them, they are not distressed to death. Money is not their god. Their treasures are real, stored in heaven “where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” So loss of material wealth, or having less than the next man, is not a gnawing fear to them as it is to so many today.—Matthew 6:20, NW.
They do not fear loss of worldly position, or appearing inferior to other men, for they do not consider themselves gods to be worshiped. Rather than taking themselves too seriously, they know that “it is Jehovah your God you must worship,” that he is the one to be pleased. Their interest is in what he thinks of them, not what men think of them.—Matt. 4:10, NW.
They do not fear government corruption, for they know that while Satan rules corruption is inevitable, but that this will soon end. They know that under Christ’s righteous rule disease will be cured, that both literally and spiritually God will fulfill the promise: “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” Even death, though a grief to loved ones, provides no fear, because, like the apostles, they believe in a resurrection. After Revelation tells of Satan’s binding, it prophetically says: “And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Hades gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.”—Jer. 33:6; Rev. 20:13, NW.
Jehovah’s witnesses really have such confidence! Under direct threat of death thousands of them have held firm to their faith, uncowering. When, as in the face of Hitler’s Nazis, the determination to hold their faith brought execution, they were still unflinching. Listen to samples of what they wrote to loved ones: “I have a radiant goal before my eyes, and in order to reach this I will count my life as dross, and place myself in those Hands, and commend my spirit to His keeping. I shall fight for the honor of Jehovah and the glory of His name. I will fight for Him with the courage and boldness of a roaring lion.” Does that sound like fear? Or this: “Be strong, for I am not lost, but I can say with Paul, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’” Why did these witnesses not quake and compromise, as did those of other religions, whose clergymen and priests aligned with the Nazis? Why do they stand firm and fearless today in lands where Communist rulers attack their faith? Because they have partaken of the sound, strengthening, faith-building spiritual food of Jehovah’s Word. They have obtained knowledge that is strengthening to faith. It is because of their spiritual strength and because of their confidence that the Power behind them is greater than all the enemies before them that Jehovah’s witnesses have a freedom from fear that today’s old world just cannot comprehend!
You wish for such faith? Then get knowledge. Theirs is not a blind faith, but an informed one, based on fact. If you get the knowledge and follow God’s commands, you too can grow strong in the informed faith that brings such freedom. When one has God’s protection, knows Jehovah’s definite promises, has an understanding of the reason for today’s troubles, knows their outcome, has his mind active in the most important of all works, trusts in the One who has infinite power, and when faced with death has confidence in the promise of a resurrection into the new world, then what is there left for him to fear?