Freedom from Fear in 1955
1. How do mankind enter the year 1955, and why?
DO YOU know the secret of freedom from the fear that grips all mankind today? Do you want this freedom? You may still remember the saying that was popularized not so long ago: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This saying was taken up by the late president of the United States of America,* but well over two hundred years before him it appeared in a book published early in the seventeenth century.* But did that saying provide the solution? Who has become absolutely fearless by fearing fear? Who can now help getting afraid? Faced with frightful possibilities, mankind have developed no fear of fear itself. Hence they enter the year 1955 with fear and dark foreboding, with no formula for realizing that one of the Rooseveltian “Four Freedoms” known as the “freedom from fear.” Rather, a greater bondage to the heartless slave driver Fear is certain to fasten upon them.—Luke 21:25, 26.
2. What class will enjoy freedom from fear during 1955 and why so, in spite of the bad tidings concerning this world?
2 Not by fearing fear but by fearing Jehovah we learn the secret of freedom from fear. That is why there will be one class on earth that will enjoy freedom from fear during 1955 and all the years to follow. That class is the “man” described in Psalm 112, that man that fears Jehovah and that delights in His commandments, together with the seed or generation of this righteous, upright man. What this psalm in its Ps 112 seventh verse says of this collective “man” or class of persons will be true during 1955, yes, true until the victorious end of the battle of Armageddon: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah.” (AS) He faces the new year fearlessly. The tidings or news about the world is all evil these days; there is nothing consoling about it. Added to this, in God’s own Word there are no good tidings for this world, but only doom by the execution of God’s vengeance against the wicked. The Jehovah-fearing “man” already knows this and so is not disturbed by the trend of world events and the ominous future that is shaping up for this world. From God’s prophecies he knows that this world under Satan must end shortly at the climax of this “time of the end,” to be followed by a bright new world of all good things.
3. How does he not “fear the roar of the bad,” and what course against fear does he follow?
3 Even if “evil tidings” come under the form of threats from the enemy, this does not make the fearer of Jehovah afraid. “He will not fear the roar of the bad,” as one translator renders the verse. (Fenton) He knows that God Almighty, his Protector, is more powerful than the combined forces of the enemy, seen and unseen. Strengthened with this knowledge, he cannot get afraid, but fearlessly goes on doing his Christian work in obedience to God’s commands, declaring His name and bearing witness to His kingdom by Jesus Christ. He refuses to get afraid of what worldly rulers and peoples get afraid of. He follows God’s instructions, namely: “Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy. However, do not become afraid of what they are afraid of, neither become agitated. But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before anyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Pet. 3:14, 15, NW) “What they fear you shall not fear, nor shall you dread! But the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts—him shall you call holy; he shall be your fear, and he your dread!” (Isa. 8:12, 13, AT) Hence the Jehovah-fearing man is not scared into following the course the world recommends and thinks practical. In fearing the Most High Jehovah the man’s superior wisdom stands forth. Worldly fears do not paralyze him with terror, but he does all he can to dispel such fears from the people of good will by giving them the Bible message of peace and comfort.
4. How is his heart fixed and led to trust in Jehovah?
4 “His heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah.” (Ps. 112:7, AS) By Bible prophecy Jehovah has warned his fearer concerning the fate of this world and concerning the enemy assaults against him. So the man has prepared his heart for the coming of these things that he may not give way to fear or be stumbled and confused. (John 16:1-4) He has taken time to study God’s Word and practice its teachings and thus build up a confidence and trust in Jehovah. Hence his heart does not fluctuate between Jehovah and this world; it remains steadfastly fixed with Jehovah. He keeps a complete heart toward God. His heart never turns to the idols of this world. He has familiarized himself with Jehovah’s promises and has observed how the Promiser has fulfilled them toward his faithful fearer. Knowing the fate that awaits this world, he realizes there is no safety in it and that it cannot win in its fight against Almighty God. He trusts in the certain Winner. Free from torment with worldly fears, he is happy.
5. In what way is his heart sustained, and so what is thrown out?
5 “Sustained is his heart, he is not afraid, until that he gazeth on his adversaries.” (Ps. 112:8, RoPss) Now he faces many adversaries, but he does not back down from his uncompromising position for the kingdom of God. He has his heart braced upon the unbeaten and unbeatable God. Neither fears that men express for the fate of their own system of things and what this will mean to mankind nor the threats that the adversaries make against the New World society cause his heart to tremble and vacillate. It is upheld by Jehovah because of his love for Him. He is stronghearted in his love and attachment to the righteous new world that God has promised. He has no spiritual heart disease in these critical, difficult times when men are lovers of pleasures more than of God and have merely the form of godly devotion but not their hearts in it. So copy his example. To keep from worry and from the tyranny of fear strengthen your heart in its love and devotion to Jehovah. The rest will follow: Love will throw out fear.—1 John 4:18.
6. What should you expect from your adversaries, but how can you keep from getting afraid at the sight of them?
6 Of course, if you love and fear Jehovah, the adversaries who hate him will also hate you. But that is no cause for alarm, especially if you know whom you love. If you love someone you will do anything, yes, suffer and endure anything, for that one. If you love Jehovah and know him, take his viewpoint toward the adversaries. Take his estimate of them. Believe in his prophecy concerning them. Then fear of the adversaries will depart. Just now the adversaries may look quite frightful in their numbers and their increased power to harm Jehovah’s witnesses and the New World society. But look at the harm that God can do to them, and also to you, more harm than they can do to you. Do not, then, be afraid of them. Do not quit preaching because of them, but just go on letting your heart be sustained and upheld by Jehovah’s spirit and his Word.
7. Why and with whom may we laugh at our adversaries now, and with what work do we go forward?
7 Doing this, you will at last gaze upon your adversaries when they will no longer appear so fearsome but their own fears will have been realized upon them. “The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him; and the desire of the righteous shall be granted. When the whirlwind passeth, the wicked is no more; but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” (Prov. 10:24, 25, AS) So laugh with Jehovah at them: “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord will laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is coming. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken; but Jehovah upholdeth the righteous.” (Ps. 37:12, 13, 17, AS) It is wise to laugh fearlessly from this standpoint, for divine wisdom says to the heedless fools of this world: “I also will laugh in the day of your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as a storm, and your calamity cometh on as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you.” (Prov. 1:26, 27, AS) So the present roar of the adversaries against us does not frighten us, but with loving, strong, healthy hearts braced on Jehovah we go forward unafraid bearing witness to his kingdom all the world over. Shortly, when we gaze upon our adversaries, it will be a feast to our eyes.
FEARLESS DISTRIBUTION TO THE POOR
8. Why is Psalm 112:9 an assurance that the witness work will go ahead in 1955?
8 During 1955 the earth-wide work of the Jehovah-fearing witnesses will by his kind favor and spirit advance still more. Strong assurance of this is given us in Psalm 112:9: “He hath scattered abroad, he hath given to the needy, his righteousness standeth fast for aye; his horn shall be exalted with honour.” (RoPss) To whom these words apply is certain. The apostle Paul quoted them and applied them to his fellow Christians at the time they were giving aid to their needy brothers in Christ. He said: “(Just as it is written: ‘He has made a distribution, he has given to those of little means, his righteousness continues forever.’ Now he that abundantly supplies seed to the sower and bread for eating will supply and multiply the seed for you to sow and will increase the products of your righteousness.) In everything you are being enriched for every kind of generosity.” (2 Cor. 9:9-11, NW) The generosity of the Jehovah-fearing Christian does not limit itself to giving material things to needy brothers, but concerns itself greatly with distributing the Kingdom news to all “men of good will,” the scattering abroad of the seed of Kingdom truth upon those whose hearts are like good, productive ground.
9. Who are the “poor” to whom the fearers of Jehovah give, and why?
9 The earth today teems with people materially poor, but the poor to whom the wise fearer of Jehovah gives are those who are “poor in spirit,” that is, “conscious of their spiritual need” and hence disposed to accept the satisfying Kingdom message. These are the kind of poor Jesus sent his followers to hunt and feed, saying: “You received free, give free.” (Matt. 10:8; 5:3, NW) What they are able to “give free” must be the spiritual riches that God has bestowed upon them free, because, as regards material riches, God has chosen the “ones who are poor respecting the world to be rich in faith.” (Jas. 2:5, NW) By giving the Kingdom message instead of giving mere money or material things they reach those who are really “poor in spirit,” “conscious of their spiritual need,” rather than just the self-seeking poor of this world who do not care to belong to Jehovah. Thus the unappreciative worldly poor who prefer to belong to Satan the “god of this system of things” are screened out.
10. In giving to such poor, to whom are they really lending, and why?
10 The poor and needy are not able to repay us fully in material ways for the spiritual gifts we give them free, but this does not beggar us. We never go without a compensation that more than repays us. Why not? In answering, the words of Psalm 112:5 bear repeating: “Good is the man—gracious and lending.” (Yg; page 754, ¶21) It is to the poor and needy that the “man” lends, not only hoping for no interest on the loan from the poor receiver, but not hoping for any material return at all. From where, then, does his compensation come? Listen: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto Jehovah, and his good deed will he pay him again.” (Prov. 19:17, AS) In having pity and giving to the spiritually poor without receiving material repayment, does one really lend to Jehovah? Yes; and that is because the poor, especially the poor in spirit, the ones conscious of their spiritual need and craving spiritual relief, really belong to Jehovah. That is why he has said: “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker; but he that hath mercy on the needy honoreth him.” (Prov. 14:31, AS) Jehovah pronounces it a sin to oppress or neglect them. (Deut. 24:14, 15) Their dependence is upon Him: “The meek also shall increase their joy in Jehovah, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa. 29:19, AS) The poor and needy who belong to Jehovah cannot pay back materially; so Jehovah undertakes the indebtedness of these who belong to him.
11. How does Jehovah consider himself to the giver to the poor, and how does he dispose of this position?
11 Thus the Jehovah-fearing Christian, in giving free the Kingdom good news to the poor, is really lending to Jehovah God until Jehovah pays him again for his good deed. It is amazing to think that the King of the eternal universe, the Owner of all things, considers himself obligated to the Kingdom announcer who gives free to the poor who are conscious of their spiritual need. Jehovah discharges all debts or obligations thus acquired by fulfilling all his promises to care for and sustain those who fear him and keep his commandments.
12. What promise does Jehovah make to the righteous giver, and how does he fulfill this promise now?
12 Hence Jehovah makes the promise concerning the one who gives His message free to the poor and needy: “His righteousness standeth fast for aye.” (Ps. 112:9, RoPss) This is a repetition of His promise in verse three of Psalm 112. According to Jesus’ own words at Matthew 6:1-4, the Jehovah-fearing man’s righteousness consists largely of his publishing the Kingdom message, giving the good news free to the poor. Those who oppose the Kingdom and the good news of it will not be able to stamp out this form of righteousness. Jehovah will always back up and preserve the Kingdom publishers and supply them the means to carry on this preaching of the good news, that they may be “enriched for every kind of generosity.” He will “supply and multiply the seed for you to sow and will increase the products of your righteousness.” (2 Cor. 9:10, 11, NW) Because God continually replenishes the righteous and generous distributor of the good news, the Christian fearer of Jehovah never has to go begging because of such liberal giving. He is always kept in position to carry on his good works of scattering the benefits of a spiritual kind to the needy ones. Thus, although being poor materially himself, he can make many rich spiritually. (2 Cor. 6:10) The products of his righteousness, namely, the people of good will who are enriched and gathered into the New World society, increase steadily. Instead of impoverishing the giver, the free giving and scattering of the good news result in increased returns: “There is that scattereth, and increaseth yet more; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth only to want. The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”—Prov. 11:24, 25, AS.
13. What reason has such righteous man for being alive and being preserved on the earth?
13 Jehovah wants such a righteous kind of man to be on the earth. He is pleased to use him as an instrument in scattering far and wide His spiritual benefits. For this reason the free and generous giver serves a purpose in God’s works and has a proper and useful place among earth’s inhabitants; he has a good reason for being alive and for being preserved by divine power. He wins the appreciation of God and also of grateful men and so is loved for his work’s sake. (1 Thess. 5:12) The very existence of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society down to this day proves this very truth.
14, 15. (a) How does the Society’s existence down to this day prove this truth? (b) What do Jehovah’s witnesses want to have in 1955, and how can they have it?
14 From the very time of its incorporation, in 1884, the Society has followed the rule of maintaining itself by voluntary contributions. It has had literature printed and distributed either free or at a nominal contribution that merely covered the cost of producing and distributing. To all who wished to attend them, the meetings and conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses have always been open under the public declaration, “Seats free—no collection!” The religious clergy who charge for admission or for seats and who pass the collection plate one or more times during religious services have expressed sorrow that Jehovah’s witnesses advertise a “Seats free—no collection!” rule for religious meetings. (See The Watch Tower, January 1, 1914, page 5.) Jehovah has blessed this principle of giving free or at bare cost and holding meetings with no money collections, in order to put out more Bible information. For an organization the size of the Society, the output of Bibles and Bible literature each year is enormous, and the number of hours Jehovah’s witnesses give free to the work of distribution and the number of Bible studies they conduct free in homes of interested people each year are remarkable.
15 In 1955 Jehovah’s witnesses want to have the biggest distribution of literature yet in any one year, because the time shortens to get out the lifesaving message, now that the world destruction at the battle of Armageddon gets ever closer. Working economically, we can do more than others because we try to have as little overhead in expenses as possible. We can achieve the greatest results by the generous giving of the lovers of Jehovah, particularly in terms of time and energy freely spent in distributing and scattering abroad the Kingdom message. According to God’s rule, we can be sure we shall be the happier because of giving the more and doing it free of charge.
16. How will the horn of the Jehovah-fearing “man” be honored, and how is it exalted even now with honor?
16 Never shall we bow in disgraceful defeat. The divine promise to the righteous giver and distributor to the poor is: “His horn shall be exalted with honor.” (Ps. 112:9, AS) The horn is a symbol of strength and power, a warning to all would-be assailants. Its being exalted with honor denotes victory for us, in vindication of Jehovah’s power which backs us up. Trusting in him and keeping toward him an integrity that warrants our trusting in him, we can say: “My horn hast thou exalted like the horn of the wild-ox: . . . Mine eye also hath seen my desire on mine enemies, mine ears have heard my desire of the evil-doers that rise up against me. The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” (Ps. 92:10-12, AS) The honor with which the horn is exalted comes from God, not from men. But men are forced to recognize the divine source of that honor. Ultimately the honor of lasting victory will be ours, but even now we enjoy the honor of being in Jehovah’s service as his witnesses. The great crowd of persons of good will who are already thronging Jehovah’s house to serve and worship him there are also a glory and honor to the Jehovah-fearing spiritual class who have labored to father this earthly seed or generation. As the apostle Paul said of the brothers at Thessalonica whom he had fathered by means of the good news that he had preached to them: “For what is our hope or joy or crown of exultation—why, is it not in fact you?—before our Lord Jesus at his presence? You certainly are our glory and joy.” (1 Thess. 2:19, 20, NW) By our continuing to give the Kingdom good news freely and generously to the poor and needy, that honor of increased membership in the New World society at God’s temple is bound to be added to until Jehovah exalts our horn as victors at Armageddon.
17. Why does the wicked, at seeing this, grieve?
17 The wicked haters of Jehovah have gloated over seeing us under oppressions, injustices, bans and proscriptions, but their gleeful gloating is turning to chagrin and dismay at seeing the increasing honor that Jehovah confers upon his people who fear and serve him and magnify his name. Ah well, this was all foretold in Psalm 112:10 (AS): “The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.” The wicked is destined to see this crowning victory and honor of Jehovah’s witnesses before he is destroyed. He is ill-willed and has no love of righteousness and hence does not rejoice at the exalted horn of Jehovah’s righteous fearers. This is why he seeks to destroy the spiritual prosperity of the restored spiritual Israelites and their companions of good will. He takes offense at Jehovah’s goodness to his people. He wants the worldly favor and success and the divine favor and spiritual prosperity also, but he cannot have both at the same time. (Jas. 4:4) He does not scatter abroad and give the Kingdom message to the poor. So he is discontented. His consciousness of being rich in worldly goods and favor does not fully satisfy him, for he has only the form of godliness but proves false to its power to transform the heart and make one truly happy. Eaten up with envy at the spiritual prosperity of the witnesses, he grieves.
18. Why does the wicked gnash his teeth, and when and how will he melt away?
18 The wicked cannot overthrow the spiritual prosperity of those who fear Jehovah. He gnashes or grinds his teeth at the sight he is obliged to behold, but that is all he can do in his rage. He cannot truly harm the righteous or destroy the New World society. He suffers torment now, not only from the preaching of the good news of God’s established kingdom but also at the prosperity of Jehovah’s witnesses. In 1955 he will keep on grinding his teeth in his rage and prepare to join the great Gog of Magog in his world-wide pre-Armageddon assault on the New World society. When Jehovah stops that furious, malicious assault by the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” the wicked crowd will still not see the desire of their eyes but will have one last look at a sight grievous to their eyes, the enduring prosperity of Jehovah’s witnesses and the triumph of the New World society on earth. Then the wicked will ‘melt away,’ yes, melt like a snail that leaves a slimy trail. They will melt like a snail, which, as it moves, “dissolves into slime.” (Ps. 58:8, RS; Mo) Just as a snail is halted by the salt sprinkled about its haunts, what can the slimy wicked do against the fearers of Jehovah who are like the “salt of the earth”? Nothing, only melt away in an inglorious end at the grand display of Jehovah’s battle power at Armageddon.
19. What will happen to the desire or craving of the wicked, and who will have happiness, even in 1955?
19 “The desire [craving] of the wicked shall perish.” Their wicked schemes against the righteous will not prosper, except to their own destruction, and all the things upon which they have set their eyes as desirable in this world will perish with them, to their everlasting disappointment. In glorious contrast, the righteous Kingdom publishers will see their desire fulfilled as they gaze upon their adversaries, for they will be on Jehovah’s winning side and will survive into the triumphant new world where Jehovah’s vindication will forever be celebrated. Oh, the unhappiness of the man that does not fear Jehovah and that does not delight greatly in His commandments! But, oh, your own happiness if you will be a fearer of Jehovah in 1955 and keep his commandments with God-given freedom from fear!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, U. S. president 1933-1945.
Francis Bacon’s “De Augmentis Scientiarum,” Book VI, chapter III (1605).