God’s Love to the Rescue in Man’s Crisis
Any crises is a time for anxiety. In a sickness that might prove fatal the physician intently watches the course of the sickness to the crises, looking then for a decisive change of symptoms to determine by it whether certain death will follow or there will be a recovery to life, Thankful he is if the outward manifestations of the sickness are for a restoration to good health and a prolongation of precious life. You may not be sick physically, but are you sick spiritually? Have you reached the crises, and do the signs in your course of life mark you for a hopeless, lasting death? With the developments in mankind’s history as they are, you, yes, all of us, have reached the turning point. Which way shall we go? The message of this article is to help all its readers to pass the crisis successfully so as to have the brightest hopes for a happy future in a better world. This good news has been heard by more than 427,000 persons in upward of 80 district conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses held world-wide in the summer and fall of 1954.
1. For the existence of what can man be glad, and why especially now?
MAN can be glad that there is such a thing as divine love, God’s love. Especially so now, for man has reached his crisis. That is, he is at a critical time and occasion. The world or system of things is going its way and where it will end is certain. For it there will be no turning. So the crisis is not with respect to this world. The question is not whether it will have a turn for the better or for the worse. Men in ignorance of God’s purpose and of what he has foretold anxiously hope for a turn for the world’s betterment and recovery, but the persons informed of God’s purpose and believing what he has foretold know that there is no hope for this world’s betterment and recovery. Its destruction soon is certain; its violent death in the worst kind of trouble imaginable is in the decree of the Supreme Power of the universe and is beyond recall. Divine love alone can save mankind from destruction.
2. For whom is there now a crisis, and why, and what is it high time to do?
2 The crisis is with regard to man or mankind. The question is, Which way will the individual man go? This is where it is a crisis for you, for the word “crisis,” in the language from which it was taken, means “judgment” or “decision,” and now it is a time of decision for each individual. All mankind is at the turning point. Will it make the right turn? Neither all of mankind nor the majority of mankind will make the turn in the right direction. For that reason you cannot afford to follow them, though it may mean a hard decision for you. Yet you have reached the point of time when you must decide whether your personal state of affairs and your course of action must go on being what they are or must undergo some change or must end and something new, with a different goal and outcome, must be taken up by you. You are under pressure of both the times and circumstances to take action. That is why you have reached a crisis. The time of crisis will not go on indefinitely. It will end with consequences—with what kind for you? It is high time to make up your mind and act, if you want to avoid going where the world will end up.
3, 4. Why has the crisis been forced upon us, and with what crisis long ago does it correspond?
3 Why has the crisis been forced upon us? Is it because we have suddenly been hurled into the “Hydrogen Age” by the recent explosion of terrifying hydrogen bombs, and because worse bombs, the cobalt bomb and the nitrogen bomb, have come under discussion? Is it because atomic warfare, which would be the form World War III would take, means the destruction of civilization and imperils the very existence of humanity, according to the word of military and political leaders? No; for the mere fear of those terrible things does not in itself push man to the right decision.
4 The crisis existed before we were catapulted into the hydrogen age. The crisis is upon us because we have reached what God’s Word calls the “time of the end.” It is the “time of the end” for this old world, and it takes in both invisible things and visible things on earth. (Dan. 11:35; 12:4) Hence it corresponds with a crisis over four thousand years ago in the days of the forefather of the present human race, Noah, a faithful man who, by his course in life, “walked with God.” A world catastrophe worse than the bursting of countless hydrogen bombs came in his day. It was a deluge that covered the entire globe and completely wiped out the civilization of that time, because it was degraded and corrupt. Humanity was becoming more and more tainted by the invasion of disobedient spirit persons from the invisible heavens; violence was filling the earth; man’s badness had become great, every inclination of the thoughts of human hearts was only bad all the time; and men were hypocritically “calling on the name of Jehovah,” thus belittling the name of the one and only living, true God. (Gen. 4:26, NW) To correct the wrong ideas about the true God and to give the human race a righteous new start, Jehovah God brought on the global deluge, of which there are evidences in the earth even to this day. To preserve a nucleus or seed from which mankind could have a fresh start, Jehovah God ordered Noah to build an immense ark or chest. In this He preserved Noah and the seven members of his family and hundreds of specimens of the animal life of the earth, that they might fill the earth with their offspring after the flood had passed.—1 Pet. 3:20.
5. Because of the addition of what new thing is the situation today even worse than that of old?
5 Today, after four thousand years of existence of Noah’s descendants, the situation is even worse. The conditions in the earth are too well known to need our describing them here. Mankind in general may not know, appreciate or believe it, but now one new thing has been added and it helps to explain the reason for all this continual worsening of world conditions in spite of the League of Nations, the United Nations and all the other remedies that human society proposes and applies today. The added new thing is this: That the great originator of badness has been cast down, together with all the demons or spirit persons that he has turned to wickedness. All these have been cast down from a high and powerful position in the invisible heavens to the vicinity of our earth, where they are kept in custody for destruction in due time. This has taken place since A.D. 1914, the year that World War I began. For our warning the cry has rung out in heaven and has been written down in sacred Scripture: “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! 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.” (Rev. 12:12, NW) Our day is the time of his great anger, because of the shortness of the period of time until he and his demons will be put completely out of action. So he is determined to concentrate into this short period all the wickedness and damage to earth’s occupants that he can. He knows his time is getting shorter all the while, but he tries to keep mankind in ignorance of this, for he schemes for their destruction to occur at the same time that he himself is crushed in the universal war of Armageddon. Hence “woe for the earth and for the sea.”
6. Because of what policy and what power of the Devil is mankind in danger of being all wiped out?
6 Not this world or system of things, therefore, but man, the human race, is at the crisis. They could easily all be wiped out in view of the terrible things ahead. As far as the Devil or Satan is concerned, if he could have his own way about it, they would all be wiped out with him and his demons. His insanely mad policy is, “Rule or ruin!” If he cannot rule mankind, then he will ruin it. He is not humane. He has no love for mankind. By his power over the open minds of worldly men he secretly induces them to plot their own destruction, not only by the perfecting of the hydrogen bomb and other deadly weapons of mass slaughter, but especially by their refusing to take the only way for human salvation, regardless of whether hydrogen bombs are dropped directly upon human targets or not. Man-made bombs can merely destroy the present life of men, but man’s refusal of the offer of God’s love for human salvation results in the loss of eternal life in happiness in a righteous new world.
7. By whom especially was this world’s destruction foretold nineteen centuries ago, and from whose prophecy did he himself make a quotation?
7 Persons properly instructed in the sacred Scriptures, “The Holy Bible,” know that the destruction of this world or system of things was foretold nineteen centuries ago by the greatest prophet ever on earth, Jesus, the Son of God. His many prophecies concerning it reached a high point when he said: “Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” (Matt. 24:21, 22, NW) Centuries earlier than that Jehovah’s prophet Daniel had foretold this, and Jesus quoted from Daniel’s prophecy in which he said concerning the “time of the end”: “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: . . . But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” In fulfillment of this prophecy we have increased understanding of the “time of the end” and its meaning.—Dan. 12:1, 4, AS.
8. How, even much earlier than that, had the end of this world been foretold?
8 But even farther back than Daniel, yes, even before the flood of Noah’s day, the end of this world or system of things had been foretold, for instance, by Enoch, another man that “walked with God.” In sacred Scripture we read: “Yes, the seventh man in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: ‘Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’” (Jude 14, 15, NW; Gen. 5:21-24; Heb. 11:5, 6) But Jehovah God himself was first to tell of the world’s end, away back there in the paradise of Eden when the first man took a condemned course of action and his Creator pronounced the judgment of suffering and death upon him. There, addressing the rebel spirit, who like a serpent had schemed to bring all this about, Jehovah God said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Gen. 3:15, NW) That bruising of the great Serpent of wickedness in the head means also the destruction of his world or system of things in our day by God’s beloved Son, who is specially the seed of God’s woman. So no hope remains for this world of which Satan is the god.
9. How does God answer the question as to whether any of the human race will have an opportunity to survive, to keep our race alive?
9 Not the world, but some of the race of mankind—can they be saved and recovered? That is the point in question to be decided in the present crisis. Will all mankind go down with Satan the Devil and his demons at the destruction of his world? Do any of the human race have an opportunity of survival, to perpetuate our race on this earth? Yes! said Jesus the greatest prophet of God. Yes! says God himself in these words: “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens; and all their host have I commanded. For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:12, 18, AS) Jehovah God will not permit the earth to be laid waste without a human inhabitant during the universal war of Armageddon.
10. With what words does Peter remind us that God’s love will preserve survivors?
10 The inspired writer, Peter, reminds us that Almighty God can keep humans alive through the end of this world or system of things, saying: “He did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people; Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens being on fire will be dissolved and the elements being intensely hot will melt! But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Pet. 2:5, 9; 3:11-13, NW) God’s love will preserve survivors for this new world.
A LOVING GOD
11. Why may the expression “God’s love” be a strange one to the majority of mankind, but is his love a reality?
11 “God’s love” may be a strange expression to the vast majority of mankind. Why? Because they do not know such a Being as a loving God, a supreme and almighty God who has love for his living creatures, and especially for man. The existence of evil and the permission of increasing wickedness have puzzled them and led them to wrong ideas about God, that is, if they believe there is even such a Person as God. The God-dishonoring teachings of scheming, selfish religious leaders have painted God in wrong colors and have pictured him as an unloving, unjust God, taking cruel delight in man’s death and revengefully arranging for sinful man to undergo untold agony of suffering for all time after his bodily death. To this day the religious systems of Christendom have not publicly renounced their unchristian teachings of a fiery purgatory and of a blazing hell of endless torture for human souls after the death of the body. And for those who believe only in the existence of unseen demons who are quick to harm a person if they are not appeased, the idea of a loving, supreme God is something they have never felt the comfort of before. In spite of that, God’s love is a provable reality.
12. Why is our defective condition today not to be charged to our Creator, and how is our existence today a sign of his love?
12 All created things come from this only living and true God, who is like a rock foundation upon which all creation rests. The prophet Moses sang concerning him, saying: “I shall declare the name of Jehovah. Do you attribute greatness to our God! The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he. They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own.” (Deut. 32:3-5, NW) If the Creator were unloving, mankind would not be here today after these thousands of years of their acting ruinously and not as children of his. Six thousand years ago he created the first man and woman in human perfection and put them inside the paradise of pleasure, a perfect garden land on earth. When they disobeyed their loving Creator and came under the penalty of death, Jehovah God could have blotted them out instantly before ever they had any children. In that way he could have prevented the coming into existence of a sinful race such as we are today; in which case, though, where would we be now? The defect in mankind today is not due to any unloving Creator, but, as God’s own written Word explains the mystery for us, “through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” We were all born from the sinner Adam into this defective, sinful condition.—Rom. 5:12, NW; Genesis, chapters 2 and 3.
13. (a) What other occasion did God have to blot out all mankind, but how has he since shown love? (b) Why has he sent out a message of reconciliation, and what does becoming reconciled mean?
13 Almighty God the Creator had another occasion in which he could have blotted out all mankind. That occasion was at the flood of Noah’s day. The flood was global, total, covering even the mountains by many cubits, piling up over earth for forty days, and not sinking down into basins and leaving the dry surfaces of today till an entire solar year had passed. But God spared eight human souls and many pairs of lower animal souls, so that today we have over 2,300,000,000 souls of mankind and much animal life on earth as a result. Although the overwhelming majority of mankind may not know him or love, worship and obey him but may even live as enemies of his, still the loving God Jehovah has made his sun to shine and his rain and snow to fall upon these defective human creatures. If anyone is entitled to command us, “Continue to love your enemies, to do good to those hating you, to bless those cursing you,” it is Jehovah God; and he has had his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to say this for Him in his sermon on the mountain in Palestine. (Luke 6:27, 28, NW; Matt. 5:1, 2, 44) Nineteen centuries ago God laid the foundation for these former enemies to become reconciled to him or be brought back into friendly relations with him again, and he sent out his ambassadors, the true followers of Jesus Christ, to say to us: “We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’” (2 Cor. 5:20, NW) When we become reconciled to Jehovah God it means for us far more than just to enjoy the natural blessings of the sun and rain and the growing things of the earth in common with the rest of mankind now; it means for us salvation to everlasting life in God’s new world.
14. Because of our present painful existence what do many erroneously think real salvation must be, but what if God’s purpose respecting pain and suffering?
14 In the new world of righteousness living as human creatures will cease to be mixed with pain. The inspired Christian writer, John, who had a glorious vision of that new world of new heavens and a new earth, said: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more. . . . And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:1-4, NW) Because human existence is now filled with sorrow and pain; there are many who think that real salvation must be by an escape from all existence. They have formed the wrong idea that to get rid of sorrow, pain and suffering one must get rid of existence. Many suffering persons long for death to end it all, and those who believe in the transmigration of the soul long for the cycle of transmigrations of the soul to come to an end in a nirvana of nonexistence, an unconscious nothingness. Sinful man’s existence may now be unhappy and painful, but not all existence is unhappy and painful. The only living and true God, Jehovah, is declared to be “the happy God.” (1 Tim. 1:11, NW) Those who are now reconciled to him are the only truly happy people on earth today, and they are an illustration of God’s purpose to have all his creatures upon whom he confers everlasting life in the new world perfectly happy, with never a twinge of pain, sorrow or dying.
15. Why is going into nonexistence or annihilation not a salvation, and so what, then, is salvation from God?
15 The salvation from God is not an escape from existence, but is a rescue from death or nonexistence. Going into nonexistence is the punishment for wrongdoing against God, for God’s Word says: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23, NW) Those who go into that nonexistent state should not flatter themselves with the thought that they are experiencing a salvation from life or existence. They are undergoing a punishment and are missing the eternal happiness of perfect life in God’s new world. Any animal or brute beast can die; so for mankind dying is nothing superior to the fate of beasts or animals. To quote the inspired wise man: “That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no pre-eminence above the beasts: . . . All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Eccl. 3:19, 20, AS) Consequently, the salvation from God is a rescue or escape from this beastlike fate, a rescue from nonexistence or annihilation. God does not preserve the lives of his enemies or sinners in order to keep them unhappy and in pain. He preserves the lives of those who love him to make them enjoy complete happiness forever. It is written: “Jehovah preserveth all them that love him; but all the wicked will he destroy.”—Ps. 145:20, AS.
16. From whom does the teaching of self-salvation come, what is his purpose in such teaching, and why may we properly indulge in a craving for life?
16 Man’s great adversary is Satan the Devil, and from him comes the teaching that our salvation comes from no outside God but depends upon our controlling our own minds and then in our own strength controlling our bodies through the mind. The adversary’s purpose in such a teaching is to have men refuse the only salvation that comes from Jehovah God. It does not belong to man to save himself in this crisis or at any other time. “Salvation belongeth unto Jehovah,” says Psalm 3:8 (AS). Living eternally in happiness is something no lower animal can attain. It is something that man can attain, but not through himself. The possibility of it comes from outside man, from Jehovah God. We may rightly crave or desire this salvation from God, and we may do so without suffering and without disappointment for indulging in such a craving or desire. By following God’s way, which he has revealed to us through Jesus Christ his Son, we may have such a craving for salvation satisfied by finally escaping from all suffering, old age and sorrow and attaining to an endless life without pain, imperfection, poverty, mental ignorance and confusion, and alienation from a loving, happy God. So let us not fool ourselves as to how life came, what is its purpose and why it is marked by pain and misery just now. Wrong ideas about life and its purpose are due to man’s not knowing about the one living and true God, with whom is the fountain or source of life. (Ps. 36:9) It is only the adversary Satan the Devil’s wish to have men ignorantly desire and choose for themselves the fate of the ungodly and the wicked. God’s invitation is: “You must choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring, by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him, for he is your life and the length of your days.”—Deut. 30:19, 20, NW.
17, 18. (a) Choosing life means doing what? (b) What is the vital reason for God’s gift of everlasting life being offered “by Christ Jesus”?
17 In the present crisis the sane and reasonable person, the lover of what is right, will choose life, which means to choose the way that leads to it. Remember: “The gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” Life is worth accepting no matter by whom God chooses to offer it. So why get offended because it is offered by means of Christ Jesus? There is a vital reason for its being offered through him. The fall of the entire human race came about through the sin of our first parent Adam. The wages he earned for his unloving sin against God his Father was death, attended by imperfection, sorrow, pain, Devil-rule and alienation from God until he returned in death to the dust from which God had originally formed him in human perfection. His disobedient wife influenced him to sin, and from him and through her all the human race have had passed on down to them the condemnation of sin and death, with all the accompaniments of fear, suffering, unhappiness, war and strife, old age, loss and disappointment. Because he was created by God and received life from God, the Holy Scriptures speak of the perfect Adam in Eden as “the son of God.” (Luke 3:38) The fall of all of Adam’s descendants came about through him, the one man, by departing from the way of perfection and godly devotion. Hence it is possible for the rescue or liberation of all the willing ones of Adam’s descendants to be accomplished by means of another “son of God,” by giving his life as a perfect man for Adam’s descendants. Because no one who receives a brief existence as a man from Adam could give a perfect life in sacrifice for the human family, God sent his only-begotten Son from heaven to become a perfect man in the flesh on earth.
18 To take on human nature and become a real flesh-and-blood man in human perfection, this Son of God from heaven submitted to being born from a virtuous woman, a Jewish virgin, and then growing to full manhood at thirty years of age. He then undertook the course of sacrifice that God his Father marked out for him, by preaching that the kingdom of God is the only hope for mankind. This faithful preaching led to his being killed as a martyr or witness for Jehovah God, but he died sinless, without having departed from the way of God as man’s first father Adam had done in Eden. Hence God accepted the human life that his Son laid down as a sacrifice in behalf of dying mankind. He also rewarded his faithful, self-sacrificing Son by resurrecting him from the dead to immortal life in the heavens to be the King in the promised kingdom of God over mankind. This is why Jesus Christ is so important in God’s arrangements. This is why we must come to God through him as God’s Chief Officer. This is why God’s gift of eternal life to humankind is “by Christ Jesus our Lord.”
19. (a) Why is there perfect justice, and also economy, in this arrangement? (b) By the choice of his only-begotten Son for this purpose what does God express?
19 In this arrangement by God there is perfect justice, one perfect human life being given in exchange for the perfect human life that was forfeited by sin in Eden. In this arrangement, too, there is economy or an avoidance of waste, since death, condemnation, imperfection and suffering came by the one man Adam upon all the human family and now the opportunity for everlasting life comes to all the willing ones of Adam’s family through the perfect sacrificed One, Jesus Christ. Therefore God says concerning him: “This is my Son, the Beloved, whom I have approved; listen to him.” (Matt. 17:5, NW; 1 Pet. 1:17) So after sanely considering the matter, it should not offend anyone to learn that God has made the eternal welfare of all mankind dependent upon this one individual and has wrapped up everything in this faithful and worthy Son. What is at fault with this divine arrangement? Where is it incapable of producing the desired results? Why should Almighty God have to call upon many to help, in order to allow you to put your personal religious favorite into the picture? The numerous religions may have each its own religious favorite, so that to please them all it would be necessary to establish a pantheon or temple of all gods. But the only living and true God has his own choice, and it is the proper one, his only-begotten Son, whom he gave in sacrifice. That act expresses love, the highest degree of divine love, to give his most beloved Son to die at the hands of sinners, for those who are in no way deserving of it but who were condemned sinners.
20. Instead of offending us, what should such a love do to us, and what does spurning it signify?
20 Is such an unusual love a thing to get offended at? The unselfishness of such a love recommends itself to us. As one beneficiary of that divine love expressed it: “Christ, while we were yet weak, died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly will anyone die for a righteous man; indeed, for the good man, perhaps, someone even dares to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:6-11, NW) It really signifies the highest degree of ingratitude to spurn and turn back a love that is recommended to us in such a way.
21. Why should our love be a response to God?
21 What man on earth would surrender a dear son to suffer shamefully and die most painfully that those to whom he owes nothing but who deserve destruction may be benefited? God displayed that marvelous degree of love for us humans. To this effect it stands written: “God is love. By this the love of God was made manifest in our case, because God sent forth his only-begotten Son into the world that we might gain life through him. The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:8-10, NW) How could we keep from loving a God like that? When we do learn to love this unselfish God, we are obliged to say, as did the Christian apostle John: “As for us, we love, because he first loved us.”—1 John 4:19, NW.
RESCUE BY MEANS OF A GOOD GOVERNMENT
22. In the love of good government whom are we like and what has he done toward such good government?
22 When righteously disposed persons come to know and love the only living and true God, they joyfully come to realize that his love and their love are alike in one special respect, and that is in the love of good government for mankind. In the love of such a righteous, perfect government we have longed for it but could do nothing about it. The forces for wicked, selfish, oppressive government have been and are too powerful for us. Of ourselves we are unable to fight the Devil and his crowd. However, Jehovah God is the Source of all rightful government, for he is the Sovereign Superior of all the universe. He has not approved of the unrighteous political rulerships of this world, and it is not his purpose to allow them to rule mankind to time indefinite. In his love for good government in every part of his universe he has promised and arranged for a good government over mankind, with the best ruler possible, his only-begotten Son. Since the government comes from him and will be run by his enthroned Son in the heavens, it is called “the kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of the heavens.” In that government the anointed King Jesus Christ will serve God, and Jehovah points to him in his prophecies and says: “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. . . . He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set justice in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.”—Isa. 42:1-4, AS, margin.
23. On earth what did God’s chosen Servant do to recommend that government?
23 When this chosen Servant was on earth as the man Jesus Christ he showed his devotion to this government by preaching the kingdom of God and urging every willing one to give it the first place in his life. He performed many miraculous works of healing upon the ailing people, even raising the dead to life, in order to show that he was the one whom God has chosen for this kingdom and also to show the mighty works that the kingdom would do for its obedient subjects. “That it might be fulfilled what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, who said: ‘Look! my servant whom I chose, my beloved, whom my soul approved! I will put my spirit upon him, and he will make clear to the nations what judgment is. . . . Indeed, in his name nations will hope.’”—Matt. 12:17-21, NW.
24, 25. (a) Like what caretaker does God want his anointed King to be, and how did Jesus prove himself like that? (b) With what kind of government, then, is it that God’s love now comes to man’s rescue?
24 Jehovah God, in favor of good government, wants the King whom he anoints to that position by his holy spirit to be to his human subjects just as a tender shepherd is to his sheep. Jesus Christ proved to have those shepherdlike qualities. The right kind of shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep. Just like that, Jesus as a perfect man laid down his human life for his sheep, his followers. He knew what was required of him as a Shepherd-King, for he said: “I am the right shepherd, and I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I surrender my soul in behalf of the sheep. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I surrender my soul, . . . The commandment on this I received from my Father.” (John 10:14-18, NW) And Jesus did surrender his soul or life as a perfect human for the sake of his sheep, not only for that little flock of sheep who will be resurrected from the dead to rule with him in the heavenly kingdom, but also for all his “other sheep” who will become the loyal, obedient subjects of his kingdom on the earth.
25 He could have no greater love for his sheep. To quote his own words: “No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.” (John 15:13, NW) If you are his friend, you can say with his apostle Paul: “The Son of God who loved me and handed himself over for me.” (Gal. 2:20, NW) Jehovah God loves that kind of ruler. That is why the prophecy addressed to this Son of God said: “The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of straight principles. You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of great joy more so than your partners.” (Heb. 1:8, 9, NW) It is with this kingdom by his Son, this theocratic government which loves right and truth, that God’s love now comes to man’s rescue. This is the only government that God now recognizes and authorizes to rule over mankind.
26. How can it be that love is a reason why God will destroy this old world?
26 God’s love for a righteous government and a faithful ruler is a reason why Jehovah God will destroy this old world with its wicked governments. His destroying of the doers of wickedness is an expression of love—a love of straight principles, a love of those worthy to live on earth in peace and prosperity without oppression. There are things that God hates, and the existence of those things in this old world makes certain that it must go. We read: “There are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that deviseth wicked purposes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that uttereth lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:16-19, AS) God does not approve of our loving what he hates, and his commandment to us is: “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:15-17, NW.
27. Why does love bring the greatest trouble of all at Armageddon, and what will it do for the unselfish lovers of the new world there?
27 Viewed from the right standpoint, the passing away of this world or system of things at Armageddon in the greatest time of trouble of all history is an expression of God’s love, no matter how terrible the trouble he will bring by which to destroy it. It will take all that trouble to wipe out not only all the ungodly, wicked systems of earth but also the invisible devilish powers behind this visible system of things, that is to say, Satan and his demons who have been cast down to our earth’s vicinity and who are now causing woe for the earth and the sea. Those who suffer in that worst of all tribulations will have chosen such suffering for themselves by now spurning and rejecting the way of protection and escape that God lovingly holds open to them now. The selfish lovers of the old world he will destroy at Armageddon. The unselfish lovers of the righteous new world he will preserve through that universal war into the clean new world, with its new heavens and new earth, and these, by continuing to do the will of God, will remain forever in the new world of righteousness.
28. What world was it that God loved so much, and how and why did he show his love for it?
28 The providing for the righteous new world and the establishing of it after the universal war of Armageddon are an expression of God’s love. This is the world that Jehovah God has loved so much that he made the greatest sacrifice on his part for its sake. It was for this reason that Jesus Christ the Son of God, when discussing the kingdom of God, said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:3, 5, 16, NW) It was for those who will make up the new world that God has such love that he was willing to send his beloved Son to earth to die a sacrificial death. His death furnished the means for their salvation to life in this precious new world. But to gain the benefits of his sacrifice they must exercise faith in its value and power. By acting on this faith they escape from being destroyed with the lovers of the old world and they are blessed with everlasting life in the new world. Those who will be associated with the beloved King of the new world are themselves believers in the sacrifice that he made, and by reason of their faith God adopts them as his spiritual children, begetting them with his spirit. When he resurrects them from the dead he gives them spirit life, making them the spiritual part of the new world that they may be with Christ Jesus in the heavenly kingdom. All those who become the loved earthly subjects of this kingdom must likewise exercise faith in the sacrifice of their King. This will result in their receiving the gift of everlasting life in perfect happiness in paradise restored to this earth.
29. Why, from its very start, will that be a different world?
29 From its very start that new world will be filled with the fruitage of God’s spirit operating in the lives of its inhabitants. We are told that “the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22, 23, NW) No wonder that will be such a different world!
30. In view of God’s own love, what truth becomes clear to our view, and, in view of the increasing lawlessness what are we in danger of having occur?
30 Since God in love has come to the rescue in man’s crisis, we see the importance of this quality. So a great truth becomes clear to our view: To live, we must love. This is true of each one of us individually. Treating the matter on a larger scale: To live, the human race must love. Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden found that out when they unlovingly sinned against their God and Creator and had to die for failure to love him. Humankind today must find that out, but not when it is too late as in the case of Adam and Eve. All of us today are feeling the bitter consequences of their failure to love—to love God and to love each other. But an increasing number of people today are finding it out now before the violent outbreak of Armageddon signals that it is too late, and they are learning to develop and exercise the required love. Living as we are today in the awful “time of the end” and now so near to its close we are in great danger of succumbing to selfishness and insane hatred. In his prophecy on the end of the world Jesus warned of this, saying: “Because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.” (Matt. 24:12, NW) To cease to love means death. If we do not want to die, we must love.
31. Disobedience to what commandments is the thing wrong with mankind today, and what does trying to keep only the second of these eventually find?
31 What is wrong with mankind today is their disobedience to the two great commandments. And what are those two great commandments? Jesus Christ answers for us. When asked the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” he answered: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40, NW) These two leading commandments are positive. They call for love; first, love for God, then, love for our fellow man as much as for ourselves. Without the love of God, and that first, the seeming love of our fellow man, a seeming humanitarianism, would find eventual disappointment, frustration.
32. Because of the fulfillment of what prophecy is life very hollow for the greater portion of mankind in these last days, and why does this old world remain in death?
32 According to the prophecies of Holy Scripture we are living in the “last days” in which “critical times hard to deal with” are to be here. In these critical days, these days of crisis, life is very hollow for the greater portion of mankind. What is responsible for their hollowness of life? The prophecy answers: “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . having no natural affection, . . . without love of goodness, . . . puffed up with self-esteem, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5, NW) Mankind is starving its very life by not loving. Mankind is starving for life because it is starving for love. It is a true comment, “He who does not love [according to these two great commandments] remains in death.” And this loveless, murderous old world, by abiding in death until Armageddon, will be forever destroyed there.—1 John 3:14, NW.
33. How does our effort to gain life in the new world become one not purely selfish, and hence why will the great mass of humanity perish at Armageddon?
33 Not only to be loved, but also to love, yes, specially to love, is a wholesome, uplifting, enriching, inspiring thing. The loving of God is the most sublime experience. It primarily is the thing that moves us to accept and act upon the divine terms for everlasting salvation in this time of man’s crisis, for then our effort to gain life in the new world is not a purely selfish effort. Really to benefit ourselves and to glorify God in this crisis of mankind we must respond to God’s love and obey his two great commandments. The great mass of humanity will refuse to do so and will abide under divine condemnation without a true, God-given hope of life and will simply perish at Armageddon. They have no love for “Christ’s brothers” nor for his “other sheep.” And having no love for these, they really have no love for Christ nor for his God, Jehovah. So, preferring to remain in death to the fatal hour, they determine their own destiny or end at Armageddon.
34. All mankind are now at the crisis because the nations are in what time, and why?
34 All mankind are now at the crisis, because they are in the time of the judgment of the nations. According to the Bible prophecies and their fulfillment in modern history, yes, according to God’s own timetable set down in the Bible, the “time of the end” began for the nations of this world A.D. 1914 and the due time arrived for God’s kingdom to be established in the heavens. The outbreak of World War I in that year was only one of the foretold evidences to prove that fact. Accordingly at God’s invitation Jesus Christ came into the Kingdom and was seated upon the heavenly throne to rule for the destruction of this old world and for the full introduction of the new world.
35. (a) What separating work is the King on his throne now carrying on, and why are some condemned and others commended? (b) How have those commended passed over already to a life state?
35 In his same prophecy on the world’s end Jesus said he would come in his glory and all the holy angels with him and then he would sit down on his glorious throne and gather all earthly nations before him and begin a separating work. He would separate, not the political nations, but the people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. On his right hand of favor he would put the sheeplike people, on his left hand of disfavor the goatlike people. He reproves the goat class because of their failure to show love for Christ’s spiritual brothers and sentences them to everlasting destruction pictured by “the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” He commends the sheep class because of their love of Christ’s spiritual brothers and ushers these righteous ones into everlasting life in the new world. (Matt. 25:31-46, NW; Mt 24:7) They have hope of being shielded by God’s power through Christ against the destructive forces of Armageddon and being preserved alive through the terrible end of this old world into the gloriously opening new world. Why? Because even now, by learning to love God and his Christ and by learning to love their neighbor as themselves, they pass over from a death state to a life state, getting on the way to eternal life. Let the world hate us for this. Says the Christian apostle John: “We know we have passed over from death to life, because we love the brothers.”—1 John 3:14, NW.
36. What can God’s now-opened hand do to us living creatures, but why will some perish in their dissatisfaction at Armageddon?
36 Here we are, then, in the greatest crisis to date. Instead of being worried, happy are we if we awake to the fact that Jehovah God in his wonderful love has come to our rescue and we are willing to be rescued in his way. We can get the satisfaction of our loving heart’s desire if we accept God’s open hand. In describing God’s loving-kindness the beautiful Kingdom psalm addresses God with these words: “Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” But it takes two to make a gift. It takes an accepter as well as a giver. All mankind are selfishly willing to accept and enjoy the material good things that his open hand has provided. Not all, though, appreciate the greatest offer of his open hand, the spiritual offer. They spurn the offer of God’s gift of eternal life because it is through Jesus Christ our Lord, and they bite the hand that offers to feed them with life-giving spiritual provisions as well as material food. So they remain unsatisfied in the highest sense and will perish in their dissatisfaction at Armageddon.
37. (a) So how may we find satisfaction forever? (b) By doing what do we make and carry out the life-giving decision, and in vindication of what?
37 But the psalm says: “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them. Jehovah preserveth all them that love him; but all the wicked will he destroy.” (Ps. 145:16, 19, 20, AS) For our part, then, we shall find satisfaction forever by now accepting the loving offer in his open hand. In loving appreciation we will accept his great means for our salvation, his kingdom by Jesus Christ, which is now established in the heavens, and we will preach it in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations until the end comes. (Matt. 24:14) We will band together and regularly meet together as a New World society, doing so without fail, to encourage one another and to incite one another to love and right works, ‘and all the more so as we behold the great day drawing near.’ (Heb. 10:24, 25) Doing this, we make and carry out the life-giving decision in this time of man’s crisis, and God’s love in coming to our rescue will be vindicated.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.—Prov. 9:9, 10, AS.