The Real Book of Freedom
Does it sound strange that the truth in a book can make men free? How can it do this, and why? This article answers.
“WHY should man need a book to be free today?” you may ask. “Does not the world have greater political understanding, more liberties, greater knowledge and more extensive education than ever before?” Indeed, knowledge has increased and literacy and the means of spreading information have expanded at a tremendous pace. But still, in a real sense, the world is neither physically nor mentally free.
The world is not free when more than one out of every three of its people—nearly a billion persons—are under the control of totalitarian communism, and when smaller totalitarian systems continue to exist even within the so-called “free world.”
Nor is the world free while wars and threats of wars hang ominously over its head and while so much of the resources of nations is directed either toward aggression or defense.
Nor is the world really free as long as slavish anxieties, neuroses and mental illnesses hold so many people in bondage that the president’s commission for the study of national health recently called emotional disabilities the United States’ foremost health problem.
Nor can the world really say it is free as long as religious falsehood and moral bankruptcy hold it in bondage to error and corruption. People are not really free who are held in subjection to false religious traditions. Yet so many contradictory things are taught in today’s churches that some of them must be false. In the United States alone there are at least 23 groups of Baptists, 15 divisions among the Brethren, 15 divisions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, 7 kinds of Pentecostals, 10 groups of Presbyterians, 21 divisions among the Methodists, 9 divisions among the Friends, 20 groups of Lutherans and 13 kinds of Mennonites. Certainly not all of these groups could be right, because they disagree with each other; so some must be in slavery to falsehood.
Even further, the scoffing of science keeps many people away from the true source of freedom. This scoffing leaves the impression that true science contradicts the Bible. Yet modern discovery has demolished many of such theories. For example, the radiocarbon clock has disproved some of the fantastic ages that scientists have attributed to various forms of life. One instance was where they had said a destroyed spruce forest in Wisconsin was an amazing 125,000 years old. This figure was at least 91 percent wrong, for the radiocarbon clock brought the forest’s age down to a mere 11,000 years. Yet some persons still put their confidence on the shifting sands of such false theories rather than on the solid rock of God’s Word that remains always the same.
So the world is still in need of both physical and mental freedom, as well as freedom from all false ideas that lead men into error and away from truth and light. Where can this true freedom be found? The Bible is the book of such freedom. It shows (1) why man is in bondage today, (2) how to get a really free mind now and (3) how to gain permanent freedom of both body and mind under the righteous new conditions that are so near at hand. What does it say about these things?
THE LOSS OF FREEDOM
The Bible says that men are in bondage because of Satan’s rebellion and Adam’s fall. It tells us that originally man was created free, that he was free in both body and mind, and that he was put into a free world that knew neither sin nor unrighteousness nor death. What changed these conditions? A spirit creature rebelled, became Satan and led men away from God. He led them away by promising the first woman, Eve, that through disobeying God “your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.”—Gen. 3:5, NW.
Of course, that was a false promise of freedom. Adam and Eve were free to do everything that was right. But accepting Satan’s false promise that they would be better off by doing wrong brought them into the greatest slavery. They now became slaves to sin and to death and to the great adversary Satan himself, and they passed this slavery on to their descendants. Satan was the real enslaver of mankind, and even today the fight for true freedom is still against this same adversary, Satan. This is why Ephesians 6:12 and 1 Timothy 4:1 (NW) tell us that the Christian’s fight is against “wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places,” and against “misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons.”
But Satan’s wicked influence covers far more than just spiritual matters. Sometimes you hear people say about a particular dictator: “He acts like the Devil himself!” There is often more truth to that statement than is realized. The world’s rulers certainly can do the Devil’s bidding, oppressing men and bringing them into both physical and mental slavery. That the nations themselves would thus be in bondage to Satan is shown in Revelation 16:14, which says that “expressions inspired by demons” would “perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.”—NW.
Satan does all that he can to keep all mankind so busy with their troubles and with earth’s difficulties that they will not take time to stop and look around and get their bearings and to learn from the real book of freedom that it is Satan who is actually leading this world, and that he really is the one who is responsible for its wars, troubles and death.
THE SOURCE OF FREEDOM
So true freedom does not come through man’s power. If man could find real freedom by himself then the modern super-wise twentieth-century world could throw off its mental shackles, throw out its psychiatrists, tear down its mental hospitals, abolish its slave-labor camps, remove its dictators, prevent new dictators from replacing them, and exercise the freedom that self-effort would bring. But man cannot do these things on his own. He tries, he makes some improvements, but the basic problems remain. There have been wars since earliest times, there have been totalitarian dictators since the first governments sprang up on the earth, and according to anthropologist George Peter Murdock of Yale University, psychiatry is the lineal descendant of the medicine man who let others become herbalists and bonesetters and confined his practice to curing the ills of the mind. Why do these earliest of problems still plague the twentieth-century world? Because the people who are promising freedom from them cannot overcome Satan’s power. They can only deal with the symptoms, not the real cause. “While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption.”—2 Pet. 2:19, NW.
Does this mean that there are no free people? No, it does not mean that. There are people today who are free even when thrown into jail or prison. There are people in Communist slave-labor camps today whose mental attitude makes them freer than most of the world’s people. They have the same freedom of mind that men of God in ancient times had. Noah was one of such ancient men. Even when a world’s end was at hand he did not cower in a paralysis of fear, but wisely obeyed God and lived through the flood that cleansed the earth of a corrupt system. Moses, too, was free from fear even when obeying God subjected him to the anger of Egypt’s mighty Pharaoh. Hebrews 11:27 (NW) says: “By faith he left Egypt, but not fearing the rage of the king, for he continued steadfast as seeing the one that is invisible.”
Of course, Christ Jesus was the most outstanding example of such freedom, and he opened the way to real freedom for others who would accept it. He did this by providing the ransom that can cancel out the slavery that Adam’s disobedience brought upon mankind. Romans 5:18 (NW) says: “So, then, as through [Adam’s] one trespass the result to men of all kinds was condemnation, likewise also through [Christ’s] one act of justification the result to men of all kinds is a declaring of them righteous for life.”
Yes, Christ is God’s chief liberator of man. He will free men from all kinds of slavery. He will free earth from its wars, disease, oppression and death. And he will bring perfect peace from God’s hand.
You have prayed for him to do this. You have asked in prayer to God: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” For God’s will to be done all badness must be gone; Satan’s wicked rule must come to its end. Christ would not have taught us to pray for this if it were not going to happen. He did teach us to ask for it, however, and it will happen!—Matt. 6:10.
Would it bring you great peace of mind to know for a certainty that God’s will is soon to be done throughout the earth as it is in heaven? The book of freedom gives you that confidence. It shows that the heavenly part of this new system of things has already been established, and that the earthly part is in process of development. It gives proof that within the lifetime of people who are now living God’s will is going to be done throughout the earth, just as it is in heaven. The Bible is the book of greatest freedom because it tells how you can live at that time, and under its blessings.
Revelation 12:12 (NW) says of our day: “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.”
These woes have come upon mankind since the year 1914. The wars, famine, earthquakes, earth-wide persecution of true Christians, increased lawlessness, global fear and insecurity, and even the juvenile delinquency and today’s earthwide Kingdom-preaching were all foretold as a part of the great sign that would mark the time when Satan had been cast down to earth’s vicinity and when Christ’s kingdom was being established. The fact that these things have come upon our generation marks ours as the time for the end of Satan’s wicked rule, and for the accompanying establishment of really righteous conditions.—Matt. 24:6-21; Luke 21:26; 2 Tim. 3:1-3.
All of this information is from the real book of freedom. This book, the Bible, also says much more about our day. Do you want to benefit from the life-giving information that it contains? Then you must read that book for yourself. You must study other publications, like this one, that will help you to understand it. And you must associate at congregational meetings with other people who are genuinely interested in what this true book of freedom really does say. Remember: “When there is a turning to Jehovah, the veil is taken away. Now Jehovah is the spirit; and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.”—2 Cor. 3:16, 17, NW.
But perhaps you say: “All that sounds good, but I just don’t have the time to do it.” Many people say that, but is it really true? The baseball fan keeps up with the standings of his team. Business people read their trade papers. Multiplied millions of persons spend time every week reading magazines and newspapers or attending movies. All of these may be enjoyable or even profitable at times, but actually the reason why people find time to do them is that they want to do them. Do you want freedom and life? Are freedom and life as important to you as the baseball scores, or a current magazine, a movie or TV program? If so, then you really will find time to study the book of true freedom, and to associate with and study with other people who are likewise concerned with these important things.
A happy fact is that you do not have to do this all by yourself. Jehovah’s witnesses, who are just as busy as you are, will take their own time to come to your home and to help you to gain this needed knowledge of God’s Word. Then, as you gain this Bible knowledge, you will begin to see how God thinks, how he looks at things, how he does things, and what his rules and practices are. Your mind will begin to change. You will fill it with good things. You will no longer think just as the world thinks. You will no longer be enslaved by its selfish course, or by its fears. You will have obeyed the instruction to “quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and complete will of God.”—Rom. 12:2, NW.
What you think directs what you do, and when you think and do good things you will use your freedom to live a clean, upright, moral life. You will keep separate from the way of mankind’s chief enslaver, Satan, who is soon to be destroyed, and you will be able to live through his destruction into the righteous new conditions that will follow. Under those new conditions of God’s righteous kingdom there will be no unjust rulers, no fear of war, no emotional disabilities, no religious falsehoods, nor any scoffing at the true source of freedom. All of these problems will have been solved through the application of right principles under the leadership of the new system’s king, Christ Jesus.
So, by accepting and believing the Bible, the true book of freedom, and by studying and following it, you too can receive mental freedom now, and complete physical freedom, too, under the blessings of God’s righteous kingdom, which soon will bring lasting peace to this earth and to all the godly people who will live upon it.