“The Good News of Salvation by Him”
“From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him”—Ps. 96:2, NW.
1. What strange things did we go through during World War I, and what kind of news has it been for the world ever since?
SINCE the year 1914 we human creatures have gone through strange things, things first in their kind, things making news. That year the first war of truly “world” proportions broke out. The sixteen nations and empires that took part in that war saw the need of mobilizing their total populations for a united part in the global struggle. For the first time fighting from the heavens by the airplane was introduced. As the fight waxed in ferociousness chemical gas warfare was resorted to, and the boys at the front had to wear the hideous-looking gas masks to breathe and live through the chemical storm. Barrages—the rolling or creeping barrage of advancing cannon fire and the barrage of air balloons and of mines at sea—became new features. The first missile projectiles were fired from immense German cannons—into Paris, from thirty miles away. And then in September, 1916, the first moving ironclad fortresses, British armored tanks with caterpillar treads, startled the whole world as they lumbered swiftly against the enemy over the roughest terrain, like unearthly monsters savagely spitting out gunfire and heartlessly crushing everything in their path. Adding to the death toll came great food shortages and famines, death-dealing plagues and pestilences, dislocations of populations, the infuriating of intense hatreds and the persecution of small groups faithful to their religious belief and principles and the establishment of the first Communist Bolshevik state. Ever since then it has been bad news for this old world.
2. As testified to by The Encyclopedia Americana, how has the world never been the same since?
2 This last statement goes without a challenge. Men who were living in and before 1914 know that this world has never been the same since. With reference to this fact The Encyclopedia Americana discusses the world war begun in 1914 and says: “The great conflict, brought to an end in 1918, changed not only the boundaries of nations, but practically every interest and character of human life. It created a gigantic upheaval among the hitherto accepted fundamental principles underlying government, law, international relations, democracy, freedom, commerce, industry, finance, labor, etc. Over a score of thrones crumbled and their former occupants sought security in exile. Revaluations and restatements have become necessary in all fields of endeavor. The conflagration in 1918 involved 93 per cent of the world’s population, the countries classed as neutral had a combined population of only 130,000,000, whereas the countries which participated in the war had a combined population of over 1,700,000,000.” Truly a world war that, and mankind’s first one. It was bound to bring irreversible changes to the world. In spite of the political, commercial and religious efforts to better the situation, the change since 1914 has been steadily for the worse and lately for the worst. There is no need to quote here what eminent men of this world have said about the worsening of the world situation. Readers of The Watchtower have already read their gloomy statements quoted in these columns or elsewhere.
3. The continually bad quality of world news makes us ask what vital questions, and how may we answer them?
3 Human hearts are sick because of continually bad news that keeps pouring in upon them, offering no solid hope for the future, their own future. The increase of suicides bears witness to this; so does the upsurge in the number of mental cases in and outside hospitals, also the mad, wild, senseless quest for distracting pleasures. Yet, is there no good news today, not news good just for an individual or a family or a limited group of interested people, but news good for all mankind? News that is so important that it overshadows all the mass of bad news put together? Is there no source having good news? Is there no channel for such good news that can succeed in getting it through to us? There is! And through this channel that source releases to us the good news of a salvation from all these dreadful conditions and their consequences. Of prime importance is the source of the news. And who or what is that source? It is God! Ah, but there are so many, yes, hundreds of millions in India alone, that are called “God.” Which God among all these is the divine source of the only good news? What is his name?
4. Upon whom do we call to answer the question about God’s name? Why?
4 Were The Watchtower to answer this vital question on its own authority it might not carry the greatest weight among people outside its three million readers. We shall therefore call upon a man to speak in answer, a man whose name has been known round the world for nineteen centuries and whose life and message have affected countless multitudes for everlasting good, Jesus Christ. We call upon him, and not upon so-called Christendom, to give us the answer.
5, 6. (a) How did that man answer the question? (b) How do witnesses of Jehovah on earth get the truly good news?
5 In the early days of his preaching the message of a “kingdom of heaven” this Jesus Christ stood up in the Saturday religious meetinghouse of his fellow townsmen, among whom he had spent the most of his thirty years of life till then. In his hands he held the book of the 700-year-old prophecy of Isaiah, and from it he read verses one and two of chapter sixty-one. This is what he read: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” After that Jesus said to his hearers: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.”—Luke 4:16-21, NW; see also Isaiah 61:1, 2, AS.
6 Thus Jesus said that Jehovah was the source of the good news and that Jehovah anointed Jesus with holy spirit to preach this good news to poor people, captive people, blind people and crushed people, meek, brokenhearted and mourning people. Are you one of people like this? In backing up the preaching that he did Jesus constantly quoted from the Holy Bible, for the Bible is the inspired Word of Jehovah God. In that book we find in written form the good news from Jehovah the God and Father of Jesus Christ. Had Jesus turned farther back in the book to Isaiah 43:10, 12, this is what he would have read: “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. . . . therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.” (AS) Jesus himself has told us that he was and is the ‘ faithful and true witness” of Jehovah God, and it is only from Jehovah himself that his witnesses on earth get the truly good news. They get it from him by going to his Book, the Holy Bible. This is the only Source-Book of good news. Jehovah God does not underwrite or attach his name to any other book or religious writing on earth. His true witnesses must do as the Chief Witness, Jesus Christ, did: base their message upon the Holy Bible, God’s Word.—Rev. 1:5; 3:14.
7. What was the good news that Jesus declared, and how, therefore, did the people shout during his ride into Jerusalem?
7 Specifically, just what was the good news that Jesus declared, and could it be good news for us today? The Bible’s history of his life tells us: “He went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 8:1, NW) At the end of his human life on earth Jesus stood before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, in his judgment hall at Jerusalem. In answer to Pilate’s question, “Are you a King?” Jesus replied: “It is for you to say that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born and for this purpose I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37, NW) Hours later that day Jesus of Nazareth was hanging nailed to a torture stake, with the title posted above his head: “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews.” (John 19:19, NW) Only four days before that Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem just as the ancient kings of the nation of Israel had done at the time of their coronation, and the jubilant people who wanted to be independent from Rome and who wanted a king of the tribe of Judah and of the royal family of David broke out into various cries, such as: “Blessed is the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name! Peace in heaven, and glory in the heights above!” “Save, we pray! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Save, we pray, in the heights above!” “Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!”—Luke 19:38; Mark 11:9, 10 and Matt. 21:9, NW.
8. How did Jehovah answer their prayerful shout?
8 Jehovah God answered that prayerful shout of the people. He did save his royal Son Jesus Christ, not from the disgrace and cruelty of the torture stake, but from the death that he suffered on the stake. The third day after Jesus’ death Jehovah God raised him from the dead and within fifty days after that Jehovah seated Jesus at his own right hand in heaven to wait for God’s fixed time to set up the Kingdom and to put all enemies in heaven and earth under the feet of his Son as King.—Acts 2:32-36, NW; Ps. 110:1, 2.
THE OLD NEWS MADE BETTER
9. How has the goodness of the news been enlarged today, and what did Jesus guarantee that his followers today would have?
9 Nineteen centuries ago that message of the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus and his followers was the best news ever proclaimed. It was free news to the poor. It uplifted the meek. It bound up the broken hearts. It gave sight to the religiously blind. It released the ones crushed with this world’s oppressions and enslavement, and it comforted all that mourned because of bad religious conditions. The passing of nineteen hundred years has not lessened the goodness of that Kingdom message; it is still good news. But the goodness of the news is enlarged today. Why? Because the long-awaited kingdom of God has been set up in the hands of his Son Jesus Christ. It was set up at God’s throne in the heavens, where his Son has been sitting nineteen centuries at his right hand. It was set up A.D. 1914, the same year that the world-changing first global war began. Jesus told us to pray for that kingdom of God by his Christ to extend its power to this earth to break up the evil conditions here. He taught us this prayer: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10, NW) Nineteen centuries ago Jehovah’s witnesses on earth, namely, Jesus and his followers, boldly declared the good news of the coming kingdom. Today, since 1914, what must Jesus’ true followers, who are likewise Jehovah’s witnesses, do? Do they have any God-given message, any good news, to tell to the people of all the nations, tribes, families and languages? Jesus Christ guaranteed that his followers today would have such.
10. In what connection did Jesus foretell the work of his followers today, and how?
10 Looking forward with the vision of an inspired prophet, Jesus foresaw and foretold the events of our generation since 1914. He foretold the first world war with its accompanying famines, pestilences and earthquakes and religious persecution, all of which together are visible earthly proof that God’s kingdom has at last come into power and is ruling toward the earth. Then Jesus foretold the work of his followers at that time, which is our time. Was their work to be that of multiplying earth’s sufferings, sorrows and crimes by engaging in world wars and in persecuting other religious people? No! Pointing ahead to a joyful, comforting work for his followers, Jesus said: “And [after World War I] this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end [of this system of things] will come.” (Matt. 24:7-14, NW) This witness to God’s established kingdom must be given before this war-crippled system of things ends completely in an Armageddon fight.
11. What does the setting up of God’s kingdom deserve, and why?
11 The setting up of God’s heavenly kingdom over this rebellious earth is deserving of a coronation song, a song to glorify the crowning of his beloved Son Jesus Christ as his appointed King over all mankind. When Jesus rode in royal style into the city of Jerusalem in the year 33, the Jewish religious rulers at the temple missed the opportunity of offering him a crown. They did not recognize him as the promised Son of famous King David, who had long ago sat on the ‘throne of Jehovah’ at Jerusalem. (1 Chron. 29:23, AS) They were not in the spirit of the joyous crowd who accompanied Jesus into the royal city, shouting “Save, we pray, the Son of David!”
12. How did King David come to compose a coronation song for us, and why must we sing it now?
12 Ancient King David showed the fitness of a coronation song at such an event as that of Jehovah’s assuming power over all the earth. David had the visible sign of God’s presence, the golden Ark of the Covenant, brought into the royal city of Jerusalem and put in a tent near his royal palace. So David composed and sang a coronation song, which reached its grand climax in the theme: “Let the heavens be glad, let the earth be joyful, and let them say among the nations, ‘Jehovah himself has become king!’” (1 Chron. 16:23-33, NW) Under the guidance of Jehovah’s holy spirit King David adapted that same theme and composed a new psalm. This psalm showed that a coronation song must be sung on a grand scale now in our day following the setting up of God’s kingdom and his placing his faithful, resurrected Son on the heavenly throne in 1914. In the Book of Psalms this is Psalm 96, and it is known as one of the Coronation Psalms. The great enthronement and the glorious coronation have taken place in the resplendent courts of heaven, of which fact we have all the needed evidence since 1914. So all the things commanded in this Coronation Psalm must be carried out. The witnesses of Jehovah of today, with the eye of faith, are carrying out those things. What things?
A NEW SONG
13. What things does Psalm 96:1-3 mention, and what newest inventions of science are not the new things about which to sing to Jehovah?
13 “Sing to Jehovah a new song, sing to Jehovah, all [you people of] the earth. Sing to Jehovah, bless his name. From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him. Declare among the nations his glory, among all the peoples his wonderful works.” (Ps. 96:1-3, NW) Hydrogen bombs with the deadly explosive power of millions of tons of the usual explosives, although among the newest inventions of modern science, are nothing new about which to sing to Jehovah. Billions of years ago, as the scientists themselves have pointed out, Jehovah God caused thermonuclear explosions of hydrogen to take place within the sun to supply light and heat to our earth that mankind might keep alive on this planet. Bombs, long-range ballistic missiles, atomic submarines, and other military inventions and commercial products of twentieth-century science are not the “wonderful works” that Jehovah has guided and enlightened the scientists to perform, and about which to sing in praise of him. The scientists scoff at Jehovah and prefer to misuse the brains with which he created man by serving the vicious enemy of God and man, Satan the Devil.
14. What thing does supply us the subject for a “new song,” and why?
14 No, these modern scientific inventions and developments do not furnish us the theme for a new song of gladness. Since 1914 the one big, overwhelming thing that supplies the people of Jehovah with the subject for a “new song” to his praise is the birth of his royal government, which he lays upon the shoulder of his long-waiting Son Jesus Christ. Though it was promised about six thousand years ago in man’s first earthly home, in the paradise of Eden, there has till A.D. 1914 been nothing in heaven or on earth like this kingdom of God by his promised Seed, Jesus Christ. (Gen. 3:15) Never before 1914 has there been a capital organization over the entire living universe, with Christ as its Head and with the Most High God Jehovah dwelling in it and operating through it to have his will done throughout the universe. (Phil. 2:5-11) This is indeed something new, something gloriously new, and it means blessing to all men of good will as well as to holy angels. A realization of this moves one to burst out in singing. It calls for a new song, with a theme entirely new, entirely different! Jehovah by introducing his kingdom has made this possible. To him and in his honor the new song should be sung.
15. Who are addressed as “all [you people of] the earth, “ and what are they doing in fulfillment of the psalm?
15 “All [you people of] the earth” are exhorted to sing to him and bless his name. That is to say, you whom Jehovah has made spiritual Israelites in his organization, to be his witnesses in all the nations. You were the ones to whom your God first revealed these truths and whom he first taught to sing this new song. He foreordained that there should be 144,000 of you spiritual Israelites to be associated with Jesus Christ in his heavenly kingdom, not on earthly Mount Zion, where King David used to reign, but on the heavenly Mount Zion or seat of royal rule. For nineteen centuries Jesus has been in heaven, there glorified at his Father’s right hand. But since the establishment of the God-ruled kingdom the greater part of the faithful Christian witnesses of Jehovah, the spiritual Israelites, has been glorified with Christ enthroned on Mount Zion. How? By a resurrection of them out of death to life as immortal spirit creatures in heaven, having the “divine nature.” Only a small remnant of the 144,000 heirs of God’s heavenly kingdom are still on earth. But all the 144,000, both the remnant yet on earth and the triumphant resurrected Kingdom heirs, are singing to Jehovah’s praise, all co-operating together visibly and invisibly in making known the wondrous new facts of universal history. The Revelation, in Re chapter fourteen, verses 1-4, unveils to our vision the magnificent sight.
16. What vision was John given of them doing this?
16 There the apostle John, who first saw the vision, writes: “And I saw, and look! the Lamb [the once-sacrificed Jesus Christ] standing upon the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound out of heaven as the sound of many waters and as the sound of loud thunder; and the sound that I heard was as of singers who accompany themselves on the harp playing on their harps. And they are singing as if a new song before the throne [of God] and before the four living creatures and the persons of advanced age; and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been purchased from the earth. These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones that keep following the Lamb [Jesus Christ] no matter where he goes. These were purchased from among mankind as a firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”—Re 14:1-4 NW.
17. From whom must people on earth learn this “new song,” and why?
17 In obedience to the command of Psalm 96:1-3 the spiritual remnant on earth, who have learned the song, act like a “faithful and discreet slave” class and sing forth the “new song.” (Matt. 24:45-47, NW) All others on earth who want to join in must learn this entirely new and different song from them, because politicians and financial and industrial men of this world and even the nominally Christian clergy of Christendom do not know the new song and cannot teach it to anybody. Only Jesus Christ and his 144,000 joint heirs have been taught the new song by Jehovah God and only they can lead in singing it. (Isa. 54:13; John 6:44, 45, AS) They are the people whom God has for the past nineteen hundred years been selecting, giving his attention to the nations “to take out of them a people for his name,” Jehovah. (Acts 15:14, NW) For centuries now the different religious systems of Christendom have had their missionaries active inside Christendom and among all the nations outside Christendom, and yet all you inhabitants of the globe know that it has not been the religious clergy of Christendom or of Jewry that has informed you regarding the name Jehovah or taught you to bless his name, as Psalm 96:2 (AS) tells true Christians to do.
18. Who today have brought Jehovah’s name to the world’s attention, and particularly since when?
18 Thirty years ago in the January 1, 1926, issue of the magazine The Watch Tower the first and principal article was entitled “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” Since that time in particular the faithful adherents of this magazine have shown their worthiness of the name of identification, Jehovah’s witnesses, which name they jubilantly embraced in 1931. Since 1931 all the peoples of the earth have known that it has been the Christian remnant who bear Jehovah’s name that have brought his name to their attention and shown the grand reasons for honoring it and blessing it. The clergy, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, however, do not imitate Jesus, who said to Jehovah God: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.” Instead, they have scoffed at Jehovah’s witnesses and have tried in every way to prevent them from bearing witness to God’s holy name. But all in vain! Jehovah’s witnesses have gone straight ahead in imitation of Jesus Christ. (John 17:6, NW) They have made Jehovah’s name manifest, obeying the command: “Declare among the nations his glory, among all the peoples his wonderful works.” (Ps. 96:3, NW) Even Communist-ruled countries have been unable to prevent Jehovah’s witnesses from obeying this divine command. Even in those lands they have songfully spread the glad news that Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ was put in operation in the heavens in 1914.
WHERE HAS THERE BEEN ANY SALVATION?
19. Why has not God’s kingdom saved the nations from getting into this fear-exciting world condition?
19 But if that divine government has been operating since the opening year of World War I, where has there been any salvation by it? Where has there been any good news of salvation by Jehovah to tell? Why are the nations, even those of Christendom, nearing the brink of self-destruction and trying to save themselves from the unavoidable consequences of their growing divisiveness and of their misuse of the inventions of modern science? Why has not Jehovah by his kingdom saved them from this fear-exciting world condition? The facts answer that it is because the nations do not want Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ. Contrary to viewing it as the grandest blessing that could come to all mankind, they have no faith in it. In fact, they fear it as if it would be the worst thing that could happen to humanity. They feel self-confidently independent of God’s heavenly kingdom and want to be no part of it and want no salvation by it. Their rejection of the Kingdom message of Jehovah’s witnesses and their persecution and obstruction of these witnesses betray them as anti-Kingdom. Their world wars and their League of Nations and their United Nations for world domination also prove it. Consequently there has been no salvation of them and their affairs go from bad to worse.
20. How did the heavenly angels experience a salvation by the Kingdom?
20 But we who have been saved know that there has been a “salvation by him” to tell about from day to day as good news. We know that the “god of this system of things” is Satan the Devil, God’s most wicked adversary, and that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19 and; 2 Cor. 4:4, NW) We know that in 1914 there was a war raging greater than World War I on earth. It was a war in heaven. Not a war from Zeppelin airships or by airplanes, not a war by supermen, not a war by mythical “men from Mars,” but a war in the invisible heavens by Christ, the newly enthroned King, and his angels against the false god, Satan the Devil, and his demonic angels. The heavenly war established God’s newborn kingdom more firmly in power, for all the satanic hosts were whipped and hurled down from those heavens to the neighborhood of our earth. How the heavenly hosts appreciated this salvation by God’s power! With loud voice they cried out: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, . . . 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. 12:7-12; 11:15-18, NW) Even apart from world war among his nations, this defeat in the heavenly war was a terrible tribulation for Satan and his world organization.
21, 22. Who on earth first experienced a salvation by the Kingdom, and how?
21 But Satan knew it was only the beginning of the tribulation upon his organization. He knew that after a “short period of time” would come a grand finale of that tribulation, and this would mean Armageddon for him, his crushing defeat by the destruction of all his organization in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11 to 20:3, NW) By this “short period of time” this tribulation upon his organization by the newborn kingdom was shortened. It was as a breathing spell for him and his demons. But it was not for his sake that those days of tribulation were cut short. It was for the sake of accomplishing a divine salvation of the remnant of the 144,000 joint heirs of Jesus Christ, “the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17) During World War I the remnant were maliciously abused in the United States of America and the other nations at war, in an attempt to disorganize them, stop their witness work, frighten them forever away from it and wreck their reputation and good standing for all time to come. Not primarily physical death, but spiritual death was facing them if they continued in their condition of bondage to this world at war against God’s kingdom. Had Armageddon then come upon the nations, the remnant, being under divine disfavor for falling short of their duty to Jehovah, might have perished with the worldly nations.
22 The serious situation of the remnant of God’s chosen ones called for a merciful salvation. Only Jehovah could provide it through his victorious Christ, and he did so, by cutting short the tribulation upon Satan’s organization and holding off Armageddon until after a “short period of time.” Jesus foretold this in these words: “Those days will be days of a tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation which God created until that time and will not occur again. In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones that he has chosen he has cut short the days.”—Mark 13:19, 20, NW.
23. As revealed to them in 1920, why had the remnant been saved on earth?
23 Modern history records the fact that in the spring of 1919, or shortly after the end of World War I, Jehovah God surprised even Christendom and freed the remnant of his witnesses from their low bondage in this world. The very next year he opened their eyes to see that they had been “saved” and delivered and spared alive on earth to fulfill their Master’s prophetic command: “He that has endured to the finish is the one that will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:13, 14, NW) They alone had this “good news” of the Kingdom that had been established in the heavens at the close of the “appointed times of the nations” in 1914. It was good news of salvation. That kingdom had fought in heaven for a salvation of the holy angels from the defiling, menacing activities of Satan and his demon angels. It had saved the remnant of chosen ones on earth from their spiritual peril and had freed and emboldened them for the renewed service of Jehovah and his kingdom.
24. Who else on earth have since been saved, and so what is it a privilege now to do?
24 Today, years after that, the majority of this generation has rejected the witness that the remnant has had to give before the complete end of this system of things comes at Armageddon. Yet the preaching of “this good news” of the kingdom of salvation has already resulted in the saving of a “great crowd” of good-will persons “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” That was certain to happen, for it was foretold. (Rev. 7:9-17, NW) At Armageddon the theocratic kingdom will triumph and will free the universe of Satan’s organization and save this “great crowd” of good will through the destructive tribulation of Armageddon and into the new world, the righteous new system of things that will prevail over the earth. After Armageddon that kingdom, exercising its saving power still further, will bring salvation to even the dead in the memorial tombs by resurrecting them to life on earth during the thousand years of Christ’s reign. All these things being taken into consideration, here, indeed, since 1919 is a “salvation by him” the good news about which deserves to be told “from day to day.” It is a thrilling privilege to join the saved ones in telling it.