A New Song for All Men of Good Will
1. What song is appropriate today in spite of Proverbs 25:20, and what results to those singing it?
A PROVERB now about three thousand years old says: “He that is removing a garment on a cold day is as vinegar upon alkali and as a singer with songs upon a gloomy heart.” (Prov. 25:20) The whole world today is of a gloomy heart, faced as it is with a disturbing present and a frightening future. Concerned people may not be in the mood for a song. But there is a song that can really cheer all people up, regardless of to what nation they belong. It is a new song that previous generations were not privileged to sing. If men are of good will toward the unusual creator of this song they will enjoy it, be warmed and refreshed by it and be lifted out of their gloom and sour attitude. When they get familiar with this song creation, they too will want to burst out in singing it. This will mean health, yes, salvation to them.
2, 3. (a) Why may the name of the song writer be new to many? (b) Why could he give us a really new song, and what does he tell us to do with it?
2 Not only has the song proved to be new to those who have begun singing it, but its Author will doubtless be new to many who hear his production sung. The Author and Composer is one whose name many leading men around the world have tried to hide and keep the people from knowing. Yet the name was known to the first man that ever lived, about six thousand years ago. It is Jehovah, the Creator not merely of the new song but also of the heavens and the earth. Any song by our Creator ought to be important, and it should mean an endless, happy life to us. Through one of His writers whom he inspired he says: “I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” That is how he could give us a really new song that no other song writer could furnish us, and that is why he goes on to say to men of good will:
3 “Sing unto Jehovah a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth; ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice.”—Isa. 42:8-11, AS.
4, 5. In view of Ecclesiastes 1:9, 10 why may we ask how this song could be new, and yet where are new things not limited?
4 But how can this song be new? We may ask this question when we remember that a wise ruler of thousands of years ago said: “That which has come to be, that is what will come to be; and that which has been done, that is what will be done; and so there is nothing new under the sun. Does anything exist of which one may say: ‘See this; it is new’? It has already had existence for time indefinite; what has come into existence is from time prior to us.” (Eccl. 1:9, 10) Even the terrible hydrogen bomb, first exploded in 1954, is nothing new. During billions of years before mankind the great Creator, Jehovah, was exploding hydrogen within the sun, and it is these explosions of hydrogen atoms that give us light on this earth. Yet, while there may be “nothing new under the sun,” this does not mean that there could be nothing new above the sun, nothing new beyond this natural realm or in the spiritual realm. When saying there is nothing new under the sun wise King Solomon was speaking about the things of this natural world and about the ordinary affairs of mankind upon whom the sun shines. Just before this he said:
5 “A generation is going and a generation is coming, but the earth is standing even to time indefinite. And the sun also has flashed forth and the sun has set, and it is coming panting to its place where it is going to flash forth. . . . All the winter torrents are going forth to the sea, yet the sea itself is not full. To the place where the winter torrents are going forth, there they are returning so as to go forth. All things are wearisome; no one is able to speak of it. The eye is not satisfied at seeing, neither is the ear filled from hearing.”—Eccl. 1:4-8.
6. Why is Jehovah in position to give us a new song, and so what has he done?
6 There is no need for anything new in a natural way under the sun. But Jehovah is above the sun, for he is the Most High God. He can create new things above the sun or in the invisible spirit realm and also in the spiritual affairs that have to do with mankind on the earth. In this way he can give us the facts for the theme of an entirely new song that will make us tingle with irrepressible emotions of joy and ecstasy at the glorious meaning of it all. Being almighty and never getting exhausted in his supply of wonderfully new things for us, he has given us such a song.
7. When did the very universe need a promise of good hope, and why? And of what woman did Jehovah then make mention?
7 Near the start of man’s existence Jehovah God gave us the basic theme of today’s new song. It was at a time when the very universe needed a promise of good hope. Our first human father had just sinned, although he was in the garden of Eden, the paradise of delight, with everything that he needed for him to continue to live forever in human perfection and in freedom as a son of God. By means of a serpent his wife had been induced to eat of the one forbidden fruit. Then she induced her husband to join her in eating and breaking their heavenly Father’s command. Before pronouncing the sentence of everlasting death upon them for this willful disobedience, Jehovah God spoke to the first cause of it all, the great tempter, Satan the Devil. God spoke to him as if he were the serpent, saying: “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) The “woman” of whom God here spoke was not the sinner woman Eve on earth, Adam’s wife, but was the holy woman in heaven, God’s universal organization of holy angels, God’s organizational wife, who could bring forth something holy for God’s purpose.
8. Why was God’s statement to the serpent something new, and what did the loyal members of God’s woman set themselves to watch?
8 In itself God’s statement to the serpent was something new for this earth. It was God’s first prophecy spoken in the hearing of mankind. It foretold that according to God’s will there would be war between Satan the Devil and God’s heavenly organization woman, between the seed of offspring of Satan the Devil and the seed of God’s faithful woman or wife. Which one would win the war? Would the bruising in the heel or the bruising in the head be the victory stroke? The bruising in head would bring about the victory. Consequently, the seed of God’s wifelike universal organization, although first bruised in the heel, would come off the winner in vindication of God’s first prophecy to mankind. This certainly must have been a great comfort to the angelic members of God’s symbolic woman, his faithful angelic organization that is married to him and subject to him. Who the woman’s seed would be, what would be the way in which this promised seed would be produced, and how he would be bruised in the heel and yet bruise his devilish bruiser in the head were questions that excited the interest of all the loyal members of God’s heavenly woman. At once they set themselves to watch the working out of this Edenic prophecy, the foundation of all further prophecy toward humankind.
9. What could no creatures do then as to that prophecy, but how did interest in it spread among men?
9 Since it is a divine rule that “no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private release,” Adam and Eve could not understand and interpret Jehovah’s prophecy. Neither could Satan the Devil do so, even though he is a mighty spirit creature higher than man in existence, power and intelligence. (2 Pet. 1:20, 21) After Adam and Eve were punished by being driven out of the paradise of Eden to die, they began to produce children. Out of selfish interest in God’s promise concerning the seed of some woman, Adam and Eve told it to their children. So interest in the prophecy spread among men.
10. How may that prophecy have affected Cain’s killing Abel?
10 Self-seeking men put themselves forward as the promised seed, in the hope of gaining power and position over others by claiming to be the genuine seed. Cain was the first-born of mankind. When Adam and Eve’s second son, Abel, won God’s approval for offering to God a sacrifice from his flock of sheep and not a lifeless offering of garden products, Cain killed Abel to keep his brother from likely supplanting him as the possible seed. “By faith Abel offered God a sacrifice of greater worth than Cain, through which faith he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness respecting his gifts, and through it he, although he died, yet speaks.” Thus Abel yet speaks to us as the first faithful human witness of Jehovah, for so God’s own written Word calls Abel.—Heb. 11:4 and Heb 12:1.
11, 12. (a) What connection did Enoch have with the promised Seed? (b) Why did not Enoch go to heaven when God transferred him?
11 God’s first prophecy through a man came through Enoch, the seventh man in line from Adam. Enoch was a man of faith in Jehovah God and so became Jehovah’s witness. Enoch also became an ancestor of the promised Seed, in whom he was interested. Before his death Enoch was inspired by Jehovah to bear witness about His purpose to inflict punishment or execute judgment upon all ungodly persons, the seed of the great Serpent, Satan the Devil, at the time that the Serpent is to be bruised in the head. (Jude 14, 15) Enoch’s enemies were not permitted to inflict death upon him as Cain did upon Abel, because God himself took Enoch off the earthly scene so that “he was nowhere to be found.” Why? Because “before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well.” (Heb. 11:5) God did not take him to heaven, because the way for men born in sin from Adam to go to heaven had not yet been opened up.
12 The “new and living way” to enter into the most holy heavens was not opened up until 3,072 years after Enoch. So until then it was true: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” (John 3:13; Heb. 9:6-8; 10:19-22) The mystery or sacred secret of how this takes place opened up to human understanding as the outworking of God’s purpose moved grandly onward after the disappearance of Jehovah’s prophet Enoch.
LINE OF DESCENT OF THE PROMISED SEED
13. What relationship did Noah have with the promised Seed, and what came instead of the Seed in Noah’s day?
13 The tenth man in line from Adam and in the ancestry of the promised Seed was Noah, the grandson of Methuselah who lived longest of any men on earth, 969 years, in spite of being born in sin and under the condemnation of death. (Gen. 5:25-32) In faith Noah looked for the coming of the promised Seed of God’s woman. The seed did not come in Noah’s day, but a great execution of God’s judgment came upon the seed of the enemy of God’s woman, upon the seed of the great Serpent, Satan the Devil. The act of execution was the world-wide flood, which resulted from the bursting of the waters that were then swirling around high above the earth like a canopy. They kept falling continuously for forty days and nights. The old preflood world was destroyed then, but Noah and his righteous, God-fearing family lived through the end of that wicked world.
14. Why should we today show faith in the escape of Noah and his family from destruction during that flood?
14 Almighty God preserved them together with specimens of many family kinds of animals and birds in an ark or great chestlike float that Noah built in faith and in obedience to Jehovah’s command. This ark is said to rest still upon Mount Ararat in Turkey, where it landed when the floodwaters sank down. (Gen. 6:1 to 8:4; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20) Let us today show faith in the fact of this flood just as Noah did, for his escape with his family from destruction during the end of that ungodly world is set down as a picture of how men of good will living today will be preserved alive by God’s protective power through the end soon of this wicked old world and on into God’s righteous new world.—Matt. 24:36-42.
15. Which of Noah’s sons was chosen as ancestor of the Seed, and what special descendant of his did Shem live to see?
15 Which one of Noah’s three sons that survived the world’s end with him did Jehovah God choose to provide the ancestry of the promised seed of His heavenly woman? It was Shem; and in proof of this he earned God’s special blessing through his father Noah: “Blessed be Jehovah, Shem’s God, and let Canaan [son of Ham] become a slave to him.” (Gen. 9:18-26) Shem lived hundreds of years after the Flood, to see the special one of his descendants through whom the promised Seed would appear among men and through whom a blessing would come to men of good will out of all the families and nations of the earth. Shem may even have pronounced God’s blessing upon this man of faith named Abraham.
16. To what promise from Jehovah did Abraham become heir, and what should make us want to follow the history of his descendants?
16 God chose this Shemite Abraham because of his faith in the one living and true God. He tested Abraham’s faith and told him to leave his homeland for a country to the southwest to which God would lead him. When Abraham did so under God’s leading and entered ancient Palestine, he became the worthy heir to Jehovah’s promise: “I shall make a great nation out of you and I shall bless you and I will make your name great; and prove yourself a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and him that calls down evil upon you I shall curse, and all the families of the ground will certainly bless themselves by means of you.” (Gen. 12:1-3) Our desire for an everlasting share in this blessing should make us want to follow the course in history of Abraham’s descendants, regardless of the fact that Abraham was a Shemite and a Hebrew. What counts is that Abraham proved faithful to God the Father of the promised Seed and so the earthly life of the promised Seed was to be provided through a distant great-granddaughter of Abraham.
17. How was it foreshadowed in Abraham’s day that the promised Seed would die, and so what can we do by means of Abraham’s seed?
17 Out of all Abraham’s sons, his only son by his true wife Sarah was God’s choice for the line of descent. To foreshadow that the seed of God’s woman would be bruised in the heel by the great Serpent and his seed, Jehovah commanded Abraham to sacrifice this miraculously given son named Isaac. Before Abraham could carry through with this sacrifice, Jehovah stopped Abraham’s sacrificial knife and said: “By myself I do swear, is the utterance of Jehovah, that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore, and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies. And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Gen. 22:15-18) Do we want to bless ourselves forever in Jehovah’s promised Seed? Then, when the mystery or sacred secret is solved for us as to who the Seed is, we must gladly and thankfully accept him, even though he did have a necessary descent through Abraham the Hebrew of the line of Shem.
18. On which of Isaac’s sons did Jehovah bestow the blessing, and how was a Kingdom blessing bestowed upon a certain grandson?
18 Of Isaac’s twin sons, Jacob showed the true, burning faith in Jehovah God and his precious promise. Jehovah therefore appeared in visions to Jacob and promised that the blessing of all the nations would come through his line of descent. Jehovah was not puzzled by the fact that Jacob had twelve sons, but through them He produced the twelve tribes of Israel, Israel being Jacob’s new God-given name. But through which of the twelve tribes would the Seed come? Jehovah had Jacob, when on his deathbed, pronounce this blessing on his fourth son, Judah: “A lion cub Judah is. . . . The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him the obedience of the people will belong.” (Gen. 49:9, 10) This was a blessing concerning a kingdom. It made sure that the tribe of Judah was to provide the royal ruler who would wield the scepter and hold the staff of commander, and he would be the Lion of the tribe of Judah. (Rev. 5:5) To him would belong the right to have all the families and nations of the earth obey him. So this one ought to be the Seed.
19. How did David come to be the king through whom the promised Seed would come?
19 It was 239 years after the dying Jacob, or Israel, pronounced this blessing upon Judah that Jehovah God brought the twelve tribes of Israel into the land that he had promised to their grand-forefather Abraham. Hundreds of years later, at the request of the Israelites, God established over them a kingdom. The first king was of the tribe of Benjamin. After that king’s death God fulfilled the blessing and put a member of the tribe of Judah upon the throne of the kingdom of Israel, the anointed one named David. Although David as an anointed king was a messiah or a Christ, he was not the Seed promised to Abraham, or the seed of God’s woman. David had not come forth from God’s heavenly wife, his spiritual universal organization. But because David was a zealous promoter of pure worship and was therefore a faithful witness of Jehovah, God swore to David that the long-awaited Seed would come through his royal line, in these words: “I shall certainly raise up your seed after you, which will come out of your inward parts, and I shall indeed firmly establish his kingdom. He is the one that will build a house for my name, and I shall certainly establish the throne of his kingdom firmly forever. . . . And your house and your kingdom will certainly be steadfast forever before you; your very throne will become one firmly established forever.”—2 Sam. 7:12-16.
20. When Jerusalem fell in 607 B.C.E., what began to become evident concerning the kingdom of the promised Seed, to the Jews’ surprise?
20 Strangely, in 607 before the Christian era the kingdom of the tribe of Judah and of the family of David was overthrown and the royal city of Jerusalem fell. Down to our very day no kingdom with a man of the family of David in the throne has been set up again at Jerusalem. Has God’s sworn covenant with King David for an everlasting kingdom failed? No; but Almighty God was preparing something astoundingly new, absolutely different from what men were expecting. Because of this the way was paved for all men of good will living today to sing the new song of unspeakable joy. From the way that God was directing matters it became evident in due time that the everlasting kingdom of the promised seed of his woman would be heavenly, far higher than the kingdom of David at earthly Jerusalem. However, for six hundred years after the earthly kingdom of David’s family was destroyed the faithful Israelites looked for the Davidic kingdom to be re-established at Jerusalem. So something surprisingly new was in store for them.
MIRACULOUS NEW THINGS
21. Through what earthly lineage did the promised Seed have to come, and yet why did he have to be really a son of God?
21 For the promised royal Seed to be born in the family of Abraham and in the line of King David he had to be born as a Hebrew and out of a woman of the royal line of David. At the same time, for him to be the Seed of God’s woman, he had to come forth from the heavenly membership of God’s universal spiritual organization. This meant something new in universal history. It meant that the Seed had to come down from heaven, out from the invisible realm of spirit persons. In a very real sense, yes, in a direct way, he had to be a son of God, because no man on earth could marry God’s heavenly woman, or wife, and become the father of the promised Seed. God alone could father the Seed.
22. Why would the materializing of a son of God from heaven not solve the problem of having him of the line of Abraham and David?
22 How, then, did the Seed get down from heaven to earth to become a man? Did he do so by one of the spirit sons of God materializing or becoming incarnated as a man? No; that would be nothing new, nothing different, nothing that met the needs of the case. From the time that Adam and Eve were driven out of the paradise of Eden to die for their sin, heavenly sons of God had materialized at times. The cherubs whom God posted at the east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life inside materialized by incarnation. That is, they miraculously clothed their invisible selves with visible, tangible flesh. But because those cherubs thus took on human flesh according to the purpose of God the Judge, that did not make them sons of Adam and Eve. Those materialized cherubs did not get their flesh and blood from Adam and Eve. In the progress of time angels also materialized and appeared to Abraham and to King David, but they did not get their fleshly bodies from Abraham or David so as to become the fleshly seed of Abraham and of David. No, a materialization or incarnation of a son of God from heaven would not solve the problem. What, then?
23. How did Gabriel carry the message of her coming motherhood to Mary?
23 Toward the close of the year 3 before the Christian era God’s angel Gabriel materialized or became incarnated. In this way he appeared to an unmarried Jewish girl named Mary of David’s royal line. To Mary he explained a new thing that was to occur without her human marriage, saying: “Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will be king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” “How is this to be, since I am having no relations with a man?” asked Mary. Gabriel explained: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” Mary agreed to God’s use of her in this miraculous way, saying: “Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it take place with me according to your declaration.” (Luke 1:26-38) But how?
24. What new thing occurred in heaven that Mary might conceive the Son of God in her virgin womb?
24 Something strangely new then took place in the invisible heavens, far above the sun, high above our material realm. Jehovah’s first-born or only-begotten Son became missing among the ranks of God’s heavenly sons. What had happened? God had this chief Son leave the bosom of His woman, or heavenly universal organization, and God sent him down from heaven to be born as a human baby from Mary the virgin. (John 3:16, 17) God’s beloved Son emptied himself of all his heavenly glory and power, even yielding up his glorious heavenly body, his Godlike form. (Phil. 2:5-8) God then transferred his Son’s life force down from heaven to the virgin womb of Mary. Thus Mary conceived in her womb under the operation of God’s holy spirit, or active force, and not by sex connection with any man.
25. As what was God’s Son born from Mary’s womb?
25 It was some time after Mary’s pregnancy began to appear that Joseph, a carpenter, but of the royal line of David, obeyed God’s command and took Mary as his wife for her protection. So, at the fullness of God’s time for it, a holy child, “God’s Son,” who was from his heavenly woman, or wife, was born. He was born as a real human creature from Mary and in David’s royal line, as David’s heir. Because he had been Almighty God’s spokesman or Word up in heaven, what took place miraculously is described in this way: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”—John 1:14, AV.
26. Why, then, was God’s Son on earth not an incarnation?
26 This description does not say that God’s Son still had his heavenly body and was merely materialized or incarnated or clothed upon with flesh, does it? No; it says that God’s heavenly Son “was made flesh.” He became just a man, but a holy man with a sinless heavenly Father, thus remaining God’s sinless Son. So we read: “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman.” (Gal. 4:4, AV) “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness.”—Rom. 1:3, 4, AV.
27. (a) How did God raise up witnesses to his Son’s birth? (b) How was it shown to be good news also to heaven, and for realizing what did it lay the foundation?
27 This was something gloriously new, also a matchless expression of God’s love for men of good will. Not to let this important, miraculous new thing—the birth of a perfect, sinless baby boy from a virgin—pass without notice, and in order to have witnesses to this event of good news, God sent his angel to shepherds near Bethlehem, right where David himself used to be a shepherd, to tell them: “I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city.” It was good news to heaven also, and so a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to the shepherds and praised God, saying: “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of good-will [or, among men whom he approves].” (Luke 2:10-14, margin) This event will never be repeated among men. The rightful heir to David’s kingship and throne had been born in a sinless way, and this laid the foundation for the realization of other glorious new things.