The Time to Sing the New Song
1, 2. (a) With what as his goal was Jesus started off at thirty years of age? (b) How did Jesus then become more than a human creature?
IN HIS godly perfection Jesus reached thirty years of age as a man. Then a great change took place in his life. He left carpentering at Nazareth and got baptized by John in the Jordan River. His conception in Mary’s womb had been a miracle of a new kind, but now a greater new thing took place to start him off in a spiritual life with heaven, his original home, as his goal.
2 When Jesus stepped out of the baptismal waters, “look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (Matt. 3:13-17) Within the hearing of both Jesus and John, God spoke from heaven to say that the baptized Jesus was his Son. This showed that God had now begotten Jesus by his active force, or spirit, to become a spiritual Son of God again, thus more than a mere human son such as Adam had been in the paradise of Eden. God then anointed Jesus with his spirit as the rightful heir of King David, but to a throne higher and grander than David’s, namely, to the seat at God’s right hand on his heavenly throne. (Ps. 110:1, 2; Matt. 22:41-45; Heb. 10:12, 13) Jesus, although continuing in the flesh for three and a half years longer on earth, was now a “new creature,” an anointed spiritual Son of God.—2 Cor. 5:17, margin.
3. How was it that Jesus preached a new message, and to what painful fulfillment of prophecy did it lead?
3 Following that, Jesus went preaching a new message to the people of his human mother, the Jews or Israelites. It was the message of a new government over mankind: “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” John the Baptizer had preached a message like that for six months before Jesus, but Jesus could preach it with a meaning that John could not then give it. Jesus preached that the kingdom of the heavens was near because he himself was present as the One whom Jehovah God had anointed to the heavenly throne. Jesus also sent many of his disciples out to preach this same message to the Jews. (Matt. 3:1, 2; 4:17; 10:1-7; Luke 10:1-9) Preaching the royal message led to Jesus’ being bruised in the heel by the Serpent Satan the Devil and his seed.
4. Why were the disciples confused at Jesus’ death, but what mighty new thing did God then perform?
4 Believing that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and the “King of Israel,” the disciples were greatly confused when Jesus was put to death on a torture stake by his enemies A.D. 33, instead of being crowned as king, seated on the throne in Jerusalem. (Matt. 16:16; John 1:49) They did not then understand the prophecies of God concerning the seed of God’s woman, how the Seed must first be bruised in the heel before he would rule as king and bruise the Serpent in the head. On the third day after Jesus’ death his heavenly Father performed a new thing, which staggers our imagination because of the “mightiness of his strength, with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come.” (Eph. 1:19-21) True, there had been resurrections of the dead performed by Jehovah’s prophets and even by Jesus himself, but never had there been one like the resurrection performed on the dead Jesus. (Heb. 11:35; John 11:1-44) Why not?
5. Why had there never been a resurrection like that of Jesus?
5 Those previous resurrections had brought back to human life persons who later died again because of imperfection and the condemnation of death. Almighty God raised his faithful Son instantaneously to perfection of heavenly life. God resurrected Jesus, not human, but spirit, Jesus “being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:18, RS) God raised him immortal, no more subject to death but clothed upon with immortality. (Rom. 6:9, 10; 1 Cor. 15:42-54) The resurrection of Jesus was the beginning of the “first resurrection.” (Rev. 20:6) It was indeed new!
6. Why, then, did a new immortal one appear in heaven, and by means of what he presented there what benefit comes to believers?
6 By this magnificent demonstration of God’s almightiness, a new immortal one appeared in heaven. Jehovah God is immortal, he being ‘God from time indefinite to time indefinite.’ (Ps. 90:2) Now he had bestowed the incomparable reward of immortality and incorruption upon his ever-faithful only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. For forty days after his resurrection from the dead Jesus would materialize and appear to his disciples. Then he ascended heavenward and appeared in the presence of his heavenly Father and presented to him the value of his human sacrifice. By means of its merit all who put faith in Jehovah’s provision of his Son can receive the forgiveness of their sins, as it were, a washing of them away with the blood of the sinless Lamb of God.
7. For what was a foundation here laid, and why was it the time to bring it forth?
7 Here the foundation was laid for a new nation. Except for a remnant of believing Jews, the nation of natural Israel rejected the sacrifice and Messiahship of the Seed of God’s woman. Therefore Israel showed itself worthy of being cast away from God. Just before dying as a witness of Jehovah God, Jesus declared Israel’s house, its temple at Jerusalem, to be abandoned of God, its animal sacrifices being no longer of value before God. The time had come for God to bring forth his new nation, a spiritual Israel made up of those who were Jews on the inside and circumcised at heart by God’s spirit, regardless of what they were on the outside by natural birth.
8. How was the new nation brought forth, into what royal covenant was it brought, and why must it be faithful till death?
8 The day came for this new nation to be brought forth. On the day of Pentecost God did to its first members what he did to Jesus after his baptism in the Jordan. Through Jesus at his right hand in heaven Jehovah now poured down his spirit upon the faithful 120 disciples waiting in an upper room in Jerusalem. That was how he begot them to become his spiritual sons, a holy nation of ‘new creatures’ under Jesus Christ their Head. With this spirit he also anointed them to preach God’s kingdom and to be joint heirs with Jesus of that heavenly kingdom. They were thus brought into the ‘covenant for the kingdom.’ (Luke 22:29) To prove worthy of a crown and a throne in that heavenly government they must walk faithfully in Christ’s footsteps until their death in the flesh, that they may, in God’s time, share in the “first resurrection” to life immortal with their Head, Jesus Christ.—Rom. 8:16, 17; Rev. 2:10.
9. Through Christ as Mediator what did God make with them and with what grand benefit, and for what must they sacrifice human life?
9 Since the old nation of natural Israel was cast away because it did not accept the Seed of God’s woman, the covenant or national agreement that Jehovah God had entered into with them through the prophet Moses as mediator passed away. The human sacrifice of God’s Son furnished the blood required for validating or putting into force a new covenant based upon new and better promises from God and providing real forgiveness of sins repented of. (Heb. 8:7-13; 10:9-18) So now with the new nation of spiritual Israel that He had begotten by his spirit Jehovah God made a new covenant through the sacrificed Christ as the Mediator. God also brought the new nation into his covenant for the everlasting kingdom, for which they must sacrifice their human lives forever.—Luke 12:32; 2 Tim. 2:11, 12.
10. How did Peter point to their royalty, and how did they therefore bring forth the proper fruitage?
10 To this new nation of spiritual Israel God said through the apostle Peter: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9) It became the duty of this holy nation to bring forth the fruitage of the promised kingdom. To do this all who were anointed as members of the nation went out preaching the Kingdom. They did this in a seemingly new way, by preaching from house to house and not just publicly.
WHY TIME FOR THE NEW SONG
11. What remains on earth of God’s holy nation, and why has there been no attempt to get into the United Nations of today?
11 Are there any of that holy new nation on earth today in the twentieth century of the Christian era? There are. There are just a remnant or a number still remaining on earth of spirit-anointed ones who have the assurance from God that a place has been reserved for them in the heavenly kingdom. But though they are the remnant of a nation, the new nation of spiritual Israel, we do not find them joining the United Nations organization as one of its members, the way the recently formed nation of modern Israel has joined the United Nations. The eighty-two members of the United Nations show they do not want the holy new nation in, but the remnant of Jehovah’s nation under Christ have never applied to get in. The United Nations belongs to this old world, which is facing a disastrous end very soon. The remnant of spiritual Israel belongs to the new world founded upon the heavenly King Jesus Christ. The old is bound to pass away in our day. The new is bound to stay forever.
12. Why is this not the time for mourning with this stricken old world?
12 Already the year 1914 is forty-four years in the past. Since that time the sorrows and troubles of this old world have multiplied. In the face of all this, is it the time for mourning with this old world? No, but for something just the opposite. What? A new song! Looking forward to this terrifying day for mankind, the divine Creator of music called out as to a great, globe-encircling chorus: “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.”—Ps. 96:1, 2.
13. Why do we ask a question about a new song-theme, and with what lack of knowledge was the preaching done for centuries?
13 How, though, can a new song to Jehovah be sung by the men of good will about whom the heavenly host chanted nineteen hundred years ago at Jesus’ birth? What is new? Where is the new theme? In the days of Jesus Christ on earth, nineteen hundred years ago, the startling message, “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near,” was proclaimed up and down the land of the Israelites. When the Seed of God’s woman, anointed to be the King of kings, was resurrected in the spirit and re-entered the heavens, his anointed followers on earth obeyed his command and preached about God’s kingdom far and wide, trying to reach all nations. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 20:25) When this kingdom would be brought to birth in the heavens and take over the government of the whole earth and all its peoples, the Kingdom proclaimers did not then know.—Rev. 12:1-10.
14, 15. (a) Why does there not exist that lack of knowledge today? (b) When did the predicted evidences begin to put in their appearance, and how was the date calculated years ahead?
14 But now we know! Yes, we do know! Not by human knowledge or by twentieth-century science, which takes no account of the promised kingdom of God. But Jehovah God has shown us the proofs. How else could we know of the heavenly birth of a divine government? Less than two months before Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and the angel told the watching disciples that he would come again, he himself gave a prophecy about the end of this old world. In it he told his followers the evidences due to appear in our day by which men of good will would know that he had come into his heavenly kingdom and had begun ruling in the midst of his enemies. By seeing these evidences appear both in the Bible revelations and in the events of this old world they would know that the kingdom had been born in the heavens and that he had been enthroned, crowned!
15 Any doubter has merely to read Matthew, chapters 24 and 25, Mark, chapter 13, Luke, chapter 21, and Revelation, chapter 6, to inform himself that those evidences put in their appearance in the year 1914, to start this old world on its way to cataclysmic destruction at the foretold ‘battle of Armageddon.’ (Rev. 16:14, 16) Going by the timetable given in the Holy Bible and by the absolute dates of worldly history, time calculations were made as far back as 1877 and published by the Bible student who became the first editor of the Watch Tower magazine. The momentous year reached by these prayerful calculations was the year of World War I, yes, 1914. The announced date is in print, beyond dispute!
16. How did a change in the message become necessary in 1914, and so what was provided for singing?
16 Prior to that unforgettable year the anointed Christians proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom that was coming. Since that year God has supplied the theme of a new song. For in 1914 the heavenly Father and Source of theocratic government brought that glorious kingdom to birth by enthroning and crowning the Seed of his woman, the Heir of the covenant that was made with David for the everlasting kingdom. That was something new indeed. The birth of that Messianic government brought into operation a new ruling organization for all the universe, for angels and for men. It brought into existence the capital part of Jehovah’s universal organization, and all holy angels and all men of good will must bow to it according to God’s command. There had never been anything like it before in the universe. For the whole universe this was good news. So in 1914 the good message about God’s kingdom to come had grown old, out of date. The message for Christians anointed with God’s spirit to preach must henceforth be of God’s kingdom come. It must be of God’s kingdom born, set up in the heavens and in operation amidst all its enemies in heaven and on earth. Here was the entrancing theme of a new song to Jehovah, for Jehovah had both foretold and worked out all the delightful things to sing of.
17, 18. How did Jesus foretell that his anointed followers would sing this new song, and by whom must many millions admit it is being sung?
17 In his own prophecy Jesus foretold that his anointed followers must and would sing this new song. After mentioning the first world war along with famines, pestilence, earthquakes and religious persecution as marking the beginning of the end of this old system of things, Jesus said: “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. 24:14) Now that we are in the time of the end since 1914, is the good news of the newborn kingdom being preached in all the inhabited earth, even to Communist Russia and its satellites?
18 The hundreds of millions of people all around the earth who are being reached by the Kingdom news, both publicly and by house-to-house preaching, are all obliged to answer Yes! By whom, then, no matter whom the facts show them to be? By Jehovah’s witnesses of today. Among them are found a remnant of anointed, fully dedicated Christians, heirs of the heavenly kingdom, but along with them there are now hundreds of thousands of persons of good will.
19. Who were prophesied to be the first to sing the song, but who are joining in great numbers in the singing?
19 All of them are obeying the divine command: “Sing to Jehovah a new song.” As foretold in Revelation 14:1-5, this remnant of the 144,000 heirs of the heavenly kingdom was to be first in learning and singing forth the “new song.” But already the tradition-breaking “new song” has become popular with hundreds of thousands of delighted hearers, and these people of good will are joining in the singing in all nations: “Jehovah himself has become king.” (Ps. 96:10) Since 1914 Jehovah rules even toward our earth, doing so by means of his enthroned and empowered King, Jesus Christ.
20. After the Kingdom’s birth what other new thing stirred heaven, and so what also does the new song tell about?
20 The time rapidly approaches, therefore, for the reigning Seed of God’s woman to bruise the great Serpent Satan the Devil at the head, and all his devilish seed in heaven and in earth with him. Before this grand climax in the crushing of wickedness out of heaven and earth, but immediately after the birth of the Kingdom in the heavens while World War I was raging on earth, a new thing stirred the peacefulness of heaven. The prophetic picture of this unusual event tells us: “War broke out in heaven.” It was between the newly inducted King backed by his holy angels and the great Dragon, the original Serpent, Satan the Devil, backed by his unholy angels, his demonic seed. Finally the victorious angels under the King of kings sang 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) The great Serpent and his demonic seed are furiously angry because they know that the time is now very short before the victorious Seed of God’s woman must bruise the Serpent in the head in the universal war of Armageddon. The new song tells of this ‘war in heaven’ and its victory for Christ.
21. To what are all the singers looking forward, which also forms part of the theme of the new song?
21 The old heavens of Satan and his demon spirits are on their way out. Soon mankind will feel their oppressive, demoralizing power no more. The new heavens of Jesus Christ, together with those of his faithful followers who have now joined him in the “first resurrection,” are ruling, holding off from destroying his enemies until all the men of good will have been gathered into the grand chorus of the new song, beside the anointed remnant of singers. All of these are looking ahead eagerly to the near future for the full establishment of a new world upon the ruins of this old world. They have in mind the apostle Peter’s words: “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. 3:12, 13) The coming world of the righteous new heavens and new earth also forms part of the theme of the “new song” to Jehovah.
22. In the new song, what passage not possible to be sung for over four thousand years has been sung since early in 1918?
22 But listen! Did your ears hear that remarkable passage in this distinctly different song? What? Why, something that could not be sung in previous generations of mankind for at least four thousand two hundred years. It is something that first began to be preached and heard since the Kingdom’s birth in 1914. It is something that Jehovah’s anointed remnant have been singing to men of good will since early in 1918. It has made countless millions laugh in unbelief, but it has cheered up heartsick men of good will and given them a thrilling expectation that they will enjoy realizing. It is this revealed Scriptural fact, namely, that a great crowd, without known number, of people of good will now living will never die. It may be that this unnumbered great crowd will yet grow to include millions of people now living. When those finally lined up on the side of God’s kingdom at the battlefield of Armageddon make themselves fully manifest, we shall know more definitely.
23, 24. In view of what words of Jesus is it important for people of this generation to remember Noah’s survival of the flood?
23 But why does the new song arouse in the hearts of men of good will the hope of continuing to live on this earth without dying off? Well, do we remember the historic fact of how Noah and his family in the ark lived through the end of the former ungodly world and gave the human family its new start in this present world? It is important for people of this generation living since 1914 to call this ancient miracle of God to mind. Just why? Because, in Matthew 24:33-42, Jesus included the following words in his prophecy on the end of this world and his own coming into the Kingdom:
24 “When you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away. Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as people were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. . . . Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Master is coming.”
25. Why is ours the generation of whom members will survive the old world’s end, and what is the hope of the anointed remnant?
25 During our watch we have seen all the evidences that Jesus foretold to mark the time of the end of this world since 1914. We know that ours is the generation that began to see many of these predicted things come to pass. Ours is therefore the generation that must see all of them take place in fulfillment of Jesus’ word. Hence it is the generation that will see the end of this old world, just as it was the case in the days of Noah. As Noah and his arkload of family members and animals survived the end of that preflood world, so in fulfillment of that prophetic drama some witnesses of Jehovah like Noah and his family must survive the destruction of the old world of today. Such survivors of this generation will enter God’s world of new heavens and a new earth. The anointed remnant hope to become part of the new heavens, by dying faithful and sharing in the “first resurrection,” as the others of the 144,000 Kingdom heirs did.
26. How will it be possible for the other survivors to live without ever dying?
26 The other survivors of good will hope to form the earthly society of the New World. By ever afterward rendering worship to Jehovah God and obedience to his kingdom of the Christ they will prove worthy of God’s gift of everlasting life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Consequently such faithful earthly survivors of the universal war of Armageddon will never die off the earth, but will forever inhabit the new paradise on earth under God’s kingdom. What joy will be theirs to welcome back people resurrected from the memorial tombs as the reigning King calls them out!—John 5:28, 29.
27. Why do we have every inducement to exercise faith in the new song, and how will we please Jehovah most in regard to the song?
27 Have we reason to be unbelieving toward all the grand things contained in this new song to Jehovah? No, but on the foundation of his Word and the fulfillment of its prophecies we have every inducement to exercise faith in the new song. Concerning Jehovah God we are told: “The one seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also he says: ‘Write, because these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Rev. 21:5) It will please him and he will approve of us if we believe the new song that he has composed. It will please him still more if we prove our faith or belief by learning all the grand things of the new song and then singing it ourselves for all to hear, yes, for Him, too, to hear.
28. What will our obedience to the divine command to sing result in?
28 “Sing to Jehovah a new song” is the divine command to us today. Happy are we if we obey and sing it out lovingly and fearlessly. It will mean our own salvation and the salvation of men of good will who hear us and join us in singing to the honor of Jehovah God and of his promised Seed, the King of the new world.