Finding the Truth That Makes Men Free
1. To make man free what did God give him, and just what does it do for men of all kinds?
MEN and women who love what is right do not like being slaves to selfish, wicked men. They want to be free to do all the good that they can. The Creator of man in righteousness wanted man to remain free to do good and to glorify his Creator. For thousands of years since man’s appearance on earth ignorance and religious lies have been used to make men slaves to greedy, oppressive men and organizations. The Creator’s time has come to set men free. He is sending out his truth to lift men out of ignorance and to free them from the lies that keep men in slavery. His truth is now out to make all lovers of righteousness free. No power on earth can now prevent its triumph. Freedom-giving truth is universal. Truth, like the facts of proved science, is for all mankind. Truth does not belong exclusively to Americans, to Russians or to peoples of any other national group. Truth is progressive, it enlightens and it results in blessings for all. Truth brings its lovers together, it unites. To the contrary, hiding the truth or refusing to learn the truth holds back true advancement. Misunderstandings then arise and wars are caused. All peoples living on earth have the moral right to hear the truth. To the seekers of truth it is promised: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—John 8:32.
2. What is God’s will for man, and what has happened to truth?
2 According to the will of earth’s Creator the earth and its abundance of good things are destined to be the happy heritage of all earth’s inhabitants. Earth’s dwellers are to live together in peace in one world community of helpful neighbors. Men are longing to enjoy the fruits of their works. An undreamed-of high state of prosperity lies ahead. No more will earth’s population be plagued and made poor by wars, disease and death. Nor are they to be dominated and exploited by any so-called master racial group or bloc of nations. No longer will scientific and spiritual truth be monopolized by the few to the hurt of the many. To this end the floodgates of truth have been opened and its waters are flowing to all corners of the earth. Persons everywhere may therefore ask: Where can one get this universal truth? Is it understandable? Are its sources reliable? What will getting this truth mean for me and my family? Does this truth indicate a happy future for man here on this earth, or is there to be migration from this earth somewhere into outer space? For answers to these questions we must all consider certain plain, undeniable facts.
3, 4. What is one great source of universal truth, and what do its revelations demonstrate?
3 Truth conforms to fact. Truth is in harmony with the actual state of things. Two great sources of universal truth are available to man today, and they are in harmony with each other. The first source is what is called nature, where a vast storehouse of fact is found. Many truths from nature have been known by man for ages. But in these last fifty years more secrets of nature have been unlocked than in all of man’s previous history. These discoveries are known as true science. This truthful knowledge belongs to all mankind and is to be made available to everyone. This earthly globe with its treasure of nature is itself a teacher of truth. Likewise earth’s stellar neighbors in space have many things to teach man as facts, truth. All nature’s revelations of truth are consistent. They demonstrate the existence of order and harmony.
4 In every part of this globe nature is operating to teach the same truths. Everything is bound up together into a complete whole. All things on earth travel along with the one undivided planet as it spins on its axis, making one complete rotation every single day. For this reason a period of daylight is enjoyed in which much activity is undertaken, followed by a period of nightfall for rest and recuperation. Inanimate sunlight bathes the earth with a mighty continuous surge of heat and energy. Inanimate bodies of land and water comprise the surface of the globe. Yet these in themselves, being inanimate, are not living. The hand that made all these inanimate wonders must be truly great. Just as the man who makes a material chair or table is greater than the furniture he makes, so nature teaches the truth that the Maker of earth and all its material parts must be greater than that which is made.
5. What does nature teach as to living matter and the Creator of such?
5 Nature further teaches that living matter was produced from inanimate dust of the earth in the form of vegetation. Living vegetation in many of its distinct forms is found in every part of the planet’s surface. According to a uniform system of operation, seeds are planted, the soil is watered and the sunlight makes them sprout and grow to maturity. Earth’s landscape has become filled with greenery and flowery colors to delight man’s eye. Each family kind of flower, plant and tree has its day, produces its seed for the next round of life and then fades away to die, having made its contribution to earth’s wealth. Actually by means of bringing forth living vegetation the earth has become a vast factory faithfully producing a variety of supplies for food, shelter and clothing. Now, from human experience we know that man-made factories for the producing of machines do not come about by mere chance. No; such humming factories are built as a result of much human ingenuity. These factories require a master mind to plan out all their many operations. Nature teaches the same truth. Only a Master Intelligence could work out and develop earth’s factory system of living vegetation. This was not a chance arrangement; it calls for a Creator, a Maker.
6. What illustration proves the divine intelligence behind creation?
6 For a moment we next consider the animal creatures around us. Nature teaches that they too are made from the dust elements of the ground. Again from experience let us use an illustration. Though watches and clocks used for telling time are made of inanimate metal, no such timepiece is found by chance in the ground already made. No, a watchmaker is needed to make the parts out of minerals taken from the ground. Man, the watchmaker, then fits the parts together according to certain mechanical laws for the operation of its many wheels, which move the hands to indicate time. When others use the watch, the watchmaker is not visible, but his work remains visible. So it is with the making of the wondrous sea, air and land creatures that share man’s habitation upon this globe. They are the visible proof of an unseen Maker. They each have a created purpose and make their contribution to earth’s growing economy. Each living creature is equipped with instinct and a measure of intelligence. All these operate according to designed sets of implanted laws.
7. How did the great Lawgiver arrange for the continued existence of these creatures in the forms he had created?
7 Since no law makes itself, every law requires an intelligent lawgiver to make the law. Hence a lawgiver far greater than a human watchmaker was needed to bring forth from earth’s dust this multitude of different bodily forms of living creatures and then to set them living according to nature’s amazing laws. By still further laws this invisible Lawgiver arranged for them to reproduce, each one, copies of its own likeness. No family kinds can interbreed to establish a new kind, although varieties within a family kind are many. No, not one created kind came into existence by chance. An invisible Lawgiver, a mighty Creator, was at work.
8. (a) What four attributes do men basically have no matter where they live? (b) What do these basic attributes teach?
8 Human nature is basically the same whether man lives in Asia, Africa, Europe or the Americas. The superiority of man over the animals is everywhere demonstrated in man’s basic attributes. By nature man loves not only himself but his mate and his children. For this reason he feeds, protects and educates his family. By nature man has a deep sense of justice of what is right and wrong. By nature man not only has physical power but also has powers of mind and reason to gain knowledge. By nature man tries to use such acquired knowledge in a practical way to further his interests. This is a way of wisdom. Well, then, what do these basic facts teach? They plainly teach that man’s nature shows the same attributes inherent in man’s Creator. Thus in addition to nature’s teaching that there is a Mighty Maker, a Master Intelligence and an invisible Lawgiver, man’s nature shows such Maker to be a personage of love, justice, power and wisdom. Surely such a First Cause of the heavens and the earth and its fullness must be the Creator. Wise men call such Creator, The True God. “For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are understood by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Rom. 1:20) So observed a lawyer of the first century of our Common Era.
9. How did Einstein feel about nature’s testimony to an invisible, intelligent Creator?
9 The world-famous scientist Einstein, whose theory of relativity played an important part toward the invention of the atomic bomb, had this to say about nature’s testimony as to an invisible intelligent Creator: “It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscience life perpetuating itself through all eternity; to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe, which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the INTELLIGENCE MANIFEST IN NATURE.”—What Has Religion Done for Mankind?, p. 23.
10. On what vital questions is nature silent, and where can we get answers to such questions?
10 Though nature testifies eloquently of the existence of such a mighty intelligent Creator and has disclosed an abundance of material facts, yet it is silent on many vital questions. From where did we come? Why are we here? Where do we go? What is the mystery of life, how did it get started and what keeps it going? How did this wonderful natural world with all its variety in earth, sea and sky come into existence? Where did this thing called “sin,” together with imperfection and error, come from? Why is it that the human organism, which shows every possibility of being kept in operation for eternity, dies? Why is there all this world confusion and strife? What is the destiny of the earth? Nature cannot answer these questions. Nor can man answer these out of his human experiences. How, then, can he get the truth in answer to these vital problems? The only way is for man to get such truth from a reliable source higher than himself.
11. As an earthly father provides for his offspring, how has the True God done so for mankind?
11 Is it not reasonable to expect the Supreme Intelligence of the universe himself to communicate such higher guidance to his intelligent handiwork? Yes! Does not an earthly father take the time and interest in his offspring to supply all the needed information that the child otherwise would not be able to learn from his immature experiences? Certainly! The astounding facts are that the True God of the universe in his love and wisdom has condescended to make available a vast source of truth that supplies man with superhuman guidance.
THE SOURCE OF TRUTH
12. What different names have been applied to the source of truth?
12 Where is that source of truth to be found? This written source is called variously by many the Book of Freedom, the Book of Truth, the Divine Library, the Book of Life, the Holy Scriptures, the Sacred Writings, or, by way of eminence, The Book. Since it is a collection of sixty-six inspired books, the Greeks gave it the name Biblia, meaning “little books,” from which comes the common term, Bible.
13. Is the Bible a production of modern times, and how wide is its circulation in comparison with other so-called sacred books?
13 What are the facts about this book? By far, the Bible is the oldest book on earth. It is likewise the most universal book. How so? Well, it has been distributed into the hundreds of millions of copies in every part of the earth. Of the 2,796 languages spoken in the earth the Bible or its parts have been translated into 1,125 of the leading living tongues. This means that today the Bible is available in languages understood by 95.6 percent of earth’s inhabitants. (Compare The World Almanac, 1958, pp. 265 and 727 with The Book of a Thousand Tongues, 1938, by The American Bible Society, pp. 23 to 35.) The Bible was not left hidden in dead languages of the past like other so-called sacred books with their limited circulations. Even the sacred book of the Moslems, the Quran, translated into a few tongues, recommends the Bible, saying that the Quran is “confirming that which was revealed before it; for [God] had formerly sent down the law, and the gospel [the Bible] . . . God shall teach [them] the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel.” (The Koran, translation by G. Sale, pp. 86, 89) No book begins to reach the greatness of the Bible for its ability to speak currently to men of all ages and periods of time. It is truly an ever-living book, made possible by its vast field of prophecies that progressively are fulfilled down to our day.
14. (a) Why should one not think the Bible is the cause of the evil and hypocrisy in Christendom? (b) Why should one not reject the Bible’s teaching because of the crimes of religious hypocrites who say they believe and follow it?
14 The Bible has had a fight to live. Its enemies that have sought its destruction and tried to prevent its circulation have been the very men in Christendom who claim to be its teachers. No one should be deceived into thinking that the Bible is the cause of the evils and hypocrisy found in Christendom today. The Bible is too plain-speaking and truthful for the leaders of Christendom to teach, let alone follow. Its uncompromising stand for truth and righteousness exposes these false teachers. People of so-called heathendom should not reject the Bible because of the crimes of those religious hypocrites who render mere lip service to the Holy Scriptures. Would one blame the publishers of a dictionary or a newspaper for a crime done by a man who may have had a copy in his possession at the time of committing the crime? Of course not. So why blame the God of the Bible or the Bible itself for Christendom’s wrongdoing and delinquent acts? Actually the Bible is God’s freedom-giving gift to men of all the earth. It should be read and examined without prejudice. The knowledge it contains means life. It brings freedom. It tells for sure what will happen to this world of confusion. It alone holds out hope of happiness and a future of prosperity.
15. What ancient records were used to compile the Bible?
15 Do you know that you can hear your forefather, the first man, Adam, speak to you in your own language? You may say this is impossible. No, it is not. When our first mother, Eve, was created and presented to him, Adam was moved with great delight, uttering the following poetic expression: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman, because from man this one was taken.” (Gen. 2:23) What other book can take us back to these early beginnings to supply us with the simple, eyewitness accounts? None. But how were we able to get these words of Adam? In this way: Actually the Bible is so old that it has three documents written before the flood of Noah’s day four thousand years ago. The first document contains God’s dictation to Adam of the basic facts about earth’s creation. The second document, called the “book of Adam’s history” (Gen. 5:1), was written by Adam himself and was carried in the Ark through the flood by faithful Noah and eventually given to Moses, who incorporated the document as part of the book of Genesis in the Bible. The third document was written by our common forefather Noah, the flood survivor. Noah’s three sons wrote the fourth document, the remarkable “log” or account of the Ark’s trip during the lunar year and ten days of the global inundation. (Gen. 10:1) All this is incredible, you will say. You may think that, because you have never examined the Bible for the amazing collection of reliable documents that it is. Nevertheless, precious information is hidden away in the Bible for your investigation.
16. (a) How do we know transmission of the Bible record is accurate? (b) What brilliance of writing testifies to the greatness of the author?
16 But you will probably next say, How do we know there has been a fairly accurate transmission of these ancient records in the Bible? Perhaps many mistakes that greatly distort the records have been made during the ages. The remarkable thing is that the Bible has experienced comparatively little corruption of text in spite of the imperfect copyists. Furthermore, the way the Bible is written, using plain language, everyday illustrations and prophetic symbols that are common in ordinary life, has made possible translations into many languages without distorting the dynamic power of the original messages. This could not be accomplished with any other book, whether philosophic or religious, because such books lose a large percentage of their original force in the first translations. This ability of the Bible to retain a high degree of the force of its original messages further testifies to the brilliance of the master mind behind it, its one Author, the True God. Note the conclusion of the outstanding Biblical scholar, Sir Frederic Kenyon, on the correctness of the text of the Bible: “The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity . . . may be regarded as finally established.”—The Bible and Archaeology, 1940, by F. Kenyon, pp. 288, 289.
17. Show how the Bible is historically true and scientifically sound.
17 In addition to the Bible’s containing the doctrines of one true religion and being a book of prophecy, the Bible is also an eminent book of divine law and righteous principles. Furthermore, it is the most reliable ancient history book on earth. Archaeology confirms many of its legal and historic accounts. For example, the Bible was the first reporter of the Tower of Babel fiasco in Mesopotamia in the Middle East. Archaeology has found what may be this Tower’s ruins. Geology, which is a scientific study of the earth and its life, likewise confirms the Bible’s order of creation and its record of the deluge of Noah’s time. No inaccuracy of Biblical data in a historical or scientific way has been proved. For example, over three thousand years ago the Bible mentioned that the earth is suspended in space. Just hear its account of this: “He [God] is stretching out the north over the empty place, hanging the earth upon nothing.” (Job 26:7) Then more than two thousand year before Columbus sailed to America from Spain to prove the earth to be round, the Bible had already stated it to be round. This ancient Book of Freedom says: “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers.” (Isa. 40:22) The chemical product of glass is mentioned as being used more than three thousand five hundred years ago, because the Bible said in Job’s day: “Gold and glass cannot be compared to it [wisdom].” (Job 28:17) True chemical knowledge was also known in King Solomon’s time three thousand years ago. The Book of Truth says: “He that is removing a garment on a cold day is as vinegar upon alkali.” (Prov. 25:20) So without prejudice let us give the Bible a chance to be heard on many more basic matters of truth and freedom. Let us keep our minds open to take in treasures of truth.
PUTTING THE BOOK OF TRUTH TO THE TEST
18, 19. What world conditions now call for the great book to be put to what test?
18 It is becoming more clear that, no matter where one lives on the earth, men are living in a time of reaping of consequences. All nations today have a history of crime, war, hypocrisy and wrong religion. Not one righteous fleshly nation exists on earth. While many individuals have honestly tried to do good and much goodness has been done, yet badness with increasing lawlessness outweighs the goodness. The facts show that all mankind has come into a time of world-wide judgment with a society bloodguilt, piled up for generations, hanging over us. Therefore this is a time to get the facts of early beginnings and reliable history of the past generations to see why wickedness has become so great today. The Bible is the only record available to get such a background from the distant past. These Sacred Writings not only make known the why and wherefore of such great wickedness but also make clear the way of legal escape open today to the minority, the honest-hearted people.
19 Let us now put to test this ancient Book of Freedom. Let us see whether it ranks along with nature as the other great source of truth and fact. Let us ask the Bible questions that nature is silent on, to see whether higher guidance of truth is forthcoming.
20, 21. Who made the heavens? What is his unique name, and what Scriptural support is there for it?
20 Who made the heavens and the earth? The very opening words of the Bible answer that emphatically: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Gen. 1:1.
21 Who is this creative God? Does he have a distinctive personal name? The concluding words of the very first document in the Bible disclose his name and connect it to his creative activity. They say: “This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” (Gen. 2:4) Later in the Bible the prophet Moses speaks to God, saying: “‘Suppose I am now come to the sons of Israel and I do say to them, “The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,” and they do say to me, “What is his name?” What shall I say to them?’ Then God said once more to Moses: ‘This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel: “Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name to eternity.’” (Ex. 3:13, 15) JEHOVAH, therefore, is the unique name that distinguishes him as the True God from all other so-called gods mentioned in the Bible.
22. Why did Jehovah create the earth?
22 What was Jehovah God’s purpose in creating the earth? In answer we hear the evidence given by the Living God himself speaking to us out of the pages of the Bible. “This is what Jehovah has said, the Holy One of Israel and the Former of him: ‘Ask me even about the things that are coming concerning my sons; and concerning the activity of my hands you people should command me. I myself have made the earth and have created even man upon it. I—my own hands have stretched out the heavens, and all the army of them I have commanded.’ For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He The true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. In a place of concealment I spoke not.’” (Isa. 45:11, 12, 18, 19) That settles it; God formed this earth to be inhabited for all time, regardless of man’s feeble attempts today to ruin it with his atomic bombs and other nuclear devices.
23. According to Scripture what is man, and does science agree?
23 How was man made by God the Creator? The Bible clearly says: “Then Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7) Again in another place it says: “‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ . . . The first man is out of the earth and made of dust.” (1 Cor. 15:45, 47) Plainly, then, man is a soul. He does not possess a separate soul that is supposed to be immortal and to transmigrate, as falsely claimed by religious clergy. Scientists have confirmed the Bible account by proving that over ninety elements of the earth are found in the human body of flesh. So man is truly out of the dust. Fittingly, when God sentenced the disobedient Adam to death, he said to Adam: “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”—Gen. 3:19.
24. How did Jehovah show his purpose in creating man and woman, and how was communication with the first human pair possible?
24 What did God tell man and woman his purpose was in creating them? The Scriptures answer: “God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is creeping upon the earth.’” (Gen. 1:28) Because man had been created in God’s image and likeness God could tell man and woman exactly what his purpose was regarding them. No such communication of purpose and work could have been made to the lower animals with their limited intelligence. Thus from the first human pair it was God’s will to populate the whole 196,940,000 square miles of this earth with perfect humans, and then the need to multiply would stop.
25, 26. (a) To what extent was man to “subdue the earth,” and does the Bible indicate he was to subdue other planets? (b) Was man made to inhabit heaven?
25 What did God mean by his command to Adam and Eve to ‘subdue the earth’? The Bible logically indicates what he meant: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.” (Gen. 2:8, 15) With the expansion of the human family from Adam and Eve the limited paradise of Eden would have to be enlarged until it encompassed the whole earth, thus being subdued to paradisaic conditions and beauty. Incidentally, there is no mention made by God that it is his purpose for man to “subdue” the moon or any other object in space. Humans are earth-men, made to live on earth in comfort and security. No artificial living in space suits was set before man, to conquer and populate other planets.
26 Was it God’s will for men to be transferred by death to some heaven or afterworld and thus depopulate the paradise earth? The Bible has the answer in these words to his chosen people: “Jehovah will give increase to you, to you and to your sons. You are the ones blessed by Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth. As regards the heavens, to Jehovah the heavens belong, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” (Ps. 115:14-16) Without doubt, then, the heavens are for God and the angels, but the earth is the place destined for mankind by their Creator. There is conclusive evidence that man has received no assignment involving migrations to other planets in the future.
27, 28. Why did Adam die? Why do all men to this day die?
27 What is the Bible’s biography of Adam? Why did Adam die? The Holy Scriptures definitely indicate that God wisely put a curb on man’s Edenic freedom by law. This legal curb was to remind Adam as a son of God that he was a dependent creature with a purpose to perform, the divine will, the will of his heavenly Father. This guidance of man’s life would bring man greatest happiness. God said to his son Adam: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” (Gen. 2:16, 17) Eve and Adam defiantly rebelled against the Sovereign Power of heaven and thus disobeyed and sinned, and brought upon themselves this penalty of death, against which they had been warned. The Bible continues to say: “With that Jehovah God put him [Adam] out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. And so he drove the man out . . . Now Adam had intercourse with Eve his wife and she became pregnant. In time she gave birth to Cain and said: ‘I have acquired a man with the aid of Jehovah.’ Later she again gave birth, to his brother Abel. . . . And Adam lived on for a hundred and thirty years. Then he became father to a son in his likeness, in his image, and called his name Seth. And the days of Adam after his producing Seth came to be eight hundred years. Meanwhile he became father to sons and daughters. So all the days of Adam that he lived amounted to nine hundred and thirty years and he died.”—Gen. 3:23, 24; 4:1, 2; 5:3-5.
28 Few men and women today live past even one hundred years of age. Down to this day why do men die? Under the divine law of natural inheritance this sin of Adam and its condemnation have passed on to all his offspring and, in turn, their offspring down through the generations. The Bible says: “That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Rom. 5:12.
29. Is there hope of a future everlasting life, and how does Jehovah’s Word speak about it in connection with Abraham?
29 From the Bible it is now understandable why people of all nations find themselves handicapped by a curse of sin and death. But does God extend any hope to them of a future life? Yes, indeed. That is why many people call the Bible also the Book of Life. The Bible is the only document that sets forth God’s terms for everlasting life for peoples of all nations, Jews and non-Jews. About three hundred years after the flood of Noah’s time there lived a man of great faith in the true religion of the Bible; his name was Abraham. Jehovah God gave him an oath-bound promise of the coming of a righteous kingdom of heaven whose builder is God. It is pictured as being like a glorious city, where happiness and purity reign. Under this citylike kingdom Abraham and his descendants and righteous persons of all nations would live forever on this earth. Let the Bible tell the story briefly in these words: “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed in going out [from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans] into a place which he was going to receive as an inheritance, and he went out although not knowing where he was going. For he was awaiting the city having real foundations and the builder and creator of which is God. In faith all these [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] died, although they did not get the fulfillment of the promises, but they saw them afar off and hailed them and publicly declared that they were strangers . . . But now they are reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.”—Heb. 11:8, 10, 13, 16.
THE PROMISE OF BLESSING TO ALL NATIONS
30. What three important terms are outlined by Jehovah’s oath to bless all nations through Abraham?
30 Exactly what was that promise God made to Abraham and was it to be limited only to the ancient Jews? That is a good question. Actually Abraham was not only the founding father of the Jewish nation of Israel but he was also the forefather of many Gentile nations such as the Ishmaelites and the Midianites, and even today Abraham is recognized as the father of many of the Arabic nations in the Middle East. The Bible records the precise words spoken by Jehovah as to his oath-bound promise of future blessing for people of all nations: “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 [offspring] 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 due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.” (Gen. 22:16-18) Note the three important terms of this promise. First, that a seed or offspring of indefinite number is to come from Abraham. Second, that this seed group under its leader will destroy the great enemies of God and man. And third, that peoples from all nations will bless themselves by means of this chosen seed group; hence hope of life on this earth is extended internationally to all mankind.
31. (a) Who is the seed-ruler promised to come by descent through Abraham? (b) How did the angel of Jehovah in speaking to Jesus’ earthly mother show the fulfillment of Genesis 49:10?
31 Does the Bible reveal who this primary seed-ruler descended from Abraham is? Definitely! Just before the death of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob under inspiration of God uttered the following prophecy over his son Judah: “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. 49:10) Seventeen hundred years later that prophecy and three hundred other prophecies began to be fulfilled as to Shiloh, that is, Jesus Christ, and his activities in Palestine. When foretelling his birth at Bethlehem of Judea, an angel of Jehovah God said to his future mother: “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 [of the tribe of Judah], and he will be king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33) Following his birth in Bethlehem shepherds heard the angels sing: “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of good-will.” (Luke 2:14) After Jesus Christ’s eventful ministry on earth proclaiming his future kingdom of heaven, and after his death, his resurrection and his return to heaven, the Bible says of him: “Look! the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered.” (Rev. 5:5) Thus Jesus Christ came to earth to qualify as the commander to lead not only the believing Jews but the righteous persons from all nations to life on this earth under the Kingdom city promised to Abraham in accord with the true religion. He is yet to complete his victories by conquering man’s great enemy death and also Satan the Devil.
32. Who and how many are brought into association with Jesus as part of the seed?
32 Who besides Jesus Christ make up this seed group mentioned to Abraham, and what is their number? It was God’s gracious will for Shiloh, the King-Commander Jesus Christ, to have associates with him in forming the citylike Kingdom in which Abraham hoped. During Jesus’ ministry on earth nineteen hundred years ago he began to give his dedicated disciples an invitation to join him in the kingdom of heaven. He spoke of them as a “little flock.” He said to them: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) Later the Bible says to the disciples in this little flock: “Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Gal. 3:29) This confirms the fact that the little flock become a secondary part along with Christ Jesus, the “Lamb of God,” as the complete “seed of Abraham.” But how large is their number? From Abraham’s time onward this was kept hidden for ages until the last book of the Bible was written. There the number of the ones with Jesus in the heavenly Zion is finally disclosed. The writer of that last book says: “And I saw, and look! the Lamb [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. . . . These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were purchased from among mankind as a firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”—Rev. 14:1, 4.
33, 34. (a) What scripture shows that more than 144,000 benefit from Christ’s ransom provision? (b) How many more receive the blessing of life? Where? And how any nations are involved in this blessing?
33 If only 144,000 dedicated, baptized Christians are purchased from among mankind to go to heaven to be with Christ, what is the hope for others? As we have noticed, the scripture just quoted speaks of the firstfruits of mankind going to heaven. However, the Scriptures also indicate final fruits from among mankind as being gathered for everlasting life on earth. Jesus spoke of these other fruits as “other sheep.” He said: “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold [of the little flock]; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16) Thus Jesus Christ as King and Commander must gather together these other sheep into a flocklike society, not in heaven but on earth.
THE BLESSINGS FOR EARTHLY SUBJECTS OF THE KINGDOM
34 Is there any set number of these others, and where do they come from? The Bible answers by means of the apostle John’s prophetic vision: “I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ . . . ‘These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from?’ . . . And he said to me: ‘These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.’” (Rev. 7:9, 10, 13, 14) Here we see that the number of these survivors of tribulation is great, left indefinite, and that these have to put on their robes of identification as advocates of the True God Jehovah and as accepting the leadership of the Lamb Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this great numberless crowd of believers come out on God’s side during the great tribulation of the last days upon Satan’s old world. And notice, they come out from all countries of the earth. So we see the one true religion of the Bible is actually the only universal religion in the earth.
35. What is the “blood of the Lamb,” and by whose terms is life offered?
35 What is this “blood of the Lamb” that is mentioned? Jehovah God provided his Son from heaven to become man’s ransomer, to give his human lifeblood to recover from sin and death all the multitudes who put faith in Jesus’ atonement sacrifice made nineteen centuries ago. At that time the prophet John the Baptist introduced Jesus, saying: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) The Bible further says: “For God loved the world [of mankind] so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) So we see that if anyone and his family desire to qualify as part of this great crowd of earthly survivors they must study God’s Book of Freedom, the Bible. They must get the full truth of God’s legal provision for their protection, which is tied to faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Those are God’s terms for life. We, as dying, fallen men, cannot set the terms. We are given a choice to accept or reject this loving, reasonable provision. We want to show appreciation by accepting it, that we may live forever in happiness.
36, 37. Is there a hope for the dead, and when will such hope be realized?
36 But what about our dead loved ones? Is there any hope of their living on earth as part of the “other sheep” under Jesus Christ’s leadership? Yes, the resurrection from the dead is the great hope for the reformable dead ones in the memory of God, and this too is made possible through Jesus Christ. The Scriptures plainly speak on this matter: “Now Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:20-22) “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”—John 5:28, 29.
37 When can the resurrection of those to live on earth be expected to begin? The apostle John says in his vision of the new world: “And I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne.” (Rev. 20:11, 12) There is the answer. Not until the old heaven and the old earth systems have “fled away” or have been destroyed as part of the enemies conquered by the Commander Christ Jesus, not until then will standing up again of the earthly dead by resurrection take place.
“NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH”
38. Which heavens and earth will be destroyed, and is such destruction near?
38 What are these heavens and earth that are to be destroyed? Peter the apostle explains them to be the symbolic heavens and earth. The symbolic heavens are those making up Satan’s invisible organization of demons; the symbolic earth is his earthly visible arrangement of men and their rulers that keep mankind in darkness and in confusion. Peter says, when telling of the scoffing unbelievers of our time: “This fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens in ancient times and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God, and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:5-7) Today the fulfillment of other Bible prophecies indicates that this time of destruction of the old heavens and earth is now imminent in God’s great battle of Armageddon.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
39. What did the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Peter show takes the place of the old heavens and earth?
39 If the old heavens and earth systems are to pass away in Armageddon’s universal battle, what will take their place? Again Peter answers in the Bible: “But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to [God’s] promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Pet. 3:13) The prophet Isaiah captures the solemn assurance by Jehovah as to his creating the new heavens and a new earth, and says: “This is what the Lord Jehovah has said: . . . ‘For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating.’” (Isa. 65:13, 17, 18) This calls for great rejoicing by all people. As guaranteed by the God of the universe, this new world will last forever.
40. Who will constitute the citizens of the new earth and how do we know this?
40 Who will make up the new earth that is to stand forever? Why, all people of good will, all meek and teachable ones from all nations who now learn the truth and take their stand for holy freedom. You meek ones should now seek to make peace with the great impartial God who holds open a way of salvation to peoples of every national origin. Hear the Bible’s words as to this time for freedom and as to the possibility of living on earth forever through the angry storm of Armageddon just ahead: “Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, that have kept his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3) Again the Bible assuringly says: “Just a little while longer and the wicked one will be no more, and you will certainly give attention to his place and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Ps. 37:10, 11, 29) Then the grand Jubilee era of release and of freedom will be ushered in to bathe this earth with peace forever. The Bible says concerning this Jubilee that was foreshadowed so long ago: “Proclaim liberty in the land to all its inhabitants.”—Lev. 25:10.
41. Who constitute the new heavens? Why is this new city called New Jerusalem, and what marvelous things will God perform through it?
41 There are yet the new heavens to consider. What are they? They are the new heavenly ruling group of 144,000 with Christ Jesus the King, who has been enthroned in heaven since 1914, as indicated by many prophecies and the physical facts of our time fulfilling the prophecies. They make up the city, the kingdom of heaven, that ancient Abraham was looking for. In the Bible this new city is called by the name New Jerusalem, taken from old Jerusalem, which long ago served as the capital city for ancient King David, who pictured the greater Davidic king, Christ Jesus. In prophetic vision the Bible describes the New Jerusalem’s control over the earth, bringing to the earth a paradisaic restoration, beauty and health. The apostle John says: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away . . . I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! the tent of God is with humankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.’ And the one seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’”—Rev. 21:1-5.
42, 43. What should everyone loving life now do, and what benefits will result now and in the future?
42 What a grand vision of paradise regained! Such vision is part of the closing theme of the Book of Freedom, the Bible. It is the full answer to the great prayer taught by Jesus: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) However, here we have only begun to get a glimpse of the vast field of truth contained in the Bible and, oh, how grand it is! All this information it is impossible to get from nature. The time is now here for every lover of life and freedom to get a copy of the Bible and begin to make a study of its life-giving message. The Bible says plainly: “This means everlasting, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.
43 Do you already have a Bible? Do you read it regularly? If not, take it down off your shelf of seclusion. Dust it off. Begin to use it daily to guide your life. It will help your family in the way of living now for the new world. See what happiness and unity have come to the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses in every part of the earth. You too can have that same joy, satisfaction and spiritual health. No other book or treasure you possess will produce such lasting joy of heart or give such freedom. Why deny yourself its help and profitableness? Take your stand for the true religion of the Bible. Get the truth. Follow it and be set free. Assure yourself of a happy future, everlasting life on this beautiful paradise earth under God’s kingdom.