The Sacred Bible and Our Problem of Survival
“In Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”—Joel 2:32
1. In regard to the art of printing, what proved to be a fitting tribute to the most famous book in all history?
AS LONG ago as the eighth century of our Common Era the Chinese of Asia practiced printing from engraved wooden blocks. In Europe the printing of literature from movable type was invented toward the middle of the fifteenth century, not long before the discovery of America. The first book turned out by the printing press of the inventor was the translation of the most famous book in all history, the sacred Bible, in the international language of that day, Latin. This was a fitting tribute to the value and importance of this great Book.
2. (a) In what language was most of the sacred Bible written, and to whom was this part of the Bible first given? (b) What was printing quickly seized upon to produce, and what circulation has come to be without equal?
2 The sacred Bible was written, for the most part, in the language of the ancient patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which language was called Hebrew, since Abraham was a Hebrew. This Hebrew part of the Bible had first been given to the Jews or Israelites; and after printing was invented in Europe they quickly seized upon this newly invented means in order to reproduce copies of their inspired Holy Writings or Scriptures. In 1477 an edition of 300 copies of part of the Hebrew Bible was turned out by a Hebrew printing press in Europe. Then in 1488 a European Jewish printing house produced the first complete edition of the Hebrew Bible with vowel and accent signs. Since then the sacred Bible composed of sixty-six books has reached a circulation unequaled by any other book in all human history, namely, over two thousand million copies in more than a thousand languages. In all centuries of its existence it has proved itself to be a book that deserves the attention, study and obedience of all mankind.
3. Why is the Bible brought into this discussion, and what development has worked right in harmony with the predicted preaching of its message?
3 But why bring the Bible into this discussion? What has the Bible to do with our survival as a race? Those who are not familiar with the contents of the Bible are likely to ask such a question. To this the answer by those well informed on the Bible must be, that the Bible has much to do with our survival in the threatening future just ahead of us, in our generation. In view of this it is timely that the sacred Bible has today the greatest circulation of any book in man’s existence in so many languages, this making it available to more than ninety persons out of every hundred to read. In the Bible itself the divine Author has definitely stated that its message for our day should be preached in all the inhabited earth for the advisement of the people of all nations. Not accidentally the wide spread of the Bible in print, in so many translations, works right in harmony with that divine purpose. It is to our everlasting interest to consider at this time with all honesty what the sacred Bible has to say as to our survival.
4. In this age of atomic bombs, what question of immediate moment has been forced to the front, and how was this worry referred to at a recent session of the National Conference on Social Work?
4 We are living in the age of the atomic bombs together with rockets that can hurl them even one third of the distance around the globe. Atomic survival of humankind has been forced to the front as a question of immediate moment. Are we prepared to survive? That question came up at a session of the National Conference on Social Work in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.A., on June 8, 1960. A correspondent of the New York Times reported on it; and the next day the report was published under the bold headlines: “MENTAL SPECIALIST FINDS HUMANS UNPREPARED FOR ATOMIC SURVIVAL.” It reported the speech of a former director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Brock Chisholm of Victoria, British Columbia. He told the conference that ‘nobody had ever had to worry about the survival of the whole human race before. Therefore man now finds himself in as great a crisis as did forms of life that were annihilated in prehistoric times [such as dinosaurs]. Heretofore humans have been concerned only with survival of small groups, such as the family, the clan, the city and state.’—New York Times, June 9, 1960.
5. (a) How was an indirect challenge then hurled at the Bible? (b) How does the Bible stand with regard to traditions of a global catastrophe, and on what global catastrophe through which mankind survived does it report?
5 True as that may be, yet this mental health specialist hurled an indirect challenge at the sacred Bible as regards survival. How? He reportedly said that ‘man’s survival in the nuclear age is doubtful because there is no tradition for it.’ Yet all around the earth today, in widely separate places even, there are traditions of a global catastrophe, generally by water, through which the human race survived by but a few human survivors. But, better than furnishing us mere tradition, the Bible presents the actual record of such a global catastrophe of historic times and of how our human family was preserved through it in a few members, to survive till today. The sacred Bible does not depend upon those many traditions among different peoples; the Bible record is merely substantiated by such traditions. The Bible record has borrowed nothing from those traditions handed down from of old; neither is the Bible record a modification of any of such traditions, such as the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic or myth. The catastrophe that then caused worry about the survival of the whole human race was the global flood in the twenty-fourth century before our Common Era. The human race survived through it in our common forefather, Noah, and his three sons and the wives of all four. Eight souls! From Noah’s three sons the three great branches of mankind sprang.
6. In what Bible book were the eyewitness accounts of the Flood embodied, and by whom was writing of the Bible begun and finished?
6 In the first book of the sacred Bible, called “Genesis,” we have the eyewitness accounts of the great flood by Noah and his three sons. Their accounts were embodied by the Hebrew prophet Moses in his writing of Genesis. (See Genesis 5:32 to 10:1.) Genesis is the first of the sixty-six books in the complete Bible; and all these books were written over a period of about 1,610 years. It was in 1513 B.C.E. that Moses started the writing of those inspired sixty-six books, and the faithful followers of Jesus Christ finished the writing about the year 98 of our Common Era.
7, 8. (a) The acceptance of the eyewitness history of the Flood by other Bible writers is proved by what recent archaeological find? (b) What does page-column 45 of the Scroll say regarding the Flood, and how does Ezekiel support the Flood as history?
7 The eyewitness history of the Flood was never rejected by the other inspired writers of the sacred Bible. A recent archaeological find supports that fact, namely, the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah’s prophecy, found in 1947 and estimated to be more than 2,000 years old. This Hebrew prophet wrote his set of prophecies in the eighth century before our Common Era (about 775-732). Isaiah, who wrote and spoke in the name of his God Jehovah, confirmed the historicalness of the flood of Noah’s day.
8 Page-column 45 of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah assures us that the survival of the whole human race will never again be threatened by a global flood. That page of the Dead Sea Scroll says for our comfort today: “‘This is just as the days of Noah to me. Just as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more pass over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not become indignant toward you nor rebuke you. For the mountains themselves may be removed, and the very hills may stagger, but my loving-kindness itself will not be removed from you, nor will my covenant of peace itself stagger,’ Jehovah, the One having mercy upon you, has said.” (Isa. 54:9, 10) Three times also the prophet Ezekiel, who wrote a century later than Isaiah, refers to the survival of Noah and thus supports that Noah was a historical figure.—Ezek. 14:14, 18, 20.
9. Whose miraculous birth did Isaiah foretell, and how did this one prophesy that survival of our race would become a problem in our day the same as in Noah’s day?
9 The prophet Isaiah foretold the earthly birth and the experiences of the Messiah or Anointed One, whom Jehovah God promised to send for the saving of mankind from eternal extinction. Such prophecies of Isaiah were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who miraculously had a virgin birth on earth. Jesus Christ also confirmed the actuality of the Flood. How could he do so? Well, as the Son of God he had viewed it in his prehuman existence in heaven. Prophesying that the survival of the whole human race would again be a problem in our own days as it was in the days of Noah, Jesus Christ said: “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.” Those words were part of his prophecy concerning the visible evidences that would mark the time for the end of today’s system of things.—Matt. 24:36-39; see also Luke 17:26, 27.
10. How did the writer to the Hebrews express the importance of faith toward survival of our race?
10 Faith in Almighty God is important toward the survival of the human race. Testifying to that, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said: “By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household, and through this faith he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”—Heb. 11:7.
11. How did Peter express how the human family barely escaped being annihilated in the Flood?
11 Showing how the whole human family barely escaped being annihilated in the global flood, Simon Peter, a personal companion of Jesus Christ, wrote in his two letters contained in the Bible. In his first letter Peter said: “The patience of God was waiting in Noah’s days, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water.” (1 Pet. 3:20) In his second letter Peter says concerning this stupendous act of God: “He did not hold back from punishing an ancient world, but kept Noah, a preacher of righteousness, safe with seven others when he brought a deluge upon a world of ungodly people.” “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.”—2 Pet. 2:5; 3:5, 6.
12. What makes it so remarkable that humankind should be preserved through the Flood in view of its release of natural energies?
12 Think of a tiny segment of humankind being preserved alive through such a terrific release of natural energies under God’s control! Even today hurricanes as operations of energy are still a mystery. “The energies involved in a hurricane dwarf those of the largest hydrogen bombs. Hence control of such storms will be difficult,” said a hurricane article in the New York Times of October 4, 1959. What starts such a storm and keeps it going is not yet scientifically known. But Almighty God Jehovah started the Flood and accounted for its globe-encircling extent. All the atomic and hydrogen bombs now kept in store by the four nuclear powers hold but a tiny fraction of all the dynamic energy released in the flood of Noah’s time. The waters that fell from the heavens for forty days and forty nights swamped the whole earth up to fifteen cubits higher than the tallest mountains. (Gen. 7:19, 20) And yet, through it all, God kept our human race and the animal and bird forms alive, so that here we are today!
13. In view or this, why is there no need to be doubtful about man’s survival in the nuclear age?
13 The Bible account informs us of this, and it is based, not upon tradition, but upon eyewitness accounts, the truthfulness of which is testified to by a number of Bible writers, yes, even by the Son of God himself. Truly there is no need for us to be doubtful about ‘man’s survival in the nuclear age,’ because there is more than mere tradition for it.
WHAT THIS GENERATION FACES
14, 15. (a) What hope do events in connection with the Flood offer mankind today? (b) How do we know for certain whether we face another global deluge or not?
14 The events of the flood of Noah’s day offer hope of the continuation of human life on earth to mankind who are again worried about surviving as a race. That flood is not just a fact of far-back ancient history. That flood situation foreshadowed our own situation today, according to the prophetic words of Jesus Christ the Son of God. The fact is, our world or system of things measures its duration from that flood in which God destroyed the ancient, ungodly world dating from mankind’s fall into sin. Not that we face another deluge from the skies that will submerge even the Himalaya mountains. Jehovah God, the Bringer of the flood of Noah’s day, assures us of that fact. The latest rainbow that we have seen in the clouds is a guarantee of that. After Noah and his household came out of the ark high up on a mountain’s top in Ararat, God said to Noah and his household while at their altar of worship:
15 “My rainbow I do give in the cloud, and it must serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. And it shall occur that when I bring a cloud over the earth, then the rainbow will certainly appear in the cloud. And I shall certainly remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living soul among all flesh, and no more will the waters become a deluge to bring all flesh to ruin.”—Gen. 9:13-15.
16. (a) As to our earth’s existence, how does God’s Word contradict the scientists and astronomers? (b) According to statements of worldly spokesmen, to what state of affairs have we come?
16 What, then, do we face that makes our survival a problem today? Of course, our generation does not have to fear what scientists and astronomers predict, namely, the making of our planet a lifeless, burnt-out cinder, for they locate such an imagined global catastrophe some billions of years in the future. Contradicting such scientists and astronomers, Jehovah God, earth’s Creator, says in his Bible: “He has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, nor forever.” (Ps. 104:5) “The earth is standing even to time indefinite.” (Eccl. 1:4) But world statesmen, militarists and informed spokesmen keep telling us what they have reason to believe that our whole human race now faces. According to them we have come to find ourselves in a world in which it is too dangerous to live.
17. What did the U.S. Congressional Record have to say regarding the possibility of world destruction?
17 Says the U.S. Congressional Record as of June 13, 1960, on page A 5022: “Senator Kennedy . . . recently cited figures that would mean our arsenal now contains the equivalent of 1,250,000 bombs of the type that leveled Hiroshima. This was confirmed in substance by Thomas E. Murray, former Atomic Energy Commissioner, when he said we now have more than enough weapons to destroy the world.” This does not include atomic weapons of other nations.
18. What did a noted American professor have to say about American doubts concerning survival and the spending of great values in the development of weapons?
18 In an article headed “National Purpose: Rossiter Concept—A Call to Rise Above Self-Interest to Aid ‘Whole Human Race’,” as published in the New York Times of June 13, 1960, Professor Clinton Rossiter said that the American people are besieged with doubts about their “capacity to flourish and perhaps even to survive”; and that, even though we might hold off a war crisis that will be worse than even war itself, the American people are “left deep in the crisis of a peace that is no peace. We pour an appalling amount of money, resources, skills and energy into the development and production of weapons we pray to God we will never use.”
19. What did an American physicist of note say regarding the burial of our dead after another great war and a newly added cause of disastrous war?
19 The noted American physicist, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, at an international gathering under the auspices of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, in Berlin, Germany, June 16, 1960, said that all people should know today that if another great war occurs “none of us can count on having enough living to bury our dead.” He went on to say: “In this decade the deadliness, the destructive power, of atomic stockpiles has increased far more than a hundredfold—how much more it may be neither permissible nor relevant to tell. Today . . . they have added chance to anger as another cause of disaster.”—New York Times, June 17, 1960.
20. What was the overriding issue of America’s 1960 presidential election campaign according to a New York Socialist newspaper?
20 In bold headlines on the front page of its edition of May 21, 1960, concerning the American presidential election campaign, the Socialist newspaper Weekly People of New York city screamed: “HUMANITY’S SURVIVAL IS OVERRIDING ISSUE OF THE 1960 CAMPAIGN.”
21. What did the 1959 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize think as to world prospects within the next ten years?
21 In 1960 the receiver of the 1959 Nobel Peace prize, Lord Philip Noel-Baker, a British government officer, said: “I think it quite likely . . . that within ten years the governments will not have disarmed, we shall have had a nuclear war; we, our children, and grandchildren will all be dead, and the world will be spinning a lifeless, radioactive, incinerated globe throughout eternity.”—New York Times Magazine, August 14, 1960.
22. What is CBR warfare, and how does it rate?
22 Now the talk is also about CBR warfare, or Chemical, Bacteriological, Radiological warfare, concerning which one American colonel, a director of the United States Army CBR Weapons Orientation Course, is reported as saying: “I’m an enthusiast over biological and chemical warfare. I think it’s great stuff. It’s more humane than anything else we’ve got.” (New York Herald Tribune, August 29, 1960) CBR warfare is profitable, because it leaves standing intact the material properties of the enemies it kills.
23. What did the then American president say to the fifteenth session of the U.N. General Assembly as to the need of disarmament?
23 In addressing the historic fifteenth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York city, Thursday morning, September 22, 1960, the then American president, General Eisenhower, said to the greatest assemblage of statesmen ever to attend a UN meeting: “But armaments must also be controlled here on earth if civilization is to be assured of survival.”
24. According to such prominent spokesmen, what is the outlook for this world, and how does reference to weapons at the Pentagon building bear out this view?
24 These are only a sampling of all the sayings of informed, prominent men of the world, whose utterances are not to be taken lightly. According to their own statements their world system of things is doomed to destruction by its own means. Quite expressive of such an outlook for this overarmed world is the fact that in Arlington, Virginia, opposite Washington, D.C., the people at the Pentagon building, which holds most of the United States Army headquarters offices, speak of “Doomsday weapons.”
25. What question does indignation stir us to ask, and how have the nations thus brought themselves into direct conflict with man’s Creator?
25 In indignation we ask, What group of warmongers, scientists or political rulers has the right to cause destruction to the whole human race, or even to threaten its existence and to make its survival a worrisome problem? This is a threatening to commit genocide on a world scale, the destroying of the entire genus homo, the man genus, the murder of the human family.a The fact that the world family of bloodguilty nations have armed themselves with the means to do this dastardly thing has brought the nations into direct conflict with man’s Creator, Jehovah God. His purpose is that the human family shall inhabit this earth in peace and happiness for all time. “You must not murder,” says the sixth of his Ten Commandments given through his prophet Moses. “Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer, and you know that no manslayer has everlasting life remaining in him,” says the Christian apostle John, a worshiper of Jehovah God.—Ex. 20:13; 1 John 3:15.
26. Whom are the hate-filled nations threatening to destroy, and hence into what day have they entered and with what expectation?
26 In destroying the human family, the worldly nations filled with hatred would destroy not only their own patriotic, nationalistic peoples but also the faithful servants of Jehovah, who are not of this world but who are for God’s righteous new world. This destruction of his servants by nations opposed to his purpose Jehovah God will never permit. (Ps. 145:20) For bringing themselves to this threatening world situation the nations must render an account, no, not to the United Nations or to its International Court of Justice, but to the Creator, God the “Judge of all the earth.” (Gen. 18:25) The nations have entered their judgment day before God. They must expect an execution of judgment from him.
27. What solemn illustration is there of such coming judgment execution, and what does Peter say is to be expected?
27 Consequently, the execution of divine judgment is what all nations of this unrighteous world face. The execution of Jehovah God’s judgment in Noah’s days upon the ancient world of ungodly people is a solemn illustration of what the violent, ungodly world of today has to expect. This present world had its beginning after the Flood that deluged the earth at God’s word. Says the apostle Peter: “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. 3:7.
28, 29. Why may we declare such a comparison of judgment executions without hesitation?
28 What the humanly governed, sovereign nations of this world face, therefore, is something comparable with that Flood of floods of Noah’s day. Without hesitation we may declare this, according to the prophetic words of Jesus Christ himself. His reference to judgment executions as reported by his disciple Luke reads:
29 “Just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage, until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all. . . . The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.”—Luke 17:26-30.
30. Why have we all the more reason to believe Jesus’ words on this, and how did he emphasize that it would be man’s worst tribulation?
30 We have all reason to believe those words, for Jesus Christ will not forget that he said them, when he is revealed as God’s judge of execution who must judge the living and the dead. Moreover, Jesus Christ is a reliable prophet, for in his prophecy on the end of this worldly system of things he foretold the world events and conditions taking place since A.D. 1914. Had he not done so, he would not have told us also how we may hope to get out of this world mess. That it will be man’s worst tribulation in which the very survival of people of flesh and blood will be in the balance, he said in that same prophecy: “For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones [of God’s choice] those days will be cut short.” And he added: “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”—Matt. 24:21, 22, 34.
31. Why is this the generation there referred to by Jesus?
31 The foretold events having begun A.D. 1914, the generation of mankind that is still alive from that year is the generation meant by Jesus Christ. Till now we have seen fulfilled the world-shaking features of the “sign of [Christ’s invisible] presence and of the consummation of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3) What features? World War I, which failed to be the “war to end all wars”; famines and food shortages; earthquakes; the persecution of Christ’s true, obedient followers; the rise of false religious prophets in Christendom; the disquieting increase of lawlessness; the flight of true Christians to the real place of safety and survival because they see and understand the foretold sign of coming desolation; and, in spite of all the persecution and all the bad times and bad news, the preaching of the good news of God’s own kingdom “in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations.” (Matt. 24:7-28) The occurrence of these things since 1914 is within the knowledge of millions of this generation. It is also a matter of published record for any questioners to examine.
32. Why is survival the problem of this generation?
32 We, then, are the generation that will not pass away till there is fulfilled that “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” Survival is the problem of us of this generation.
a Genocide has been defined as the “intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”