Good News for All Mankind
WHEN World Wars I and II ended, the world rejoiced, for that was indeed good news, but the ending of those wars was not the greatest news to mark this generation. In 1955, when Dr. Jonas E. Salk discovered a vaccine that was effective in preventing paralytic polio, that, too, was received by millions as good news, but neither was that the top news story of our time.
The event that rocked the world, and either directly or indirectly affected the lives of men everywhere, received wide publicity in heaven, but on earth it went almost completely unnoticed. What is perhaps even more surprising is the fact that while the event continues to be the chief story of our time, still there are only comparatively few people that even know about it. For instance, Are you yourself aware of this unprecedented phenomenon?
We call good news some happening or event that fulfills a keen desire of ours in life, such as finding the right job, having a child or surviving a serious operation. Individually we hear of good news quite often, but for the nations good news becomes less frequent. And seldom, if ever, do people in all parts of the world respond to a news release with the same interest and enthusiasm. Take, for example, the big news stories of the space flights of cosmonauts Yuri A. Gagarin and Gherman S. Titov of the Soviet Union and those of the United States astronauts Alan B. Shepard and Virgil I. Grissom. Their accomplishments were thrilling, not only to themselves, but to people in politically allied countries the world over. However, we would not be so naive as even to suggest that the hungry, downtrodden people of Asia, Africa and other parts of the world were equally as concerned and thrilled with those events as were the people of the Soviet Union and the United States. No doubt, to the oppressed a news release of an arriving shipment of food, medical and farm supplies would have been far more exciting and meaningful.
In order for news to be good for all mankind it must of necessity appeal to all mankind. An agency that would effectively meet the needs and cope with the problems of people everywhere would most certainly be good news. But what agency is there today that would be able to tackle so great a task as that? There is one and it has been in operation for almost half a century. The establishment of that agency was the greatest news story of our time, but unfortunately few have become aware of it. Have you?
POINTING FORWARD TO THIS EVENT
Nineteen hundred years ago when Jesus Christ walked the face of the earth, his presence was good news. For Jesus was not only a great physician, but also a great teacher and a great preacher. Note how Matthew reports this fact: “Jesus set out on a tour of all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity.” (Matt. 9:35) News about a man who can cure “every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity” is good news indeed! While Jesus’ healing work doubtlessly created great hope in men, it was extended only to a limited few, whereas Jesus’ teaching and preaching contained a message that extended hope to all mankind. What was that message?
According to Matthew and the other Gospel writers, Jesus taught and preached “the good news of the kingdom.” (Matt. 9:35) By his marvelous acts of healing and raising the dead, Jesus was instructing men as to what would take place on a much grander scale on earth under the kingdom of God. His miraculous deeds were meant to underscore the importance of the Kingdom in the minds of men of good will, because it is by means of the Kingdom that all God-fearing mankind will be blessed.
Therefore, Jesus made the theme of his ministry God’s kingdom. He urged men to ‘keep on seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.’ (Matt. 6:33) He taught men to pray for God’s kingdom, saying: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) A goodly number of his parables were about the kingdom. (Matt. 13:24-51) Jesus himself labored tirelessly to make known the kingdom of God to men. He said: “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.” (Luke 4:43) He was acclaimed King of God’s kingdom—“the One coming as the King in Jehovah’s name.” (Luke 19:38) When he sent out his apostles, he instructed them: “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” (Matt. 10:7) When he sent out his seventy disciples, he told them that they should go on telling the people: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:9) During the forty days after his death and resurrection, Jesus taught his disciples “things about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3) So it was not the sabbath, or the resurrection of the dead, or hell or heaven that Jesus stressed, but the kingdom of God. That was his theme, and it is the principal doctrine of the Bible.
HOPE FOR ALL MANKIND
The reason for this great emphasis on the Kingdom and for calling it good news can be understood only when we appreciate its assigned purpose. First, it is to vindicate God’s name in all the earth. Second, it is to restore the earth to a paradise garden inhabited by perfect human creatures. In so doing it will fulfill all the Scriptural promises and prophecies concerning our earth. That is good news indeed!
For example, you may wonder how the kingdom of God will deal with worldly governments that are in opposition to it. The prophet Daniel answers: “It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Dan. 2:44) One government will rule the earth—God’s heavenly kingdom government.
For those who are concerned as to its rulership the prophet Isaiah answers: “Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself.” (Isa. 32:1) People will enjoy just and righteous government.
If you have been oppressed by harsh rulers and deprived of the necessities of life, listen to this Kingdom promise: “O God, give your own judicial decisions to the king, and your righteousness to the son of the king. Let him judge the afflicted ones of the people, let him save the sons of the poor one, and let him crush the defrauder. In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more. And he will have subjects from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”—Ps. 72:1, 4, 7, 8.
If you have lived on a parched earth and have longed for increase, free from any fear of war, then you will find these Kingdom promises good news: “The earth itself will certainly give its produce; God, our God, will bless us.” “He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.” “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.”—Ps. 67:6; 46:9; 145:16.
No more will earth’s inhabitants suffer. No more will they engulf themselves in tears. No more will death rule over them. Do you believe this? Listen: “[Jehovah] will actually swallow up death forever, and the Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.” “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, 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.”—Isa. 25:8; Rev. 21:3, 4.
For you whose hearts are or have been heavy because of loved ones that have died the Kingdom promise is: “All those in the memorial tombs will . . . come out.” For “there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) Jesus said to Martha: “He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?” Martha said she did. Do you believe Jesus’ words?—John 11:25-27.
Are you an animal lover? Then there is a Kingdom promise for you too: “The wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them.”—Isa. 11:6-9; 65:25.
Are you disabled in any way, infirm or suffering from a disease? The Kingdom, then, is your hope. For the fulfillment of prophecies concerning spiritual health now gives promise of such blessings in a physical way in God’s new world. Says the prophet: “At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness.” “And no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” —Isa. 35:5, 6; 33:24.
Would you like to own your own home and eat the fruitage of your own planting? For you, then, is the Kingdom promise: “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. . . . the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full.”—Isa. 65:21, 22.
There is a Kingdom promise for each of these problems that afflict men. Little wonder, then, that Jesus showed God’s kingdom to be the remedy for world distress and mankind’s only hope.—Matt. 6:10, 33.
THE BIG QUESTION OF WHEN
Quite naturally, the disciples of Jesus were anxious to know when all these promises would be fulfilled. They had hoped that Jesus would set up an earthly kingdom and deliver Israel from Roman bondage, but they were disillusioned by his death. (Luke 24:21) However, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were motivated by Jesus’ instruction concerning the Kingdom to ask him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:3, 6) Jesus told them that they would first have to be his witnesses “both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth,” thereby indicating that the establishment of God’s kingdom was a long way off.—Acts 1:8.
On another occasion the disciples asked a similar question and Jesus replied by giving them a long-range prophecy that pointed to our very day as the time for its fulfillment. He said: “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.” (Matt. 24:7, 8) Bible prophecies and physical facts unite to declare A.D. 1914 as the year when that prophecy began to be fulfilled. It was the first time in history when the major nations of the world engaged in total war against each other—nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Great famines, earthquakes and woes have followed. Those events, said Jesus, would mark the end of “the appointed times of the nations.” He said that they would also mark the time of his coming into Kingdom power in heaven. God’s kingdom is heavenly, not earthly. Jesus said: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” “The world will behold me no more.”—Luke 21:24; John 18:36; 14:19.
Regarding that grand event, we are informed by the Revelation account that there was great rejoicing in the heavens; also that the following declaration was made: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” Further, the account makes plain that this momentous occasion would be marked by a time of trouble on earth, as was the case. It says: “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time . . . to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” This declaration concerning the Kingdom took place on schedule A.D. 1914, according to and in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.—Rev. 11:15, 17, 18.
THE GREATEST NEWS OF OUR TIME
The establishment of God’s kingdom in the heavens being, as it is, an absolute fact makes it the greatest news event of our time. Why, then, has it not been made known? It has, but not by the news outlets of this world, because they do not believe in God’s kingdom. They, along with their religious, political, commercial and military supporters, cry out as did the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day: “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15) Nevertheless, there are witnesses to the Kingdom, as Jesus declared there would be: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:14.
Today over 950,000 Kingdom newsmen are carrying forth news of God’s kingdom in 185 lands and islands of the sea by every means possible in 158 different languages. People are hearing and taking their stand on the side of God’s kingdom before God will, by means of his kingdom, “bring to ruin those ruining the earth” in his war of Armageddon.—Rev. 11:18; 16:16.
Supporters of God’s kingdom know that human efforts have failed to bring about a better world, and they are assured by God’s Word that his kingdom will succeed. So, if you have prayed for God’s kingdom, if you have hoped for good government, then rejoice, because God’s kingdom rules in the heavens, soon to take full possession of our earth. That fact is good news for all God-fearing mankind indeed! It is news on which to act, news to tell others.