What Now Distinguishes the Good News to Be Preached
1, 2. (a) What of very present importance has been added to the good news preached by Jesus and his apostles? (b) After the ouster of Satan the Devil, how did the heavens express this addition to the good news?
EVER since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 something of very present importance has been added to the “good news of God” that Jesus Christ used to preach in the Middle East, preaching to as many cities as possible, just as he said on one occasion: “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; 8:1; 16:16) After his death and resurrection and his glorification in heaven, his apostles and faithful disciples preached the good news of the coming kingdom of God. (Acts 20:24, 25; 28:30, 31) What vital thing has now been added to the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus Christ and his zealous apostles used to preach nineteen hundred years ago? This, namely, the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. And after the ensuing war in the invisible heavens and the ouster of Satan the Devil and his demons from heaven and down to earth, this announcement was sounded forth, to be added to the good news, as stated in Revelation 12:9-12:
2 “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, who accuses them day and night before our God! . . . 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.”
3. (a) Since when has all this wonderful additional information been a fact? (b) What, then, is “this generation” during which the good news must be preached first?
3 What a joy-inspiring addition or enlargement to the good news now to be preached! Now has come the victorious kingdom of our God together with the authority of his Christ, his Messiah! As for Satan the Devil and his demons, they have only a short period of time until they are bound and imprisoned in the abyss after the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon. All this additional wonderful information has been true since the end of the “appointed times of the nations” in 1914, and particularly since World War I closed in the year 1918. Not before the “appointed times of the nations” ended in the fall of 1914 could the good news be preached of the newborn, established heavenly kingdom of God and of his Messiah. This, then, must be the good news that Jesus Christ in his prophecy said had to be preached first in all the nations. (Mark 13:10) This generation of human society that has seen and experienced the world events since the Gentile Times closed in 1914—this is the “generation” that will not pass away until all the things foretold have happened, including the preaching of the good news first in all nations.
4. Since when has Mark 13:10 been undergoing fulfillment, and when did this fact begin to be realized?
4 Jesus’ prophecy in Mark 13:10, “Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first,” has not been undergoing fulfillment during the past nineteen centuries. It is only since the second decade of our twentieth century that this prophecy has been undergoing fulfillment. This began to be realized by the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society since the end of the second decade of our century. In the magazine issue of July 1, 1920, of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence the article was published entitled “Gospel of the Kingdom” and based on the theme text, “‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’—Matthew 24:14.” In the last six paragraphs it said:
5-7. How did that issue of The Watch Tower present that new understanding of Matthew 24:14?
5 “It will be noted he does not say the gospel that has been preached to the meek throughout the entire Gospel age shall be preached. What gospel then could he mean? The gospel means good news. The good news here is concerning the end of the old order of things and the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom. It means the dark night of sin and sorrow is passing away. It means that Satan’s empire is falling, never to rise again. It means the sun of righteousness is rising rapidly, its healing beams penetrating the darkness and driving back that which obscures the truth and bringing to the people that which will bless, comfort, strengthen and uplift them. . . .
6 “It will be observed that in the order named this message must be delivered between the time of the great world war and the time of the ‘great tribulation’ mentioned by the Master in Matthew 24:21, 22. This message could not have been delivered prior to the beginning of the world war. Clearly, then, the Master intended for us to understand that a time would come when the church must declare to the world as a witness that the old order is ending and will shortly pass away forever. . . .
7 “What a blessed privilege the church now has of being the ambassadors of the Lord’s kingdom and engaging in delivering the good news.”—Pages 199, 200.
8. (a) What confirms the truthfulness of that “good news” of the Kingdom? (b) Who deserved to hear such “good news,” and why?
8 Since the publishing of that new, up-to-date understanding of the prophetic words of Jesus Christ more and more evidence has piled up in the world events and conditions and in the experience of the International Bible Students to prove that God’s Messianic kingdom was indeed born in the heavens at the due time in 1914 and that “this good news of the kingdom” means the fresh, brand-new information that tells of God’s established kingdom. No news of the day could surpass that for real goodness. For this reason the whole world of mankind deserved to hear this good news, “this gospel of the kingdom.” (Matt. 24:14, AV; NW) And according to Jesus Christ all the world of mankind has to hear it. “In all the nations the good news has to be preached,” said he.—Mark 13:10.
“IN ALL THE NATIONS”
9, 10. (a) In obedience to that prophetic command, what was done? (b) How has this work expanded since the middle of World War II?
9 In obedience to the prophetic command to Jesus’ disciples, the earnest endeavor was made to preach to all the nations.
10 In the midwar year of 1943, in which year the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead for training missionaries was opened up by Jehovah’s witnesses (previously known as International Bible Students), there were fifty-four lands from which the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania was receiving reports on the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom.” More new political nations have been born on earth, and today the organization of the United Nations has 119 member nations, including Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel, Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, and so forth. But today, at the close of the year 1967, Jehovah’s witnesses are reporting from 197 lands on their preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” there. This means preaching even behind the Communist Iron Curtain and under Fascistic dictatorships and in the face of religious persecution, nationalism and militarism.
11. (a) Why is it proper to try to reach all nations with the “good news”? (b) How about the fulfillment of Mark 13:10?
11 While there is yet time, Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are determined and putting forth sincere and courageous efforts to penetrate all other lands with “this good news of the kingdom.” Jesus Christ did not exclude any nations from hearing the good news of God’s established kingdom; he said “in all the nations.” It is right and proper, therefore, to try to reach all nations, more and more of them as time and opportunity allow. But in view of the number of nations and lands that have already heard the good news preached by Jehovah’s witnesses, who is there now to say that the prophecy of Jesus Christ is not at present undergoing fulfillment, or is not rapidly nearing the culmination of its fulfillment? No honest, informed person can say that it is not!
12. (a) This preaching of the “good news” in so many lands is part of what proof? (b) What part of the distress should we shortly be reaching?
12 This very preaching by Christ’s faithful followers in already 197 lands and countries is an outstanding part of the “sign” to prove that we are living in the “time of the end” when all the things foretold by Jesus are due to be fulfilled. (Dan. 12:1-4) We are irreversibly moving to the close of this “time of the end” for “all the nations.” The world distress, of which we had a “beginning of pangs of distress” in World War I and its aftermath of food shortages, pestilences, earthquakes, World War II and spreading lawlessness and violence, must shortly reach the ending of the pangs of distress. This will be tribulation on a scale and with an intensity that mankind has never before undergone and never will undergo again. It is before this that “in all the nations the good news has to be preached first.”
“FIRST”—AHEAD OF WHAT?
13. What is inherent in that word “first,” and why now?
13 There is great urgency inherent in that word “first.” Why? Because since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 and since the adoption of the League of Nations and later the United Nations for world peace and security instead of accepting God’s kingdom peaceably, “all the nations” are marching to the “war of the great day of God the Almighty,” at Armageddon.—Rev. 16:13-17.
14. (a) What notice must be served upon the nations? (b) Who has limited the time for this, and why must it be done before he acts?
14 According to the regular way followed by God in dealing with the ancient nations in Bible times, notice must be served upon the worldly nations of the oncoming war and of their certain destruction at the hands of God’s anointed Executioner, Jesus Christ. Hence the good news has to be preached in all the nations. The nations must be confronted with the fact of the established kingdom of God, the rightful government for ruling all the earth. The nations must be made to know in advance not only of the coming destruction but also of the direction from which and the agency by which the everlasting destruction comes upon all the political nations at Armageddon. The time for serving this notice is limited by the Great Timekeeper, Jehovah God, and this fact makes the work of serving the notice most urgent. God Almighty will not act until this work has been done “first.” He will not lay himself open to be accused of taking undue advantage of his enemies.
15. (a) How do we know whether the “good news” is such to all persons? (b) For whose benefit, then, must the “good news” be preached first?
15 The message of the Messianic kingdom does not mean “gospel” or “good news” to all people on earth. To those refusing God’s kingdom the message preached by Jehovah’s witnesses is not good news. Not strange, then, that many do not take it seriously or try to ignore it, whereas others oppose it and misrepresent it. If they are in political positions of power, they try to suppress it so as to keep others who might like to hear the message from hearing. To persons who have lost confidence in human governments and who grieve at world conditions morally, religiously, socially and politically, the message of God’s established Messianic kingdom is the good news for which they have longed. These are the ones that benefit from the preaching of the good news. They accept it, act upon it and stand in a favored position to escape the certain destruction that will befall Kingdom opposers. It is for the everlasting good of such persons inclined to receive the message as good news that the Kingdom message has to be preached first, that they may be able to act now to avoid destruction.
PREACHING AND TEACHING
16. What did Jesus say should be done as to the “good news,” and yet what should we not think?
16 However, did you notice Jesus Christ said that “in all the nations the good news has to be preached”? He did not say that ‘in all the nations the good news has to be taught.’ What is the difference? Or what difference does that make? That word “preached” should not necessarily make us think of a priest or clergyman who in professional garments gets up into a church pulpit to give churchgoers a religious sermon. Why not?
17. (a) In the original Greek text, what does the word “preached” basically mean? (b) What would the preachers not necessarily be doing?
17 The Greek verb translated “to preach” is kerýssein. This Greek verb, which occurs many times in the inspired Greek Christian Scriptures, means basically “to make proclamation as a herald; to be a herald, officiate as a herald; to be an announcer; to summon by herald; proclaim (as a conqueror).” The related noun is kéryx and means “herald; public messenger; envoy; crier (who made proclamation and kept order in assemblies, etc.).” Another related noun is kérygma, which means “that which is cried by a herald; proclamation; announcement (of victory in games); mandate; summons.” So, not inappropriately, The New English Bible, of 1961, reads, at Mark 13:10: “But before the end the Gospel must be proclaimed to all nations.” (Also Yg; Ro) This means that the proclaimers would be acting like heralds. They would not necessarily be acting as teachers, conducting Bible studies.
18. So in Mark 13:10, what did Jesus prophesy would be done?
18 Thus Jesus prophesied that, after the establishment of the Messianic kingdom, the good news would be heralded, announced, proclaimed, and in this way notice would be served upon all the nations. At least, the good news would be heralded, let give ear to it and accept it whoever will, or let turn a deaf ear and reject it whoever will. At least all the nations would be given the witness. Never should they be able to say that the “good news” never came their way in this “time of the end” before Armageddon.
19. So for what did Jesus say, in Matthew 24:14, “this gospel of the kingdom” would be preached?
19 That is why the statement in Matthew 24:14, which corresponds with that in Mark 13:10, says: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached [or, heralded, proclaimed] in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (NW) “This gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the earth as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.” (NEB) Looking forward to our day, Jesus Christ refrained from prophesying that the heralding, proclaiming or preaching of this good news of the Kingdom to all the nations would be for the converting of them to Christianity, in order to line up all nations on the side of God’s kingdom.
20. (a) What about world conversion as a result of the preaching by clergymen and by Jehovah’s witnesses? (b) What, then, was to be a noteworthy part of the “sign” regarding the “end”?
20 The preaching that has been done by all the religious clergy of Christendom for more than sixteen centuries has not resulted in world conversion, nor has it given people a correct understanding of God’s kingdom. The preaching of the good news of God’s now-established kingdom as done by Jehovah’s witnesses since 1919 has not resulted in world conversion, nor did Jehovah’s Christian witnesses expect it to do so. Moreover, Jesus Christ did not prophesy that world conversion to Christianity by preaching “this good news of the kingdom” would be a prominent part of the “sign” that would show that the complete end of this system of things was coming within this generation. He prophesied that the giving of the witness to the established Messianic kingdom would be a noteworthy part of the “sign” of the fast-approaching “end.”
21. Because of its being the only “good news,” what would the preachers want to do with it?
21 Because this was the only good news of the time, the heralds or proclaimers or preachers of the Kingdom message would want to share it with as many others as possible, “in all the nations,” and to some persons at least it would come as “good news.”
22, 23. (a) What other informative work did Jesus foretell, and correspondingly what did he himself do? (b) Before leaving his apostles on earth, what work of this kind did he order to be done?
22 The public records verify the fact that Jehovah’s Christian witnesses not only herald, proclaim, preach for a witness or testimony, but also teach all those who accept the Kingdom message as good news. This teaching was also a work that Jesus foretold, although he did not expressly name it in his prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3 to 25:46) Right after giving this prophecy, it is reported, “so by day he would be teaching in the temple, but by night he would go out and lodge on the mountain called the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37) He was often called Teacher, and much of his time he devoted to teaching. (Matt. 8:19; Mark 4:38; Luke 9:38; John 13:13, 14) He did both teaching and preaching. (Matt. 4:23) Two weeks or more after giving his prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things,” he appeared to his disciples at a mountain in the province of Galilee and gave orders for a future teaching work, saying:
23 “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matt. 28:18-20.
24. How does the work of a teacher differ from that of a herald?
24 One who teaches (didáskein) differs from a herald, who merely announces or proclaims. A teacher (didáskolos, Greek) instructs, explains, shows things by argument and offers proofs, just as the Greek word didáskein means. So teaching means doing these things, using also the message that has been preached. This teaching work has the aim, not just of giving a witness as in the case of a herald or proclaimer, but rather of making disciples and then, after the baptizing of these disciples of Jesus Christ, helping them to stay his disciples or learners.
25. (a) Why has this teaching work been something regular? (b) Why must this teaching work go on?
25 Down through the centuries since the days of Jesus and his apostles the making of disciples has continued on into this “conclusion of the system of things” and so is just something regular. In order that disciples may continue to be made before religious Babylon the Great (including antitypical Jerusalem, Christendom) is destroyed and the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” is fought at Armageddon, the Christian teaching work with the Bible must go on. In this teaching work, during this past service year of 1967, Jehovah’s witnesses have conducted in private places, weekly, 943,108 Bible studies with persons.
26. (a) Why has the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” been a startling feature of today’s work? (b) How will Jesus’ prophecy of Mark 13:10 be vindicated, and who are the happy ones today?
26 On the other hand, the preaching, heralding, proclaiming and announcing of “this good news of the kingdom” is a startling feature of only this twentieth century, inasmuch as the established kingdom of God by his Messiah has been a glorious fact only since the Gentile Times ended in 1914. This hope-inspiring good news has to be preached “first” (NW), “before the end” (NEB; AT; Mo); it has been preached by Jehovah’s witnesses thus far with increasing scope and intensity, and it will continue to be preached by them to the finish, in vindication of Jesus’ prophecy. The end, of the approach of which this Kingdom preaching is a trustworthy indication, will come shortly. Happy are all you who, before then, take part in preaching this good news!