Good News for All Mankind
1-3. There is good news for whom, and where only can we find it?
GOOD NEWS! In this world what is good news to one is often bad news to another. And, sad to say, the expression sometimes used in jest, ‘That’s the good news; now for the bad news,’ is all too real in life.
2 There is a good news, though, for all mankind, that has no bad news along with it for lovers of righteousness. It is good news for such persons irrespective of their race, color or background.
3 Jehovah God, the Creator of mankind, is the Source of the good news. The Bible is his Word of communication with us. Look where you may, you can find this good news nowhere else. (Gal. 1:6, 7, 11, 12) The apostle Paul, an ordained minister and an apostle, was specifically chosen by Christ himself as a preacher of good news to the non-Jewish nations. As early as Paul’s time, there were some selfish Christians distorting the good news. (2 Cor. 11:4) Paul wrote emphatically: “However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed.”—Gal. 1:8, 15, 16.
4. Briefly, what is the substance of the good news?
4 What is the true good news, as declared by the apostles of Jesus Christ? Briefly, it is this: God has arranged and prepared for a special government to take care of this earth’s problems. It will rule exclusively and undisturbed for a thousand years. During that time it will erase everything that has ever given rise to bad news. All of earth’s inhabitants that want to live in harmony with God and their fellowman will be alive, and the bad news of the past will not be something that will in any way burden their hearts, detracting from their happiness. Prophetically God’s servant Isaiah said: “The former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.”—Isa. 65:17.
5, 6. (a) Why can it be said that we are now living in a happy time? (b) Why has God not already brought all the good things contained in the good news?
5 What God says cannot fail to come true, and he has a timetable for all his works. (Heb. 6:18; Isa. 46:11; compare Galatians 4:4.) If we take time to look into his Word, we find that we now live in a specially happy time as relates to the good news. Why so? Because Bible prophecies and events in fulfillment indicate that God has established his Messianic king upon the throne in heaven and that his thousand-year rule is practically upon us.
6 However, someone may say, ‘Why merely keep talking about “good news”? Why hasn’t God already brought all these good things to the earth?’ Because he respects the intelligence and moral freedom he has given us—the right to decide which way we want to go—whether to submit to God’s sovereignty or to choose man-rule. God has let men try every conceivable form of government, and by now sensible men should have found out that “it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jer. 10:23) Moreover, as heretofore mentioned, God has a timetable in which he works things out thoroughly for the benefit of all. During this time he also allows mankind sufficient time to lay a strong foundation for faith in his Messianic government.
7-9. (a) What was the good news spoken to Abraham? (b) How do we know what the seed was through whom those promised blessings would come to mankind? (c) Why did the Law covenant not invalidate the Abrahamic promise? (d) So why was the Law given?
7 How has this been done? Let us see further what the apostle Paul said about the good news with which he was entrusted: “Now the Scripture, seeing in advance that God would declare people of the nations righteous due to faith, declared the good news beforehand to Abraham, namely: ‘By means of you all the nations will be blessed.’ Consequently those who adhere to faith are being blessed together with faithful Abraham.”—Gal. 3:8, 9; Gen. 12:3; 22:18.
8 “All the nations” will be blessed through Abraham. God told this to Abraham the Hebrew before the Jewish nation had come into existence. So, while God later dealt with the Jews exclusively for a time, the real, ultimate blessing is for people of all nations.
9 How does the apostle Paul say that this blessing will come? He explains: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not: ‘And to seeds,’ as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one: ‘And to your seed,’ who is Christ.” (Gal. 3:16) The blessing, then, was to come through one “seed” or offspring of Abraham, namely, “Christ.” Paul goes on to say that the Law covenant, made centuries after this promise to Abraham, certainly did not invalidate the Abrahamic promise. “Why, then, the Law?” he asks. He explains that it showed up men to be sinners, needing help from God. It pointed to the great Seed of promise through whom blessings would come to mankind: “Consequently the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ.”—Gal. 3:19-29, 7-9.
10. How was John the Baptist the first to discern the good news that the Messiah had come?
10 The arrival of Messiah, then, was certainly good news. When Jesus approached John the Baptist and was baptized, and holy spirit manifested itself upon him in the visible form of a dove, John had proof that the long-awaited Messiah had indeed arrived.—Matt. 3:16, 17; John 1:32-34.
11. What are some of the ways in which Christ Jesus at his manifestation shed light upon certain features of the good news?
11 Now with the coming to pass of these events the good news was greatly expanded and given a tremendous impetus. Paul says that Christ Jesus by being made manifest “shed light upon life and incorruption through the good news.” (2 Tim. 1:10) From that time on, features of the good news became much clearer. Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah, the one whose sacrifice atoned for the sins of mankind. This One would be the King. His kingdom would rule, not from an earthly throne, but from a heavenly one. Also, it was made clear that there would be a considerable lapse of time before the complete blessings of this kingdom would come to all mankind. Jesus himself said that the nations would have sway over the earth “until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) This was a reference to Daniel’s prophecy of the “seven times,” which ran from the desolating of Jerusalem by Babylon in 607 B.C.E., down past the time when Jesus spoke, on to the autumn of 1914 C.E.a—Dan. 4:16, 23, 25, 32.
12. What took place from the time of Christ’s resurrection to the end of the “appointed times of the nations”?
12 What was to take place during all that time? We are told, at Hebrews 10:12, 13, that Christ “offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.” After his resurrection and ascension to heaven “Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands [as in the temple at Jerusalem], which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24) The foundation had now been laid for the forgiveness of sins, and this good news had to be given wide proclamation, not to the Jews only, but to the entire world. (Acts 17:30) That has been done under Christ’s heavenly supervision right down to our day.—1 Tim. 2:5, 6.
THE KING ENTHRONED
13. Why is the good news now even better?
13 Now, since 1914 C.E., when “the appointed times of the nations” ended, the good news is better than ever. The King is now enthroned, the Kingdom has begun operating! The vision given to the apostle John and recorded in the book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of the “birth” of the Kingdom that is put in the hands of Christ: “And she [God’s heavenly ‘woman’] gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne.” So Christ was up there among God’s heavenly family, ready to receive kingly power. He was there brought in, presented to the heavenly hosts and enthroned as the Messianic King.—Rev. 12:5; Heb. 1:6.
14, 15. What occurred immediately after Christ’s enthronement that was delightful news in heaven?
14 At this point the psalm to which the apostle made reference at Hebrews 10:12, 13 had further features fulfilled: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’ The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of [heavenly] Zion, saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’” (Ps. 110:1, 2) The Revelation vision expresses the action that followed in this way: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael [Jesus Christ, also called ‘the archangel.’ (Compare Jude 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Daniel 12:1.)] and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.”—Rev. 12:7-9.
15 What good news this was! A loud voice in heaven announced, rejoicing: “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!” This would bring increased trials to mankind, for the heavenly voice continued: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:10-12.
16. Why is the proclaiming of the good news now urgent?
16 This good news that the Kingdom is operating and that Satan the Devil, the great adversary of God, has but a short period of time now at the earth, is something worthy of proclaiming to every man and woman on earth. And it takes time to reach the nations. Every individual may not be personally reached and spoken to before the Kingdom begins its undisputed rule over earth. But Jesus said: “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.
17. How has the prophecy at Psalm 110:3 been fulfilled in our time?
17 Now, since Christ has conquered in heaven and has confined Satan and his demon angels to earth’s vicinity, the good news is being given its widest proclamation ever, in 208 lands in the earth, even in countries under Communist domination. This service rendered by many volunteer workers was foretold by the psalmist, as he continued: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. . . . You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.” (Ps. 110:3) Like young, vigorous warriors, numerous as dewdrops, Jehovah’s witnesses, young and old, men and women, are willingly, zealously telling the people this good news of Christ’s kingly activity. Have you been stirred to action alongside them?
18, 19. How does the book of Revelation depict what Christ is now doing?
18 The Revelation scene depicts what Christ is doing and will soon do, John recording the picture for us in these words: “And I saw, and, look! a white horse; and the one seated upon it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest.”—Rev. 6:2.
19 Christ, having ‘conquered’ in heaven, is now maneuvering his enemies into position where he will “complete his conquest,” cleansing the earth of all the unrighteous, false religions, all political and commercial elements, and all who are determined to oppress their fellowman. Finally, he will put Satan and his demons completely out of action so that their death-dealing influence is gone.—Rev. 20:1-3.
TO BECOME MAJOR ISSUE
20. Will the great indifference of the people to the good news continue indefinitely?
20 Meanwhile, the good news of the Kingdom is having ever wider distribution and proclamation, and each year scores of thousands more are hearing it with faith. It is true that there is still great indifference on the part of the majority of people. But since the good news involves the truth about Jehovah God’s sovereignty, it is yet to become a far bigger issue.
21, 22. What situation in ancient Egypt finds some similarities today?
21 Take, as an example, what occurred in ancient Egypt, when Moses and Aaron, at God’s command, requested that Pharaoh release God’s enslaved people, the offspring of Abraham. This led to the fulfillment of a promise made centuries beforehand.—Gen. 15:13-16.
22 We can see a similarity today. Just as in Egypt, honest-hearted people today are oppressed religiously, politically and commercially, all through the influence of the Devil, who is seeing that troubles increase. What occurred back there in Egypt when the time came for God to liberate his people?
23. What was the reaction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians when Moses first brought God’s demand that the Israelites be released, and did they maintain this attitude?
23 Moses came to the Israelites with the exceedingly good news that God’s time for deliverance had come. Note that at this time God’s sovereignty was challenged by Pharaoh, who said to Moses: “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away?” (Ex. 5:2) So what Moses said in the name of Jehovah seemed insignificant to Pharaoh and to his people at first. But it came to be of the greatest importance to them. In fact, the Egyptians were finally forced to take, not an indifferent position, but a very decisive, definite one. How?
24. How did God use Moses in connection with the ten plagues?
24 Well, during the ten plagues God informed Moses ahead of time as to what he was going to do. Moses, in turn, told Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Then it came to pass just as Moses had said. Each plague was foretold by Moses, and then each plague occurred just as foretold, and on time. Finally, with the death of the firstborn ones of Egypt, Pharaoh let Israel go. But he was like Satan, not giving up in his efforts, and he was destroyed with his army as Jehovah delivered Israel through the Red Sea.—Ex. 14:26-28; Ps. 136:15.
25. Why was Moses’ proclamation of the plagues ahead of time essential to God’s purpose, and what did it accomplish?
25 The news proclaimed by Moses was good news to the enslaved people of God, and good news also to those Egyptians who heard with faith. These, a “vast mixed company,” went up out of Egypt with Israel. (Ex. 12:38) It also played a large part in letting the Egyptians know that “there is no one else like Jehovah our God.” (Ex. 8:10) It proved before all that Jehovah was ‘executing judgments on all the gods of Egypt.’ (Ex. 12:12) Moses’ proclamation was very essential. If God had acted in bringing the plagues without prior announcement, the Egyptians might well have concluded that they had offended their own gods, among whom were gods over the fruitage of the field, over cattle, gods of the sun, the rain and the firstborn, and so forth. But when the plagues came, they knew better, because the plagues occurred in the time and in the way that Moses had previously announced. Their gods were powerless to protect them.
26. How is there a similarity in the proclamation of the good news today, and in the reaction of the nations to it?
26 Likewise, the good news about the established kingdom of God and its deliverance of mankind in this generation is most essential and is being heard, particularly in the lands called Christendom. In the eyes of the people, it is not the BIG issue yet. But God is going to force the nations to take a definite position. For all the nations desire their own national sovereignty. But the proclaimers of the good news stand for God’s sovereignty. The nations “will also have to know that a prophet himself had proved to be in the midst of them.”—Ezek. 33:33.
27. What does Daniel’s prophecy show that the “king of the north” will do toward the proclaimers of the good news?
27 As an example of the seriousness with which the nations will take the proclamation of the good news, note the action that the prophecy says will be precipitated on the part of the dictatorial, totalitarian bloc of nations, spoken of in the Scriptures as the “king of the north.” Daniel’s prophecy states about this “king”: “There will be reports that will disturb him, out of the sunrising and out of the north, and he will certainly go forth in a great rage in order to annihilate and to devote many to destruction. . . . and he will have to come all the way to his end, and there will be no helper for him.” (Dan. 11:44, 45) Commenting on this passage, the Watch Tower Society’s book “Your Will Be Done on Earth” states:
“Up to now . . . [Jehovah’s witnesses] have been reporting on Jehovah’s universal sovereignty, on the establishment of his kingdom by Christ at the close of the ‘appointed times of the nations’ in 1914, and on the coming ‘war of the great day of God the Almighty’ . . .
“Since the reports really issue forth from Jehovah and through his reigning King Jesus Christ, it is Scripturally well said that the reports are out of the north and the east. . . . (Ps. 75:6, 7; 48:2; . . . Isa. 46:10, 11) So, not merely the reports, but also the forces of destruction will come from those directions upon the king of the north. As the reports must reach this king by means of Jehovah’s visible earthly channel of newsreporting, so as to infuriate the king to his ruinous course, this prophecy makes one thing clear: Jehovah’s sanctuary class and their great crowd of fellow worshipers will persist in obeying Matthew 24:14 by preaching ‘this good news of the Kingdom’ in all the inhabited earth.”
28. How did the activities of Jesus and Paul produce a reaction similar to that which the good news will produce upon the nations?
28 These reports not only have been proclamations of the good news, but have been accompanied by records of the great number of persons running into the strong protective tower of Jehovah’s name, and worshiping at his great spiritual temple. (Prov. 18:10; Isa. 2:2-4) These reports instill fear, not only in the “king of the north,” but also in the opposing bloc of nations, the “king of the south.” The reports become a big issue, moving them to action. It was a similar attitude that the Jews took toward Jesus, saying: “If we let him alone this way, they will all put faith in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:48) Again, they said, in fear: “See! The world has gone after him.” (John 12:19) Also of Paul and his companion preachers of the good news, they said, in Thessalonica: “These men that have overturned the inhabited earth are present here also.” (Acts 17:6) So in order to stop the proclaimers of the good news the nations will act, to their final destruction.
29, 30. How do the declarers of the good news feel about the coming attack of the nations?
29 Therefore, it is nothing unexpected that the nations of earth will attack those who declare the good news, because these nations hate God’s sovereignty. But the preachers of the good news know that they are standing for the right side of the issue, the successful, God-backed side, and they continue to give the fullest possible publicity to the all-important good news.
30 Where do you stand in this matter? Are you one who believes the good news? Do you have the spirit of declaring it to others? How and where? This will be the subject of the following discussion.
a See the book True Peace and Security—From What Source?, by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1973).