Who Is Jesus Christ, so that We All Need Him?
“There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”—Acts 4:12.
1. Why is it a world savior that all of us in common need?
A WORLD SAVIOR—that is what the world of mankind needs so urgently today. A rescuer of the whole human family! We are all of the same flesh and blood, with one common start. We are all on the same spaceship—this planet earth. If this ship were to sink, we would all have to go down with it into the bottomless sea of unfathomable space. Is this going to happen to us? From the way things are going on our planetary spaceship, it looks as if this global catastrophe is much nearer than modern scientists calculate. But is such a horror going to occur? Who and where is the world savior that can prevent it? More and more people would like to know.
2. In what important cities of today is the world savior not to be found, and what demonstrates this fact?
2 The world savior is not over in New York city today—with its building complex of the United Nations. The 144 nations that are members of that organization for world peace and security are having a hard time in keeping themselves individually afloat. The world savior is not over in Moscow, Russia, where a succession of dictators has ruled with an iron hand and with the vision of a world turned Communist. The world savior is not over in Jerusalem, Israel, where three leading religions of the world have long-standing interests, but in conflict with one another. Neither can the world savior be found in any other city of past or present world importance. The continued anguish of the nations and the increased groaning of the people demonstrate this fact.
3. At what truth do worldly people balk, but where is it reasonable and sensible for us to look for a world savior?
3 The world situation may be totally unpromising in its plain meaning. Yet people who follow the modern way of thinking are dead set against admitting the truth. What truth? That the needed world help will have to come from a source higher than men. They balk at giving up their confidence in men, the only powerful, intelligent helpers that they can visualize in their materialistic minds. If we follow their line of thinking, we are left without a sense of direction. We get nowhere. But regardless of how prominent such worldly-minded persons may be, we know for ourselves that we are neither the creators nor the creatures of ourselves. We are too marvelously designed and made and gifted to be of mere human construction. Our Designer and Constructor, who put us on this planetary spaceship, must be superhuman. He must be as high above us as the heavens are higher than our earthly spaceship. As marvels of His workmanship He ought to be interested in us. It may not be modernistic, but it is reasonable and sensible to look to Him as being able to produce a world savior for us.
4. Who inspired in human breasts the hope of a world savior, and to whom did he long ago tell us to turn for salvation?
4 Well, then, is it likely that this Creator of us is the One that inspired in human breasts the hope of the rescue of all mankind? By some world savior? Yes! From where else could such a bold, magnificent idea come? Over seven centuries before our Common Era, yes, more than a century before the Buddhist Era, that One had the statement put down in writing: “Turn to me and be saved, all you at the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no one else. By my own self I have sworn—out of my own mouth in righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return—that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear, saying, ‘Surely in Jehovah there are full righteousness and strength. All those getting heated up against him will come straight to him and be ashamed.’”—Isa. 45:22-24.
5. What should not make us feel ashamed to turn to Jehovah for salvation, and why not?
5 Salvation by Jehovah can reach to the far ends of the earth and take in all the world of mankind. He is the One to whom to turn in hope of everlasting salvation and with a confident request for it. The world’s hatred for the name Jehovah should not make us feel ashamed and turn us in a direction away from him. All of those who get heated up against him will be the ones to come direct to Him and be ashamed. They will fail to get the salvation reserved for those who, under no compulsion, turn to him for salvation.
6. How does the last book of the Bible show that Jehovah’s invitation of long ago to turn to him would have a worldwide response?
6 Jehovah’s invitation to turn to him as the only God of salvation was written down in the twenty-third book of the Holy Bible. That book contains the inspired prophecies of the Middle Eastern man named Isaiah the son of Amoz, a resident of ancient Jerusalem. That the divine invitation would get a worldwide response is foretold in the sixty-sixth and last book of the Holy Bible called Revelation or Apocalypse and written in the first century of our Common Era. In Re chapter seven, verses nine and ten, the inspired writer, John the son of Zebedee, describes the prophetic vision that he saw. Showing that, in our own time, an innumerable crowd of people would turn to Jehovah God for salvation, John writes: “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.’”
THE WORLD SAVIOR IDENTIFIED
7, 8. (a) In what sense is the designation “the Lamb” to be understood? (b) Where does Revelation begin using the designation, and to show what?
7 Why, though, does this crowd made up of persons of all races, nations and colors confess to owing their salvation, not only to God, but also “to the Lamb”? Can we accurately find out the identity of this one who is figuratively called “the Lamb”? Yes!
8 Certainly we need to identify him. In the first place, the designation “the Lamb” is not used as a term of endearment, as when we say to someone dear to us, “My little lamb!” Rather, the designation calls attention to sacrifice, to a most necessary sacrifice in behalf of us all. In the book of Revelation the designation “Lamb” (or, “Lamb’s”) is applied to this needed one twenty-seven times. These references to “the Lamb” begin in Re chapter five, where the writer John was told of the vital role that “the Lamb” was to play. John was told: “Stop weeping. Look! The Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered so as to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Rev. 5:5) When John stopped weeping, what did he see? He says: “I saw standing in the midst of the throne . . . a lamb as though it had been slaughtered.”—Rev. 5:6.
9. Who is this ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ and what does this title indicate about him?
9 Who, now, is this Lamb whom the Holy Bible identifies as the “Lion that is of the tribe of Judah” and as a life-giving “root” to the first Judean king of Jerusalem, named David? It is Jesus Christ, the fleshly descendant of the patriarch Abraham and of King David of the tribe of Judah. (Gen. 49:9, 10; Matt. 1:1-6) His being called “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah” means that he was the “Shiloh” who was to come and to whom “the obedience of the peoples will belong.” This meant that he was to be the King (as his forefather David had been) of a real government to which all the peoples of the earth would have to be subject for their own good. As David had been anointed as king and was therefore an anointed one, so his royal Descendant would be an anointed one, whom the Hebrews called “Messiah” but whom the Greek-speaking Jews called “Christ.” That is why we have the expression “Jesus Christ” (Jesus An Anointed One) or “Christ Jesus” (Anointed Jesus). But if he is likened to a kinglike Judean lion, why is he also likened to a “lamb”?
10. According to what John saw, what had happened to this Lamb, and with what purchase resulting?
10 The writer John explains why, as he tells us what he further saw and heard, saying: “And when he took the scroll, . . . they [sang] a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.’”—Rev. 5:8-10.
11. For what purpose was this lamblike one slaughtered, and how had Isaiah, chapter fifty-three, foretold this?
11 So this kingdom-making “Lion that is of the tribe of Judah” was slaughtered in sacrifice, just the same as God’s Law given to the nation of Israel through Moses provided for the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb for sins. He was the righteous “servant” of Jehovah, concerning whom the inspired prophet Isaiah made the following predictions: “He was hard pressed, and he was letting himself be afflicted; yet he would not open his mouth. He was being brought just like a sheep to the slaughtering; and like a ewe that before her shearers has become mute, he also would not open his mouth. . . . he poured out his soul to the very death, and it was with the transgressors that he was counted in; and he himself carried the very sin of many people, and for the transgressors he proceeded to interpose.”—Isa. 53:7, 12; Acts 8:30-35.
12. Why can we not disprove that we need the sacrifice of the Lamb because of our being sinners and transgressors?
12 This brings to the fore a strong reason why we need Jesus Christ. We need him like a sacrificial Lamb that was offered up to Jehovah God, the Creator of man. Isaiah’s prophecy just quoted speaks of sinners and transgressors. Now people in general do not like to be called sinners and transgressors. All the same, none of us can deny that we all have defects and tendencies toward wrongdoing. We got these things from somewhere. We can all lay the blame upon our parents. But they, in turn, got imperfection and wrongful tendencies from their parents. And so we can go back all the way in an unbroken chain to the first married couple, whom the Holy Bible calls Adam and Eve. The charging of parents with giving to their offspring imperfection and wrongful inclinations stops with Adam and Eve. Why so? Because Adam and Eve did not get their imperfection and sinfulness from God, their Creator and heavenly Father. “Perfect is his activity,” and he made Adam and Eve perfect, inasmuch as they were created in his own image.—Deut. 32:4; Luke 3:38; Gen. 1:26-28.
13. What question arises as to the place of our birth, and what kept all of us from being born perfect?
13 For the past six thousand years, none of us were born in paradise, that is, in the Garden of Eden. But Adam and Eve were created and put there. (Gen. 2:7-25) Of course, that original earthly paradise would not be able to hold all of us comfortably today; it would have to be expanded to embrace all the globe. Still, why were we not all born in an earthly paradise of global size? Yes, and why were we all born imperfect, subject to bad tendencies, sickly and dying? The only reasonable explanation could be that the first human couple, from whom all of us descended, went wrong. Well, the true-to-fact historical record in the Holy Bible agrees with such a reasonable explanation. Before ever Adam and Eve had children they went wrong. This means that they did not do what God told them to do. They disobeyed him, their heavenly Father. Thus they sinned or aimed away from the mark of human perfection.
14. Why was God within his right in driving Adam and Eve out of paradise, and what mercy on His part has led to our being alive today?
14 Can we blame God for sentencing Adam and Eve to what he said would be the sure penalty for the slightest act of rebellion against him as the Supreme Lawgiver and Judge? We could not justly do so. But can we blame God for driving them out of their paradise? No! As Creator of the Garden of Eden he has property rights. He has the perfect right to decide who should be tenants on his property. Look at how selfish, thoughtless people reduce fine housing projects to something resembling ghettos and slums. Look at how the human race in general is ruining the earth as a whole, threatening it with nuclear warfare, with all the ruination and pollution that this would signify for earth’s surface. When we come to think about it, it is a wonder that God permitted sinful Adam and Eve to take up living outside the paradise of Eden, so as to people the earth to the extent that it is populated today. Certainly it was merciful on God’s part to let Adam and Eve continue living so as to bring forth children, so that now we find ourselves alive on earth six thousand years later.—Gen. 3:1 through 4:2.
15. What kind of father did Adam decide to be to his offspring, and how did we all become sinners in him?
15 When under temptation to sin along with his wife Eve, Adam had to decide what kind of father he would be to his offspring, whether a God-fearing father, perfectly obedient to his heavenly Father and in unbroken relationship with Him, or a father in rebellion against his Life-Giver and under sentence to death, the penalty for sin. (Gen. 2:15-17) Adam chose to be the latter kind of father to us. So we cannot charge our imperfection and sinfulness to God the Creator of man. We ourselves cannot help it, but it is now just as the first-century Bible writer, the Christian apostle Paul, wrote, saying: “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) Since God planted reproductive seed in the first man, all of us his descendants were in his loins when Adam sinned. Thus all of us sinned inside him and, as a result, we have all been born sinners, under the condemnation of death.
16. What balancing of the scales of divine justice should we not overlook, and how does 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22 assure us of this?
16 Here let us not fail to note one important thing taught in God’s Holy Bible. What is that? This: That just as God holds the one man Adam responsible for all the sin and its penalty death in the world today, so he can hold one other man, the equal of Adam, responsible for canceling the sin of the world and lifting the penalty of sin from off the sinfully born world of mankind. With such a wise, merciful arrangement, the scales of divine justice balance perfectly. This is something that all of us needed, and this is what we are assured of in God’s Holy Bible, in 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, in these words: “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.”
17. How only could Adam’s equal be produced on earth, and to whom was the birth of that one appropriately announced?
17 What a wonderful and economical arrangement this proves to be, and all so simple! All that we needed was just one man, the equal of Adam when in his human perfection and sinlessness. How could such a man be produced on earth, inasmuch as not one of us descendants of the first human couple was born as the equal of Adam in his innocence in Eden? The needed man could be provided only by a miracle of God the Almighty. This divine miracle did occur toward the end of the first century before our Common Era. It resulted in the appearing of the one whom the Revelation repeatedly calls “the Lamb.” Although lamblike, this one proved to be “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah” and “the root of David.” All the testimony of God’s Holy Bible points to this one as being Jesus Christ, born in David’s city of Bethlehem in the early fall of the year 2 B.C.E. In fine accord with his becoming like a sacrificial lamb, his birth was announced by God’s angel to God’s chosen witnesses, to shepherds watching over flocks of sheep by night.—Luke 2:4-18; Matt. 2:1-18.
18. Whose Son was this one “from the seed of David” called by means of resurrection from the dead?
18 All of this was, as the Christian apostle Paul calls it, “good news, which he promised aforetime through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who sprang from the seed of David according to the flesh, but who with power was declared God’s Son according to the spirit of holiness by means of resurrection from the dead—yes, Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Rom. 1:1-4.
19. On what level was Jesus declared to be God’s Son by resurrection, but what had he been before when on earth?
19 Now as regards one’s being in a real sense a son of God, well, according to the fleshly genealogy of Jesus Christ as given in Luke 3:23-38, the first man Adam was a “son of God.” But he disobeyed his heavenly Father and died and brought sin and death upon us all. He is still dead; he has not been resurrected from the dead. He lost his sonship of God. But Jesus Christ has been resurrected on the spirit level and has thus been declared anew to be God’s Son with power greater than what he had on earth. But even when he was on the earthly level, and even though he was born as a fleshly human through the Jewish virgin named Mary, Jesus was a Son of God. There is no reason for us to question that fact. Why not?
20. Why was it that, not just out of his own reasoning on matters, John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Son of God?
20 At that time the needs of the situation required a “son of God” to be available on earth. Jesus Christ proved to be the needed Son of God. When he became full-grown at the age of thirty years, he got baptized in water by John the Baptist, the son of a Jewish priest named Zechariah. Whom did John publicly declare Jesus Christ to be? John the Baptist told his disciples that Jesus Christ was God’s Son. John knew this, not just out of his own reasoning on matters. Why so? Because immediately after he baptized Jesus, John heard God’s voice saying out of heaven: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21, 22) So, in public, John said: “I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.”—John 1:34.
21. Why could Jesus not have had a human, fleshly father, but who confessed to the fatherhood of him?
21 However, Jesus’ sonship of God did not begin with his human birth through Mary, the Jewish virgin. Since Jesus was born of a virgin who had not had any sexual relations with a male descendant of Adam, He could not have had a human, fleshly father. No angel was his father, for Mary did not have sexual relations with a materialized angel like in the case of the mothers of those notorious Nephilim in the days of the ark-builder Noah. (Gen. 6:1-4) The angel Gabriel, who appeared to Mary and explained to her how in a miraculous way she would become the mother of Jesus, was not the father of Mary’s firstborn son. (Luke 1:26-38; Matt. 1:18-25) Modern science today may dispute the virgin birth of Jesus on the claim that it is impossible, but the angel Gabriel removed any possible question from Mary’s mind by saying: “With God no declaration will be an impossibility.” (Luke 1:37) Accordingly God confessed before all the universe his Fatherhood of the baby Jesus in David’s line.
22. How did John’s words and those of Jesus in prayer to God indicate that Jesus had been a Son of God in heaven?
22 All of that is true, but was Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem-Judah the start of his existence as a Son of God? No! John the Baptist, who was born about six months before Jesus, said publicly regarding the Jesus whom he had baptized: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, Behind me there comes a man who has advanced in front of me, because he existed before me.” (John 1:29, 30) Now, since Jesus did not exist as a man on earth before John the Baptist, where had he existed before John? It was up in heaven. There he had existed as a Son of God. There he had personal contact and association with his heavenly Father. This accounts for it that, on the night before he suffered death as a martyr outside the walls of Jerusalem, he said in prayer to his heavenly Father: “I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do. So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.”—John 17:4, 5.
23. From where was it that God sent his Son into the world, and how?
23 So, the one who became Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God,” had existed as a Son of God alongside his heavenly Father in the invisible spirit realm. Hence, in order to become the human Son of God under the name Jesus Christ, he had to let Almighty God transfer his life from heaven to the human ovum in the body of the Jewish virgin. In this way God continued to be his Father at his birth in Bethlehem. It could be only from heaven that God transferred the life of his Son miraculously and thereby “sent” his Son, just as Jesus Christ told the Jewish ruler Nicodemus: “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. For God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.”—John 3:16, 17.
24. Why do we need God’s Son as “the Lamb”?
24 In this way we see how God provided the one man whom we needed for our everlasting salvation, the one man who was the equal of Adam during his perfection and sinlessness in the Garden of Eden. This man alone was able to offer himself to God to be sacrificed as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Because this includes our sin, we need him.