‘Glorious Good News from the Happy God’
“Also, in all the nations the good news has to be preached first.”—Mark 13:10.
1. What does the Bible foretell for this day with regard to: (a) bad news, (b) good news?
WE ALL welcome good news, do we not? But where is good news to be found today? Certainly not in the news media of the world! Dark clouds hover over mankind, and for most people there are no silver linings. Employment has become insecure. Food is costing more. Crime and violence are on the increase. Morals have plunged to new low levels. World rearmament “races out of control.”* It is just what the Bible foretold for this day: “Anguish of nations . . . while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.” However, is there only bad news for today? No, for the same scripture goes on to tell Christians: “Raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up.” And why? “Because your deliverance is getting near.”—Luke 21:25-28.
2. Why is this the grandest of good news? (Luke 2:10)
2 Here, then, is good news. When we examine it closely, it turns out to be the grandest of good news. It is good news to make you happy.
3. How is the “good news” variously described in the Greek Scriptures?
3 The expression “good news” appears more than 120 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The Gospel writers Matthew and Luke speak of “the good news of the kingdom.” Mark’s Gospel proclaims “the good news about Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul refers to “the glorious good news of the happy God.” And the apostle Peter describes the “good news” as “the saying of Jehovah” that “endures forever.”—Matt. 4:23; Luke 8:1; Mark 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:11; 1 Pet. 1:25.
4. How do the Scriptures emphasize the permanency of the “good news”?
4 The permanency of the “good news” is also emphasized in the Revelation to the apostle John, where we read of “everlasting good news” that an angel declares “as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” This angel calls on all men to “fear God and give him glory,” yes, to “worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.” This is because, as John writes, “the hour of the judgment by him has arrived.”—Rev. 14:6, 7.
5. Why has mankind in general failed to accept the “good news,” and with what result?
5 At this climax of the ages “the glorious good news” shines forth brilliantly. But does mankind in general view it as good news? Paul tells us at 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4: “The good news . . . is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” The good news brings Satan’s system of things into judgment. Those who support Satan’s system will perish because they “do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.”—2 Thess. 1:8.
6 However, those who heed the good news will receive blessings beyond the power of mortal man now to fathom, so marvelous will they be! It was in appreciation of the good news that Paul exclaimed: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and past tracing out his ways are!”—Rom. 11:28, 33.
THE BOOK OF “GOOD NEWS” AND ITS AUTHOR
7. Why may the Bible be described as the most magnificent literary work of all time?
7 Where is the good news to be found today? Only in God’s Word, the Bible—truly a unique book of boundless wisdom. What splendid panorama the Bible opens up to us, extending from the beginnings of creation, down through all mankind’s history into these present critical times, and on through the grand millennium of Christ’s glorious reign! And yet, this book of good news was recorded by just ordinary folk like us—devoted men selected by Jehovah, and empowered by his spirit to write his message. Jehovah saw to it also that it was preserved for us, against all attempts to contaminate or destroy it. The “good news” has come down through the centuries in the form of sixty-six “little books,” of varying lengths and content, but each contributing its indispensable part to the most magnificent literary work ever to appear on the face of this earth—the Holy Bible.—Ps. 19:7-11.
8. (a) What does the book of “good news” magnify above all else? (b) How does God’s name set him apart from all other gods?
8 Above all, this book of “good news” magnifies the name and sovereignty of the true and living God, Jehovah. (Rev. 4:11) Wonderfully it portrays him as the eternal, happy God—“Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6, 7) We can have confidence in this Sovereign Lord of the universe. Jehovah is a compassionate, fatherly God, so different from Christendom’s unexplainable Trinity and from the millions of ancestral gods and lifeless idols worshiped in the non-Christian religions. He is God the Almighty, the Most High over all the earth, and his illustrious name Jehovah stands for his purpose to deliver from this Satanic world those who love him.—Ps. 83:17, 18; Ezek. 38:23.
MARVELS OF GOD’S CREATION
9. What marvelous qualities did Jehovah show in creating the earth? (Jer. 10:10-12)
9 Jehovah’s exercise of wisdom, foresight and love are breathtaking to contemplate. (Ps. 40:5) When he constructed our “spaceship” Earth, placed it in the heavens and prepared it as man’s everlasting home, he did not overlook even the minutest details. Home planners of this twentieth century could learn much from the forevision Jehovah displayed when he built and provisioned this earth. He gave our earthly home a foundation that will never be moved and a beautiful star-studded ceiling that will declare his glory for all ages to come. As Proverbs 3:19 states: “Jehovah himself in wisdom founded the earth. He solidly fixed the heavens in discernment.”
10, 11. (a) What provisions did Jehovah make for man long before creating him? (b) How has the earth become filled with bad news? (Duet. 32:5)
10 For the future happiness of his creature man, Jehovah decorated this earthly home with a delightful array of color. He carpeted it with lovely green fields and forests that not only provide restful beauty but also absorb and store energy from the sun. Thus our earthly home has its own built-in power supply. Jehovah so arranged it that all living things could draw on this power supply. By providing the various kinds of grains, fruits, vegetables and other foods, he saw to it that earth’s larder was well stocked even long before he created man. That larder will always remain full, for Jehovah later declared: “All the days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest . . . will never cease.”—Gen. 8:22; Ps. 104:14, 15, 24.
11 Jehovah also provided precious metals and gems, valuable minerals and radioactive elements, along with the treasures of coal and oil. Only in recent years has man come to realize how marvelously his earthly home was equipped at the time of creation. If only man had used all this provision to the benefit of humanity and to the glory of God, each new discovery would have become a source of good news. (Compare Deuteronomy 8:6-9.) But, instead, greedy men have failed to thank earth’s Designer and Maker. They have acted like vandals in misusing and abusing Jehovah’s glorious creation. They have polluted the earth, ruined its resources and built an arsenal of nuclear armaments that places mankind on the brink of self-destruction. They have filled the earth with bad news. But it will not always be that way.
12. Why can it be said that man is made in “a fear-inspiring way”?
12 Jehovah’s grandest of all earthly creations is man himself. Just look at how he is built! What a magnificent creation the original perfect man must have been, made in God’s spiritual “image” and with a physical body of design and workmanship far superior to any machine that man has ever thought out or constructed! (Gen. 1:27) Truly, we should say to Jehovah: “O Jehovah, . . . I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.” (Ps. 139:1, 14) And consider, the human being that is you, all developed from an egg cell as small as a pinpoint. That was all the space the Great Designer, Jehovah God, needed to write down the original blueprint from which you were constructed in all your parts. That makes you feel very small, does it not?—Eccl. 11:5.
WHAT THE “GOOD NEWS” IS ALL ABOUT
13. (a) Why is it that our bodies no longer function properly? (b) With regard to our earthly home, what strong confidence can we have ? (Ps. 145:17-20)
13 Truly it was a disaster that the first man and woman chose to rebel against Jehovah’s sovereignty and fall into sin. Because of inherited sin, our wonderfully designed bodies no longer function properly, and in time all of us die. (Rom. 5:12) Many of mankind have added to their imperfections by abusing their bodies and contaminating their minds. They fall far short of reflecting the ‘image of God.’ Human society has become selfish and corrupt. But we today who love God can strive to reflect his personality. And we can have strong confidence that he will set things right in our earthly home, ousting the vandals who have ruined it, and renovating it so that it will at last shine forth as a beautiful paradise, to the delight of all mankind and to God’s glory. That is what the “good news” is all about.—Rev. 11:18; Ps. 37:37, 38.
14. What “good news” has been proclaimed as to a “seed”?
14 This very special “good news” started to be proclaimed from the time that sin came into the world. It was then, in Eden, that Jehovah announced his purpose to provide a “seed,” a Messiah and Deliverer, to crush the “original serpent,” Satan, and remove all his works of wickedness. (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:9-12) Abel, Enoch and Noah exercised faith in that good news, but though God destroyed the ungodly world in the Flood, the promised “seed” had yet to come. Next, the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.—Gen. 22:15-18.
15. How was the “seed” identified? (Luke 24:25-27)
15 Who would this “seed” prove to be? Through literally hundreds of prophecies, penmen inspired by God foretold in minute detail the manner of Messiah’s coming, his ministry, his suffering and death and his resurrection to God’s right hand. Thus, the same God who had shown such marvelous foresight in preparing and provisioning our earthly home also foretold long in advance whom he would use in bringing to earth the final state of paradisaic beauty.
16. When and how did the “seed” appear?
16 After some four thousand years of waiting, the principal one of the “seed” of promise, namely, Jesus Christ, made his appearance. (Gal. 3:16) In announcing the human birth of Jesus, Jehovah’s angel said to humble shepherds: “I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10, 11) At thirty years of age, Jesus was baptized and anointed by God’s spirit, and in his hometown synagogue at Nazareth he announced his purpose in coming to earth by reading the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” Then, after sitting down, Jesus said to his own townspeople: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” (Luke 4:18-21) But did they rejoice at the good news? No. Instead, they tried to kill Jesus.
17. As made known by Jesus, what bright hope does the “good news” provide?
17 In due course, “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) So, Jesus told of a Kingdom rule that would bring grand blessings to mankind, and he indicated the marvelous range of those future blessings by healing people of their sicknesses and frailties. (Luke 7:22) Yes, the “good news” provided bright hope of a release from sin and death, from wicked rule by Satan and by man, and from bondage to false religion.
WHY WE SHOULD THANK GOD AND CHRIST
18. What proves that God and Christ really care for mankind?
18 This “good news” tells how much God really cares for his human creation on earth: “For God loved the world 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.” (John 3:16) How we should thank Jehovah for this loving provision! And how we should thank the Son, Jesus Christ, who said of himself: “No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends”! (John 15:13) This self-sacrificing love became the very basis for “good news.”
19. (a) What did Jesus’ death accomplish? (b) Why was Jesus not interested in producing a human family of his own?
19 It was in behalf of the “good news” that Jesus submitted to the cruelest of deaths. And what did his death accomplish? By his unswerving loyalty in upholding his Father’s sovereignty to the death, Jesus showed himself to be fully qualified for the exalted post of Ruler in the kingdom of heaven. And by maintaining sinlessness to the death, Jesus preserved his right to perfect human life, which he could now use like “ready cash” in buying back all that Adam had lost for mankind. (Heb. 5:8, 9; Rom. 5:19) Jesus could have married and produced a perfect human family of his own. But he was not interested in that. He was interested in us, Adam’s helpless family, and in doing his Father’s will by ransoming us from sin and death. How fitting it was that “God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name.”—Phil. 2:9-11.
20. (a) What is Jesus able to accomplish in his present position of service? (b) What hope does the “good news” hold forth for the ‘groaning creation’?
20 Now, according to the power of his own “indestructible life,” Jesus serves as “a priest forever” in the heavens, so that he is able to remove for all time the effects of inherited sin. This he has done already in behalf of his “little flock” of anointed followers, selected first from among the Jews and then also from among the Gentile nations, so that they have been brought into a “new covenant,” with the prospect of ruling with him in his heavenly kingdom through a resurrection as spirit creatures. This is the good news that Paul and other disciples proclaimed so vigorously in the first century. (Rom. 1:15, 16; Heb. 7:16, 21; 8:7-13) But the “good news” tells also of the hope of life eternal to be enjoyed by the “great crowd” of Har–Magedon survivors and an even greater crowd of the dead of mankind that will be resurrected in the restored paradise. This is marvelous “good news” indeed for the ‘groaning creation.’—Rom. 8:20-22.
21 Yes, mankind has suffered over the centuries, and especially has this been true of loyal servants of God, who have been persecuted and even killed by Satan and his religious agents. But their integrity will be rewarded. (Rev. 2:10) They have shared with Jesus in answering Satan’s challenge that God could not put men on earth who would remain loyal to God under every kind of trial. Throughout six thousand years of human history they have proved that nothing can turn God’s true servants from their love and devotion to him. These faithful worshipers of Jehovah appreciate that man-rule cannot bring unity and happiness to mankind. Only God’s righteous sovereignty can do that. And now that man-rule has shown itself to be a complete failure, the time is at hand for Jehovah to deliver his loyal servants, vindicate his sovereignty and restore his Kingdom rule over all the earth.
New York Times, March 1, 1976.