Sounding Forth Good News in All the Earth
“Into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.”—Rom. 10:18.
1. (a) What climactic day have we now reached? (b) How may we ‘prove ourselves ready’? (Mark 13:32-37)
TIME is fast running out! The generation from 1914 has now witnessed the fulfillment of the major part of Jesus’ great prophetic “sign” describing “the conclusion of the system of things.” The “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again,” is about to break in all its fury over the entire earth. We must remain always on the watch, awake, alert, ready. As Jesus says: “On this account you too prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man [Christ Jesus] is coming.” Jehovah’s hour of reckoning with Satan’s world hastens on!—Matt. 24:3, 21, 22, 34, 42, 44.
2. How may we avoid sharing in the sins of Babylon the Great? (Jer. 51:6)
2 Proving ourselves ready includes separating ourselves completely from all worldly, false religion and maintaining that separateness. (Jas. 1:27) Indeed, those who love God and truth are plainly told: “Get out of her [Babylon the Great], my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.”—Rev. 18:4, 5.
3. What record shows false religion to be worthy only of destruction?
3 In Christendom and in non-Christian lands, that world empire of false religion has built up a shocking record. She has rejected the true and living God, Jehovah, not even wanting to mention his name. She has taught demonic false doctrines, such as the inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire torment of the dead. Her Inquisitions, her wars and her oppressions have brought torture and misery to millions. Recall that the two world wars of this century, which took 69 million lives, started in Christendom between countries that claim to be Christian. How great is Christendom’s bloodguilt! False religion’s superstitions, fortune-telling, spiritism, druggery—these also are hateful in Jehovah’s eyes.—Deut. 18:9-13; Isa. 65:11, 12.
4. What positive action is required of true worshipers?
4 However, it is not sufficient just to get out of false religion. It is necessary to get into the ark of spiritual protection that Jehovah today provides. This is not some material structure, some temple or particular location on earth. As the Son of God, Christ Jesus, stated: “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) So true worshipers of God not only separate themselves from all idolatry and superstitious practices; they also study and apply God’s Word in their lives, cultivate Christian personalities and are ‘spirited’ in their service, giving themselves heart and soul in showing love for God and neighbor.—Mark 12:28-31.
EXECUTION OF GOD’S ENEMIES
5 With startling suddenness, Jehovah will execute judgment on the world empire of false religion! Revelation 18:21 describes it thus: “A strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: ‘Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again.’” Her judicial punishment will be swift and final.
6. Why will the “ten horns” fail in their attack on the followers of the “Lamb”? (Matt. 10:28)
6 But more is to come! The “ten horns” of the wild beast will turn next on true religion, and thus “battle with the Lamb,” Christ Jesus. (Rev. 17:12-14) No, they cannot touch Christ on his heavenly throne, but they can, so they think, get at his apparently defenseless disciples here on earth. Will those political “horns” succeed in their attack? No! For Jehovah’s loyal servants will stand firm against this final demonic attack, even as they are doing in many countries in Africa, the Orient and the Communist world at this present time.
7. Why can events at Har–Magedon and thereafter be described as “good news”? (Rev. 14:6, 7)
7 The political “kings of the entire inhabited earth” will then find themselves at the world situation called Har–Magedon, and it is there that, as “Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them.” (Rev. 16:14, 16; 17:14) Finally the victorious Christ will hurl Satan and his demons into the abyss of immobility, opening the way for the start of His glorious thousand-year reign for the blessing of all mankind. What enthralling “good news” is all of this!
A PARADISE OF JOY!
8. What paradise of joy is already available to those who love Jehovah? (Isa. 35:10)
8 This is what opens up to those who love Jehovah—not just after the great battle at Har–Magedon, but now! For already, in this time of the end, “the mountain of the house of Jehovah [the place of his true worship]” has been “firmly established above the top of the mountains,” which “mountains” are where Babylon the Great carries on her sectarian rites. Oh, what happiness! Peoples of the nations are streaming in the thousands to the Kingdom Halls and other places, there to join with Jehovah’s people in true worship. As the prophecy says: “Many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah . . . and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’”—Isa. 2:2, 3.
9. To what extent has the spiritual paradise now been restored?
9 The faithful remnant of anointed witnesses of Jehovah, who bore the brunt of the work and persecutions during the earlier days of this “time of the end,” have been joined by an unmistakably “great crowd.” They come in their multitudes! This is demonstrated in that, in 1976 at the annual observance of the Memorial of Jesus’ death, more than 4,870,000 assembled in over 39,600 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses earth wide. Truly, the spiritual paradise has swelled to global proportions!—Dan. 12:4; Rev. 7:9.
10 This spiritual paradise will be like an ark of protection, with a precious load of passengers, in passing through the “great tribulation” into the pollution-free earth beyond! Then, cruel rulers will no longer oppress and persecute. No more will Jehovah’s worshipers have to battle against Satan and his immoral world. The “great crowd” will have wholesome, rewarding, stimulating work to do, in transforming the entire globe into a physical paradise of loveliness—a delightful reflection of the spiritual paradise, concerning which Isaiah wrote: “The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron. Without fail it will blossom, and it will really be joyful with joyousness and with glad crying out. . . . There will be those who will see the glory of Jehovah, the splendor of our God.”—Isa. 35:1, 2.
11. What assurance does the Bible give that the dead will not be forgotten?
11 Nor will the dead be forgotten! How many on earth today can remember or even name forefathers of a hundred years ago? Very few! But God remembers them. He remembers all our forefathers, who have toiled and suffered back through six thousand years of human history. (John 5:28, 29; Mark 12:26, 27) On the basis of Jesus’ loving sacrifice, Jehovah—the great God of loving-kindness—will resurrect them, the small and the great. They will stand before his throne, with opportunity to meet his further requirements for entering into a happy, abundant life that goes on forever. (Rev. 20:12) What grand good news is all of this! How we should thank our illustrious God, the Author of this good news!
“GOOD NEWS” FOR OUR FAMILIES
12. In Colossians chapter 3, what are some of the points of loving counsel for families?
12 In our families, we should want to obey the “good news.” For the good news can help us to live a happy family life together, now and on into the future. What fine principles does the Book of Good News, the Bible, provide us in this regard! For example, if you just read the third chapter of Colossians, all of it, you will find there loving advice for helping all families successfully to weather the storms of this “time of the end.” It is not too difficult in these critical times to succeed together as a family, especially when you “clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Col. 3:14.
13. What Scriptural examples show the value of guiding little ones from infancy?
13 And what of our little ones, our children? We love them, and we want them to love us. So what better examples could parents follow than those excellent models of child training provided for us in God’s Word, and which helped to produce such stalwart advocates of truth as Samuel, David, John the Baptist, Timothy— and, of course, our Master himself, Jesus! But we need to watch over our little ones and guide them from infancy in developing Christian personalities. We cannot expect perfection to result in this imperfect world, but we can expect that Jehovah will bless our efforts, for, as Psalm 127 (verse 3) states it, our children are “an inheritance from Jehovah,” and they will be a blessing to parents who train them in His way.
STANDING FIRM FOR THE KINGDOM
14. What way of life will lead to eternal happiness?
14 Are we not happy that we have come to know Jehovah and his Son? This knowledge has brought us into a way of life that leads to eternal happiness. It is an active, meaningful life. It centers around our showing deep love for Jehovah and self-sacrificing love for our neighbor, and especially for our own families and our brothers. In living the truth we don’t have to follow a long list of “don’ts.” There are a few “necessary things” to refrain from, which would harm us spiritually, for example, those mentioned at Acts 15:28, 29: Idolatry, blood, fornication. But our Christian way of life is a positive living of the truth, a joyful, happy manner of life as dedicated, baptized slaves of God. It is life with a purpose. Great will be our joy, now and on through into the paradise earth, if we heed well Paul’s words: “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men, for you know that it is from Jehovah you will receive the due reward.” (Col. 3:23, 24) And the great work that must be done today is to get “this good news of the kingdom” preached in all the earth as a witness before the end comes!—Matt. 24:14.
15. What features of the “good news,” yet to be fulfilled, should fill our hearts with praise?
15 We look forward to Jehovah’s creating “new heavens and a new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell.” When through a resurrection in the spirit, all the 144,000 members of Christ’s “bride” are united with him in the heavens, and when the new clean society of mankind is fully operative in the earth, what a glorious day that will be! The very certainty of this “good news” fills our hearts with praise for the great God who is making “all things new” and who promises to “wipe out every tear” and remove all things that cause outcry or pain. Yes, even the enemy death is to disappear under the glorious rule of Christ’s kingdom. As we today stand firm for that kingdom, and in support of Jehovah’s sovereignty, let us do our utmost to be found finally “spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Pet. 3:13, 14; Rev. 21:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:25, 26.
THERE IS WORK TO DO!
16. What great work must yet be completed? (John 14:12)
16 When Jesus was on earth, he started something that was to grow until it filled the earth. Even within that generation it came to be said: “That good news . . . was preached in all creation that is under heaven.” (Col. 1:23) However, Jesus himself foretold an even grander witness for the “conclusion of the system of things,” saying that “in all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” And what next? Why, “then the end will come.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 24:3, 14) Has that preaching work now been completed? No! For the end has not yet come.
17 The end does not come just because we might think it is the due date, or because we feel that our territory has been well worked. It comes when Jehovah has carried through the great work of Kingdom preaching to the extent he wants, and then he will bring the “great tribulation.” Until that time there is work to do! And we as Jehovah’s Witnesses are the ones assigned to do it! The arrival of the “great tribulation” should find the preaching work at the height of its forward movement, at the very peak of its momentum throughout the earth. The arrival of the Lord Jesus to execute judgment will come as a complete surprise—even to Jehovah’s people, for it will no doubt find them at their busiest time of activity!
18. Why is it necessary to “keep on the watch”? (Luke 21:34-36)
18 Jesus tells us: “Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time is. . . . Keep on the watch.” (Mark 13:32-37) What if, in expectation of the “great tribulation,” Jehovah’s Witnesses had eased up, and stopped watching and making plans for the future, in 1914, in 1925, in 1975 or at any other date—could this have resulted in the expansive spiritual paradise that we see today? How glad we are that Jehovah has energized his people to keep sounding forth good news in all the earth!
19. In our day, what does it mean to worship God with spirit and truth? (Rev. 7:15)
19 Jehovah’s advancing theocratic society will be a going concern, a go-forward organization, right down to and through the “great tribulation.” For the worship of God with spirit and truth is positive, enthusiastic, spirited and progressive. More and more sections of the earth, in Western lands, in the Orient and elsewhere, are now receiving a thorough witness, and who knows how much farther the “glorious good news” will be sounded forth before the end! As Paul stated, it is “woe” to us if we do not declare the good news, for that is God’s will and work for our day!—1 Cor. 9:16.
20. How does ‘faith follow the thing heard’? (Rom. 10:10)
20 Jesus himself set the pattern for sounding forth the good news, and his anointed followers have followed in his footsteps down until this day. In referring to this, the apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 52:7, saying: “How comely are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!” Now in all the earth a “great crowd” joins the anointed remnant in sounding forth that good news. But not all persons heed the message. Paul tells us: “Nevertheless, they did not all obey the good news. For Isaiah says: ‘Jehovah, who put faith in the thing heard by us?’ So faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ. Nevertheless I ask, They did not fail to hear, did they? Why, in fact, ‘into all the earth their sound went out, and to the extremities of the inhabited earth their utterances.’”—Rom. 10:15-18; Isa. 53:1; Ps. 19:4.
21. What shows the “good news” to be unconquerable? (Rev. 10:7)
21 Today the situation is similar to that in Paul’s day. The “glorious good news of the happy God,” concerning his Christ, is being sounded forth to earth’s extremities. In some countries, harsh rulers or ingrained Babylonish religion have stood as barriers to the light of truth. But the good news continues to be sounded forth, and in more and more places “faith follows the thing heard.”
22. In anticipation of the triumph of the “good news,” what should we now be doing?
22 May our feet continue to be “shod with the equipment of the good news of peace,” and may we, as Paul did, continue “to bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.” (Acts 20:24; Eph. 6:15) Yes, may we “behave in a manner worthy of the good news about the Christ, . . . standing firm in one spirit, with one soul striving side by side for the faith of the good news, and in no respect being frightened by [our] opponents.” (Phil. 1:27, 28) The “good news” must triumph! May each one of us be very busy in ‘sounding forth good news in all the earth.’ Thus we will continue to be made happy, and to make many others very, very happy!