Humanity’s State of Health That Might Have Been
1. Why is there need of a world physician, and what rule quoted by Christ applies to the medical profession and health agencies?
HUMANITY’S state of health is in a poor way! As never before there is need for a world physician, for new ailments are being discovered and are claiming victims. The medical profession and the health agencies, all of them together, have failed to be a world physician able to heal all earth’s maladies. We could not expect it otherwise, for the rule applies: “Physician, cure yourself.” Who quoted that? A man who cured all sorts of ailments, even raising a man to life on the fourth day of his death. The man with such a medical record was Jesus Christ. (Luke 4:23; Mark 6:4-6) His own death in 33 C.E. was not from natural causes. It was at the hands of murderers. (Acts 7:52) What might have been humanity’s state of health today if they had accepted him back there?
2, 3. (a) What question do we ask with regard to Jehovah as a Healer? (b) What did Jehovah bring upon ancient Egypt for the liberating of his people, and about what did he warn the Israelites if they did not listen to his voice?
2 Pushing the question still farther back in time, we ask, What would have been the case if people had accepted the services of the One who said to his chosen people in the days of the prophet Moses: “I am Jehovah who is healing you”?—Ex. 15:26.
3 Aiming at the deliverance of his chosen people from slavery in ancient Egypt, Jehovah afflicted that land with miraculous plagues. Later he lifted the preliminary nine plagues. He brought his liberated people into a national covenant that was to work for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. He used Moses to warn those Israelites about what would follow if they kept breaking the law of that covenant, saying: “Also, any sickness and any plague that is not written in the book of this law, Jehovah will bring them upon you until you have been annihilated. And you will indeed be left with very few in number, although you have become like the stars of the heavens for multitude, because you did not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God.”—Deut. 28:61, 62.
4, 5. (a) Since the surviving Jews are faring so badly today, what question may we ask about Israel’s modern counterpart? (b) For mending their ways, what would have been the case according to Isaiah 58:9-12?
4 Today not only the millions of surviving Jews are suffering from bodily ailments, not to speak also of mental, religious, social and economic disorders, but also all humanity is doing so. In these respects not even Christendom has any advantage over the natural Jews. In fact, Christendom has the greater responsibility toward God. If ancient Israel fared so badly because of not mending its ways as Jehovah through Isaiah told them to do, how may we expect Christendom to fare finally, and that shortly? What might have been, the prophet Isaiah sets out as follows:
5 “In that case you would call, and Jehovah himself would answer; you would cry for help, and he would say, ‘Here I am!’ If you will remove from your midst the yoke bar, the poking out of the finger [in disdain or in condemnation] and the speaking of what is hurtful; and you will grant to the hungry one your own soulful desire, and you will satisfy the soul that is being afflicted, your light also will certainly flash up even in the darkness, and your gloom will be like midday. And Jehovah will be bound to lead you constantly and to satisfy your soul even in a scorched land, and he will invigorate your very bones; and you must become like a well-watered garden, and like the source of water, the waters of which do not lie. And at your instance men will certainly build up the places devastated a long time; you will raise up even the foundations of continuous generations. And you will actually be called the repairer of the gap, the restorer of roadways by which to dwell.”—Isa. 58:9-12.
6. In the light of the possibilities set before Israel of Isaiah’s day, what question are we led to ask about the possibilities in the case of Israel’s modern counterpart?
6 Oh, what might have been the national condition of ancient Israel if it had followed the counsel plainly given by Jehovah! In view of his almightiness he could easily have produced the conditions that he said would follow if Israel removed from itself the objectionable things that hurt both them and their covenant relationship with God. For not doing so Israel went from bad to worse. Terrible was the disciplinary experience that Israel went through in the century that followed Isaiah’s prophesying. In the light of all that as an illustration, we are led to ask, What about Israel’s modern counterpart, Christendom? What might have been her state of health socially, economically, morally, religiously if she had taken her medicine from the Divine Healer, Jehovah, and had accepted the Kingdom message that has been proclaimed by his Christian witnesses for now more than a century?
7. What living illustration today do we have of what might have been the case with Christendom?
7 What might have been the case with Christendom is illustrated. How? By what has taken place today with those who were pictured by the sons of Isaiah, the “children” whom Jehovah gave him and whom Jehovah used to typify the spirit-anointed disciples of Jesus Christ. (Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13) For more than 65 years they have announced to the world that Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom now rests upon the shoulder of the enthroned Son of God, Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6, 7) Thus they have dispelled from hundreds of thousands of despairing persons the gloomy darkness that blankets the whole world. By means of the Kingdom news as foretold by Jesus in Matthew 24:14 they have been feeding the spiritually hungry people with something more life-sustaining than material food. Spiritual recuperation has resulted to these.
8. The spiritually recuperated ones are now heeding what further words of Jehovah, about the Sabbath, in the face of what promises?
8 All the spiritually recuperated ones are now heeding Jehovah’s further words of guidance that ancient Israel did not heed: “If in view of the sabbath you will turn back your foot as regards doing your own delights on my holy day, and will actually call the sabbath an exquisite delight, a holy day of Jehovah, one being glorified, and will actually glorify it rather than doing your own ways, rather than finding what delights you and speaking a word; you will in that case find your exquisite delight in Jehovah, and I will make you ride upon the high places of the earth; and I will cause you to eat from the hereditary possession of Jacob your forefather, for the mouth of Jehovah itself has spoken it.”—Isa. 58:13, 14.
9. Are dedicated, baptized Christians now under a weekly Sabbath arrangement, and what Sabbath period are they rapidly nearing?
9 Dedicated, baptized Christians, such as are Jehovah’s Witnesses of today, have no obligation to keep a weekly Sabbath that begins at sundown on Friday and ends with sundown of Saturday, for they are not under the code of laws given by Moses the mediator. (Ex. 20:1-11) Nor did Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, command his disciples to keep Sunday as a Sabbath day. They know that they are living in the seventh day of the creative week of Jehovah God, during which he has been resting from direct creative works respecting our earth. (Gen. 1:1 through 2:4) World events as well as Bible chronology indicate that we are now rapidly nearing the time for the thousand-year-long reign of Jesus Christ to start. His reign of a thousand years for the blessing of all mankind will occupy the last thousand years of Jehovah’s rest day or Sabbath day of seven thousand years. Christ’s reign will be a Sabbath day of exquisite delight for all mankind.
10. Is Christendom’s weekly “sabbath” Biblical, and for what purpose is it mainly used today?
10 For more than 1,500 years Christendom has been formally keeping Sunday as a sort of Christian sabbath. But Sunday is neither Christian nor Jewish. As its name shows, it is actually a pagan holiday in celebration of the sun god. Today Christendom is certainly not observing its own Sunday as a rest day in Jehovah’s honor and for the good of the human body. For the most part, she is taking advantage of it as a day for sports, picnics, going to theaters, and other nonreligious activities and selfish delights, not to speak of gambling and a variety of immoral activities.
11. How do the Christian witnesses of Jehovah keep a true “sabbath” and thus conform to his own example?
11 What the Christian witnesses of Jehovah are observing is a continual “sabbath” to Jehovah God. How? By resting or desisting from their own works in an attempt to justify themselves before God and thus earn their own eternal salvation. By faith they rest in the merit or redemptive value of Christ’s ransom sacrifice as the basis for their eternal salvation. In this way they conform themselves to the great seventh “day” of Jehovah’s Creative Week, during which figurative “day” he himself has been resting.
12. What is the present ‘sabbath rest’ that “remains” for God’s people, and so how do Jehovah’s Witnesses use the Jewish sabbath and Christendom’s Sunday?
12 As to the Christian’s resting by faith in Jehovah’s “sabbath” of seven millenniums, we read: “In one place he has said of the seventh day as follows: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ . . . So there remains a sabbath resting for the people of God. For the man that has entered into God’s rest has also himself rested from his own works, just as God did from his own.” (Heb. 4:4-10) Jehovah’s Witnesses rest by faith in Christ’s sacrifice as God’s provision for human salvation. So they can conscientiously use the Jewish sabbath day and Christendom’s Sunday to preach the good news of God’s kingdom from house to house.
Division Between Christendom and the Needed Healer
13. According to Isaiah 59:1-4, what kind of conduct by God’s professed people has made a division between him and them?
13 How it might have been with Christendom rather than what it is today is not because the Almighty God lacks ability. Why, then, did salvation not come to ancient Israel, and, correspondingly, why has it not come to Christendom or to the rest of the world? The reason is given in these words: “Look! The hand of Jehovah has not become too short that it cannot save, nor has his ear become too heavy that it cannot hear. No, but the very errors of you people have become the things causing division between you and your God, and your own sins have caused the concealing of his face from you to keep from hearing. For your own palms have become polluted with blood, and your fingers with error. Your own lips have spoken falsehood. Your own tongue kept muttering sheer unrighteousness. There is no one calling out in righteousness, and no one at all has gone to court in faithfulness. There has been a trusting in unreality, and a speaking of worthlessness. There has been a conceiving of trouble, and a bringing of what is hurtful to birth.”—Isa. 59:1-4.
14. Like Israel of Isaiah’s day, why could 20th-century Christendom not clear herself in the divine court of justice?
14 That look into what Israel was in Isaiah’s day revealed a lot of details. How could Jehovah keep close to people of a nation like that or bless them? The nation was the one that was creating the rift between him and it. The same is true as regards the rift between him and his professed people, Christendom. Hands, fingers, lips, tongue are all taking part in what is bad, with injury to Christendom herself. After two world wars, not only are her hands already dripping with human blood, but she is planning on shedding human blood on an even vaster scale, likely next time with atomic and nuclear bombs besides other fiendish means for causing agonizing death to unnumbered people. Certainly her taking international problems to the United Nations or to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands, is not the same as taking matters into the divine court of justice “in faithfulness” before all heaven and earth. In such a divine court Christendom could never clear herself!
15, 16. From what is being internationally conceived, what naturally must be brought to birth, and all the diplomatic talk is a speaking and muttering of what?
15 In the United Nations the non-Christian nations already outnumber the nations of Christendom. Yet her clergy and religious leaders look to that makeshift for God’s kingdom as “the only hope of the world” and are acting and proceeding as if it were such. If this is not a case of “trusting in unreality,” then what is? All the public and private talk about relying on the United Nations and other man-made agencies for world peace and security—has this not been a “speaking of worthlessness,” especially on Christendom’s part? Otherwise, what has all this palaver proved to be?
16 Since only “trouble,” not peaceful relations with Jehovah God, is being internationally conceived, only “what is hurtful” is what is naturally to be expected or brought to birth. What a “problem child” it is bound to be! From Jehovah’s standpoint, all the diplomatic talk between nations, Christian and non-Christian, has been only ‘speaking falsehood’ and ‘muttering of sheer unrighteousness.’
17. As if by what are God’s professed people being poisoned, and why did the course that they have taken not provide a safe roadway for travelers?
17 Today people both inside and outside Christendom are being poisoned, not just chemically, but also spiritually. According to Isaiah 59:5-8, complainers could say before God, the Judge of all: “The eggs of a poisonous snake are what they have hatched, and they kept weaving the mere cobweb of a spider. Anyone eating some of their eggs would die, and the egg that was smashed would be hatched into a viper. Their mere cobweb will not serve as a garment, nor will they cover themselves with their works. Their works are hurtful works, and the activity of violence is in their palms. Their own feet keep running to sheer badness, and they are in a hurry to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are hurtful thoughts; despoiling and breakdown are in their highways. The way of peace they have ignored, and there is no justice in their tracks. Their roadways they have made crooked for themselves. No one at all treading in them will actually know peace.”
18. What sort of example has Christendom been with regard to maintaining peace?
18 If Christendom cannot keep the peace inside herself how can we expect the rest of the world to do so? She has been a bad example, grossly misrepresenting what real Christianity is. She has been loudmouthed in making appeals for peace and security, but certainly her arming herself heavily for war in suspicion of her worldly neighbors is not the way to pave the road to peace.
19. The hypocritical state in ancient Israel resulted in what with reference to justice and discerning the right why to go?
19 “That is why justice has come to be far away from us,” Jehovah’s prophet Isaiah goes on to say, “and righteousness does not catch up with us. We keep hoping for light, but, look! darkness; for brightness, but in continuous gloom we kept walking. We keep groping for the wall just like blind men, and like those without eyes we keep groping. We have stumbled at high noon just as in evening darkness; among the stout ones we are just like dead people.
20. (a) Were the revolts, transgressions and sins of Israel something plain to see? (b) So, under the circumstances, how did justice, righteousness and truth fare?
20 “We keep groaning, all of us, just like bears; and like doves we mournfully keep cooing. We kept hoping for justice, but there was none; for salvation, but it has stayed far away from us. For our revolts have become many in front of you; and as for our sins, each one has testified against us. For our revolts are with us; and as for our errors, we well know them. There have been transgressing and a denying of Jehovah; and there was a moving back from our God, a speaking of oppression and revolt; a conceiving and a muttering of words of falsehood from the very heart. And justice was forced to move back, and righteousness itself kept standing simply far off. For truth has stumbled even in the public square, and what is straightforward is unable to enter. And the truth proves to be missing, and anyone turning away from badness is being despoiled.”—Isa. 59:9-15; Rom. 3:15-18.
21. That description of Israel in Isaiah’s day matches what today very well, and how might humanity have had a better outlook?
21 How well that ancient description matches the condition in Christendom today! Since the end of World War I in 1918 Jehovah’s Witnesses have become very prominent on the world stage, despite furious persecution. What if the message of Jehovah’s kingdom in the hands of the glorified Christ had been favorably acted upon instead of being resisted with injustice and persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses world wide? How much better humanity’s state of health and especially that of Christendom would have been by now in every way! What a brighter outlook there might have been for humanity!