Make Public Declaration for Salvation
“Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”—ROMANS 10:13.
1. Down through history, what warnings have been sounded?
HISTORY describes several ‘days of Jehovah.’ The Flood of Noah’s day, the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the destructions of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. and 70 C.E. were great and fear-inspiring days of Jehovah. They were days of meting out justice upon those who rebelled against Jehovah. (Malachi 4:5; Luke 21:22) During those days, many perished because of their wickedness. But some survived. Jehovah caused warnings to be sounded, notifying the wicked of the impending cataclysm and giving righthearted ones an opportunity to find salvation.
2, 3. (a) What prophetic warning was quoted at Pentecost? (b) From Pentecost 33 C.E., what was required in calling on the name of Jehovah?
2 The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. is an outstanding example of this. Foretelling that event almost 900 years in advance, the prophet Joel wrote: “I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun itself will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” How could anyone survive such a terrifying time? Joel wrote under inspiration: “It must occur that everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will prove to be the escaped ones, just as Jehovah has said, and in among the survivors, whom Jehovah is calling.”—Joel 2:30-32.
3 At Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter addressed a crowd of Jews and proselytes in Jerusalem and quoted Joel’s prophecy, showing that his listeners could expect a fulfillment in their day: “I will give portents in heaven above and signs on earth below, blood and fire and smoke mist; the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and illustrious day of Jehovah arrives. And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Acts 2:16-21) The crowds listening to Peter were all under the Mosaic Law, and therefore they knew the name of Jehovah. Peter explained that, henceforth, calling on Jehovah’s name would involve something more. Outstandingly, this included getting baptized in the name of Jesus, the one who had been killed and then resurrected to immortal heavenly life.—Acts 2:37, 38.
4. What message did Christians declare abroad?
4 From Pentecost on, Christians spread the word about the resurrected Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:23) They made known that humans could be adopted as spiritual sons of Jehovah God and become part of a new “Israel of God,” a spiritual nation that would ‘declare abroad Jehovah’s excellencies.’ (Galatians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:9) Those who remained faithful to the death would inherit immortal heavenly life as coheirs with Jesus in his heavenly Kingdom. (Matthew 24:13; Romans 8:15, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54) Moreover, these Christians were to proclaim the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. They had to warn the Jewish world that it would experience a tribulation eclipsing anything that had struck Jerusalem and God’s professed people up to that time. However, there would be survivors. Who? Those who called on Jehovah’s name.
“In the Last Days”
5. What fulfillments of prophecy have taken place today?
5 In many ways, conditions back then foreshadowed what we see today. Since 1914, mankind has been living in a special time period referred to in the Bible as “the time of the end,” “the conclusion of the system of things,” and “the last days.” (Daniel 12:1, 4; Matthew 24:3-8; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) In our century, cruel wars, unbridled violence, and the ruination of society and the environment have provided a remarkable fulfillment of Bible prophecy. These are all part of the sign prophesied by Jesus, indicating that mankind is about to experience the final, decisive fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. This culminates in the battle of Armageddon, the climax of a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.”—Matthew 24:21; Revelation 16:16.
6. (a) How has Jehovah been acting to save meek ones? (b) Where do we find Paul’s counsel on how to survive?
6 As the day of devastation draws ever closer, Jehovah is acting for the salvation of meek ones. During this “time of the end,” he has gathered the last ones of the spiritual Israel of God and turned the attention of his earthly servants, from the 1930’s onward, to gathering “a great crowd, which no man [is] able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” As a group, these “come out of the great tribulation” alive. (Revelation 7:9, 14) But how can each individual make his or her survival sure? The apostle Paul answers that question. In Romans chapter 10, he gives fine counsel for survival—counsel that applied in his day and that applies again in ours.
A Prayer for Salvation
7. (a) What hope is identified at Romans 10:1, 2? (b) Why could Jehovah now have a more expansive “good news” proclaimed?
7 When Paul wrote the book of Romans, Jehovah had already cast off Israel as a nation. Still, the apostle affirmed: “The goodwill of my heart and my supplication to God for them are, indeed, for their salvation.” His hope was that individual Jews might gain accurate knowledge of God’s will, leading to their being saved. (Romans 10:1, 2) Moreover, Jehovah would desire salvation for those in the entire world of mankind who exercise faith, as indicated at John 3:16: “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.” Jesus’ ransom sacrifice opened the way for that grand salvation. As in Noah’s day and other days of judgment that followed, Jehovah has “good news” proclaimed, pointing to the way of salvation.—Mark 13:10, 19, 20.
8. After Paul’s pattern, to whom do true Christians extend goodwill today, and how?
8 Showing his own goodwill toward both Jew and Gentile, Paul preached at every opportunity. He “would persuade Jews and Greeks.” He told the elders of Ephesus: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 18:4; 20:20, 21) In like fashion, Jehovah’s Witnesses today expend themselves in preaching, not only to professing Christians but to all peoples, even to “the most distant part of the earth.”—Acts 1:8; 18:5.
Confessing “the ‘Word’ of Faith”
9. (a) What kind of faith does Romans 10:8, 9 encourage? (b) When and how should we make confession of our faith?
9 An enduring faith is required for salvation. Quoting Deuteronomy 30:14, Paul declared: “‘The word is near you, in your own mouth and in your own heart’; that is, the ‘word’ of faith, which we are preaching.” (Romans 10:8) As we preach that “‘word’ of faith,” it becomes more and more deeply engraved in our hearts. It was so with Paul, and his further words can strengthen our resolve to be like him in sharing that faith with others: “If you publicly declare that ‘word in your own mouth,’ that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Not only is this confession made before others at the time of baptism but it must be a continuing confession, a zealous public testimony about all the grand facets of the truth. Such truth focuses on the precious name of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah; on our Messianic King and Ransomer, the Lord Jesus Christ; and on the magnificent Kingdom promises.
10. In line with Romans 10:10, 11, how must we handle this “‘word’ of faith”?
10 There is no salvation for any who do not accept and apply this “‘word’ of faith,” as the apostle goes on to state: “With the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. For the Scripture says: ‘None that rests his faith on him will be disappointed.’” (Romans 10:10, 11) We must gain accurate knowledge of this “‘word’ of faith” and continue to nurture it in our hearts so that we are motivated to tell it out to others. Jesus himself reminds us: “Whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he arrives in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”—Mark 8:38.
11. How extensively must the good news be proclaimed, and why?
11 As foretold by the prophet Daniel, in this time of the end, “the ones having insight” are seen shining “like the brightness of the expanse,” as the Kingdom witness expands to the ends of the earth. They “are bringing the many to righteousness,” and the true knowledge has indeed become abundant, for Jehovah is throwing ever brighter light on the prophecies concerning this time of the end. (Daniel 12:3, 4) Here is a message of salvation that is vital to the survival of all who love truth and righteousness.
12 The apostle Paul continues: “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord over all, who is rich to all those calling upon him.” (Romans 10:12) The “good news” must be preached today on an even wider global scale—to all peoples, to the very ends of the earth. The angel of Revelation 14:6 continues to fly in midheaven, entrusting us with the “everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” How will this benefit those who respond?
Calling on Jehovah’s Name
13. (a) What is our 1998 yeartext? (b) Why is this yeartext most appropriate today?
13 Quoting Joel 2:32, Paul declares: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) How appropriate it is that those words have been chosen as the yeartext of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 1998! Never before has it been more important to move forward with trust in Jehovah, making known his name and the grand purposes for which it stands! As in the first century, so in the last days of the present corrupt system of things, the resounding cry goes out: “Get saved from this crooked generation.” (Acts 2:40) It is a trumpetlike invitation for all God-fearing people worldwide to call on Jehovah to grant salvation to them and also to those who listen to their public declaration of the good news.—1 Timothy 4:16.
14. On which Rock must we call for salvation?
14 What will happen when the great day of Jehovah erupts on this earth? Most will not look to Jehovah for salvation. Mankind in general will “keep saying to the mountains and to the rock-masses: ‘Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 6:15, 16) Their hope will be in the mountainlike organizations and institutions of this system of things. How much better, though, if they would trust in the greatest Rock of all, Jehovah God! (Deuteronomy 32:3, 4) Of him, King David said: “Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold and the Provider of escape for me.” Jehovah is “our Rock of salvation.” (Psalm 18:2; 95:1) His name is “a strong tower,” the only “tower” strong enough to protect us during the coming crisis. (Proverbs 18:10) Hence, it is vital that as many as possible of the almost six billion humans alive today be taught to call upon Jehovah’s name in faithfulness and sincerity.
15. What does Romans 10:14 indicate as to faith?
15 Fittingly, the apostle Paul goes on to ask: “However, how will they call on him in whom they have not put faith?” (Romans 10:14) There are multitudes who may yet be helped to make “the ‘word’ of faith” their own, in order to call on Jehovah for salvation. Faith is all-important. Paul states in another letter: “Without faith it is impossible to please [God] well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) How, though, will millions more come to put faith in God? In the letter to the Romans, Paul asks: “How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) Does Jehovah provide the means for them to hear? To be sure he does! Listen to Paul’s continuing words: “How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?”
16. In the divine arrangement, why are preachers essential?
16 From Paul’s argument it is crystal clear that preachers are needed. Jesus indicated that this would be so, right down “until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20) Preaching is an essential part of the divine arrangement for helping people to call on the name of Jehovah in order to get away safe. Even in Christendom the majority do nothing to honor God’s precious name. Many have Jehovah hopelessly confused with two other identities in an unexplainable Trinity dogma. Also, many fall into the class spoken of at Psalm 14:1 and Ps 53:1: “The senseless one has said in his heart: ‘There is no Jehovah.’” They need to know that Jehovah is the living God, and they must understand all that his name stands for if they are to get away safe in the impending great tribulation.
The ‘Comely Feet’ of the Preachers
17. (a) Why is it appropriate for Paul to quote a restoration prophecy? (b) What is involved in having ‘comely feet’?
17 The apostle Paul has one more vital question: “How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent forth? Just as it is written: ‘How comely are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!’” (Romans 10:15) Paul here quotes Isaiah 52:7, which is part of a restoration prophecy that has applied since 1919. Today, once again, Jehovah sends forth “the one bringing good news, the one publishing peace, the one bringing good news of something better, the one publishing salvation.” Obediently, God’s anointed “watchmen” and their companions keep crying out joyfully. (Isaiah 52:7, 8) The feet of those publishing salvation today may become tired, even dusty, as they walk from house to house, but how their faces glow with joy! They know that they are commissioned by Jehovah to proclaim good news of peace and to comfort the mourning ones, helping these to call on Jehovah’s name with salvation in view.
18. What does Romans 10:16-18 say as to the final result of sounding forth the good news?
18 Whether people “put faith in the thing heard” or they choose to disobey it, Paul’s words ring true: “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.’” (Romans 10:16-18) Just as “the heavens are declaring the glory of God,” as displayed in his creative works, so his Witnesses on earth must proclaim “the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God . . . to comfort all the mourning ones.”—Psalm 19:1-4; Isaiah 61:2.
19. What will result to those who ‘call on the name of Jehovah’ today?
19 The great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah draws ever closer. “Alas for the day; because the day of Jehovah is near, and like a despoiling from the Almighty One it will come!” (Joel 1:15; 2:31) It is our prayer that multitudes more will respond with urgency to the good news, flocking to Jehovah’s organization. (Isaiah 60:8; Habakkuk 2:3) Recall that other days of Jehovah brought ruination to the wicked—in Noah’s day, in Lot’s day, and in the days of apostate Israel and Judah. We stand now at the brink of the greatest tribulation of all, when Jehovah’s storm wind will sweep wickedness from the face of this earth, clearing the way for a paradise of eternal peace. Will you be one who “calls on the name of Jehovah” in faithfulness? If so, rejoice! You have God’s own promise that you will be saved.—Romans 10:13.
How Would You Answer?
□ What new things were proclaimed following Pentecost 33 C.E.?
□ How should Christians pay attention to “the ‘word’ of faith”?
□ What is meant by ‘calling on the name of Jehovah’?
□ In what sense do Kingdom messengers have ‘comely feet’?
[Pictures on page 18]
God’s people are declaring his excellencies in Puerto Rico, Senegal, Peru, Papua New Guinea—yes, around the globe