Your Use of the “Man’s Salvation” Book
What an outstanding thing it was when Jesus, in the Nazareth synagogue, read Isaiah 61:1, about Jehovah’s anointed one, and then said: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled”!—Luke 4:16-21.
For all men of faith since then, including us, that certainly was good news. Jesus is the Servant, the Anointed One, concerning whom many of the prophecies in the book of Isaiah deal. He is our means of salvation. That is news worthy of proclamation, and we are eagerly proclaiming it!
How thrilled we were, then, to receive at the district assembly the book Man’s Salvation out of World Distress at Hand! (sl) It deals with many important portions of Isaiah’s prophecy that directly affect us. If you have already read in the new book, you have noted how full of good things it is. And likely you have already been talking with your brothers and others about it.
But soon we are going to be able to get better acquainted with its contents. During November we will have four special talks based on the Man’s Salvation book. That will be a fine preview in anticipation of our thorough study of the book beginning in December. Also, these talks, by familiarizing us with the fine things in the book, will aid us to offer it effectively in the field service during November.
What Will You Do?
Perhaps you do not expect to deliver any of these talks. So are you at all involved? You definitely are!
If you think about the two benefits just mentioned, you can see why. Since you are going to be studying the book at the congregation book study starting in December, do you not want to have an idea of what the Man’s Salvation book has to say? It will be many months before you finish studying it. So the rapid preview in the talks will enable you to know what prophecies of Isaiah are explained in the book and what is the basic application of these prophecies. And there are some adjustments in viewpoint, some “new things,” in the book that you need to fix in mind. Also, when you offer the new book in the field service in November, you will definitely want to know its contents, will you not? Hence, there is no question that these four talks are important for you. How, though, can you best benefit from them?
Undoubtedly the most helpful thing will be to read the material to be covered in the upcoming talk each week. True, that is quite a lot of material, about five chapters a week, and you already do have a full schedule. But before dismissing that possibility, consider this: Reading the chapters will be different from preparing your lesson for the book study. In this case you need not read the questions and determine the answers. Rather, you can read straight through the chapters, moving along rapidly. Doing this will certainly add to your benefit from the talks.
‘What if I can’t do that?’ you may ask. You know your own situation. But here is another possibility. If you simply cannot read the chapters each week, can you “skim” the material? In just thirty minutes or so each week you can quickly go through the respective chapters and get an idea of their basic contents. For each chapter do this: First read the opening paragraph or two, or even the first page of the chapter. Then for the remainder of the chapter read only the first sentence of each paragraph, also noting any subheadings along the way. This will give you a quick view of the chapter. No, you will not have all the details, but doing just this much will help to make the talks more meaningful for you.
Finally, each week bring your copy of the book with you to the public talk. The speaker will be referring you to it. He may even have certain portions read aloud by persons in the audience. You will become even better acquainted with the book’s contents by following along in it each week. That is a blessing we are all looking forward to, thankful to Jehovah for this spiritual food.
In most cases there will likely be sufficient speakers (elders and capable ministerial servants) in one congregation to deliver all four talks. However, if two congregations need to exchange speakers, that can be done.
There is no objection to having two speakers for one talk, dividing up the assigned material. The nature of the material in these talks allows for that. (Here are possible divisions of the material: Talk No. 1—a. [Chaps. 1-3], b. [Chaps. 4, 5]; Talk No. 2—a. [Chaps. 6-8], b. [Chaps. 9-11]; Talk No. 3—a. [Chaps. 12, 13], b. [Chaps. 14, 15]; Talk No. 4—a. [Chaps. 16, 17], b. [Chaps. 18, 19]) If it is decided that two brothers will share in delivering a talk, they should consult together so that they both understand clearly the division of the material and the time. They can also consider how the first speaker will lead into or introduce the second part.
To cover in a balanced and reasonable manner eighty or more pages of the book, you will not be able to deal with every detail. The following outlines should help you. Please study carefully the outline assigned to you. Note that some pages are considered, and others are intentionally skipped. This will enable you to focus on some of the highlights and new points, not losing the audience in a deluge of hurried details. Concentrate on the scriptures here listed, either reading them yourself or having persons in the audience read them aloud for you. That will help all to be better acquainted with and to understand God’s Word, which is what we all very much desire, is it not?
You are lovingly interested in your brothers and sisters; that is why you assigned speakers are giving of yourselves to prepare and deliver one of these talks. Something that will add to your effectiveness in helping your brothers is your calling attention to and reading specific paragraphs of the book as you progress. In each outline we have called attention to key paragraphs, marked “note,” which you likely will want to read (or have read) in whole or in part. True, this may take more effort in your preparation and delivery. But the good results obtained from the effort make it well worth it. (Compare Acts 20:19-21.) And instead of referring to some page or paragraph in the book merely once or twice, try to do it throughout the talk. Thus the brothers in the audience can actually follow along; they will be using the book, looking at it, seeing for themselves the good things it contains.
If at all possible, these four talks should be presented during November, as was announced in the August Kingdom Ministry. As soon as the local details have been finalized, handbills may be ordered. Then, the week before each talk the congregation should be informed of the talk for the coming week. Urge them to prepare and to bring their books. Also, they can be encouraged to invite newly interested persons to attend—especially persons who have a copy of the new book and who would like to learn of its contents.
1. Relief from World Distress Through Whom? (sl chapters 1-5)
This generation has faced distress, but has reason for hope. (10 min.; chaps. 1, 2) Everyone is interested in future. Many seek information about it from political analysts, fortune-tellers. No man alive is capable of predicting future. Many who are concerned about future know that trouble has marked this generation since turning point in 1914. (Pp. 8-13) Not reasonable for them to turn for guidance to religions that they have abandoned. (Prov. 26:11) One person who proved he can foretell world events also spoke of our time. He showed himself a reliable commentator by predicting destruction of Jewish system. Has significance for our time, too. (Pp. 15, 17-19, 22, 23, note ¶¶17, 18; Matt. 24:3, 21; Luke 21:24) This one is Jesus. He proved himself Messiah, and reliable evidence shows he was resurrected. (Pp. 25-29) What can we learn about him that gives us reason for hope as to relief from world distress?
Can rest our hope on Jesus Christ, for he has God’s backing. (15 min.; chap. 3) He is not mere babe that sentimental persons adore; neither a shameful criminal. (Pp. 42, 43) Should not view him as did rulers in first century, and as rulers do today. (P. 30) He has been transformed, elevated and given authority. Isaiah 52:13-53:12 shows why we can look to him with confidence and have hope.
Bible identifies him as Servant of Isaiah 52:13. (Relate Acts 8:26-40; p. 37, note ¶17.) He was elevated to God’s right hand to await time to exercise rulership. (Acts 2:34-36; pp. 38-41) This contrasts with widespread image of him as ‘disfigured’ lawbreaker undergoing execution. (Isa. 52:14; p. 43) Even today most persons have not heard from clergy facts as to how “Servant” will war against nations; only Witnesses urge people to have affection for him as enthroned ruler. (Isa. 52:15; pp. 44, 45; discuss with audience picture, p. 40.) Are you sharing in that? Do you know why we can have confidence?
We can have confidence because of his integrity. (15 min.; chap. 4) Who will have confidence, faith in him? (Isa. 53:1; pp. 46, 48) He had to be born on earth. Had humble beginning, and religious leaders viewed him as unattractive. (Isa. 53:2; pp. 48-51) Opposers refused to esteem him, though he healed many and stressed spiritual curing. (Isa. 53:3; John 7:48, 49; pp. 52-54) But why would God allow him to be disgraced? Understanding this should affect our hope for relief. Allowed it so Son could prove that Satan’s challenge, presented in Job’s case, was false. Let Son provide full vindication of Father as rightful Sovereign. (Pp. 58-63, note ¶37) That Father had such confidence in Son should build our confidence in him and our hope for future.
Build solid hope on integrity God’s Son showed. (15 min.; chap. 5) We can be thankful that Son was willing to be scapegoat, suffering death for others. (Isa. 53:4, 5; pp. 64, 66) His interest in aiding imperfect humans is seen in healings he performed; should stimulate our hope as to what he can yet do for those with faith. (P. 67) His endurance of persecution worked for our good. (P. 68, note ¶10) Jesus did not fight against dying like a sacrificial lamb. (Isa. 53:6, 7; p. 70) By not restraining enemies, God allowed Son to be impaled with wicked, killed and buried. (Isa. 53:8, 9; pp. 71, 76, 77) While permitting Son to be crushed, God delighted in his integrity. (Isa. 53:10, 11; p. 78, note ¶35) Puts Son in position to be our “Eternal Father,” for he will bring many to righteous standing. (Pp. 80, 82) He was faithful, as were men such as Noah and Job. (Isa. 53:12; p. 83) Are you grateful that Jesus carried sins of many? Do you appreciate God’s mercy and love that moved him to let Son serve as ransom? Should convince us that Jesus is the one through whom relief from distress will come, and move us to respond appreciatively.—Titus 3:4-6; pp. 88, 89.
2. Choose to Live in Paradise Now and Forever (sl chapters 6-11)
We can live in paradise—it is not just a dream. (15 min.; chap. 6) Widespread pollution stimulates our desire for life in a paradise. Greedy men will never turn earth into paradise; are doing the opposite. (P. 130) Many of us have found appealing descriptions such as Isaiah 35:5, 6; 11:6-9. (Gist) How do such prophecies apply? When? To whom? What bearing do they have on our enjoying paradise now? In future? Ought to understand them.
We have key in “paradise” Paul saw. Was a spiritual paradise having a type in ancient Israel. (2 Cor. 12:1-5; pp. 131-133, note ¶¶6, 9) As aid to understanding Isaiah 35, we will consider chapter 55. Had an application involving Jews in exile until 537 B.C.E. God gave message of liberation. (Isa. 55:1, 2; p. 96, note ¶16) For spiritual Israel captive in Babylon the Great, this also was message of deliverance. (Pp. 97-100; John 8:32) Sustained life centered on Jesus, heir of David. (Isa. 55:3, 4; pp. 105-107) Many people, as if a nation who had not known God, could take up true worship; has occurred. (Isa. 55:5; pp. 108, 110) But what is required of us if we want to enjoy paradise now and forever?
Can now enjoy spiritual paradise if we meet God’s requirements. (15 min.; chaps. 7, 8) Must come to Jehovah, leaving any wickedness. (Isa. 55:6, 7; Prov. 21:27; pp. 111, 114) God is willing to forgive; we can depend on his word. (Isa. 55:8-11; pp. 115-117) With ancient Israel, release and forgiveness led to recovery, paradise. (Isa. 55:12, 13; pp. 120-123) Spiritual Israelites had corresponding experience. (Pp. 126-129, note ¶¶39, 40) Are we striving to meet requirements so we can enjoy paradise now and forever?
How have you understood and explained Isaiah chapter 35? Parallel between return of Israel from Babylon and release of spiritual Israelites should help us see that the major, final and complete fulfillment of these restoration prophecies applies to the spiritual paradise. We are not saying there will be no literal corresponding developments like this in New Order; description matches conditions that existed in Eden, so we can expect similar conditions in New Order. But ought not view such future developments as the major or final application of Isaiah 35. (P. 139, note ¶23) God showered blessings on returned Israelites in miniature fulfillment and, later on, released spiritual Israel. (Isa. 35:1, 2; pp. 138-140) As it were, had eyes opened, ears unstopped, lameness removed, tongues freed to praise Jehovah; waters of life flowed forth. (Isa. 35:5-7; pp. 149-152) But how are you involved? Does this have direct effect on your outlook, personality, prospect for future? Study Isaiah’s prophecy further.
Spiritual paradise is for clean persons. (10 min.; chap. 9) God made a way back to Promised Land for Jews who were clean of religious contamination. They were safe from animals and beastlike men. (Isa. 35:8, 9; pp. 154-157) Those heading to spiritual paradise also must be clean. Would not be terrorized by men or organizations. (Pp. 158, 159, note ¶¶14, 15) In both fulfillments release, return and resumption of pure worship were causes for rejoicing. (Isa. 35:10; pp. 162-167, note ¶22) Effort to qualify for spiritual paradise now rewarded with joy and prospect of paradise forever.
Be transformed, following pattern of our King. (15 min.; chaps. 10, 11) Paradise no place for rebellious, animalistic men. Ruler and inhabitants need personalities influenced by holy spirit. (Pp. 169, 170) Isaiah chapter 11 shows this. Jesus is the ruler. (Isa. 11:1, 2; pp. 173-176) We can look to him as Judge who delivers the oppressed. (Isa. 11:3-5; pp. 179-182) Subjects want to imitate him. Isaiah 11:6-8 depicts this transformation of personalities. (Pp. 184, 185) Is occurring now. (Pp. 187, 188, note ¶¶12, 14) Knowledge of Jehovah does not mentally affect animals, but it is affecting dispositions of humans. (Isa. 11:9; pp. 191, 194, note ¶¶22, 28) Many persons are gaining knowledge and gathering to Jesus. (Isa. 11:10; pp. 197, 201) Very existence of spiritual paradise now, accompanied by transforming of animalistic dispositions of people, should reassure us of certainty of corresponding peaceful conditions, even among animals, in New Order. Vital to enter and remain in spiritual paradise now, as it is forerunner of earthly paradise that true worshipers can enjoy forever.—Pp. 202-204, note ¶¶51, 52.
3. Looking Toward a Bright Future (sl chapters 12-15)
For future to be bright, major changes are needed. (20 min.; chap. 12) People are pessimistic about future, seeing that things are getting worse. No real solutions to international conflicts and population explosion are in sight from human sources. Still, Bible proves your future can be bright. For future to be bright, changes are needed. As wretched slum must be cleared away for something better to be built, so entire corrupt human system will be replaced, including false religion and bad governments. In order for your future to be bright, you need to understand and cooperate with what God will do.—Dan. 4:35; 2:44.
False religion is particularly reprehensible for misleading people. What is Creator’s view of Christendom and Judaism, which claim to represent him? Matthew 13:31, 32 illustrates Christendom’s growth as counterfeit of Kingdom, misleading millions. Context helps us to see application. In other illustrations concerning “the kingdom of the heavens,” Jesus identified “the weeds” as “the sons of the wicked one,” sown by the Devil, and “the birds” as agents of Satan. (Matt. 13:25, 38, 4, 19; Mark 4:15; pp. 207-209) Christendom is a fake “kingdom of the heavens” and is full of badness, as next parable indicates. (Matt. 13:33) “Leaven” is used in the Bible to represent a corrupting agent. (Pp. 209-211, note ¶11; 1 Cor. 5:6-8) Corresponds to foretold apostatizing of Christianity that led to founding of Christendom, which to this day is corrupt. (Pp. 212-214; Gal. 5:9, 19-21) God’s judgment of her is revealed in Isaiah 34. (No need to read every verse in this chapter; call attention to highlights.)
Depicts legal case in Court of the Universe. (Isa. 34:1-4; pp. 216, 217) Prophecy is against Edom, longtime enemy of true worship. (Isa. 34:5-8; pp. 219-222) Modern counterpart is Christendom, which, like Esau, has shown lack of spiritual appreciation and has hated God’s servants.—Pp. 224-227, note ¶¶47-48.
Jehovah depicts a future without false religion. (10 min.; chap. 13) How will it be after Jehovah acts against Christendom? (Isa. 34:8) He foretells utter desolation. (Isa. 34:9-17; pp. 229-231) Revelation clarifies how this will occur. Describes world empire of false religion, of which Christendom is dominant part. (Rev. 17:1, 2, 5, 6; pp. 234, 235) Babylon the Great has ridden on international peace organization. (Rev. 17:3, 8, 11, pp. 237-239) This organization will turn on false religion. How? When? How is your future involved?—Rev. 17:16.
Bright future includes coming “great tribulation.” (15 min.; chap. 14) In view of its long history and power, how could false religion be destroyed in future? Will be according to God’s will. (Rev. 17:17; pp. 243, 244, 247, note ¶¶6, 7, 14) To have bright future we must get out of her and stay out. (P. 249) Destruction of false religion will be followed by political effort to wipe out God’s servants. (P. 252, note ¶26) Is portrayed in Ezekiel chapters 38, 39 as attack by Gog of Magog, by Satan in debased condition since ouster from heaven. (P. 257) Seeing prosperous spiritual estate of God’s people, enemies will be moved to attack. (Ezek. 38:10-12; pp. 258-260) We will need to rely on Jehovah. (P. 261) Attack brings on second part of “great tribulation.” (Ezek. 38:18, 19; pp. 263, 265, 271, note ¶¶52, 64) How will humans be affected?
Future—dark for God’s opposers, but bright for his friends. (10 min.; chap. 15) Effect will not merely be an end to opposing institutions and organizations. Human lives will be involved. (Rev. 19:19-21; p. 269, 61; p. 273, 2) Slain will be left exposed for consumption by animals. (Pp. 274-276) We can be confident in God’s judgments; they will be perfect, righteous. (P. 279; Deut. 32:4) End of false religion and of rest of God’s opposers will be cause for rejoicing. (Pp. 280-282, note ¶¶17, 21; Rev. 15:4) Will give us opportunity for eternal, happy life, truly a bright future.
4. What Will “New Heavens and a New Earth” Mean for You? (sl chapters 16-19)
Realize what is occurring and act accordingly. (25 min.; chap. 16) Would be foolish to ignore facts that affect one’s life. Wisdom involves having and using knowledge. Many persons refuse to recognize what is occurring and what God says will soon occur. We know from fulfillment of prophecy that we are in “last days.” But, as Peter foretold, many refuse to acknowledge this. (Luke 21:25, 26; 2 Pet. 3:1-4; pp. 283-285) They ignore Lord’s command to be on watch. Will we? Many churches mistakenly expect physical return of Jesus, but his presence is invisible.—P. 228, note ¶14.
Can learn lesson from Noah’s day. After mentioning our literal atmospheric heavens and our earth, Peter said that world of mankind of that time was destroyed. (2 Pet. 3:5, 6) Physical heavens and literal earth were not destroyed, nor were invisible spirit creatures. Wicked humans perished. (2 Pet. 2:5; pp. 290-292, note ¶23) ‘By same word,’ decree of God guarantees another coming destruction. As with Flood, this will not be of literal planet and stars or atmosphere, but of ungodly humans. (2 Pet. 3:7; pp. 293, 294) “Earth” symbolizes human society, and “heavens” represent human governmental systems. (Pp. 296, 297) So even though Satan is a ruler of human governments, he is not included in “heavens” of 2 Peter 3:7 that are stored up for destruction of ungodly men. We can be grateful that God has been patient. (2 Pet. 3:8, 9; pp. 299-301, note ¶43) On that day human governments will pass away and their constructed works will not escape. (2 Pet. 3:10; pp. 304-306, note ¶¶52, 55, 56) We can show wisdom by living with realization of what will come soon.—2 Pet. 3:11, 12; pp. 309, 310.
Kingdom action will make way for ‘new heavens and new earth.’ (10 min.; chap. 17) How will present heavens and earth be cleared away? God will use Kingdom. (Dan. 2:34, 35, 44; pp. 314-318) Daniel 2:44 does not include abyssing of Satan. (Pp. 319, 320, note ¶¶12, 14) What does 2 Peter 3:13 mean? Isaiah 65:17, 18; 66:22 aid us to see. Fulfilled in miniature when Zerubbabel became “new heavens” over “new earth” of restored Jewish remnant. (P. 321, note ¶19) In major fulfillment will have “new heavens” consisting of Jesus, who as a man on earth became permanent heir of Davidic Kingdom covenant, and 144,000 who are taken from earth actually to rule from heaven. (P. 323) New human society of true worshipers will turn our planet into global paradise. (Rev. 21:1-4; pp. 324-326) Before we can enjoy that, must make a decision.
On whose side during coming climax of world distress? (10 min.; chap. 18) Knowing what is coming brings us to a decision. On whose side are we now and will we be in future? Are we striving now to be acceptable to Jehovah? (2 Pet. 3:14-16; p. 327) Are we actively sharing in disciple-making work, helping others to gain salvation? (P. 328) Do we work for peace within congregation? (Pp. 330, 334) Christendom is not at peace or spotless. (P. 338) If we are on His side, we will see false religion destroyed. (P. 342, note ¶36) Will also receive protection when nations attack. (P. 346) So choosing God’s side now is vital, means life.—P. 349.
What blessings will await us in peaceful “new earth”? (10 min.; chap. 19) Be confident, for God knows how to preserve his own. (2 Pet. 2:9; pp. 350, 351) Do not now know what conditions will exist immediately afterward, but can be certain we will rejoice. (Pp. 355, 356, note ¶13) Can then begin to turn earth into paradise. (P. 357, note ¶17) Christ can be our Eternal Father. (Isa. 9:6; p. 361) We will have “princes,” such as elders who survive and faithful resurrected men. (Isa. 32:1, 2; pp. 362-364) So no matter how difficult our situation becomes before New Order is established, be determined to stay on God’s side and in position to be blessed by “new heavens and a new earth.”—Ps. 66:10-12; pp. 368-371, note ¶44.