AN INVITATION TO DRINK AND EAT WHAT IS WORTH WHILE
13. With what appealing invitation does the next chapter of Isaiah begin?
13 In the light of all the good things that are to follow from the fulfillment of that beautiful prophecy, a fitting invitation is called out for all to hear: “Hey there, all you thirsty ones! Come to the water. And the ones that have no money! Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk even without money and without price.
14. (a) From whom does that invitation come? (b) To whom is it directed, and why?
14 Who alone but Jehovah God the Source of all life could issue such a marvelous invitation and promise?
16. Anciently, what were the things that, in a spiritual sense, were like food and drink for the exiled Jews?
16 Water, bread, wine and milk are available on which to feed and refresh oneself, even for those who do not have the money with which to pay for what they eat and drink! So says Jehovah God. Of course, he is not speaking about such things in a literal way. He speaks of what corresponds to these things, to keep a person spiritually alive with that which will result in real life, everlasting life with a real zest for living and a purpose for living. Anciently, the vital thing was the provisions made by Jehovah God for the deliverance of his exiled people from Babylon and for their restoration to their God-given homeland. First in order, there was the message of liberation on which to feed an exile’s hope. Then there was the decree of Jehovah God by means of his earthly servant, upon which decree of liberation action must be taken. Then when the action was taken there would be the return to the homeland and the realization of the glorious divine prophecies in their reoccupied beloved land. The joy to be experienced would be like that from drinking the best of wines.—Psalm 104:15.
20, 21. How did the circumstances of Jehovah’s worshipers on earth make the time after World War I an appropriate one for a modern-day application of Isaiah 55:1, 2?
20 However, suddenly, there came an end to World War I. It did not lead on, as Bible students expected, into world revolution and anarchy or the battle of Armageddon. And the sincere worshipers of Jehovah, who were in the new covenant with him through his Mediator Jesus Christ, found themselves still in the flesh on the earth. But still in captivity to Babylon the Great and her political, military, judicial paramours! An unexpected postwar period opened before them, with possibilities for renewing and carrying forward the proclamation of the good news of God’s Word. Here, now, was a most appropriate time for the God whom they worshiped in spite of all the opposition and oppression by Babylon the Great to do something in their behalf and for His own name’s sake. Here was the due time for the modern equivalent of Isaiah’s life-renewing message to be sent forth:
21 “Hey there, all you thirsty ones! Come to the water. And the ones that have no money! Come, buy [grain] and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk even without money and without price. Why do you people keep paying out money for what is not bread, and why is your toil for what results in no satisfaction? Listen intently to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul find its exquisite delight in fatness itself.”—Isaiah 55:1, 2.
22. What was it that then proved to be like water, bread, wine and milk to Jehovah’s modern-day people?
22 Such a message did come from Jehovah God, through his Messianic Servant, Jesus Christ. It was meant to lift His people out of their depressed, negative state of mind and to infuse life and hope into them. What, then, would be like water, to quench their raging thirst for truth and righteousness? Like bread, to feed and strengthen their heartfelt devotion to God? Like wine, to make their hearts rejoice with health-giving joy? Like milk, to fatten and enrich their state of well-being in relationship with the one living and true God? (Psalm 104:15) It was the Scriptural message of deliverance from Babylon the Great by means of the established Messianic kingdom of God! It was the message of their liberation from the slavish bondage to this world, which is the “friend” of Babylon the Great, in order for them to fight for freedom of worship and to proclaim world wide the good news of God’s kingdom for the blessing of all distressed humanity.
23. How did it prove true that this provision was made available “without money and without price”?
23 The oppressed worshipers of Jehovah God did not have to pay for this message of liberation! They did not have to buy their way out of captivity and bondage to Babylon the Great! The message was offered to them freely to accept, and they must act upon it with courage and conviction! Then it would be like refreshing water, strengthening bread, joy-giving wine and fattening milk. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—John 8:32.
24. In the spring of 1919, what evidence of the liberation was there?
24 A concrete symbol of this liberation came in the spring of 1919, the first postwar year, with the release of the members of the governing body of Jehovah’s Christian worshipers from imprisonment in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Shortly afterward the federal charges against these accused Christians were reversed, and later thrown out of court. Thus the members of the governing body of Jehovah’s Christian worshipers were relieved of the false charges of being lawless citizens, dangerous to the security of the country. Now, in appreciation of Christian freedom that comes from Jehovah through Jesus Christ his Servant, a more advanced study of His Holy Scriptures was made to ascertain what was the divine will for His people in this unexpected postwar period.
25. (a) To infuse God’s servants with courage, what was done in 1919? (b) Of what was announcement of the release of the magazine The Golden Age a sign?
25 Bible study left no uncertainty regarding the divine will. It pointed unerringly to the Kingdom work that was ahead for the worshipers of Jehovah that had survived the persecutions and hard times of World War I. So, in order to infuse courage into their hearts, the leading article entitled “Blessed Are the Fearless,” in two parts, appeared in the issues of August 1 and 15, 1919, of The Watch Tower. This theme was the keynote of the General Convention of these worshipers for eight days, September 1-8, at Cedar Point, Ohio. As a sign that there was more spiritual food in store for them and also more and greater work ahead, a thrilling announcement was made to the 6,000 conventioners by the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society on September 5, 1919. To what effect? That the Society was going to publish another magazine besides The Watch Tower. This new biweekly magazine was to be called “The Golden Age” and would be complementary to the official magazine of Jehovah’s Christian worshipers. It too was meant to announce God’s kingdom.
26. As stated in its first issue, for what reason was The Golden Age published?
26 Showing the then-existing background in front of which this new magazine made its debut on October 1, 1919, the salutation in the opening issue said, in part:
Its purpose is to explain in the light of Divine wisdom the true meaning of the great phenomena of the present day and to prove to thinking minds by evidence incontrovertible and convincing that the time of a greater blessing of mankind is now at hand. Like a voice in the wilderness of confusion, its mission is to announce the incoming of the Golden Age.
There are more sad hearts in the world to-day than at any time of its history. A devastating war has afflicted the nations until they are torn and bleeding to death. Accompanying the war came the great pestilential influenza, claiming double the number of victims that fell as a result of the war. In the past few years, millions have gone down into death and other millions bemoan the loss of their loved ones.
Everywhere the cost of living mounts higher and higher and conditions of real want and famine stare many people in the face. In practically all the trades of the world the laborers are on strike or threatening to strike and thereby stop the wheels of commerce. There is a general unrest everywhere.
The financiers are no less in perplexity. . . .
THE GOLDEN AGE will carry into the homes of the people the desired message which will tend to restore calmness to the disturbed minds and comfort to the saddened hearts. We do not expect to accomplish this by human wisdom, because that has been tried and failed and such wisdom is foolishness in the sight of Jehovah. But we will point the people to the clear and indisputable evidence in the light of present-day events, disclosing the divinely expressed remedy for the reconstruction of human affairs that will bring the desire of all nations, assuring to the people life, liberty and happiness. We invite all order-loving, law-abiding, God-fearing persons to aid in passing this message of comfort on to those who desire to be comforted.
27, 28. To what grand hope did this magazine point, but what must come first?
27 Here, then, was a brand-new magazine pointing fearlessly forward to the restoration of paradise to this earth and the making of it earth wide for the enjoyment of all people of whatever race, color or national extraction.