Search This Blog

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Good News

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Kingdom good news was first declared publicly by a dedicated man whose appearance and manner commanded much attention. That man was John the Baptizer, son of Jewish priest Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. John wore a garment of camel hair, with a leather girdle around his loins, in the manner of the prophet Elijah, who foreshadowed him. But it was his message that attracted the attention of many. “Repent,” he proclaimed, “for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”—Matthew 3:1-6.

John’s listeners were Jews, who professed to be worshipers of the true God, Jehovah. As a nation, they had received the Law covenant through Moses about 1,500 years earlier. Still standing in Jerusalem was the magnificent temple, where sacrifices were offered in accord with the Law. The Jews felt sure that their worship was right in God’s eyes.

Listening to John, however, some people began to realize that their religion was not what they had thought it was. Greek culture and philosophy had infiltrated Jewish religious teachings. The law received from God through Moses was now adulterated, even invalidated, by man-made beliefs and traditions. (Matthew 15:6) Misguided by their hardhearted and merciless religious leaders, most no longer worshiped God acceptably. (James 1:27) They needed to repent of their sins against God and against the Law covenant.

At that time, many Jews were expecting the appearance of the promised Messiah, or Christ, and some were wondering about John: “May he perhaps be the Christ?” John, however, denied that he was and instead directed them to someone else, of whom he said: “The lace of [his] sandals I am not fit to untie.” (Luke 3:15, 16) Introducing Jesus to his disciples, John declared: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”—John 1:29.

That was indeed good news, for John was, in effect, pointing out to all people the way to life and happiness—Jesus, the one who “takes away the sin of the world.” As descendants of Adam and Eve, all humans are born under the tyranny of sin and death. Romans 5:19 explains: “Just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person [Jesus] many will be constituted righteous.” Jesus, like a sacrificial lamb, was to ‘take sin away’ and bring about a reversal of the sad state of human affairs. “The wages sin pays is death,” the Bible explains, “but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 6:23.

As a perfect man—in fact, the greatest man who ever lived—Jesus took up preaching the good news. The Bible account at Mark 1:14, 15 tells us: “Now after John was put under arrest Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying: ‘The appointed time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Be repentant, you people, and have faith in the good news.’”

Those who responded to Jesus’ message and exercised faith in the good news were highly blessed. John 1:12 says: “As many as did receive [Jesus], to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.” Being children, or sons, of God, they were in line to receive the reward of everlasting life.—1 John 2:25.

But the privilege of receiving Kingdom blessings was not limited to people in the first century. As mentioned earlier, the good news of God’s Kingdom is being proclaimed and taught in all the inhabited earth today. So Kingdom blessings are still available. What must you do to receive such blessings?

April 1, 2001 Watchtower, WTB&TS

WHEN Jesus was on earth, his disciples came to him and asked: “What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” He replied that there would be wars involving many nations, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, an increasing of lawlessness, false religious teachers misleading many, a hatred and persecution of his true followers, and a cooling off of the love of righteousness in many people. When these things would start to happen, it would indicate that Christ was invisibly present and that the heavenly Kingdom was at hand. This would be news—good news! So Jesus added these words as a part of the sign: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:3-14.

In themselves, recent world happenings are bad, but what they signify is good, namely, Christ’s presence. The conditions mentioned above started to be evident in that widely heralded year 1914! It marked the end of the Gentile Times and the beginning of the transition period from human rule to the Thousand Year (Millennial) Reign of Christ.

That there was to be a transition period is indicated by the 110th Psalm, verses 1 and 2, and Revelation 12:7-12. There it is shown that Christ would sit at God’s right hand in heaven until the time for his becoming King. Then war in heaven would result in Satan’s being cast to earth, bringing woe to the earth, and Christ would rule in the midst of his enemies. The complete end of wickedness would come by means of a “great tribulation,” culminating in the war at Har–Magedon and followed by Christ’s Thousand Year Reign of peace.—Matthew 24:21, 33, 34; Revelation 16:14-16.

“But know this,” the Bible says, “that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Some may argue that these things have happened before in human history, but the fact is that they have never occurred to the same extent. As the historians and commentators say, there has never been a time on earth like the one experienced from 1914 onward. (See page 7.) The woes have been far more extensive than ever before. Moreover, as to other features of Christ’s sign of the last days, these facts should be considered: The earth-wide proclamation of Christ’s presence and Kingdom has been of a magnitude unprecedented in history. Persecution for preaching has never equaled that visited upon Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many hundreds of them were executed in Nazi concentration camps. To this day Jehovah’s Witnesses are under ban in some places, and in others they are arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. This is all part of the sign Jesus gave.

As foretold at Revelation 11:18, ‘the nations have become wrathful’ against Jehovah’s faithful Witnesses, and this indicates that Jehovah’s “own wrath” will be expressed against those nations. This same scripture says that God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” Never before has there been a time in human history when the earth’s capacity for sustaining life has been threatened. However, now it is different! Many scientists have warned that if man continues to pollute the earth, it will become uninhabitable. But Jehovah “formed it even to be inhabited,” and he will get rid of the polluters before they complete their ruin of the earth.—Isaiah 45:18.


The thought of people living on earth as subjects of God’s Kingdom may seem strange to many Bible believers who think of all those saved as being in heaven. The Bible shows that only a limited number go to heaven and that those who will live forever on earth will be a great crowd of unlimited number. (Psalm 37:11, 29; Revelation 7:9; 14:1-5) That God’s Kingdom under Christ will fill the earth and reign over it is shown by a prophecy in the Bible book of Daniel.

Christ’s Kingdom is there represented as a stone cut from Jehovah’s mountainlike sovereignty. It strikes and destroys an image that represents powerful nations of the earth, and “the stone that struck the image . . . became a large mountain and filled the whole earth.” The prophecy continues: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:34, 35, 44.

It is this Kingdom and the Scripturally supported hope of everlasting life on a cleansed and beautified earth that Jehovah’s Witnesses wish to tell you about. Millions now living and many, many millions now in their graves will have opportunity to dwell therein forever. Then, under the Thousand Year Reign of Christ Jesus, Jehovah’s original purpose for creating the earth and putting the first human pair on it will be realized. This earthly Paradise will never become boring. Just as Adam was assigned work in the garden of Eden, so humankind will have challenging projects in caring for the earth and the plant and animal life on it. They “shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”—Isaiah 65:22, Revised Standard Version; Genesis 2:15.

Many scriptures could be presented to show the conditions that will exist when the prayer that Jesus taught us is answered: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) However, let this one suffice for now: “I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’ And the One seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ Also, he says: ‘Write, because these words are faithful and true.’”—Revelation 21:3-5.

- Jehovah's Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? - Published by the WTB&TS in 2000