Magazines That Advocate Truth
Jehovah is "the God of truth." (Psalm 31:5) His Word, the Bible, is a book of truth. (John 17:17) Honesthearted people respond to truth. (Compare John 4:23, 24.) One reason that The Watchtower and Awake! have touched the hearts of millions of readers is that they are journals of integrity and truth. In fact, it was over the issue of loyalty to Bible truth that The Watchtower began to be published.
In 1876, Charles T. Russell became affiliated with Nelson H. Barbour, of Rochester, New York. Russell provided funds to revive the printing of Barbour’s religious periodical Herald of the Morning, with Barbour as the principal editor and Russell as assistant editor. About a year and a half later, however, in the August 1878 issue of the Herald, Barbour wrote an article that denied the redemptive value of Christ’s death. Russell, who was nearly 30 years younger than Barbour, responded with an article in the very next issue that upheld the ransom, which he referred to as "one of the most important teachings of God’s Word." (Matthew 20:28) After repeated efforts to reason Scripturally with Barbour, Russell finally decided to sever all ties with the Herald. Beginning with the June 1879 issue of that journal, Russell’s name no longer appeared as an assistant editor. A month later, 27-year-old Russell began publishing Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (now known as The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom), which from the beginning has upheld Scriptural truth, such as the ransom.
For the past 114 years, The Watchtower, like a skillful lawyer, has established itself as a defender of Bible truth and doctrine. In the process, it has won the confidence of millions of appreciative readers. It still powerfully supports the ransom. (See, for example, the issue of February 15, 1991.) And it continues to be the principal instrument of "the faithful and discreet slave" and its Governing Body for announcing Jehovah’s established Kingdom and dispensing spiritual food "at the proper time."—Matthew 24:14, 45.
What about the Awake! magazine? From its beginning, Awake! too has advocated truth. Originally called The Golden Age, this magazine was designed for public distribution. Regarding its objective, the first issue, dated October 1, 1919, stated: "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." Thinking people responded to the message of The Golden Age. For a number of years, its circulation was even greater than that of The Watchtower.
The appeal of The Watchtower and Awake!, however, goes beyond the fact that they publish doctrinal truth and explain the prophetic significance of world conditions. Especially in the last decade or two, our magazines have captured the hearts of people for another reason also.
"THANK YOU so much," wrote a Christian sister, "for the wonderful information in the Watchtower article ‘You Can Find Comfort in Times of Distress.’ So many of the points you brought out were exactly the feelings I have had to deal with; it is as if this article were written directly to me. The first time I read it I threw up, the same there after until I had tears in my eyes. It is wonderful to realize that someone else knows how I feel! I am very grateful to be one of sect members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Where else can we find promises of everlasting life in Paradise in the near future and, now, balm for our souls! Thank you. A million times thank you."