The Immortal Possessor of the “Eternal Purpose”
1, 2. Who only could have an “eternal purpose,” and what did Moses say about such one?
“ETERNAL purpose”! Who could have such a purpose but an everliving God? Evolution, as taught by many modern-day scientists, could have no such purpose, inasmuch as accident or chance, with which the unproved theory of evolution begins, does not occur purposely and is without purpose. In the fifteenth century before our Common Era a world-famed lawgiver and poet, namely, Moses the son of Amram, called attention to such a timeless God, saying:
2 “Before the mountains themselves were born, or you proceeded to bring forth as with labor pains the earth and the productive land, even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God. . . . For a thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a [four-hour-long] watch during the night.”—The Bible Book of Psalms, number Ps 90, verses 2-4.
3. Why could the “King of eternity” carry out such a purpose fully?
3 In the first century of our Common Era a firm believer in the lawgiver Moses called attention to the same God, who is without time limitations in the past and in the future, writing: “Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17) Such an Eternal God can stick to his purpose until it is carried out to success, no matter how long it takes, even ages of time.
4. The one who wrote about God’s “eternal purpose” associated it with what long-promised one?
4 This same writer of our first century C.E. was inspired to write concerning God’s “eternal purpose” and to associate it with the long-looked-for Messiah, the “Anointed One” or “Consecrated One,” whom the prophet Moses himself foretold. Back there those speaking Syriac in the Middle East called him “M’shiʹhha”; but the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, when making their translation of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, which has come to be called the Greek Septuagint, used the Greek word Khristós, which, basically, means “Anointed One.”—See Daniel 9:25, LXX.
5, 6. How have modern translators created a problem as to what it is that God formed in connection with the Messiah?
5 However, the modern-day translators of the writings of that first-century writer have created a problem for us. From the sixteenth century onward English Bible translations have spoken of it as the “eternal purpose” of God.* But more recently a number of Bible translators interpret the Greek phrase as “a plan of the ages.” Thus God is said to have a “plan” in connection with the Messiah.
6 For example, the 1897 (C.E.) translation of the letter to the Ephesians, chapter three, verses nine through eleven, by J. B. Rotherham, reads: “And to bring to light what is the administration of the sacred secret which had been hidden away from the ages in God, who did all things create: in order that now unto the principalities and the authorities in the heavenlies might be made known, through means of the assembly, the manifold wisdom of God,—according to a plan of the ages which he made in the anointed.” Even as far back as 1865 C.E. The Emphatic Diaglott, published by the newspaper editor Benjamin Wilson, contained the reading: “according to a plan of the ages, which he formed.” A number of other recent Bible translations could be cited that choose to render the Greek text in this way.*
7, 8. What illustration did C. T. Russell publish, and what did his first book say about its title?
7 Based on this different translation of the Greek text in Ephesians 3:11, there was published in the September, 1881, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., by the editor and publisher Charles Taze Russell, the article entitled “The Plan of the Ages.” This gave the explanation of a full-page diagram called “Chart of the Ages.” We are pleased to reproduce herewith this chart for examination by all interested persons. A similar “Chart of the Ages Illustrating the Plan of God” was embodied in the book entitled “The Divine Plan of the Ages,” published by C. T. Russell in 1886.
8 Despite the inaccuracies that are discernible in it today, this “Chart of the Ages” served to show the line of sincere reasoning that was based upon the thought that the All-Wise, Almighty God has a “plan.” Said the opening words of Chapter I of this book:
The title of this series of Studies—“The Divine Plan of the Ages,” suggests a progression in the Divine arrangement, foreknown to our God and orderly. We believe the teachings of Divine revelation can be seen to be both beautiful and harmonious from this standpoint and from no other.
9. (a) At least what point did this widely circulated book emphasize? (b) Yet what question did it raise about a plan and God?
9 This book attained a circulation of more than six million copies, in a number of languages. Its circulation ceased in the year 1929 C.E. For one thing, it focused the attention of its readers on the Bible and showed that the Living God is progressive. He is getting somewhere with respect to what he has in mind for suffering humankind. We know that a man often forms a plan of action, but that behind such plan of action there is a purpose to be achieved. But the point in question is, Did the All-Wise, All-Powerful God have to frame a plan of action, a cut-and-dried course, at the time that he made his decision to accomplish something, thus obliging himself as the unchangeable God to stick to this planned course without deviation? Or, was he able to meet all emergencies and contingencies due to free will and choice on the part of his creatures, instantly and without forethought, and still reach his goal? Did he need a plan? Of course, after he has attained his goal, we can check the record of his movements and plot or map out the course that he has pursued. But was it planned just that way?*
A GOD OF PURPOSE
10. What did the Greek word proʹthe·sis literally mean, and how did the Jews use it in the Greek Septuagint?
10 Did the original Greek writer of the words in Ephesians 3:11 desire to bring out that God the Creator has a plan in connection with His Messiah? What did he mean when, in his letter written in first-century Greek, he used the word proʹthe·sis? It literally means a “setting forth or before,” thus a putting of something in view. That is why the Alexandrian Jews, when translating the inspired Hebrew Scriptures in Greek, used this Greek word in connection with the holy bread that was placed upon the golden table in the Holy compartment of the sacred tent of worship erected by the prophet Moses. This bread is ordinarily called the shewbread, but the Greek Septuagint Version speaks of it as the “loaves or cakes of presentation” (prothesis). So these loaves, by being set forth upon the golden table, were put on display, a fresh supply thereof on each weekly sabbath day.—2 Chronicles 4:19.
11. What, then, is the “proʹthe·sis” of God?
11 The word proʹthe·sis was also used to mean a “statement,” or an “advance payment,” and, in grammar, it would mean a “preposition.” It was also used to mean a “prefixing,” or a “placing first.” Because the word was also used to mean an end or objective proposed, or a setting before oneself of something to be accomplished or to be achieved, it was used to mean “purpose.” (On this, see A Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott, Volume II, pages 1480-1481, reprint of 1948, under proʹthe·sis.) This latter meaning is recognized by the majority of the modern-language Bible translators. So the “proʹthe·sis” of God is his resolve, his primal decision, his purpose.*
12. How do modern translators render the Greek expression proʹthe·sis followed by tōn ai·oʹnōn (“of the ages”)?
12 In Ephesians 3:11 the word is followed by the expression tōn ai·oʹnōn, literally meaning “of the ages.” So this combination of words is translated by some as “the purpose of the ages”* or “a purpose of the ages”* or “age-long purpose”* or “age-old purpose”* and by others as “eternal purpose.”*
13, 14. Why can it be said that God’s “purpose of the ages” is his “eternal purpose”?
13 God’s “purpose of the ages” is His “eternal purpose.” How is that? Well, here, an age would mean an indefinite but relatively long period of time in human affairs, with more emphasis on the time-length of the age than upon its phenomena or characteristics.
14 Thus God’s “purpose of the ages” would not mean a “purpose” that has to do with certain designated periods such as a “patriarchal age,” a “Jewish age,” a “Gospel age,” and a “Millennial age.” Rather, the emphasis is upon time, on periods of a long time. For age to follow upon age, each individual age must have a beginning and an end. Yet a succession of ages would stretch out the time. And, since in the expression “purpose of the ages” the number of ages is not specified, the number of ages could be endless. So the expression “purpose of the ages” leaves the total amount of time involved indefinite, and it is a “purpose” to time indefinite, with no limit actually marked. In this way the “purpose” becomes a matter of eternity, and it becomes an “eternal purpose.” God’s purpose in connection with his Messiah or Anointed One had a beginning, but ages of time are allowed to pass before that purpose is realized.* For the “King of eternity” the matter of time is here no problem.
NOT A NAMELESS PERSON
15. When asked for His name, what did God say to Moses at Sinai?
15 This King of Eternity is no nameless Person. He has given himself a name and has made his self-designation known to us. What he calls himself bespeaks purpose, his having an objective. How well this fact is brought out on the occasion when God, by means of his angel, encountered Moses, the fugitive from Egypt, at the burning thornbush near the foot of Mount Sinai in Arabia, in the sixteenth century B.C.E.! Moses was instructed to return to Egypt and lead his enslaved people out to freedom. But what if Moses’ people should ask for the name of the God who sent him to them as their leader? What should he tell them? Moses wanted to know. His own autobiography tells us: “At this God said to Moses: ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.’ And he added: ‘This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘I SHALL PROVE TO BE has sent me to you.”’”—Exodus 3:14.
16. By his answer to Moses, was God referring to merely his existence, or to what?
16 God is not here speaking about his existence. A person might think so from the way that some translators render into English the Hebrew expression eh·yehʹ a·sherʹ eh·yehʹ and eh·yehʹ. For example, The Jerusalem Bible (English translation), of 1966, reads: “And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’” However, God is really talking about being something. This is further borne out by the translation of the Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, by Rabbi Isaac Leeser, as follows: “And God said unto Moses, I WILL BE THAT I WILL BE: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I WILL BE hath sent me unto you.”*
17. How does Rotherham render Exodus 3:14 and comment on it?
17 More pointedly, The Emphasised Bible, by Joseph B. Rotherham, renders Exodus 3:14 as follows: “And God said unto Moses, I Will Become whatsoever I please. And he said—Thus shalt thou say to the sons of Israel, I Will Become hath sent me unto you.” The footnote on this verse says, in part: “Hayah [the word rendered above ‘become’] does not mean ‘to be’ essentially or ontologically, but phenomenally. . . . What he will be is left unexpressed—He will be with them, helper, strengthener, deliverer.” Thus the reference here is not to God’s self-existence but, rather, to what he has in mind to become toward others.
18. When was it that God first had to decide what to be or become?
18 Similar to this is when a young person, growing to adulthood, meditates and says to himself: ‘What am I going to do with my life? What am I going to make out of myself?’ Not otherwise, when the one living and true God was all alone, he had to determine what he would do with his self-existence, what he would make of himself, what he would become. After an eternity of precreation existence in his solitariness, he willed to become a Creator. He formed a purpose with regard to himself.
19. How did God spell out his name in the Ten Commandments?
19 However, the name by which the one living and true God is known throughout the inspired Holy Scriptures is not Eh·yehʹ, or, “I Shall Prove to Be.” When, in the year 1513 B.C.E., at Mount Sinai, God miraculously inscribed on stone tablets the Ten Commandments and gave these to the prophet Moses, God himself spelled out his self-chosen name. Writing from right to left, God wrote down the Hebrew letter Yod, then a Heh, next a Waw, and finally another Heh. Doubtless God wrote in the ancient style of Hebrew letters, like this: ; not in the modern-style Hebrew letters: יהוה. The corresponding letters in English, as read from right to left, are HWHY; or, in ancient Latin, HVHJ. All four letters are consonants, with no vowels inserted between these consonants.
20. How is God’s name pronounced, as based on the four Hebrew letters?
20 Exactly how Jehovah pronounced this divine name to Moses is therefore not known today. For centuries it was spelled by Latin writers as Jehova. Many modern Hebrew scholars prefer to pronounce the name as Yahweh, or even Yehwah. Thus, just as a child does not name its father, so the creature did not name its Creator. The Creator named himself.
21. (a) Being in reality a verb, what does the name Jehovah mean? (b) Why is it valid to use that name today?
21 This sacred name is in reality understood to be a verb, the indefinite causative form of the Hebrew verb ha·wahʹ. Thus it would mean “He Causes to Become.” Now, behind every effect there is a cause; and behind every intelligent cause, or causer, there is a purpose. Naturally, then, the divine name that means “He Causes to Become” embodies purpose in itself. It marks the Bearer of that unique name as the Purposer. Certainly in this capacity he appeared to Moses at the burning bush near Mount Sinai, and what he had set before himself to do he disclosed to Moses. Emphasizing the permanence or enduring quality of the divine name, God said further to Moses: “This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.” (Exodus 3:15) That memorial name has not ceased to be His today. It is a valid name for us to use today.
A MAKER OF HISTORY FOR MAN’S GOOD
22. (a) How did Jehovah make a name for himself in the case of ancient Egypt? (b) What comforting lesson does that furnish us today?
22 In the days of the prophet Moses history was made by the one living and true God, Jehovah, by the way that He dealt with ancient Egypt, the oppressor of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He made a glorious name for himself by delivering his enslaved people from that heavily militarized world power. (Jeremiah 32:20; 2 Samuel 7:23; Isaiah 63:14) This assures us that the mightily militarized world of this twentieth century C.E. is nothing too formidable for him to take on as an opponent in order to liberate mankind. As he let Pharaoh of ancient Egypt come to power and carry on his death-dealing oppressions of Moses’ people, so Jehovah has let the wicked oppressors come to power over all the earth with great oppressions resulting to all the people. There was reason for doing so. It is to reserve them, keep them in custody, for his appointed day to destroy them. So, for the comfort of the heavily burdened people, he inspired wise King Solomon of Jerusalem to say:
“Roll your works upon Jehovah himself and your plans will be firmly established. Everything Jehovah has made for his purpose [Hebrew: maʽa·nehʹ], yes, even the wicked one for the evil day.”—Proverbs 16:3, 4.
23. What about God’s dealings with ancient world powers gives us an assurance of what to expect for our time as to political powers?
23 Since the year 1914 C.E. it has been an “evil day” for the systems of government that have survived two world wars and associated international troubles. For years now, political superpowers have dominated the earth, suspiciously eyeing one another in their contest for world supremacy. The Sovereign Lord Jehovah, who has created everything for his purpose, should reasonably have a purpose concerning these aspirants for world domination. It is on record that he formed a purpose concerning the “wicked” world powers of ancient Bible times. As assurance of what we may expect for our time, all that he purposed respecting those former world powers he executed.
24. (a) Though letting Assyria come to world domination, Jehovah was doing what regarding it? (b) Why cannot failure be listed against Jehovah’s prophecy in Isaiah 14:24-27?
24 For instance, the Assyrian Empire succeeded ancient Egypt in political, military importance and became the second world power of Bible history. But even in the heyday of its power over mankind, never was it able to boast of capturing or destroying Jerusalem, the capital city of the Kingdom of Judah. Instead, Jerusalem witnessed the destruction of Nineveh, Assyria’s capital. Why was this so? Because the Assyrian World Power was wicked. Almighty God, Jehovah, had permitted it to attain to world domination and to act wickedly, especially toward His chosen people. But he had purposed to reserve that wicked world power for an “evil day” at His own chosen time. So about the year 632 before our Common Era Assyria’s capital Nineveh fell to the allied Medes and Chaldeans and was destroyed. (Nahum, chapters 1-3) Thus no failure can be listed against Jehovah’s purpose as expressed more than a century beforehand by His prophet Isaiah in the following words:
“Jehovah of armies has sworn, saying: ‘Surely just as I have figured, so it must occur; and just as I have counseled, that is what will come true, in order to break the Assyrian in my land and that I may tread him down on my own mountains; and that his yoke may actually depart from upon them and that his very load may depart from upon their shoulder.’ This is the counsel that is counseled against all the earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For Jehovah of armies himself has counseled, and who can break it up? And his hand is the one stretched out, and who can turn it back?”—Isaiah 14:24-27.
25. In that prophecy, what does “counsel” mean, and why?
25 The Almighty, All-Wise God did not take counsel with anybody in heaven in order to guide Himself in his course of action. “Who as his man of counsel can make him know anything?” is the fitting question that is raised in the prophecy of Isaiah 40:13. (Also, Job 21:22; 36:22; Romans 11:34) His “counsel” is His own, not dependent upon a body of advisory counselors for assistance in right judgment and determination. Hence, his “counsel” here takes on more than the sense of advice; it stands for his express determination, his decree. Regarding the Scriptural use of the word “counsel,” M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia, Volume II, page 539, says: “Beside the common signification of this word, as denoting the consultations of men, it is used in Scripture for the decrees of God, the orders of his providence.”
26. In letting Babylon succeed Assyria to world domination, what was Jehovah purposely doing?
26 The “counsel” that the Almighty, All-Wise God, of his own self, counsels cannot be broken up either by men or by devils. This was true of His counsel against the Assyrian World Power. It also proved to be true of the next succeeding world power, the new Babylonian World Power, the third world power in Bible history. This was the world power that destroyed Jerusalem, for the first time, in the year 607 B.C.E. In doing so, this world power showed itself to be “wicked.” So Jehovah reserved it also for an “evil day” at his own decreed time. Before He permitted Babylon to destroy Jerusalem and thereby take on special wickedness before Him, God inspired his prophet Jeremiah to say: “Therefore hear, O men, the counsel of Jehovah that he has formulated against Babylon and his thoughts that he has thought out against the land of the Chaldeans.”—Jeremiah 50:1, 45.
27. In Bible study, what did Jeremiah and Daniel find written in Isaiah’s prophecy about Babylon’s downfall?
27 This prophet Jeremiah lived on under God’s protection through the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the armies of Babylon in the year 607 B.C.E. But he did not live long enough to see his prophecies against “wicked” Babylon confirmed. However, secular history as well as Bible history record the overthrow of the Babylonian World Power, which occurred in the year 539 B.C.E., in the days of the prophet Daniel. (Daniel, chapter 5) This also confirmed the prophecies of the much earlier prophet, Isaiah, who, not only pointed forward to the downfall of the Babylonian World Power, but also foretold the name of the Persian conqueror whom God would use to accomplish Babylon’s downfall. When, in their personal Bible study, the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel took up the recorded prophecy of Isaiah of the eighth century B.C.E., they found written these words of their God, Jehovah:
“‘The One saying of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd, and all that I delight in he will completely carry out”; even in my saying of Jerusalem, “She will be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “You will have your foundation laid.”’ This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue before him nations, so that I may ungird even the hips of kings; to open before him the two-leaved doors, so that even the gates will not be shut: ‘Before you I myself shall go, . . . in order that you may know that I am Jehovah, the One calling you by your name, the God of Israel. For the sake of my servant Jacob and of Israel my chosen one, I even proceeded to call you by your name; I proceeded to give you a name of honor, although you did not know me. I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. With the exception of me there is no God. I shall closely gird you, although you have not known me, in order that people may know from the rising of the sun and from its setting that there is none besides me. I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.’”
28. In the succeeding chapter of Isaiah, what does Jehovah say regarding Cyrus the Persian?
28 Those marvelous words can today be seen in the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah as found in the year 1947 and dating back to the second century B.C.E. The words are found at what is commonly marked in Isaiah 44:28–45:6 as from chapter forty-four, verse twenty-eight, through chapter forty-five, verse six. In the next chapter thereafter, God speaks of Cyrus as “the man to execute my counsel,” in the midst of the verses now quoted:
“Remember this, that you people may muster up courage. Lay it to heart, you transgressors. Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One and there is no other God, nor anyone like me; the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, ‘My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do’; the One calling from the sunrising a bird of prey, from a distant land the man to execute my counsel. I have even spoken it; I shall also bring it in. I have formed it, I shall also do it.”—Isaiah 46:8-11.
29, 30. How did Jehovah hold to his purpose as expressed in that prophecy, and in what way does this strengthen us?
29 The Persian Cyrus the Great did come from the sunrising like a “bird of prey,” from Persia to the east of Babylon and from a land that was distant from Isaiah’s country, the land of Israel.
30 Quite appropriately, the ensign of Cyrus the Great was a golden eagle, a “bird of prey,” and Jehovah uses it as a symbol of Cyrus himself. Although expressed in these words almost two centuries in advance, the purpose of the Divine One did not fail. His “counsel” stood, by His use of Cyrus to execute His counsel against wicked Babylon. Jehovah had spoken it, even having it recorded for future reference; and at his due time he did what he had said. He had formed his purpose with respect to Cyrus and had declared it through his prophet, and at his precise time he brought what he had purposed into marvelous reality. These historical accomplishments of the God of prophecy strengthen our confidence in the certainty of all other prophecies in which Jehovah has set forth what he has determined to do according to his own “counsel.”
31. What prophecy of Ezekiel, as yet unfulfilled, describes an attack—by whom and upon whom?
31 This holds true with reference to a prophecy that history shows has as yet gone unfulfilled, but the time for which fulfillment is evidently getting closer, to occur in our generation. This is a prophecy given through Ezekiel, who was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. It is found in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel 38, 39. It has to do with the attack to be made by the mysterious “Gog of the land of Magog.” This Gog will bring all the nations of this world into this attack. The worldwide attack will be made upon the remnant of worshipers of the one living and true God. Freed from the modern-day Babylon the Great and restored to God’s favor, this faithful remnant are living in a spiritual Paradise in the midst of the world’s polluted, corrupt condition. What is the reason for the Almighty God to let such an attack be carried out upon His own worshipers? He tells us.
32, 33. For what purpose does God let Gog attack His worshipers in their present-day spiritual paradise?
32 In telling us, God uses in a symbolic way the ancient land of Israel and its inhabitants who were rescued from Babylon to picture the spiritual Paradise of His restored remnant of worshipers of today. Then, in addressing the Wicked Leader of this international attack upon the faithful remnant in their spiritual Paradise, Almighty God made clear his purpose in allowing this vicious attack by saying:
33 “You will be bound to come up against my people Israel, like clouds to cover the land. In the final part of the days it will occur, and I shall certainly bring you against my land, for the purpose [Hebrew: ma‛an] that the nations may know me when I sanctify myself in you before their eyes, O Gog.”—Ezekiel 38:15, 16.
34, 35. What is God’s stated purpose in sanctifying himself in connection with Gog?
34 Nothing could be more plainly stated. The purpose of Jehovah is to sanctify himself before the eyes of all the nations. In accord with all his past performances, He will carry out this unchangeable purpose in the near future, within our generation. After telling how he will use the wondrous means at his disposal to fight a winning battle against Gog and all his international army on earth, the God of unfailing purpose says:
35 “And I shall certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.”—Ezekiel 38:23.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
36. Why should we ask ourselves whether we want to be drawn along with the nations who are to be made to know who Jehovah is?
36 Making the worldly nations know who He is will not signify making them his worshipers to be rewarded with everlasting life. To the contrary of this, it will mean the eternal destruction of those God-defying nations! That is a disastrous way of learning to experience who the true God is. He will show the nations just who he is. It has become necessary for Him to do so. Hence, the big question is, Do we personally want to be among those nations that will be drawn into the attack shortly to be made by the Great Adversary of God, namely, “Gog of the land of Magog”?
37. Rather than be persuaded by man’s plans for self-salvation, what course does Proverbs 19:20, 21 counsel?
37 In all their plans for saving the world situation, the nations are not taking into account the one living and true God, according to His purpose as made plain in his written Word, the Holy Bible. Do their plans sound good to us? Are we going to let ourselves be persuaded by their plans and join in supporting these, thus trusting in human self-salvation? In determining for ourselves what to do, we shall be wise to consider and take to heart what the inspired wise man of old says, in Proverbs 19:20, 21: “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, in order that you may become wise in your future. Many are the plans [Hebrew: mahha·sha·bhothʹ] in the heart of a man, but the counsel of Jehovah is what will stand.” Far should it be from our hearts to pit the plans of men and nations against the counsel of Jehovah.
38. Why will putting confidence in Jehovah not lead to disappointment with men and nations?
38 Why should we suffer disappointment with the nations to our never-ending hurt? Let us trust wholeheartedly in Jehovah. “For he himself said, and it came to be; he himself commanded, and it proceeded to stand so. Jehovah himself has broken up the counsel of the nations; he has thwarted the thoughts of the peoples. To time indefinite the very counsel of Jehovah will stand; the thoughts of his heart are to one generation after another generation. Happy is the nation whose God is Jehovah, the people whom he has chosen as his inheritance.” (Psalm 33:9-12) Time and again it has proved to be true in the past, and it will prove to be true without fail in the near future, that “There is no wisdom, nor any discernment, nor any counsel in opposition to Jehovah. The horse is something prepared for the day of battle, but salvation belongs to Jehovah.”—Proverbs 21:30, 31.
39. What kind of purpose should God have for those seeking his righteousness, and why?
39 An honest look at the condition of the world of mankind convinces us that we all need salvation. What we as right-minded people want is salvation! This can never come from man himself. We must agree that “salvation belongs to Jehovah.” Since “the LORD has made everything for his own ends, even the wicked for the evil day,” what must the purpose of the Lord God be for those who are not wicked, those who seek His righteousness? Doubtless a loving purpose! (Proverbs 16:4, The New American Bible) Mankind is indeed embraced within the good purpose of a loving Creator.
40. What should be our aim if we want to get somewhere toward everlasting life, and why?
40 The Creator is not an aimless God. We his creatures should not be aimless either! At what, then, should we aim? This: To bring our lives into harmony with the good purpose of Jehovah God. There can be nothing higher than this at which to aim. By doing this, we shall really be getting somewhere—toward our enjoyment of everlasting life. In this way our present lives will be no failure, for God’s purpose will never fail. With this in view, we now take pleasure in examining into God’s “eternal purpose” that He formed in connection with his Anointed One, the Messiah.
See William Tyndale’s translation (1525 and 1535 C.E.); the Geneva Bible (1560 and 1562 C.E.); the Bishop’s Bible (1568 and 1602).
See Hugh J. Schonfield’s Authentic New Testament (1955 C.E.), which uses “the plan of the ages.” The Jerusalem Bible (1966 C.E.) reads: “the plan which he had had from all eternity.” The translation by George N. LeFevre (1928 C.E.) reads: “the plan of the ages which he purposed through the Anointed.” The word “plan” does not occur in the King James Authorized Version and the American Standard Version of the Bible. In the Roman Catholic Douay Version the word “plan” occurs only in Ezekiel 4:1; 43:11 and 2 Maccabees 2:29.
For the later and present-day position taken on the subject, see paragraphs 14-19 of the leading article entitled “The Son of Man” (Psalm 8:4) and published in the issue of April 1, 1930, of The Watch Tower (pages 101, 102). Note especially paragraph 16.
See Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume VIII, edited by Gerhard Friedrich (English translation), pages 165, 166, under “The New Testament.”
The Book of Books, by the Lutterworth Press (1938).
Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible.
The New English Bible (1970).
The New American Bible (1970).
An American Translation; A New Translation of the Bible, by James Moffatt (1922); The Westminster Version of the Sacred Scriptures (1948); The Bible in Living English (1972); Elberfelder Bibel (German); The New Testament in Modern Speech, by R. F. Weymouth (Eleventh Impression); The New Testament - A New Translation, by Ronald Knox (1945); Revised Standard Version (1952); American Standard Version (1901); English Revised Version (1881); King James Authorized Version (1611); New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1971).
On “katà proʹthe·sin ton ai·oʹnon” in Ephesians 3:11, we read: “In accordance with the purpose of the world-periods, i.e., in conformity with the purpose which God had during the world-periods (from the commencement of the ages up to the execution of the purpose); for already [before founding of a world] it was formed, i. 3, but from the beginning of the world-ages it was hidden in God, ver. 9. . . . Others, incorrectly, take it as: the purpose concerning the different periods of the world, according to which, namely, God at first chose no people, then chose the Jews, and lastly called Jews and Gentiles to the Messianic kingdom; for it is only the one purpose, accomplished in [Messiah], that is spoken of.”—Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Epistle to the Galatians—Ephesians, by H. A. W. Meyer, Th.D., English translation, 1884, page 416, paragraph 1.
“Most moderns follow Rashi in rendering ‘I will be what I will be’; i.e. no words can sum up all that He will be to His people, but His everlasting faithfulness and unchanging mercy will more and more manifest themselves in the guidance of Israel. The answer which Moses receives in these words is thus equivalent to, ‘I shall save in the way that I shall save.’ It is to assure the Israelites of the fact of deliverance, but does not disclose the manner.”—Footnote on Exodus 3:14, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, by Dr. J. H. Hertz, C. H., Soncino Press, London, 1950 C.E.
[Chart on page 10]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
CHART OF THE AGES
ILLUSTRATING THE PLAN OF GOD FOR BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY, AND HIS PURPOSE—
“In regard to an administration of the fulness of the appointed times, to reunite all things under one Head, even under the Anointed One; the things in heaven and the things on earth—under Him.”—Eph. 1:10—Diaglott.