Jehovah’s Purpose Attains Glorious Success
1, 2. (a) What is Jehovah’s purpose regarding his intelligent creatures? (b) Who were included in God’s united family of worshipers? (c) Regarding this, what personal question deserves consideration?
ALL intelligent creation united in true worship and all of them enjoying the glorious freedom of children of God—that is Jehovah’s wise and loving purpose. It is also what all lovers of righteousness earnestly desire.
2 Jehovah began fulfilling this grand purpose when he started his works of creation. His first creation was a Son, one who proved to be “the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his very being.” (Heb. 1:1-3) This one was unique, being created by God alone. Through him other sons were brought into existence—first, angels in the heavens, then man on earth. (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38) All these sons made up one universal family. To all of them Jehovah was God, the only one to be worshiped. He was the Universal Sovereign. He was also their loving Father. Is he likewise your Father, and are you one of his children? What a precious relationship that can be!
3. (a) Why were none of us at birth sons of God? (b) But what loving provision did Jehovah make for Adam’s offspring?
3 Nevertheless, we must face the fact that when our first human parents were condemned to death as willful sinners, they were evicted from Eden and disowned by God. They ceased to be part of Jehovah’s universal family. (Gen. 3:22-24; compare Deuteronomy 32:4, 5.) All of us, because we are descendants of sinner Adam, have been born with sinful tendencies. Since we are offspring of parents expelled from God’s family, we cannot claim to be sons of God simply on the basis of human birth. But Jehovah knew that some from among Adam’s descendants would love righteousness, and He lovingly made provision whereby these could attain to the glorious freedom of children of God.—Rom. 8:20, 21.
Israel’s Favored Position
4. (a) On what basis were the Israelites “sons” of God? (b) What did this not mean?
4 Some 2,500 years after Adam’s creation, Jehovah again extended to certain humans the privilege of having a relationship with him as his sons. In harmony with his covenant with Abraham, Jehovah chose Israel to be his people. So, to Pharaoh of Egypt, he spoke of Israel as “my son.” (Ex. 4:22, 23; Gen. 12:1, 2) Later he gave Israel his Law at Mount Sinai, formed that people into a nation and used them in connection with his purpose. From a national standpoint, because they were Jehovah’s “special property,” they were spoken of as “sons” of God. (Deut. 14:1, 2; Isa. 43:1) Also, because of his special dealings with certain individuals within that nation, Jehovah referred to them as sons. (1 Chron. 22:9, 10) This standing was based on covenant relationship with God. It did not mean, however, that they enjoyed the glorious freedom that Adam had had as a son of God. They were still in bondage to sin and death.
5. How did Israel lose its special standing with God?
5 Nevertheless, as sons they had a favored standing with God. They also had the responsibility to respect their Father and to work in harmony with his purpose. Jesus stressed the importance of their fulfilling that obligation—not only claiming God as their Father, but ‘proving themselves’ to be his sons. (Matt. 5:43-48; Mal. 1:6) However, the Jews as a nation failed in this. So, during the final year of Jesus’ earthly ministry, when the Jews who were seeking to kill Jesus declared, “We have one Father, God,” Jesus firmly pointed out that their actions and the spirit they showed belied such a claim. (John 8:41, 44, 47) In 33 C.E. the Law covenant was terminated by God, and the basis for the special relationship that Israel had enjoyed ended. Yet, Jehovah did not cease to have among mankind those he accepted as sons.
Jehovah Unifies His People
6. What “administration” did Paul describe at Ephesians 1:9, 10, and what is its objective?
6 To Christians in Ephesus the apostle Paul wrote about Jehovah’s program for unifying his people—God’s arrangement whereby those who exercise faith can become beloved members of His household, saying: “[God] made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration [household management] at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Eph. 1:9, 10) This “administration” centers around Jesus Christ. Through him, humans are brought into an approved condition before God—some with the prospect of being in heaven; others, on earth—to serve in unity with the angelic sons of God who have proved loyal to Jehovah.
7. What are “the things in the heavens,” and what does being gathered together mean for them?
7 First, starting with Pentecost of 33 C.E., attention was given to “the things in the heavens,” that is, those who would be joint heirs with Christ in the heavenly Kingdom. On the basis of their faith in the value of Jesus’ sacrifice, they were declared righteous by God. (Rom. 5:1, 2) Then they were “born again,” or brought forth as sons of God with the prospect of heavenly life. (John 3:3; 1:12, 13) With these as a spiritual nation God made the new covenant. In time, both Jews and Gentiles were to be included, and these would total 144,000.—Gal. 3:26-29; Rev. 14:1.
8. How does the relationship of Kingdom heirs with the Father compare with that of Jews under the Mosaic Law?
8 Though still imperfect in the flesh, the remnant of such heirs of the heavenly Kingdom enjoy a precious and intimate relationship with the Father. Concerning this, Paul wrote: “Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: ‘Abba, Father!’ So, then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, also an heir through God.” (Gal. 4:6, 7) That Aramaic expression “Abba” means “father,” but it is an endearing form of address—the kind used by a young child for his father. Because of the superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s own undeserved kindness, these spirit-anointed Christians enjoy a relationship with God that is more intimate than any that was possible for imperfect humans under the Law. However, what lies ahead for them is even more wonderful.
9. What does full realization of their sonship mean?
9 If they prove faithful until death, they receive the full realization of their sonship by being resurrected to immortal life in the heavens. There they will be privileged to serve unitedly in the very presence of Jehovah God. Only a relatively small number of these sons of God are still on earth.—Rom. 8:14, 23; 1 John 3:1, 2.
Gathering “the Things on the Earth”
10. (a) What are “the things on the earth,” and since when have they been gathered into unity of worship? (b) What is their relationship with Jehovah?
10 The same “administration” that makes it possible for humans to be gathered into God’s household with heavenly life in view also directs attention to “the things on the earth.” Particularly since 1935 C.E. have persons with faith in the sacrifice of Christ been gathered with the prospect of eternal life on earth. Shoulder to shoulder with the remaining ones of the anointed class, they magnify the name of Jehovah and exalt his worship. (Zeph. 3:9; Isa. 2:2, 3) With deep respect these, too, address Jehovah as “Father,” recognizing him as the Source of life, and they earnestly endeavor to reflect his qualities as he expects his sons to do. They enjoy an approved standing before him on the basis of their faith in Jesus’ shed blood. (Matt. 6:9; Rev. 7:9, 14) But they know that the joy of being fully acknowledged by God as his children is yet in the future for them.
11. (a) What promise does Romans 8:19-21 hold forth for mankind? (b) What is the “revealing of the sons of God” that they eagerly await?
11 As shown at Romans 8:19-21, they are eagerly waiting for the “revealing of the sons of God,” because then the time will come for these of the human creation to be “set free from enslavement to corruption.” That “revealing” will take place when humans here on earth see evidence that the spirit-anointed sons of God who have attained their heavenly reward have gone into action as associates of their glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. This will be manifest in the destruction of the entire wicked system of things, to be followed by the blessings of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ in which these “sons of God” will share with him as kings and priests.—Rev. 2:26, 27; 20:6.
12. Following the great tribulation, in what song of praise will the victorious spirit-anointed sons of God join, and what does it mean?
12 How exhilarating it will be when the great tribulation is past and those sons of God who have been united with Christ join their voices in praise to God, joyously proclaiming: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal? For all the nations will come and worship before you, because your righteous decrees have been made manifest”! (Rev. 15:3, 4) Yes, all mankind, made up of persons out of all the former nations, will unite in worship of the true God. Even those in the memorial tombs will be resurrected and be given opportunity to join their voices in praise to Jehovah.
13. What marvelous freedom will be enjoyed right away by survivors of the great tribulation?
13 No longer will Satan the Devil be the “god of this system of things.” No longer will worshipers of Jehovah here on earth have to contend with his vile influence. (2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 20:1-3) No longer will false religion misrepresent our loving God and serve as a divisive influence in human society. No longer will servants of the true God experience injustice and exploitation at the hands of men in governmental office. What marvelous freedom that will signify for survivors of the great tribulation!
14. By what means will they be freed from sin and all its effects?
14 As the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” Jesus Christ will make application of the value of his sacrifice so as to cancel out all the past sins of mankind. (John 1:29) On earth, when Jesus pronounced a person’s sins forgiven, he also healed the forgiven one as proof of it. (Matt. 9:1-7) In like manner, from heaven he will miraculously heal the blind, the deaf, the speechless, those physically maimed, the mentally afflicted and those with any other sickness. Gradually, through faithful molding of themselves to God’s righteous ways, all willing and obedient ones will get “sin’s law” completely nullified in themselves so that all their actions, their thoughts and the desires of their hearts will be pleasing both to themselves and to God. (Rom. 7:21-23; compare Isaiah 25:7, 8 and Revelation 21:3, 4.) Before the end of the Millennium, they will have been aided to full human perfection. They will be completely freed from sin and all its grievous effects. They will properly reflect ‘God’s image and likeness’ in the midst of an earthly Paradise that embraces the entire globe.—Gen. 1:26.
15. At the end of the Millennium, what action will Christ take, and with what objective?
15 When Christ has brought mankind to perfection, he will then return to the Father the authority that was conferred upon him for this work. As foretold at 1 Corinthians 15:28: “When all things will have been subjected to him [the Son], then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”
16. To what will all perfected humans now be subjected, and why?
16 Now perfected mankind will be given the opportunity to demonstrate that their unchangeable choice is to serve the only living and true God forever. Hence, before adopting them as his sons through Jesus Christ, Jehovah will subject all those perfected humans to a thorough, final test. Satan and his demons will be loosed from the abyss. This will result in no lasting harm to those who truly love Jehovah. But any who disloyally allow themselves to be led into disobedience to Jehovah will be forever destroyed along with the original rebel and his demons.—Rev. 20:7-10.
17. In fulfillment of Jehovah’s purpose, what situation will once again exist among all his intelligent creation?
17 Jehovah will now lovingly adopt as his sons through Christ all the perfected humans who withstand that final, decisive test. They will then share to the full in the “glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21) They will at last become a part of God’s united, universal family, to all of whom Jehovah will forever be the only God, the Universal Sovereign, and their loving Father. Then all of Jehovah’s intelligent creation, in heaven and on earth, will once again be united in worship of the only true God.
● Before the rebellion in Eden, what relationship did all worshipers of Jehovah have to him?
● What responsibility rests on those who are sons of God?
● Who today are God’s sons? Who will yet become children of God, and how is this related to Jehovah’s purpose regarding united worship?