What God Swore to Do for Mankind—Now at Hand!
1, 2. (a) In what sense does God swear, and why? (b) What does God say at Isaiah 45:23? (c) With what statements by the prophet Isaiah should we be able to agree?
DOES God swear? Yes, God swears, but he does not use profanity, exploding in anger and losing self-control. His swearing is always in order to reinforce what he declares to be his purpose. It gives added assurance to those who are to be affected. Hence, all mankind does well to give attention to his words at Isaiah 45:23: “By my own self I have sworn—out of my own mouth in righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return—that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear.”
2 Today, more than 2,700 years after that prophecy, are we convinced that the prophet’s statement at Isaiah 45:24 is true: “Surely in Jehovah there are full righteousness and strength. All those getting heated up against him will come straight to him and be ashamed”? If so, then we can also agree with Isaiah’s next words in Isa 45 verse 25: “In Jehovah all the seed of Israel will prove to be right and will boast about themselves.”
3 When reading Isaiah 45:25, are we to think of the Republic of Israel? No! Those Israelis do not attribute their conquest to the God of their sacred Hebrew Scriptures. Out of mistaken reverence they even refuse to pronounce his name.
4 By this, are we arguing that Isaiah 45:23-25 has failed of fulfillment up to this year? No! There has been no failure in the fulfillment of the prophecy at Jehovah’s appointed time. With him, failure of his prophecy is an impossibility! Not only is his word by itself reliable and dependable but it is all the more so when Jehovah swears to it, adds his oath, to confirm matters.
God Steps In With an Oath
5. How does Hebrews 6:13-18 explain God’s stepping in with an oath in the promise to Abraham?
5 Concerning this, we read at Hebrews 6:13-18: “For when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could not swear by anyone greater, he swore by himself, saying: ‘Assuredly in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply you.’ And thus after Abraham had shown patience, he obtained this promise. For men swear by the one greater, and their oath is the end of every dispute, as it is a legal guarantee to them. In this manner God, when he purposed to demonstrate more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his counsel, stepped in with an oath, in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us.”
6. (a) What motivation was there for God to swear by himself with regard to his promise to Abraham? (b) How could Jehovah use his “friend”?
6 Generally, there is a powerful motivation for swearing, for uttering an oath. That is especially true when the swearing is of God’s own accord, voluntarily. Such a motivation is furnished in this case wherein Jehovah is reported as swearing, yes, swearing by himself. The oath-bound promise that Jehovah made to Abraham, his “friend,” affects all of us today. Jehovah appreciated it when Abraham acted upon the divine invitation and left his native land to go to the land that Jehovah would give to Abraham’s descendants as a possession. Jehovah could safely make the name of this “friend” great and could use him for the blessing of others. Jehovah could well say to him: “And I will bless those who bless you, and him that calls down evil upon you I shall curse, and all the families of the ground will certainly bless themselves by means of you.”—Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 41:8.
7. (a) With what miracle did God favor Abraham when his wife was 90 years of age? (b) How did Abraham demonstrate his faith and obedience in a unique way?
7 When Abraham’s wife Sarah was 90 years old, far past the age of childbearing, God miraculously favored her with bearing to Abraham their beloved son, Isaac, in furtherance of His marvelous promise to Abraham. Abraham proved himself ready and willing to offer up even this precious son as a human sacrifice in obedience to the command of his God, Jehovah. This unique demonstration of faith and obedience so moved Jehovah that he said to his “friend,” Abraham:
8, 9. (a) How did Jehovah respond to this demonstration of Abraham’s faith and obedience? (b) To whom did God make himself responsible?
8 “‘By myself I do swear,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies. And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.’”—Genesis 22:15-18.
9 This is the first place in the Bible where Jehovah is reported as swearing. Because he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, binding his own self to it. In this way he made himself responsible to no one but himself. It must be to his own credit that he carries out his own declaration of purpose.
To What Extent?
10. About how long ago did God make his covenant with Abraham, and what question therefore arises?
10 Abraham entered the promised land of Canaan nearly 4,000 years ago. So by now, to what extent has that covenant made in 1943 B.C.E. been carried out?
11. (a) What does the Republic of Israel’s membership in the UN indicate, and with what consequences? (b) Are the natural descendants of Abraham measuring up to the requirements to be the promised “seed”?
11 Today, there exists the Republic of Israel in the Middle East. In self-interest, it is a member of the United Nations. The UN represents the rejection of the Kingdom of Jehovah God through the promised “seed” of Abraham and so will be destroyed in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” Armageddon. Every member of the UN, including the Republic of Israel, will be blotted out of existence. Unhappily, the fleshly, natural descendants of Abraham are not measuring up to the requirements to be the promised Messianic “seed” by means of which Jehovah God will bless all mankind.—Revelation 16:14-16.
12, 13. (a) Unlike his forefather David, why is the “Prince of Peace” not to reign alone? (b) Did anointed Christians have to wait until the Kingdom was set up in 1914 to receive the promised blessing, and how do we know?
12 Plainly enough for everybody to note, the promised Messiah does not rule in Middle Eastern, earthly Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Unlike his forefather David of old, the Messiah and “Prince of Peace” is not to rule alone. He promised to associate with himself in his rulership his 12 faithful apostles and his other spirit-begotten disciples, to the number of 144,000. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-4) There is yet a remnant of such disciples on earth. What has been done for them in advancing the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant to which God swore? One who was a leading prospective associate in that Kingdom, the apostle Paul, wrote at Galatians 3:8: “Now the Scripture, seeing in advance that God would declare people of the nations righteous due to faith, declared the good news beforehand to Abraham, namely: ‘By means of you all the nations will be blessed.’”
13 Christians selected from among the nations did not have to wait until after the setting up of the Kingdom in 1914 to receive the promised blessing, for the apostle Paul went on to say: “Consequently those who adhere to faith are being blessed together with faithful Abraham.” (Galatians 3:9) Paul was a Christian and was being blessed, and so were all the other spirit-begotten Christians of his day.a Likewise today, the remnant, composed of spirit-begotten Christians who adhere to faith in the Messiah as the principal “seed” of Abraham for blessing all mankind, is experiencing the promised blessing.
14. (a) How have the anointed Christians been specially blessed according to the Abrahamic covenant? (b) In what way has this vindicated Jehovah?
14 By dedicating themselves to Jehovah and symbolizing this dedication by water baptism and then being begotten by the spirit of God to a spiritual estate, these Christians have become spiritual sons of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God. They have also become joint heirs with Jesus Christ, the Greater Isaac. (Romans 8:17) They are indeed specially blessed according to the Abrahamic covenant. Jehovah has been carrying out what he swore to do, thereby vindicating himself as a truthteller, One perfectly able to carry out what he solemnly swore to do in his own name.
15. What does the apostle Paul say that each member of the remnant of spirit-begotten Christians is?
15 Each member of the remnant of spirit-begotten Christians is a Jew in a spiritual sense. As the apostle Paul said: “He is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code.”—Romans 2:28, 29.
16. The spiritual Jews make up what class foretold at Zechariah 8:23?
16 In this “conclusion of the system of things,” those spirit-begotten Christians, who are Jews on the inside with a circumcision of their hearts, make up the Jew class that is foretold at Zechariah 8:23, where it is written: “This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘It will be in those days that ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will actually take hold of the skirt of a man who is a Jew, saying: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.”’”
17. (a) Who are represented by the “ten men” who want to worship Jehovah with the present-day remnant of the spiritual Jews? (b) By associating with the spiritual Jews in the worship of Jehovah, what do members of the “other sheep” now enjoy?
17 The “people” with whom those “ten men” want to go to the worship of Jehovah God is the present-day remnant of those who are spiritual Jews, the class that makes up “the faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24:45-47. Since the number ten represents completeness of an earthly kind, the “ten men out of all the languages of the nations” would stand for all the symbolic sheep foretold at Matthew 25:32-46. These are of the “other sheep” class that Jesus said he would bring into association with the sheeplike remnant to form with them “one flock” in the care of the “one shepherd,” himself. (John 10:16) In this way they get a foretaste of the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant by means of the “seed” of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God. Certainly, then, what God swore to do for all mankind is at hand!
[Picture on page 89]
The Bible foretold that people from all nations would come into association with spiritual Israel