The Exclusive God
“There is none like unto thee, O Jehovah.”—Jer. 10:6, AS.
1. How does Jeremiah acknowledge Jehovah as unequaled?
JEHOVAH is without equal. With majesty and simplicity Jeremiah so acknowledges: “There is none like unto thee, O Jehovah; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who should not fear thee, O King of the nations? for to thee doth it appertain; forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royal estate, there is none like unto thee. But Jehovah is the true God; he is the living God, and an everlasting King: . . . He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding hath he stretched out the heavens. . . . The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens.”—Jer. 10:6, 7, 10, 12, 11, AS.
2. (a) Why is an appreciation of Jehovah’s exclusiveness important? (b) What is the searching question?
2 This exclusiveness of Jehovah is a vital truth, and appreciation of it is essential to all who would realize their righteous desires. False gods are common. They are on every hand. Yet, Jehovah is none of these. Gods of many kinds are served and worshiped by the peoples of the earth. The practice of such worship in its great variety of forms is a practice of various religions. We have an awareness of these many gods. We know there are varied religions throughout the earth, incorporating the countless gods of both the “Christian” and the non-Christian lands, with idols, images, fetishes, and endless other “holy” material objects, themselves worshiped and also through which worship is given to creatures, human and spirit. To some, the bodies of the universe and forces of the natural creation are gods. Wealth and power are gods to many persons. Gods to many are the exalted religious, military, political, economic, scientific and artistic leaders. Even though some may deny that such truly are gods, it cannot be denied that all of these things mentioned and, yes, even animals and insects, are worshiped as gods. Whom or what do you worship? To whom or to what are you devoted?—Ex. 20:3-5; 1 Thess. 1:9, NW.
3. (a) Is it proper to distinguish between gods? (b) In whom does the true God find loving appreciation?
3 Above and apart from the array of degenerate gods and their devotees there is the one Jehovah, whose exclusiveness elicits our sincere praise. We must distinguish between this true God and the false ones. It is entirely appropriate to differentiate between Him and all other gods. In fact, it is necessary that we do so. The righteous God does not appeal to unrighteous creatures. The just and loving God does not find harmonious response in unjust, hate-filled men. If you respond to his Godship in loving appreciation, happy are you!—Matt. 5:6-9, NW.
4. Christian faith requires what of us respecting Jehovah?
4 God’s prophet above quoted speaks of him as “Jehovah”. “Jehovah” is the name of the true God. It is the name by which he designates himself and makes himself known. “God” is a title, as is “Lord”, but “Jehovah” is a name, the name. Jehovah, through his creative works, his mighty acts, and his word of truth, the Bible, manifests his exclusiveness and that he is the true God besides whom there is none. Accordingly, the exercise of Christian faith requires us to distinguish between the only true God and all other gods.—Ps. 145, AS.
5. In what names do people walk, according to Micah 4, and when?
5 The prophecy of the fourth chapter of Micah looks forward to our wonderful “latter days” to be marked by the vindication of Jehovah’s name and the establishment of his complete supremacy, and states: “But in the latter days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it. And many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. . . . For all the peoples walk every one in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.”—Mic. 4:1, 2, 5, AS.
6. (a) Why do many persons now turn to the worship of Jehovah? (b) Why do many not so turn?
6 Now in these “latter days” men and women, upon coming to the knowledge of the truths in God’s Word, the Bible, turn to the worship and service of Jehovah. What is the appeal? A very exclusive one indeed; it is the attraction of righteousness. Persons who love righteousness respond to the right doctrines and high principles of the Bible and therefore to the God of the Bible. The worship of sincere hearts is directed to the God named Jehovah. Persons who love unrighteousness, wickedness, and who are selfish do not so respond. “Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved. But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God.”—John 3:19-21, NW.
7, 8. (a) Are all content to see Jehovah’s name obscured? Who are not? (b) What does Jehovah express in this regard?
7 Some persons are concerned with worshiping the true God and are not content to see his name obscured. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were thus concerned. Genesis 13:4 (AS) states: “Abram called on the name of Jehovah.” Jacob was named Israel by Jehovah God at the time the Almighty was confirming to Jacob the covenant that he had made with Abraham after “the foreign gods” were “put away” by all the members of Jacob’s extensive household. (Genesis, chapter 35, AS) The descendants of Jacob, now named Israel, became the nation of Israel. In setting the ancient Egyptian stage for his vindication to be there accomplished, God said to Moses: “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3:15, AS) Moses did not worship the gods of Egypt, but he worshiped Jehovah, whom he loved.
8 Jehovah himself later said by his servant Moses: “For Jehovah your God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the terrible, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” (Deut. 10:17, AS) Today other persons worship the true God and have concern with the honor of his name. Their appreciation of Jehovah’s exclusiveness is expressed in words such as these: “I will give thee thanks with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praises unto thee. Jehovah will perfect that which concerneth me: thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, endureth for ever; forsake not the works of thine own hands.”—Ps. 138:1, 8, AS.
9. What claims our interest in this study?
9 It is concerning this true God and those who serve him, and concerning the relationship between God and his worshipers, that we now seek more Scriptural information. First of all, let us see some of the other capacities in which Jehovah the true God through his Word discloses himself to man.
10. What contributes to the revelation of Jehovah in the capacity of Maker?
10 Jehovah stands revealed as the great Maker. On every hand is testimony in his inanimate creation, a simple Bible statement being, “Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” (Gen. 2:4, AS) All of mankind are aware of the existence of the wonderful earth and heavens, but so many do not look beyond the creation to the Creator. In contrast is the sane attitude expressed in the Psalm: “O Jehovah, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, who hast set thy glory upon the heavens! When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man?” (Ps. 8:1, 3, 4, AS) The inanimate creation of God never alters its praise of its Maker, and as men gain more information concerning this part of Jehovah’s creation they find that every proved fact of every science verifies and supports the Scriptural truth of Jehovah’s creatorship.
11. Among what creation is the issue of Creator-Godship raised?
11 In the animate creation of Jehovah, man and all animals through their very existence testify to their Maker. Genesis 2:7 (AS) states: “Jehovah God formed man”; and so he did. It is among the intelligent creation including the human creation that the issue of Jehovah’s supremacy is raised. This issue is not found among the lower animals, and certainly not in the inanimate creation of the earth and heavens, but it is found among humankind, because not all praise their great Benefactor. Men operate, not automatically along fixed lines, as does the inanimate creation, nor through instinct, as do the lower animals. Man is higher, as indicated by this prophecy concerning Jesus, who was made a man: “Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Jehovah, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.”—Ps. 8:6-9, AS; Heb. 2:6-9.
12. (a) What wonderful choice may we make? (b) What does love of Jehovah require of us?
12 Each individual has the opportunity of choosing for himself for or against Jehovah God, and it must ever be borne in mind that the love of Jehovah requires of the creature a love of righteousness, because God is completely righteous. In fact, Jehovah repudiates the claimed support of all who love unrighteousness. His own Proverb (Pr 8:13, AS) states: “The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth, do I hate.” As men, we are each faced with the issue on the basis of our heart’s desire. “But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death. Hence put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls. However, become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning.” (Jas. 1:14, 15, 21, 22, NW) Serve the Maker!
13. (a) Additionally, what does Jehovah form? (b) What is an organization?
13 Not only has he produced inanimate creation, growing things, and living creatures, but, in addition to all of these, the great Maker forms organizations. An organization is a systematic arrangement of creatures for the accomplishment of a purpose common to all individuals therein. It realizes a combining of effort to carry on a work. We are familiar with organizations of many kinds with many purposes. Families are organizations. So are churches, lodges, clubs, business firms, governments, armies; and they are familiar to us. When several individuals with one objective associate for the carrying out of that purpose, an organization of some kind results. The very existence of intelligent creatures in large numbers presupposes the existence of organizations.
14. In what ways is an organization a single unit?
14 An organization is in many respects a unit in itself, as is illustrated by the fact that a corporation is a “person”. Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, points out that under English and American common and statute law a corporation is “a body politic or corporate formed and authorized by law to act as a single person”. There are many individuals in it, but it is one body. A corporation is often referred to in the singular as “it”. The moving spirit of its formation can be called its maker. The governmental authority creating it also is its maker. It might be asked, Is such an organization formed by men ever a “father”, or is it ever a “mother”? Yes; the expression “parent corporation” is fairly common, and its meaning is known generally; such a “parent” causes the formation of related corporate “persons”. We are familiar with such an expression as “the birth of a nation”; and in this phraseology reference is made to a group of persons causing through one means or another the formation of an organization that is said to have been “born”, as a new government or nation.
15. What is essential to an organization?
15 In respect to an organization, the association together of the individuals involved is one of the main factors. Take away the individuals and there is no organization. Associate individuals together with a common cause or a common moving spirit, and an organization results.
16, 17. Give facts regarding the heavenly, universal organization of Jehovah.
16 In the organizations of God’s making are righteous heavenly creatures. In both plain and symbolic Biblical language they are shown as moving in order, praising Jehovah to one another, performing service relative to the communication of the truth, battling to victory against evil, devil-organized spirit forces, refusing to receive worship from men for themselves, and ministering to Christians. They had to do with leading the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and in the Bible other organized activity is shown to be their portion. (Ex. 14:19, AS; Isaiah, chapter 6, AS; Heb. 2:14, NW; Revelation, chapters 8, 9, 16) Each of these activities bespeaks an organization in and with which the faithful heavenly sons of God serve to His praise.
17 Accordingly we see that Jehovah has made a great universal organization. He gives to those therein work to do, and his creatures who are his servants are dedicated and devoted to him and so perform his service. It is an organization of God’s building, and it is all-important to the creatures therein that they be associated with it, participating in its activities, and being devoted to its Maker.
18. How was the early Christian organization formed?
18 On the earth we find that of the men and women worshiping Jehovah God, organizations have been constituted by him, of which the Christian congregation is one. God-fearing men were drawn together through the teaching of Jesus, and they organized. Very early in the life of the Christian congregation the apostles were a preaching organization. At Mark 3:14, 15 (NW) the account states: “And he [Jesus] formed a group of twelve, whom he also named ‘apostles’, that they might continue with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to expel the demons.” The entire congregation of the followers of Christ Jesus has been constituted by him a ministerial organization and so commissioned, as shown by his words: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” That this commission is not restricted to those to whom Jesus directly spoke at the time but continues with the Christian congregation throughout its life, even down to our day, is shown by his concluding words: “And, look! I am with you all the days until the consummation of the system of things.”—Matt. 28:19, 20, NW.
19. (a) How do we know that the Christian congregation is not a man-made organization? (b) How have members been added to it?
19 To the members of the Christian organization, church, or congregation operating at the time of Jesus’ ascension to heaven, members were added immediately following the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost. “Therefore those who embraced his word heartily were baptized, and on that day about three thousand souls were added.” Added to what? Added to the number of dedicated worshipers of the true God and added to the organization or congregation of Christians. “And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to association together, to taking of meals and to prayers.” (Acts 2:41, 42, NW) Later during the life of the early Christian congregation the apostle Paul wrote to the sub-congregation in Corinth: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons.” (1 Cor. 12:4-6, NW) Here is shown again the truth that it is God who organizes the Christian congregation through the Lord Christ Jesus and through the operation of his spirit, and so the Christian “church” is not a man-made organization. “But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased.” “And if one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and members individually. And God has set the respective ones in the congregation.”—1 Cor. 12:18, 26-28, NW.
20. (a) Define and describe the Christian congregation. (b) How is it built up today?
20 The Christian congregation is the entire Christian body, or body of Christ, organized by Jehovah God through Christ Jesus, through the ministry of the word of truth that draws men to God through Christ, and through the operation of God’s power or holy spirit. This great Christian congregation began with Jesus, its founder and head, and extends to the present time, being represented in the remaining members upon the earth. In it there have been smaller congregations of Christians in various localities where they are found throughout the earth. Thus there are companies or organizations or congregations within the greater Christian organization or congregation. This is recognized by the words of the apostle Paul to the Philippians, wherein he states: “Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in union with Christ Jesus who are in Philippi along with overseers and ministerial servants.” (Phil. 1:1, NW) Is this built up through the enrollment of men and women in general on some membership record of a man-made organization? No; but it is built up by the association together of individuals personally dedicated to God, meeting the requirements of his Word, and who recognize the work given Christians to do by the Maker of the organization and in which work they join faithfully in co-operation with one another and to the praise of Jehovah’s name.
21. From what standpoints is the Christian organization a “person”?
21 It is this Christian congregation that the apostle Paul refers to when he speaks of it as a woman, saying: “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:2, NW) This language shows an organization as a “person”. The Christian congregation is thus represented as a virgin, a chaste woman. Also, it is a child or an offspring of, from and under the great universal organization of Jehovah God.
22, 23. By reference to the nation of Israel, illustrate (1) how Jehovah does form an organization and uses it for his worship; (2) its relationship to God’s universal organization.
22 Prior to the time of the formation of the Christian congregation, the nation of Israel itself was a God-made organization; in fact, it is referred to as a “church” or congregation. (Acts 7:38, NW) Before its formation Jehovah stated his purpose to his servant Abraham in what is referred to as the covenant with Abraham, set out initially in the first nine verses of the twelfth chapter of Genesis. This covenant was reaffirmed to Abraham himself, to his son Isaac, and to his grandson Jacob. (Gen. 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:13, 14, AS) Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and the sons of Israel and their children constituted the twelve tribes of Israel. (Genesis, chapter 49) Jehovah God eventually brought the tribes of Israel out of the land of Egypt and made a national covenant with them. They left Egypt in an organized manner, as an encampment. “But God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 13:18, AS) A step taken later on in the organization of the people of Israel is shown in the eighteenth chapter of Exodus: “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons.” (Ex 18 Vss. 21, 26, AS) Subsequently, at Mount Sinai, through Moses, Jehovah God gave to Israel his law, then inaugurating the covenant; and the thrilling account of this is set out in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Bible book of Exodus.
23 So we see that of the people of Israel Jehovah God made a national organization that embraced also non-Israelites who joined in the worship of Jehovah and met his requirements. This theocratic nation of the kingdom of Israel was a servant of God, because it was organized and brought into existence by Jehovah through his righteous creatures in his universal organization. Angels had to do with its organization. (Gal. 3:19) Jehovah God gave his word to that nation, placed his spirit upon his servants there, and the organization itself operated in behalf of the individuals in the nation. The result was to the good of all and to the praise of Jehovah’s name. The members, the individuals of the nation of Israel, were children of the organization of Israel.—Amos 3:1, AS.
24. What points have been touched upon, and on which one shall we see that which follows?
24 To some extent the foregoing shows Jehovah’s supremacy, his kindly provisions as the Creator, and introduces the matter of his relationship to his creatures as they exist in organizations he has formed. Shall we consider some additional information in his Word concerning this latter point? See that which follows.