The Way for Man’s Attainment to Perfect Integrity
1. Whom does the gaining of the restored paradise on earth involve?
IN THE previous article we have seen how man lost paradise by breaking his integrity toward God and so missing the mark. Now we shall study how paradise restored is to be gained by the redeemed descendants of the sinner Adam. Their gaining the restored paradise on earth does not mean a universal return of every last member of the first Adam’s family. Rather we shall see that this involves only those who come into a new family arrangement under another Adam, a life-giving Father who heads a new flock like a wise shepherd.—Isa. 9:6; John 10:11-16, NW.
2, 3. Why was no law given by God to Adam after his expulsion from Eden, and when and to whom was a complete code of laws governing all of life’s relations given?
2 To begin, we ask, Did Jehovah ever restate his mark of perfect obedience to Adam after his being dismissed from the paradise of Eden? There is no evidence that God ever spoke to rebel Adam again after his court trial in Eden’s garden. Since God gave his law to Adam when he was perfect and yet Adam selfishly broke the divine law, God would not give to the now imperfect, rebellious Adam any restatement of his law or any new set of laws in the hope of his attaining to the mark of perfect integrity toward God the supreme Lawgiver. Later Jehovah did speak to Adam’s descendants such as Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham, giving these imperfect but holy men some revelations of His purposes, and there is the record that God imposed obligations upon Abraham and gave him commands, statutes and laws (Gen. 26:5, NW; 2 Pet. 1:1, 21; 3:2), yet there is no record that a complete, detailed code of laws governing all the relations of life was ever given to any of them. In fact, Paul shows that until the day of Moses there was no such comprehensive code of laws given by God. However, sin and its companion, the penalty death, continued ruling as king, but no men, including Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham, could determine how far they were missing God’s mark of human perfection. They could not tell to what extent they were falling short of the “glory of God.” Why not? “For until the Law [through Moses] sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law. Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.” Here Paul alludes to the coming of one like Adam, a second Adam.—Rom 5:13, 14, NW; 1 Cor. 15:45.
3 But did not Jehovah give other laws before Moses’ time that branded violators? Yes. Besides those to Abraham, there were such laws as those forbidding the eating of blood and forbidding murder, as given to Noah. (Gen. 9:4-6) Joseph, Abraham’s great-grandson, spoke of sinning against God by committing fornication with his master’s wife. (Gen. 39:7-9) Jehovah kept King Abimelech from sinning against him by ignorantly committing adultery with Abraham’s wife. (Gen. 20:6, 7) These specific laws governed certain human relationships, but they did not constitute a complete code of laws governing a nation like Israel and setting out a special course of holy devotion to a God-King. Such a body of law governing special conduct toward a God-Ruler in all the affairs of life did not come into existence until God gave the Law to Israel through the mediator Moses in 1513 B.C.
4, 5. Whom did the law covenant legally bind, what relationship did it establish, and how did it involve holiness?
4 Even though the law covenant was binding solely upon the Jewish nation, yet their schooling under it and the things it pointed forward to were eventually to benefit people of all nations. The law covenant was one body of legislation made up of the Ten Commandments and about six hundred additional laws. The entire legal code served as a Constitution that organized the Israelites into a holy nation with governmental relationship to the God-King Jehovah. As to this, Jehovah said to Israel: “Now if you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”—Ex. 19:5, 6, NW.
5 This law code given through Moses was perfect. It was right. It was good. And it was holy. (Ps. 19:7; Rom. 7:12; 1 Tim. 1:8, NW) It revealed a high standard of holiness. The words “holy” and “holiness” are used more than 130 times in connection with this law covenant. The code contained laws providing for holy sabbath days, holy garments for its administering priests, a holy meeting place between the God-King and his holy servants, holy anointing oil, a high-priest crown with an inscription “Holiness belongs to Jehovah,” holy things, holy conventions and holy contributions. The Law further prescribed that the people keep ceremonially clean before their holy God-King by eating clean foods, by various washings of the body, by making of sacrifices for sins and by keeping away from dead things.—Ex. 16:23; 28:2; 29:29; 30:25; 39:30; Lev. 5:15; 23:3; Num. 18:19, NW.
6, 7. Why did the breaking of the First and Second Commandments merit such a heavy punishment?
6 Some moderns presumptuously criticize the Living God for having decreed the death sentence for those who violated the First and Second Commandments, which these moderns claim are merely moral laws. (Deut. 13:6-10; Lev. 20:2, NW) Such persons are ignorant of the fact that these two commandments not only were introductory to a moral code but were part of the written jural standards of the nation, actually the preamble to its Constitution, and, more than that, they governed the personal allegiance of each Israelite to his Sovereign King, Jehovah. Note the exclusive allegiance required by the Second Commandment. “You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them [images], because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion.” (Ex. 20:5; 34:14, NW) Therefore for an Israelite to fall away from the clean worship to serve a god other than Jehovah or to embrace idolatry in serving images, by such very breaking of the First and Second Commandments he was committing the highest of crimes in the land and meriting the heaviest of punishment.
7 Hear what a Biblical authority, George Bush, has to say on this point in his Notes, Critical and Practical on Exodus, Volume II, page 4: “Idolatry became not only the transgression of a moral precept of most aggravated character, but also an act of treason against the state. It was a virtual rejection of the authority of their acknowledged Ruler. It was a breach of the original compact, an open rebellion against God, a positive casting off of sworn allegiance, and therefore, on the established principles of all governments, justly meriting capital punishment.”
8. (a) How would the laws of the nations today describe an act committed against the dignity of the sovereign? (b) What serious heed do Jehovah’s witnesses take today, and why?
8 Actually, according to the laws of the nations today the above act against the dignity of the sovereign power would be considered high treason. Such a crime would be termed lese majesty. Lese majesty is defined legally as any act committed against the sovereign power or, often specifically, any of various offenses violating the dignity of a sovereign ruler. Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (1934), page 689, defines it as “high treason.” So the offense Adam committed in Eden against the sovereign majesty of Jehovah and the breaking of allegiance to their God-King Sovereign by the many Israelites amounted to gravely reprehensible crimes even according to present-day legal standards. Hence we see that Israel under a law defining sin and advocating holiness brought upon themselves great possibilities for blessings or dire consequences for missing the mark in failures and breakings of the law. (Deut. 28:1-68) Let small-minded revilers take note that Jehovah’s witnesses of today still take serious heed to the principles underlying the First and Second Commandments by refusing to salute the flag of any nation or to commit idolatry, that their exclusive devotion to Jehovah God may remain as clean as possible.
9. Could the Jews successfully justify themselves by means of the Law? Why your answer?
9 Was it possible for the imperfect Israelites to keep this law perfectly and thus to raise themselves up to God’s high, revealed standard of exclusive holiness and righteousness? The answer is a decided no, as found in the Biblical record of the Jewish nation during the some fifteen hundred years of the law covenant’s operation. Many self-righteous Jews thought that by works of law they could become so holy as to meet God’s high standard of holiness and that God would have to declare them righteous or justify them by means of the law. But Paul emphatically shows: “Therefore by works of law no flesh will be declared righteous before him.”—Rom. 3:9-20, NW.
WHY THE LAW COVENANT
10. In what respect should the Law have served the Jews, and what should it have shown them?
10 Why, then, the giving of a perfect law of holiness to the Jews? There were several reasons, as indicated in the Scriptures. First the legal standard of holiness should have served as a mirror to the Jews. Every time they looked into this mirror by examining their life course as against the requirements of the Law it should have shown them what sin was and how far short they were from the perfect glory of God. Paul argued correctly: “Really I would not have come to know sin if it had not been for the Law.” “For by law is the accurate knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 7:7; 3:20, NW) Also every time they viewed their lack of exclusive devotion and shortcomings under the law that required animal sacrifices to appease the disfavor of their God-King, it should have created in them a strong realization of the need of a genuine ransomer. It should have led them to a desire for the Christ, in whom they could have faith. “Before this faith arrived, we were being guarded under law, being delivered up together into custody, looking to the faith which was destined to be revealed. Consequently, the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith.”—Gal. 3:23, 24, NW.
11. For what further reason was the law covenant given, and what do the facts show?
11 How further should the law covenant have led the Jews to accept Christ when he came? It should have enabled them to recognize the second Adam when he appeared to commence a new relationship with Jehovah God. It was written in the law, “And you must keep my statutes and my judicial decisions, which if a man will do, then he must live by means of them. I am Jehovah.” (Lev. 18:5, NW; Rom. 10:5) In other words, any man fully keeping the entire law that served as God’s standard then of exclusive holiness would be a sinless man, a man who would have Jehovah’s declaration of righteousness granting him the right to perfect human life. This man, then, would correspond to the first perfect Adam before he sinned. In such way the law covenant would enable the faithful Jews to be on the lookout to identify such a perfect man who would qualify as the perfect ransomer. Here was another requirement that their promised Messiah or Christ would have to meet. Did Jesus, the Christ, meet this vital requirement of perfect holiness, sinlessness, being exclusively devoted to the God-King Jehovah and having the right to perfect human life? The answer is a resounding Yes. Jesus kept his integrity. Jesus himself challenged the self-righteous Pharisees of his time: “Who of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46, NW) Paul adds his testimony to this point as to Jesus’ qualifications. “For such a high priest as this was suitable for us, one of loving-kindness, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners, and become higher than the heavens.”—Heb. 7:26, NW.
12. Why was it necessary for a corresponding ransom, and who gave it?
12 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” This scripture confirms that Jesus Christ was the man that corresponded to the first perfect Adam and hence gave his soul as man’s redeemer in the place of Adam’s soul forfeited because of his unfaithfulness. God’s law pictured this requirement of like for like, soul for soul. “But if a fatal accident should occur, then you must give soul for soul.” Jesus personally testified that he gave his soul as a ransom for many of faithful mankind: “Just as the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.”—1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Ex. 21:23; Matt. 20:28, NW.
THE NEW WAY
13. What new way in man’s behalf was necessary, and why? Through whom did the new way come?
13 As we have already considered, the law covenant arrangement did not lift the imperfect fallen Jews up to God’s high standard of perfect holiness. Thus man’s uplift to human perfection in God’s sight must come about by a different arrangement. “For the Law [covenant] made nothing perfect, but the bringing in besides of a better hope did, through which we are drawing near to God.” What, then, is that better arrangement that does succeed in drawing men near to God and finally up to righteousness in God’s sight? The law-covenant system was brought to an end when Jehovah legally terminated it “by nailing it to the torture stake” of Jesus A.D. 33. It gave way to the new arrangement that does bring in uplift to righteousness before God, the way of God’s undeserved kindness ushered in by Jesus Christ the ransomer. “For sin must not be master over you, seeing that you are not under law but under undeserved kindness.” “The law was given through Moses, the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ.”—Heb. 7:19; Col. 2:14; Rom. 6:14; John 1:17, NW.
14, 15. (a) How was the new way spectacularly inaugurated, and with what announcement by a forerunner? (b) Who is the “last Adam,” and why was he able to give practical illustrations as to the new program of human uplift?
14 During the three and a half years of his earthly ministry Jesus fully prepared this new way of uplift to perfection and gave demonstrations as to how it would work for faithful mankind’s permanent good. At the time of Jesus’ baptism in the waters of the Jordan in the fall of A.D. 29, John the Baptist, the forerunner announcer of the Christ, made this arresting proclamation: “‘See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! . . . the reason why I came baptizing in water was that he might be made manifest to Israel.’ . . . ‘I viewed the spirit coming down as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon him. . . . And I have seen it and have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.’” Here in a spectacular manner on Jesus’ dedication day Jehovah God’s holy active force, manifested in the form of a dove, came down upon Jesus as a witness that the heavenly Father was accepting the offer of Jesus’ perfect human life as a ransoming sacrifice to take away sin. Thus was inaugurated the new program of genuine forgiveness of sins, miraculous healings from the effects of sin and the hope of perfect sinless life forever in a new world of righteousness.—John 1:29-34, NW.
15 From this dedication day forward Jesus was reckoned in God’s sight as a new spiritual creature with hopes of spirit life in heaven. “‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam [Jesus Christ] became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Cor. 15:45, NW) Though still walking in the flesh as a perfect man for a further three and a half years until his human sacrifice was completed in his death upon the torture stake, yet God permitted Jesus to give practical illustrations here on earth as to how this new program of human uplift would operate in Jehovah’s due time.
NEW FAMILY REWARD
16, 17. (a) How, according to divine legal procedure, does Jehovah make possible the program of human recovery? (b) What contrast do the scriptures give between condemnation of the human family and the justification of any?
16 That the “last Adam became a lifegiving spirit” must indicate that Jesus Christ, the second Adam, passes on life under a new family arrangement. The first Adam, as a patriarch or family head, became a gross sinner before he passed on any life effects to his offspring. So when he did begin to have children he passed on to them a great disability of sinfulness, sickness and death that his descendants have never been able to shake off. Thus sore family condemnation clings to the old human race because of the first Adam, and punishment in the way of sickness and death continues to run its course. Now if Jehovah God, in his loving mercy and in a kindness that members of the old Adamic family in no wise deserve, provides a new Adam who never missed the mark of integrity and who has the value of human life rights, what does this make possible according to divine legal procedure? Why, it makes possible a most marvelous program of salvation and formation of a new human family around a new family head. Such a new righteous family head would have the power legally and actually to pass life effects of goodness, healing and eventually perfection from his meritorious righteous record to all those who are invited to become members of his new family arrangement. Notice how Paul contrasts the family condemnation of the old Adamic family with the reward that comes to the believers by means of the righteous ransoming act of the “last Adam,” Jesus Christ.
17 “So, then, as through one trespass [of the first Adam] the result to men of all kinds [entire old Adamic family] was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification [of the second Adam, Jesus Christ] the result to men of all kinds [who believe and obey] is a declaring of them righteous for life. For just as through the disobedience of the one man [first Adam] many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person [second Adam] many will be constituted righteous.”—Rom. 5:18, 19, NW.
18. Who were invited to become Jesus’ disciples, to accept his yoke and gain true happiness?
18 Let us go back to the scenes of Jesus’ earthly ministry to see how he demonstrated the effects, the scope and the time for the operation of the program of recovery when earthly lovers of Jehovah will be lifted up to the mark of perfection. First we observe that Jesus offered the true happiness to those conscious of their spiritual need, the sin-laden repentant ones, the meek who loved God, the honest-hearted ones, those hungering and thirsting after righteousness, the merciful ones and those being persecuted. He did not invite the hypocrites, the self-righteous ones, nor many of the so-called wise and intellectual ones to become his disciples under the new way of forgiveness of sins. “Happy are those who are conscious of their spiritual need. . . . Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness. . . . you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes. Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matt. 5:3-10; 11:25, 28-30, NW) Many were the honest-hearted ones as people of good will who heard Jesus’ invitation “Come to me” and became his Christian footstep followers. Many hear today and follow a like course.
19. What pattern did Jesus set as to deeds that would be performed in the reconstruction of mankind?
19 Among these good-will Jewish people Jesus performed more than forty astounding miracles. These were all performed on the basis of his pending ransom sacrifice, illustrating the powers available to him to use when the day of reconstruction of mankind comes. He cured a lunatic, cast out evil spirits, cured cases of fever, cleansed from leprosy, cured a paralytic, healed a man infirm for thirty-eight years, restored a dried-up hand, cured a woman subject to a flow of blood for twelve years, restored eyesight, made the dumb able to speak, straightened a woman who was bent double, cured dropsy, replaced a cut-off ear, and, last and greatest of all, he performed three resurrections. What a wide range of restorative healings! Surely there is not a sin-produced handicap or evidence of human degeneracy that lies beyond the power of Jesus Christ to heal lastingly in the new earth society.
20. (a) How did Jesus demonstrate what kinds of people will be healed by him in the antitypical sabbath? (b) How did Jesus indicate the time when this would take place?
20 Another comforting fact to notice in Jesus’ ministry is that he did not confine his miraculous healing to the Jews. There were two cases where he healed non-Jews and non-Samaritans, thus showing that in the time of the reconstruction good people from all nations who are invited to be his subjects will be recipients of this great healing service. (Mark 7:24-26; Matt. 8:5-10) Likewise it is interesting to note that Jesus performed so many of his miracles on the sabbath day. Actually the Pharisees accused Jesus of breaking the sabbath in the performance of these mighty deeds. Jesus argued that it was lawful to do good on the sabbath and finally stated that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. Here, then, is the clue as to the time for his permanent recovery program. It is during the thousand-year Kingdom rule, which is a thousand-year sabbath over which Christ Jesus rules as Lord, that faithful man is to be helped to meet the mark of integrity.—Matt. 12:1-8; 19:28, NW.
21. What other authority did Jesus demonstrate in his earthly ministry, and of what comfort has this been to Christians?
21 Jesus, too, had the authority to forgive sins. In fact, certain scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy because he claimed this power. In reply Jesus showed that it was just as easy for him to perform a miracle as to say, “Your sins are forgiven.” One was just as easy as the other and both related to the recovery program. “‘However, in order for you to know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins—’ then he said to the paralytic: ‘Get up, pick up your bed, and go to your home.’” (Matt. 9:6, NW) What great relief this provision has ever been to the conscience of the true Christian to know that as he prays to Jehovah his Father in Jesus’ name for forgiveness of sins along with repentance, such forgiveness is granted!—Mark 11:25, NW.
22. What happiness do Jehovah’s people have now?
22 “Happy are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered; happy is the man whose sin Jehovah will by no means take into account.” (Rom. 4:7, 8, NW) Today the anointed remnant by reason of their being justified by faith have had their past record of inherited sins wiped away. The other sheep, too, have had a token forgiveness. Coupled with the fact that both groups have been undergoing a spiritual healing by means of God’s Word of truth, this means that all Jehovah’s witnesses are even now enjoying a great state of happiness. They are transforming their minds and already are being lifted up spiritually toward the high goal of holiness. Yes, they are determined to render exclusive devotion to Jehovah their God-King and to maintain absolute integrity toward him. However, we know men have yet a long way to go to meet that perfect standard. But step by step we desire diligently to travel the way Jehovah has provided in his undeserved kindness for man’s gradual uplift to human perfection in God’s image.
23. What will be the final achievement of God’s uplift of humankind by the thousand-year kingdom of Jesus Christ?
23 We thrillingly look forward to a still greater state of happiness, after Armageddon, when the physical healings commence for the survivors, their offspring and the resurrected ones. While mankind retrogressed in sin to a very low level from God’s original mark during the past six thousand years, yet by means of an accelerated program Jesus Christ will accomplish the lifting up of the new family of humans in a thousand years. He will fully recover them to full perfection in the flesh and mind so that they can easily meet Jehovah’s restated terms of perfection and integrity. Gone beyond memory then will be the aches, pains, faults, mistakes, weaknesses, troubles, sorrows, deformities, handicaps, sicknesses and negligence of the days under the harsh rule of sin and king death. Then, too, during the first part of that thousand years of reconstruction, as a parallel project the entire earth will become an Edenic paradise. At the conclusion of the thousand years, after the uplifted multitudes of mankind meet their final test to determine their worthiness of the gift of an unending life span, radiantly vital mankind, then holy, perfected and truly loyal, will be standing in paradise on the shore of the ages to come. As they employ their powers of free will to maintain the glory of their Holy God, earth’s resplendent subjects will pass from one exhilarating exploit to another and from one state of complete happiness to another to time eternal. (Eph. 1:21, NW) Forever they will maintain their integrity to Jehovah God to his vindication.