Jehovah, God of Production
“My father has kept working until now, and I keep working.”—John 5:17, NW.
1. By what do we know Jehovah to be the supreme Producer of the universe?
JEHOVAH is the supreme Producer of the universe. “By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” (Ps. 33:6, AS) Can we doubt? Like Abraham of old, you too scan now the heavens; count the stars if you can. Jehovah made all the billions of them. (Ps. 147:2-4, AS) Yes, when one views the splendor of the heavens it is as though the Creator had drawn across unmeasurable space a gigantic curtain decked with brilliant sparkling jewels. We cannot but be impressed with the majesty, the creative skill, the productive ability of the One who is our Maker. The psalmist too was impressed, for he wrote: “O Jehovah my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty: . . . who stretched it out the heavens like a curtain; . . . who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved for ever.”—Ps. 104:1, 2, 5, AS.
2, 3. (a) What are some facts about the universe and our great galaxy that heighten our appreciation of Jehovah’s creative ability? (b) To whom can we liken him?
2 So vast is Jehovah’s creation that it staggers the imagination to comprehend. At night countless heavenly objects that, to the unaided eye, appear as jewels are stars like our sun, some larger, some smaller. Each may be the center of a planetary system similar to that of which our earth is a part. At one time it was thought all stars were the same distance from the earth, but now astronomers show that space extends on and on; and with powerful telescopes distant regions of the universe are brought into view—whole hosts of formerly unknown stars. What to man’s naked eye may appear to be a single star, through a telescope is seen to be a cluster of stars or galaxy. In fact, so vast is the universe that astronomers have come to refer to these galaxies as “island universes.” Man’s most powerful telescope has brought within his vision’s range literally billions of galaxies.
3 Some local facts may further sharpen your appreciation. We live in a huge “island universe” of billions of stars. Most of it we cannot see because of great dust clouds in space, but now it is known to be of wheellike shape, with spokes or spirals gyrating out from a hublike center. All of it that we see men call the Milky Way—one of the spirals, made up of millions of stars with our sun among them. Many though the stars may be, there is plenty of room; for our nearest star-neighbor is said to be twenty-five trillion miles away. Space distances are so great they are measured in light years. The distance light travels in a year (or six trillion miles) is the unit. Using this measure we gain some idea of the size of our home galaxy, for it takes light from a star located on the outer rim a hundred thousand years to reach the outer rim on the other side; no small distance. Yet such a tremendous creative work is dwarfed by the fact that, to other galaxies, billions of light years distant, it all appears as a single star. Little wonder that Jehovah inspired his prophet Isaiah to write: “‘To whom, then, would you liken me, that I should be equal,’ says the Holy One.”—Isa. 40:25, AT.
4. How does the inanimate creation reflect the glory of its Creator?
4 In the heavens we see a work of perfection with order and harmony. Reflecting the stately majesty of their Creator, “the heavens are telling the glory of God, and the sky shows forth the work of his hands.” (Ps. 19:1, AT) There men see no conflict, no creative work getting out of place, all moving on and on according to the course set by Jehovah. Men of science think the universe is expanding. The Scriptures say that God continues to work, to do good. (John 5:17, NW) Dare we set limits to Jehovah’s range of activity, his power, his productive ability? “Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.” (Job 36:26, AS) If we find his creation awe-inspiring, more so should God himself be to us, for the Creator is greater than any or all of his creations. “Lift up your eyes on high, and see! who created these? He who brought forth their host by number, and called them all by name; through the greatness of his might, and the strength of his power, not one is missing.” (Isa. 40:26, AT) Yes, the so-called inanimate creation is in motion, a symphony in the skies, a product of the great Jehovah.
5. (a) What was God’s first creation? (b) What was the relationship this one held with Jehovah thereafter?
5 Be that creation billions of years old, as some claim, it did not precede the creation of intelligent persons. Jehovah’s masterpiece was his first creation, a spirit person like himself with his attributes of justice, love, power and wisdom. Of him it is written: “Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. . . . Before the earth was. . . . When he established the heavens, I was there.” (Prov. 8:22-27, AS) Jehovah made that mighty spirit his spokesman; he became the Word (Logʹos) of God. (John 1:1, 2, NW) Also, he became Jehovah’s co-worker in the production of all creative work that followed. “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.” (Col. 1:16, NW) In time he created a host of spirit persons, angels; also a vast array of stars beautifully adorning the heavens—all brought forth according to the divine production program. These two, Jehovah and his Son, always have seen and are now seeing in harmony. Their relationship always was and now is one of joy and productivity. “Then I was by him, as a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.”—Prov. 8:30, AS.
6. In Jehovah’s creation what is even more outstanding than quantity?
6 In his production program not only has Jehovah provided quantity; he has always had quality as well. In fact, perfection marks all that our Creator ever does. With him nothing has to be done over. There are no “seconds” or rejects. When he creates, the result is a finished product upon which no improvement can be made. “As for The [true] God, perfect is his way.” (2 Sam. 22:31, NW) Of Jehovah Moses was inspired to write: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.” (Deut. 32:4, NW) Truly, there is no one like Jehovah our God.
7. What is Jehovah’s purpose in producing the earth and where particularly is this revealed to us?
7 Some scientists say our earth was formed six and a half billion year, ago. Though possible, that still is just their guess; for respecting this the Scriptures merely state: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1, NW) For us now the date is immaterial. What should interest us today is earth’s role in Jehovah’s great production program, for he never wastes effort nor creates in vain. Both this fact and his purpose in making our earth are summed up at Isaiah 45:18 (AS): “For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste [in vain, margin], that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else.” To be inhabited then by material creations, living ones, the earth could be used to further his productive purposes. Genesis chapter one unfolds this to us.
8. From the third to the sixth creative day what creatures did God bring forth on earth, and what ability did these have in common?
8 Here Jehovah tells of earth’s preparation, a process covering thousands of years with the time divided into ‘days,’ periods that the Bible shows to be of seven thousand years each. The first two of these days dealt with allowing sunlight to shine on the earth and an atmosphere to be produced under its water canopy. Water covered earth’s face, but on the third day the water divided as land pushed its way upward. Further, on this third day something new occurred: “And God went on to say: ‘Let the earth cause grass to shoot forth, vegetation bearing seed, fruit trees yielding fruit according to their kinds, the seed of which is in it, upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:11, NW) Note here the power of reproduction, the first known evidence of productivity, save that resulting through direct creation. Vegetation from within itself began to reproduce its own species and become much. In the succeeding day-periods other creations appeared, living souls: first, those to live in the waters, next, flying creatures for the air, then animals to occupy land areas. These creatures could breathe, see, eat, move about and, from within themselves, reproduce their kind. As the sixth day drew to a close about forty-two thousand years of creative work found the earth luxuriantly robed in vegetation, teeming with animal life. With it all Jehovah was well pleased. He said it was “good.”
9. (a) Why were angelic observers of earth’s happenings not disappointed as Jehovah reached the height of earthly creation? (b) How were the two finally created endowed and greatly privileged?
9 Complete as this might seem, God was not through producing on earth. Thus far the earthly creatures were of low intelligence. Jehovah held in store a real surprise for his angelic hosts in heaven, who were no doubt watching with interest the developments on earth. To his Word or spokesman God spoke, saying: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26, NW) This meant producing intelligent creatures, endowed with God’s attributes—to think, reason, make decisions and express love for the Creator by serving, honoring and praising him. Created male and female, they were capable of reproducing their own kind. This became their responsibility through a procreation mandate: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is creeping upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28, NW) Note that in addition to multiplying his own kind, man’s earthly home he was instructed to make beautiful and keep so, and he was to hold right supervision over all creatures lower than himself—fish, birds, animals. Thus man would have a threefold part in God’s purpose for the earth.
10. At this stage how might one have known the purpose earth was to play in the universal production program?
10 Earth’s role in Jehovah’s productive program now could be seen. In time it must support an abundance of sea, air and land creatures and be peopled with perfect humans, who would maintain it forever in parklike beauty. The seventh creative day God reserved for this to be done in full, as he himself rested or desisted from his work respecting the earth. At that day’s end, seven thousand years later, the earth will be finished, a perfect jewel in the heavens, reflecting the creative skill of Jehovah.
DISRUPTER’S END FORETOLD
11. What took place at the outset that sabotaged the productive effort, and with what result?
11 By now, some six thousand years since man’s creation, Jehovah’s productive program would be nearing completion except for the fact that labor troubles set in at the start. One of Jehovah’s angels, the first rebel, sabotaged the work, set in motion a counterfeit program and induced the first human pair, Adam and Eve, to abandon Jehovah and instead follow him. Higher wages was his promise to them. (Gen. 3:1-7, NW) Those wages actually were low, not high, and paid death to Adam and Eve. Death has been the result to all their offspring to this day, and now many humans ignorantly label God a failure.—Rom. 5:12, NW.
12, 13. (a) Why are we sure Jehovah is no failure? (b) At that time what countermeasure did Jehovah purpose?
12 But Jehovah is no failure Never has disaster been near for him. (Isa. 55:11, AS) For example, on earth when labor troubles disrupt the assembly line of a modern auto plant it does not mean production will be indefinitely curtailed and the new model car fail to appear on time. The troubles are overcome; the new car will be shown on the originally announced date even though during the remaining time stepped-up activity is necessary. On a far grander scale it is that way with Jehovah. Troubles brought on by the all-time greatest angelic disrupter, Satan, have afflicted mankind for six sevenths of the time Jehovah allotted for his procreation mandate to be carried out by humans and for their transforming the whole earth into a garden. But do not shortsightedly think such interruption will continue endlessly. Corrective measures Jehovah has in store will mean, for the remaining thousand years (now just ahead of us), increased activity. His purpose will be accomplished; nothing can cause its failure. He has set the date; production will be finished on time.—Isa. 14:27; 60:22; Dan. 2:21, AS.
13 The temporary disruption that Satan caused when he induced Adam and Eve to abandon God resulted in Jehovah’s purposing and applying countermeasures. He began by making the prophecy recorded at Genesis 3:15 (NW). Here he promised a “seed” that would bruise Satan in death. By means of God’s woman or wifely organization (Isa. 54:5; Gal. 4:26-31; Rev. 12:1, 2, NW) this seed would be produced, who would crush Satan to death, wipe out the effects of the Edenic rebellion, then once again set in motion Jehovah’s productive program and direct it to successful completion.—Rom. 16:20, NW.
14. Later, by means of a prophetic drama, how did Jehovah show that he had not changed his original purpose?
14 Foreshadowing this, Jehovah caused a living drama to be enacted involving Noah and his family. Those eight souls alone survived the earth-wide flood when destruction by water came to all the ungodly. Those eight, on descending from the ark onto a cleansed earth, offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to Jehovah. He, in turn, told them that they and the surviving animals with them should multiply and fill the earth. “And God went on to bless Noah and his sons and to say to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.’” (Gen. 8:15; 9:1, NW) Since this procreation mandate to Noah’s family was pictorial, for its completion in reality man must await the thousand-year reign of the promised “seed.”—Gal. 3:29; Rev. 1:5, 6; 14:1-5, NW.
15. (a) How were Abraham and his family used to picture the producing of the “seed”? (b) What is the “seed,” and what part will it have in Jehovah’s production program?
15 Promises respecting this “seed” Jehovah made to faithful Abraham. Imagine Abraham’s joy when he heard Jehovah by his faithful angel say: “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.” (Gen. 22:17, 18, NW) In this prophetic drama Abraham pictured Jehovah, and his wife Sarah pictured Jehovah’s organization, through which he accomplishes production. Though childless, aging Sarah was assured by Jehovah’s angel that she would have a child. In time this became so. Sarah gave birth to Isaac, who pictured the “seed” of promise. From Eden Jehovah’s organization had been barren of earthly offspring to the time of Abraham, yes, and even beyond—in all, some four millenniums. Eleven hundred years after Abraham was given Jehovah’s promise Isaiah prophetically wrote of the time when this barren condition would end in great productivity amid rejoicing and thanksgiving. Later, Christ’s apostle Paul identified the fulfillment of the age-old promises and prophecies by pointing to the “seed” as being Jesus, together with others chosen by Jehovah out of all earth’s nations. (Isa. 54:1-13; Gal. 3:26-29; 4:1-31, NW) Christ Jesus in his own Revelation identifies the number to be associated with him, namely, 144,000. (Rev. 7:4; 14:1, NW) This chosen seed is the kingdom of Jehovah’s new world, under which surviving peoples of ‘all nations will bless themselves’; for it is this kingdom “seed” that will direct all productive effort in the new earth. Producing of this kingdom seed has become the most glorious part of all Jehovah’s production, a “new creation.”—2 Cor. 5:17, NW.
THE PRODUCTIVE WITNESS
16. (a) Compare Jesus’ productive life before and after his coming to earth. (b) How was Jesus’ profound appreciation for quality shown?
16 Never has there been a man on earth like Jesus, the chief One of the promised “seed.” John, another of Christ’s apostles, identifies Jesus as the Word of God, Jehovah’s very first creation, his only-begotten Son. At Jehovah’s request Jesus had consented to become a man upon earth. “So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father, and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.” (John 1:14, NW) For unknown ages the Word (Logʹos) had been working in full harmony with his Father, Jehovah; and now, after becoming the man Jesus, he continued thus to work. His was a productive life, productive of Kingdom fruitage, for the whole of his earthly ministry was devoted to witnessing about his Father and his Father’s kingdom. (John 17:4, 6-10; Luke 4:43, NW) It was God’s will that he do so, and he delighted to do Jehovah’s will. (Ps. 40:8, AS; Luke 22:42, NW) Also, Jesus had a keen sense for quality. What he did he did perfectly, for he was a perfect man. On earth his was the most outstanding example of love, compassion and patience. At the same time he was a bold, fearless proclaimer of Jehovah’s truth. He spoke with sincerity and conviction like none before him. Of him it was said: “Never has another man spoken like this.” (John 7:46; 10:31-39, NW) He understood people perfectly; he could read their hearts and minds. Therefore, the ones he chose to be his close companions and fellow workers were those of right heart, men he could train and did train to be productive witnesses like himself. For quality’s sake he did not choose many, only the best. Jesus was humble. He always gave Jehovah credit for all good things. (Mark 10:18, NW) Concerning the good followers he had he said in prayer to his Father: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world . . . and I have kept them.”—John 17:6-19, NW.
17. What other course was opened to Jesus, by whom, and how did he act?
17 Had Jesus wanted quantity irrespective of quality, gathering his disciples would have been simple. Why, he could have had the whole nation of Jews at his feet; yes, more than that—the whole world, with peoples of all nations recognizing him as their sovereign. All he had to do was to submit himself to another production manager. That other manager, Satan, tried to persuade Jesus to do that, shortly after Jesus had dedicated himself to do his Father’s will, just prior to starting his ministry. Here is the report of what took place: “Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.’” (Matt. 4:8, 9, NW) This was no temptation to the Son of God. Had not Eve first, then Adam, listened to similar proposals by the same invisible rascal? What did they gain? Jesus knew only too well. No, his delight had been to work with his Creator, and now his determination was to continue producing in that course.
18. (a) In what respect was Jesus’ witnessing productive? (b) What did his parting words to his disciples bring to their attention?
18 Jesus’ short ministry, just three and a half years, was most productive. First in importance, he maintained his integrity, thus proving himself worthy to be the one to vindicate his Father’s name by crushing Satan to death. Next, he gave his life as a purchase price for obedient humans. Note: “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.” (Matt. 20:28, NW) In short, he did all that Jehovah had outlined for him. In his prayer to his Father he included: “I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do.” (John 17:4, NW) In his ministry Jesus set a good example for his carefully chosen followers. Additionally, he spent much time teaching them about Jehovah, also about himself and about the Kingdom and about work they would need to do after he returned to his Father. They hung on his every word, but failed to understand clearly. Jesus foreknew this. So he told them that after his departure his Father would send to them a comforter, the holy spirit, to teach them additional things and also bring to their remembrance the things he had told them. (John 14:26, NW) When finally departing, he told them theirs must be a productive ministry. “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.”—Matt. 28:18-20, NW.
19. How was Jesus’ productivity reflected in his disciples’ activity?
19 That Jesus’ witnessing was productive we have but to look at what his followers did early in the Christian era. They would need God’s spirit and, faithful to his word, Jesus sent the holy spirit to them while they were assembled together ten days after his ascension to heaven. As the spirit of Jehovah fell upon them these began to glorify and praise God in many languages that the holy spirit enabled them to speak on that occasion. Also then present at Jerusalem were people of many nationalities, and they heard God glorified by the spirit-baptized disciples in their native tongues. The visiting crowds wondered greatly. Then Christ’s apostle Peter forcefully testified, publicly, concerning Jesus and his messiahship, after which many believed and were baptized. The report of the time says: “On that day about three thousand souls were added [to the Christian congregation].” (Acts 2:41, NW) These then began to study and train with the apostles for a productive ministry, which their dedication called for. “And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to association together, to taking of meals and to prayers. . . . At the same time Jehovah continued to join to them daily those being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NW) Soon afterward five thousand men alone were in the ministry. What a group of ministers to begin producing in just the land of Palestine!—Acts 4:4, NW.
20. What twofold result came of these early days of witnessing by Jesus’ apostles and disciples?
20 Such prosperity as a result of productive witnessing must soon draw the fire of Satan, and it did. Persecution set in. Satan’s aim was stoppage of the work. In rapid succession came threats, imprisonment, beatings, and then the dramatic death of a faithful disciple, Stephen. Such persecution caused a scattering of the Christian ministers but no curtailing of their preaching. “However, those who had been scattered went through the land declaring the good news of the word.” (Acts 8:4, NW) The apostles, beaten and imprisoned, rejoiced “because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name. And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.” (Acts 5:17, 40-42, NW) Growth continued despite persecution. After three and a half years of this preaching among the Jews in Palestine the opportunity was extended by Jehovah to people of all other nations to become Christian ministers and to share in the productive witnessing. (Acts 10:44-48, NW) The nucleus Jesus had formed with the twelve apostles quickly grew in the first century, spreading to far-flung reaches of the Roman Empire and beyond. Jesus had set a good example of productive witnessing. His apostles and disciples followed that example to the glory of God and their own eternal salvation.—1 Tim. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 4:1-5, NW.
21. According to Bible prophecy, when would productive witnessing attain earth-wide scope, and with what result?
21 After the death of Christ’s apostles that productive witnessing all but died out. (Acts 20:29-35; 2 Pet. 2:1-3, NW) But did that mean its total end? No; rather the words of Jesus, the writings of his apostles and disciples, as well as the God-given prophecies written by faithful men before them, all testify to a period of productive witnessing on a global scale, yet future from their time. (Rev. 14:6, 7, NW; Isa. 52:7, 8; Ezek. 9:3, 4, 11; Dan. 12:3, AS) Jesus had said that at the end of the system of things ruled by Satan the good news of Jehovah’s established kingdom must be preached world-wide; and that over the Kingdom issue the people of all nations must become divided, separated, as “sheep and goats.” (Matt. 24:14; 25:31-46; Mark 13:9-13, NW) Further, these “sheep,” gathered “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” must become a “great crowd,” which no man can number; yes, ‘the little one will become a thousand,’ all amid boundless spiritual prosperity. (Rev. 7:9, NW; Isa. 60:22; 66:14; Mic. 5:2-9, AS) That then future time has now arrived, in our day. For us now these things and more are actually taking place. Ours is the indescribable privilege of engaging in productive witnessing to the praise of the great God Jehovah, the chief Producer of all.—Psalm 149; Isaiah 12, AS.