Part 3—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
In this serial part we advance through the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth” and its Chapter 1 entitled “Whose Will?” We are still considering the beauty of the vision of the apostle John when he entered by the “opened door in heaven,” as it were, into the very presence of God on his glorious throne. Seated around God’s throne John saw twenty-four elderly ones, who symbolized the finally completed Christian congregation of 144,000 members glorified in heaven. From the seven lamps of fire and a glassy sea before God’s throne, it appeared as if the scene were set in the temple of God, where all is clean and holy. We now come to paragraph 28.
JUSTICE, POWER, LOVE AND WISDOM IN HIS CREATURES
28. What four living creatures were seen at God’s throne?
28 Let us not be surprised at what we see further in the vision to John. Let us not think that in heaven there are animals that are found on earth. The dog Laika that lived for a few days imprisoned in the Russian Sputnik No. 2, rocketed into outer space on November 3, 1957, got no higher than the orbit in which this man-made satellite zoomed around the earth till it fell to destruction on April 14, 1958. But in God’s holy presence there are creatures that have qualities pictured by certain animals here on earth. We see these as John tells us more details of his marvelous vision. “And in the midst of the throne and around the throne there are four living creatures that are full of eyes in front and behind. And the first living creature is like a lion, and the second living creature is like a young bull, and the third living creature has a face like a man’s, and the fourth living creature is like a flying eagle.”—Rev. 4:6, 7.
29. What do these living creatures symbolize, and to what does their number four point?
29 Being in the midst of God’s throne and around his throne, these four living creatures symbolize an organization of God’s creatures having the four prominent qualities or attributes that were found first in the Creator himself and that he put in creatures whom he made in his image and likeness. The Holy Bible tells specially of God’s four principal qualities or attributes, which are justice, power, love and wisdom, in perfect balance and harmony. These are live or living qualities, not existing separate or detached, but embodied in God himself and also in all his godlike creatures. Since the living creatures full of eyes before and behind are four in number, they together would picture God’s organization of godlike creatures in the perfectness of a square, with its four sides equal and in perfect balance, right-angled.
30. What does the first creature’s likeness to a lion picture, and the second creature’s likeness to a young bull?
30 All these creatures are marked by a combination of the four outstanding godlike qualities. These set them apart from mere brute beasts of the earth. The fact that the first living creature is like a lion pictures that God’s properly balanced organization has courageous justice. Jesus Christ, God’s first creation, is spoken of as God’s righteous or just one, and he is called “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah.” (John 5:30; Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14; Rev. 5:5) The fact that the second living creature was like a young bull point to the power or strength with which God has filled the organization of his godlike creatures. In keeping with this fact the apostle Paul said: “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.” And to Christians he wrote: “Finally, go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength.”—Phil. 4:13; Eph. 6:10.
31. What did the third creature’s having a face like a man’s picture, and the fourth creature’s being like a flying eagle?
31 As regards the third living creature, it had a “face like a man’s.” Now it is said of man’s Maker: “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Man, who is made in God’s image and likeness, should correspondingly be love, expressing love above all other things of which he is capable. So the man’s face on the third living creature symbolizes that God’s organization of faithful sons has love and hence works no evil to fellow creatures. “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Combined with this love and with justice and power is wisdom, heavenly wisdom; and this is pictured by the flying eagle that the fourth living creature resembles. The eagle flies high in the heavens and is farsighted. “An eagle flies upward” and “builds its nest high up, . . . far into the distance its eyes keep looking.” (Job 39:27-29) “For a foolish one true wisdom is too high,” but not for the farsighted, high-aiming ones of God’s faithful organization. They are swift like the eagle in acting according to God’s wisdom.—Prov. 24:7.
32. What is pictured in that the four living creatures have many eyes in front and behind and declare Jehovah’s holiness day and night?
32 The symbolic four living creatures were full of eyes in front and behind. In like manner those who are members of God’s just, powerful, loving and wise organization are awake, alert, on the watch. They especially take note of God in all things and observe all his indications of what he wants them to do. This remarkable feature about them is made noticeable in the further description of them: “And as for these four living creatures, each one of them respectively has six wings; round about and underneath they are full of eyes. And they have no rest day and night as they say: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Jehovaha God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming.’” (Rev. 4:8) From this it is plain that these four many-eyed living creatures picture those who can talk and who recognize God and appreciate his holiness, his almightiness and his purposefulness, and who, besides, know his name.
33. What equality in wings did the prophet Isaiah see in his vision of Jehovah in his temple?
33 Long before John, the prophet Isaiah also had a vision of God at his temple. At that time Isaiah saw heavenly creatures called seraphs standing above God’s throne. Like the four living creatures, these also had three pairs of wings. How did they use these wings? “With two he kept his face covered, and with two he kept his feet covered, and with two he would fly about. And this one called to that one and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The fullness of all the earth is his glory.’”—Isa. 6:1-3.
34. What did the four creatures’ having each three pairs of wings make possible, also the wings’ being full of eyes?
34 Manifestly, with three pairs of wings, the four living creatures whom John saw could either fly or speed up their movement forward; they could either cover parts of themselves or cover other creatures protectively; and they would have plenty of vision to know how to use those wings that were full of eyes round about and underneath. Such peculiarities speak of similar powers of swift movement, protectiveness and awakeness, awareness, on the part of God’s faithful servants pictured by the four living creatures. For example, we are told by Psalm 34:7: “The angel of Jehovah is camping all around those fearing him and he rescues them.” Day and night God’s just, powerful, loving and wise organization can render any needed service. Why? Because they “have no rest day and night” as they tell continually, with a threefold emphasis, how holy Jehovah God the Almighty is. So we should appreciate God’s universal organization.
35. How did the twenty-four elders show that the Christian congregation is in agreement with what the living creatures do and say?
35 The true Christian congregation is in full harmony with what the symbolic four living creatures do and say. John shows that when telling us more of what he saw in vision. He says: “And whenever the living creatures offer glory and honor and thanksgiving to the one seated upon the throne, the one that lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four persons of advanced age fall down before the one seated upon the throne and worship the one that lives for ever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, Jehovah,b even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.’”—Rev. 4:9-11.
36. Having in mind those twenty-four elders, what questions do we ask concerning political or even religious rulers on earth today?
36 Do the political rulers of today, or do even the religious rulers of today, inside and outside Christendom, fulfill that symbolic vision? Do they take off their crowns, their diadems, their miters, their official turbans or headdress and cast them before the One sitting in the “ultimate position” on the supreme throne of the universe, the immortal One, who lives and reigns forever and ever? Do they get down off their thrones or official seats and fall down before this God and Creator and surrender to him their governing power and authority, confessing that He is the one worthy to receive the glory, the honor and the power, because he is the Creator of all things? Do they thus copy the twenty-four “elders”? Or do they try to make heroes and gods out of themselves for people to idolize and worship, requiring them to ‘give to Caesar what belongs to God’? Do they seek to gain the “ultimate position” in outer space and to seize world domination and to enforce their will on the peoples of the earth? Or do they show willingness to hand over national or tribal sovereignty to the supreme, everlasting kingdom of God? The worldly events of our day give the unprejudiced, unmistakable answers to these pointed questions.
37. To whom do those pictured by the “elders” give the glory, and why should we try to learn what his will is and to do it?
37 Those who are really symbolized by the twenty-four “elders” honestly declare that all power comes from God the Creator and that they deserve no glory and honor. God the Creator they acknowledge as worthy of receiving glory, honor and power and therefore worthy of receiving worship, submission and obedience. Since he is Creator of all things, he is also our Creator. In no other way did we come into existence. We did not will ourselves into existence on this earth. No; but as the twenty-four “elders” said to God on his throne: “Because of your will they existed and were created.” Since it is because of God’s will that we were created and have existence today, then we were created for God’s will. We exist only for his will, all of us. Quite properly we should desire and try to learn what his will is and then do it. Otherwise we shall disastrously miss the purpose of our creation and existence.
38. Who as the greatest man ever on earth appreciated that fact, and whom did he send out to preach?
38 The greatest man ever on earth appreciated that very fact. He was a man of prayer to God. His name was Jesus. His father was not a Hebrew, an Israelite or a Jew, but was God himself, as the facts to be discussed herein will show. For that reason he called no man his father but spoke of God as his heavenly Father. Because Jesus, when thirty years old, was anointed and received the spirit of God he was called Jesus Christ. In The Holy Bible we find written the “book of the history of Jesus Christ,” “the good news about Jesus Christ.” (Matt. 1:1; Mark 1:1) He was the greatest teacher ever on earth. He had learners or disciples, and he sent out special disciples to preach. These he called apostles, or sent-forth ones.—Mark 3:7, 9, 13, 14.
39. In what way did he tell them that they should pray, and to whom?
39 Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God in an acceptable way. The simplest, yet greatest pattern of prayer that he taught them is given in his well-known Sermon on the Mount. He told them not to pray hypocritically or according to mere form: “But when praying, do not say the same things over and over again, just as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words. So, do not make yourselves like them, for God your Father knows what things you are needing before ever you ask him.” (Matt. 6:5-8) In this way he taught them to recognize God as their Creator and Life-giver, hence as their Father, the Provider of what things they are needing. Then he added:
THE MODEL PRAYER
40. What was the model prayer that he taught them?
40 “This, therefore, is the way you are to pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, your name be revered! Your kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as well as in heaven! Give us today bread for the day, and forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors. And do not subject us to temptation, but save us from the evil one.’”—Matt. 6:9-13, AT.
41. Was it to a nameless God that he taught them to pray, and how did he personally show the answer to this question?
41 In Jesus’ day on earth the Caesar of the Roman Empire ruled a large part of the inhabited earth, including the Middle East, where Jesus lived. Jesus did not teach his learners, his disciples, to pray to a nameless divine Person, an unnamable God, a God who as soon as his title “God” is mentioned is recognized in the same way by everybody, regardless of which one of the millions of so-called gods that a person may be worshiping. Jesus Christ many times spoke of the personal name of God his Father. Before he began to preach in a meeting place in his home town of Nazareth he took the book of Isaiah and read to his listeners Isa chapter 61, verses 1 and 2, which say: “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah has anointed me to preach good tidings.” (AS; Luke 4:16-21) From this it is seen that God has a personal name.
42, 43. How does God set himself apart from every other one that is called “god,” and with what Hindu statement does his Word disagree in this matter?
42 God has a name that sets him apart from every other person or thing that is called by the title “god.” He honors and respects his own name and will allow nobody to live forever that speaks wrongly of his name or that shames his name. He puts his own name behind the promises, the prophecies, the statements of purpose that he makes, so that he may not be mistaken for anyone else whom men worship as a god. In regard to his name his written Word, the Bible, disagrees with the following recent statement:c
43 “Names of gods do not make religion any more than the names of men and women make up their personality. Names are originally given and used without any idea of comparison or contrast with other names. . . . Whether it be God, Jehovah, Bhagwan, Ishwar, Allah, Hari, Siva or Rama, it is the same Being that in vague manner is recalled by every devotee when he utters the name which he has been brought up to associate with the mystery of the universe and the idea of worship.”
44. What was known about the God to whom Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray?
44 To the contrary, Jesus taught his disciples to pray, not to a so-called Mother-Father God,d or to a nameless God, but to a God whose name Jesus himself knew and the Israelite high priests knew. If God’s personal name, which is Jehovah, did not count, why did Jesus open the model prayer, teaching: “Our Father in heaven, your name be revered [or, be sanctified, NW]”? Those listening to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount were believers, not in the gods of India or other lands like it, but in the God whom Jesus himself worshiped. Christ’s own name honors the name of this God and heavenly Father, for the name Jesus means “Jehovah Is Salvation.”—Matt. 1:21.
(To be continued)
a Nine Hebrew translations of the book of Revelation have the name “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” here, instead of the title “the Lord.” These Hebrew translations, listed as J7, 8, 11-14, 16-18, are identified for us on pages 31, 32 of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. See therein the footnote a on Revelation 4:8.
b Six Hebrew translations of the book of Revelation have the name “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” here, instead of the title “the Lord.” In the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures these are listed as J7, 8, 13, 14, 16, 18. See therein the footnote b on Revelation 4:11, and pages 31, 32.
c Quoted from the book Hinduism—Doctrine and Way of Life, by C. Rajagopalachari (1956), printed at the Hindustan Times Press, New Delhi, page 3, paragraph 1.