The Righteous Law of the King Eternal Is the Truth
“Righteousness and judgment are the established place of your throne; loving-kindness and trueness themselves come in before your face.”—Ps. 89:14.
1. How is the word “law” in question today?
THE word “law” is in question today. Lawbreakers run the streets with little fear that they will be punished for their crimes. Citizens stand back, afraid to help the woman being attacked, the innocent man being assaulted. Public services are brought to a standstill, with millions of citizens suffering because a minority of sit-iners, rioters and malcontents defy the law-enforcing bodies to act. With world leaders being assassinated, many feel that no one is safe. In some nations this results in tighter government, martial law and the taking away of cherished human rights.
2, 3. How is the law of God being attacked, and what questions arise?
2 Not only is the law of civil governments thus being assailed, but, more seriously, the universal law of God the Creator is brought into question by the feeling that there is no superior law. Schools set before the children the totally unproved theory of evolution, and teachers are afraid to question it. This theory denies the truth that there is a universal law that governs, not only material things called “nature,” but also moral relations. In its place the doctrine is substituted that chance—blind force—governs.
3 Is there nothing firm on which we can rely? Does there exist no solid, stable foundation of law from a superior lawgiver, a supreme court of the universe, that judges and will enforce law in a right way, to halt the march to anarchy? There is, and it is for law-abiding persons that this article is published. We read, in Ecclesiastes 5:8: “If you see any oppression of the one of little means and the violent taking away of judgment and of righteousness in a jurisdictional district, do not be amazed over the affair, for one that is higher than the high one is watching, and there are those who are high above them.” Also, in Romans 8:21: “The creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
GOD’S LAW SURE OF ENFORCEMENT
4, 5. Are God’s moral laws as sure of enforcement as his laws governing natural things? Explain.
4 There are some laws that are enforced on everyone, whether we like it or not. For example, if a person jumps from a ten-story building he will unavoidably fall, with great damage resulting to himself. We call this the “law of gravity.” The sanction or retribution is quickly and automatically applied. Does the law of gravity bring a hardship? No. It is essential to our staying on the earth. The breaking of the law is what brings calamity.
5 Similar, though not always operating with such immediate execution, are the moral laws. To illustrate: The Bible says that he who hates his brother is a manslayer. (1 John 3:15) The fact is that the teaching of hate toward persons of other beliefs, nationalities or races has actually resulted in countless murders, even in wholesale slaughter in wars. Likewise, the adulterer, though not always experiencing calamity immediately, never betters his situation. Instead, the law’s penalties of disease, deformed children, broken homes, unhappiness, hatred and, at times, murder catch up with him. Is keeping the moral law a burden, an unreasonable restriction leading to unhappiness, or is it the breaking of it that brings trouble? The answer forces the conclusion that the Bible law is the TRUTH. It works out in actuality.
6. How binding are the laws of God upon mankind?
6 These principles are part of the law of the supreme and invisible God, the Creator. Within the framework of his laws everything moves and is subject. As Acts 17:28 says of God: “By him we have life and move and exist, even as certain ones of the poets among you have said, ‘For we are also his progeny.”’ God’s statement to Israel: “Not by bread alone does man live but by every expression of Jehovah’s mouth does man live,” is a principle that affects everyone. (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4) When the Creator utters a command, it becomes irrevocable law to the universe. In Isaiah 55:10, 11 he states: “For just as the pouring rain descends, and the snow, from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth and makes it produce and sprout, and seed is actually given to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”
GOD’S WORD THE SAFE GUIDE
7. If we follow God’s Word, what effect will it have upon us as to obedience to his law?
7 Jehovah God the Creator has spoken many things for humankind and these sayings are recorded in his Word the Holy Bible. Everything this Word says reveals something of Jehovah’s personality. By ‘making over our minds’ to see things from his viewpoint—the factual, realistic viewpoint—we can be more like him, and his law will be progressively easier for us to follow. (Rom. 12:2) It will become more and more the natural thing for us to live by it, just as it was for Jesus. In his human perfection and his devotion to Jehovah it was the unnatural thing for Jesus even to think along any line contrary to God’s law. (Matt. 16:21-23) By Jehovah’s help through Jesus Christ we can make progress now, and under God’s Kingdom rule, when fleshly perfection is reached, we will have no more conflict with the sinful flesh pulling at us in the wrong direction, as it is now according to Romans 7:21-25, which reads: “I find, then, this law in my case: that when I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me. I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within, but I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my members. Miserable man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death? Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So, then, with my mind I myself am a slave to God’s law, but with my flesh to sin’s law.”
8. What should one determine about one’s religion, and why?
8 Jehovah is the God of law and of truth. Jesus said: “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) The way of religion must be the way of truth if it is to be a safe guide. Therefore, if a way of life or a forth of worship is not according to what is true and factual, the person following it will end up disastrously. In Proverbs 16:25 we are warned: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.” Since what a person really believes determines how he will live, he must follow the truth if he hopes to be successful.
INSUBORDINATION THE CAUSE OF TROUBLE
9, 10. What arrangements did God make for man in the beginning, and was Adam unduly restricted by them?
9 The Bible account relates that Adam the first man was created perfect, residing in a place of beauty and perfection, with all spiritual and material needs supplied and with work to keep him occupied. (Gen. 2:7-9, 15; Deut. 32:4) There was universal law that kept all creation in balance. Adam was given this law.
10 Now, was there anything hurtful in the law that God gave him? With Adam’s prospect of being God’s representative to the human race, did not God have a right to instruct Adam as to the limitation upon his human authority? God said to Adam: “But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” (Gen. 2:17) Luke 16:10 tells us: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” Was Adam unduly restricted? Not at all. The law not to eat of a certain tree served to test Adam’s obedience to creation’s Designer and rightful Controller, and Adam’s acknowledgment of the sovereignty of his Creator and Lawgiver.
11. What brought about hardship on Adam and his family?
11 What, then, brought about hardship on Adam and suffering on his family and descendants? Obedience to God’s law? No, it was his decision to run things the way HE wanted to. It was when he became an uncontrolled insubordinate. He wanted absolute independence; not even God could tell him what to do. He left the way of TRUTH.—Gen. 3:17, 23, 24.
12. (a) Were the pre-Flood people responsible for their course of action? (b) Why did they act as they did?
12 Cain and Abel, born outside the garden of Eden, knew this. They could see the garden and knew that they dared not enter because of the cherubs with “the flaming blade of a sword” stationed at its entrance. They also knew what had occurred, as we find it recorded today in the book of Genesis. Not only Cain and Abel, but also all the pre-Flood people knew, for they could see the garden and the blocking of its entrance for 1,656 years until the Flood obliterated it. They did not have to depend wholly on word of mouth passed down through those years to know the truth of man’s origin and history. They could see for themselves. They forsook the right way, not through lack of opportunity to know the truth, but because they were anarchistic toward God. They wanted to do as THEY pleased in the face of historical fact. They did this and fell into all kinds of corruption. (Gen. 6:5, 11-13; Rom. 1:24-32) The supreme Lawgiver was not asleep but acted to bring them to a sudden end.
13. What can be seen in the results, as to God’s laws?
13 Did God’s natural laws of morality and right dealing work a hardship on those pre-Flood people? Who was it that suffered? The ones who obeyed what God said, or the anarchists? Noah did not have a better opportunity to know about the truth of matters than the rest. But he believed in God’s natural law and obedience to it. Because of this he saved himself and the seven others of his family. It is good for us that he was obedient.—Gen. 8:1, 16-18; 1 Pet. 3:20.
MANKIND GETS A FRESH START
14. What was the situation after the Flood, and how did trouble again arise?
14 Surviving the Flood, Noah, as God’s channel of communication, immediately started off his family in right worship. (Gen. 8:20, 21) Their offspring knew that those who had ignored the truth suffered destruction. But when the population increased some wanted to go their own way contrary to the established facts. According to God’s command to Noah, they were, in time, to go out as “pioneers” to unexplored regions, to settle and populate them. As we read in Genesis 9:1: “God went on to bless Noah and his sons and to say to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.”’ It would have been a pleasure, and would have established God’s righteous law throughout the earth. But again insubordination and rebellion raised their ugly heads. These people had no desire to leave their comfortably established homes just to do what their Lawgiver had decreed. They looked for a way out. (Gen. 9:7, 19; 11:4) They found it in the leadership of Nimrod, a rebel against Jehovah, concerning whom we read: “He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: ‘Just like Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.’”—Gen. 10:9.
15, 16. Why did those following Nimrod act as they did, and what was it that made them unhappy?
15 Those post-Flood rebels had the spirit of self-determination. They thought that they could have absolute independence, but they were actually brought into slavery to Nimrod, a corrupt, self-seeking politician. God broke up their conspiracy and forced them to scatter, thereby preserving clean those who stayed with true worship. Genesis 11:5-9 tells us: “And Jehovah proceeded to go down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men had built. After that Jehovah said: ‘Look! They are one people and there is one language for them all, and this is what they start to do. Why, now there is nothing that they may have in mind to do that will be unattainable for them. Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language that they may not listen to one another’s language.’ Accordingly Jehovah scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called Babel, because there Jehovah had confused the language of all the earth, and Jehovah had scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth.” But the scattered ones spread, not God’s law, but their rebellious attitude, over the face of the earth.
16 What was it that made those people unhappy? Had they been hurt by God’s law during the 150 years or so before they struck out in rebellion? And what was it that brought about divisions, hatred and the spread of false worship and lies about God in the earth? Not God’s law. It was again the disobedient, insubordinate people who left his law.
17. Give some examples of the high moral standard observed by the faithful members of Shem’s line.
17 But not all those post-Flood families were infected with this bad spirit. In the line of Noah’s son Shem the truth persisted, with hope in God’s promise of a “seed” that would deliver mankind, as foretold in Genesis 3:15, where God said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” These men did not live perfectly, it is true, because of being offspring of sinful Adam, but they obeyed God. They still spoke the original language and preserved the true way of life. They observed God’s law regarding murder (Gen. 9:6), and they recognized that fornication (Gen. 34:2, 31), adultery (Gen. 38:24), stealing (Gen. 31:30-32) and kidnapping (Gen. 42:21, 22) were not in accord with God’s righteous ways. They had a high regard for the other person’s rights, and did not insist on their own rights to the point of causing trouble or fights. (Gen. 13:5-11; 26:15-31) What happened to the rest? We read of their worship of idols, their looking to men as heroes, the corruption and decay of their mighty nations. The Canaanites were tolerated for centuries by God, until they got so corrupt, so far from God’s law and so full of disease that they were a danger to live around; wherefore God had them cleared out of the land. (Gen. 15:16) Who, then, was right and who suffered? Who was better off? What put a burden on people, obeying God’s law, or doing as they pleased?
18. What did the Law covenant do for the nation of Israel?
18 Then, because of love for his friend Abraham, God organized his offspring the nation of Israel under the Law covenant. Did this bring hardships or calamity upon them? The Law given through the prophet Moses bound Israel together in unity; it protected the nation from idolatry, human sacrifices, filthy moral practices and was a health safeguard.—Ex. 19:1 to 20:17.
WHY JEWISH LEADERS REJECTED CHRIST
19. What was it that brought destruction upon the nation of Israel in 70 C.E.?
19 When destruction came upon Israel’s capital city Jerusalem in 70 C.E. was it because they kept God’s law? No! It was because they chafed under it and insisted on forsaking it. This led them to reject the Seed for whom their forefathers had long looked. Rejecting Jesus Christ, they said: “We have no king but Caesar”! (John 19:15) But did these Jews really want to live peaceably under the law of Caesar? Not at all! They were nationalistic insurrectionists, seditiously hoping to throw off the Roman yoke, which attitude finally brought their holy city Jerusalem to complete destruction at Roman hands.
20. (a) How did Christ disappoint the hopes of the Jewish leaders? (b) Whose attitude proved to be most beneficial in that time?
20 Jesus Christ had come to the Jews and proved to be, not a great conquering hero that satisfied their nationalistic aims, but a mild-tempered man, telling them to be peaceful, obey the Law and wait upon God to remove injustices. According to Matthew 22:21 he said: “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” Was this a weak and foolish course? Who proved to be wrong? At Jerusalem’s fall 1,100,000 Jews were killed and 97,000 taken to be sold as slaves, glutting the slave market to the point that there were no buyers. (Deut. 28:68) Was their bad situation God’s fault? What about those in Judea who listened to Christ and obeyed? History records that they took note of Christ’s warning and fled before 70 C.E. to the mountains of Gilead when they saw Jerusalem’s foretold execution ready to fall on her. (Luke 21:20, 21) They escaped with their lives, to continue their work. But where were the nationalists and the seditionists against God’s law?
21. Can we excuse the Jews of the first century as not having ample opportunity to know the truth? Why?
21 It was not that the Jews of that first century C.E. did not have opportunity to know the truth. True, their leaders had misdirected them. But in 29 C.E. John the Baptist came with a powerful appeal to them to turn back to God and follow his law. Jesus Christ was easily recognized by those who paid attention to John. Why? Because the Law had provided hundreds of identifications for him as Christ or Messiah. It did not require blind credulity to accept him. For examples, see Micah 5:2 in comparison with Matthew 2:5, 6; Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:22, 23; Genesis 49:10; Jeremiah 23:5 and Acts 2:30-36; Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:16-21.
22. What would have been the result to the Jews if they had been obeying God’s law?
22 If the Jews had been obeying God’s law, they would have been led right up to Christ and been transferred under his leadership as God’s dedicated people who had been delivered from Egypt and baptized into Moses at the time of the Red Sea crossing back in 1513 B.C.E. (1 Cor. 10:1, 2; Deut. 18:18, 19) Jesus Christ was the TRUTH to which the whole Law pointed. If the Jews had listened to him, they would have avoided destruction. Those who did come under his leadership were not unhappy.
WHY JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES ARE HAPPY
23. How do Jehovah’s witnesses view law, and are they to be pitied because of this?
23 Today Jehovah’s witnesses recognize obedience to law. They obey first the law of God. It is supreme. Then they recognize subjection to the law of the governments of earth unless it directly contradicts God’s law. As we read in Romans 13:1: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” Acts 5:29 tells us that they said: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” Third, they follow the principle of family headship of the husband and subjection to family law. (1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Pet. 3:1-6) Are they to be pitied because of this—because they do not engage in riots, demonstrations, political schemes and revolts? Do you see on them sad faces? No; to the contrary, everyone recognizes that they are happy.
24. What has obedience to God’s law done for Jehovah’s witnesses?
24 Jehovah’s witnesses are often asked, ‘What makes you people so happy? You go from house to house with your message and many people treat you unkindly; you go out in the rain, the cold, doing your work. I can’t understand it.’ Well, is God’s law to them as Christians burdensome? Do burdensome things make a person happy? It is because God’s law is the TRUTH and is for a person’s good. God’s law has never made anyone who obeyed it unhappy.
25. What did obedience to God’s command do for Abraham?
25 Take, for example, Abraham, who was commanded by God to offer his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. “Certainly,” you may say, “this should have made him unhappy.” But Abraham knew that obedience to God’s law could never bring bad results. He knew that God “becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Heb. 11:6) What was the outcome? God provided a substitute sacrifice and Abraham, being proved in obedience, became one of the happiest men on earth, enjoying some of the greatest blessings.—Gen. 22:1, 2, 9-18.
26. What freedoms do those obeying God’s law enjoy in this present time?
26 Since righteousness and judgment are the established place of God’s throne, and since loving-kindness and trueness come in before his face, those obeying God’s law in this present time are spared countless sorrows. They know the truth and the truth has set them free as Jesus said, in John 8:32: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They are not deceived by the promises of men. They face the facts squarely. They are free from fear of death and the sorrows that false religious views about death bring. Their families are unified and happy. They are not ensnared into trouble by taking sides in the factions and strifes of the world. Why? Not because they do not want a better world. They suffer hardships brought on by the world’s troubles as everyone else does. But they know that God’s kingdom will bring a really desirable condition permanently. They know that the present conditions are a sign that this arrangement of things is nearing its finish. That in itself is good news.
27. What should those do who are suffering injustices under the law of man-made governments?
27 Now, everyone realizes that under man-made governments persons have suffered injustices. Under government by man many have just complaints. On the other hand, no one can truly say he has suffered injustice by obeying God’s law. Instead of trying to set up a better government, persons who feel that injustices are present should do what Jehovah’s witnesses are doing, namely, turning to God’s law, and even now, although living under an unrighteous system, they will be happy, just as Jehovah’s witnesses are. The Bible says: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”—Prov. 10:22.
28. How do those seeking freedom by lawlessness fare?
28 Those seeking freedom by lawlessness actually become more and more hemmed in, because everything works against them. They come under the power of leaders that get them into trouble; they get involved in enmity, hatred, strife, fights, frustrations. They get embroiled in divisions over race, politics, nationalism and religion. Their organizations cannot hold together, but disagree among their own ranks. They are progressing toward the situation the Bible says they will reach, namely, that every man’s hand will be against his companion.—Zech. 14:13.
29. Why and how do those obeying God’s law have the freedoms sought but not obtained by others?
29 Those following God’s law have the greatest freedom, because that law is made to fit man’s needs. God causes their obedience to work in their favor. To this effect it is written in Romans 8:28: “Now we know that God makes all his works co-operate together for the good of those who love God, those who are the ones called according to his purpose.” Honest persons respect them. Only haters of God hate them. They avoid the heartbreaking strife encountered by those seeking to please themselves. They enjoy real integration in their ranks, not a forced or artificial one. All races and nationalities among them get along in perfect unity because they love one another. They come to God to serve him, not even thinking about such differences. Unity comes automatically when they love God and obey his laws.
WHAT YOU BELIEVE MAKES YOU WHAT YOU ARE
30. What do newswriters overlook when commending the good morals of Jehovah’s witnesses?
30 Some newswriters have remarked about Jehovah’s witnesses: ‘Their doctrine may not make sense, but they have found a way of life that makes them our best citizens. They are models and a good example for us.’ What a contradictory thing to say! Is it not what a person believes that makes him what he is? The idealist, the ruler, the integrationist, the revolutionist, the ascetic and the “beatnik” all are what they are, not intrinsically or by birth, but because of what they believe, how they think, and the principles they follow. Jehovah’s witnesses are not in themselves different from other people. But they are not doing just as they please; they are following theocratic law, God’s law. They are what they are BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE and because what they believe and follow is God’s law, the TRUTH. Hence in Psalm 119:142 the psalmist said to God: “Your righteousness is a righteousness to time indefinite, and your law is truth.”
31. Seeing Jehovah’s blessings for obedience, what should all who want to serve him be unusually zealous to do?
31 Then, all who want to serve Jehovah, be thankful that he is your Lawgiver, Judge and King—your absolute Sovereign. Support all his statutes, for they are for your good. These statutes include meeting together regularly with God’s people, at the congregational Kingdom Halls and at conventions. They include making yourself fully available to God’s service. Arrange your affairs, if possible, to engage in Biblical “pioneering,” full-time preaching “publicly and from house to house”; to serve in places away from your home where the need is greater. (Acts 20:20) Lay aside every unnecessary weight and give full devotion, doing all you can to help others. Just as we read, in Hebrews 12:1, 2: “So, then, because we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also put off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Shun the anarchistic spirit of self-determination. Live to see God enforce his law against the rebellious world and bring in His everlasting new order of righteousness.—Rev. 21:4, 5.
[Picture on page 368]
After the Flood Nimrod led most of mankind in rebellion against God’s righteous law