Human Plans Failing as God’s Purpose Succeeds
“Plans multiply in the human heart, but the purpose of Yahweh stands firm.”—Prov. 19:21, Jerusalem Bible.
1. In view of what course of man does God need to carry out his purpose−soon?
IT IS comforting to know that, whereas human plans for mankind are failing, the purpose of a loving Creator is succeeding. The failure of human plans is causing all of us hardship and concern. But faith in God strengthens us to look ahead to our enjoying eternal good from the sure success of His purpose. He never needs to learn from such things as previous mistakes, for he makes none. Men ought to learn from past human mistakes, but they have the weakness of repeating the same mistakes. Failure follows. So now the unerring God needs to carry out his purpose—soon!
2. How did plans laid for our twentieth century fail, and what questions arose as a result of introduction of atomic warfare?
2 The grandiose plans that nineteenth-century planners laid for our twentieth century ended in failure. World War I pricked them as if a rainbow-colored soap bubble. The League of Nations plan did not repair matters. Soon it appeared that world planners had not learned by experience through collapse of the League of Nations. The future presented them a new challenge when two atomic bombs were dropped in the Far East, to usher in atomic warfare. All of us now confronted something indeed serious. What protective device would men responsible for world planning now provide? Something that experience guaranteed to prove a sure success? Something that expressed a wisdom superior to that of mortal man?
3. What kind of society is the United Nations, and how has it affected the world state of affairs?
3 No, the nation that exploded the atomic bombs took the lead in arranging with its war allies for another society of nations. Just another political league with a new dress and facial makeup, under a new name, the United Nations organization. It has its Declaration of Human Rights. It has its International Court of Justice. It has its police force, which has enforced the cease-fire along the Suez Canal. It has its General Assembly and Security Council as planning bodies for the now 135 members of the United Nations. Admittedly, it has served as a safety valve for an explosive world situation, but, for all that, the world state of affairs still continues explosive. The United Nations, although organized for world peace and security, has not prevented the development of the nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles with warheads containing nuclear bombs of devastating power.
4. How far has the United Nations organization been able to go about calamitous conditions, and how is confidence in it shown to be waning?
4 In the United Nations we have another instance of international planning on a world scale, but by a number of participants larger than ever before. However, is such overall world planning by mortal men proving successful or offering hope of success? The United Nations investigates and publishes data on the deadly pollution of air, sea and land. Also, on the spread of death-dealing diseases and epidemics. Yes, on famines and droughts. It finds itself unable, however, to cope with the worsening situation. It takes note of the regional Treaty Organizations of Communist and anti-Communist political blocs outside the United Nations, but cannot interfere with these international groups. So human confidence in the United Nations weakens, and political rulers continue to depend upon their regional alliances and upon strong military stockpiles as the best deterrents to a Nuclear World War. Promises of politicians to lay the foundation for a “generation of peace” sound hollow!
5. Since the world situation does not better itself after all the human planning, what questions arise?
5 People are imperiled not only by international complications. They are afflicted by domestic problems and trouble, turmoil and anarchy, and the hardness of living in their own countries. What is the trouble? Why is it that with all the feverish and intensive planning and taking of preventive measures, the world situation does not better itself? Where does the fault lie? What is in error with all this human planning? What has been left out of consideration? Honest-hearted persons would like to know.
THE OVERLOOKED COUNSEL
6, 7. (a) In all such national and international planning, what has been overlooked? (b) After get-togethers opened by prayer, what have the planners failed to do?
6 In all the aforementioned cases of national and international planning, we note that there is an overlooking of the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the sea, an ignoring of His counsel.
7 Oh, the planners may claim to belong to the various religious sects of Christendom or to Judaism or to Buddhism or to Mohammedanism or to Hinduism or to some other religious group. They may have their political or social get-togethers for deliberation on problems opened with prayer by some clergyman. Yet, do they thereafter let themselves be guided by the counsel given by man’s Creator? Do they go to his written Word, where his counsel can be plainly read? Then, do they let themselves be guided by such counsel? Here a controversy might arise. The planners are not all agreed as to what the written Word of the Creator is, for they have different sacred books that they consider holy, the basis for their religious belief. But the true Creator of heaven and earth is the One who made man and put him on the earth and told man what he was to do here. This Creator also foretold with accuracy our present-day distress of nations with perplexity.
8. What is the book not considered or followed by worldly planners, and who made that book?
8 The Maker of man is also the Creator of this written Word, his inspired Book. That Book is the Holy Bible, written by the hand of faithful men whom the Creator inspired to write. Bible societies have spread this inspired Book all around the earth, in hundreds of languages. So it is not an unknown and inaccessible Book. Its very opening sentence says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The first chapter of the Holy Bible also describes the creation of mankind, both male and female. (Gen. 1:26-31) This is the Book that is not consulted or followed by the worldly planners for human society.
9. What ancient Bible statement about human plans still stands uncontestable, as illustrated by what world powers?
9 The wise observation as made about three thousand years ago and as recorded in the Holy Bible remains uncontestable even today. It is recorded in Proverbs 19:21, and, according to the Jerusalem Bible translation of this proverb from the Hebrew language, it reads: “Plans multiply in the human heart, but the purpose of Yahweh stands firm.” (See also The New English Bible and Revised Standard Version.) The name Yahweh here is the pronunciation of the divine name that is preferred by some to the pronunciation Jehovah. Human plans, schemes and devices have multiplied throughout the past centuries and millenniums, but have they succeeded in standing firm and producing permanent gains and controls? Where today are the famous political empires that once held wide control, particularly the seven world powers of Bible history and prophecy? Where is the ancient Egyptian World Power, also the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, the Roman, the Anglo-American? Where is the incomparable British Empire that once embraced one fourth of the earth’s surface and a quarter of its population? Their glory has faded.
10, 11. (a) What indicates that Jehovah’s purpose regarding his kingdom moves forward to brilliant success? (b) What shows that Christendom’s growth has not been by preaching God’s kingdom?
10 What, though, about the counsel of Jehovah or “purpose of Yahweh”? It still stands firm, unchanged. It continues to prevail and to move forward to brilliant success. The kingdom of God continues to be preached world wide, this proclamation surpassing everything that has been known thus far in religious history.
11 By the expression “the kingdom of God” we do not mean the religious organization of Christendom. For the first time in history the religious membership of Christendom has passed the billion mark, the latest published estimate of her membership being given as 1,024,106,500. (See The World Almanac, 1974, page 342.) But this growth has not been achieved by preaching the kingdom of God. It was the churches of Christendom that declared that the League of Nations is “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” So, as long as that political organization for world peace and security continued, the churches preached the League of Nations. Christendom’s plan or scheme has also been “to put God in government.” For that reason her clergymen dabble in politics, and the clergymen urge their church members to involve themselves to the full in politics, even aspiring to the highest political offices in the land.
12. How do the words and course of Jesus and his disciples reflect on Christendom’s efforts “to put God in government”?
12 However, does Jehovah God want to be put in political government of this world? If He is not already there, why does He have to be put in these human political governments? His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, when asked by a Roman politician, “Are you the king of the Jews?” answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” With reference to his true disciples, this Jesus said: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 18:33-36; 17:14) Neither Jesus nor his true disciples of the first century C.E. made any attempt “to put God in government.” Christendom’s multiplied plans to put the God of the Bible into the political governments of this world prove that she is not preaching the true kingdom of God and that her church members are not true disciples and imitators of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Christendom is not the visible earthly expression of God’s kingdom.
13. How has Christendom’s plan to convert the world to her churches apparently failed, in spite of revivals and crusades?
13 For centuries Christendom’s plan has been to convert the world of mankind, either by force or by persuasion, and to make them members of her churches. The ostensible idea behind this was to get them to heaven and to save them from going to a place of everlasting conscious torment as disembodied souls. Christendom’s thought, too, was that in this way God’s kingdom would come and his will would be done on earth as in heaven. (Matt. 6:9, 10) But Christendom’s unscriptural plan for world conversion has apparently failed, as the number of non-Christians continues to be more than double that of Christendom’s membership and as antireligious forces, especially Communism, increase and more and more of Christendom’s members become religious hypocrites or nonactive. Her religious revivals and crusades prove to be of short-lived effect.
NO FAILURE POSSIBLE FOR THE DIVINE PURPOSE
14. Human plans have been based on what or inspired by what, with what outlook resulting for mankind?
14 Were the survival and salvation of the human race dependent upon the plans of men, all would be lost for mankind. Their multifarious plans are either based on human wisdom or inspired by malicious spirit demons. Self-reliant men might like to pooh-pooh the suggestion, but what was prophesied nineteen hundred years ago is more true today than they care to believe, that in “later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons.” (1 Tim. 4:1) Because men have fallen away or deserted from the faith set forth in God’s written Word, they have ignored God’s plainly stated purpose. They are like the first human pair in the Garden of Eden. “This only I have found,” said the wise man Solomon, “that the true God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.” (Eccl. 7:29) Because of the failure of their plans, one after another, they have been obliged to reshape or remake their plans or schemes.
15, 16. The continuing of worldly nations in a United Nations organization is in the nature of what against Jehovah, and what Scriptural warning is there against it?
15 What worldly-wise men scheme is doomed to failure. They not only pass over God’s purpose but plan and fight against it. Even in this matter of combining together in a United Nations organization, the political and military leaders are going contrary to God’s purpose. It is really a conspiracy against Him. Over two thousand five hundred years ago, when foretelling a combining of worldly nations against God’s favored people, the prophet Isaiah was inspired to say to the enemy peoples: “Gird yourselves, and be shattered to pieces! Gird yourselves, and be shattered to pieces! Plan out a scheme, and it will be broken up! Speak any word, and it will not stand, for God is with us.” (Isa. 8:9, 10) The modern unification of the peoples in a United Nations organization for world peace and security will not triumph over God’s purpose for mankind. It must fail, just as the ancient observer of three thousand years of human history said:
16 “A wicked man has put on a bold face, but the upright is the one that will firmly establish his ways. There is no wisdom, nor any discernment, nor any counsel in opposition to Jehovah. The horse is something prepared for the day of battle, but salvation belongs to Jehovah.”—Prov. 21:29-31.
17. What divisive factors dominate the increased number of nations, and why can unification of mankind not come by them?
17 A United Nations organization with its Security Council and its Disarmament Conference is not God’s way for unification of all mankind in a warless and secure earth. Since World War II of 1939-1945 C.E. mankind has been divided up into more national groups than ever before, each group claiming national sovereignty. The division of the human race is increased by language differences, varying customs, opposing political aims and ideologies, and racial and religious prejudices. Self-determination and self-preservation are the dominant factors. World government by man is impossible, and the unifying of all mankind will not come by this means. The world of mankind cannot be united among themselves, for they are not united to the one living and true God, Jehovah. His Son, Jesus Christ, said that the ruler of this world is Satan the Devil, the ruler of the demons. In harmony with that, the Christian apostle Paul said that this ruler of the world is also “the god of this system of things,” who blinds the minds of those not at unity with Jehovah God.—John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4.
18, 19. (a) Where must order and unity be restored, and why? (b) To this end, what has God purposed to carry on “at the full limit of the appointed times”?
18 The lack of unity on the part of mankind with God is nothing less than a visible reflection of the disunity that exists in the invisible heavenly realm on the part of Satan and his demons toward Jehovah God. So there needs to be a restoring of order and unity both in the spiritual heavens and in the earth. God’s unfailing purpose takes this universal need into consideration and provides for it. The inspired writer of the letter to the congregation in ancient Ephesus, Asia Minor, writes about this, in these words to them:
19 “He [God] made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again [or, to reunite for himself (under one head) the all things] in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. Yes, in him, in union with whom we were also assigned as heirs, in that we were foreordained according to the purpose of him who operates all things according to the way his will counsels.”—Eph. 1:9-11, NW; Rotherham, Diaglott.
20, 21. (a) In every nation there is complaint on the part of the people against what? (b) What did Solomon show to be the valid reason for the people’s restiveness?
20 Thus it was God’s purpose to administer matters or pursue a course of action that would lead to unification in heavenly things and in earthly things. It was according to God’s good pleasure that there would be an administration, a management, a stewarding, by means of a special procedure on God’s part. Thus the term “administration” does not mean the Messianic kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ. Today there is great complaint on the part of the people in every nation because of the governments over them, and their way of administering or managing things. There must be a valid reason for the restiveness and rebelliousness of the people. The ancient proverb points to the reason, saying: “When the righteous become many, the people rejoice; but when anyone wicked bears rule, the people sigh.” (Prov. 29:2) Wise King Solomon of Jerusalem observed oppressive administration by men in his own day and said:
21 “I myself returned that I might see all the acts of oppression that are being done under the sun, and, look! the tears of those being oppressed, but they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, so that they had no comforter. And I congratulated the dead who had already died rather than the living who were still alive.”—Eccl. 4:1, 2. Also Ec 5:8; 7:7.
22. After thousands of years of oppression by human administration, what is the case about comfort and deliverance for mankind?
22 At times the people are driven to act like crazy because of the oppression. (Eccl. 7:7) After thousands of years of oppression, and in the face of world conditions today, it proves to be true that the oppressed people have no comforter from any part of the present worldly administration of human affairs. There is no salvation for them, no deliverance for them, from human sources.
23. According to God’s purpose, how will unification of all the people come about, and what will this mean for them?
23 The need for a better administration or managing of affairs the all-wise God foresaw long ago, and, according to his good pleasure, he purposed to institute such an administration. Under that administrating of affairs by him there will come the unification of all the people. That will mean peace, harmony and security everywhere on earth.
24. Who is the unification agent by whom God will administer things, and what is the definite purpose for this administration?
24 Let us take a look at how God Almighty proceeded to administer affairs. Let us look at the unification agent by means of whom God administers things. That one is God’s Messiah, his Anointed One, the Christ. Hence, the inspired Bible writer points to that one when he says that the administration that is to be set in operation “at the full limit of the appointed times” is for a definite purpose, “namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. Yes, in him, in union with whom we were also assigned as heirs.” (Eph. 1:9-11) There is a lot of prejudice and animosity toward this Jesus Christ in both the religious and the nonreligious sections of mankind; and yet, what kind of administration are we to expect from God through him?
25, 26. (a) What did Psalm 72 say prophetically regarding the Messiah’s dealing with the poor people? (b) What record is given in Acts 10:37-39 about the relief work done by the Messiah Jesus?
25 Regarding the Messiah, who is greater than King Solomon whose rule ended up oppressively for the people of Israel, Psalm 72:12-14 says prophetically: “He will deliver the poor one crying for help, also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper. He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one, and the souls of the poor ones he will save. From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul, and their blood will be precious in his eyes.” We have every reason to believe that the Messiah Jesus will fulfill this prophecy in the near future. We have just to look back nineteen hundred years when he was on earth as a perfect man and ask: What oppression and violence did he ever practice toward the people? The inspired Scripture account gives Jesus Christ a clean record, with credit, rather, for relieving the people. A certain Jew who was almost constantly with him during his public career and who observed him closely said to an audience of non-Jews:
26 “You know the subject that was talked about throughout the whole of Judea, starting from Galilee after the baptism that John preached, namely, Jesus who was from Nazareth, how God anointed him with holy spirit and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil; because God was with him. And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem; but they also did away with him by hanging him on a stake.”—Acts 10:37-39.
27, 28. (a) How did Jesus come to have a double claim upon King David’s kingdom over Israel? (b) In agreement with that, what did Isaiah 9:6, 7 say about the princely rule of the Messiah?
27 We must remember that this Jesus whom God anointed to be the Messianic King over all mankind was a natural descendant of King David of Jerusalem, by a miraculous birth into David’s royal family. As such he was the natural heir to the kingdom of David over Israel. The man who adopted Jesus as his firstborn son was also a descendant from King David through Solomon, and so he had a legal right to David’s kingdom. Such legal right this adoptive father, Joseph the carpenter of Nazareth, bestowed upon Jesus by adopting him as his firstborn son. (Luke 2:1-24; 3:23-38; Matt. 1:1 through 2:23) Thus this Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, “the city of David,” had a double claim upon the inheritance of David’s kingdom over Israel. Now as regards this Descendant of David upon whose shoulder the princely rule is to be laid, the inspired prophet Isaiah said:
28 “To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.”—Isa. 9:6, 7.
29. Thus Messiah’s princely rule will be of what kind, and why will it not come by democratic vote of the people?
29 Here we have a promise from the Most High God that the Davidic kingdom of his Messiah will not only be a rightful one but also be established and maintained in justice and righteousness. This government of salvation for the people will be set up by God himself, not by the democratic vote of the people, for, as the prophet Isaiah says, “the very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.”
30, 31. (a) How did God give a guarantee of the promised government of the Christ? (b) How did Peter bear witness to this fact at Acts 10:40-43?
30 What Jehovah is zealous for he will accomplish. He has inspired many other Bible prophecies respecting the perfect government that the Messiah Jesus will give all mankind. He has given us a guarantee of this promised government in that he resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day in vindication of the innocence of that one. As the apostle Peter went on to say, after telling of Jesus’ being hung unjustly on a stake:
31 “God raised this One up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead. Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the One decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone putting faith in him gets forgiveness of sins through his name.”—Acts 10:40-43.
RELIABLE BODY OF ASSOCIATES IN ATTENDING TO HUMAN AFFAIRS
32. So God could now proceed to do what gathering work, and with whom as his Agent for reuniting things?
32 That this resurrected Jesus Christ might be able to serve as God’s Agent in reuniting things, God exalted him to the divine throne in the heavens. (Acts 2:33-36; 1 Pet. 3:22) Thus God could proceed to “gather all things together again in the Christ,” not only the things on the earth but also the “things in the heavens.” Jesus Christ is thereby a heavenly, superhuman Messiah, with greater powers for doing good in behalf of the people than when he was down here on earth as a perfect man. All mankind will be unified under him as the Head appointed by God the Great Administrator.
33. What did God purpose for the Christ to have associated with him in taking care of human affairs, and so what is first formed on earth?
33 However, God purposed that his Son Jesus Christ should have a body of associates with him in taking care of human affairs. These associates ruling over mankind were to be taken from among mankind. While yet on earth these were to be formed into a congregation having a bond of unity with him. The apostle Paul, when writing to the congregation in Ephesus, continued on to say: “It is according to the operation of the mightiness of [God’s] strength, with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, which is his body.”—Eph. 1:19-23.
34. From what sources were members of the “body” to be taken, and how was the barrier in between removed?
34 Now what about the members of this congregation, the “body” of Jesus Christ? Well, it was God’s generous purpose that it should be made up not only of those who had been circumcised Jews but also of those who had been non-Jews or Gentiles. For 1,545 years (from 1513 B.C.E. to 33 C.E.) they had been disunited. The barrier, “the wall in between that fenced them off,” was the Law covenant mediated by the prophet Moses in the year 1513 B.C.E. In the year 33 C.E. Jesus Christ was used by God as the means by which to remove this barrier through his death on the torture stake. As the apostle continues on to say: “By means of his flesh [hung on the torture stake] he abolished the enmity, the Law of commandments consisting in decrees, that he might create the two peoples in union with himself into one new man and make peace; and that he might fully reconcile both peoples in one body to God through the torture stake, because he had killed off the enmity by means of himself.”—Eph. 2:14-16.
35. (a) When were the uncircumcised Gentiles brought into the congregational “body”? (b) How many members was the body to have?
35 Three and a half years after the removal of the legal barrier, God began bringing Gentiles, non-Jews, into the congregational “body” of Jesus Christ. This God did by sending the apostle Peter to preach the message of the kingdom of God’s Messiah to interested uncircumcised Gentiles. When these accepted the Kingdom message, God anointed them with holy spirit and they got baptized as Christians. (Acts 10:1-48) After that, and especially after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 C.E., many Gentiles were baptized into the congregational “body” of Jesus Christ; thus they were united with him as their spiritual “head.” Just as a human body had a definite number of members in order to be complete, so this congregational “body” of Christ had a definite limited number of members. The last book of the Holy Bible plainly says that the number of “body” members is limited to 12 x 12,000, or 144,000.—Rev. 7:4-8; 14:1-3.
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RESULTS OF HUMAN PLANS
The League of Nations failed; the U.N. has also failed to bring genuine peace
Bribery is common in spite of claims of honesty
Crime increases despite plans to stop it
Famine conditions increase
Money losing value; inflation rampant world wide
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SUCCESS OF GOD’S PURPOSE
At Pentecost 33 C.E. the united Christian congregation was founded
Jews and Gentiles became united as Christians in 36 C.E.
Today people in over 200 lands are united in making known God’s purpose
Mankind will yet enjoy global unity on a Paradise earth