The “King of the Nations”—Our Only Help
“Who should not fear you, O King of the nations, for to you it is fitting; because among all the wise ones of the nations and among all their kingships there is in no way anyone like you.”—Jer. 10:7.
1. From whom does the cry for help arise world wide, and why?
“HELP! HELP!” From every quarter of the globe this cry arises. It ascends from persons who see the course that the world keeps taking and the disastrous consequences in which it will end very shortly. The outlook horrifies them and moves them to great sadness. They incline to say, just as the prophet Jeremiah did not long before the destruction of Jerusalem, which he predicted: “O that my head were waters, and that my eyes were a source of tears! Then I could weep day and night for the slain ones of the daughter of my people [Israel].”—Jer. 9:1.
2. Because of what outlook might the sympathetic person well weep today?
2 Why should not a sympathetic person today weep? For now there impends over mankind what was long ago foreshadowed by the national calamity concerning which Jeremiah was told to say: “Teach your daughters a lamentation, and each woman [teach] her companion a dirge. For death has come up through our windows [into our very homes]; it has come into our dwelling towers, in order to cut off the child from the street, the young men from the public squares. . . . ‘The dead bodies of mankind must also fall like manure upon the face of the field [spread out as fertilizer] and like a row of newly cut grain after the reaper, with no one to do the gathering up.’”—Jer. 9:20-22.
3. In view of the world trouble plainly foreseen, what or whom do people consult for guidance?
3 Who is it that cannot see worldwide trouble ahead, the worst in all human history? We do not need to have the prophetic foresight of Jeremiah of old to see this. So, then, how can any of us survive what even uninspired observers of world trends today predict? At the menacing outlook, even irreligious persons are involuntarily driven to call upon some higher and more than human factor to step in and save the human family. The political rulers, even those of Christendom, consult spirit mediums and clairvoyants anxiously. In their uncertainty about making a single move of importance, they seek astrologers to consult their horoscopes and read the portents of the heavens. Others appeal to their gods, their images made of wood and covered over with silver and gold and decked with gorgeous handmade or machine-made garments. Are such features of popular custom the things to which to look for help now as the world situation becomes more threatening and forebodes world catastrophe in the near future? No!—Jer. 10:1-5.
4. Why is now some sightless, unintelligent “kind providence” not our only help, and where does true help lie?
4 Where does true help lie? What or who is our only help? It is not some blind, unintelligent “kind providence.” It must be some real person who sees the dangers of our situation as much as our wise political forecasters do, yes, even better than those highly intelligent men do. For certainly unintelligence cannot precisely help intelligent persons such as we are. Our only help is the One who was intelligent enough to make the whole universe, including us intelligences. He is “on top” of the situation. He is the One whom the prophet calls the “King of the nations.”
5. At Jeremiah 10:6-8, how does the prophet describe our only help?
5 Do we ask who that One is? He is the One beyond all comparison, for Jeremiah says: “In no way is there anyone like you, O Jehovah. You are great, and your name is great in mightiness. Who should not fear you, O King of the nations, for to you it [such fear] is fitting; because among all the wise ones of the nations and among all their kingships there is in no way anyone like you. And at one and the same time they [the nations and their kingships] prove to be unreasoning and stupid. A tree [a wooden image overlaid with silver and gold and decked with garments like a god] is a mere exhortation of vanities.”—Jer. 10:6-8.
6. What were the first two nations mentioned after the deluge of Noah’s day, and what does the Bible indicate as to whether Jehovah was their King?
6 In what way was Jehovah God the “King of the nations” in Jeremiah’s day? Did the non-Jewish or Gentile nations recognize him as their King? Had he set up their kingdoms or their kingships, their royalties? Did he give them their form of government and laws or enter into a covenant with them so as to put them in a binding relationship with him? Well, the first nations that the Bible mentions after the deluge of Noah’s days are Babylon (Babel) and Assyria. Are we to understand that Jehovah was their King? How could such a thing be? For Genesis 10:8-12 tells us:
“And Cush [Noah’s grandson] became father to Nimrod. He made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. 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.’ And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel [Babylon] and Erech and Accad and Calneh in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria and set himself to building Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: this is the great city.”—Note Genesis 2:14; 1 Chronicles 1:10.
7. What ancient background would indicate whether Jehovah was the King of the neo-Babylonian Empire of Jeremiah’s day?
7 When the builders of Babylon (Babel) were engaged in building their ‘tower of Babel,’ or ziggurat, for religious worship, what happened to hinder them from finishing the job? Why, Jehovah proceeded to do as he said: “Confuse their language that they may not listen [understandingly] to one another’s language.” What resulted? Nations, speaking different languages; for we read: “Accordingly Jehovah scattered them from there [Babel] over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called Babel [Confusion], because there Jehovah had confused the language of all the earth.” (Gen. 11:7-9) Obviously, then, Jehovah was not the King of that first Babylonian Empire any more than he was the King of the neo-Babylonian Empire of Jeremiah’s day. The god of that neo-Babylonian Empire was Bel or Merodach (Marduk), whom Emperor Nebuchadnezzar worshiped. (Jer. 50:1, 2) Jehovah was no Babylonian god.
8, 9. (a) Whom did the other Gentile nations worship as their superhuman rulers? (b) How did Satan indicate to Jesus that he was what Jesus called him, “the ruler of this world”?
8 Other Gentile peoples had their national gods, whom they regarded as their rulers and in representation of whom they made idolatrous images. For example, the nation of Ammonites worshiped a false god whom they called Molech, a name meaning “Reigning One,” or “King.” (Lev. 15:21; 20:2-5; 1 Ki. 11:7; Acts 7:43) Such nations really worshiped spirit demons or devils. (1 Cor. 10:20) Over all these invisible demons is Satan the Devil. At 2 Corinthians 4:4 he is called “the god of this system of things.”
9 Claiming kingship over all the worldly nations, Satan the Devil tried to tempt Jesus Christ by saying: “I will give you all this authority and the glory of them [all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth], because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it. You, therefore, if you do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7) But Jesus refused to become a human king under God’s great adversary. Hence, shortly before his death, Jesus spoke of Satan the Devil as “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) The Bible’s last book, written seven centuries after Jeremiah’s day, says that “all the earth” was worshiping Satan the Devil and his visible political organization, pictured as a seven-headed beast.—Rev. 13:3, 4.
10. (a) On what basis was Jehovah the King of only the nation of Israel till it rejected the Messiah? (b) Though the “kingdom of the world” became that of Jehovah and his Christ in 1914, what do the nations refuse to do?
10 Anciently the Israelites acknowledged Jehovah God as their Lord and King. In harmony with that the inspired psalmist went on to say: “He is telling his word to Jacob, his regulations and his judicial decisions to Israel. He has not done that way to any other nation; and as for his judicial decisions, they have not known them. Praise Jah, you people [or, Hallelujah]!” (Ps. 147:5, 19, 20; 145:1, 12, 13) Consequently, the worldly Gentile nations were not the kingdoms of Jehovah God. The theocratic government that he set up over ancient Israel in the days of the prophet Moses was God’s only earthly kingdom until the nation of Israel rejected the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as the Messiah from God. (Ex. 15:18-21; Deut. 33:2-5; 1 Chron. 29:11, 12, 23; Matt. 21:43) First since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. “the kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ”; and yet the worldly nations still refuse to have Jehovah as their King.—Rev. 11:15-18.
HOW “KING OF THE NATIONS”?
11. From what standpoint did Jeremiah address Jehovah as “King of the nations”?
11 From what standpoint, then, could Jeremiah address Jehovah as “King of the nations”? From the standpoint that among all those who were kings of the nations and who thus held kingship He was the outstanding King. He ruled as King of kings, the Superlative King, the One who dominates all other kings. “For,” said Moses to Israel back in 1473 B.C.E., “Jehovah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty and fear-inspiring.” (Deut. 10:17) Later, the inspired psalmist said to Jehovah’s people: “Give thanks to the God of the gods: for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite; give thanks to the Lord of the lords: . . . to the One striking down great kings: . . . and who proceeded to kill majestic kings: . . . even Sihon the king of the Amorites: . . . and Og the king of Bashan: . . . and who gave their land as an inheritance: . . . an inheritance to Israel his servant.” (Ps. 136:2, 3, 17-22) In this way he dominates “all the nations,” in spite of their having their own demon and human kingships.—Jer. 9:25, 26.
12. How did Jehovah illustrate and explain to Jeremiah that He was “King of the nations”?
12 So then, Jehovah could tell Jeremiah: “See, I have commissioned you this day to be over the nations and over the kingdoms.” (Jer. 1:10) That Jeremiah addressed him aright as “King of the nations,” Jehovah illustrated to him. Jehovah commanded him to go down to the house of a potter. After the potter made a vessel that proved to be spoiled and then remolded the clay into a vessel meeting his approval, Jehovah said:
“Am I not able to do just like this potter to you people, O house of Israel? . . . Look! As the clay in the hand of the potter, so you are in my hand, O house of Israel. At any moment that I may speak against a nation and against a kingdom to uproot it and to pull it down and to destroy it, and that nation actually turns back from its badness against which I spoke, I will also feel regret over the calamity that I had thought to execute upon it. But at any moment that I may speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to build it up and to plant it, and it actually does what is bad in my eyes by not obeying my voice, I will also feel regret over the good that I said to myself to do for its good.”—Jer. 18:1-10; also note Jeremiah 1:10.
13. How did Jehovah the Great Potter follow that same stated rule of action toward ancient Egypt and toward Israel?
13 Centuries previous to this statement, Jehovah had favored the land of Egypt in the days when Joseph the son of Jacob was made its food administrator. But some time after Joseph’s death, when Egypt’s Pharaohs began to oppress Joseph’s people, the descendants of Jacob (or, Israel), and even tried to wipe them out of existence, Jehovah intervened. He plagued the land of Egypt and destroyed Pharaoh and his military hosts and freed His chosen people, the Israelites. (Ps. 136:10-16; Rom. 9:17, 18, 21-24) According to that same rule of action, when the kingdom of Judah rebelled against the God of its covenant and persisted in its bad ways, Jehovah the Great Potter purposed to overthrow that Israelite kingdom. (Jer. 18:11-17) Those rebels even returned bad to Jehovah’s prophet Jeremiah for the good that he was seeking to do to them. Why, they even schemed to kill Jeremiah. (Jer. 18:18-20, 23) Hence, finally, it became agreeable to Jeremiah for Jehovah’s adverse judgments to be executed upon those rebels.—Jer. 18:21, 22.
14. Why should we today, as individuals, take to heart those historical examples of the dealings of the Great Potter?
14 These historical examples are something for all nations, especially those of Christendom, to take to heart today. At least we common people, as individuals, ought to do so. Jehovah the Great Potter is still supreme, and he is about to show to all mankind that he is still the “King of the nations.” Today, more than ever before, the following words of Jeremiah still hold true:
“But [in contrast with the false gods described just before this] Jehovah is in truth God. He is the living God and the King to time indefinite. Because of his indignation the earth will rock, and no nations will hold up under his denunciation. This is what you men will say to them [to the nations]: ‘The gods that did not make the very heavens and the earth are the ones who will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.’a He is the Maker of the earth by his power, the One firmly establishing the productive land by his wisdom, and the One who by his understanding stretched out the heavens.”—Jer. 10:10-12.
15. Why does Jehovah have good reason for indignation against the nations, and how will he express it?
15 Is there real reason for Jehovah God the Creator to have indignation today? Well, let us just think of the widespread disregard for his laws, the contempt for his name, the crime, the love of pleasures rather than the love of God, the immorality, the religious hypocrisy, the persecution upon those who form a modern-day Jeremiah class, the refusal of the nations to submit to Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ. Certainly, in the face of all these things, there is every good reason for Jehovah God the Great Potter to have indignation. Soon he will express it, just as he did in Jeremiah’s day by destroying Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah.
16. Why will the wicked nations not “hold up” under Jehovah’s expressed denunciation?
16 In his written Word, the Bible, Jehovah has denounced all wickedness. Shortly he will destroy the things that he has denounced. Under his expressed denunciation “no nations will hold up.” Their “gods,” the things that they have deified and idolized, will prove helpless and perish. Their worshipers will perish with them.
17. From whom do cries for help go up to our only Help, and why?
17 Logically, our only help is the one living and true God, the “King of the nations.” Cries for help go up to him from everywhere, from those who, like Jeremiah, deplore the godless conditions and from all others who are “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done,” especially in hypocritical Christendom. (Ezek. 9:4) Their hearts are rent because a “breakdown” like that described by Jeremiah impends over all the nations due to the fact that their rulers have not searched for Jehovah as our only help. (Jer. 10:19-22) Their United Nations organization will fail as an agency for world peace and security. All human schemes for directing the course of history and for warding off destruction at the hands of the Great Potter will prove futile.
18, 19. How do the political rulers try to direct their official steps, and how will it be proved that it does not belong to them to do so?
18 After we examine the warning examples of history, we have to agree with Jeremiah when he said: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”—Jer. 10:23.
19 Because a man can walk he may think that he can walk in whatever way he desires and still reach his destination. He may feel that Jehovah God has nothing to do with the matter. So the political rulers try to steer national affairs while ignoring the lessons of Bible history. They scoff at the modern-day Jeremiah class for predicting world calamity in a “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:3, 21, 22) They pay no attention to Bible prophecy and think that they can determine the outcome of matters, directing their steps to lasting peace and prosperity. Still, though they walk politically, economically and religiously as they desire, Jehovah as “King of the nations” will make them stumble into the foretold destruction during the unavoidable “great tribulation.”
20. Like Jeremiah, we pray Jehovah to correct us to what extent, and why?
20 Correction from God is something that we all need. So we will want to pray as Jeremiah did, in a desire to avoid being reduced to nothing along with mankind: “Correct me, O Jehovah, however with judgment [that is, measured by my need]; not in your anger [during the great tribulation], that you may not reduce me to nothing. Pour out your rage upon the nations who have ignored you [or, who have not come to know you], and upon the families who have not called even upon your name. For they [the Babylonians and their allies] have eaten up Jacob. Yes, they have eaten him up, and they keep at exterminating him; and his abiding place they have desolated.”—Jer. 10:24, 25, marginal reading; Ps. 79:6, 7.
21. To whom can we leave the matter of executing righteous judgment upon those who try to exterminate us for our course of action?
21 That prayer is directed to the “King of the nations.” To him we can leave the matter of executing his righteous judgment upon those who ignore him and vengefully try to exterminate all who acknowledge and loyally uphold his universal sovereignty. We raise our cries for aid to him who is our only help.
“But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Pet. 3:13.
a This verse, Jeremiah 10:11, with its quoted words, is especially distinguished by being written in the Aramaic language, whereas all the rest of Jeremiah’s prophecy is written in the Hebrew language.