Why Our Good Hopes Are Certain of Realization
“God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God.”—Rom. 8:28.
1. In our 20th century an increasing number of members of the groaning creation have come to be informed of what, and what is the state of their hope after all these decades, and why?
IN OUR 20th century an increasing number of members of the human creation have become informed about the approaching “revealing of the sons of God,” and they now know what to expect soon. Notwithstanding all the ‘groaning and being in pain’ to which the human creation has been subjected till now, these informed, expectant persons are rejoicing in hope. Despite the decades of time that have passed since this “great crowd” first began forming, their hope also is a live one. Like a “tree of life,” it lives within their hearts, because it is founded on God’s promise that is written on the pages of the Bible.—Prov. 13:12; Rev. 7:9; 21:5; Rom. 8:19-22.
2. (a) The “great crowd” prays for the vindication of Jehovah God in what rightful position? (b) In praying, “Let your name be sanctified,” for what action are they praying, and when will this be fulfilled?
2 Above all, they hope for the early vindication of the universal sovereignty of Jehovah the Creator. They appreciate that he is righteous in his exercising sovereignty over all the universe of his creation. Hence, they are inflexibly against the “original serpent,” Satan the Devil, who misjudges and misrepresents Jehovah’s sovereignty and who has turned most of the human creation against it. They pray the Lord’s Prayer to Jehovah and say: “Let your name be sanctified.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) Thus they pray for Jehovah himself to sanctify his name. He will answer this prayer during the impending “great tribulation,” which will reach its climax in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon and which will be followed by the binding and abyssing of “the original serpent” and all those of his demon “seed.”—Ezek. 36:23; 38:16, 23; 39:27; Rev. 16:14, 16; 20:1, 2.
3. According to Revelation 7:9, 10, the “great crowd” of hopeful ones will survive to witness what events?
3 The “great crowd” of hopeful ones will survive to witness the vindicating of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and the sanctifying of his name. Quite appropriately, then, Revelation 7:9, 10 prophetically pictures them as afterward standing before the throne of the vindicated God and before his self-sacrificing Son, Jesus Christ, and gratefully saying: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
4. Because the “great crowd” do not share the fears of worldly people, what do they do with a mild temper and deep respect before worldly authorities?
4 In the present-day situation before the outbreak of the “great tribulation,” when the world is paralyzed with fear, the “great crowd” do not fear what worldly people fear. Courageously they obey what the apostle Peter wrote: “Sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.”—1 Pet. 3:15.
5 Unselfishly they are sharing their glorious hope with everyone within reach. Thus they are taking part in the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” It is now more urgent than ever before for them to heed Jesus’ command: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them, . . . teaching them.”—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
6. Why will we be more greatly favored than earlier Christians who had a like hope in past centuries?
6 Nobody else has a Bible-founded hope like ours. It is the finest thing we can share with others. Our hope is a treasure over which to rejoice. “Rejoice in the hope,” we are told. (Rom. 12:12) We can confidently expect its realization soon. Not in vain are we awaiting its realization with endurance. Earlier Christians merely looked forward to what we are about to realize. Greatly favored will we be by actually experiencing its grand realization.
GOD’S WORKS SURE TO COOPERATE FOR GOOD
7, 8. (a) Why are we not expecting too much to be realized? (b) In this regard, what do we, like the apostle Paul, know, as set out in Romans 8:28-30?
7 We are not hoping for too much to be realized, if it is written in God’s Word. Nothing written will be impossible for him! He cannot fall short of his glorious promise, as he is the Almighty God. If we love him and prove it by our obedience, he will not fail to make all his good promise a glorious reality. Along with the apostle Paul of the first century C.E., we know this. In Romans 8:28-30, written about 56 C.E., Paul made this affirmation:
8 “Now we know that God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God,* those who are the ones called according to his purpose; because those whom he gave his first recognition he also foreordained to be patterned after the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Moreover, those whom he foreordained are the ones he also called; and those whom he called are the ones he also declared to be righteous. Finally those whom he declared righteous are the ones he also glorified.”
9. How do the King James Version and a number of modern Bible translations render Romans 8:28, but how do other modern versions read similarly to the New World Translation?
9 In the King James Version of the Bible Romans 8:28 reads: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Quite a number of modern translations of this Bible verse read the same way. However, Byington’s The Bible in Living English reads: “And we know that to those who love God, God gives all cooperation for good, to those who, as suited his purpose, are called.” Rotherham’s The Emphasised Bible reads: “We know further that unto them who love God God causeth all things to work together for good.” Lattey’s The New Testament reads: “And we know that for them that love God he worketh all things together for good.”—See also Schonfield’s The Authentic New Testament, p. 338, paragraph 2.
10, 11. (a) What are the works that God makes cooperate together for the good of the called one? (b) What kind of personal actions should not be included among the “all things” mentioned in Romans 8:28?
10 All the things set out in Romans 8:28-30 are God’s works, not man’s. It is God’s works that, according to the record, he makes cooperate together for the good of the called ones who love him, because he wants them to gain the Kingdom to which he has called them. But if anyone who claims to be a baptized Christian in line for the heavenly kingdom acts out of harmony with his heavenly calling, we cannot expect God to make such action work good for the offender, or even that his action will automatically work for his good. For instance, if a professed Christian with the heavenly calling engages too vigorously in a sport during his recreation and breaks a leg or fractures his ankle, does God make that injury work for the sportsman’s good? Or if, in a period of weakness and wrong leanings, a called Christian chooses to pass through a red-light district out of curiosity or to see other men being lured into immorality with prostitutes and he himself falls victim to the solicitations of a harlot and commits fornication, can God be expected to make that experience work for the sinner’s good? Does such putting of God to the test work for good?
11 The outcome of such a physical or moral injury all depends upon the individual affected as to how he reacts to the consequences of his ill-advised course. He might learn a lesson from such a hard experience. But does his learning a lesson make the whole affair one of God’s works, especially because He may exercise mercy in the matter? Certainly not! It should not be included among the “all things” mentioned by Paul in Romans 8:28.
12. All of God’s works as recounted in Romans 8:29, 30 are of what nature, and in what order does Paul relate them?
12 When we go on to read Rom 8 verses 29, 30 and note the works of God as recounted therein, we discern that, without exception, all of God’s works toward the foreordained, called Christian are good. Also, they work together for the good of the Kingdom heir at every stage of God’s handling of matters. Reversing the stages, Paul writes: “Because those whom he gave his first recognition he also foreordained to be patterned after the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Moreover, those whom he foreordained are the ones he also called; and those whom he called are the ones he also declared to be righteous. Finally those whom he declared righteous are the ones he also glorified.”
13. (a) When does God do the glorifying of the ones declared righteous? (b) Upon what basis does the declaring of individuals righteous take place?
13 When does God do the glorifying? When he gives favored ones the splendor of the knowledge of his firstborn Son now exalted to His right hand. Thus God sets them in the way that leads to heavenly glory. After this initial work of God, he can next declare them to be righteous, but only if they put faith in the glorified Christ to the point of handing themselves over or dedicating themselves to God without any reservations.
14. (a) How does one get to be among those “called” by God? (b) How is it that one gets to be included among God’s “foreordained” ones?
14 How, now, does God call a dedicated, baptized disciple of his glorified Son, in order that he might be ‘transferred into the kingdom of the Son of his love’? (Col. 1:13) God does so by begetting him with His spirit to become a spirit-begotten son of God. Then it is that God can call or invite such a spiritual son to become part of the heavenly kingdom, which can be enjoyed only by those who are finally resurrected to spirit life in heaven. (1 Cor. 15:43-50) God foreordained that there should be associated with his Son a body of brothers having the same divine nature and being patterned after the image of his firstborn Son, Jesus Christ. So, after being called, the spirit-begotten child of God becomes a member of the foreordained class, in which he must prove faithful till his earthly death. God foreordained this class, not any particular individual by name, who gets into that class. God foreordained that the number of Christ’s heavenly brothers should be 144,000, no individuals being named in that connection.—Rev. 14:1-3.
15. When and how did God give “his first recognition” to the foreordained ones?
15 In Romans 8:29, 30 the apostle Paul points out that to the class of Christians whom God proceeds to glorify or honor and dignify, to declare righteous, to call and to foreordain, he “gave his first recognition.” This is what God did away back in the garden of Eden when he gave his prophecy concerning the “seed” of his own “woman” and the victorious exploit of that “seed.” (Gen. 3:15) Thus, millenniums before that “seed” came into existence, God was the first one to recognize the need of it and its special assignment of work. From then on God gave “his first recognition” to his obligation to produce such a “seed.” So this came first in God’s program. Accordingly, what God considered worthy of “his first recognition” he kept in mind and heart all the way down to producing that “seed” in his Son Jesus Christ and the faithful spirit-begotten disciples of this Son. During all the time down till the arising of that “seed” God foreknew it and gave specially favored recognition to it.
16. (a) How does each of “all his works” as narrated in Romans 8:28-30 perform its part? (b) So what is certain for all those “called according to his purpose”?
16 Hence, from start to finish, whose are the “works” that are detailed for us in Romans 8:28-30? They are God’s “works.” And since he is a consistent God, in perfect harmony with himself in all his dealings, he “makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God.” Not one of “all his works” is out of line, out of accord, with all his other purposeful works. These works proceed orderly, the one leading up to the other and preparing for it. God’s purpose is magnificent, and he knows exactly how to carry it out successfully. So “those who are the ones called according to his purpose” can be sure that he will never fail. If they stay faithful and lovingly cooperate with him, they are certain to have a part in the accomplishment of his purpose by having an active share in his heavenly kingdom with Jesus Christ.
ANOTHER CLASS FOREKNOWN
17. What loving purpose did God have in connection with the called, foreordained ones, and since when?
17 By means of the “called” ones to whom God gave his “first recognition,” he has a loving purpose to fulfill. This was plainly made known 2,083 years after Adam’s creation, namely, in the year 1,943 B.C.E. Then God said to the faithful patriarch Abraham: “All the families of the ground will certainly bless themselves by means of you.” So this blessing embraced the world and was to be procured through a “seed” of Abraham. (Gen. 12:1-3; 22:17, 18) This foreordained “seed” would consist of Jesus Christ and his 144,000 “called” disciples. (Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1-3; Gal. 3:16, 29) God’s simple promise to Abraham showed His foreknowledge of a “seed” class without his stating a definite number for them. Only the last Bible book gives us the number.
18. In ancient times before Christ, what did God use individuals and groups to typify or prophetically illustrate?
18 In ancient times before Christ, there were individuals and groups that befriended Abraham’s natural descendants. God used these as types or prophetic illustrations of people of our own modern times who would befriend and associate themselves with the small remnant of the “called” ones who are yet on earth.
19. How does Revelation 7:9-14 picture those active associates of the remnant of the “called” disciples of Christ, and what privilege in the near future is to be theirs?
19 The very last book of the Bible, written by the Christian apostle John about the year 96 C.E., foretold and pictured those active associates of the remnant of the “called” ones as a “great crowd” without number. Members of this “great crowd” are to be preserved alive through the coming “great tribulation,” yes, through the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon and will enter into a new order on a cleansed earth under the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and his 144,000 “called” ones. The prophetic picture of this “great crowd” as recorded at Revelation 7:9-14 was explained by word of mouth and printed page in the year 1935.—Rev. 16:14, 16.
20. Since 1935, how many types and prophecies pointing to the great crowd have been set out in our publications, and why is their hope unique and yet certain to be realized?
20 In the 45 years since then, at least 42 types or prophetic pictures of that “great crowd” of Har–Magedon survivors have been set forth in Watch Tower Society publications. (See You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World, published in 1955, and pages 367, 368.) All these types and prophecies show that God had purposed only good toward this foreknown “great crowd.” It is because they too love him. Many of them have been willing to prove their unbreakable love to him even to a martyr’s death. Truly, the hope set before the “great crowd” is one that has not been held out to the vast majority of human creation. Although theirs is a unique and marvelous hope, they confidently look forward to its early realization. Never will this live hope of theirs be disappointed, for the God who gives hope is faithful. Trustworthy and sure of fulfillment is his promise toward them: “The One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Rev. 7:15-17.
This reading is according to the Vatican Manuscript No. 1209, the Alexandrine Manuscript, and Papyrus No. 46. See The Syriac New Testament by Dr. James Murdock.