MAJESTIC, dignified, elevated, noble, illustrious, and awe-inspiring. These are but a few of the many synonyms for the word “grand” that are listed in a popular thesaurus. And, of a truth, any of them could be used to describe the “Grand Creator,” as Jehovah God is called at Ecclesiastes 12:1.
‘But just a minute,’ you may say, ‘my translation of the Bible does not use this descriptive word “grand.”’ Is the New World Translation correct in doing so?
In no way is this an example of adding to God’s Word—something it expressly condemns. (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18) Rather, it is an attempt to convey in modern English the exact and complete meaning of the original Hebrew text. The rendering “Creator,” while basically correct, does not go far enough. A footnote to this text in the 1984 Reference Edition of the New World Translation explains: “‘Your Grand Creator.’ Heb[rew], Boh·re’eyʹkha. The participle of the Heb[rew] verb ‘create’ is pl[ural] to denote grandeur or excellence.”
Thus Bible writers, under divine inspiration, sometimes used plural verb forms or nouns to describe God. This does not mean, however, that they believed in a plural, or perhaps triune, God. On the contrary. “There is actually to us one God the Father,” wrote the apostle Paul, adding, “and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Their use of the plural was simply to point up Jehovah’s incomparable position. He is majestic, dignified, elevated, noble, illustrious, and awe-inspiring—all of this and more. Yes, simply stated, he is grand!
God, a Creator and an Instructor Par Excellence
“For who in the skies can be compared to Jehovah?” asked the psalmist. “Who can resemble Jehovah among the sons of God?” (Psalm 89:6) Not even the firstborn Son who served at creation as His “master worker” can measure up to Jehovah’s degree of greatness. He himself admitted this, saying when on earth as the man Jesus Christ: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) And despite being his Father’s “master worker,” he never laid claim to the title of co-Creator. He glorified God as being the one and only Creator.—Compare Genesis 1:26, 27; Proverbs 8:30; and Matthew 19:4.*
Jehovah is not just a mighty one, or god, of which there are many, but he is the Almighty God, of which there is only one. (Psalm 82:6; Revelation 11:17) In view of his unique position, it is most appropriate to refer to him as “the grand God.” That is what the prophet Daniel called him when he was asked to interpret a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had. He said: “The grand God himself has made known to the king what is to occur after this. And the dream is reliable, and the interpretation of it is trustworthy.” To which the king replied: “Truly the God of you men is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a Revealer of secrets.”—Daniel 2:45, 47.
A Grand God with the ability to foreknow the future and to reveal secrets is obviously capable of guiding his people properly, instructing them on how to avoid dangers. He is an Instructor without equal, the “Grand Instructor,” as Isaiah 30:20, 21 calls him. This is true, first of all, because of the ultimate wisdom embodied in what he teaches. For example, God issued warnings that alerted his people to the dangers inherent in tobacco, drug abuse, blood transfusions, and sexual immorality long before these were fully recognized by scientists and doctors.*
Second, he is without equal in his method of teaching. It is always positive, offered in a loving way with patience and a perfect grasp of the student’s individual needs and capabilities. It is therefore most effective. No wonder an ancient servant of God once asked, for reasons of comparison, the question: “Look! God himself acts exaltedly with his power; who is an instructor like him?”—Job 36:22.
A King, a Maker, and a Master
Jerusalem, seat of government for Jehovah’s typical theocracy, was called “the town of the grand King.” (Psalm 48:1, 2) Psalm 135:21 identifies this “grand King” as being “Jehovah, who is residing in Jerusalem.” (See also Psalm 47:8; Matthew 5:35.) Of course, as universal Sovereign upon a heavenly throne, the Grand King never did literally reside in Jerusalem, but the human kings who ruled as his representatives did.—Psalm 10:16; 29:10; Jeremiah 10:10; Daniel 4:34.
Now, since 1914, Jehovah is once again ruling through a representative King, this time his Son, Christ Jesus, who is installed in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 11:15; 12:10) His Messianic Kingdom will permanently establish the rightfulness of Jehovah’s sovereignty and rid the universe of all challengers to the rule of the Grand King.
According to Job 35:10, Psalm 149:2, and Isaiah 54:5, Jehovah is also the “Grand Maker.” The latter two texts refer to Jehovah’s making Israel into a nation to serve his interests. Thus, besides being able to create, Jehovah is also able to cause his creations to become whatever he desires them to be in order for his purposes to see fulfillment. This is in harmony with the very meaning of the divine name: “He Causes to Become.”
Such a Grand King and Grand Maker is worthy of our trust and confidence. More than that, he is worthy of our love, devotion, and—above all—our worship. He is entitled to be called our “grand Master.” (Hosea 12:14) We should avoid acting like unfaithful Israel, who foreshadowed modern-day Christendom. Of such apostates Malachi wrote: “‘A son, for his part, honors a father; and a servant, his grand master. So if I am a father, where is the honor to me? And if I am a grand master, where is the fear of me?’ Jehovah of armies has said to you, O priests who are despising my name.” (Malachi 1:6) We should honor our Grand Master with a godly fear, not despising his name by trying to hide it—as some modern translators have done—or eradicate it from the Bible as though it is shameful to mention it. On the contrary, we should be proud to bear it in identifying ourselves as His witnesses.
Fully Recognizing Jehovah’s Grandness
God is the personification of love, as well as of every other good and positive quality. (1 John 4:8) So it does not surprise us that Isaiah describes this “true God, Jehovah, . . . the Creator of the heavens” simply as “the Grand One.” He is the very personification of grandness.—Isaiah 42:5.
If we fully recognize him as being a Grand King now ruling since 1914 in a very special sense, we will maintain strict Christian neutrality in political affairs. We will avoid taking sides, even in a passive way. And in a positive way we will support God’s rule by “seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness,” actively preaching “this good news of the kingdom” to others.—Matthew 6:33; 24:14.
If we fully recognize him as being a Grand Master, we will refrain from contradicting in speech or action his approved way of doing things. We will be quick to obey him. In view of his unique position as the Grand God, the Grand Creator, and the Grand Maker, we will appreciate his right to exclusive devotion. We will not balk at his requirements, even those that may appear to us to be overly restrictive. We will readily accept his arrangements for maintaining peace and unity in the congregation and within our own families.—See Hebrews 13:17; Ephesians 6:1-3.
If we fully recognize him as being a Grand Instructor, we will not doubt or criticize the methods of instruction Jehovah’s “faithful and discreet slave” class is using today. Rather, we will support disciplinary actions that are sometimes necessary in instructing, and at the same time attempt to derive as much benefit as possible from the fine teaching aids God’s visible organization provides.—Matthew 24:45-47.
Yes, in summary, if we fully recognize Jehovah as being the Grand One, we will be eager to grasp every opportunity to serve him. Positions of power, fame, and wealth, as enjoyed by politicians, entertainment personalities, or financiers, are as nothing when compared to the privilege of being in the service of the Grand One.
Many people might be willing to accept Jehovah as their Creator and Maker. But when it comes to accepting him as their God, their Instructor, their King, and their Master—at this they rebel. Let us never make that mistake. Remember, whether as Creator, Maker, God, Instructor, King, or Master, Jehovah is majestic, dignified, elevated, noble, illustrious, and awe-inspiring—all of this and more. Yes, Jehovah is simply grand!
It is significant that Genesis 1:26, when referring to Jehovah and his “master worker” together, says “let us make,” whereas the next verse Gen. 1:27 uses the word “create” when referring to Jehovah alone. Of this Hebrew word for “create,” “A Dictionary of the Hebrew Old Testament in English and German,” by Koehler and Baumgartner, says: “In the O[ld] T[estament] [this] is a theological term the subject of which is God exclusively.”
Decades ago these dangers were Scripturally explained in the Watchtower issues of July 1, 1942, pages 205-7; July 1, 1945, pages 198-201; December 1, 1949, page 367, and in the Awake! issue of July 22, 1950, pages 13-15.