Hope in Jehovah
“Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.”—PSALM 37:34.
1, 2. Where does mankind appear to stand, and how is the United Nations involved?
INTELLECTUALLY, the human family has attained to its most advanced stage of development. Because of its effort, it has finally reached the nuclear age. Atomic power appears able to provide abundant energy and thus to open up grand things globally. Ironically, it has also paved the way for extreme hurt to the human race.
2 What stands in the way of the human family’s destroying itself in a nuclear holocaust? It could appear to be the United Nations, which boasts of some 159 member nations with many forms of governments. Politically, these governments do not agree with one another, each believing that its own form of rule is superior, yes, the best. Within itself, therefore, the UN is a discordant body. National pride and desire for independence pervade. Moreover, a number of nations have renounced belief in God, becoming atheistic.
3. How is Christendom’s view of God different from the one God himself has?
3 The name Christendom still applies to nations that do not want to be classed as godless but profess faith in Jesus Christ in conjunction with “God the Father” in triune connection with Jesus and with a personified “holy ghost,” or holy spirit. The members of the Trinity are asserted to be coequal. But Jesus’ Father had the prophet Isaiah pen these words of identification: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory, neither my praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:8) This Jehovah, or Yahweh (The Jerusalem Bible), has made an incomparable historical record for himself.
4. The United Nations is diverting mankind from what?
4 In no way to its credit, the United Nations has abstained from rendering to God’s name due honor and recognition. It does not encourage mankind, now facing its most desperate plight, to hope in the bearer of that name. Yet, that One is rightly styled “the God of hope,” seeing that he has laid the basis for the only valid hope that humankind may now entertain. (Romans 15:13, King James Version) The hope that he gives has strengthened and sustained many men and women.
5. When was the basis for hope laid?
5 The basis for entertaining that hope was laid early in the history of the human family. Yes, it was laid immediately prior to the ejection of our first parents from their Edenic garden home in the Middle East. The record written in the Hebrew language about that garden, or Paradise, is no fable, no myth of peoples who veered away from worshiping their Creator.—Genesis 2:7–3:24.
6. How did mankind come to need hope?
6 More than 4,000 years later, the Christian apostle Paul was inspired to write: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) In another of his writings, he identified the one guilty man: “As in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) A physician named Luke, in the 3rd chapter of his Gospel, traced Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam, who, before being expelled from Eden, heard Jehovah’s message of hope.—Luke 3:23-38.
7. What encouraging thing did God do while Adam was yet alive?
7 Naturally, you should want to know the content of that message. But before reading it, take note of the fact that for a long time Jehovah has been a hope giver. In the beginning Adam was God’s earthly son, and God permitted him to produce offspring. If you foresaw a grim situation, you might want to encourage or give hope to your offspring. God did something similar. After Adam heard God’s words of condemnation pronounced upon him personally, he heard words of hope for his descendants.
8. How did Genesis 3:15 provide a basis for hope?
8 What were those words from this hope-instilling God? To a “serpent” involved in Adam’s sin, God said: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed [offspring]. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:14, 15) You might wonder how those words could be said to raise up hope. First, we learn that “the serpent” was to have his head bruised.
9. Who was “the serpent” referred to at Genesis 3:14, 15?
9 In Revelation 12:9 it is written: “So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” Yes, “the serpent” involved in Eden was none other than the wicked spirit creature known as Satan the Devil. Not only did that symbolic serpent come to have angels in heaven but he has had a “seed” down here on earth, a “seed” that in due time will be crushed out of existence with him.
10. How did Jesus confirm the identification of “the serpent”?
10 Confirming this identification of the Devil as being “the serpent” behind the downfall of our original parents, Jesus Christ said to Jewish religious leaders in the first century: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth . . . When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) Jesus also called those religious opposers “offspring of vipers.”—Matthew 12:34; 23:33.
Hope Kept Alive
11. What additional reason for hope did Genesis 3:15 provide?
11 The divine promise of the bruising of the head of the symbolic serpent actually set a heartwarming hope before all the human family that was yet to come into existence. We can see why by examining other aspects of Genesis 3:15. The “seed” of the woman is mentioned. The identity of that “seed” was long left shrouded in mystery. But it was clear that Jehovah God would put that yet unidentified “seed” at enmity with the symbolic serpent and its anti-God “seed.” Victory was promised, yes, guaranteed, for the “seed” of “the woman”! Its victory was set as a hope before mankind. So the members of the human family could hope for the coming of that “seed” of “the woman.”
12. In time, what more was revealed about the “seed” of “the woman”?
12 Over the centuries, God revealed that this “seed” was his only-begotten Son, who was sent to earth to become the Messiah and to offer his life as a ransom sacrifice. (Genesis 22:17, 18; Galatians 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 5:9, 10) For this reason the hope of Jehovah’s Witnesses does not rest upon the United Nations. It rests on a living Jesus Christ, Chief Spokesman of Jehovah God. We can be confident that Christ is living, since he rose from the dead to be seated at the right hand of Jehovah in heaven. As Paul says: “If in this life only [which life includes our 20th century] we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. However, now Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death.” (1 Corinthians 15:19, 20) As has often been Biblically established in the pages of this magazine, Jesus Christ is today installed as heavenly King.—Revelation 11:15.
13, 14. Where do Jehovah’s Witnesses place their hope, and what do they do about it?
13 Of course, Jesus has not replaced Jehovah as the hope of mankind. Psalm 37:34 still remains applicable: “Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, and he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see it.” It is still necessary to keep hoping in Jehovah and to encourage all peoples to leave off from hoping in man-made institutions.
14 In harmony with this fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses are active in 208 lands, preaching the Kingdom good news. They cannot be stopped from doing so. Political institutions, aided and abetted by religious organizations, are without divine right in trying to stop them. We can continue to be witnesses of Jehovah and to hope in him, as did David of Bethlehem, who wrote:
15. What sort of hope did King David have in Jehovah?
15 “Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever.”—Psalm 23, American Standard Version.
16. Why can it be said that Jesus had the same outlook as David had?
16 King David was Jehovah’s spiritual shepherd for the tribes of ancient Israel, and he paved the way for Jerusalem to be the nation’s capital, where his son Solomon reigned for 40 years. With good reason, Jesus Christ was spoken of as the “son of David.” (Luke 1:31; 18:39; 20:41) If David hoped in Jehovah God, his earthly descendant Jesus Christ would do similarly. And he did.
17. What evidence is there that Jesus hoped in Jehovah?
17 As evidence that David’s most famous earthly descendant, Jesus Christ, followed the counsel of Psalm 37:34 when breathing his last on the torture stake, Jesus said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) He was quoting and fulfilling David’s words at Psalm 31:5, addressed to God: “Into your hand I entrust my spirit.” Jesus’ hope was not disappointed, any more than was that of King David. Christ was resurrected from the dead on the third day. Forty days later he returned to his heavenly Father. At the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, Jehovah exalted his Son to become Ruler of the earth.
A Time for Hope Now
18. Why is today an appropriate time for hope?
18 Today, as the new year 6014 A.M. (in the Year of the World) carries the human family forward into the future, what hope can be entertained for the human family? That question is now most appropriate because we are nearly 1,900 years into the post-Bible era. It has been a long time since David wrote Psalm 37:34.
19. Jehovah did what for Jesus, giving us hope?
19 Jehovah God, the Almighty God who resurrected Jesus from the dead, has a far grander role for him than that conjured up by shortsighted men. By resurrecting and exalting his only-begotten Son to his right hand in the heavens, Jehovah God has added reason for us to look to Him with unfailing hope, our ultimate hope. It can mean our everlasting life in happiness, just as the inspired writer Paul says: “We [are] saved in this hope.”—Romans 8:24.
20. Why can we say that Jehovah is still “the God of hope”?
20 The apostle goes on to say: “But hope that is seen is not hope, for when a man sees a thing, does he hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see, we keep on waiting for it with endurance.” (Romans 8:24, 25) And so that original hope still lives on, yes, nears a glorious fulfillment upon the human race. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:4, 5) For the very reason that it is a hope for all mankind, it deserves to be made known to all. This is the idea of our “God of hope.”
21, 22. What can we expect the nations to do in the near future?
21 Now of all times is his time for this idea to be carried out. Even in our era when some nations of the UN have achieved scientific mastery of the very nucleus of all matter, the leaders of these governments do not feel the need to leave the solving of problems to some higher intelligence.—Compare Genesis 11:6.
22 As never before, popular religion is on the defensive, with its back against the wall. Its divisive influence must be done away with. The Bible shows that the ruling elements will assert their superiority and divorce themselves from the parasitical religions that have been trying for so long a time to suck the worldly system of things for all that they can get. It is no surprise, then, that the political element will take this course. Their getting away safely with this attack on religion will indicate, from their point of view, that there is no God who deserves to be worshiped and served. The prophetic indication is that they will then turn against the witnesses of God, who remain. They will look for the easiest of victories over Jehovah’s Witnesses as the finale of their anti-God campaign.—Revelation 17:12-17; Ezekiel 38:10-23.
23, 24. How will Jehovah react to the nations’ attack on his people?
23 However, they will finally get to know the shameful defeat that must come to one who dares to enter into conflict with Jehovah of armies, who has never lost a battle. That will make it unmistakably clear that they have been serving the ends of the chief opponent of the one true God, namely, “the serpent,” Satan, “the god of this system of things.”—2 Corinthians 4:4.
24 What a humiliation this will mean for them! What they had hoped to demonstrate will prove to be the height of effrontery, provoking the very God of heaven and earth to righteous indignation. To puny mankind he could say: “‘For the thoughts of you people are not my thoughts, nor are my ways your ways,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 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.’”—Isaiah 55:8-11.
25. Why, then, do we now have good reason to look to Jehovah as our “God of hope”?
25 This Creator of man has put into the human heart keen sensitiveness, such as he himself has. “For this is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Following after the glory he has sent me to the nations that were despoiling you people; for he that is touching you is touching my eyeball.’” (Zechariah 2:8) So, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to hope in Jehovah. He will measure up to that hope to the most beauteous embellishment of his universal sovereignty. He will prove beyond all further dispute that he is the most high, almighty, eternal God, who has lived up to the highest hopes of his creatures in all heaven and earth. Hallelujah!—Psalm 150:6.
How Would You Answer?
□ Why is the hope of the nations deceptive?
□ How did God provide a basis for hope in Genesis 3:15?
□ What was Jesus’ position regarding Psalm 37:34?
□ Why do we now have reason for hope?
[Picture on page 10]
As sheep follow their shepherd, so David looked to and hoped in Jehovah
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.