Jehovah The God of Purpose
“Surely just as I have figured, so it must occur; and just as I have counseled, that is what will come true.”—ISAIAH 14:24.
1, 2. What do many say about the purpose of life?
PEOPLE everywhere ask: “What is the purpose of life?” A Western political leader stated: “More people than ever before are asking, ‘Who are we? What is our purpose?’” When a newspaper polled young people on the question of what life’s purpose is, typical responses were: “To do whatever your heart desires.” “Living every moment to its fullest.” “Living it up.” “To have children, to be happy and then to die.” Most felt that this life was all there is. No one spoke of any long-range purpose to life on earth.
2 A Confucian scholar said: “The ultimate meaning of life is found in our ordinary, human existence.” According to this, people would continue to be born, struggle for 70 or 80 years, then die and be nonexistent forever. An evolutionary scientist said: “We may yearn for a ‘higher’ answer—but none exists.” For these evolutionists, life is a struggle for survival, with death ending it all. Such philosophies present a hopeless view of life.
3, 4. How do world conditions affect the way many view life?
3 Many doubt that life has a purpose when they see that human existence has been filled with so much misery. In our time, when man is supposed to have reached a peak of industrial and scientific accomplishment, about a billion people worldwide are seriously ill or malnourished. Millions of children die each year from such causes. In addition, this 20th century has had four times as many deaths from war as had the previous four hundred years combined. Crime, violence, drug abuse, family breakdown, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases—the list of negative factors increases. World leaders do not have solutions for these problems.
4 In view of such conditions, one person expressed what many believe: “There’s no point to life. If all of these bad things are happening, then life doesn’t mean much.” And an elderly man said: “I’ve been asking why I’m here most of my life. If there’s a purpose, I don’t care anymore.” So because multitudes do not know why God permits suffering, distressing world conditions cause them to have no real hope for the future.
5. Why do this world’s religions add to the confusion about the purpose of life?
5 Even religious leaders are divided, and uncertain, about the purpose of life. A former dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London said: “All my life I have struggled to find the purpose of living. . . . I have failed.” True, many clergymen teach that at death the good go to heaven and the bad go to a fiery hell forever. But this view still leaves mankind on earth to continue its tormented course. And if it was God’s purpose to have people live in heaven, why did he not just make them heavenly creatures to begin with, as he did the angels, and thus spare humans so much suffering? So confusion as to the purpose of life on earth or refusal to believe that it has any purpose is common.
The God of Purpose
6, 7. What does the Bible tell us about the Universal Sovereign?
6 Yet, the most widely distributed book in history, the Holy Bible, tells us that Jehovah, the Sovereign of the universe, is the God of purpose. It shows us that he has a long-range, in fact, an eternal, purpose for humankind on earth. And when Jehovah purposes something, it will without fail take place. Just as the rain causes seed to sprout, says God, “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 55:10, 11) Whatever Jehovah says he will accomplish “is what will come true.”—Isaiah 14:24.
7 We humans can have full confidence that the Almighty will keep his promises, for God “cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18) When he tells us he will do something, his word is a guarantee that it will come to pass. It is as good as done. He declares: “I am the Divine One and there is no other God, nor anyone like me; the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, ‘My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do’ . . . I have even spoken it; I shall also bring it in. I have formed it, I shall also do it.”—Isaiah 46:9-11.
8. Can those who sincerely want to know God find him?
8 Furthermore, Jehovah “does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) For this reason, he does not want anyone to be ignorant of him. A prophet named Azariah said: “If you search for [God], he will let himself be found by you, but if you leave him he will leave you.” (2 Chronicles 15:1, 2) Hence, those who sincerely want to know God and his purposes can surely do so if they make the effort to search for him.
9, 10. (a) What has been provided for those who want to know God? (b) What does a search of God’s Word enable us to do?
9 Search where? For those truly searching for God, he has provided his Word, the Bible. By means of his holy spirit, the same active force that he used to create the universe, God directed faithful men to write down what we need to know about his purposes. For example, regarding Bible prophecy, the apostle Peter said: “Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) Similarly, the apostle Paul declared: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
10 Note that God’s Word enables us to be, not partially or incompletely, but “fully competent, completely equipped.” It enables one to be certain about who God is, what his purposes are, and what he requires of his servants. This is to be expected from a book authored by God. And it is the only source we can search to get accurate knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5; John 17:3) By doing so, we will “no longer be babes, tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in contriving error.” (Ephesians 4:13, 14) The psalmist expressed the proper outlook: “Your [God’s] word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.”—Psalm 119:105.
11. How has Jehovah revealed his purposes to mankind?
11 At the very beginning of the human family, Jehovah revealed his purposes toward this earth and humans upon it. (Genesis 1:26-30) But when our first parents rejected God’s sovereignty, mankind fell into spiritual darkness and death. (Romans 5:12) Nevertheless, Jehovah knew that there would be those who would want to serve him. Therefore, down through the centuries, he has progressively revealed his purposes to his faithful servants. Some of those with whom he communicated were Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Jude 14, 15), Noah (Genesis 6:9, 13), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), and Moses (Exodus 31:18; 34:27, 28). God’s prophet Amos wrote: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.”—Amos 3:7; Daniel 2:27, 28.
12. How did Jesus shed more light on God’s purposes?
12 When God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was on the earth some 4,000 years after the rebellion in Eden, many more details of Jehovah’s purposes were revealed. This was particularly so regarding God’s purpose to establish a heavenly Kingdom to rule over the earth. (Daniel 2:44) Jesus made that Kingdom the theme of his teaching. (Matthew 4:17; 6:10) He and his disciples taught that under the Kingdom, God’s original purpose for the earth and for mankind would be fulfilled. The earth would be transformed into a paradise inhabited by perfect humans, who would live forever. (Psalm 37:29; Matthew 5:5; Luke 23:43; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:4) Moreover, Jesus and his disciples demonstrated what would take place in that new world by the miracles God empowered them to perform.—Matthew 10:1, 8; 15:30, 31; John 11:25-44.
13. Regarding God’s dealings with humankind, what change took place at Pentecost 33 C.E.?
13 At Pentecost 33 C.E., 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection, God’s spirit was poured out on the congregation of Christ’s followers. It replaced unfaithful Israel as Jehovah’s covenant people. (Matthew 21:43; 27:51; Acts 2:1-4) The outpouring of the holy spirit on that occasion was an evidence that, from that time on, God would reveal the truths about his purposes through this new agency. (Ephesians 3:10) During the first century C.E., the organizational framework of the Christian congregation was established.—1 Corinthians 12:27-31; Ephesians 4:11, 12.
14. How can truth seekers identify the true Christian congregation?
14 Today, truth seekers can identify the true Christian congregation by its consistent manifestation of God’s foremost quality, love. (1 John 4:8, 16) Indeed, brotherly love is an identifying mark of genuine Christianity. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” “This is my commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.” (John 13:35; 15:12) And Jesus reminded his hearers: “You are my friends if you do what I am commanding you.” (John 15:14) So God’s true servants are those who live the law of love. They do not just talk about it, for “faith without works is dead.”—James 2:26.
15. Of what can God’s servants be assured?
15 Jesus foretold that with the passing of time, the true Christian congregation would be enlightened more and more regarding God’s purposes. He promised his followers: “The helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things.” (John 14:26) Jesus also said: “Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:20) Thus, enlightenment concerning the truth about God and his purposes increases among God’s servants. Yes, “the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.”—Proverbs 4:18.
16. What does our spiritual enlightenment tell us about where we are with respect to God’s purposes?
16 Today, that spiritual light is brighter than ever, for we are at the time when many Bible prophecies are being fulfilled or are nearing fulfillment. These show us that we are living in “the last days” of this evil system of things. This is the time period called “the conclusion of the system of things”; it will be followed by God’s new world. (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13; Matthew 24:3-13) As foretold by Daniel, God’s heavenly Kingdom will soon “crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [now existing], and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44.
17, 18. What grand prophecies are now being fulfilled?
17 Among the prophecies now being fulfilled is the one recorded in verse 14 of Matthew chapter 24. There Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” All over the earth, that Kingdom-preaching work is being done by millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And hundreds of thousands of people are joining them every year. This is in harmony with the prophecy at Isaiah 2:2, 3, which says that “in the final part of the days” of this evil world, people from many nations would come to Jehovah’s true worship, and ‘he would instruct them about his ways, and they would walk in his paths.’
18 These new ones are flocking to Jehovah’s worship “just like a cloud,” as foretold at Isaiah chapter 60, verse 8. Isa 60 Verse 22 adds: “The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, shall speed it up in its own time.” That time, the evidence shows, is right now. And new ones can be confident that in associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have come into contact with the true Christian congregation.
19. Why do we say that new ones who associate with Jehovah’s Witnesses are coming to the true Christian congregation?
19 Why can we say this with certainty? Because these new ones, along with the millions already within Jehovah’s organization, have dedicated their lives to God and are doing his will. This includes living in harmony with the law of godly love. As one evidence of this, these Christians have ‘beaten their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears and are not learning war anymore.’ (Isaiah 2:4) All of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide have done this because they practice love. This means that they can never take up war weapons against one another or anyone else. In this they are unique—unlike the world’s religions. (John 13:34, 35; 1 John 3:10-12, 15) They do not become involved in divisive nationalism, for they form a global brotherhood cemented by love, “a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:14; Matthew 23:8; 1 John 4:20, 21.
Most Choose Not to Know
20 While the spiritual light among God’s servants brightens, the rest of earth’s population is descending into ever-greater spiritual darkness. They do not know Jehovah or his purposes. God’s prophet described this time when he said: “Look! darkness itself will cover the earth, and thick gloom the national groups.” (Isaiah 60:2) This is so because people do not manifest a sincere interest in learning about God, nor do they show a desire to try to please him. Jesus said: “Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved.”—John 3:19, 20.
21 Such individuals are not genuinely interested in finding out God’s will. Instead, they center their lives on doing their own will. By ignoring God’s will, they place themselves in a dangerous position, for his Word declares: “He that is turning his ear away from hearing the law—even his prayer is something detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9) They will bear the consequences of their chosen course. The apostle Paul wrote: “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Galatians 6:7.
22. Multitudes who want to know God are now doing what?
22 However, there are multitudes who do want to know God’s will, who sincerely search for him, and who are drawn to him. “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you,” says James 4:8. Of such ones Jesus said: “He that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God.” (John 3:21) And what a marvelous future God has purposed for those who come to the light! Our next article will discuss the thrilling prospects.
How Would You Answer?
□ What do many say regarding life’s purpose?
□ How does Jehovah reveal himself as a God of purpose?
□ What great enlightenment took place in the first century C.E.?
□ How can the true Christian congregation be identified today?