Trust Jehovah to Fulfill His Purpose
“The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—PSALM 37:29.
1. What is Jehovah’s purpose for humans and for this earth?
WHEN Jehovah created our first parents, Adam and Eve, he made them perfect. And he created them so that they could live forever on this earth—if they obeyed his laws. (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:17) Furthermore, God placed them in paradisaic surroundings. (Genesis 2:8, 9) Jehovah said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) Thus, their offspring would eventually spread earth wide, and this planet would become a paradise filled with a perfect, happy race of people. What a fine start the human family had! “God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.”—Genesis 1:31.
2. The state of human affairs raises what questions?
2 Yet, the state of human affairs that has existed for thousands of years bears no resemblance to God’s original purpose. Mankind is far removed from perfection and is far from being happy. World conditions have been distressing, and as prophesied, they have worsened dramatically in our time. (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) So how can we be confident that God’s purpose for humans will be realized in the near future? Will more long periods of time pass with continued distressing conditions?
What Went Wrong?
3. Why did Jehovah not immediately end the rebellion of mankind?
3 Those who have accurate knowledge of God’s inspired Word know why Jehovah has permitted these bad conditions on earth. They also know what he will do about them. From the Bible account, they have learned that our first parents misused the wonderful gift of free choice that God had given humans. (Compare 1 Peter 2:16.) They wrongly chose the course of independence from God. (Genesis, chapters 2 and 3) Their rebellion raised questions of the greatest magnitude, such as: Does the Universal Sovereign have the right to rule over humans? Is his rule best for them? Can human rule succeed without God’s oversight? The sure way to find the answers to these questions was to let centuries of human rule pass. The results would show beyond any doubt whether humans could be successful apart from their Maker.
4, 5. (a) What has been the result of human rejection of God’s rule? (b) What has the passing of time demonstrated beyond any doubt?
4 When Adam and Eve left God, he no longer sustained them in perfection. Without his support, they deteriorated. The result was imperfection, old age, and ultimately death. Through the laws of heredity, our first parents passed those negative characteristics on to all their descendants, including us. (Romans 5:12) And what of the result of thousands of years of human rule? It has been catastrophic, just as Ecclesiastes 8:9 truthfully states: “Man has dominated man to his injury.”
5 The passing of time has shown beyond any doubt that it is not in humans to direct their affairs successfully apart from their Creator. The inspired Bible writer Jeremiah declared: “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.”—Jeremiah 10:23; Deuteronomy 32:4, 5; Ecclesiastes 7:29.
God’s Purpose Has Not Changed
6, 7. (a) Have thousands of years of history changed Jehovah’s purpose? (b) What is included in Jehovah’s purpose?
6 Has the passing of thousands of years of human history—so filled with wickedness and suffering—changed God’s purpose? His Word states: “This is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18) So God formed the earth to be inhabited by humans, and that is still his purpose.
7 Not only did Jehovah create the earth to be inhabited but he also purposed that it become a paradise to be enjoyed by perfect, happy people. That is why the Bible foretold that there would be “a new earth,” a new human society, in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) And at Revelation 21:4, God’s Word tells us that in his new world, “he will wipe out every tear from [mankind’s] eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” It is for such reasons that Jesus could speak of that coming new world on earth as “Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.
8. Why can we be sure that Jehovah will fulfill his purpose?
8 Since Jehovah is the all-powerful and all-wise Creator of the universe, no one can thwart his purpose. “Jehovah of armies has sworn, saying: ‘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) Thus, when God says he will make this earth a paradise inhabited by perfect people, that is what will happen. Jesus said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5; compare Psalm 37:29.) We can count on the fulfillment of that promise. In fact, we can stake our lives on it.
They Trusted Jehovah
9. What did Abraham do that showed his trust in Jehovah?
9 Many God-fearing people throughout history did stake their lives on God’s purpose for the earth because they were convinced that he would fulfill it. Although their knowledge may have been limited, they trusted God and built their lives on the doing of his will. For instance, there was Abraham, who lived about 2,000 years before Jesus walked the earth—long before the Bible began to be written. He trusted Jehovah to fulfill His promises. Likely, Abraham learned about the Creator from his faithful ancestor Shem, who was taught by Noah. So when God told Abraham to move out of prosperous Ur of the Chaldeans into the unfamiliar and dangerous land of Canaan, that patriarch knew he could trust Jehovah, and therefore he went. (Hebrews 11:8) In time, Jehovah told him: “I shall make a great nation out of you.”—Genesis 12:2.
10, 11. Why was Abraham willing to offer up his only-begotten son, Isaac?
10 What happened after Isaac was born to Abraham? Jehovah indicated to Abraham that it was through Isaac that his descendants would develop into a great nation. (Genesis 21:12) Thus, it must have seemed to be quite a contradiction when Jehovah told Abraham, as a test of his faith, to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:2) Yet, with full trust in Jehovah, Abraham took steps to comply, actually taking up his knife to slaughter Isaac. At the last moment, God sent an angel to restrain Abraham.—Genesis 22:9-14.
11 Why was Abraham so obedient? Hebrews 11:17-19 reveals: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac, and the man that had gladly received the promises attempted to offer up his only-begotten son, although it had been said to him: ‘What will be called “your seed” will be through Isaac.’ But he reckoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; and from there he did receive him also in an illustrative way.” Romans 4:20, 21 similarly states: “Because of the promise of God [Abraham] did not waver in a lack of faith, . . . being fully convinced that what [God] had promised he was also able to do.”
12. How was Abraham rewarded for his faith?
12 Abraham was rewarded for his faith not only by the sparing of Isaac and by having a “great nation” come through him but also in another way. God told Abraham: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.” (Genesis 22:18) How? The King of God’s heavenly Kingdom would come through Abraham’s line of descent. That Kingdom would crush out of existence this evil world under Satan. (Daniel 2:44; Romans 16:20; Revelation 19:11-21) Then, in a cleansed earth under Kingdom rule, Paradise would be developed globally, and from “all nations” people who do God’s will would enjoy perfect health and life forever. (1 John 2:15-17) And though Abraham possessed only limited knowledge of the Kingdom, he trusted God and looked forward to its establishment.—Hebrews 11:10.
13, 14. Why did Job trust God?
13 Several hundred years later, there was Job, who lived between the 17th and 16th centuries B.C.E. in what is now Arabia. He too lived before the Bible began to be written. Job “proved to be blameless and upright, and fearing God and turning aside from bad.” (Job 1:1) When Satan inflicted a loathsome, painful disease upon Job, that faithful man “did not utter one sinful word” throughout his ordeal. (Job 2:10, The New English Bible) Job trusted God. And while he did not know the details as to why he was suffering so much, he staked his life on God and His promises.
14 Job knew that even if he died, God could someday restore him to life by means of the resurrection. He indicated this hope when he said to Jehovah God: “O that in Sheol [the grave] you would conceal me, . . . that you would set a time limit for me and remember me! If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? . . . You will call, and I myself shall answer you.” (Job 14:13-15) Although in agony, Job demonstrated faith in Jehovah’s sovereignty, stating: “Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity from myself!”—Job 27:5.
15. How did David express his confidence in Jehovah’s purpose?
15 Some six centuries after Job and about a thousand years before Jesus came to the earth, David expressed his confidence in a new world. He said in the psalms: “Those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” Because of his unwavering hope, David urged: “Trust in Jehovah . . . Also take exquisite delight in Jehovah, and he will give you the requests of your heart.”—Psalm 37:3, 4, 9-11, 29.
16. What hope did ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ have?
16 Down through the centuries, faithful men and women have had this same hope of eternal life on earth. In fact, they made up ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ who very literally staked their lives on Jehovah’s promises. Many of those ancient witnesses of Jehovah were tortured and killed because of their faith, “in order that they might attain a better resurrection.” How so? In the new world, God will reward them with a better resurrection and the prospect of everlasting life.—John 5:28, 29; Hebrews 11:35; 12:1.
Christian Witnesses Trust in God
17. How firmly did first-century Christians trust Jehovah?
17 In the first century C.E., Jehovah revealed to the newly established Christian congregation more details about the Kingdom and its rule over the earth. For example, his spirit inspired the apostle John to write that the number to be associated with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of heaven would be 144,000. These would be faithful servants of God who had been “bought from among mankind.” (Revelation 7:4; 14:1-4) They would rule over the earth “as kings” with Christ in heaven. (Revelation 20:4-6) So firmly did those first-century Christians trust Jehovah to fulfill his purpose for the heavenly Kingdom and its earthly domain that they were willing to give up their lives for their faith. Many of them did just that.
18. How do Jehovah’s Witnesses today imitate their counterparts of long ago?
18 Today, nearly five million Witnesses of Jehovah have the same trust in God as did their counterparts who lived centuries before them. These present-day Witnesses have also staked their lives on God’s promises. They have dedicated their lives to him and have the complete Bible to fortify their faith. (2 Timothy 3:14-17) These modern-day Witnesses of Jehovah imitate Jesus’ first-century followers who declared that they would “obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) In this century many of these Christian Witnesses have been cruelly persecuted. Some have even been killed for their faith. Others have died from sickness, accident, or old age. Like faithful witnesses of times past, however, they have trusted God because they knew that he would restore them to life in his new world by means of the resurrection.—John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:12, 13.
19, 20. What do we recognize about Bible prophecy for our day?
19 Jehovah’s Witnesses appreciate that their being brought out of all nations into one global brotherhood was long ago foretold in Bible prophecy. (Isaiah 2:2-4; Revelation 7:4, 9-17) And Jehovah is having them do a worldwide preaching work to gather into his favor and protection still other honesthearted ones. (Proverbs 18:10; Matthew 24:14; Romans 10:13) All of these put their full trust in Jehovah, knowing that he will soon usher in his marvelous new world.—Compare 1 Corinthians 15:58; Hebrews 6:10.
20 Bible prophecies indicate that Satan’s world has been in its last days for nearly 80 years now, since the pivotal year 1914. This world is nearing its end. (Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) Jehovah’s Witnesses therefore take heart because they realize that soon God’s Kingdom will assume complete control of all earth’s affairs. By bringing this present evil world to an end and ushering in his righteous new world, God will completely erase the bad situation that has existed on earth for so many centuries.—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
21. Why can we rejoice regardless of present troubles?
21 Then, throughout eternity, God will show his great care for us by showering down blessings that will far more than make up for any hurt that we have received in the past. So many good things will happen to us in the new world that our previous troubles will fade from memory. How comforting to know that Jehovah then will ‘open his hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.’—Psalm 145:16; Isaiah 65:17, 18.
22. Why should we put our trust in Jehovah?
22 In the new world, faithful mankind will see the fulfillment of Romans 8:21: “The creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” They will see fulfilled this prayer that Jesus taught his followers: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) So put your complete trust in Jehovah because his infallible promise is: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29.
How Would You Answer?
□ What is Jehovah’s purpose for humans and for this earth?
□ Why has God permitted bad conditions on the earth?
□ How did faithful people of old show their trust in Jehovah?
□ Why do God’s servants today trust in Jehovah?
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God created humans to live forever in happiness on a paradise earth
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Abraham put his trust in Jehovah’s ability to resurrect the dead