Why Fear the True God Now?
“Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”—ECCLESIASTES 12:13.
1, 2. Why is a proper fear of God fitting?
A HEALTHY and reverential fear of God is good for man. Yes, though many human fears are emotionally disturbing, even detrimental to our well-being, it is good for us to fear Jehovah God.—Psalm 112:1; Ecclesiastes 8:12.
2 The Creator knows this. Out of love for his creation, he commands all to fear him and worship him. We read: “I saw another angel flying in midheaven, and he had everlasting good news to declare as glad tidings to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying in a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth.’”—Revelation 14:6, 7.
3. What did the Creator do for our first parents?
3 We certainly should not ignore the Creator of all things, the Source of life, for he owns us and this planet. (Psalm 24:1) In an expression of his great love, Jehovah gave his earthly children life and provided them with a marvelous place to live in—a beautiful paradise. Yet, this wonderful gift was not unconditional. In effect, it was given in trust. Our first parents were to care for their home and expand it until they had populated and subdued the whole earth. They had privileges and responsibilities toward the land animals, the birds, and the fish—all other living creatures that would share the earth with them and their offspring. For this great trust, man would be accountable.
4. What has man done to God’s creation?
4 Despite that wonderful beginning, look at what man has done to contaminate his beautiful earthly home! In contemptuous disregard for God’s ownership of this gem, humans have made the earth filthy. The contamination is at the point of threatening the existence of more and more species of animals, birds, and fish. Our just and loving God will not tolerate this indefinitely. The despoiling of the earth cries out for an accounting, which is something many have reason to fear. On the other hand, for those respectfully trusting God, it is comforting to know what will happen. Jehovah will call for an accounting, and the earth will be restored. This truly is glad tidings for all righthearted ones on the earth.
5, 6. How will Jehovah respond to what man has done to His creation?
5 By what means will God carry out his judgment? By means of Jesus Christ, now enthroned as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom. Through that heavenly Son, Jehovah will bring to a conclusion the present unclean, rebellious system. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Revelation 19:11) In this way he will bring relief to those who fear him and, at the same time, rescue and preserve our earthly home.
6 How will this happen? The Bible tells of a coming great tribulation climaxing in the war of Armageddon. (Revelation 7:14; 16:16) This will be God’s judgment against this polluted system of things and its polluters. Will any humans remain alive? Yes! It will be those who have, not a morbid, unhealthy fear of God, but a respectful, reverential fear of him. They will be delivered.—Proverbs 2:21, 22.
A Stunning Display of Power
7. Why did God intervene in behalf of Israel in Moses’ day?
7 This dramatic action by Jehovah God was foreshadowed by a mighty act he performed in behalf of his worshipers some 1,500 years before our Common Era. The great military power of Egypt had enslaved its immigrant Israelite work force, even attempting a form of genocide when its ruler, Pharaoh, ordered the death of all newborn male Israelites. God’s triumph over Egypt was to bring Israel liberation from that oppressive political system, yes, freedom from a nation polluted by the worship of many gods.
8, 9. How did Moses and the Israelites respond to God’s intervention?
8 Exodus chapter 15 records Israel’s reaction to liberation from Egypt. Analyzing this account will help us to appreciate how Christians can be delivered from the spiritually and physically defiled system of the present. Let us consider Exodus chapter 15, focusing on selected verses to learn why we should choose to fear Jehovah, the true God. We begin with Ex 15 verses 1 and 2:
9 “At that time Moses and the sons of Israel proceeded to sing this song to Jehovah and to say the following: ‘Let me sing to Jehovah, for he has become highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has pitched into the sea. My strength and my might is Jah, since he serves for my salvation.’”
10. What led up to God’s destruction of the army of Egypt?
10 People around the globe are familiar with the account of how Jehovah liberated Israel from Egypt. He brought plagues on that mighty world power until Pharaoh finally allowed the Israelites to leave. But then the armies of Pharaoh chased after this defenseless people and appeared to have them trapped on the shore of the Red Sea. Though it seemed that the sons of Israel would quickly lose their newfound freedom, Jehovah had something else in mind. He miraculously opened a path through the sea and brought his people to safety. When the Egyptians followed, he closed the Red Sea over them and drowned Pharaoh and his military forces.—Exodus 14:1-31.
11. What resulted from God’s action against Egypt?
11 Jehovah’s destruction of the Egyptian military forces exalted him in the eyes of his worshipers and made his name widely known. (Joshua 2:9, 10; 4:23, 24) Yes, his name was elevated above the powerless, false gods of Egypt, who proved unable to deliver their worshipers. Trust in their deities and in mortal man and military power led to bitter disappointment. (Psalm 146:3) No wonder the Israelites were moved to sing praises that reflected wholesome fear of the living God, who mightily delivers his people!
12, 13. What should we learn from God’s victory at the Red Sea?
12 Similarly, we should recognize that no false gods of our time and no superpower, even with nuclear armaments, can possibly match Jehovah. He can and will deliver his people. “He is doing according to his own will among the army of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth. And there exists no one that can check his hand or that can say to him, ‘What have you been doing?’” (Daniel 4:35) When we fully get the sense of these words, we too are moved to sing his praises happily.
13 The victory song at the Red Sea continues: “Jehovah is a manly person of war. Jehovah is his name.” This invincible Warrior, therefore, is not some anonymous figment of man’s imagination. He has a name! He is ‘the One who causes to become,’ the Grand Maker, the One “whose name is Jehovah, . . . the Most High over all the earth.” (Exodus 3:14; 15:3-5; Psalm 83:18) Do you not agree that it would have been wise for those ancient Egyptians to have a reasonable and respectful sense of fear of the Almighty rather than defy him?
14. How was the value of godly fear demonstrated at the Red Sea?
14 As Designer of the earth, the Maker of the sea has complete control over the water masses. (Exodus 15:8) Utilizing his control also of the wind, he accomplished what seemed impossible. He split the watery deep at a certain point and forced it back in opposite directions in order to produce a water-lined corridor for his people to pass through. Visualize the scene: millions of tons of sea water piled high in parallel walls, forming a protective escape route for Israel. Yes, those who manifested a healthy fear of God gained protection. Then Jehovah released the water, letting it surge back as a mighty deluge, engulfing Pharaoh’s forces and all their equipment. What a display of divine power over worthless gods and human military strength! Certainly, Jehovah is the one to be feared, is he not?—Exodus 14:21, 22, 28; 15:8.
Demonstrating Our Fear of God
15. What should be our response to God’s powerful saving acts?
15 Had we stood safely with Moses, we surely would have been moved to sing: “Who among the gods is like you, O Jehovah? Who is like you, proving yourself mighty in holiness? The One to be feared with songs of praise, the One doing marvels.” (Exodus 15:11) Such sentiments have been echoed throughout the centuries since then. In the last book of the Bible, the apostle John describes a group of faithful anointed servants of God: “They are singing the song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the Lamb.” What is this great song? “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name, because you alone are loyal?”—Revelation 15:2-4.
16, 17. What marvelous development do we see taking place today?
16 So today too there are liberated worshipers who appreciate not only the creative handiworks of God but also his decrees. People from all nations have been spiritually liberated, separated from this polluted world because they recognize and put into practice the righteous decrees of God. Yearly, hundreds of thousands escape this corrupt world to dwell with the clean, upright organization of Jehovah’s worshipers. Soon, after God’s fiery judgments against false religion and the rest of this wicked system have been executed, they will live forever in a righteous new world.
17 In line with Revelation 14:6, 7, mankind now is hearing a warning message of judgment declared by Jehovah’s Witnesses under angelic direction. In more than 230 lands last year, some five million Witnesses proclaimed the good news of God’s Kingdom and his hour of judgment. To educate their fellow humans for survival, Witnesses made regular visits to people’s homes, conducting free Bible studies. Hundreds of thousands each year thus learn enough to fear the true God intelligently, dedicate their lives to him, and be baptized. How delightful that such ones have come to fear the true God!—Luke 1:49-51; Acts 9:31; compare Hebrews 11:7.
18. What illustrates that the angels are involved in our preaching?
18 Is it true that angels are involved in this preaching work? Well, it certainly seems clear that angelic guidance has often brought Jehovah’s Witnesses to a home where some distressed soul was yearning, even praying, for spiritual help! For example, two of Jehovah’s Witnesses accompanied by a small child were telling the good news on a Caribbean island. As noon approached, the two adults decided they would stop for the day. But the child was unusually keen to visit the next house. When he saw that the adults were not inclined to do so at that time, he went by himself and knocked. A young lady opened the door. When the adults saw this, they went over and talked to her. She invited them in, explaining that right when she heard the knock on the door, she had been praying that God send Witnesses to her to teach her the Bible. Arrangements were made for a Bible study.
19. What could we point to as a benefit from fearing God?
19 As we faithfully deliver God’s judgment message, we also teach his righteous decrees. When these are applied in people’s lives, both physical and spiritual blessings result. For example, the Bible is very clear in its condemnation of all sexual immorality. (Romans 1:26, 27, 32) Today divine standards are widely ignored in the world. What is the result? Marriages are breaking up. Delinquency is increasing. Crippling sexually transmitted diseases, which have become pandemic in this 20th century, are spreading. Indeed, the frightening disease AIDS is to a great extent spread by sexual immorality. But has not respectful fear of God proved to be a great protection for true worshipers?—2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 2:12; see also Acts 15:28, 29.
Results of Fearing God Now
20. What illustrates that others know of the reputation of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
20 Blessings are abundant to those fearing God and following his decrees. Consider an event that illustrates the growing recognition of the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses form a peaceful brotherhood of morally upright Christians. A number of Witnesses, delegates to an international convention in South America, were staying at a hotel that was also used one night for a non-Witness gathering to be addressed by the nation’s president. As a security team hastened the president into an elevator, a Witness who did not know who was in the elevator stepped in, to the surprise of the security men! Realizing what she had done, the Witness apologized for the intrusion. She showed her convention badge identifying her as a Witness and said that she was no threat to the president. Smiling, a guard said: “If all people were like Jehovah’s Witnesses, we would not need this kind of security.”—Isaiah 2:2-4.
21. What courses of action are open to people today?
21 This is the type of people that Jehovah is now gathering and preparing to ‘come out of the great tribulation’ that ends this system. (Revelation 7:9, 10, 14) Such survival is not going to be a matter of chance. To be a survivor, a person must fear Jehovah, recognize him as the rightful Sovereign, and be dedicated to him. The fact is, though, that most will not cultivate the kind of fear that will merit protection. (Psalm 2:1-6) According to all the available evidence, Jehovah’s chosen Ruler, Jesus Christ, has been ruling as King since the critical year 1914. This means that the time left is fast running out for individuals to develop and manifest a wholesome fear of Jehovah. Still, our Creator is allowing individuals, even ones in powerful station, to respond: “Now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear and be joyful with trembling. Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way, for his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him.”—Psalm 2:7-12.
22. What does the future hold for those who now fear God?
22 May we be among those who will praise our Creator as the One who rescued us. This calls on us, though, to fear the true God now! (Compare Psalm 2:11; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17.) We must continue to learn his righteous decrees and obey them. The song of Moses and of the Lamb, recorded at Revelation 15:3, 4, will reach a crescendo when Jehovah wipes out all wickedness on earth and begins to heal man and his earthly home of the polluting effects of sin. Then, with all our heart, we will sing: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity. Who will not really fear you, Jehovah, and glorify your name?”
Do You Recall?
□ Why does Jehovah deserve our wholesome fear?
□ What was made manifest by God’s accomplishments at the Red Sea?
□ What benefits come from our respectful fear of Jehovah?
□ What future awaits those who fear the true God now?