“To the King of eternity . . . be honor and glory forever.”
1, 2. (a) Who is “the King of eternity,” and why can we say that? (See opening picture.) (b) Why do we want Jehovah to rule over us?
KING SOBHUZA II of Swaziland ruled for almost 61 years. Even though it is impressive that a man ruled for so long, there is a king who does not live for only a short time, as humans do. The Bible says that he is “the King of eternity.” (1 Timothy 1:17) One of the psalms gives us the name of this Sovereign. It says: “Jehovah is King forever and ever.”
2 The length of time that God has been King makes his rule different from that of any human. But it is the way Jehovah rules that draws us to him. A king who ruled over Israel for 40 years praised God by saying: “Jehovah is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love. Jehovah has firmly established his throne in the heavens; and his kingship rules over everything.” (Psalm 103:8, 19) Jehovah is more than our King. He is also our loving heavenly Father. But in what way has Jehovah been a Father? How has Jehovah shown that he is still King and that he has been in control since the rebellion in Eden? The answers to these questions will draw us closer to Jehovah and strengthen our confidence in him.
THE KING OF ETERNITY CREATES A UNIVERSAL FAMILY
3. Who was the first member of Jehovah’s universal family? Who were also created as God’s “sons”?
3 What pleasure Jehovah must have had when he created his firstborn Son! God did not treat him like an unimportant citizen. Rather, he loved him as a Son and invited him to share in the joyful work of creating millions of perfect angels. (Colossians 1:15-17) The Bible says that these angels serve Jehovah with joy as “ministers who do his will.” Jehovah honors them by calling them his “sons.” They are part of his universal family.
4. How did humans become part of Jehovah’s universal family?
4 After creating the physical heavens and the earth, Jehovah made his universal family larger. How? After he prepared the earth as a beautiful home, he created the first man, Adam, in His own image. (Genesis 1:26-28) Because Jehovah created Adam, He expected him to be obedient. As a Father, Jehovah instructed Adam with love and kindness. He did not give Adam rules that unnecessarily limited his free will.
5. How would the earth be filled with humans?
5 Unlike many human kings, Jehovah treats his servants as family. He trusts them so much that he is pleased to give them many responsibilities and the authority to do their work. For example, he assigned Adam the enjoyable and challenging job of giving the animals names. (Genesis 1:26; 2:19, 20) God did not personally create every human who would live on the earth. Rather, he chose to create one perfect woman, Eve, as a wife for Adam. (Genesis 2:21, 22) Then he gave them the opportunity to fill the earth with their children. Under ideal conditions, Adam and Eve would, over time, make the whole earth a paradise. Then all humans and angels as members of Jehovah’s universal family could worship him forever. Jehovah truly showed his fatherly love by giving Adam and Eve such a wonderful hope for the future!
REBELLIOUS SONS REJECT GOD AS THEIR KING
6. (a) How did rebellion in God’s family begin? (b) How do we know that Jehovah is still in control?
6 Sadly, Adam and Eve were not willing to accept Jehovah as their Ruler. Instead, they chose to follow Satan, an angel who had rebelled against God. (Genesis 3:1-6) The result was pain, suffering, and death for themselves and their children. (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 5:12) So God had no obedient servants left on earth. But did this mean that he had lost control and that he had given up his sovereignty over the earth? Absolutely not! Jehovah expelled Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, and to prevent them from coming back, he assigned cherubs to guard the entrance. (Genesis 3:23, 24) At the same time, he showed his fatherly love. He promised that he would still have a family of faithful angels and humans and that one of Adam’s descendants would destroy Satan and remove the damage done by Adam’s sin.
7, 8. (a) How bad had the world become by the time of Noah? (b) What did Jehovah do to cleanse the earth and to protect the human family?
7 In the hundreds of years that followed, some men such as Abel and Enoch chose to be loyal to Jehovah. However, most humans did not accept Jehovah as their Father and King. By the time of Noah, the earth had become “filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:11) Did this mean that Jehovah was no longer in control of the earth? What does the Bible say?
8 The Bible says that Jehovah gave Noah detailed instructions to build a huge ark that would save him and his family. God also showed his love for humans when he appointed Noah to be “a preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5) Noah likely invited people to repent and warned them of the coming destruction, but no one listened. For many years, Noah and his family lived in a violent and very immoral world. Jehovah, as a loving Father, protected and guided those eight loyal people. When Jehovah brought the Flood, he removed the rebellious humans and wicked angels and showed that he was definitely in control.
JEHOVAH’S RULE AFTER THE FLOOD
9. What opportunity did Jehovah give mankind after the Flood?
9 After Noah and his family came out of the ark, they must have been very grateful to Jehovah for his care and protection. Immediately, Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices to worship Jehovah. God blessed Noah’s family and told them to “be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” (Genesis 8:20–9:1) Again, mankind had an opportunity to unite in worship to Jehovah and to fill the earth.
10. (a) After the Flood, where and how did people start rebelling against Jehovah? (b) What did Jehovah do to make sure that his will was done?
10 However, people were still imperfect after the Flood. They still had to live with the invisible influence of Satan and the demons. Soon, people were again rebelling against Jehovah’s loving rule. One person who opposed Jehovah was Noah’s great-grandson Nimrod. Nimrod was “a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” He built large cities, such as Babel, and made himself king “in the land of Shinar.” (Genesis 10:8-12) What would Jehovah do about this rebel king? How would Jehovah react to Nimrod’s efforts to oppose God’s will? God confused the people’s language so that Nimrod’s followers would scatter all over the world. Wherever they went they brought their false religion and their way of human rule with them.
11. How did Jehovah show that he was loyal to his friend Abraham?
11 Many worshipped false gods after the Flood, but there were still some faithful men who worshipped Jehovah. One of them was Abraham. He had a comfortable home in the city of Ur, yet he obeyed Jehovah, left the city, and lived in tents for many years. (Genesis 11:31; Hebrews 11:8, 9) Abraham did not trust in the protection that a human king or a city wall might give him. Instead, it was Jehovah who protected Abraham and his family. The psalmist wrote about Jehovah’s fatherly protection: “[God] did not allow any man to oppress them, but on their account he reproved kings.” (Psalm 105:13, 14) Because he was loyal to his friend, Jehovah promised Abraham: “Kings will come from you.”
12. How did Jehovah show his sovereignty over Egypt, and how did this help his people?
12 God promised Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob that he would bless them and that their descendants would become kings. (Genesis 26:3-5; 35:11) However, before they became kings, Jacob’s descendants first became slaves in Egypt. Did this mean that Jehovah would not fulfill his promise or that he had given up his sovereignty over the earth? No! At his chosen time, Jehovah proved his power and showed that he had much more authority than stubborn Pharaoh. The Israelites put their faith in Jehovah, and he freed them in a wonderful way by leading them through the Red Sea. Clearly, Jehovah was still the ruler of the universe, and as a Father who cares for his children, he used his great power to protect his people.
JEHOVAH BECOMES KING TO ISRAEL
13, 14. (a) What did the Israelites say in song about Jehovah’s rule? (b) What did God promise David?
13 Immediately after Jehovah freed them from Egypt, the Israelites sang the song of praise recorded in Exodus chapter 15. Verse 18 says: “Jehovah will rule as king forever and ever.” Jehovah had really become King over the new nation of Israel. (Deuteronomy 33:5) However, for the Israelites, it was not enough to have Jehovah as their invisible Ruler. About 400 years after leaving Egypt, they asked God to give them a human king, just as the pagan nations around them had. (1 Samuel 8:5) Even so, during the reign of David, it became very clear that Jehovah was still King.
14 David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. On this joyful day, the Levites sang a song of praise to Jehovah and made this important statement, recorded at 1 Chronicles 16:31: “Declare among the nations: ‘Jehovah has become King!’” But since Jehovah is the King of eternity, how is it that he became King at that time? Jehovah became King when he selected David to represent him. Understanding how Jehovah becomes King is very important. Before David died, Jehovah promised him that his rule would continue forever: “I will raise up your offspring after you, your own son, and I will firmly establish his kingdom.” (2 Samuel 7:12, 13) This promise came true when the “offspring,” or son, of David appeared more than 1,000 years later. Who was he, and when did he become King?
JEHOVAH APPOINTS A NEW KING
15, 16. When was Jesus anointed as future King? While on earth, what did Jesus do to prepare his Kingdom?
15 In the year 29, John the Baptizer began preaching that “the Kingdom of the heavens [had] drawn near.” (Matthew 3:2) When Jesus was baptized by John, Jehovah anointed Jesus as the Messiah and future King of God’s Kingdom. Jehovah showed his fatherly love for Jesus by saying: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”
16 During his ministry, Jesus gave glory to his Father. (John 17:4) He did this by preaching about the Kingdom of God. (Luke 4:43) He even taught his followers to pray for that Kingdom to come. (Matthew 6:10) As the future King, Jesus could say to his opposers: “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21) Later, on the evening before his death, Jesus made a covenant “for a kingdom” with his followers. This meant that some of his faithful disciples would become kings with Jesus in God’s Kingdom.
17. In what way did Jesus begin to rule in the year 33, but for what would he have to wait?
17 When would Jesus begin to rule as King of God’s Kingdom? He could not do so immediately. The very next afternoon, Jesus was executed and his followers fled. (John 16:32) However, just as in the past, Jehovah was still in control. On the third day, he resurrected his Son, and on the day of Pentecost in the year 33, Jesus began to rule over the Christian congregation. (Colossians 1:13) But Jesus, the promised son of David, would have to wait to have full power over the earth. So Jehovah told his Son: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”
WORSHIP THE KING OF ETERNITY
18, 19. What are we moved to do? What will we learn in the next article?
18 For thousands of years, angels and humans have rebelled against Jehovah’s rule. But Jehovah has always been in control and has never given up his sovereignty. As a loving Father, he has protected and cared for such loyal servants as Noah, Abraham, and David. We are glad to obey such a King, and we want to draw close to him.
19 But we may ask: How has Jehovah become King in our day? How can we be loyal servants of Jehovah and become perfect sons in his universal family? What does it mean when we pray for God’s Kingdom to come? These questions will be answered in the next article.