“an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Compare Matthew 6:9, 10.) None existed before him; therefore he has seniority over all. (Isa. 44:6) He, being the Creator, existed before any other gods, and all false gods will be wiped out so that there will be none existing after him. (Isa. 43:10) As the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13), he brings to successful conclusion that which he begins. (Rev. 1:8; 21:5, 6) He never forgets or forsakes his purposes or covenants, which makes him a God of dependability and loyalty.—Ps. 105:8.
A communicative God
Having great love for his creatures, God provides ample opportunity for them to know him and his purposes. His own voice has been heard on earth on three occasions. (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28) He has communicated through angels (Luke 2:9-12; Acts 7:52, 53) and through men to whom he gave directions and revelations, such as Moses and the other prophets, and especially through his Son, Jesus Christ. (Heb. 1:1, 2; Rev. 1:1) His written Word is his communication to his people, enabling them to be completely equipped as his servants and ministers, and directing them on the way to life.—2 Pet. 1:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; John 17:3.
Contrasted with the gods of the nations
The true God, the Creator of the glorious heavenly bodies, has glory and brilliance beyond the ability of fleshly sight to endure, for “no man may see [God] and yet live.” (Ex. 33:20) Only the angels, spirit creatures, have vision that can behold his face in a literal sense. (Matt. 18:10; Luke 1:19) Nevertheless, he does not expose men to such an experience. In loving-kindness he enables men to see his fine qualities through his Word, including the revelation of Himself by means of his Son Christ Jesus.—Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; 14:9.
God gives us an idea of the effect of his presence in the book of Revelation. The apostle John had a vision that approximated seeing God, in the sense that it revealed the effect of beholding him on his throne. God was not like a man in appearance, for he has not revealed any figure of his to man, as John himself said later: “No man has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) Rather, God was shown to be like highly polished gems, precious, glowing, beautiful, that attract the eye and win delighted admiration. He was “in appearance, like a jasper stone and a precious red-colored stone, and round about the throne there [was] a rainbow like an emerald in appearance.” (Rev. 4:3) Thus, he is lovely in appearance and pleasant to look at, causing one to lose oneself in wonderment. About his throne there is further glory and an atmosphere of calmness, serenity. The appearance of a perfect rainbow of emerald indicates that, reminding one of the enjoyable quieting calm that follows a storm.—Compare Genesis 9:12-16.
How different the true God is, therefore, from the gods of the nations, who are often depicted as being grotesque, angry, fierce, implacable, merciless, whimsical as to their favors and disfavors, horrifying and fiendish and ready to torture earthly creatures, human souls, in some kind of “hellfire” or inferno.
“A God exacting exclusive devotion”
“Even though there are those who are called ‘gods,’ whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords,’ there is actually to us one God the Father.” (1 Cor. 8:5, 6) Many of these gods are ‘mighty ones,’ but Jehovah is the Almighty God. He is a God exacting exclusive devotion. (Ex. 20:5) He requires his worshipers to worship him with spirit and truth. (John 4:24) His worshipers should fear him, which means to hate bad and to recognize his sovereignty and supremacy, his almightiness and his righteousness. (Prov. 1:7; 8:13; Jer. 11:20) They should stand in reverent awe of him.—Isa. 8:13; Heb. 12:28, 29.
Among other mighty ones called “gods” in the Bible, is Jesus Christ, who is “the only-begotten god.” But he himself plainly said: “It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.” (John 1:18; Luke 4:8; Deut. 10:20) The angels are “godlike ones,” but one of them stopped John from worshiping him, saying: “Be careful! Do not do that! . . . Worship God.” (Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7; Rev. 19:10) Mighty men among the Hebrews were called “gods” (Ps. 82:1-7); but no man was purposed by God to receive worship. When Cornelius began to do obeisance to Peter, that apostle stopped him with the words, “Rise; I myself am also a man.” (Acts 10:25, 26) Certainly the false gods invented and fashioned by men down through the centuries since the rebellion in Eden are not to be worshiped. The Mosaic law warns strongly against turning from Jehovah to them. (Ex. 20:3-5) Jehovah the true God will not forever tolerate rivalry from false, worthless gods.—Jer. 10:10, 11.
The apostle Paul tells that God is the One who declares persons righteous and that after Christ, as God’s king, brings to nothing all other authority and power, and thereafter hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, God will then become “all things to everyone.” (Rom. 8:33; 1 Cor. 15:23-28) Eventually, all those living will acknowledge God’s sovereignty and will praise his name continually.—Ps. 150; Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 21:22-27; see EL; ELOHIM; JEHOVAH.
Reverence, worship and service to God, with loyalty to his universal sovereignty. The Scriptures use the Greek word eu·seʹbei·a and related adjective, adverb and verb forms. The noun as used in the Bible may be translated literally as “well-reverencing,” and applies to reverence or devotion toward that which is genuinely holy and righteous The antonym of “godly devotion” is “ungodliness” or “irreverence” (Gr., a·seʹbei·a). Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words makes a comparison of a·no·miʹa, “lawlessness” (2 Cor. 6:14; here contrasted with righteousness) and a·seʹbei·a, “ungodliness” (Titus 2:12; here contrasted with godly devotion). The comment is made that a·no·miʹa means disregard for or defiance of God’s laws, while a·seʹbei·a denotes the same attitude toward God’s person. From this we see that the Bible’s use of the expression “godly devotion” refers to devotion to Jehovah God personally. Indeed, the apostle Peter assures us that in the accurate knowledge of God reside the things concerning godly devotion.—2 Pet. 1:3.
The verb form eu·se·beinʹ is used at 1 Timothy 5:4 with regard to the conduct of children or grandchildren toward their widowed mothers or grandmothers. A Greek and English Lexicon, by Edward Robinson, states that eu·seʹbei·a can have the meaning of being pious toward anyone. For this reason some translations of this passage read: “They are to learn first of all to do their duty to their own families.” (JB; compare The New English Bible and The Bible in Basic English.) But God is the Establisher of the family arrangement (Eph. 3:14, 15) and the Bible likens the household of God to the family unit. Therefore, reverence or godly devotion in family relationships in the Christian household would actually be reverence to God and obedience to God’s commands regarding the family and proper conduct of its members. The rendering of this text: “If any widow has children or grandchildren, let these learn first to practice godly devotion in their own household” (NW), is in harmony with this understanding.
THE ‘SACRED SECRET OF GODLY DEVOTION’
The prime example of godly devotion is Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “Indeed, the sacred secret of this godly devotion is admittedly