Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
WHEN GOD WAS ALONE!
"From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God."
.) "I am Jehovah, that is My name and My glory will I not give to another." (
.) "To us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things."
.) "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one—Jehovah."—
These and other Scriptures tell us of a personal God, the Father or Life-Giver of all, the Great One who inhabiteth Eternity. St. Paul declares that to the heathen "there are lords many and gods many, but to us there is but one God, the Father," and one appointed Agent of His in dealing with humanity—one Lord Jesus Christ—"and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus, Messiah, is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
The Scriptures tell us of "the beginning of the creation of God." Hence there was a time before that beginning of creation when Jehovah God was alone—"He that inhabiteth Eternity." Not even the great Michael was with Him, the great Messiah, whom God has so highly honored and whom He declares He will still further honor throughout a glorious eternity. He was not with the Father before the beginning of creation; for He Himself was "the Beginning of the creation of God"—"the First-born of every creature." (
.) He was the first expression or manifestation of the Divine attributes.—
DIVINE ATTRIBUTES GLORIOUS
This mighty God, Jehovah, self-centered, self-contained, is ours, the same yesterday, today and forever.
He changes not.
Every attribute of the Divine character was the same millions of years ago that it is today, but that character
was unrevealed. Every step of creation has tended to display the Divine character more and more, and each successive step and development of creation has brought forth new creatures capable of comprehending the Eternal One. We deem it not unreasonable to assume that Jehovah’s creative power will continue to be exercised throughout all coming time.
Astronomical photography now reveals nearly 125,000,000 suns, around which circle systems such as the one which circles around our sun, and of which our earth is a part. We deem it not unreasonable to assume, from the Scriptures, that the great work of ordering all those hundreds of millions of planets stretches forward into eternity, and that the work of Divine grace, begun on the planet "Earth," will be continued throughout the Universe, not only in conjunction with the planetary systems we can discern, but probably with millions of planetary systems too far removed from us to be discerned.
THE PERMISSION OF EVIL
Doubtless Divine methods in connection with other worlds and other inhabitants will display the manifold wisdom of God. For instance, we understand the Bible to indicate that while the permission of evil in the earth was wise, it will not necessarily be wise or expedient for any reason to permit a similar reign of Sin and Death in any other of the millions of worlds, in connection with their ordering or development and their peopling with glorious creatures who will show forth the praises of the great Creator without their passing through experiences with sin and death such as have been permitted in connection with the humanity of earth.
Can we not see a broad reason for the permission of evil on the earth—for the permission of the reign of Sin and Death, which for six thousand years has apparently disgraced the Creator, degraded humanity, astonished the angels and constituted our race a groaning creation?
Only when we discern that Messiah’s Kingdom will surely bring order out of this confusion, do we begin to get the proper focus upon our subject and realize something of the greatness of our God.
From the standpoint of the completion of the Divine purposes in connection with humanity, and from that standpoint alone, can we see illustrated Divine Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. The primary lesson was Justice—that sin brings suffering and eventually death.
The second lesson was that of Divine compassion, sympathy—Love. This lesson was manifested in the sending of the Redeemer and His subsequent reward of exaltation, and His gathering of an "elect" Church to be His associates in glory and in the blessing of the redeemed race.
The Reign of Glory, the Reign of Messiah, soon to be introduced, will lift up poor humanity from sin and sorrow, from degradation and death, and give to each and all the fullest opportunity to return to human perfection and to Divine favor and everlasting life. In that work of human restitution, which will include the awakening of mankind from the sleep of death, the one great lesson will be the greatness of the Divine Power which will be exercised through Messiah, the God-like One, the Prince of Life, "the Prince of Glory," the Redeemer, the Regenerator of Adam and the whole race of mankind, his posterity, all of whom have shared his death sentence.
And finally, from the standpoint of the completion of Jehovah’s great purposes and dealings with man and in respect to Him, will stand revealed the Foreknowledge and Wisdom of God, who knew the end from the beginning and who foresaw how even the permission of a reign of Sin and Death could be made eventually to work out to His own glory and to the blessing and instruction of His creatures on both the human and the angelic planes.
Then will be revealed to all, the glorious character of their Creator, and the necessity for His requirement of absolute righteousness and perfection.
Surely, the result eventually will be as the Scriptures declare, that all shall learn righteousness, and hate iniquity; and that every creature in Heaven and in earth and under the earth shall acclaim both Jehovah, who sitteth upon the Throne of the Universe, and the Lamb, the Redeemer, forever.—
Were we to allow ourselves to speculate respecting the future—respecting the Divine purposes in relation to the millions of worlds around us, our speculations would run thus: Those instructed and used of Jehovah in conjunction with the initial development of the Divine Plan in the earth will thereby be fitted and prepared to be the Divine Agents to other worlds. The Great Redeemer and His "elect" associates, after dealing with humanity for their uplift out of sin and death conditions, will surely be qualified for further service in other worlds, to "show forth the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light."
And what shall we say of humanity when perfected at the end of Messiah’s glorious Reign? Will not all be well prepared, not only to approve righteousness in themselves, but to tell in other worlds, to other races, the story of the fall and of the reign of Sin and Death resulting; and of the redemption accomplished by God’s love; of the great restitution; and of the lessons learned?
THE UNCHANGEABLE ONE
The qualities of the Divine character which we have just considered—Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power—belonged to our Creator in the great eternity preceding creation. But there was no one at that time to appreciate God. It requires a full view of the perfected Plan of the Ages to make known to any and to all the glory of the Lord. As we have just seen, thus far the secret of the Lord and the glories of His character are known only to His "sons," begotten of His Holy Spirit. But the time nears when "the whole earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the great deep." He and His glorious government will then be "the desire of all nations"; "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." —
St. Paul assures us that every feature of the Divine Plan which we see in process of execution was known to Jehovah from before the foundation of the world. He declares that these things God purposed in Himself before the foundation of the world. The creative processes, which have been operating for thousands of years, were all surely elaborated in the mind of Jehovah before the creative work began. In that purpose angels had a part—of how many grades we may not surely know, but they are variously designated in the Holy Scriptures as "angels, principalities and powers." Later came the creation of man, "a little lower than the angels" and crowned with earthly honor, dignity and power, in the image and likeness of his glorious Creator.
These creations varied not in degrees of perfection and imperfection. Each was perfect on its own plane.
Each intelligent creature was a free, moral agent, and hence, whether on the angelic or human plane, was created in the likeness of God, unblemished, but with different capacities and abilities. Almighty God, infinite in Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power, purposed the orderly exercise of His infinite powers, as a great Father, desirous of giving life and happiness to His creatures.
These intelligent ones were designated "Sons of God" so long as they maintained their attitude of perfect loyalty to Him, their Creator and Father. Not only was it the Divine purpose thus to give pleasure to millions of creatures to be created, but it was also the Divine will to manifest to His creatures His own greatness and the perfection of His own goodness that they might enjoy Him and He enjoy them everlastingly.
We are not to understand that Almighty God was
lonely in that great Eternity before creation began. On the contrary, human loneliness is largely because of human deficiency. What we lack we seek for in others. But the great Jehovah lacked nothing; He was complete in Himself; He needed not companionship to complete or to supplement His happiness. It was His pleasure to create, that His creatures might have joy by reflecting as a whole His Divine qualities implanted in them.
The wreck of the human race produced by sin He well foreknew. Nor did this wrecking of human hopes defeat, nor was it in danger of defeating, the Divine purpose.
It merely demonstrates to angels and to men the graces of the Divine character and shows unto all the more fully the qualities of God proper to be appreciated and copied by all His intelligent creatures.
THE SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL
When God would illustrate to us His own great personality, when He would show to His creatures how He is working all things according to the counsel of His own will, He pictured it symbolically in the Book of Revelation.
In that vision the Throne of the Eternal One is graphically portrayed as the seat of Divine power and authority for the Universe, with angels as ministering spirits. Then is described a scroll, in the right hand of Jehovah—in Divine power and keeping. That scroll, written inside and outside, was "sealed with seven seals," representing the complete secrecy of the Divine purposes related in that scroll. From before the foundation of the world it had been in the hand (in the power) of the great Eternal. He had given hints respecting it and had caused it to be symbolized in the Law and to some extent to be described by the Prophets. But still it was a Hidden Mystery; for the Prophets understood not the things which they wrote; nor could any understand them until the Father’s "due time."—
Not only was the Divine Program thus sealed and safely secreted, but it was the Divine determination that
it should be given only to the One who would demonstrate His worthiness to be Jehovah’s honored Agent for the carrying out of those purposes—predestinated before the world was. The honor of being the Agent, the Representative of Jehovah, to carry out the Divine purposes, should be disclosed in advance only to the One who would demonstrate His worthiness to be the great Messiah, the great Deliverer, Prophet, Priest, Judge, King of Israel.
High as the Redeemer stood in the Divine counsels and fellowship before He came into the world to be man’s Redeemer, it was not then granted even to Him to know all the mysteries of the Divine Program. But by virtue of His high station, His perfection, His obedience, the privilege was given to Him first to become man’s Redeemer, at the cost of personal humiliation and death; and then, if faithful in this redemptive work, it should be His to be glorified, exalted to the Divine nature, and to execute the Divine Program to its completion. First, He must manifest His devotion and loyalty to the Father, ere He could be trusted even with the knowledge of the Divine Program for blessing the whole world of mankind.
"WORTHY IS THE LAMB"
All this is declared in the account. (
.) The proclamation was made, Who is worthy to receive the scroll and to break its seals and to execute the wonderful purposes of God? None was found worthy! Finally, One demonstrated His worthiness. He left the courts of glory; He humbled Himself, He "was made flesh."
More than this, being found in fashion as a man, He consecrated His
to the doing of the Father’s will, even unto death, the death of the cross. Wherefore, says the Apostle, "God also highly exalted Him" and gave Him a standing, a rank, a title above all others. (
.) He commissioned Him to execute all the Divine purposes; and to Him He handed over the Scroll with the privilege of opening its seals and comprehending its message.
In the symbolic picture John saw a freshly slain Lamb at the same time that the angelic messenger declared that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had prevailed. Jesus proved Himself worthy and therefore the privilege of understanding the things of the Divine Plan, and the privilege of executing them rightfully belonged to Him.
The Lamb slain represented the work of Jesus from the day He was thirty years of age and made His consecration.
There He became dead to self and to the world.
When He successfully finished this great contract, He cried on Calvary, "It is finished."
This glorious Victor was then acknowledged by God and by the holy angels to be the worthy One to whom the Father would entrust the execution of every feature of the Divine Program, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory and honor, dominion and might." He has not yet completed His great work there and then entrusted to Him. The Father glorified Him and set Him at His own right hand—the place of Divine favor—when He finished His demonstration of loyalty even unto death. As yet He has only begun His great work. The blessing of the Church as "the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife," is the first step in the glorious Program; and it is not yet completed. Following it will come the blessing of the world, all the families of the earth, not only the living but the dead. His declaration to those now called to be His Bride is, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne even as I overcame and am set down with My Father in His Throne."—
"To us there is one God," says the Apostle. All wisdom and power are His. Recent electrical inventions assist us greatly in apprehending His greatness. What man can do limitedly with the telephone and wireless telegraphy merely hint to us of the infinite resources of the Eternal One—from everlasting to everlasting, God.
But our knowledge of the Divine Justice and Love satisfies our hearts—our Great Creator becomes our Father.