The King of Eternity
1. Why should we have confidence in God as a real Father?
JESUS opened “the Lord’s Prayer” by addressing God as “our Father.” No, not just the Father of Jesus Christ, but eventually the Father of all mankind who obediently worship this loving “Hearer of prayer.” (Psalm 65:2) As “King of eternity” he displays a genuine and lasting concern for his creatures, even as a fine human father does for his children. (1 Timothy 1:17) We should have confidence in “our Father” as a real Person who cares for us. Whatever our language, skin color or station in life, we should feel free to approach him, for “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
2 “Our Father in the heavens” is the Creator, the One who gave life to humankind. (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 36:9) But he is much more than our Life-Giver; he is also our Grand Provider. We would expect a responsible human father to provide home and sustenance for his children, even at the cost of much time and effort. Our heavenly Father has done this, and more, in a most generous way.
3 Consider how lovingly this “King of eternity” prepared the earth to be our home. He located it just right in the expanse of the heavens, and by his almighty power he brought forth on earth everything necessary for happy human habitation. Then he created man and woman, placing them in this delightful home—a grand gift, indeed, “to the sons of men”!—Psalm 115:16; 19:1, 2.
4. (a) What kindly foresight did our Father show in preparing our home? (b) What assures us that he wants us to be happy?
4 What a lovely home our heavenly Father provided for his children here on earth! He arranged it so that cool, restful nights could follow bright days of activity. He ordered the procession of the seasons for our benefit and pleasure. (Genesis 8:22) He supplied an abundance of that essential commodity water, and distributed it over the earth so that we might tap it wherever it was needed. He has spread a refreshing carpet of greenery—millions of square miles of it—throughout our global home. He has decorated it with exquisitely colored flowers. He has landscaped it beautifully amid a backdrop of delightful forests, lakes and mountains. In earth’s “cellar” he has stored abundant supplies of coal, oil and other energy resources. He keeps replenishing earth’s “larder” to overflowing with grains, fruits, vegetables and other tasty delicacies. What a wise, considerate Provider is our heavenly Father! The Bible calls him “the happy God.” Obviously, he wants us to be happy, too.—1 Timothy 1:11; Isaiah 25:6-8.
OUR FATHER’S “NAME”
5. What should be our heart’s desire in praying the opening words of Jesus’ model prayer?
5 Our loving heavenly Father has “a good name,” a fine reputation as a Grand Provider. He has also a personal name, just as does any human father. If we have a worthy fleshly father, we should hate to see his name and reputation reproached. We should want to see his name respected. Even more so, it should be our desire to see our heavenly Father’s name honored. Therefore, from the fullness of our hearts, we should be able to pray the words that Jesus places first in the Model Prayer: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.”—Matthew 6:9; Proverbs 22:1, footnote.
6. With regard to God’s name, what would you like to see?
6 Indeed, it should always be our fervent prayer that the name of the grand Creator of heaven and earth be exalted, raised on high above all other names, and shown to be the most precious, meaningful, lovable name in the universe. Far more important than our own salvation is this sanctification of God’s holy name. His name and reputation must be hallowed—vindicated against all the reproach that infamous creatures have heaped upon it.
7. What does the Bible show to be God’s personal name?
7 What is our heavenly Father’s personal name? It is revealed in a context that shows that the Owner of that grand name has enemies. In describing these, Psalm 83, verses 17 and 18, in the King James Version of the Bible, reads: “Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”—See also Psalm 100:3.
8. What have God’s enemies tried to do with his name, and with what result?
8 So, God’s name is JEHOVAH. But many persons who profess to worship God have been very disrespectful of that name. Some have even purged his name from their translations of the Bible, substituting therefor the titles “LORD” and “GOD” in all capital letters. This practice not only hides God’s illustrious name, but also confuses the Lord Jehovah with the Lord Jesus Christ and with other “lords” and “gods” referred to in the Bible. (Psalm 110:1; Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6) How can persons pray honestly for the Father’s name to be hallowed, or sanctified, when they seek to bury that name?
9. (a) What form does God’s name take in Hebrew, and in other tongues? (b) The Bible shows God to be how many persons?
9 The peerless name of God is represented in Hebrew, the first language used in Bible writing, by the characters יהוה, which some pronounce Yahʹweh. The generally accepted form of the name in English is “Jehovah,” and the name is similarly represented in other tongues. By using the name “Jehovah” we are able to indicate clearly who is meant. He is “one Jehovah.” He is not Jesus Christ, for Jesus is God’s loyal Son, “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”—Colossians 1:15; Mark 12:29; Deuteronomy 6:4.
10. What does God’s name mean, and how has he demonstrated this?
10 The name “Jehovah” has powerful meaning. It signifies: “He Causes to Become (or, Prove to Be).” This is with regard to Himself, not with respect to His creating things. Thus, he declared “Jehovah” to be his own “memorial” name when he was about to become the miraculous Deliverer of his people Israel from Pharaoh of Egypt. (Exodus 3:13-15) Later, when the prophet Jeremiah acknowledged the Sovereign Lord Jehovah to be the Maker of heaven and earth ‘by his great power and his outstretched arm,’ and as “great in counsel and abundant in acts,” Jehovah assured his prophet that, in His own due time, He would perform a seemingly impossible act by becoming the Restorer of His people from captivity to the Babylonian Empire. And he did!—Jeremiah 32:17-19, 27, 44; 2 Chronicles 36:15-23.
11. How may God’s name be linked today with his kingdom?
11 Today, also, Jehovah is the great God who “causes to become.” He is able personally to become whatever is required, to fill any needed role, in order to perform wonderful things by means of his kingdom, in sanctifying his name and for the benefit of his people. Whatever he purposes to do is done, with success.—Isaiah 48:17; 55:11.
GOD’S NAME SANCTIFIED?
12. How has mankind regarded God?
12 Has mankind shown appreciation, respect and love for this illustrious God, who is so upright and who has provided so wonderfully for his creatures on earth? Look around this globe, and you will see the answer. How woefully God has been misrepresented by the religions of so-called Christian nations! Many of these nations have seen him as a partisan God, and have prayed for him to help them in warring against their fellowmen. Others have regarded him as a fiendish God, who consigns “departed souls” to agonizing flames of eternal torment. Still others have degraded him by likening him to lifeless images of wood or stone. Many have willfully violated his righteous laws, saying that God no longer sees or cares.—Contrast Acts 10:34, 35; Jeremiah 7:31; Isaiah 42:8 and; 1 Peter 5:7.
13. What would be the final result if misguided persons were permitted to pursue their unloving ways?
13 However, if misguided persons do not love God and sanctify his name, how are they going to love their fellowmen? (1 John 4:20, 21; 5:3) And unless love is restored among the family of mankind, the world must at last become a jungle of disunity, violence and anarchy. In some places, it is that way already. With the spread of nuclear armaments among the nations, someday trigger-happy persons could annihilate the entire human race. But that is something our loving Father will never permit!—Psalm 104:5; 119:90; Isaiah 45:18.
HOW GOD SANCTIFIES HIS NAME
14, 15. Who takes the lead in sanctifying God’s name, and how?
14 Who is it that takes the lead in sanctifying God’s name? Why, it is Jehovah himself! This he does by acting in vindication of his righteous standards. He will execute judgment on all who defy his holy will, including those who oppress their fellowmen and those who teach falsehoods about God. (Psalm 140:12, 13; Jeremiah 25:29-31) Jehovah cannot deny himself. He is the true God, who deserves the exclusive worship of all his creatures. He is the Universal Sovereign, to whom all creatures owe obedience.—Romans 3:4; Exodus 34:14; Psalm 86:9.
15 In sanctifying his name, the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will rid this earth of all humans who act ruinously, contrary to his will. This is because he hates wickedness and loves righteousness. (Psalm 11:5-7) As he himself says: “I shall certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 38:23) Clearly, then, if we want to enjoy Jehovah’s approval, we too must sanctify his name, treating it as holy and deserving of full respect, and live in harmony with his will.
16. What part does our conduct play in sanctifying God’s name?
16 The conduct of all who worship Jehovah either honors the name of God or dishonors it. May all of us conduct ourselves in a way that causes others to speak well of the grand God that we serve and that brings joy to Jehovah’s own heart. (1 Peter 2:12; Proverbs 27:11) As obedient children, we should want to show thankfulness to our Father for all his gifts, including our delightful home—the earth—which will be restored to even greater glory under the Kingdom rule of his Son.—Isaiah 6:3; 29:22, 23.
17. With what attitude should we approach the “King of eternity” in prayer?
17 How desirable it is that we come into an approved relationship with this “King of eternity”! However, we cannot do this on our own merit, for all of us were conceived by sinful parents and brought forth imperfect. But we can pray to God as did King David: “Conceal your face from my sins, and wipe out even all my errors. Create in me even a pure heart, O God, and put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one.” (Psalm 51:5-10) As we learn what “our Father in the heavens” requires of us, we can pray for a share in the eternal blessings that his kingdom will bring. Yes, confidently we can pray for God’s kingdom to come. And what will that kingdom mean for mankind here on earth? Let us see.