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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The Watchtower—Study Edition  |  January 2010

Satan’s Way of Ruling Sure to Fail

Satan’s Way of Ruling Sure to Fail

 Satan’s Way of Ruling Sure to Fail

“It will not turn out well at all with the wicked one.”​—ECCL. 8:13.

1. Why is the coming judgment of the wicked comforting news?

SOONER or later the wicked will have to be brought to justice. They will have to answer for what they have done. (Prov. 5:22; Eccl. 8:12, 13) That is comforting news, especially for those who love righteousness and who have suffered injustice and mistreatment at the hands of the wicked. Foremost among the wicked who will be brought to justice is the father of wickedness, Satan the Devil.​—John 8:44.

2. Why was time needed to settle the issue raised in Eden?

2 Back in Eden, Satan, consumed by feelings of self-importance, caused humans to reject Jehovah’s way of governing. As a result, our first parents joined Satan in challenging Jehovah’s rightful authority and became sinners in His sight. (Rom. 5:12-14) Of course, Jehovah knew how their disrespectful and rebellious course would turn out for them. However, that inevitable outcome had to be made obvious to all intelligent creatures. Hence, time was needed to settle the issue and to demonstrate convincingly that the rebels were utterly wrong.

3. What is our position toward human governments?

3 Since humans rejected Jehovah’s oversight, they had to set up their own forms of government. The apostle Paul, writing to fellow believers in Rome, spoke of such human governments as “the superior authorities.” In Paul’s day, the superior authorities were primarily the government of Rome under Emperor Nero, who ruled from 54-68 C.E. Paul said that such superior authorities “stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Read Romans 13:1, 2.) Does that mean that Paul was advocating human rule as superior to God’s way of governing? By no means. Rather, he was simply saying that as long as Jehovah allows human rulership to exist, Christians should respect “the arrangement of God” and accept such rulers.

A Path Leading to Disaster

4. Explain why human rule is bound to fail.

4 Still, human rule influenced by Satan is certain to fail. Why? For one thing, because it is not based on divine wisdom. Only Jehovah possesses perfect wisdom. Thus, he is the only reliable guide as to what constitutes successful rulership. (Jer. 8:9; Rom. 16:27) Unlike humans, who often learn by trial and error, Jehovah always knows the best possible way to act. Any governmental arrangement that does not follow his guidance is bound to be inferior. For that reason alone​—not to mention the wicked motive involved—​Satan’s alternative way of governing by means of human rule was sure to fail from the start.

5, 6. What apparently led Satan into his course of opposition to Jehovah?

5 A sensible person generally refrains from embarking on an endeavor that is doomed to fail. If he insists on going ahead with his endeavor, he will be forced to recognize his error. History has proved many times over that it is useless to stand in  opposition to the almighty Creator. (Read Proverbs 21:30.) Satan, however, blinded by feelings of self-importance and pride, turned his back on Jehovah. Thus the Devil plunged headlong onto a path that could end only in disaster.

6 Satan’s presumptuous attitude was later reflected by a Babylonian ruler who is recorded as boasting: “To the heavens I shall go up. Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting, in the remotest parts of the north. I shall go up above the high places of the clouds; I shall make myself resemble the Most High.” (Isa. 14:13-15) That ruler’s senseless undertaking failed, and the Babylonian dynasty came to an inglorious end. Similarly, Satan and his world will soon go down in total defeat.

Why Permitted?

7, 8. What are some benefits from Jehovah’s allowing wickedness to exist for some time?

7 Some may wonder why Jehovah did not prevent humans from taking sides with Satan and from following an alternative plan for governing that was certain to fail. As God Almighty, he could surely have done so. (Ex. 6:3) Nevertheless, he held back. His wisdom dictated that temporarily refraining from interfering in man’s rebellion would in the long run work out for the best. Eventually, Jehovah would be vindicated as being a righteous and loving Ruler, and faithful humans would benefit from God’s decision.

8 What misery could have been spared the human family if humans had rejected Satan’s advances and refused to strike out for independence from God’s rule! Still, Jehovah’s decision to allow humans to rule themselves for a time has had benefits. It has deeply impressed on righthearted individuals the wisdom of listening to God and of trusting in him. Over the centuries, humans have experimented with numerous kinds of governments, but not one of them has proved to be ideal. That fact has served to strengthen worshippers of God in their conviction that Jehovah’s way of governing is indeed best. Granted, Jehovah’s permission of Satan’s wicked rulership has resulted in hardships for mankind, including for those who faithfully worship God. Still, the temporary permission of wickedness has also resulted in benefits for these faithful worshippers.

 A Rebellion That Has Served to Glorify Jehovah

9, 10. Explain how Satan’s rule results in Jehovah’s glory.

9 Allowing humans to be influenced by Satan and to rule themselves has in no way discredited Jehovah’s way of governing. On the contrary! History proves that Jeremiah’s statement, uttered under inspiration, about the inability of humans to govern themselves is correct. (Read Jeremiah 10:23.) In addition, Satan’s rebellion has given Jehovah an opportunity to demonstrate His fine qualities in a more pronounced way. How so?

10 Against the backdrop of Satan’s disastrous rule, Jehovah’s perfect qualities are even more obvious than they otherwise might have been. In this way, he has been magnified in the eyes of those who love him. Yes, paradoxical as it may sound, Satan’s way of governing has in reality served to glorify God. It has highlighted the superlative way in which Jehovah has dealt with this challenge to his sovereignty. To illustrate that truth, let us briefly consider some of Jehovah’s qualities and see how Satan’s wicked rule has moved Jehovah to show these qualities in additional ways.

11. How has Jehovah’s love been manifested?

11 Love. The Scriptures tell us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) The creation of humans was, in the first place, an expression of God’s love. Furthermore, the fear-inspiring and wonderful way in which we are made bears witness to God’s love. Jehovah also lovingly provided humans with a beautiful home containing everything necessary for their happiness. (Gen. 1:29-31; 2:8, 9; Ps. 139:14-16) But once wickedness was introduced into the human family, Jehovah expressed his love in new ways. How? The apostle John quotes Jesus as saying: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Could God have shown his love for mankind in a more remarkable way than by sending his only-begotten Son to earth in order to ransom sinners? (John 15:13) This great demonstration of love also served as a pattern for humans, giving them the opportunity to reflect God’s self-sacrificing love in everyday life, even as Jesus did.​—John 17:25, 26.

12. In what way is Jehovah’s power demonstrated?

12 Power. Only “God, the Almighty,” has the power to create life. (Rev. 11:17; Ps. 36:9) At birth, a human starts out like a blank sheet of paper, as it were. At death, he has filled that blank sheet with the decisions, actions, and experiences of a lifetime that shaped his individuality and personality. That information can be filed away in Jehovah’s memory. In due time, Jehovah can restore the individual to life again, complete  with his unique life pattern. (John 5:28, 29) Thus, although not God’s original purpose for humans, death has given Jehovah the opportunity to show that his power reaches even beyond the grave. Indeed, Jehovah is “God, the Almighty.”

13. How was Jesus’ sacrifice a demonstration of Jehovah’s perfect justice?

13 Justice. Jehovah does not lie; neither does he act unjustly. (Deut. 32:4; Titus 1:2) He always holds to the highest standards of truth and of justice, even when doing so appears to be to his own disadvantage. (Rom. 8:32) How painful it must have been for Jehovah to see his beloved Son die on a torture stake as if Jesus were an unfaithful blasphemer! Yet, out of love for imperfect humans, Jehovah was willing to permit this painful event to take place in order to uphold his own perfect standard of justice. (Read Romans 5:18-21.) A world full of injustice gave Jehovah the opportunity of demonstrating himself to be the pinnacle of justice.

14, 15. What are some of the ways that Jehovah’s superlative wisdom and patience have been manifested?

14 Wisdom. Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, Jehovah revealed the way that he would undo all the bad effects caused by their rebellion. (Gen. 3:15) Such immediate action, as well as his progressively revealing details of this purpose to his servants, brought Jehovah’s wisdom into sharp focus. (Rom. 11:33) Nothing can impede God’s ability to handle matters successfully. In a world marked by immorality, war, unreasonableness, disobedience, mercilessness, partiality, and hypocrisy, Jehovah has had ample opportunity to demonstrate to his creatures what real wisdom is. The disciple James said: “The wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical.”​—Jas. 3:17.

15 Patience and Long-Suffering. Jehovah’s qualities of patience and long-suffering would scarcely have come so prominently to the fore had it not become necessary for him to deal with human imperfections, sins, and shortcomings. Jehovah’s willingness to do so for thousands of years demonstrates that he possesses these marvelous qualities to a perfect degree, and for that we should be most grateful. The apostle Peter rightly stated that we should “consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.”​—2 Pet. 3:9, 15.

16. Why is Jehovah’s willingness to forgive a cause for great joy?

16 Willingness to Forgive. We are all sinners,  and we all stumble many times. (Jas. 3:2; 1 John 1:8, 9) How grateful we should be that Jehovah is willing to forgive “in a large way”! (Isa. 55:7) Consider also this fact: Having been born as imperfect sinners, we are in a position to experience the profound joy we feel when God forgives us our errors. (Ps. 51:5, 9, 17) Personally experiencing that heartwarming characteristic of Jehovah strengthens our love for him and encourages us to follow his example in our dealings with others.​—Read Colossians 3:13.

Why the World Is Sick

17, 18. In what ways has Satan’s way of ruling failed?

17 Satan’s entire world system​—a product of his way of governing—​has repeatedly and consistently failed over the centuries. In 1991, the newspaper The European noted: “Is the world sick? Yes, indeed, but . . . not by [an] act of God​—the world’s illness was inflicted by its peoples.” How true! Influenced by Satan, our first parents chose human rule over rule by Jehovah. They thereby set in motion a way of governing that was bound to fail. The pain and misery experienced by people worldwide are signs that human rule is afflicted by a dreadful illness.

18 Satan’s way of governing appeals to selfishness. However, selfishness can never conquer love, which is the basis of Jehovah’s way of governing. Satan’s way of governing has failed to deliver stability, happiness, or security. Jehovah’s way of ruling stands vindicated! Do we have modern-day evidence of that? Yes, as we will see in the next article.

What Did We Learn About Rulership From Reading . . .

Romans 13:1, 2?

Proverbs 21:30?

Jeremiah 10:23?

Colossians 3:13?

[Study Questions]

[Pictures on page 25]

Satan’s rule has never benefited mankind

[Credit Lines]

U.S. Army photo

WHO photo by P. Almasy

[Picture on page 26]

Jehovah’s power reaches even beyond the grave

[Picture on page 27]

Jehovah’s love and justice were manifested in the sacrifice of his Son