Congregation Book Study:
Chapter 3, par. 19-21 (Box on page 34)
Theocratic Ministry School
Bible Reading: Genesis 36-39
Jehovah strikes down two of Judah’s sons, Er and Onan. (Gen. 38:6-11) We don’t know why Er was struck down, but Onan was nixed because he greedily refused to provide children for his dead brother to carry on his line. (Onanism is an old term for masturbation, showing that the tendency to misapply Bible texts to support a doctrinal point of view isn’t limited to our writers. What Onan actually did was engage in premature withdrawal.) Now one might wonder why Jehovah took a personal hand in killing these two men, while ignoring Judah’s sin of copulating with what he believed to be a temple prostitute. Jehovah also failed to act against two of Jacob’s sons when they slaughtered all the males of Hamor’s tribe, and there was no retribution on Jacob’s sons for selling Joseph into slavery. One might wonder why the selective application of punishment for sin.
True, there was no law from God in those days so sin was not defined beyond the law of the conscience and that of human tradition. There were limits of course. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah exceeded them and paid the price. Still, Jehovah allowed men to rule themselves and suffer the consequences. So, why the selective application of justice? Why kill a man for failing to continue a bloodline, but do nothing when other men committ mass murder? I don’t know for sure and I would love to hear what others have to say on the subject. For my part, one thing comes to mind. Like Adam, Noah was told to be fruitful and fill the earth. (Gen. 9:1) This was a law given by God. God’s purpose was to produce a seed for the salvation of mankind. It has been suggested that the reason for the flood was to put a stop to Satan’s efforts to destroy the seed. This seed was to come through the line of Abraham. Continuity of the seed was the element of utmost importance.
Could it be that Onan’s action was seen as direct disobedience to one of the very few laws Jehovah had directly communicated to mankind? Could it be that like the relatively minor sin of Ananias and Syphira, Onan’s sin would have set a dangerous precedent, a small piece of corrupting leaven at a crucial point in the development of Jehovah’s purpose; and therefore had to be dealt with so as to establish a key principle for all to learn from henceforth?
No. 1: Genesis 37:1-17
No. 2: Why Resurrected Ones Will Not Be Condemned for Their Past Deeds – rs p. 338 par. 1
The point we are trying to make is that people are not resurrected just to be judged and condemned. That is correct, but the way we get to that conclusion is flawed. We use Romans 6:7 to attempt to prove that past sins are not counted against someone because he has been acquitted of his sins. The context of Romans chapter 6 indicates that the death is spiritual and the acquittal occurs for Christians. So this does not apply to the resurrection of the unrighteous. (See What Type of Death Acquits Us of Sin.) An acquittal means one is judged as innocent. Would Jehovah resurrect sinners and pronounce them as innocent if they have not yet exercised faith in the redeeming power of his Son’s sacrifice? Would someone like Hitler be resurrected as a man acquitted of his sin, no longer required to repent to those he had hurt so as to gain forgiveness? If so, then why resurrect such a one still in a sinful state? Why not just grant him perfection since he has paid for his sins already?
There is nothing to indicate that the sins of one’s past are forgiven just because one has died. Death is the punishment for sins. A judge does not acquit an accused man by sentencing him. If a man told me, “I served 25 years of hard labor so that I could be acquitted of my crime”, the first thing I’d reach for would be my dictionary. The resurrection of judgment is just that, a resurrection that ends in a judgment, for good or bad. Each will have to repent for all his sins to be redeemed.
No. 3 – Abigail-Display Qualities That Honor–it-1 pp.20-21
10 min: Offer the Magazines During March
10 min: Local Needs
10 min: How Did We Do?
Third announcement: “When engaging in public witnessing using a table or a cart, publishers should not display Bibles. However, they may have Bibles available to offer to individuals who request one or who demonstrate sincere interested in th truth.” [Italics in text]
I suspect this is a cost control issue. However, what are we donating funds for, if not to promote God’s own word? And are we not the ones who donate for the literature we place? If I wish to donate for 10 or 20 or 100 Bibles, what right does anyone on earth have to say how I should put them to use. This, of course, would never have been an issue when we charged for the literature. That we are instructed to hide the Bible while displaying publications of men seems to indicate that we have our priorities wrong.
It irks me that the “table or cart” work is the domain of selected pioneers. We are told that we are not allowed to engage in this work unless duly authorized to do so. Can you imagine the trouble you would get into if you took it upon yourself to set up a display cart on any street corner in your city or town? If you were to do so and the elders showed up and asked: “By what authority do you do these things? And who gave you this authority?” (Mat. 21:23) You could reply, Jesus Christ and quote Matthew 28:19. You’d still get in trouble just like the apostles did, but that’s good company to be in. (Acts 5:29)