Congregation Book Study:
Chapter 6, par. 16-21
“The account of this victory was likely the first entry in “the book of the Wars of Jehovah,” evidently a book that also documented some military encounters that are not recorded in the Bible.” (cl chap. 6 p. 64 par. 16)
We have no way of knowing this, so why say that something is “likely”? Why speculate?
“In Ezekiel’s vision of the celestial chariot, Jehovah is pictured as being prepared to fight against his enemies.” (cl chap. 6 p. 66 par. 21)
More speculation, passed off as fact. One assumes that the writer of a book that is going to be published in millions of copies and dozens, if not hundreds, of languages would do his homework before making a statement about something the Bible allegedly says. If you read the first two chapters of Ezekiel, you’ll find no mention of a “celestial chariot”. What Ezekiel describes is like no chariot ever made. Additionally, he makes no mention of Jehovah being prepared to wage war.
Theocratic Ministry School
Bible Reading: Exodus 23-26
”You must not follow after the crowd to do evil, and you must not pervert justice by giving testimony to go along with the crowd.” (Exodus 23:2)
They should frame this and hang it on the wall of every Kingdom hall conference room. How often I’ve seen elders follow an unscriptural course of action because they didn’t want to disagree with the majority. We say that we are not ruled democratically, but theocratically. The fact is, elders are expected to bend to the will of the majority for the sake of unity (read: “uniformity”) even if doing so violates their conscience or goes contrary to what they see as a clear Scriptural principle.
“Three times a year all your men are to appear before the true Lord, Jehovah.” (Exodus 23:17)
This is the justification for our annual two circuit assemblies and one district convention (now called a regional convention). There is nothing in the Christian Scriptures justifying this policy—further proof that we are a Judeo-Christian denomination with heavy emphasis on the “Judeo”.
The reason that Jehovah required the Israelites make this thrice-annual trek was to preserve their unity as a nation. We use the assemblies and conventions in much the same way. If they were also used to give meaningful instruction into the deep things of God, that would be wonderful. At one time they were that way. Now they have become routine and filled with the same “reminder” year after year. One has only to examine the past ten years’ worth of assembly/convention programs to see that the repetitive nature of the information, leading to the conclusion that we are not being taught, but trained. Training doesn’t require independent thought. It is, however, boring and uninspiring, and beyond a certain point, unnourishing.
“I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you on the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him, and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, because my name is in him. “(Exodus 23:20, 21)
Again, not content to leave things as expressed in Scripture, we have to speculate on who this angel is. Jehovah didn’t reveal his name, so we’ll pick up the ball and run with it.
“Since Michael is also a champion of God’s people, we have reason to identify him with the unnamed angel that God sent ahead of the Israelites hundreds of years before: “Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.” (w84 12/15 p. 27 ‘Michael the Great Prince’—Who Is He?)
We speculate that Michael the Archangel is Jesus Christ prior to his coming to earth. We can’t prove this, but no worries—we’re pretty sure our speculation is true. With that firmly established, it’s no problem to build on that speculation and assume that the angel of Exodus 23:20 is this selfsame Michael. Speculation upon speculation! Yet the Bible indicates that the law was transmitted through angels, not God’s firstborn Son. It also indicates that there is a distinction between the angels and Jesus. Why should human speculation trump Scripture? (Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 1:5,6)
Exodus 24:9-11 shows the 70 elders of Israel receiving a vision of Jehovah. Aaron was there as well. This is the same Aaron who just a few weeks later would give in to the Israelites and make a golden calf. This highlights the danger for all of us to keep our faith. If those who saw the 10 plagues, the salvation at the Red Sea, and the awesome displays of power at Mt. Sinai could—in the shadow of that very quaking mountain—give in to idolatry, what about us who have seen nothing to match that? We may not make a golden calf, but do we idolize men? Do we give our devotion to men, bending the knee as it were?
Theocratic Ministry School
No 1: Exodus 25:1-22
No. 2: There Is No Bible Record of Adam’s Keeping a Sabbath Day—rs p. 346 par. 4—p. 347 par. 2
No. 3: Abraham—Abraham’s Early History Is an Example of Faith—IT-1 pp. 28-29 par. 3
10 min: Offer the Magazines During May
10 min: Local Needs
10 min: How Did We Do?