Congregation Book Study:
Chapter 7, par. 1-8
Have you noticed how much time we spend in our weekly meetings and in the publications focusing on the history of the Israelites? Since our focus is on Jehovah and not his Christ, this is logical, given that his name is used almost 7,000 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and not once in the Greek. However, I would venture that there is another reason. For example, from this week’s study:
“Since he is able to do anything his will directs, we may ask, ‘Is it Jehovah’s will to use his power to protect his people?’
5 The answer, in a word, is yes! Jehovah assures us that he will protect his people. ” (cl p. 68 pars. 4-5)
Focusing on Israel allows us to apply things organizationally. The focus is on the nation, the group, his people. That makes sense when we look at Israel, because they were a nation exclusive to Jehovah; a people called out to be a holy people, a people for Jehovah’s special possession. This didn’t change in the Christian era. Christians are “a chosen race…a holy nation, a people for special possession”. (Deut. 7:6; 1 Peter 2:9) The problem is that while it was easy to distinguish an Israelite from a gentile, true Christians are not so easily identifiable. (Mat. 13:24-30)
The illustration of the Wheat and Weeds is troublesome for those who would rule over God’s people. By setting up a religious denomination, men have separated peoples to themselves over the centuries and down to this day. A common aspect of this work is to teach the membership that they are the protected ones of God, while all their rivals are condemned. It is true that Jehovah protected his nation of Israel as a people, and he punished them as a people. That was because you became an Israelite by right of birth. That changed with Christ. Now you become an member of Spiritual Israel by choice, both yours and God’s. Your citizenship is written with holy spirit. It does not depend on membership in any particular religious denomination. Each of us is saved or condemned based on what we are and do as individuals. ‘Membership does not have its privileges.’ (Romans 14:12) But that just won’t do if membership is what is being promoted, so we focus on the nation of Israel as an object lesson for Jehovah’s Witnesses today.
To illustrate this point, we’ll jump to next week’s study.
As Jehovah’s worshipers, we can expect such protection as a group. (cl p. 73 par. 15)
The italics are not mine. They come from the book itself. ‘Nuf said.
Theocratic Ministry School
Bible Reading: Exodus 27-29
Somewhat dry reading this week as we conclude all the specifications for the newly created form of worship that the Israelites were to have for themselves to distinguish them from the nations surrounding and to become a people for Jehovah’s name.
An interesting side point that by law every male had to pay half a shekel when registered in a census. The rich were not allowed to pay more. All were considered as equals before God.
Theocratic Ministry School
No 1: Exodus 29:19-30
No. 2: Jesus Did Not Divide the Mosaic Law into “Ceremonial” and “Moral” Parts—rs p. 347 par. 3—p. 348 par. 1
Quite true; and we use this fact to demonstrate that the moral part of the law was replaced with something better, hence, the injunction to keep the Sabbath as sacred no longer requires us to rest on the seventh day of every week. But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. We justify some of our requirements regarding the use of blood on regulations found only in the Mosaic law. We don’t allow Witnesses to extract their own blood and store it for use in a scheduled operation because the Mosaic law required blood to be poured out on the ground. This requirement was not given to Noah. There is a peculiar hypocrisy at work here.
No. 3: Abraham—Obedience, Unselfishness, and Courage Are Qualities That Please Jehovah—IT-1 pp. 29 par. 4-7
15 min: To It All the Nations Will Stream
The theme text for this part is Isaiah 2:2 which reads:
“In the final part of the days, [“last days”, NWT footnote] The mountain of the house of Jehovah Will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, And it will be raised up above the hills, And to it all the nations will stream.”
The last days began in the first century and Isaiah’s prophesy began its fulfillment then. It continues to this day, but our position is that it only began to be fulfilled in our day with Jehovah’s selection from among many candidates of the international association of Bible Students back in 1919 under Judge Rutherford. So it is to us and us alone that all the nations are streaming. (Acts 2:17, 10:34)
15 min: “Improving Our Skills in the Ministry—Preparing Our Opening Words.”