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References of Theocratic Ministry School Review November – December 2012
Theocratic Ministry School Review
The following questions will be considered at the Theocratic Ministry School during the week beginning December 31, 2012. The date when each point is scheduled for discussion is included so that research can be done when preparing for the school each week.
1. How has the prophecy recorded at Joel 2:1-10, 28 about the invasion by insects been fulfilled? [Nov. 5, w07 10/1 p. 13 par. 11*** w07 10/1 p. 13 par. 1 Highlights From the Books of Joel and Amos ***
2:1-10, 28—How has the prophecy about the invasion by insects been fulfilled? There is no record in the Bible of an insect invasion of the land of Canaan of the magnitude described in the book of Joel. Therefore, the assault Joel describes is apparently pictorial of the time in 33 C.E. when Jehovah started to pour out his spirit upon early followers of Christ and they began preaching the message that tormented false religious leaders. (Acts 2:1, 14-21; 5:27-33) It is our privilege to share in a similar work today.
2. In whom does Amos 8:11 find fulfillment, and what question should we ask ourselves, since we are living amid spiritual plenty? [Nov. 12, jd pp. 60-61 par. 9]*** jd chap. 5 pp. 60-61 par. 9 “Seek Jehovah” Through Worship He Approves ***
9 Spiritually, what Amos described finds a fulfillment in the sad condition of Christendom. In contrast, “the floodgates of the heavens” are open for God’s people worldwide. They are blessed with spiritual provisions aplenty. (Malachi 3:10; Isaiah 65:13, 14) A Christian can ask, though, ‘To what extent do I personally enjoy that spiritual food?’ Interestingly, some researchers have found that laboratory animals that had a damaged hunger center of the brain lost their appetite to the point that they might starve to death amid ample food! Could an individual Christian’s spiritual hunger center be affected to the point that he begins to starve even though he is surrounded by ample spiritual food?
3. What may have contributed to the Edomites' being presumptuous of heart, and what reality must we never forget? (Obad. 3, 4) [Nov. 19, w07 11/1 p. 14 par. 11*** w07 11/1 p. 14 par. 1 Highlights From the Books of Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah ***
3, 4. Because they lived in a rugged region of high mountains and deep ravines that offered excellent strategic advantages, the Edomites may presumptuously have deceived themselves into feeling safe and secure. But Jehovah’s judgments are inescapable.
4. In what way did Jehovah show regret over the calamity that he had spoken of causing to the inhabitants of Nineveh? (Jonah 3:8, 10) [Nov. 19, w07 11/1 p. 15 par. 1]*** w07 11/1 p. 15 par. 1 Highlights From the Books of Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah ***
3:8, 10. The true God “felt regret over,” or changed his mind about, the calamity that he had spoken of, and he “did not cause it.” Why? Because the Ninevites “had turned back from their bad way.” Similarly today, God’s adverse judgment can be averted if a sinner manifests genuine repentance.
5. How can walking in God's name strengthen our friendship with him? (Mic. 4:5) [Nov. 26, jd p. 88 par. 12]*** jd chap. 7 p. 88 par. 12 Serve Jehovah According to His High Standards ***
12 The greatest reward for observing God’s commandments is having a stronger bond with God. When we live by his standards and see how reasonable and beneficial they are, our affection for their Author deepens. The prophet Micah beautifully depicted that deepened relationship: “All the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Micah 4:5) What a privilege we have to walk in the name of Jehovah, supporting his reputation and recognizing his authority in our life! As a natural consequence, we want to reflect his qualities. Individually, let us work to strengthen our bond with God.—Psalm 9:10.
6. What assurance does the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded at Nahum 2:6-10 give us? [Dec. 3, w07 11/15 p. 9 par. 2; w88 2/15 p. 28 par. 7]*** w07 11/15 p. 9 par. 2 Highlights From the Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah ***
2:6—What “gates of the rivers” were opened? These gates referred to the opening made in the walls of Nineveh by the waters of the Tigris River. In 632 B.C.E. when the joint forces of the Babylonians and the Medes came up against Nineveh, she did not feel particularly threatened. Secure behind her high walls, she considered herself to be an impenetrable city. However, heavy rains caused the Tigris to overflow. According to historian Diodorus, this “both inundated a portion of the city and broke down the walls for a distance.” The river gates were thus opened, and as foretold, Nineveh was taken as quickly as fire devours dry stubble.—Nahum 1:8-10.
*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Two great mounds now mark the site of this once proud capital. They are a silent testimony to the fact that no nation—not even proud and violent Assyria—can block the sure fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecies.
7. What is the meaning of Haggai 1:6, and what lesson should we take to heart? [Dec. 10, w06 4/15 p. 22 pars. 12-15]*** w06 4/15 p. 22 pars. 12-15 “I Am With You People” ***
12 As you can imagine, the misplaced priorities of the Jews affected them personally. Note God’s view expressed at Haggai 1:6: “You have sown much seed, but there is a bringing of little in. There is an eating, but it is not to satisfaction. There is a drinking, but not to the point of getting intoxicated. There is a putting on of clothes, but it is not with anyone’s getting warm; and he that is hiring himself out is hiring himself out for a bag having holes.”
13 The Jews were in the land that God had given them, yet it was not producing as they would have liked. Jehovah was withholding his blessing, as he had forewarned. (Deuteronomy 28:38-48) Without his backing, the Jews sowed seed but had a meager harvest, not enough food to satisfy them. Lacking his blessing, they were unable to clothe themselves with warm garments. It even seemed as if the money they earned went into a bag full of holes, with no benefit to the wage earners. What of the expression: “There is a drinking, but not to the point of getting intoxicated”? It could not imply that getting drunk would have shown God’s blessing; he condemns drunkenness. (1 Samuel 25:36; Proverbs 23:29-35) Rather, the expression is another reference to the lack of God’s blessing on the Jews. Any wine they could make would be limited, not being enough to produce intoxication. The Revised Standard Version renders Haggai 1:6: “You drink, but you never have your fill.”
14 The lesson we should learn from all of that is not about home design or decorating. Long before the exile, the prophet Amos had rebuked wealthy ones in Israel for their “houses of ivory” and for their “lying down on couches of ivory.” (Amos 3:15; 6:4) The fancy houses and decorated furniture did not last. Those things were plundered by enemy conquerors. Yet, years later, after an exile of 70 years, many of God’s people had not learned from this. Will we? It would be fitting for each of us to ask: ‘Frankly, how much emphasis do I put on my home and its decoration? What about arranging for extra education to advance a career, though doing that would take up considerable time for a number of years, crowding out important aspects of my spiritual life?’—Luke 12:20, 21; 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
15 What we read at Haggai 1:6 should bring home to us our need for God’s blessing in our lives. Those Jews of old lacked that, to their detriment. Whether we have an abundance of material things or not, if we fail to receive Jehovah’s blessing, it will definitely be to our spiritual detriment. (Matthew 25:34-40; 2 Corinthians 9:8-12) Yet, how can we receive that blessing?
8. How can we apply the practical advice recorded at Zechariah 7:10 that we "scheme out nothing bad against one another" in our hearts? [Dec. 17, jd p. 113 par. 6; w07 12/1 p. 11 par. 3]*** jd chap. 9 pp. 113-114 par. 6 Dealing With Others as God Desires ***
6 Jehovah had Zechariah mention His desire that we “scheme out nothing bad against one another in [our] hearts.” (Zechariah 7:9, 10; 8:17) This advice is pertinent when we feel that a brother has hurt us or wronged someone in our family. In such cases, it is easy to ‘scheme out bad in our hearts’ and then to reflect that in our deeds. On the other hand, God wants us to imitate his positive example. Recall that Micah wrote that Jehovah is “pardoning error and passing over transgression.” (Micah 7:18) How can we apply that in practical ways?
*** w07 12/1 p. 11 par. 3 Highlights From the Books of Haggai and Zechariah ***
7:8-10; 8:16, 17. To gain Jehovah’s favor, we must exercise justice, carry on loving-kindness, practice mercy, and speak truth to one another.
9. Why are the words of Zechariah 4:6, 7 comforting to worshippers of Jehovah today? [Dec. 17, w07 12/1 p. 11 par. 1|*** w07 12/1 p. 11 par. 1 Highlights From the Books of Haggai and Zechariah ***
4:6, 7. No obstacles proved too great for Jehovah’s spirit to overcome in bringing the work of rebuilding the temple to a successful finish. Whatever problems we may encounter in our service to God can be overcome by exercising faith in Jehovah.—Matthew 17:20.
10. In view of what is stated at Malachi 3: 16, why should we never weaken in our determination to maintain our integrity to God? [Dec. 31, w07 12/15 p. 29 par. 3]*** w07 12/15 p. 29 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Malachi ***
3:16. Jehovah keeps a record of those who fear him and are faithful to him. He remembers them and will preserve them when bringing an end to Satan’s wicked world. Therefore, let us never weaken in our determination to maintain our integrity to God.—Job 27:5.