Highlights of Genesis 21-24 ‒ Theocratic Ministry School

References to the Theocratic Ministry School

Program of the Theocratic Ministry School:

‒‒ Bible reading: Genesis 21-24 (10 min.)
‒‒ No. 1: Genesis 23:1-20 (4 min. or less)
‒‒ No. 2: Why Did Jesus Appear in Materialized Bodies?—rs p. 334 ¶4–p. 335 ¶2 (5 min.)
‒‒ No. 3: Abel—Exercise Faith That Pleases God—it-1 p. 15, Abel No. 1 (5 min.)

Theocratic Ministry School

Highlights of Genesis 21-24

Genesis 21:8-10 ‒ What might a wife do when she disagrees with a decision made by her husband?
14 Does this mean, though, that you must be silent when you feel your husband is making a decision that works against your family’s best interests? Not necessarily. Abraham’s wife Sarah was not silent when she perceived a threat to the well-being of her son, Isaac. (Genesis 21:8-10) Similarly, you may sense an obligation to express your feelings at times. If this is done in a respectful way at “the right time,” a godly Christian man will listen. (Proverbs 25:11) But if your suggestion is not followed and no serious violation of a Bible principle is involved, would not going against your husband’s wishes be self-defeating? Remember, “the truly wise woman has built up her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.” (Proverbs 14:1) One way to build up your house is to be supportive of your husband’s headship, praising his accomplishments while taking his mistakes in stride.

Genesis 21:8-12 ‒ How might Christian youths be victims of persecution at school?
5 However, persecution does not necessarily involve violence. Abraham was eventually blessed with two sons—Ishmael and Isaac. Genesis 21:8-12 tells us that on one occasion Ishmael was “poking fun” at Isaac. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul shows that this was more serious than childish play, for he describes Ishmael as persecuting Isaac! (Galatians 4:29) Ridicule from schoolmates and verbal attacks by opposers can thus legitimately be called persecution. A young Christian named Ryan recalls the torment he suffered at the hands of classmates: “The 15-minute bus ride to and from school seemed like hours as I was verbally abused. They burned me with paper clips that they had heated with cigarette lighters.” The reason for this harsh treatment? “My theocratic training made me different from the other young people at school.” Nevertheless, with his parents’ support, Ryan was able to endure faithfully. Young ones, have the taunts of your peers caused you to feel discouraged? Well, do not give up! By enduring faithfully, you will experience the fulfillment of Jesus’ words: “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake.”—Matthew 5:11.

(Gen. 22: 1-18.)
A three-day trip followed, giving time for somber reflection. But Abraham’s resolve did not weaken. The words he spoke revealed his faith. Upon seeing the selected mountain in the distance, he told his servants: “You stay here . . . , but I and the boy want to go on over there and worship and return to you.” When Isaac asked where the sheep was for the offering, Abraham said: “God will provide himself the sheep.” (Verses 5, 8) Abraham expected to return with his son. Why? Because “he reckoned that God was able to raise him [Isaac] up even from the dead.”—Hebrews 11:19.

Genesis 22:2, 12 ‒ How does faithful endurance fortify hope?
8 Abraham kept his hope sure by obeying Jehovah implicitly, even when doing so was difficult. (Genesis 22:2, 12) Similarly, by our being obedient and enduring in Jehovah’s service, we can be confident of our reward. “Endurance,” wrote Paul, results in “an approved condition,” which, in turn, produces hope, “and the hope does not lead to disappointment.” (Romans 5:4, 5) That is why Paul also wrote: “We desire each one of you to show the same industriousness so as to have the full assurance of the hope down to the end.” (Hebrews 6:11) Such a positive outlook, which is based on an intimate relationship with Jehovah, can help us to face any hardship with courage, even joy.

Genesis 24:3, 4, 7, 14-21, 67 ‒ What did Abraham do with regard to finding a wife for Isaac, and with what result?
9 Because of his godly devotion, the faithful patriarch Abraham sought to please God when it came time to select a wife for his son Isaac. To his trusted household servant, Abraham said: “I must have you swear by Jehovah, the God of the heavens and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in among whom I am dwelling, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and you will certainly take a wife for my son, for Isaac. . . . [Jehovah] will send his angel ahead of you, and you will certainly take a wife for my son from there.” Rebekah proved to be an outstanding wife, whom Isaac dearly loved.—Genesis 24:3, 4, 7, 14-21, 67.

Gen. 24:50-58 ‒ What example did Rebekah set for us?
8 “I am willing to go.” (Gen. 24:58) With these simple words, Rebekah answered her mother and her brother respecting her willingness to leave home that very day and travel with a stranger over 500 miles (800 km) to become the wife of Abraham’s son Isaac. (Gen. 24:50-58) Rebekah’s Yes meant Yes, and she proved to be a faithful God-fearing wife to Isaac. For the rest of her life, she dwelled in tents as an alien in the Promised Land. She was rewarded for her faithfulness by becoming one of the ancestresses of the promised Seed, Jesus Christ.—Heb. 11:9, 13.

Genesis 24:67 ‒ What information does the Bible contain about weddings?
2 Christians have found that the advice in God’s inspired Word is very helpful when a man and a woman plan to get married. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Granted, the Bible does not outline exact procedures for a Christian wedding. That is understandable because customs and even legal requirements vary according to location and era. For example, in ancient Israel there was no formal wedding ceremony. On the wedding day, the bridegroom brought his bride to his own home or to his father’s. (Genesis 24:67; Isaiah 61:10; Matthew 1:24) This public step constituted the wedding, without the formal ceremony common in many weddings today.

No. 1: Genesis 23:1-20 (4 min. or less)

No. 2: Why Did Jesus Appear in Materialized Bodies?—rs p. 334 ¶4–p. 335 ¶2 (5 min.)

^ ***rs p. 334 par. 4-p. 335 par. 2 Resurrection***
What does Luke 24:36-39 mean regarding the body in which Jesus was resurrected?
Luke 24:36-39: “While they [the disciples] were speaking of these things he himself stood in their midst and said to them: ‘May you have peace.’ But because they were terrified, and had become frightened, they were imagining they beheld a spirit. So he said to them: ‘Why are you troubled, and why is it doubts come up in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; feel me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones just as you behold that I have.’”
Humans cannot see spirits, so the disciples evidently thought they were seeing an apparition or a vision. (Compare Mark 6:49, 50.) Jesus assured them that he was no apparition; they could see his body of flesh and could touch him, feeling the bones; he also ate in their presence. Similarly, in the past, angels had materialized in order to be seen by men; they had eaten, and some had even married and fathered children. (Gen. 6:4; 19:1-3) Following his resurrection, Jesus did not always appear in the same body of flesh (perhaps to reinforce in their minds the fact that he was then a spirit), and so he was not immediately recognized even by his close associates. (John 20:14, 15; 21:4-7) However, by his repeatedly appearing to them in materialized bodies and then saying and doing things that they would identify with the Jesus they knew, he strengthened their faith in the fact that he truly had been resurrected from the dead.
If the disciples had actually seen Jesus in the body that he now has in heaven, Paul would not later have referred to the glorified Christ as being “the exact representation of [God’s] very being,” because God is a Spirit and has never been in the flesh.—Heb. 1:3; compare 1 Timothy 6:16.
When reading the reports of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances, we are helped to understand them properly if we keep in mind 1 Peter 3:18 and; 1 Corinthians 15:45, quoted on page 334.

No. 3: Abel—Exercise Faith That Pleases God—it-1 p. 15, Abel No. 1 (5 min.)

^ ***it-1 p. 15 Abel***
1. [possibly, Exhalation; Vanity]. The second son of Adam and his wife Eve, and the younger brother of their firstborn son, Cain.—Ge 4:2.
It is probable that, while yet alive, Abel had sisters; the record mentions the birth of daughters to his parents, but their names are not recorded. (Ge 5:1-4) As a man, he became a herder of sheep; his brother, a farmer.—Ge 4:2.
After an indefinite period of time, Abel made an offering to Jehovah God. Cain did likewise. Each brought of what he had: Abel, of the firstlings of his flocks; Cain, of his produce. (Ge 4:3, 4) They both had belief in God. They undoubtedly learned of Him from their parents and must have known why they all were outside the garden of Eden and denied entry to it. Their offerings indicated a recognition of their alienated state and of their desire for God’s favor. God expressed favor toward Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. How the approval and the rejection were manifested the record does not show, but it was undoubtedly evident to both men. The reason for God’s approval of only Abel’s offering is made clear by later writings. The apostle Paul lists Abel as the first man of faith, at Hebrews 11:4, and shows that this resulted in his sacrifice being of “greater worth” than Cain’s offering. By contrast, 1 John 3:11, 12 shows Cain’s heart attitude to have been bad; and his later rejection of God’s counsel and warning, as well as his premeditated murder of his brother Abel, demonstrated this.
While it cannot be said that Abel had any foreknowledge of the eventual outworking of the divine promise at Genesis 3:15 concerning the promised “seed,” he likely had given much thought to that promise and believed that blood would have to be shed, someone would have to be ‘bruised in the heel,’ so that mankind might be uplifted again to the state of perfection that Adam and Eve had enjoyed before their rebellion. (Heb 11:4) In the light of this, Abel’s offering of the firstlings of his flock certainly was appropriate and undoubtedly was a factor in God’s expression of approval. To the Giver of life, Abel gave as his gift life, even though it was only from among the flock.—Compare Joh 1:36.
Jesus shows Abel to have been the first martyr and object of religious persecution waged by his intolerant brother Cain. In doing so, Jesus speaks of Abel as living at “the founding of the world.” (Lu 11:48-51) The Greek word for “world” is ko′smos and in this text refers to the world of mankind. The term “founding” is a rendering of the Greek ka•ta•bo•le′ and literally means “throwing down [of seed].” (Heb 11:11, Int) By the expression “the founding of the world,” Jesus manifestly referred to the birth of children to Adam and Eve, thereby producing a world of mankind. Paul includes Abel among the “cloud of witnesses” of pre-Christian times.—Heb 11:4; 12:1.
How does the blood of Jesus ‘speak in a better way than that of Abel’?
Because of his faith and divine approval, the record of which continues to bear witness, it could be said that Abel, “although he died, yet speaks.” (Heb 11:4) At Hebrews 12:24 the apostle refers to “Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, which speaks in a better way than Abel’s blood.” Though shed in martyrdom, Abel’s blood did not ransom or redeem anyone, any more than did the blood of his sacrificed sheep. His blood in effect cried to God for vengeance upon assassin Cain. The blood of Jesus, here presented as validating the new covenant, speaks in a better way than Abel’s in that it calls to God for mercy upon all persons of faith like Abel, and is the means by which their ransoming is possible.
Since Seth was evidently born shortly after Abel’s death and when Adam was 130 years of age, it is possible that Abel may have been as much as 100 years old at the time of his martyrdom.—Ge 4:25; 5:3.

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