Highlights of Genesis 25-28 ‒ Theocratic Ministry School

References to the Theocratic Ministry School

Program of the Theocratic Ministry School:

Feb. 10 Bible reading: Genesis 25-28
• No. 1: Genesis 25:19-34
• No. 2: Those Resurrected to Rule With Christ Will Be Like Him (rs p. 335 ¶4–p. 336 ¶2)
• No. 3: Abhorrent Thing—Jehovah’s View of Idolatry and Disobedience (it-1 p. 17)

Theocratic Ministry School

Highlights of Genesis 25-28

So Different From His Brother
In no way did Jacob usurp Esau’s inheritance. Before the boys were born, Jehovah said that ‘the older would serve the younger.’ (Genesis 25:23) ‘Would it not have been easier if God had caused Jacob to be born first?’ someone might ask. What followed taught important truths. God does not reserve blessings for those who feel that they have a claim on them, but he does show undeserved kindness to those whom he chooses. The birthright thus went to Jacob, not to his older brother, who did not appreciate it. Similarly, because the natural Jews as a nation showed the same attitude as Esau, they were replaced by spiritual Israel. (Romans 9:6-16, 24) Good relations with Jehovah today never come by effortless inheritance, even if one is born into a God-fearing family or environment. All who would have divine blessings must strive to be godly, truly appreciating spiritual things.

Scriptural Questions Answered:
28:12, 13—What was the significance of Jacob’s dream involving “a ladder”? This “ladder,” which may have looked like a rising flight of stones, indicated that there is communication between earth and heaven. God’s angels ascending and descending on it showed that angels minister in some important way between Jehovah and humans who have his approval.—John 1:51.

‘Gathered to Their Forefathers’
7 Earlier, when Jehovah confirmed his covenant with Abraham and promised that his seed would become many, he indicated what would happen to Abraham. “As for you,” Jehovah said, “you will go to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.” (Genesis 15:15) And this is exactly what happened. Genesis 25:8 states: “Then Abraham expired and died in a good old age, old and satisfied, and was gathered to his people.” Who were these people? Genesis 11:10-26 lists his ancestors as far back as Noah’s son Shem. So it was to these already sleeping in Sheol that Abraham was gathered at death.
8 The expression “gathered to his people” occurs frequently in the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, it is logical to conclude that Abraham’s son Ishmael and Moses’ brother, Aaron, both went to Sheol at their death, there to await a resurrection. (Genesis 25:17; Numbers 20:23-29) Accordingly, Moses too went to Sheol, although no one knew where his grave was. (Numbers 27:13; Deuteronomy 34:5, 6) Similarly, Joshua, Moses’ successor as leader of Israel, along with a whole generation of people also descended to Sheol at death.—Judges 2:8-10.

Lessons for Us:
25:23. Jehovah has the ability to detect the genetic bent of the unborn and to exercise his foreknowledge and select beforehand whom he chooses for his purposes. Yet, he does not predetermine the final destiny of individuals.—Hosea 12:3; Romans 9:10-12.
25:32; 32:24-29. Jacob’s concern about obtaining the birthright and his wrestling all night with an angel to get a blessing show that he truly appreciated sacred things. Jehovah has entrusted us with a number of sacred things, such as our relationship with him and his organization, the ransom, the Bible, and our Kingdom hope. May we prove to be like Jacob in showing appreciation for them.

3. What do we learn from the account of Jacob and Esau?
3 The account of Jacob and Esau shows that we should make earnest and practical efforts to settle matters when problems arise that may threaten the peace we enjoy within the Christian congregation. Jacob sought to make peace with Esau, but not because Jacob had erred against his brother and owed him an apology. No, Esau had despised his birthright and had sold it to Jacob for a bowl of stew. (Gen. 25:31-34; Heb. 12:16) However, the way Jacob approached Esau illustrates the extent to which we should be willing to go to preserve the peace with our Christian brothers. It also shows that the true God blesses our prayerful efforts to make peace. The Bible contains numerous other examples that instruct us to be peacemakers.

14. How did Isaac prove himself to be a peacemaker when the Philistine king sought to make a covenant of peace with him?
14 Isaac surely had the ability to fight for his right to use all the wells that his servants had dug. After all, the Philistine king and his officials came to visit him in Beer-sheba and sought to make a covenant of peace with him, saying: “We have unmistakably seen that Jehovah has proved to be with you.” Still, for the sake of peace, Isaac had more than once opted to move rather than fight. This time too Isaac proved himself to be a peacemaker. The historical record states: “He made a feast for [his visitors] and they ate and drank. Next morning they were early in rising and they made sworn statements one to the other. After that Isaac sent them away . . . in peace.”—Gen. 26:26-31.

Scriptural Questions Answered:
28:12, 13—What was the significance of Jacob’s dream involving “a ladder”? This “ladder,” which may have looked like a rising flight of stones, indicated that there is communication between earth and heaven. God’s angels ascending and descending on it showed that angels minister in some important way between Jehovah and humans who have his approval.—John 1:51.

No. 1: Genesis 25:19-34

No. 2: Those Resurrected to Rule With Christ Will Be Like Him (rs p. 335 ¶4–p. 336 ¶2)

Who will be resurrected to share heavenly life with Christ, and what will they do there?
Luke 12:32: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” (These do not include all who have exercised faith; the number is limited. Their being in heaven is for a purpose.)
Rev. 20:4, 6: “I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. . . . Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”
See also pages 162-168, under the heading “Heaven.”
Will those raised to heavenly life eventually have glorified physical bodies there?
Phil. 3:20, 21: “The Lord Jesus Christ . . . will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has.” (Does this mean that it is their body of flesh that will eventually be made glorious in the heavens? Or does it mean that, instead of having a lowly body of flesh, they will be clothed with a glorious spirit body when raised to heavenly life? Let the following scripture answer.)
1 Cor. 15:40, 42-44, 47-50: “There are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one sort, and that of the earthly bodies is a different sort. So also is the resurrection of the dead. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. . . . The first man [Adam] is out of the earth and made of dust; the second man [Jesus Christ] is out of heaven. As the one made of dust is, so those made of dust are also; and as the heavenly one is, so those who are heavenly are also. And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one. However, this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (There is no allowance here for any mixing of the two sorts of bodies or the taking of a fleshly body to heaven.)

No. 3: Abhorrent Thing—Jehovah’s View of Idolatry and Disobedience (it-1 p. 17)

The Hebrew word nid•dah′ occurs 30 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is possibly derived from the root word na•dhah′, which means “exclude; put out of mind (refuse to think of).” (Isa 66:5; Am 6:3) Nid•dah′ indicates impurity, something abhorrent, whether physically, as for example, from menstruation (Le 12:2, 5; 15:20, 24, 25, 33), or morally, as from idolatry. (Ezr 9:11; 2Ch 29:5) The same Hebrew word is used with regard to the “water for cleansing” (Nu 19:9-21; 31:23, NW; “water used in case of menstruation,” Nu 19:9, NW, ftn; “water of separation,” KJ; “water for impurity,” RS, AT; “lustral water,” JB), indicating water used to remove that which is impure or unclean.
Thus, at Lamentations 1:17 Jeremiah says that Jerusalem in her desolation “has become an abhorrent thing [“as a menstruous woman,” KJ; “objeto de abominación,” NC (Spanish); “abhorrent,” AT] in among them [that is, among the surrounding nations].”
Prior to Jerusalem’s destruction by Babylon, Jehovah said of the people of Israel through his prophet Ezekiel: “The house of Israel were dwelling upon their soil, and they kept making it unclean with their way and with their dealings. Like the uncleanness of menstruation [nid•dah′] their way has become before me.” (Eze 36:17) Due to idolatrous practices, Israel was spiritually impure and would thus be avoided by her husbandly owner, Jehovah God, and would be reunited with him spiritually only after cleansing. Thus, at verse 25, Jehovah says: “And I will sprinkle upon you clean water, and you will become clean; from all your impurities and from all your dungy idols I shall cleanse you.”—Compare Eze 18:6.
At Ezekiel 7:19, 20 God expresses his anger against Israel for having made religious images with their silver and their gold and says that he will, therefore, cause them to throw their silver and their gold into the streets as an “abhorrent thing [nid•dah′].”—Compare Isa 30:22; see DISGUSTING THING, LOATHSOME THING.
Abhorrence. Other Hebrew expressions having the sense of “abhorrence” are quts, referring to the emotional reaction and defined as “abhor; have an abhorrence of; feel a sickening dread of” (Ge 27:46; 1Ki 11:25; Nu 22:3), and ga•ʽal′, also meaning “abhor,” but indicating a rejection of the object abhorred. (Le 26:11, 15, 30; 2Sa 1:21, ftn) In the Greek Septuagint these Hebrew words at times are rendered pro•so•khthi′zo, signifying “become disgusted” (Ge 27:46; Le 26:15; compare Heb 3:10), and bde•lys′so•mai, conveying the sense of “express abhorrence of; have disgust for.”—Le 20:23; 26:11; compare Ro 2:22.
Because the Canaanites were guilty of sexual immorality and perversion, idolatry, and spiritistic practices, the Most High abhorred them, and this resulted in his decreeing their destruction. (Le 20:2-23) The Israelites were warned that, if they became disobedient, Jehovah would also abhor them, withdrawing his protection and blessing. By reason of loyalty to his covenant made with Israel, however, he would not abhor them to the point of bringing about their complete extermination. (Le 26:11-45) In the case of those who will prove to be wicked, the resurrection will turn out to be one to eternal “abhorrence” (Heb., de•ra•ʼohn′). It will be a resurrection to condemnatory judgment resulting in everlasting cutting-off.—Da 12:2; Joh 5:28, 29.
Deliberate rejection of Jehovah’s commands, reproof, and provisions constitutes an improper abhorrence. The Israelites were guilty of this when they refused to follow Jehovah’s commands, as well as when they came to abhor the manna as “contemptible bread.” (Nu 21:5; Le 26:15) Proverbs 3:11 counsels against ‘abhorring Jehovah’s reproof.’
At Romans 12:9 Christians are admonished: “Abhor what is wicked.” The Greek term here rendered “abhor” (a•po•sty•ge′o) is the intensive form of the Greek verb meaning “hate,” and thus literally means “hate intensely.” A person’s failing to abhor what is wicked, no longer loathing it, can result in his becoming an object of Jehovah’s abhorrence.

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