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Congregation Bible Study

“Draw Close to Jehovah”

Week of Mar 10-16, 2014
cl chap. 4 ¶1-9 Opening Song: 1

Jehovah’s Attributes
(Revelation 4:11)
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(1 Kings 19:8-12) So he got up and ate and drank, and in the strength of that nourishment he went on for 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Ho′reb, the mountain of the true God. 9 There he entered a cave and spent the night; and look! Jehovah’s word came to him, telling him: “What are you doing here, E•li′jah?” 10 To this he said: “I have been absolutely zealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, and I am the only one left. Now they are seeking to take my life away.” 11 But He said: “Go out and stand on the mountain before Jehovah.” And look! Jehovah was passing by, and a great and strong wind was splitting mountains and breaking crags before Jehovah, but Jehovah was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but Jehovah was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, there was a fire, but Jehovah was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a calm, low voice.
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(Romans 1:20) For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable.
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(Ezekiel 1:4-10) As I was looking, I saw a tempestuous wind coming from the north, and there was a huge cloud and flashing fire surrounded by a bright light, and from the midst of the fire was something that looked like electrum. 5 Within it were what looked like four living creatures, and the appearance of each one was like that of a human. 6 Each one had four faces and four wings. 7 Their feet were straight, and the soles of their feet were like those of a calf, and they were shining like the glow of burnished copper. 8 They had human hands under their wings on all four sides, and the four of them had faces and wings. 9 Their wings were touching one another. They would not turn when they went; they would each go straight forward. 10 Their faces had this appearance: Each of the four had a man’s face with a lion’s face on the right, a bull’s face on the left, and each of the four had an eagle’s face.
(Job 39:9-12) Is the wild bull willing to serve you? Will it spend the night in your stable? 10 Will you hold a wild bull to the furrow with a rope, Or will it follow you to plow the valley? 11 Will you trust in its great strength And let it do your heavy work? 12 Will you rely on it to bring back your harvest, And will it gather it to your threshing floor?
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(Isaiah 40:15) Look! The nations are like a drop from a bucket, And as the film of dust on the scales they are regarded. Look! He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
(Revelation 15:3) They were singing the song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.
(Isaiah 40:26) “Lift up your eyes to heaven and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who brings out their army by number; He calls them all by name. Because of his vast dynamic energy and his awe-inspiring power, Not one of them is missing.
(Psalm 62:11) Once God has spoken, twice I have heard this: That strength belongs to God.
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(Genesis 1:2) Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep, and God’s active force was moving about over the surface of the waters.
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(Luke 11:20) But if it is by means of God’s finger that I expel the demons, the Kingdom of God has really overtaken you.
(Deuteronomy 5:15) Remember that you became a slave in the land of Egypt and that Jehovah your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. That is why Jehovah your God commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
(Psalm 8:3) When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, The moon and the stars that you have prepared,
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(Psalm 68:11) Jehovah gives the command; The women proclaiming the good news are a large army.
(Psalm 110:3) Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. In splendid holiness, from the womb of the dawn, You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.
(2 Kings 19:35) On that very night the angel of Jehovah went out and struck down 185,000 men in the camp of the As•syr′i•ans. When people rose up early in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies.
(Psalm103:19, 20) Jehovah has firmly established his throne in the heavens; And his kingship rules over everything. 20 Praise Jehovah, all you his angels, mighty in power, Who carry out his word, obeying his voice.

Theocratic Ministry School Schedule

Week of March 10-16, 2014
Bible Reading: Genesis 40-42
No. 1: Genesis 41:1-16
No. 2: How Do the Rest of the Dead Come to Life on Earth?—rs p. 338 par. 2-p. 339 par. 2
No. 3: Abihu—Prominence Does Not Excuse Disobedience -- it-1 p. 22

Talk #2 – How Do the Rest of the Dead Come to Life on Earth?

*** rs p. 338-p. 339 Resurrection ***
What does Revelation 20:4-6 indicate as to those who will be resurrected on earth?
Rev. 20:4-6: “I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God . . . And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 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.”
The parentheses are used in NW and Mo to help the reader to connect what follows the parenthetical statement with what precedes it. As clearly stated, it is not “the rest of the dead” who share in the first resurrection. That resurrection is for those who rule with Christ for the thousand years. Does this mean that no others of mankind will live during the thousand years except the ones who rule in heaven with Christ? No; because, if such were the case, it would mean that there was no one on behalf of whom they were serving as priests, and their domain would be a desolate globe.
Who, then, are “the rest of the dead”? They are all those of mankind who died as a result of Adamic sin and those who, though survivors of the great tribulation or those who may be born during the Millennium, need to be relieved of the death-dealing effects of such sin.—Compare Ephesians 2:1.
In what sense do they not “come to life” until the end of the thousand years? This does not mean their resurrection. This ‘coming to life’ involves much more than merely existing as humans. It means attaining to human perfection, free from all effects of Adamic sin. Notice that the reference to this in verse 5 occurs immediately after the preceding verse says that those who will be in heaven “came to life.” In their case it means life free from all effects of sin; they are even specially favored with immortality. (1 Cor. 15:54) For “the rest of the dead,” then, it must mean the fullness of life in human perfection.

Talk #3 – Abihu—Prominence Does Not Excuse Disobedience

*** it-1 p. 22 Abihu ***
(A•bi′hu) [He Is Father].
One of Aaron’s four sons by his wife Elisheba; the brother of Nadab, Eleazar, and Ithamar. (Ex 6:23; 1Ch 6:3; 24:1) Born in Egypt, Abihu, as the second son of Aaron, was a mature man by the time of the Exodus, his father then being 83.—Nu 33:39.
As older sons, Nadab and Abihu were permitted by Jehovah to accompany their father and 70 of the older men of Israel in approaching Mount Sinai and there to see from a distance a magnificent vision of God’s glory. (Ex 24:1, 9-11) Jehovah honored Aaron’s sons, appointing them to serve as priests with their father, the high priest, and ordaining that from among them should come Aaron’s eventual successor. They would wear priestly robes and headgears “for glory and beauty.” Moses was to “anoint them and fill their hand with power and sanctify them” for their service to God. (Ex 28:1, 40-43) The priesthood would become theirs “as a statute to time indefinite.”—Ex 29:8, 9.
Thereafter they were continually included in God’s instructions regarding the priesthood and its functions. (Ex 29:10-46; 30:26-38) Also, God emphatically impressed upon them, as well as upon the entire nation, the vital importance of respecting the sanctity of the things related to his worship, including the altar of incense and incidental equipment. Their lives depended upon their respecting the divine regulations.
Now, one year from the start of the Exodus, came the time for setting up of the tabernacle and the installation of the priesthood (1512 B.C.E.). The entire nation assembled before the entrance of the tent of meeting for the installation ceremonies and saw Aaron and Abihu and his brothers, washed and turbaned, receive the anointing as priests of God to represent the nation before Him. Thereafter the newly installed priests remained at the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days to complete their installation and, as Moses said, “‘to fill your hand with power.’ . . . And Aaron and his sons proceeded to do all the things that Jehovah had commanded by means of Moses.”—Le 8:1-3, 13-36.
On the eighth day Aaron began to officiate, with Abihu and his brothers assisting. (Le 9:1-24) They witnessed the glorious manifestation of God’s presence. But, evidently before the day was over, the account says that “Nadab and Abihu took up and brought each one his fire holder and put fire in them and placed incense upon it, and they began offering before Jehovah illegitimate fire, which he had not prescribed for them. At this a fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed them, so that they died before Jehovah.” (Le 10:1, 2) Their corpses were carried outside the camp by Aaron’s cousins at Moses’ instruction. Their father and remaining brothers were instructed by God to refrain from any display of grief over their being thus cut off from the congregation.—Le 10:4-7.
Immediately thereafter God gave Aaron a warning against the use of intoxicating liquor by him or his sons at the time of serving at the tabernacle, “that you may not die.” Commenting on verse 9, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs says: “The Rabbis connected the incident of Nadab and Abihu with this injunction against intoxicating liquors before officiating in the Sanctuary.” (Edited by J. H. Hertz, London, 1972, p. 446) So, the matter of intoxication may have been involved in their grave sin, but the actual cause of their death was the violation of God’s requirement for pure worship by their offering “illegitimate fire, which he had not prescribed for them.”
Abihu enjoyed great honor from God and outstanding prominence before all the nation for a short while; but, whether from ambition, an inflated ego, or due to a trifling attitude toward God’s instructions, his privileges were short-lived, and he died childless.—Nu 3:2-4; 26:60, 61; 1Ch 24:1, 2.

Highlights of the Bible: Genesis 40 a 42

Highlights for the Week of March 10-16, 2014

Gen 40:8 - *** w11 12/1 pp. 12-13 Who Can Interpret Prophecy? ***
Some 3,700 years ago, two men were locked away in a prison in Egypt. Each received an intriguing dream. Having no access to the wise men of the land, they expressed their perplexity to a fellow inmate, Joseph, exclaiming: “We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter with us.” That servant of God encouraged them to relate their dreams to him, saying: “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Genesis 40:8) Only Jehovah God has the ability to unravel prophecies, just as an experienced sailor can untie complicated knots. After all, it was God who made or tied up those prophecies in the first place. Logically, we must look to him for the loosening of their meaning. Yes, Joseph was right in giving the credit to God.
In what sense, then, do “interpretations belong to God”? There are a number of ways that this proves to be the case. Some Bible prophecies are recorded along with their fulfillment. These, then, are relatively simple to untie, as are some knots that the sailor freely explains how to undo.—Genesis 18:14; 21:2.
Other prophecies can be explained and unraveled by an examination of the context. The prophet Daniel had a prophetic vision of ‘a ram with two horns’ being decisively struck down by a “hairy he-goat” that had “a conspicuous horn between its eyes.” The context shows that the ram with the two horns represented “the kings of Media and Persia” and the goat, “the king of Greece.” (Daniel 8:3-8, 20-22) More than 200 years later, “the great horn”—Alexander the Great—began his conquest of Persia. The Jewish historian Josephus claimed that during Alexander’s military campaign in the vicinity of Jerusalem, he was shown this very prophecy and believed that it referred to him.
“Interpretations belong to God” in another sense. Guided by holy spirit, Joseph, a faithful servant of Jehovah God, was able to understand the meaning of the perplexing dreams his fellow prisoners related to him. (Genesis 41:38) When present-day servants of God are unsure of the meaning of a certain prophecy, they pray for God’s spirit and then diligently study and search the spirit-inspired Word of God. With God’s guidance they can locate scriptures that open up the meaning of some prophecies. The interpretation does not come miraculously through any humans. It comes from God because it is by means of his spirit and his Word that the meaning becomes clear. The interpretation is not introduced from outside the Bible by human forecasters.—Acts 15:12-21.
“Interpretations belong to God” also in that he determines and directs when a prophecy is to be understood by his faithful servants on earth. The meaning of a prophecy can be discerned before, during, or after its fulfillment. Since God tied up the prophecies, he will unravel them at the right time—his time.
In the account of Joseph and the two prisoners, he interpreted the dreams three days before they were fulfilled. (Genesis 40:13, 19) Later, when Joseph was brought before mighty Pharaoh to explain Pharaoh’s dreams, seven years of plenty were about to start. With God’s spirit, Joseph unraveled the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams, so that arrangements could be made to take in the foretold bumper crops.—Genesis 41:29, 39, 40.
Other prophecies are fully understood by servants of God only after their fulfillment. Many events in Jesus’ life had been prophesied centuries before his birth, but this was not fully understood by his disciples until after his resurrection. (Psalm 22:18; 34:20; John 19:24, 36) Finally, according to Daniel 12:4, certain prophecies were to be ‘sealed up’ “until the time of the end,” when, Daniel said, “the true knowledge will become abundant.”

Gen 40:20 - *** w98 10/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers
(Genesis 40:20) 20 Now the third day was Phar′aoh’s birthday, and he made a feast for all his servants, and he brought out both the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his servants.
The first is the birthday of the Pharaoh in Joseph’s day. (Genesis 40:20-23) In this regard, the article on birthdays in Hastings’ Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics begins: “The custom of commemorating the day of birth is connected, in its form, with the reckoning of time, and, in its content, with certain primitive religious principles.” Later, the encyclopedia quotes Egyptologist Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, who wrote: “Every Egyptian attached much importance to the day, and even to the hour of his birth; and it is probable that, as in Persia, each individual kept his birthday with great rejoicings, welcoming his friends with all the amusements of society, and a more than usual profusion of the delicacies of the table.”

Gen 41:8 - *** it-1 pp. 689-690 Egypt, Egyptian ***
(Genesis 41:8) 8 But in the morning, his spirit became agitated. So he sent for all the magic-practicing priests of Egypt and all her wise men. Phar′aoh related his dreams to them, but there was no one who could interpret them for Phar′aoh.
This polytheistic worship had no beneficial or uplifting effect on the Egyptians. As is observed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1959, Vol. 8, p. 53): “Marvellous mysteries, occultly harbouring deep truths, are assigned to them by the classical and modern imagination. They had mysteries, of course, like the Ashantis or Ibos [African tribes]. It is a mistake, however, to think that these mysteries enshrined truth, and that there was an occult ‘faith’ behind them.” In reality, the available evidence shows that magic and primitive superstition were basic elements of the Egyptian worship. (Ge 41:8)

Gen 41:14 - *** g 11/10 p. 16 A Book You Can Trust—Part 1 ***
(Genesis 41:14) 14 So Phar′aoh sent for Joseph, and they brought him quickly from the prison. He shaved and changed his clothes and went in to Phar′aoh.
Shaving. Hebrew men of ancient times grew beards. Yet, the Bible tells us that Joseph shaved prior to appearing before Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:14) Why did he shave? To conform with Egyptian custom and etiquette, which considered facial hair to be a sign of uncleanness. “[The Egyptians] prided themselves on being clean-shaven,” says the book Everyday Life in Ancient Egypt. In fact, cosmetic sets consisting of razors, tweezers, and mirrors, along with their containers, have been found in tombs. Clearly, Moses was a meticulous chronicler. The same can be said of other Bible writers who documented events relating to ancient Egypt.

Gen 41:17 - *** it-2 p. 501 Nile ***
(Genesis 41:17-21) 17 Phar′aoh went on to say to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 And there, coming up from the Nile, were seven fine-looking, fat cows, and they began to feed on the Nile grass. 19 And there were seven other cows coming up after them, poor and very bad-looking and thin. I have never seen such bad-looking cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 And the skinny, bad cows began to eat up the first seven fat cows. 21 But when they had consumed them, no one could have known that they had done so, since their appearance was just as bad as at the start. At that I woke up.
This complete reliance of the Egyptian economy on the Nile’s waters was well illustrated in Pharaoh’s dream, the seven fat cows proceeding out of the Nile and feeding on the Nile grass, while the seven thin cows came from the same source. This aptly represented the way good production could be eaten up by poor years resulting from insufficient inundation.—Ge 41:17-21.

Gen 41:46 - *** w87 5/1 p. 14 pars. 20-21 Death-Dealing Famine in a Time of Plenty ***
(Genesis 41:46) 46 Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Phar′aoh king of Egypt. Then Joseph went out from before Phar′aoh and traveled throughout all the land of Egypt.
20 What could Pharaoh do about this impending famine? Joseph recommended that Pharaoh make preparation by setting a discreet and wise man over the land to store the surplus harvest of the good years. By now Pharaoh had recognized Joseph’s outstanding qualities. Removing his signet ring from his own hand and putting it upon the hand of Joseph, Pharaoh thus appointed him over all the land of Egypt.—Genesis 41:33-46.
21 Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh, the same age as Jesus Christ when he was baptized and began his life-giving ministry.

Gen 41:54 - *** it-1 p. 809 Famine ***
(Genesis 41:54) 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. The famine developed in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.
The seven-year famine that came upon Egypt while Joseph served as prime minister and food administrator evidently reached far beyond the boundaries of Egypt, for “people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy [food] from Joseph.”—Ge 41:54-57.
While the Egyptian inscriptions scrupulously avoid any reference to Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, there are ancient Egyptian texts that describe periods of famine due to insufficient rising of the Nile River. One text describes a period of seven years of low Nile risings and the resulting famine. According to the account, certain portions of land were granted to the priesthood when relief from the famine came. Although the question is raised as to whether the document is “a priestly forgery of some late period, justifying their claim to territorial privileges,” at least we see reflected a tradition of a period of seven lean years.—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. Pritchard, 1974, p. 31.

Gen 41:55 - *** w87 5/1 p. 15 pars. 2-4 Preserving Life in Time of Famine ***
(Genesis 41:55) 55 Eventually, all the land of Egypt suffered from the famine, and the people began to cry to Phar′aoh for bread. Then Phar′aoh said to all the Egyptians: “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.”
2 The seven years of plenty ended, and the famine began as Jehovah had foretold—a famine not just in Egypt but “over all the surface of the earth.” When the famished people in Egypt began to cry out to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh told them: “Go to Joseph. Whatever he says to you, you are to do.” Joseph sold grain to the Egyptians until their money ran out. Then he accepted their livestock in payment. Finally, the people came to Joseph, saying: “Buy us and our land for bread, and we together with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh.” So Joseph bought all the land of the Egyptians for Pharaoh.—Genesis 41:53-57; 47:13-20.
Provision for Spiritual Feeding
3 Just as the grain distributed by Joseph meant life to the Egyptians, so true spiritual food is essential for sustaining Christians who become slaves of Jehovah by their dedication to Him through the Greater Joseph, Jesus Christ. During his earthly ministry, Jesus foretold that his anointed footstep followers would bear the responsibility of dispensing these provisions. He asked: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so.”—Matthew 24:45, 46.
4 The faithful remnant of this “discreet slave” class today go to any Scriptural lengths to see that Jehovah’s dedicated witnesses, as well as interested people out in the world, receive life-sustaining spiritual food. This trust is recognized as a sacred duty and is performed as a sacred service to Jehovah. Moreover, the “slave” has organized congregations and supplied these with Bible literature in such quantity that they have ample Kingdom “seed” for scattering publicly in their assigned fields. This corresponds to Joseph’s day, when he gathered the people into cities and provided them with grain not only for sustenance but also for sowing with a later harvest in view.—Genesis 47:21-25; Mark 4:14, 20; Matthew 28:19, 20.

Service Meeting

Service Meeting Schedule:

Song: 88
15 min: Family Worship That Refreshes. Interview a family regarding their family worship. Of what does their program consist? How do they determine what to discuss? What tools available on jw.org have they used? How has their program helped them in the ministry? How do they prevent other activities from disrupting their schedule? How have they benefited from their program of family worship?
15 min: “Improving Our Skills in the Ministry—Responding to Potential Conversation Stoppers.” Discussion. Consider two or three potential conversation stoppers that publishers may encounter, and invite comments on how we might respond. Remind publishers that they will have an opportunity to relate experiences during the week of April 7.
Song: 97

15 Min - Family Worship That Refreshes.
Interview a family regarding their family worship.
Of what does their program consist?
How do they determine what to discuss?
What tools available on jw.org have they used?
How has their program helped them in the ministry?
How do they prevent other activities from disrupting their schedule?
How have they benefited from their program of family worship?

15 Min – “Improving Our Skills in the Ministry—Responding to Potential Conversation Stoppers.”
Why Important: Imagine that you know that a natural disaster is imminent. People will die unless they flee to safety. You go to a neighbor’s home to warn him, but he interrupts you, saying that he is busy. Surely, you would not quickly abandon your efforts to help him! Many in our territory turn us away, not realizing the life-saving value of our message. At the time of our visit, perhaps they are preoccupied. (Matt. 24:37-39) Or maybe they have been prejudiced by untrue rumors. (Matt. 11:18, 19) They might assume that we are no different from the religions that have produced bad fruitage. (2 Pet. 2:1, 2) If the householder initially is not interested, we should not be quick to give up.
(Matthew 24:37-39) For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 38 For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.
(Matthew 11:18, 19) Likewise, John came neither eating nor drinking, but people say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of man did come eating and drinking, but people say, ‘Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by its works.”

(2 Peter 2:1, 2) However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you. These will quietly bring in destructive sects, and they will even disown the owner who bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. 2 Furthermore, many will follow their brazen conduct, and because of them the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively.
How to Do It:
• Before preaching from house to house, take a few moments to think about potential conversation stoppers that you may encounter and consider how to respond.
• If the householder presents an objection, gently try to continue the conversation. Perhaps you can do that by commending him. For example, if he says that he has his own religion, you might reply, “I was hoping to find someone like you who has an interest in spiritual things.” Sometimes acknowledging the householder’s feelings or circumstances will enable you to continue giving a witness. For instance, if he says that he is busy, you might say: “I understand. But before I leave, I would like to give you this.” Another option is to ask a question if the householder says that he is not interested. You could say, “Do you mean that you are not interested in the Bible, or is it religion in general that does not interest you?”
• Use good judgment. Remember that Jehovah does not force people to listen. (Deut. 30:19) Everyone must carry his own load of spiritual responsibility. (Gal. 6:5) If the householder is adamant, it is best to take our leave. By demonstrating respect for his feelings, we may open the door for another publisher to give a witness in the future. —1 Pet. 3:15.
(Galatians 6:5) For each one will carry his own load.
(1 Peter 3:15) But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope you have, but doing so with a mild temper and deep respect.
Try This During the Month:
• When you encounter a potential conversation stopper, after leaving the householder, discuss with your partner how you might have responded in a better way.

Song 97

Watchtower Study

Week of Mar 10-16, 2014
100 Years of Kingdom Rule—How Does It Affect You?
“Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, . . . King of eternity.”—REV. 15:3.
January 15, 2014 Page 12

Song 97 - Forward, You Ministers of the Kingdom!
(2 Timothy 4:5)

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(Matthew 6:10) Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.

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(Isaiah 55:10, 11) For just as the rain and the snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So my word that goes out of my mouth will be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, And it will have sure success in what I send it to do.
(Zechariah 14:9) And Jehovah will be King over all the earth. In that day Jehovah will be one, and his name one.
(Revelations 15:3) They were singing the song of Moses the slave of God and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.

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(Daniel 2:44) “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever,

Paragraph 4
(Revelation 12:7-9) And war broke out in heaven: Mi′cha•el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
(Revelation 12:12) On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.”

Paragraph 5
(Malachi 3:1-3) “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will clear up a way before me. And suddenly the true Lord, whom you are seeking, will come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant will come, in whom you take delight. Look! He will certainly come,” says Jehovah of armies. 2 “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen. 3 And he will sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver and will cleanse the sons of Le′vi; and he will clarify them like gold and like silver, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness.
(1 Peter 1:15, 16) but like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all your conduct, 16 for it is written: “You must be holy, because I am holy.”

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(Matthew 24:45-47) “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! 47 Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings.
(John 10:16) “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.

Paragraph 7
(Luke 4:43) But he said to them: “I must also declare the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities, because for this I was sent.”
(Matthew 10:7) As you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’
(Acts 1:8) But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses of me in Jerusalem, in all Ju•de′a and Sa•mar′i•a, and to the most distant part of the earth.”
(Matthew 28:19, 20) Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”

Paragraph 8
(Matthew 24:14) And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
(Acts 10:42) Also, he ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the one decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.

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(Matthew 10:5-7) These 12 Jesus sent out, giving them these instructions: “Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter any Sa•mar′i•tan city; 6 but instead, go continually to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’
(Luke 9:1-6) Then he called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal, 3 and he said to them: “Carry nothing for the trip, neither staff nor food pouch nor bread nor money; neither have two garments. 4 But wherever you enter into a home, stay there and leave from there. 5 And wherever people do not receive you, on going out of that city, shake the dust off your feet for a witness against them.” 6 Then starting out, they went through the territory from village to village, declaring the good news and performing cures everywhere.
(2 Timothy 3:17) so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.
(1 Corinthians 9:20-23) To the Jews I became as a Jew in order to gain Jews; to those under law I became as under law, though I myself am not under law, in order to gain those under law. 21 To those without law I became as without law, although I am not without law toward God but under law toward Christ, in order to gain those without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to people of all sorts, so that I might by all possible means save some. 23 But I do all things for the sake of the good news, in order to share it with others.

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(Ephesians 1:20-22) which he exercised toward Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this system of things but also in that to come. 22 He also subjected all things under his feet and made him head over all things with regard to the congregation,

Paragraph 12
(Isaiah 60:17) Instead of the copper I will bring in gold, And instead of the iron I will bring in silver, Instead of the wood, copper, And instead of the stones, iron; And I will appoint peace as your overseers And righteousness as your task assigners.
(Isaiah 43:10-12) “You are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah, “Yes, my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” 12 “I am the One who declared and saved and made known When there was no foreign god among you. So you are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah, “and I am God.
(1 Peter 5:2) Shepherd the flock of God under your care, serving as overseers, not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly;

Paragraph 13
(Psalm 110:3) Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. In splendid holiness, from the womb of the dawn, You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.

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(Matthew 6:10) Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.
(Psalm 110:2) Jehovah will extend the scepter of your power out of Zion, saying: “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.”
(Daniel 2:44) “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever,
(Revelation 6:1, 2) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder: “Come!” 2 And I saw, and look! a white horse, and the one seated on it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went out conquering and to complete his conquest.
(Matthew 6:10) Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.

Paragraph 15
(Revelation 20:1-3) And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. 3 And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not mislead the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were ended. After this he must be released for a little while.
(Revelation 20:12, 13) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. The dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it, and death and the Grave gave up the dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.

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(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) Next, the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. 26 And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing. 27 For God “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that this does not include the One who subjected all things to him. 28 But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.

References: 100 Years of Kingdom Rule—How Does It Affect You? “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, . . . King of eternity.”—REV. 15:3.

Footnote – Paragraph 3
Reference ***bh pp. 88-92 Are We Living in “the Last Days”?***
Please notice what would result from the war in heaven. In his fury, Satan would bring woe, or trouble, upon those on earth. As you will see, we are now living in that time of woe. But it will be relatively brief—only “a short period of time.” Even Satan realizes that. The Bible refers to this period as “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1) How glad we can be that God will soon do away with the Devil’s influence over the earth! Let us consider some of the things foretold in the Bible that are happening right now. These prove that we are living in the last days and that God’s Kingdom will soon bring everlasting blessings to those who love Jehovah. First, let us examine four features of the sign that Jesus said would mark the time in which we live.
6 “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7) Millions of people have been killed in wars during the past century. One British historian wrote: “The 20th century was the most murderous in recorded history. . . . It was a century of almost unbroken war, with few and brief periods without organized armed conflict somewhere.” A report from the World watch Institute states: “Three times as many people fell victim to war in [the 20th] century as in all the wars from the first century AD to 1899.” More than 100 million people have died as a result of wars since 1914. Even if we know the sorrow of losing one loved one in warfare, we can only imagine such misery and pain multiplied millions of times over.
7 “There will be food shortages.” (Matthew 24:7) Researchers say that food production has increased greatly during the past 30 years. Nevertheless, food shortages continue because many people do not have enough money to buy food or land on which to raise crops. In developing countries, well over a billion people have to live on an income of a dollar or less a day. The majority of these suffer from chronic hunger. The World Health Organization estimates that malnutrition plays a major role in the deaths of more than five million children each year.
8 “There will be great earthquakes.” (Luke 21:11) According to the U.S. Geological Survey, an average of 19 major earthquakes are expected per year. These are powerful enough to damage buildings and crack the ground. And on an average, earthquakes strong enough to cause total destruction of buildings have occurred yearly. Available records show that earthquakes have claimed over two million lives since 1900. One source states: “Improvements in technology have only slightly reduced the death toll.”
9 “There will be . . . pestilences.” (Luke 21:11) Despite medical advances, old and new diseases plague mankind. One report says that 20 well-known diseases—including tuberculosis, malaria, and cholera—have become more common in recent decades, and some types of disease are increasingly difficult to cure by means of drugs. In fact, at least 30 new diseases have appeared. Some of them have no known cure and are fatal.
10 Aside from identifying certain world developments, the Bible foretold that the last days would be marked by a change in human society. The apostle Paul described what people in general would be like. At 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we read: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” In part, Paul said that people would be
  • lovers of themselves
  • lovers of money
  • disobedient to parents
  • disloyal
  • having no natural affection
  • without self-control
  • fierce
  • lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God
  • having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power
11 Have people become like that in your community? No doubt they have. There are people everywhere who have bad traits. This shows that God will soon act, for the Bible says: “When the wicked ones sprout as the vegetation and all the practicers of what is hurtful blossom forth, it is that they may be annihilated forever.”—Psalm 92:7.
12 The last days are indeed filled with woe, just as the Bible foretold. In this troubled world, however, there are positive developments among the worshipers of Jehovah.
13 “The true knowledge will become abundant,” the Bible book of Daniel foretold. When would that happen? During “the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) Especially since 1914, Jehovah has helped those who truly desire to serve him to grow in understanding of the Bible. They have grown in appreciation of precious truths about God’s name and purpose, the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the condition of the dead, and the resurrection. Moreover, worshipers of Jehovah have learned how to live their lives in a way that benefits them and brings praise to God. They have also gained a clearer understanding of the role of God’s Kingdom and how it will set matters straight on the earth. What do they do with this knowledge? That question brings us to yet another prophecy that is being fulfilled in these last days.
14 “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth,” said Jesus Christ in his prophecy about “the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:3, 14) Throughout the earth, the good news of the Kingdom—what the Kingdom is, what it will do, and how we can receive its blessings—is being preached in over 230 lands and in more than 400 languages. Millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses zealously preach the Kingdom good news. They come from “all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Revelation 7:9) The Witnesses conduct free home Bible studies with millions of people who want to know what the Bible really teaches. What an impressive fulfillment of prophecy, especially since Jesus foretold that true Christians would be “objects of hatred by all people”!—Luke 21:17.

Footnote – Paragraph 5
Reference ***w13 7/15 pp. 22-23 “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet
12 When did Jesus appoint the faithful slave over his domestics? To answer that, we need to go back to 1914—the beginning of the harvest season. As we learned earlier, at that time many groups claimed to be Christian. From which group would Jesus select and appoint the faithful slave? That question was answered after he and his Father came and inspected the temple, or spiritual arrangement for worship, from 1914 to the early part of 1919. (Mal. 3:1) They were pleased with a small band of loyal Bible Students who showed that their heart was with Jehovah and his Word. Of course, they needed some cleansing, but they humbly responded during a brief period of testing and refining. (Mal. 3:2-4) Those faithful Bible Students were true Christian wheat. In 1919, a time of spiritual revival, Jesus selected capable anointed brothers from among them to be the faithful and discreet slave and appointed them over his domestics.

Footnote – Paragraph 10
Reference ***w12 9/15 pp. 13-17 Theocratic Schools—Evidence of Jehovah’s Love***
Theocratic Schools—Evidence of Jehovah’s Love
JEHOVAH is our “Grand Instructor.” (Isa. 30:20) Love motivates him to educate and train others. For example, moved by deep love, Jehovah shows Jesus “all the things he himself does.” (John 5:20) Love for us, his Witnesses, moves Jehovah to give us “the tongue of the taught ones,” as we put forth every effort to honor him and help others.—Isa. 50:4.
In imitation of Jehovah’s pattern of love, the Teaching Committee of the Governing Body uses ten theocratic schools to train ones who have both the desire and the circumstances to enroll.
Do you view these schools as an evidence of Jehovah’s love? Enjoy an overview of the current theocratic schools and comments from some who have attended them. Then ask yourself, ‘How can I benefit from this divine education?’
As “the God of love,” Jehovah provides training that adds meaning to our lives, prepares us to overcome challenges, and helps us to experience great joy in our ministry. (2 Cor. 13:11) Like first-century disciples, we are well-equipped to help others, “teaching them to observe all the things” we have been commanded.—Matt. 28:20.
Although we may not be able to attend all of these schools, we can benefit from one or more of them. And we can apply the Bible-based instruction thus available. We can also increase our effectiveness in the ministry by working alongside well trained servants of Jehovah.
Ask yourself, ‘Do my circumstances allow me to reach out for attending any of these schools?’
Jehovah’s worshippers consider it a privilege to support these valuable schools and to be taught there. May the training you receive draw you closer to God and equip you to fulfill your responsibilities before him, especially the urgent commission to preach the good news.

[Box on pages 13-17]
Theocratic Ministry School
Purpose: To train publishers to be effective preachers and teachers of the good news.
Duration: Continuous.
Location: Local Kingdom Hall.
Qualifications: All who are regularly associating with the congregation, who agree with the teachings of the Bible, and whose lives are in harmony with Christian principles.
Enrollment: The Theocratic Ministry School overseer enrolls students.
Sharon, who is paralyzed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), says: “The Theocratic Ministry School has taught me to do research and to present information logically. I have also learned to focus on the spiritual needs of others—not just my own.”
Arnie, a longtime traveling overseer, comments: “I grew up stuttering and had trouble making eye contact with others. This school has helped me gain confidence and self-worth. With Jehovah’s help through this training, I have learned breathing and concentration techniques. I am very grateful for the ability to praise God in the congregation and in my ministry.”

Bethel Entrants’ School
Purpose: To help new arrivals to Bethel to make a success of their service.
Duration: 45 minutes each week for 16 weeks.
Location: Bethel.
Qualifications: Must be a permanent member of the Bethel family or a temporary volunteer who has been approved to serve at Bethel for a year or longer.
Enrollment: New members of the Bethel family are automatically enrolled.
Demetrius, who attended this school in the 1980’s, says: “This course improved my study habits and helped prepare me for a long Bethel career. The instructors, curriculum, and practical counsel convinced me of Jehovah’s loving concern and of his desire to help me to succeed in my Bethel service.”
Kaitlyn comments: “I was helped to focus on what is most important—being a spiritual person. Entrants’ School has enhanced my appreciation for Jehovah, his house, and his organization.”

Kingdom Ministry School
Purpose: To train traveling overseers, elders, and, at times, ministerial servants to care for their oversight and organizational responsibilities. (Acts 20:28) Current situations, trends, and immediate needs of the congregations are covered. This school is held every few years as decided by the Governing Body.
Duration: In recent years, this school has been conducted for two to two and a half days for traveling overseers, one and a half days for elders, and one day for ministerial servants.
Location: Usually at a Kingdom Hall or an Assembly Hall.
Qualifications: Must be a traveling overseer, an elder, or a ministerial servant.
Enrollment: Elders and ministerial servants receive an invitation from the circuit overseer. The branch office invites traveling overseers.
“The school, though compact and concise, invigorates elders and helps them to maintain joy and ‘carry on as men’ in Jehovah’s service. Both new and longtime elders learn to shepherd effectively and to be fitly united in the ‘same line of thought.’”—Quinn.
“This training struck the perfect balance between building our spiritual appreciation, warning us of dangers, and providing us with practical suggestions to care for the flock. How kind of Jehovah to help us.”—Michael.

Pioneer Service School
Purpose: To help pioneers ‘fully accomplish their ministry.’—2 Tim. 4:5.
Duration: Two weeks.
Location: Decided by the branch office; usually at a Kingdom Hall.
Qualifications: Must have been a regular pioneer for a year or longer.
Enrollment: Eligible pioneers are automatically enrolled and are informed by their circuit overseer.
“That school has helped me deal with challenges in the ministry and in my life,” says Lily. “The way I study, teach, and use the Bible has greatly improved. I am better prepared to help others, support the elders, and contribute to the growth of the congregation.”
Brenda, who has attended the school twice, notes: “It allowed me to be 100 percent absorbed in spiritual things, to strengthen my conscience, and to focus on helping others. Clearly, Jehovah is generous!”
If a class does not have a full complement of new pioneers, some pioneers who have not attended in the last five years may be invited to attend again.

School for Congregation Elders
Purpose: To help elders care for their responsibilities in the congregation and to deepen their spirituality.
Duration: Five days.
Location: Decided by the branch office; usually at a Kingdom Hall or an Assembly Hall.
Qualifications: Must be an appointed elder.
Enrollment: The branch office invites elders.
Note comments from some in the 92nd class in the United States:
“The school has benefited me greatly, helping me to look at myself and see how I can take care of Jehovah’s sheep.” “I am ready to be more encouraging to all by stressing the main points in the Scriptures.”
“I will carry this training with me for the rest of my life.”

School for Traveling Overseers and Their Wives
Purpose: To help circuit and district overseers to be more effective in serving congregations as they “work hard in speaking and teaching.”—1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3.
Duration: Two months.
Location: Determined by the branch office.
Qualifications: Brother must be a circuit or a district overseer.
Enrollment: The branch office invites traveling overseers and their wives.
“Our appreciation for Jesus’ headship over the organization was enhanced. We saw the need to encourage the brothers we serve and to strengthen the unity of each congregation. The course impressed on our minds that while the traveling overseer offers advice and even correction on occasion, his main goal is to help the brothers to see that Jehovah loves them.”—Joel, 1st class, 1999.

Bible School for Single Brothers
Purpose: To prepare single elders and ministerial servants to care for additional responsibilities in Jehovah’s organization. Many graduates will receive an assignment in their home country, wherever there is a need. Others may be assigned to another country if they make themselves available. Some graduates may serve as temporary special pioneers to open up and expand the work in remote and isolated areas.
Duration: Two months.
Location: Decided by the branch office; usually at a Kingdom Hall or an Assembly Hall.
Qualifications: Single brothers between 23 and 62 years of age who are in good health and who want to serve wherever there is a greater need. (Mark 10:29, 30) They must have served as regular pioneers for at least two years and have served for at least two continuous years as elders or ministerial servants.
Enrollment: A meeting is held at the circuit assembly to provide information for those interested.
“Being immersed in this course allowed Jehovah’s spirit to make changes deep within me,” says Rick, from the 23rd class in the United States. “When Jehovah extends an assignment, he supports you in that assignment. I learned that if I focus on God’s will and not on myself, he will strengthen me.”
“I learned to appreciate God’s organization as a modern-day miracle,” notes Andreas, who serves in Germany. “The training helped prepare me for the work ahead. Also, many Bible examples taught me this fundamental truth: Serving my brothers and Jehovah leads to true happiness.”

Bible School for Christian Couples
Purpose: To give married couples specialized training so that they can be used more fully by Jehovah and his organization. Many graduates will be assigned to serve where there is a greater need in their home country. Some may receive an assignment in another country if they make themselves available. Graduates may serve as temporary special pioneers to open up and expand the work in remote and isolated areas.
Duration: Two months.
Location: This school is conducted in the United States, and beginning in September 2012, it also will be held in selected branch territories worldwide, usually at a Kingdom Hall or an Assembly Hall.
Qualifications: Married couples between 25 and 50 years of age who are in good health, who have the circumstances to serve wherever there is a greater need, and who have the attitude: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isa. 6:8) They must have been married for at least two years and have been in the full-time service for at least two years without interruption. The husband must have been an elder or a ministerial servant for at least two consecutive years.
Enrollment: A meeting is held at the district convention to provide information for those interested in enrolling. If there is no meeting at conventions in your country and you would like to apply, you may write your branch office for further information.
“What a life-changing eight weeks and a great opportunity for couples wanting to reach out! We are determined to keep a balanced life that will enable us to use our time wisely.”—Eric and Corina 1st class, 2011.

Watchtower Bible School of Gilead
Purpose: To train students to serve as field missionaries in densely populated areas, to be traveling overseers, or to be Bethelites. The goal is to strengthen and stabilize field and branch organization.
Duration: Five months.
Location: Watchtower Educational Center, Patterson, New York, U.S.A.
Qualifications: Married couples who are already serving in some form of special full-time service—that is, as field missionaries who have not attended the school, special pioneers, traveling overseers, or Bethelites. They must have been in such service together for at least three years without interruption. They need to speak, read, and write English fluently.
Enrollment: Couples may be invited by their Branch Committee to apply.
Lade and Monique from the United States now serve in Africa. “Gilead School prepared us to go anywhere in the world, roll up our sleeves, and work with our dear brothers,” says Lade.
Monique adds: “As I apply what I’ve learned from God’s Word, I find great joy in my assignment. I see that joy as further proof of Jehovah’s love.”
School for Branch Committee Members and Their Wives Purpose: To help those on Branch Committees to supervise Bethel homes, to give attention to service matters affecting congregations, and to oversee circuits and districts. They also learn about translating, printing, and the shipping of literature.
Duration: Two months.
Location: Watchtower Educational Center, Patterson, New York, U.S.A.
Qualifications: Brother must be a Branch Committee or a Country Committee member or being assigned as such.
Enrollment: The Governing Body invites brothers and their wives.
Lowell and Cara, from the 25th class, serve in Nigeria. “I was reminded that no matter how busy I am or what work I have been given, the key to pleasing Jehovah is spirituality,” says Lowell. “The course also stressed that how we treat others must revolve around the love that Jehovah shows his servants.”
“One comment I have meditated on is this,” adds Cara. “If I cannot state a point simply, I need to study the subject before trying to teach others.”

Footnote – Paragraph 11
Reference ***w98 12/1 pp. 19-22 Legally Protecting the Good News***
Legally Protecting the Good News
AS LONG AS man has been constructing cities, he has been building walls. Especially in bygone days, these fortifications were a protection. From atop this barrier, defenders could fight to protect the walls from being breached or undermined by attackers. Not only did the inhabitants of the city find protection but often those dwelling in the surrounding towns also found refuge within the walls.—2 Samuel 11:20-24; Isaiah 25:12.
Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses have built a wall—a legal wall—of protection. This wall has not been erected to isolate the Witnesses from the rest of society, for Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for being gregarious, outgoing people. Rather, it fortifies legal guarantees of basic freedoms for all people. At the same time, it protects the Witnesses’ legal rights so that they can freely carry out their worship. (Compare Matthew 5:14-16.) This wall safeguards their way of worship and their right to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. What is this wall, and how has it been built?

Building a Legal Wall of Protection
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy religious freedom in most lands, in some countries they have been the object of unjustified attack. When their freedom to worship by assembling together or by preaching from house to house has been challenged, they have pursued matters legally. Legal cases involving the Witnesses have numbered in the thousands earth wide. Not all have been won. But when lower courts have ruled against them, they have often appealed to higher courts. With what result?
Over the decades of the 20th century, legal victories in many lands have established reliable precedents that Jehovah’s Witnesses have appealed to in subsequent cases. Like the bricks or stones making up a wall, these favorable decisions constitute a legal wall of protection. From atop this wall of precedent, the Witnesses have continued to fight for the religious freedom to carry out their worship.
Consider, as an example, the case of Murdock v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which was decided by the United States Supreme Court on May 3, 1943. The question raised in the case was this: Should Jehovah’s Witnesses have to obtain a commercial peddling license for distributing their religious literature? Jehovah’s Witnesses maintained that they should not be required to do so. Their preaching work is not—and never has been—commercial. Their objective is, not to make money, but to preach the good news. (Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 2:17) In the Murdock decision, the Court agreed with the Witnesses, holding that any requirement of a payment of a license tax as a precondition to distributing religious literature is unconstitutional. This decision set an important precedent, and the Witnesses have successfully appealed to it as authority in numerous cases since then. The Murdock decision has proved to be a sturdy brick in the legal wall of protection.
Such cases have done much to protect religious freedom for all people. Regarding the contribution made by the Witnesses to the defense of civil rights in the United States, the University of Cincinnati Law Review said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses have had a profound impact on the evolution of constitutional law, particularly by expanding the parameters of the protection for speech and religion.”

Strengthening the Wall
With each legal victory, the wall gets stronger. Consider a few of the decisions in the 1990’s that have benefited Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as all other lovers of freedom, the world over.
Greece. On May 25, 1993, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the right of a Greek citizen to teach his religious beliefs to others. The case involved Minos Kokkinakis, then 84 years old. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Kokkinakis had been arrested more than 60 times since 1938, had been made to appear 18 times before Greek courts, and had spent more than six years in prison. He had been convicted largely under a 1930’s Greek law that prohibits proselytism—a law that was responsible for nearly 20,000 arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 1938 to 1992. The European Court ruled that the Greek government had violated the religious freedom of Kokkinakis and awarded him damages in the amount of $14,400. In its decision, the Court ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses are indeed a “known religion.”—See The Watchtower of September 1, 1993, pages 27-31.
Mexico. On July 16, 1992, a big step in the defense of religious freedom was taken in Mexico. On that date the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship was enacted. Through this law, a religious group can receive legal status as a religious institution by obtaining the required registry. Previously, Jehovah’s Witnesses, like other religions in the country, existed de facto but had no legal status. On April 13, 1993, the Witnesses applied for registration. Happily, on May 7, 1993, they became legally registered as La Torre del Vigía, A. R., and Los Testigos de Jehová en México, A. R., both of which are religious associations.—See Awake!, July 22, 1994, pages 12-14.
Brazil. In November 1990, Brazil’s National Institute of Social Security (INSS) notified the branch office of the Watch Tower Society that volunteer ministers at Bethel (the name of branch facilities of Jehovah’s Witnesses) would no longer be viewed as religious ministers and would therefore come under Brazil’s labor laws. The Witnesses appealed the decision. On June 7, 1996, the Judicial Advisory of the Office of the Attorney General in Brasília issued a decision upholding the position of ministers at Bethel as members of a legitimate religious order, not as secular employees.
Japan. On March 8, 1996, the Supreme Court of Japan handed down a decision on the issue of education and freedom of religion—to the benefit of everyone in Japan. The court unanimously ruled that Kobe Municipal Industrial Technical College violated the law by expelling Kunihito Kobayashi for his refusal to participate in martial arts training. This ruling marks the first time that the Supreme Court has handed down a decision based on religious freedom guaranteed by the Japan Constitution. Following his Bible-trained conscience, this young Witness felt that these drills were not in harmony with such Bible principles as the one found at Isaiah 2:4, which says: “They will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” The Court’s decision established a precedent for future cases.—See The Watchtower, November 1, 1996, pages 19-21.
On February 9, 1998, the Tokyo High Court handed down another landmark decision upholding the right of a Witness named Misae Takeda to refuse medical treatment that is not in harmony with the Bible’s command to ‘abstain from blood.’ (Acts 15:28, 29) This case has been appealed to the Supreme Court, and it remains to be seen if the High Court’s decision will be upheld.
Philippines. In a decision handed down on March 1, 1993, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses in a case involving Witness youths who were expelled from school because they respectfully declined to salute the flag.
Each favorable court ruling is like an added stone or brick strengthening the legal wall that protects the rights not only of Jehovah’s Witnesses but of all people.

Safeguarding the Wall
Jehovah’s Witnesses are legally registered in 153 lands, rightfully enjoying many freedoms, as do other recognized religions. After decades of persecution and ban in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Jehovah’s Witnesses are now legally recognized in such countries as Albania, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, and Slovakia. However, in certain lands today, including in some Western European countries that have long-established judicial systems, the rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses are being seriously challenged or denied. Opposers are actively trying to ‘frame trouble by decree’ against the Witnesses. (Psalm 94:20) How do these respond? Jehovah’s Witnesses want to cooperate with all governments, but they also want to have the legal freedom to carry out their worship. It is their firm conviction that any laws or court decisions that would prohibit them from obeying God’s commands—including the command to preach the good news—are invalid. (Mark 13:10) If amicable agreements cannot be reached, Jehovah’s Witnesses will take the offensive in the legal arena, pursuing all appellate measures necessary to gain legal protection for their God-given right to carry out their worship. Jehovah’s Witnesses have complete confidence in God’s promise: “Any weapon whatever that will be formed against you will have no success.”—Isaiah 54:17.

For a detailed discussion of the legal record of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please see chapter 30 of the book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
In the Murdock decision, the Supreme Court reversed its own position in the case of Jones v. City of Opelika. In the Jones case, in 1942, the Supreme Court had upheld the decision of a lower court that had convicted Rosco Jones, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, of engaging in distribution of literature on the streets of Opelika, Alabama, without the payment of a license tax.
See the articles “Hated for Their Faith” and “Defending Our Faith,” on pages 8-18.

Song 101
Making Known the Kingdom Truth
(Acts 20:20, 21)

Information obtained in: Watchtower Library on CD-ROM and JW.org