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Theocratic Ministry School ‒ Highlights of Genesis 40-42

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Program of the Theocratic Ministry School:


ss14 pp. 1-4 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2014
Mar. 10 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 ¶2–p. 339 ¶2)
No. 3: Abihu—Prominence Does Not Excuse Disobedience (it-1 p. 22)


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Highlights of Genesis 40-42


Genesis 41:14-16, 39, 40.
Jehovah can bring about a reversal of circumstances for those who fear him. When adversities strike, we are wise to put our trust in Jehovah and remain faithful to him.
While a slave in Egypt, Joseph had to resist the immoral advances of his master’s wife. Angry at being rejected, she falsely accused Joseph of trying to rape her. He was given “over to the prison house,” where “with fetters they afflicted his feet, into irons his soul came.” (Genesis 39:7-20; Psalm 105:17, 18) How trying this must have been! For about 13 years, Joseph was either a slave or a prisoner because of injustices brought on him by others, including members of his own family.—Genesis 37:2; 41:46.

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.

Genesis 40:8
The Bible itself says: “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Gen. 40:8) If in their study of the Scriptures a certain passage is difficult to understand, they must search to find other inspired passages that shed light on the subject. Thus they let the Bible interpret itself, and from this they endeavor to understand “the pattern” of truth set forth in God’s Word. (2 Tim. 1:13) Jehovah leads or guides them to such understanding by means of his holy spirit. But to get the guidance of that spirit, they must cultivate its fruitage, not grieve or work against it, and keep responsive to its proddings. (Gal. 5:22, 23, 25; Eph. 4:30) Moreover, by zealously applying what they learn, they keep building up their faith, as a basis for gaining clearer and clearer understanding of how they must do God’s will in the world of which they are no part.—Luke 17:5; Phil. 1:9, 10.

Genesis 41:37-55
What happened during that particularly trying experience? “Jehovah continued with Joseph and kept extending loving-kindness to him.” (Verse 21a) A particular act of loving-kindness set in motion a series of events that later led to relief from the troubles Joseph was experiencing. Jehovah granted Joseph “to find favor in the eyes of the chief officer of the prison house.” (Verse 21b) Consequently, the officer assigned Joseph a responsible position. (Verse 22) Next, Joseph met the man who eventually brought him to the attention of Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt. (Genesis 40:1-4, 9-15; 41:9-14) In turn, the king elevated Joseph to the position of second ruler in Egypt, resulting in his performing a life-saving work in the famine-stricken land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:37-55) Joseph’s suffering began when he was 17 years old and lasted for more than a dozen years! (Genesis 37:2, 4; 41:46) But throughout all those years of distress and affliction, Jehovah God manifested his loving-kindness toward Joseph by protecting him from utter calamity and by preserving him for a privileged role in the divine purpose.

Genesis 41:14, 15, 39-45, 50-52
The day came when they were alone in the house. Potiphar’s wife reached for Joseph and cried out: “Lie down with me!” He fled. Stung by his rejection, she accused him of attempted rape. What were the consequences? Did Jehovah immediately reward him for his course of integrity? No. Joseph was thrown into prison and bound in fetters. (Genesis 39:12-20; Psalm 105:18) Jehovah saw the injustice and eventually elevated Joseph from a prison to a palace. He became the second most powerful person in Egypt and was blessed with a wife and children. (Genesis 41:14, 15, 39-45, 50-52) Further, the account of Joseph’s integrity was recorded 3,500 years ago for the consideration of God’s servants ever since. What wonderful blessings for adhering to God’s righteous laws! Similarly, we today may not always see the immediate benefits of maintaining moral integrity, but we can be assured that Jehovah sees and will bless us in due time.—2 Chronicles 16:9.

Gen. 41:16, 33, 34
Godly parents in Bible times made sure that their children learned basic points of courtesy in the home. Consider the polite way in which Abraham and his son Isaac addressed each other at Genesis 22:7. The good training from his parents was evident also in the case of Joseph. When imprisoned, he was courteous even to his fellow prisoners. (Gen. 40:8, 14) His words to Pharaoh show that he had learned the proper way to address a person of high office.—Gen. 41:16, 33, 34.

No. 1: Genesis 41:1-16


No. 2: How Do the Rest of the Dead Come to Life on Earth? (rs p. 338 ¶2–p. 339 ¶2)

rs p. 338 ¶2–p. 339 ¶2 Resurrection
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 Re 20 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.

No. 3: Abihu—Prominence Does Not Excuse Disobedience (it-1 p. 22)

it-1 p. 22 Abihu
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.

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