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References to the Theocratic Ministry School
Program of the Theocratic Ministry School: Week Starting April 7
Apr. 7 Bible reading: Exodus 7-10
No. 1: Exodus 9:20-35
No. 2: In What Manner Will Jesus Return, and How Will Every Eye See Him? (rs p. 342 ¶4–p. 343 ¶5)
No. 3: Abishai—Be Loyal and Ready to Help Your Brothers (it-1 p. 26)
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Highlights of Exodus 7-10
7:1—How was Moses made “God to Pharaoh”? Moses was given divine power and authority over Pharaoh. Hence, there was no need to be afraid of that king.
7:22—Where did the Egyptian priests get water that had not been turned into blood? They could have used some water that had been taken from the Nile River before this plague. Unaffected water apparently could also be collected by digging wells in the moist soil round about the Nile River.—Exodus 7:24.
8:26, 27—Why did Moses say that Israel’s sacrifices would be “detestable to the Egyptians”? Many different animals were venerated in Egypt. The mention of sacrifices thus added force and persuasiveness to Moses’ insistence that Israel be allowed to go away to sacrifice to Jehovah.
7:14–12:30. The Ten Plagues were not mere coincidences. They were predicted and came precisely as indicated. How vividly the bringing of them demonstrates the Creator’s control over water, sunlight, insects, animals, and humans! The plagues also show that God can selectively bring calamity upon his enemies while protecting his worshipers.
7 Experience in life comes with the passing of time. (Job 12:12) Spiritual advancement, on the other hand, does not come automatically with age. Therefore, rather than merely relying on a reserve of knowledge acquired in the past, loyal servants of God strive to “increase in learning” as the years go by. (Proverbs 9:9) When Jehovah commissioned him, Moses was 80 years old. (Exodus 7:7) By his day, living to that age was evidently considered unusual, for he wrote: “In themselves the days of our years are seventy years; and . . . because of special mightiness they are eighty years.” (Psalm 90:10) Still, Moses never felt that he was too old to learn. After decades of serving God, enjoying many privileges, and carrying weighty responsibilities, Moses pleaded with Jehovah: “Make me know, please, your ways, that I may know you.” (Exodus 33:13) Moses was ever desirous of growing in his relationship with Jehovah.
Where did the Egyptian priests get water that had not yet been turned into blood?
They could have used some water that had been taken from the Nile River before this blow, or plague. However, unaffected water apparently could be collected by digging wells in the moist soil round about the Nile. (Exodus 7:24) Perhaps the priests used such water in order to perform their trickery.
Ex. 8:1, 20
18 We too have the privilege of announcing Jehovah’s name and purpose. Think of this: As a direct result of our preaching work, God’s enemies will not be able to plead ignorance when they come face-to-face with him during his great day. Indeed, like Pharaoh of old, they will know that it is Jehovah who is acting against them. (Ex. 8:1, 20; 14:25) At the same time, Jehovah will honor his faithful servants by making it abundantly clear that they were, indeed, his representatives.—Read Ezekiel 2:5; 33:33.
Exodus 8:23, 24
WHEN the Israelites headed for freedom after spending 215 years in Egypt, much of that time in slavery, “a vast mixed company also went up with them.” (Exodus 12:38) These non-Israelites had experienced ten awesome plagues that wrought havoc upon Egypt and made a laughingstock of its false gods. At the same time, they had observed—especially from the fourth plague onward—Jehovah’s ability to protect his people. (Exodus 8:23, 24) Although limited in their knowledge of Jehovah’s purposes, they were sure of one thing: The gods of Egypt had failed to protect the Egyptians, whereas Jehovah had proved himself strong in behalf of the Israelites.
8 Moses delivered yet another message, saying: “This is what Jehovah the God of the Hebrews has said: ‘Send my people away that they may serve me.’” God also said: “By now I could have thrust my hand out that I might strike you and your people with pestilence and that you might be effaced from the earth. But, in fact, for this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:13-16) Because of what would be done with hardhearted Pharaoh, Jehovah purposed to demonstrate his power in a way that would serve notice on all who defy him. This would include Satan the Devil, the one whom Jesus Christ later called “the ruler of the world.” (John 14:30; Romans 9:17-24) As foretold, Jehovah’s name was declared around the earth. His long-suffering led to preservation for the Israelites and a vast mixed multitude that joined them in worshiping him. (Exodus 9:20, 21; 12:37, 38) Since then, the declaration of Jehovah’s name has benefited millions more who have taken up true worship.
Long-Suffering for the Sake of His Name
15 Why does Jehovah exercise long-suffering? Primarily in order to magnify his holy name and vindicate his sovereignty. (1 Samuel 12:20-22) The moral issue raised by Satan over the way Jehovah uses His sovereignty required time to be settled satisfactorily before all creation. (Job 1:9-11; 42:2, 5, 6) Hence, when his people were being oppressed in Egypt, Jehovah told Pharaoh: “For this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth.”—Exodus 9:16.
God Deals With Haughty Ones
5 You can also see Jehovah’s view of haughtiness in the way he dealt with such powerful rulers as Pharaoh. There can be no doubt that Pharaoh had a haughty heart. Viewing himself as a god to be worshipped, he despised his slaves, the Israelites. Consider his reaction to the request that Israel be allowed to go into the wilderness to “celebrate a festival” to Jehovah. “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away?” was Pharaoh’s haughty reply.—Exodus 5:1, 2.
6 After Pharaoh had experienced six plagues, Jehovah told Moses to ask Egypt’s ruler: “Are you still behaving haughtily against my people in not sending them away?” (Exodus 9:17) Moses now announced the seventh plague—hail that devastated the land. Once the Israelites were free to leave after the tenth plague, Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued them. Finally, Pharaoh and his armies were trapped in the Red Sea. Imagine what they must have thought as the waters closed in upon them! What was the fruitage of Pharaoh’s haughtiness? His elite troops said: “Let us flee from any contact with Israel, because Jehovah certainly fights for them against the Egyptians.”—Exodus 14:25.
Finding the Righteous Standard
3 To find a standard that is acceptable and beneficial to everyone, we will have to go to someone who transcends all racial, cultural, and political boundaries and who is unhindered by human shortsightedness and frailties. Without a doubt, the one uniquely qualified is the almighty Creator, Jehovah God, who declares: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) Furthermore, the Bible describes Jehovah as “a God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) Throughout the Bible, we find the expression “Jehovah is righteous.” (Exodus 9:27; 2 Chronicles 12:6; Psalm 11:7; 129:4; Lamentations 1:18; Revelation 19:2, footnote) Yes, we can look to Jehovah for the ultimate standard because he is faithful, just, and righteous.
Exodus 10:28, 29
Jehovah Rescues His People
7 The year is 1513 B.C.E. Jehovah has already brought nine blows against the Egyptians. After the last of those, Pharaoh summarily dismisses Moses with the words: “Get out from me! Watch yourself! Do not try to see my face again, because on the day of your seeing my face you will die.” Moses replies: “That is the way you have spoken. I shall not try to see your face anymore.”—Exodus 10:28, 29.
No. 1: Exodus 9:20-35
No. 2: In What Manner Will Jesus Return, and How Will Every Eye See Him? (rs p. 342 ¶4–p. 343 ¶5)rs p. 342 ¶4–p. 343 ¶5 Return of Christ
Acts 1:9-11: “While they [Jesus’ apostles] were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their vision. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, also, look! two men in white garments stood alongside them, and they said: ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.’” (Notice that this says “the same manner,” not the same body. What was the “manner” of his ascent? As Ac 1 verse 9 shows, he disappeared from view, his departure being observed only by his disciples. The world in general was not aware of what happened. The same would be true of Christ’s return.)
What is meant by his ‘coming on the clouds’ and ‘every eye seeing him’?
Rev. 1:7: “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him.” (Also Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27)
What is indicated by “clouds”? Invisibility. When an airplane is in a thick cloud or above the clouds, people on the ground usually cannot see it, although they may hear the roar of the engines. Jehovah told Moses: “I am coming to you in a dark cloud.” Moses did not see God, but that cloud indicated Jehovah’s invisible presence. (Ex. 19:9; see also Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 11:25.) If Christ were to appear visibly in the heavens, it is obvious that not “every eye” would see him. If he appeared over Australia, for example, he would not be visible in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, would he?
In what sense will ‘every eye see him’? They will discern from events on earth that he is invisibly present. Also referring to sight that is not physical, John 9:41 reports: “Jesus said to [the Pharisees]: ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, “We see.” Your sin remains.’” (Compare Romans 1:20.) Following Christ’s return, some persons show faith; they recognize the sign of his presence. Others reject the evidence, but when Christ goes into action as God’s executioner of the wicked, even they will discern from the manifestation of his power that the destruction is not from men but from heaven. They will know what is happening because they were warned in advance. Because of what is overtaking them, they will “beat themselves in grief.”
Who are “those who pierced him”? Literally, Roman soldiers did this at the time of Jesus’ execution. But they have long been dead. So this must refer to people who similarly mistreat, or ‘pierce,’ Christ’s true followers during “the last days.”—Matt. 25:40, 45.
Can it really be said that a person has ‘come’ or that he is ‘present’ if he is not visible?
The apostle Paul spoke of his being “absent in body but present in spirit” with the congregation in Corinth.—1 Cor. 5:3.
Jehovah spoke of his ‘going down’ to confuse the language of the builders of the tower of Babel. (Gen. 11:7) He also said that he would “go down” to deliver Israel from bondage to Egypt. And God assured Moses, “My own person will go along” to lead Israel to the Promised Land. (Ex. 3:8; 33:14) But no human ever saw God.—Ex. 33:20; John 1:18.
No. 3: Abishai—Be Loyal and Ready to Help Your Brothers (it-1 p. 26)it-1 p. 26 Abishai
(A•bish′ai) [possibly, Father Is (Exists)].
The son of David’s sister or half sister Zeruiah and brother of Joab and Asahel.—2Sa 2:18; 1Ch 2:15, 16.
Abishai came to be more distinguished for his prowess than the 30 mighty warriors over whom he served as chief, his reputation even rivaling those of David’s three most mighty men, for he once struck down 300 of the enemy single-handed, but “to the rank of the first three he did not come.”—2Sa 23:18, 19.
Abishai loyally supported his uncle David in all his military campaigns but tended to be impulsive and ruthless and on occasion had to be restrained. For example, when he and David stole into Saul’s military camp by night he would have pinned sleeping Saul, “the anointed of Jehovah,” to the earth with Saul’s own spear had not David restrained him. (1Sa 26:6-9) When Absalom rebelled, Abishai had to be held back twice from executing king-cursing Shimei. However, David was not able to prevent Abishai from collaborating in the death of Abner.—2Sa 3:30; 16:9-11; 19:21-23.
Abishai was noted for his taking the lead in striking down 18,000 Edomites and, again, in leading in the rout of the Ammonites. He also cooperated in putting down the rebellion of Sheba, a good-for-nothing Benjaminite. In David’s last recorded battle had it not been for Abishai, he would have lost his life at the hand of a Philistine of great stature.—1Ch 18:12; 19:11-15; 2Sa 20:1, 6; 21:15-17.