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Theocratic Ministry School Week Starting june 16 ‒ Highlights of Leviticus 6-9

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Program of the Theocratic Ministry School: Week Starting june 16


ss14 pp. 1-4 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2014

June 16 Bible reading: Leviticus 6-9
No. 1: Leviticus 8:18-30
No. 2: Why We Do Not Pray to “Saints” (rs p. 353 ¶2-4)
No. 3: Absalom—Put Away All Selfish Ambition and Hypocrisy (it-1 p. 33 ¶2–p. 35 ¶1)
w14 4/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents

JUNE 16-22, 2014
No One Can Serve Two Masters
PAGE 17 • SONGS: 62, 106
ws14 4/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents

JUNE 16-22, 2014
No One Can Serve Two Masters
PAGE 15 • SONGS: 62, 106


Highlights From the Book of Leviticus 6-9

Lessons for Us:

7:26, 27. The Israelites were not to eat blood. In God’s view, blood represents life. “The soul [life] of the flesh is in the blood,” states Leviticus 17:11. Abstinence from blood remains the standard for true worshipers today.—Acts 15:28, 29.

HOLY PRIESTHOOD IS SET FORTH

(Leviticus 8:1–10:20)
Who were given the responsibility of caring for duties involving sacrifices and offerings? That was entrusted to the priests. As directed by God, Moses conducted an installation ceremony for Aaron, the high priest, and for his four sons, who were to be underpriests. The ceremony apparently occupied a seven-day period, and the priesthood began functioning on the following day.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

9:9—What is significant about the pouring of blood at the base of the altar and the placing of it on various items? This demonstrated that Jehovah accepted blood for atonement purposes. The whole atonement arrangement was based on blood. “Nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law,” wrote the apostle Paul, “and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.”—Hebrews 9:22.

*** w12 1/15 pp. 22-23 par. 8 Making Whole-Souled Sacrifices for Jehovah ***
8 The sacrifices that the Israelites made to Jehovah were considered to be holy. (Lev. 6:25; 7:1) The Hebrew term translated “holiness” conveys the idea of separateness, exclusiveness, or sanctification to God. In order for our sacrifices to be acceptable to Jehovah, they must be separate from and uncontaminated by worldly influences. We cannot be loving any of the things that Jehovah hates. (Read 1 John 2:15-17.) Clearly, this means that we have to avoid any associations or involvements that would defile us from God’s point of view. (Isa. 2:4; Rev. 18:4) It also means that we cannot allow our eyes to keep looking at that which is unclean or immoral or let our minds fantasize about such things.—Col. 3:5, 6.

*** cl chap. 26 pp. 267-268 pars. 19-21 A God Who Is “Ready to Forgive” ***
19 Our sins may have additional consequences, especially if others have been hurt by our actions. Consider, for example, the account in Leviticus chapter 6. The Mosaic Law here addresses the situation wherein a person commits a serious wrong by seizing a fellow Israelite’s goods through robbery, extortion, or fraud. The sinner then denies that he is guilty, even being so daring as to swear falsely. It is one person’s word against another’s. Later, however, the offender becomes stricken in conscience and confesses his sin. To gain God’s forgiveness, he has to do three more things: restore what he had taken, pay the victim a fine totaling 20 percent of the value of the stolen items, and provide a ram as a guilt offering. Then, the law says: “The priest must make an atonement for him before Jehovah, and so it must be forgiven him.”—Leviticus 6:1-7.
20 This law was a merciful provision from God. It benefited the victim, whose property was returned and who no doubt felt much relief when the offender finally acknowledged his sin. At the same time, the law benefited the one whose conscience at last moved him to admit his guilt and correct his wrong. Indeed, if he refused to do so, there would be no forgiveness for him from God.
21 Although we are not under the Mosaic Law, that Law gives us insight into Jehovah’s mind, including his thinking on forgiveness. (Colossians 2:13, 14) If others have been hurt by our sins, God is pleased when we do what we can to right the wrong. (Matthew 5:23, 24) This may involve acknowledging our sin, admitting our guilt, and even apologizing to the victim. Then we can appeal to Jehovah on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice and experience the assurance that we have been forgiven by God.—Hebrews 10:21, 22.

*** w13 12/15 p. 13 par. 6 Will You Make Sacrifices for the Kingdom? ***
6 First, the person had to give his best. Jehovah told the nation that any offering had to be a sound one in order “to gain approval.” (Lev. 22:18-20) If there was a defect in the animal, it would not be viewed as an acceptable sacrifice to Jehovah. Second, the person giving the sacrifice had to be clean and undefiled. If a person was in an unclean state, he would have to make a sin offering or a guilt offering to restore his standing with Jehovah before making a voluntary offering. (Lev. 5:5, 6, 15) This was a serious matter. Jehovah stipulated that if someone in an unclean state partook of a communion sacrifice, which included voluntary offerings, he would be cut off from God’s people. (Lev. 7:20, 21) On the other hand, when the person making the sacrifice had a good standing with Jehovah and the offering was without defect, the giver could rejoice with satisfaction.—Read 1 Chronicles 29:9.
16 However, a word of caution is needed. As was true of the ancient Israelites, we must make sure that our voluntary sacrifices are acceptable to God. We have to maintain our balance so that we care for our primary responsibilities in connection with our families and the worship of Jehovah. The giving of our time and resources in behalf of others should not cause us to neglect the spirituality or physical welfare of our family. Otherwise, we would, in effect, be giving from what we do not have. (Read 2 Corinthians 8:12.)

*** w12 1/15 p. 19 pars. 11-12 Learn From ‘the Framework of Truth’ ***
11 Certain sacrifices stipulated by the Mosaic Law were considered communion offerings. These signified peace with Jehovah. The person making such an offering and his family would eat the meat of the sacrificed animal, perhaps in one of the temple’s dining rooms. The officiating priest received a portion of the meat, as did the other priests serving at the temple. (Lev. 3:1, ftn.; 7:31-33) The worshipper made his sacrifice purely out of the desire to enjoy a good relationship with God. It was as though the worshipper, his family, the priests, and Jehovah himself were joyfully partaking of a meal together, in peace.
12 What greater privilege could there be than, in a symbolic way, to invite Jehovah to such a meal and for him to accept? Naturally, the host would want to offer his very best to such an honored guest. The provision of communion sacrifices, part of the Law’s framework of truth, pointed to the fact that by means of Jesus’ greater sacrifice, all those of mankind who desire to attain an intimate, peaceful relationship with their Creator can do so. Today, we can enjoy Jehovah’s friendship and company as we voluntarily sacrifice our resources and energies in his service.

*** g 6/12 p. 8 Healthful Food for All—Soon! ***
[Box on page 8]
“A CODE OF RULES OF HEALTH”
About 3,500 years ago, Israel received the Mosaic Law. That Law protected the Israelites from many foodborne illnesses. Consider the following instructions: ● Eat leftovers within a short period: “On the next day what is left of it also may be eaten. But what is left of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day is to be burned with fire.”—Leviticus 7:16-18.

*** w91 2/15 p. 16 par. 3 “You Were Bought With a Price” ***
3 What role does Christ’s blood play in our salvation? Since Noah’s day, true worshipers have viewed blood as sacred. (Genesis 9:4-6) Blood plays an important part in the life process, for the Bible says that “the soul [or life] of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) So the Mosaic Law required that when an animal was sacrificed, its blood be poured out before Jehovah. At times blood was also placed upon the horns of the altar. Clearly, the atoning power of a sacrifice was in its blood. (Leviticus 8:15; 9:9) “Nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law, and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.”—Hebrews 9:22.

*** it-2 p. 1113 Toe ***
At the installation of the priesthood in Israel, Moses took some blood of the ram of the installation and put it on the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe of Aaron and each of his sons. (Le 8:23, 24) The blood of the sacrifice on the prominent member of the right foot meant that they must point their course and walk unswervingly with the best of their ability in the sacrificial duties of the priesthood. Jesus Christ the great High Priest fulfilled this prophetic type when on earth (Mt 16:21-23), and his underpriests, his spirit-begotten brothers, must follow his steps closely.—Heb 7:26; 1Pe 2:5, 8; Re 20:6.

*** g 3/10 p. 29 Are All Parts of the Bible Still Relevant? ***
Over 1,900 years later, we still benefit from those portions of the Bible in several ways. First, we would not even have the Bible if God had not seen to it that it was written and preserved by a people whom he had chosen. (Romans 3:1, 2) In ancient Israel the Mosaic Law was not just a sacred relic to be preserved for future generations but was, in effect, the constitution of that nation. Details in the Law that may seem unnecessary to us today were vital to the survival and proper functioning of ancient Israel. Moreover, the genealogical records in the Bible were necessary to identify the Messiah, who was foretold to be a direct descendant of King David.—2 Samuel 7:12, 13; Luke 1:32; 3:23-31.

No. 1: Leviticus 8:18-30


No. 2: Why We Do Not Pray to “Saints” (rs p. 353 ¶2-4)

rs p. 353 ¶2-4 Saints
Jesus Christ said: “You should pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, . . . ’” So prayers are to be addressed to the Father. Jesus also said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.” (Matt. 6:9; John 14:6, 14, JB) Thus Jesus ruled out the idea that anyone else could fill the role of intercessor. The apostle Paul added regarding Christ: “He not only died for us—he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us.” “He is living for ever to intercede for all who come to God through him.” (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25, JB) If we truly want our prayers to be heard by God, would it not be wise to approach God in the way that his Word directs? (See also pages 258, 259, under the heading “Mary.”)
Eph. 6:18, 19, JB: “Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all the saints; and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and speak without fear and give out the mystery of the gospel.” (Italics added.) (Here encouragement is given to pray for the saints but not to them or through them. The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, Vol. XI, p. 670, acknowledges: “Usually in the N[ew] T[estament], all prayer, private as well as public liturgical prayer, is addressed to God the Father through Christ.”)
Rom. 15:30, JB: “I beg you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of the Spirit, to help me through my dangers by praying to God for me.” (The apostle Paul, himself a saint, asked fellow Christians who were also saints to pray for him. But notice that Paul did not address his prayers to those fellow saints, nor did their prayers on his behalf replace the personal intimacy that Paul himself enjoyed with the Father by means of prayer. Compare Ephesians 3:11, 12, 14.)

No. 3: Absalom—Put Away All Selfish Ambition and Hypocrisy (it-1 p. 33 ¶2–p. 35 ¶1)

it-1 p. 33 ¶2–p. 35 ¶1 Absalom
Restoration to Favor. When three years’ time had eased the pain of the loss of his firstborn, David felt paternal longing for Absalom. Joab, reading his royal uncle’s thoughts, by means of stratagem opened the way for David to extend a probationary pardon allowing Absalom to be repatriated but without the right to appear in his father’s court. (2Sa 13:39; 14:1-24) Absalom endured this ostracized status for two years and then began maneuvering for full pardon. When Joab, as an official of the king’s court, refused to visit him, Absalom peremptorily had Joab’s barley field burned and, when the indignant Joab came, told him he wanted a final decision by the king and said, “If there is any error in me, he must then put me to death.” When Joab relayed the message, David received his son, who thereupon fell on the ground in symbol of complete submission, and the king gave him the kiss of full pardon.—2Sa 14:28-33.
Treasonous Activity. Any natural or filial affection that Absalom had for David, however, had apparently vanished during the five years of separation from his father. Three years of association with pagan royalty may have cultivated the corroding influence of ambition. Absalom might have viewed himself as destined for the throne because of being descended from royalty on both sides of the family. Since Chileab (Daniel), who was second in line of David’s sons, is not mentioned after the account of his birth, it is also possible that he had died, thereby leaving Absalom as David’s oldest surviving son. (2Sa 3:3; 1Ch 3:1) Nevertheless, God’s promise to David of a future “seed” to inherit the throne was given after Absalom’s birth, and hence he should have known that he was not Jehovah’s choice for the kingship. (2Sa 7:12) At any rate, once restored to royal rank, Absalom began an underhanded political campaign. With consummate skill he feigned great concern for the public welfare and presented himself as a man of the people. He carefully insinuated to the people, particularly those of the tribes outside Judah, that the king’s court was lacking in interest in their problems and was greatly in need of a warmhearted man like Absalom.—2Sa 15:1-6.
The phrase “at the end of forty years” found at 2 Samuel 15:7 is uncertain in its application, and in the Greek Septuagint (Lagardian edition), Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate it is rendered as “four years.” But it is not likely that Absalom would wait a total of six years to fulfill a vow, if the “four years” were viewed as counting from the time of his complete reinstatement. (2Sa 14:28) Since a three-year famine, a war with the Philistines, and Adonijah’s attempt at the throne all took place during David’s reign but after the events now considered, it is evident that the writer’s starting point of “forty years” would have to have begun considerably prior to the beginning of David’s 40-year reign, and perhaps means 40 years from his first anointing by Samuel. This would then allow for Absalom’s being still a “young man” at this point (2Sa 18:5), since he was born sometime between 1077 and 1070 B.C.E.
Absalom, feeling satisfied that he had built up a strong following throughout the realm, obtained permission from his father by means of a pretext to go to Hebron, the original capital of Judah. From there he quickly organized a full-scale conspiracy for the throne, including a nationwide web of spies to proclaim his kingship. After having invoked God’s blessing on his rule by offering sacrifices, he obtained the support of his father’s most respected counselor, Ahithophel. Many now swung to Absalom’s side.—2Sa 15:7-12.
Faced with a major crisis and anticipating a large-scale attack, David chose to evacuate the palace along with all his household, although he had the loyal support of a large body of faithful men, including the principal priests, Abiathar and Zadok. These two he sent back to Jerusalem to serve as liaison agents. While ascending the Mount of Olives, barefoot, head covered, and weeping, David was met by Hushai, the king’s “companion,” whom he likewise dispatched to Jerusalem to frustrate Ahithophel’s counsel. (2Sa 15:13-37) Beset by opportunists, one seeking favor, another filled with partisan spirit and venting stored-up hatred, David stands in sharp contrast to Absalom by his quiet submission and refusal to render evil for evil. Rejecting his nephew Abishai’s plea for permission to cross over and ‘take off the head’ of the stone-throwing, cursing Shimei, David reasoned: “Here my own son, who has come forth out of my own inward parts, is looking for my soul; and how much more now a Benjaminite! Let him alone that he may call down evil, for Jehovah has said so to him! Perhaps Jehovah will see with his eye, and Jehovah will actually restore to me goodness instead of his malediction this day.”—2Sa 16:1-14.
Occupying Jerusalem and the palace, Absalom accepted Hushai’s apparent defection to his side after first making a sarcastic reference to Hushai’s being the faithful “companion” of David. Then, acting on Ahithophel’s counsel, Absalom publicly had relations with his father’s concubines as proof of the complete break between himself and David and of his unrelenting determination to maintain control of the throne. (2Sa 16:15-23) In this way the latter part of Nathan’s inspired prophecy saw fulfillment.—2Sa 12:11.
Ahithophel now urged Absalom to charge him with authority to lead a force against David that very night so as to administer the deathblow before David’s forces could get organized. Pleased, Absalom still thought it wise to hear Hushai’s opinion. Realizing David’s need for time, Hushai painted a vivid picture, possibly designed to play on any lack of genuine courage in Absalom (who, till now, had displayed more arrogance and craftiness than manly valor), as well as to appeal to Absalom’s vanity. Hushai recommended the taking of time first to build up an overwhelming force of men to be then commanded by Absalom himself. By Jehovah’s direction, Hushai’s counsel was accepted. Ahithophel, evidently realizing that Absalom’s revolt would fail, committed suicide.—2Sa 17:1-14, 23.
As a precautionary measure, Hushai sent word to David of Ahithophel’s counsel, and despite Absalom’s efforts to catch the clandestine couriers, David received the warning and crossed over the Jordan and went up into the hills of Gilead to Mahanaim (where Ish-bosheth had had his capital). Here he was received with expressions of generosity and kindness. Preparing for the conflict, David organized his expanding forces into three divisions under Joab, Abishai, and Ittai the Gittite. Urged to remain in the city, as his presence would be of more value there, David submitted and again displayed an amazing lack of rancor toward Absalom by publicly requesting his three captains to “deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.”—2Sa 17:15–18:5.
Decisive Battle and Death. Absalom’s newly formed forces were administered a crushing defeat by David’s experienced fighters. The battle reached into the forest of Ephraim. Absalom, riding away on his royal mule, passed under the low branches of a large tree and apparently got his head enmeshed in the fork of a branch so that he was left suspended in the air. The man who reported to Joab that he had seen him said he would not have disobeyed David’s request by slaying Absalom for “a thousand pieces of silver [if shekels, c. $2,200],” but Joab felt no such restraint and drove three shafts into Absalom’s heart, after which ten of his men joined their captain in sharing the responsibility for Absalom’s death. Absalom’s body was thereafter thrown into a hollow and covered with a mound of stones as unworthy of burial.—2Sa 18:6-17; compare Jos 7:26; 8:29.
When messengers reached David in Mahanaim, his first concern was for his son. Learning of Absalom’s death, David paced the floor of the roof chamber, crying: “My son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! O that I might have died, I myself, instead of you, Absalom my son, my son!” (2Sa 18:24-33) Only Joab’s blunt, straightforward speech and reasoning brought David out of his great grief due to the tragic course and end of this physically attractive and resourceful young man, whose driving ambition led him to fight against God’s anointed, thus bringing himself to ruin.—2Sa 19:1-8; compare Pr 24:21, 22.
Psalm 3 was written by David at the time of Absalom’s revolt, according to the superscription that heads the psalm.
Absalom’s Monument. A pillar had been erected by Absalom in “the Low Plain of the King,” also called “the Low Plain of Shaveh,” near Jerusalem. (2Sa 18:18; Ge 14:17) He had erected it because of having no sons to keep his name alive after his death. It thus appears that his three sons mentioned at 2 Samuel 14:27 had died when young. Absalom was not buried at the place of his monument but was left in a hollow in the forest of Ephraim.—2Sa 18:6, 17.
There is a pillar cut out of the rock in the Kidron Valley that has been called the Tomb of Absalom, but its architecture indicates it is from the Greco-Roman period, perhaps of the time of Herod. So there is no basis for associating the name of Absalom with it.

References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD‒ROM

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