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References to the Theocratic Ministry School
Program of the Theocratic Ministry School: Week Starting june 30
ss14 pp. 1-4 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2014
June 30 Bible reading: Leviticus 14-16
Theocratic Ministry School Review
w14 4/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
JUNE 30, 2014–JULY 6, 2014
Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Watchful Care?
PAGE 27 • SONGS: 69, 120
ws14 4/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
JUNE 30, 2014–JULY 6, 2014
Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Watchful Care?
PAGE 27 • SONGS: 69, 120
Highlights From the Book of Leviticus 14 - 16
Scriptural Questions Answered:Lev 15:16-18 - *** w04 5/15 p. 23 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 15:16-18) 16 “‘Now if a man has an emission of semen, he should bathe his whole body in water and be unclean until the evening. 17 He must wash with water any garment and any skin with semen on it, and it will be unclean until the evening. 18 “‘When a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, they should bathe in water and be unclean until the evening.
15:16-18—What is the “emission of semen” mentioned in these verses? This apparently refers to a nocturnal emission as well as to marital sexual relations.
Lev 16:29 - *** w04 5/15 p. 24 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus ***
(Leviticus 16:29) 29 “It will serve as a lasting statute for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, you should afflict yourselves, and you must not do any work, whether a native or a foreigner who is residing among you.
16:29—In what way were the Israelites to ‘afflict their souls’? This procedure, followed on Atonement Day, revolved around seeking forgiveness for sins. Fasting at that time was evidently associated with the acknowledgment of sinfulness. Most likely, then, ‘afflicting the soul’ referred to fasting.
Lev 14:34 - *** g 1/06 p. 14 Mold—Friend and Foe! ***
(Leviticus 14:34) 34 “When you come into the land of Ca′naan, which I am giving you as a possession, and I contaminate a house in your land with the disease of leprosy,
MOLD IN BIBLE TIMES?
The Bible mentions “the plague of leprosy in a house,” meaning in the building itself. (Leviticus 14:34-48) It has been suggested that this phenomenon, also called “malignant leprosy,” was a form of mildew or mold, but about this there is uncertainty. Whatever the case, God’s Law instructed homeowners to remove infected stones, scrape out the entire inside of the house, and discard all the suspect matter outside the city in “an unclean place.” If the plague returned, the whole house was to be declared unclean, pulled down, and disposed of. Jehovah’s detailed instructions reflected his deep love for his people and for their physical welfare.
Lev 14:44 - *** it-1 p. 1156 House ***
(Leviticus 14:44) 44 the priest will then go in and inspect it. If the contamination has spread in the house, it is malignant leprosy in the house. The house is unclean.
A Place for Spiritual Instruction. From earliest times the home functioned as a center for giving instruction in pure worship. God’s law to Israel specifically commanded fathers to teach their sons when sitting in the house, as well as at other times. (De 6:6, 7; 11:19) Also, God’s law was to be written, apparently figuratively, on the doorposts of their houses (De 6:9; 11:20), and the home was to be kept free from all appendages of idolatry. (De 7:26) In view of the fact that the home was used for such a sacred purpose, houses infected with “malignant leprosy” were to be torn down. (See LEPROSY.) The law concerning leprous houses would have reminded the Israelites that they could live only in homes that were clean from God’s standpoint.—Le 14:33-57.
Lev 15:2 - *** it-1 p. 479 Clean, Cleanness ***
(Leviticus 15:2) 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘If a man has a discharge from his genital organ, this discharge makes him unclean.
However, if a woman had an irregular, abnormal, or prolonged flow, then she was to count also seven days after it stopped. So also the male was to count seven days after a running discharge had stopped. (Such diseased condition of his urinary system is not to be confused with his normal expulsion of semen.) Anything that the man or woman might touch or sit on (beds, chairs, saddles, garments, and so forth) during their state of uncleanness was itself made unclean, and in turn, anyone touching these articles or the unclean person himself was required to bathe, wash his garments, and remain unclean until evening time. In addition to bathing and washing their garments, both the male and female on the eighth day were to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the tent of meeting, and the priest was to offer them, one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt sacrifice, to make atonement for the cleansed person.—Le 15:1-17, 19-33.
Lev 15:18 - *** cl chap. 13 pp. 130-131 pars. 9-10 “The Law of Jehovah Is Perfect” ***
(Leviticus 15:18) 18 “‘When a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, they should bathe in water and be unclean until the evening.
9 Statutes of the Law covenant stated that sexual relations and childbirth—even among married people—brought on a period of uncleanness. (Leviticus 12:2-4; 15:16-18) Such statutes did not denigrate these clean gifts from God. (Genesis 1:28; 2:18-25) Rather, those laws upheld Jehovah’s holiness, keeping his worshipers free from contamination. It is noteworthy that the nations surrounding Israel tended to mix worship with sex and fertility rites. Canaanite religion included male and female prostitution. Degradation of the worst sort resulted and spread. In contrast, the Law made the worship of Jehovah entirely separate from sexual matters. There were other benefits too.
10 Those laws served to teach a vital truth. How, after all, is the stain of Adam’s sin transmitted from one generation to the next? Is it not through sexual relations and childbirth? (Romans 5:12) Yes, God’s Law reminded his people of the ever-present reality of sin. All of us, in fact, are born in sin. (Psalm 51:5) We need forgiveness and redemption in order to draw close to our holy God.
Lev 15:24 - *** w89 6/1 p. 14 par. 18 Perfecting Holiness in God’s Fear ***
(Leviticus 15:24) 24 And if a man lies down with her and her menstrual impurity comes on him, he will then be unclean for seven days, and any bed on which he lies down will be unclean.
18 Furthermore, in Israel, laws imposed limits on sexual activities even within the marriage bond. A husband was to refrain from having relations with his wife during her menstrual period. (Leviticus 15:24; 18:19; 20:18) This required loving consideration and self-control on the part of the Israelite menfolk.
Lev 16:2 - *** w05 8/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers
From where would Jehovah speak? He provided the answer when he said to Moses: “In a cloud I shall appear over the cover.” (Leviticus 16:2) This cloud hovered over the sacred Ark between the two golden cherubs. The Bible does not reveal how high that cloud was or how far above the cherubs it extended.
This luminous cloud lit up the Most Holy. In fact, it was the only source of illumination in that compartment. The high priest would benefit from such lighting when he entered that innermost chamber on Atonement Day. He was standing in the presence of Jehovah.
Lev 16:6 - *** w98 2/15 p. 12 par. 2 Jehovah Brings Many Sons to Glory ***
(Leviticus 16:6) 6 “Aaron must then present the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and he will make atonement in behalf of himself and his house.
2 The application of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice was typified on the annual Day of Atonement. On that day, Israel’s high priest first sacrificed a bull as a sin offering and presented its blood at the sacred Ark in the Most Holy of the tabernacle, and later in the temple. This was done in behalf of himself, his household, and the tribe of Levi. Similarly, Jesus Christ presented to God the value of his blood first to cover the sins of his spiritual “brothers.” (Hebrews 2:12; 10:19-22; Leviticus 16:6, 11-14)
Lev 16:10 - *** w89 3/1 pp. 16-17 Jerusalem—Center of Biblical Events ***
(Leviticus 16:10) 10 But the goat designated by lot for A•za′zel should be brought alive to stand before Jehovah in order to perform the atonement upon it, so that it may be sent away for A•za′zel into the wilderness.
Try to imagine Israelites coming here from all parts of the land with their animal sacrifices for the annual festivals. The most solemn of these was the Day of Atonement. On that day, one goat was selected and sent “away for Azazel into the wilderness,” possibly down into the Kidron Valley and then southeast into the wilderness of Judea.
Lev 16:12 - *** re chap. 15 p. 87 pars. 15-16 “Who Is Worthy to Open the Scroll?” ***
(Leviticus 16:12) 12 “He will then take the fire holder full of burning coals from the altar before Jehovah and two handfuls of fine perfumed incense, and he will bring them inside the curtain.
15 In ancient Israel, entry into the Most Holy before the symbolic presence of Jehovah was limited to the high priest. For him, carrying incense was a life-or-death matter. Jehovah’s law said: “[Aaron] must take the fire holder full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before Jehovah, and the hollows of both his hands full of fine perfumed incense, and he must bring them inside the curtain. He must also put the incense upon the fire before Jehovah, and the cloud of the incense must overspread the Ark cover, which is upon the Testimony, that he may not die.” (Leviticus 16:12, 13) It was impossible for the high priest to penetrate successfully into the Most Holy unless he burned incense.
16 In the Christian system of things not only the antitypical High Priest, Jesus Christ, but also each of the 144,000 underpriests eventually gets to enter the antitypical Most Holy, the place of Jehovah’s presence in heaven. (Hebrews 10:19-23) Entry into this Most Holy is impossible for these priests, as represented here by the 24 elders, unless they ‘burn incense,’ that is, constantly offer up prayers and supplications to Jehovah.—Hebrews 5:7; Jude 20, 21; compare Psalm 141:2.
Lev 16:15 - *** w98 2/15 p. 12 par. 2 Jehovah Brings Many Sons to Glory ***
(Leviticus 16:15) 15 “He will then slaughter the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the curtain and do with its blood the same as he did with the bull’s blood; he is to spatter it toward the cover and before the cover.
On Atonement Day, the high priest also sacrificed a goat as a sin offering and presented its blood in the Most Holy, thus making atonement for the sins of the 12 nonpriestly tribes of Israel. Likewise, the High Priest Jesus Christ will apply his lifeblood in behalf of those of mankind exercising faith, canceling out their sins.—Leviticus 16:15.
Lev 16:16 - *** it-2 p. 858 Sanctification ***
(Leviticus 16:16) 16 “He must make atonement for the holy place concerning the acts of uncleanness of the Israelites and concerning their transgressions and their sins, and that is what he should do for the tent of meeting, which is located among them in the midst of their acts of uncleanness.
Sanctification of Places. The place where Jehovah dwells or any place where he dwells representatively is a sanctified or holy place, a sanctuary. The tabernacle in the wilderness and the temples later built by Solomon and Zerubbabel (and rebuilt and enlarged by Herod the Great) were designated as miq•dash′ or qo′dhesh, ‘set apart’ or ‘holy’ places. Being located in the midst of a sinful people, these places had to be purified (in a typical, or pictorial, way) of defilement periodically by sprinkling with the blood of sacrificial animals.—Le 16:16.
Lev 16:21 - *** w89 3/1 p. 17 Jerusalem—Center of Biblical Events ***
(Leviticus 16:21) 21 Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the errors of the Israelites and all their transgressions and all their sins, and he will put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man designated to do this.
Another goat and a bull were slaughtered and their blood used in sacrifice to make atonement for the priests and the people. Some blood was even taken beyond the curtain into the Most Holy of the temple. So you can look at the picture of the city with that in mind.—Leviticus 16:1-34.
Lev 16:27 - *** it-1 p. 659 Dung ***
(Leviticus 16:27) 27 “And the bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought into the holy place to make atonement, will be taken outside the camp, and their skins and their flesh and their dung will be burned in the fire.
According to the Law, no sin offering, the blood of which was brought into the sanctuary to make atonement, was to be eaten by the priest. Its carcass and its dung were to be burned in a clean place outside the camp. (Le 4:11, 12; 6:30; 16:27) This was because none of the animal was to be put to any other use or allowed to decay. It was “clean,” that is, sanctified to Jehovah and therefore had to be burned in a clean place.—Compare Heb 13:11-13.
Lev 16:31 - *** g95 3/8 p. 11 Is God Pleased to See Us Suffer? ***
(Leviticus 16:31) 31 It is a sabbath of complete rest for you, and you should afflict yourselves. It is a lasting statute.
While it is true that Jehovah commanded his chosen nation: “you must afflict your souls,” this is generally understood to mean fasting. (Leviticus 16:31) Such fasting was an expression of sorrow and repentance for sins or was done when under distressing conditions. Thus, fasting was not a self-inflicted form of punishment but represented a humbling of oneself before God.—Ezra 8:21.
Lev 16:32 - *** it-1 p. 831 Fill Hand With Power ***
(Leviticus 16:32) 32 “The priest who is anointed and installed to serve as priest in place of his father will make atonement and put on the linen garments, the holy garments.
The Hebrew expression mil•leʼ′ yadh, translated “consecrate” in many versions, literally means “fill the hand” and is used with reference to putting full power in the hands of those who are to serve in a priestly office. At their installation as priests of Jehovah, Aaron and his sons had their hands filled with power to serve in that capacity. (Ex 28:41; 29:9, 29, 33, 35; Le 8:33; 16:32; 21:10; Nu 3:3) To symbolize this, the ram of installation was killed and cut up, and parts of it together with certain baked items from the basket of unfermented cakes were put by Moses upon the palms of Aaron and his sons, who then waved the offering before Jehovah. Finally the things waved were made to smoke upon the altar on top of the burnt offering.—Ex 29:19-25; Le 8:22-28; see ANOINTED, ANOINTING; INSTALLATION; PRIEST.
Theocratic Ministry School Review
The following questions will be considered at the Theocratic Ministry School during the week beginning June 30, 2014.
1. Why is the principle recorded at Exodus 23:2 so important when choosing entertainment and recreation? [May 5, w11 7/15 pp. 10-11 pars. 3-7]^ (Ex. 23:2) You must not follow after the crowd to do evil, and you must not pervert justice by giving testimony to go along with the crowd.
^ ***w11 7/15 pp. 10-12 Will You Follow Jehovah’s Loving Guidance?***
Do Not Follow “After the Crowd”
3 In taking a long journey, what would you do if you felt unsure about which way to go? You might feel tempted to follow other travelers—especially if you saw a great many making the same choice. Such a course is risky. After all, those travelers may not be heading toward your destination, or they too may be lost. In this connection, consider a principle that underlies one of the laws given to ancient Israel. Those who served as judges or as witnesses in judicial matters were warned of the danger of ‘following after the crowd.’ (Read Exodus 23:2.)Without doubt, it is all too easy for imperfect humans to bow to peer pressure, perverting justice. However, is the principle about not following the crowd restricted to judicial matters? Not at all.
4 In truth, the pressure to “follow after the crowd” can affect us at almost any time. It may arise suddenly, and it can be very difficult to resist. Think, for example, of the peer pressure that Joshua and Caleb once faced. They were part of a group of 12 men who went into the Promised Land to spy it out. Upon their return, ten of those men gave a very negative and discouraging report. They even claimed that some of the land’s inhabitants were giants descended from the Nephilim, the offspring of rebel angels and women. (Gen. 6:4) Now, that claim was absurd. Those wicked hybrids had been wiped out in the Deluge many centuries earlier, leaving not a single descendant behind. But even the most baseless ideas can exert power over those weak in faith. The negative reports from those ten spies quickly spread fear and panic among the people. Before long, most were sure that it would be a mistake to enter the Promised Land as Jehovah had directed. In that volatile situation, what did Joshua and Caleb do?—Num. 13:25-33.
5 They did not go following after the crowd. Although the crowd hated to hear it, those two men told the truth and stuck to it—even when threatened with death by stoning! Where did they get the courage? No doubt, a good part of it came from their faith. People with faith see clearly the difference between the baseless claims of men and the sacred promises of Jehovah God. Both men later expressed how they felt about Jehovah’s record in fulfilling his every promise. (Read Joshua 14:6, 8; 23:2, 14.) Joshua and Caleb were attached to their faithful God, and they could not imagine hurting him for the sake of following a faithless crowd. So they stood firm, setting a sterling example for us today.—Num. 14:1-10.
6 Do you ever feel pressured to follow after the crowd? People who are alienated from Jehovah and who scoff at his moral standards certainly form a vast crowd today. When it comes to entertainment and recreation, that crowd often promote baseless ideas. They may insist that the immorality, violence, and spiritism so prevalent in television programs, movies, and video games are harmless. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) When you choose entertainment and recreation for yourself or your family, do you allow the lax consciences of others to influence your decisions and to mold your conscience? Would that not, in effect, amount to following after the crowd?
7 Jehovah has given us a precious gift to help us make decisions—our “perceptive powers.” However, these powers need to be trained “through use.” (Heb. 5:14) Following the crowd would not train our perceptive powers; nor, on the other hand, would a host of rigid rules in matters of conscience. That is why, for example, Jehovah’s people are not given a list of films, books, and Internet sites to avoid. Because this world changes so fast, such a list would be outdated soon after it was made. (1 Cor. 7:31) Worse, it would deprive us of the vital work of weighing Bible principles carefully and prayerfully and then making decisions on the basis of those principles.—Eph. 5:10.
2. How serious was the command requiring priests to wash before offering sacrifices to Jehovah, and how does it serve as a strong reminder for God’s servants today? (Ex. 30:18-21) [May 19, w967/1 p. 9 par. 9]^ (Ex. 30:18-21) “Make a copper basin and its stand for washing; then place it between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water into it.19 Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and their feet there.20 When they go into the tent of meeting or when they approach the altar to minister and to make offerings of fire and smoke to Jehovah, they will wash with water so that they do not die. 21 They must wash their hands and their feet so that they may not die, and it must serve as a permanent regulation for them, for him and his offspring, throughout their generations.”
^ ***w96 7/1 p. 9 “A House of Prayer for All the Nations”***
9 The tabernacle also had a courtyard, surrounded by a fence of tent cloths. In this courtyard was a large basin where the priests washed their hands and feet before entering the Holy. They also had to wash before offering sacrifices on the altar that was situated in the courtyard. (Exodus 30:18-21) This requirement of cleanliness is a strong reminder to God’s servants today that they must strive for physical, moral, mental, and spiritual purity if they want their worship to be acceptable to God. (2 Corinthians 7:1) In time the wood for the fire on the altar and the water for the basin were supplied by non-Israelite temple slaves.—Joshua 9:27.
3. Why was Aaron not punished for making the golden calf? (Ex. 32:1-8, 25-35) [May 19, w04 3/15 p. 27 par. 4]^ (Ex. 32:1-8) Meanwhile, the people saw that Moses was taking a long time coming down from the mountain. So the people gathered around Aaron and said to him: “Get up, make for us a god who will go ahead of us, because we do not know what has happened to this Moses, the man who led us up out of the land of Egypt.” 2 At this Aaron said to them: “Take the gold earrings from the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people began taking off the gold earrings that were in their ears and bringing them to Aaron. 4 Then he took the gold from them, and he formed it with an engraving tool and made it into a statue of a calf. They began to say: “This is your God, O Israel, who led you up out of the land of Egypt.” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. Then Aaron called out: “There is a festival to Jehovah tomorrow.” 6 So they got up early on the next day and began offering up burnt offerings and presenting communion sacrifices. After that the people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to have a good time. 7 Jehovah now said to Moses: “Go, descend, because your people, whom you led up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 They have quickly deviated from the way I commanded them to go. They have made for themselves a statue of a calf, and they keep bowing down to it and sacrificing to it and saying, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who led you up out of the land of Egypt.’”
^ ***w04 3/15 p. 27 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Exodus***
32:1-8, 25-35—Why was Aaron not punished for making the golden calf? Aaron was not in heartfelt sympathy with the idolatry. Later, he apparently joined fellow Levites in taking a stand for God and against those who resisted Moses. After the guilty were slain, Moses reminded the people that they had sinned greatly, indicating that others besides Aaron also received Jehovah’s mercy.
4. How does the Christian view of courtship and marriage relate to God’s forbidding Israelites to marry people who worshipped other gods? (Ex. 34:12-16) [May 26, w89 11/1 pp. 20-21 pars. 11-13]^ (Ex. 34:12-16) Be careful that you do not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it may prove to be a snare among you. 13 But you are to pull down their altars, you are to shatter their sacred pillars, and their sacred poles you are to cut down.14 You must not bow down to another god, for Jehovah is known for requiring exclusive devotion. Yes, he is a God who requires exclusive devotion. 15 Be careful not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, because when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone will invite you and you will eat from his sacrifice. 16 Then you will surely take some of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters will prostitute themselves to their gods and cause your sons to prostitute themselves to their gods.
^ ***w89 11/1 pp. 20-21 Do Not Yoke Yourselves With Unbelievers***
11 Heeding the Bible’s warning also spares us the painful consequences that often result when a Christian yokes himself with an unbeliever. There is, for example, the possibility that the unbeliever will turn the Christian mate from serving Jehovah. Consider Jehovah’s warning to ancient Israel. Marriage alliances with nonworshipers were prohibited. Why? “For he will turn your son from following me,” Jehovah warned, “and they will certainly serve other gods.” (Deuteronomy 7:3, 4) Faced with opposition from an unbelieving mate, there may be a tendency to drift toward the path of least resistance. It is easy to think, ‘It will not happen to me!’ But it happened to a man of Solomon’s wisdom. Could not the same happen to you?—1 Kings 11:1-6; compare 1 Kings 4:29, 30.
12 Even if the believer is not turned away from true worship, there are still the problems and pressures often associated with a religiously divided home. Consider, again, God’s law to Israel. Suppose an Israelite girl agreed to marry a Canaanite man. Given the sexual practices that were prevalent in the land of Canaan, what respect would he have for the law of her God? Would he, for example, willingly refrain from sexual intercourse during menstruation, as required by the Mosaic Law? (Leviticus 18:19; 20:18; compare Leviticus 18:27.) In the case of an Israelite man who married a Canaanite girl, how supportive would she be when he journeyed to Jerusalem three times each year to attend the seasonal festivals? (Deuteronomy 16:16) Obviously, God’s law prohibiting such marriages served as a protection for the Israelites.
13 What about today? The moral standards of worldly people are a far cry from those of the Bible. No matter how clean-cut some worldly people may appear to be, they do not have a Bible-trained, Christian conscience. They have not spent years studying God’s Word, ‘making their mind over’ and ‘stripping off the old personality.’ (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:9) Hence, the Christian who yokes himself to an unbeliever often exposes himself to much heartache and grief. Some face repeated pressure to share in perverted sex practices or to celebrate worldly holidays. And some even complain of loneliness. As one sister wrote: “The loneliness you feel when you are married to someone who doesn’t love Jehovah is the worst loneliness imaginable. You see, you have no one to share the truth with, which is the most important thing in your life.”
5. Why is the experience of Bezalel and Oholiab particularly encouraging to us? (Ex. 35:30-35) [May 26, w10 9/15 p. 10 par. 13]^ (Ex. 35:30-35) Then Moses said to the Israelites: “See, Jehovah has chosen Bez′al•el the son of U′ri the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. 31 He has filled him with the spirit of God, giving him wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of every sort of craftsmanship 32 for making artistic designs, for working with gold, silver, and copper, 33 for cutting and setting stones, and for making all kinds of artistic wood products. 34 And he has put it into his heart to teach, he and O•ho′li•ab the son of A•his′a•mach of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all the work of a craftsman, an embroiderer, and a weaver using blue thread, purple wool, scarlet material, and fine linen, and of a loom worker. These men will do every sort of work and prepare every sort of design.
^ ***w10 9/15 p. 10 Earnestly Seek Jehovah’s Blessing***
Seeking Holy Spirit
13 What if we feel inadequate to fulfill an assignment or to engage in the preaching work? We should ask Jehovah to give us his holy spirit to heighten whatever abilities we have in his service. (Read Luke 11:13.) God’s spirit can qualify people for a work or a service privilege regardless of their previous circumstances or experience. For instance, right after the Exodus from Egypt, God’s spirit enabled shepherds and slaves to vanquish their enemies in battle despite being inexperienced in warfare. (Ex. 17:8-13) Soon thereafter, that same spirit equipped Bezalel and Oholiab to carry out the exquisite, divinely inspired architectural plans for the tabernacle.—Ex. 31:2-6; 35:30-35.
6. “The holy sign of dedication” on the turban worn by Israel’s high priest provided what reminder, and what does this sign teach us about dedication? (Ex. 39:30) [June 2, w01 2/1 p. 14 pars. 2-3]^ (Ex. 39:30) Finally, they made the shining plate, the holy sign of dedication, out of pure gold and inscribed on it an inscription as one would engrave a seal: “Holiness belongs to Jehovah.”
^ ***w01 2/1 p. 14 Are You Living Up to Your Dedication?***
2 However, what does “dedication” mean in the Biblical sense? “Dedicate” translates a Hebrew verb that has the meaning “keep separate; be separated; withdraw.” In ancient Israel, High Priest Aaron wore on his turban “the holy sign of dedication,” which was a shining plate of pure gold engraved with the Hebrew words for “Holiness belongs to Jehovah.” That served as a reminder to the high priest that he must avoid doing anything that would profane the sanctuary “because the sign of dedication, the anointing oil of his God, [was] upon him.”—Exodus 29:6; 39:30; Leviticus 21:12.
3 We can see in this context that dedication is a serious matter. It implies voluntary identification as a servant of God, and it requires clean conduct. Therefore, we can appreciate why the apostle Peter quoted Jehovah as saying: “You must be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, 16) As dedicated Christians, we bear a heavy responsibility to live up to our dedication, being faithful to the end. But what is involved in Christian dedication?—Leviticus 19:2; Matthew 24:13.
7. What responsibility do all Christians have in reporting the serious wrongdoing of a fellow Christian? (Lev. 5:1) [June 9, w978/15 p. 27]^ (Lev. 5:1) “‘If someone sins because he has heard a public call to testify and he is a witness or has seen or learned about it and he does not report it, then he will answer for his error.
^ ***w97 8/15 p. 27 Why Report What Is Bad?***
Cut to the heart, David confessed: “I have sinned against Jehovah.”—2 Samuel 12:13.
Nathan’s exposure of David’s sin, followed by godly reproof, bore good results. Though David was not shielded from the consequences of his wrong, he repented and became reconciled to Jehovah. How did David feel about such reproof? He wrote: “Should the righteous one strike me, it would be a loving-kindness; and should he reprove me, it would be oil upon the head, which my head would not want to refuse.”—Psalm 141:5.
In our day too, Jehovah’s servants can become involved in serious wrongdoing, even those who have been faithful for many years. Recognizing that the elders can assist, most take the initiative to approach them for help. (James 5:13-16) But sometimes a wrongdoer may try to cover up his sin, as did King David. What should we do if we come to know about serious wrongdoing in the congregation?
Whose Responsibility Is It?
When elders learn about serious wrongdoing, they approach the individual involved to give needed help and correction. It is the elders’ responsibility to judge such ones inside the Christian congregation. Keeping a close watch on its spiritual condition, they assist and admonish anyone who is taking an unwise or wrong step.—1 Corinthians 5:12, 13; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 5:1, 2.
But what if you are not an elder and you come to know about some serious wrongdoing on the part of another Christian? Guidelines are found in the Law that Jehovah gave to the nation of Israel. The Law stated that if a person was a witness to apostate acts, sedition, murder, or certain other serious crimes, it was his responsibility to report it and to testify to what he knew. Leviticus 5:1 states: “Now in case a soul sins in that he has heard public cursing and he is a witness or he has seen it or has come to know of it, if he does not report it, then he must answer for his error.”—Compare Deuteronomy 13:6-8; Esther 6:2; Proverbs 29:24.
Though not under the Mosaic Law, Christians today can be guided by the principles behind it. (Psalm 19:7, 8) So if you learn about the serious wrongdoing of a fellow Christian, what should you do?
Handling the Matter
First of all, it is important that there is valid reason to believe that serious wrongdoing has really occurred. “Do not become a witness against your fellowman without grounds,” stated the wise man. “Then you would have to be foolish with your lips.”—Proverbs 24:28.
You may decide to go directly to the elders. It is not wrong to do so. Usually, however, the most loving course is to approach the person involved. Perhaps the facts are not as they appear to be. Or perhaps the situation is already being handled by the elders. Calmly discuss the matter with the person. If there remains reason to believe that a serious wrong has been committed, encourage him or her to approach the elders for help, and explain the wisdom of doing so. Do not talk to others about the matter, for that would be gossip.
If the person does not report to the elders within a reasonable period of time, then you should. One or two elders will then discuss the matter with the accused. The elders need to “search and investigate and inquire thoroughly” to see if wrong has been done. If it has, they will handle the case according to Scriptural guidelines.—Deuteronomy 13:12-14.
At least two witnesses are required to establish a charge of wrongdoing. (John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28) If the person denies the
8. What important role did communion sacrifices play in Israel’s day, and what does this provision symbolize for us today? (Lev. 7:31-33) [June 16, w12 1/15 p. 19 pars. 11-12]^ (Lev. 7:31-33) The priest will make the fat smoke on the altar, but the breast will belong to Aaron and his sons. 32 “‘You will give the right leg as a sacred portion to the priest from your communion sacrifices. 33 The son of Aaron who presents the blood of the communion sacrifices and the fat will have the right leg as his portion.
^ ***w12 1/15 p. 19 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.
9. What may have been involved in the sin of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu, and what lessons do we learn from this account? (Lev. 10:1, 2, 9) [June 23, w04 5/15 p. 22 pars. 6-8]^ (Lev. 10:1, 2) Later Aaron’s sons Na′dab and A•bi′hu each took his fire holder and put fire in it and placed incense on it. Then they began offering before Jehovah unauthorized fire, which he had not commanded them to do. 2 At this a fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed them, so that they died before Jehovah.
^ (Lev. 10:9) “Do not drink wine or other alcoholic beverages, you and your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die. It is a permanent statute for your generations.
^ ***w04 5/15 p. 22 pars. 6-8 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus***
10:1, 2—What may have been involved in the sin of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu? Soon after Nadab and Abihu took liberties in performing their priestly duties, Jehovah forbade priests to use wine or intoxicating liquor while serving at the tabernacle. (Leviticus 10:9) This suggests that Aaron’s two sons may have been under the influence of alcohol on the occasion here under consideration. However, the actual reason for their death was their offering “illegitimate fire, which [Jehovah] had not prescribed for them.”
Lessons for Us:
10:1, 2. Responsible servants of Jehovah today must comply with divine requirements. Moreover, they must not be presumptuous as they care for their responsibilities.
10:9. We should not perform God-given duties while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
10. Why did childbirth make a woman “unclean”? (Lev. 12:2, 5) [June 23, w04 5/15 p. 23 par. 2]^ (Lev. 12:2) “Tell the Israelites, ‘If a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a male, she will be unclean for seven days, just as she is in the days of the impurity when she is menstruating.
^ (Lev. 12:5) “‘If she should give birth to a female, she will then be unclean for 14 days, just as she would be during her menstruation. She will continue cleansing herself from the blood for the next 66 days.
^ ***w04 5/15 p. 23 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus***
Scriptural Questions Answered:
12:2, 5—Why did childbirth make a woman “unclean”? The reproductive organs were made to pass on perfect human life. However, because of the inherited effects of sin, imperfect and sinful life was passed on to the offspring. The temporary periods of ‘uncleanness’ associated with childbirth, as well as other matters, such as menstruation and seminal emissions, called this hereditary sinfulness to mind. (Leviticus 15:16-24; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12) The required purification regulations would help the Israelites to appreciate the need for a ransom sacrifice to cover mankind’s sinfulness and restore human perfection. Thus the Law became their “tutor leading to Christ.”—Galatians 3:24.
References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD‒ROM
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