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References to the Theocratic Ministry School
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Program of the Theocratic Ministry School: Week Starting July 7
ss14 pp. 1-4 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2014
July 7 Bible reading: Leviticus 17-20
No. 1: Leviticus 19:19-32
No. 2: Why Spirit-Anointed Christians, or “Saints,” Are Not Free From Sin (rs p. 355 ¶2)
No. 3: Abyss—What the Bible Says About the Abyss (it-1 pp. 35-36)
w14 5/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
JULY 7-13, 2014
How Should We “Answer Each Person”?
PAGE 6 • SONGS: 96, 93
ws14 5/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
JULY 7-13, 2014
How Should We “Answer Each Person”?
PAGE 3 • SONGS: 96, 93
Highlights From the Book of Leviticus 17-20
Bible Highlights: Leviticus 17-20
*** w04 5/15 p. 24 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Leviticus *** Lessons for Us:
Leviticus 20:9. A hateful and vicious spirit was as bad as murder in Jehovah’s sight. He therefore prescribed the same penalty for reviling one’s parents as for actually murdering them. Should this not prompt us to show love for fellow believers?—1 John 3:14, 15.
Leviticus 19:27—What is meant by the command not to “cut [the] sidelocks short around” or “destroy the extremity” of the beard? This law was evidently given to prevent the Jews from trimming their beards or hair in a way that would imitate certain pagan practices. (Jeremiah 9:25, 26; 25:23; 49:32) However, God’s command did not mean that the Jews could not trim their beards or facial hair at all.—2 Samuel 19:24.
Leviticus 17:11-13 *** w11 11/1 p. 17 How Do God’s Laws Benefit Us? ***
How does the sacredness of blood benefit us?
Blood is sacred because God says that it represents the life, or soul, of a creature. (Genesis 9:3, 4) God’s law, which equates the value of blood with that of life, benefits us. How? It makes possible the forgiveness of sins.—Read Leviticus 17:11-13; Hebrews 9:22.
Jesus’ blood was especially precious because he was perfect. Jesus presented to God something that represented his life—his blood. (Hebrews 9:12) His shed blood makes everlasting life possible for us.—Read Matthew 26:28; John 3:16.
Leviticus 17:11 *** w10 5/1 pp. 5-6 What Is God Doing? ***
2 An architect prepares blueprints that clearly set forth what the restoration work will accomplish.
Jehovah God gave the Israelites a code of laws and designed a temple at which they were to worship him. The Bible says: “Those things are a shadow of the things to come.” (Colossians 2:17) Like blueprints, they represented something greater.
For example, the Israelites offered animal sacrifices to obtain forgiveness of sins. (Leviticus 17:11) That practice foreshadowed a greater sacrifice that would be offered centuries later—a sacrifice that would provide mankind with true redemption. The very layout of the tabernacle and temple at which the Israelites worshipped prefigured the steps that the future Messiah would take, from his sacrificial death to his ascension to heaven.—See the chart on page 7.
Leviticus 17:14 *** w08 10/1 p. 31 How My Faith Helped Me to Face Tragedies *** HAVE YOU WONDERED?
You may have heard that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions. Have you ever wondered why?
This Scriptural stand is often misunderstood. Sometimes people assume that Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse all medical treatment or that they simply do not value life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses seek the best medical care available to them and their family members. However, they seek nonblood medical management. Why?
Their stand is based on a fundamental law that God gave to mankind. Just after the Flood of Noah’s day, God gave Noah and his family permission to eat the flesh of animals. God imposed this one restriction: They were not to consume blood. (Genesis 9:3, 4) All humans of all races descended from Noah, so this law is binding on all of mankind. It was never rescinded. Over eight centuries later, God reaffirmed that law to the nation of Israel, explaining that blood is sacred, representing the soul, or life itself. (Leviticus 17:14) Over 1,500 years later, the Christian apostles commanded all Christians to “keep abstaining . . . from blood.”—Acts 15:29.
To Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is clearly impossible to abstain from blood while taking it into the body in a transfusion. They therefore insist on alternative treatments.
Leviticus 18:6, 9 ‒ Leviticus 18:19 *** w12 9/1 pp. 6-7 Does God Really Care About Women? ***
Honored and respected. The Ten Commandments clearly stipulated: “Honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12) In the proverbs of wise King Solomon, we read: “Listen, my son, to the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.”—Proverbs 1:8.
The Law included detailed regulations regarding conduct among unmarried persons, showing respect for females. (Leviticus 18:6, 9; Deuteronomy 22:25, 26) A good husband had to take into account his wife’s physical and biological limitations.—Leviticus 18:19.
Leviticus 18:20, 29 *** w12 12/15 p. 15 Questions From Readers *** (in vitro fertilization) [Box on page 15]
OTHER IVF PROCEDURES
The development of IVF opened the way to other procedures that definitely conflict with God’s thinking as reflected in the Scriptures. For example, a woman’s eggs might be fertilized with sperm from a man who is not her husband. She might then allow the resulting embryos to be implanted in her. (Lesbian couples sometimes resort to this procedure.) Or a husband’s sperm might be used to fertilize the eggs from a woman who is not his wife. The husband’s wife might then allow the resulting embryos to be implanted in her.
In a variation that some term “embryo adoption,” the embryos placed in a wife’s womb involve neither her eggs nor her husband’s sperm. In yet another variation, a married couple’s eggs and sperm are fertilized outside the womb by IVF. The resulting embryos are then implanted in the womb of a surrogate, a woman who carries the baby and delivers it for them.
Those reproductive procedures are unacceptable to God’s servants out of respect for his direction: “You must not give your emission as semen to the wife of your associate to become unclean by it.” (Lev. 18:20, 29; Prov. 6:29) When fertilization involving eggs or sperm (or both) from someone not within the marital union occurs, this amounts to what the Bible terms por•nei′a, sexual immorality. Those procedures are a gross misuse of the sexual organs.—Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9, 18; Heb. 13:4.
Leviticus 18:6, 23 *** w06 11/15 p. 6 An Issue That Involves You ***
What about premarital sex? That too is against the moral standards set out by Jehovah. “This is what God wills . . . that you abstain from fornication,” says the Bible. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Homosexuality, incest, and bestiality are also sins against God. (Leviticus 18:6, 23; Romans 1:26, 27) Anyone wanting to please God and enjoy a truly happy life must keep away from immoral practices.
Leviticus 18:3 TMS REVIEW: *** w02 2/1 p. 29 Questions From Readers ***
Not to be overlooked is our God-given conscience. All people are born with a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. (Romans 2:15) Their conscience tells them what is normal and proper and what is unnatural and offensive, unless it has been distorted or deadened by perverted practices. Jehovah alluded to this fact when he gave the Israelites his law against marriage between close fleshly relatives. We read: “The way the land of Egypt does, in which you dwelt, you must not do; and the way the land of Canaan does, into which I am bringing you, you must not do; and in their statutes you must not walk.” (Leviticus 18:3) Christians treasure their Bible-based conscience and do not allow it to be corrupted by the twisted sense of right and wrong of the nations.—Ephesians 4:17-19.
Leviticus 19:18 *** w13 3/1 p. 13 “Which Commandment Is First of All?” ***
Second, Jesus said: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Verse 31; Leviticus 19:18) Love of God and love of neighbor are really inseparable. The second is a by-product of the first. (1 John 4:20, 21) If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will treat them the way we want them to treat us. (Matthew 7:12) We thereby show that we love the God who made us—and them—in his image.—Genesis 1:26.
Leviticus 19:17 *** w13 3/15 p. 11 par. 14 Do You Have “a Heart to Know” Jehovah? ***
14 Or a brother who has not actually committed “murders” might let rancor fester in his heart to the point of hating a fellow Christian. (Lev. 19:17) Will he put forth effort to rid himself of such emotions that could make his heart unresponsive?—Matt. 5:21, 22.
Leviticus 19:16 *** w12 2/15 p. 21 par. 13 Preserve the Positive Spirit of the Congregation ***
13 The corruptive influence of murmuring can lead to other spiritually damaging developments. For example, murmuring can disrupt a congregation’s peace and unity. Moreover, voicing complaints against fellow believers may not only cause them pain but may also deteriorate into the sins of slander and reviling. (Lev. 19:16; 1 Cor. 5:11) Some murmurers in the first-century congregation were “disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones.” (Jude 8, 16) Such murmuring against responsible men in the congregation certainly did not have God’s approval.
Leviticus 19:15 *** w12 11/1 p. 22 “What Is Jehovah Asking Back From You?” ***
“Exercise justice.” The Hebrew word for “justice,” according to one reference work, “involves right and fair relationships in the community.” God asks us to treat others according to what is right and fair by his standards. We exercise justice by being impartial, upright, and honest in our dealings with others. (Leviticus 19:15; Isaiah 1:17; Hebrews 13:18) When we act justly toward others, they may be moved to act justly toward us in return.—Matthew 7:12.
Leviticus 19:2 TMS REVIEW: *** w09 7/1 p. 9 “I Jehovah Your God Am Holy” ***
The command regarding holiness gives us valuable insight into the thinking and ways of Jehovah God. For one thing, we learn that in order to have a close relationship with him, we need to do our best to live in harmony with his standards of holy conduct. (1 Peter 1:15, 16) By holding to those standards, we can enjoy the best way of life possible.—Isaiah 48:17.
Leviticus 19:9, 10 *** w11 2/1 p. 15 Did You Know? *** What was the custom of gleaning, and who benefited from it?
▪ The Mosaic Law prohibited farmers from stripping their land of all of its produce. Instead, those who harvested grain were not to reap the edges of the fields completely. Those who gathered grapes were not to pick up those that were scattered or go back again to harvest those that were immature the first time. And those who beat the boughs of the olive trees were to leave the fruit that did not fall. (Leviticus 19:9, 10; Deuteronomy 24:19-21) The poor, the orphans, the widows, and the alien residents could then glean—or pick up—the leftovers of the harvest.
Leviticus 19:9, 10 TMS REVIEW: *** w06 6/15 pp. 22-23 par. 13 “How I Do Love Your Law!” ***
13 The principle behind the law on gleaning has not changed. Jehovah expects his servants to be generous, especially toward the needy. The more generous we are, the greater our blessings will be. “Practice giving, and people will give to you,” said Jesus. “They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 6:38.
Leviticus 20:2, 27 *** w13 5/15 p. 13 Questions From Readers ***
In this regard, Leviticus 20:2 states: “Any man of the sons of Israel, and any alien resident who resides as an alien in Israel, who gives any of his offspring to Molech, should be put to death without fail. The people of the land should pelt him to death with stones.” Those in whom there was “a mediumistic spirit or spirit of prediction” were also to be put to death. How? By ‘pelting them with stones.’—Lev. 20:27.
Leviticus 20:2, 3 *** w07 4/1 p. 18 Offering Sacrifices That Please God ***
In sharp contrast with the Israelites, the inhabitants of Canaan offered their children as sacrifices to their gods, including the Ammonite god called Molech, also known as Milcom or Moloch. (1 Kings 11:5, 7, 33; Acts 7:43) Halley’s Bible Handbook says: “Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods.”
Did such practices please Jehovah God? Decidedly not. As the Israelites were about to enter the land of Canaan, Jehovah gave them the command recorded at Leviticus 20:2, 3...
Clearly, the practice of offering humans in sacrifice is not from the true God and is no part of pure worship. Human sacrifice in any form is demonic, and true worshippers of God stay away from anything that is connected with such a practice.
Leviticus 20:10 *** w06 11/15 p. 23 par. 14 Keep Yourself in God’s Love! ***
14 The fact that there is no way to compensate for adultery should impel one to avoid this grossly selfish act. Proverbs 6:30-35 shows that whereas people may sympathize with a thief who steals because he is hungry, they despise an adulterer because he has a bad motive. He is “bringing his own soul [or, life] to ruin.” Under the Mosaic Law, he would have been put to death. (Leviticus 20:10) A person who commits adultery causes others pain just to satisfy his lust, and an unrepentant adulterer does not remain in God’s love but is expelled from the clean Christian congregation.
Leviticus 19:26; 20:27 *** w94 12/15 p. 20 A Health Test for You? ***
Of course, a God-fearing physician in ancient Israel would not have employed spiritistic practices. God wisely commanded: “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer . . . For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Leviticus 19:26; 20:27) The same applies to God’s Christian servants today. Caution is in order.
In recent years many people have turned to “alternative” diagnostic techniques and treatments. This is basically an area for personal decision. (Matthew 7:1; compare Romans 14:3, 4.) It would, of course, be sad if any Christian became so preoccupied with controversial health issues that these overshadowed the ministry, which is the one sure way to save lives. (1 Timothy 4:16)
No. 1: Leviticus 19:19-32
No. 2: Why Spirit-Anointed Christians, or “Saints,” Are Not Free From Sin (rs p. 355 ¶2)rs p. 355 ¶2 Saints
It certainly was true that all who made up the first-century Christian congregation were saints. (1 Cor. 14:33, 34; 2 Cor. 1:1; 13:13, RS, KJ) They are described as ones that received “forgiveness of sins” and were “sanctified” by God. (Acts 26:18; 1 Cor. 1:2, RS, KJ) Nevertheless, they did not claim to be free from all sin. They were born as descendants of the sinner Adam. This inheritance often made it a struggle for them to do what was right, as the apostle Paul humbly acknowledged. (Rom. 7:21-25) And the apostle John pointedly said: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8, RS) So, being a saint in the sense that the term is used regarding Christ’s true followers does not mean that in the flesh they are free from all sin.
No. 3: Abyss—What the Bible Says About the Abyss (it-1 pp. 35-36)it-1 pp. 35-36 Abyss
According to Parkhurst’s Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament (London, 1845, p. 2), the Greek a′bys•sos means “very or exceedingly deep.” According to Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford, 1968, p. 4), it means “unfathomable, boundless.” The Greek Septuagint uses it regularly to translate the Hebrew tehohm′ (watery deep), as at Genesis 1:2; 7:11.
A′bys•sos occurs nine times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, seven of them being in the book of Revelation. It is from “the abyss” that the symbolic locusts come forth under the headship of their king, Abaddon or Apollyon, “the angel of the abyss.” (Re 9:1-3, 11) “The wild beast” that makes war against the “two witnesses” of God and kills them is also spoken of as coming “out of the abyss.” (Re 11:3, 7) Revelation 20:1-3 describes the future casting of Satan into the abyss for a thousand years; something that a legion of demons urged Jesus not to do to them on a certain occasion.—Lu 8:31.
Scriptural Significance. It is noteworthy that the Greek Septuagint does not use a′bys•sos to translate the Hebrew sheʼohl′, and in view of the fact that spirit creatures are cast into it, it cannot properly be limited in meaning to Sheol or Hades, inasmuch as these two words clearly refer to the common earthly grave of mankind. (Job 17:13-16; see HADES; SHEOL.) It does not refer to “the lake of fire,” since it is after Satan’s release from the abyss that he is thereupon hurled into the lake of fire. (Re 20:1-3, 7-10) Paul’s statement at Romans 10:7, in which he speaks of Christ as being in the abyss, also precludes such possibility and shows as well that the abyss is not the same as Tartarus.—See TARTARUS.
Romans 10:6, 7 aids in clearing up the meaning of “the abyss” in stating: “But the righteousness resulting from faith speaks in this manner: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down; or, “Who will descend into the abyss?” that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.’” (Compare De 30:11-13.) It is evident that “the abyss” here refers to the place in which Christ Jesus spent part of three days and from which place his Father resurrected him. (Compare Ps 71:19, 20; Mt 12:40.) Revelation 20:7 refers to the abyss as a “prison,” and the confinement of absolute restraint resulting from death in the case of Jesus certainly harmonizes with this.—Compare Ac 2:24; 2Sa 22:5, 6; Job 38:16, 17; Ps 9:13; 107:18; 116:3.
Concerning the root meaning “unfathomable” as characteristic of “the abyss,” it is of interest to note the statement in Hastings’ Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (1913, Vol. I, p. 54), which, in commenting on Romans 10:6, 7, says: “The impression conveyed by St. Paul’s language is of the vastness of that realm, as of one that we should vainly attempt to explore.” Paul contrasts the inaccessibility of “heaven” and of the “abyss” with the accessibility of righteousness by faith. The use of the related word ba′thos made by Paul at Romans 11:33 illustrates this: “O the depth [ba′thos] of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and past tracing out his ways are!” (See also 1Co 2:10; Eph 3:18, 19.) So, in harmony with Romans 10:6, 7, the place that is represented by “the abyss” would also evidently imply being out of the reach of anyone but God or his appointed angel with “the key of the abyss.” (Re 20:1) Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (p. 4) gives as one of the meanings of the word a′bys•sos “the infinite void.”
The plural form of the Hebrew word metsoh•lah′ (or metsu•lah′) is translated “large abyss” in Psalm 88:6 and literally means “abysses,” or “depths.” (Compare Zec 10:11.) It is related to tsu•lah′, meaning “watery deep.”—Isa 44:27.
References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD‒ROM
Download the references in PDF file for PCs, Smartphones and Tablets