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Congregation Bible Study | Study information for the book: Draw Close to Jehovah
cl chap. 28 ¶18-21, box on p. 289 (30 min.)
“You Alone Are Loyal”
18, 19. (a) How is Jehovah’s punishment of the wicked in itself an act of loyalty? (b) In what way will Jehovah demonstrate his loyalty to those of his servants who have been persecuted to the point of death?
18 God’s punishment of the wicked is in itself an act of loyalty. How? One indication is found in the book of Revelation in the commands that Jehovah issues to seven angels: “Go and pour out the seven bowls of the anger of God into the earth.” When the third angel pours his bowl “into the rivers and the fountains of the waters,” they become blood. Then the angel says to Jehovah: “You, the One who is and who was, the loyal One, are righteous, because you have rendered these decisions, because they poured out the blood of holy ones and of prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.”—Revelation 16:1-6.
Revelation 16:1-6 And I heard a loud voice out of the sanctuary say to the seven angels: “Go and pour out the seven bowls of the anger of God on the earth.” 2 The first one went off and poured out his bowl on the earth. And a hurtful and malignant ulcer afflicted the people who had the mark of the wild beast and who were worshipping its image. 3 The second one poured out his bowl into the sea. And it became blood like that of a dead man, and every living creature died, yes, the things in the sea. 4 The third one poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water. And they became blood. 5 I heard the angel over the waters say: “You, the One who is and who was, the loyal One, are righteous, for you have issued these judgments, 6 because they poured out the blood of holy ones and of prophets, and you have given them blood to drink; they deserve it.”
Jehovah will loyally remember and resurrect those who have proved loyal even to death
19 Note that in the midst of delivering that message of judgment, the angel refers to Jehovah as “the loyal One.” Why? Because by destroying the wicked, Jehovah is displaying loyalty to his servants, many of whom have been persecuted to the point of death. Loyally, Jehovah keeps such ones very much alive in his memory. He yearns to see these departed faithful ones again, and the Bible confirms that his purpose is to reward them with a resurrection. (Job 14:14, 15) Jehovah does not forget his loyal servants simply because they are no longer alive. On the contrary, “they are all living to him.” (Luke 20:37, 38) Jehovah’s purpose to bring back to life those who are in his memory is powerful evidence of his loyalty.
Job 14:14, 15 If a man dies, can he live again? I will wait all the days of my compulsory serviceUntil my relief comes. 15 You will call, and I will answer you. You will long for the work of your hands.
Luke 20:37, 38 But that the dead are raised up, even Moses made known in the account about the thornbush, when he calls Jehovah ‘the God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob.’ 38 He is a God, not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all living to him.”
Bernard Luimes (left) and Wolfgang Kusserow (center) were executed by the Nazis
Moses Nyamussua (right) was speared to death by a political group
Jehovah’s Loyal Love Opens Up the Way of Salvation
20. Who are the “vessels of mercy,” and how does Jehovah show loyalty to them?
20 Throughout history, Jehovah has shown remarkable loyalty toward faithful humans. In fact, for thousands of years, Jehovah has “tolerated with much long-suffering vessels of wrath made fit for destruction.” Why? “In order that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory.” (Romans 9:22, 23) These “vessels of mercy” are rightly disposed ones who are anointed by holy spirit to be joint heirs with Christ in his Kingdom. (Matthew 19:28) By opening up the way of salvation for these vessels of mercy, Jehovah remained loyal to Abraham, to whom he had made this covenant promise: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves due to the fact that you have listened to my voice.”—Genesis 22:18.
Romans 9:22, 23 What, then, if God had the will to demonstrate his wrath and to make his power known, and he tolerated with much patience vessels of wrath made fit for destruction? 23 And if this was done to make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory,
Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.
Genesis 22:18 And by means of your offspring all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves because you have listened to my voice.’”
Because of Jehovah’s loyalty, all his faithful servants have a reliable hope for the future
21. (a) How does Jehovah show loyalty to “a great crowd” who have the prospect of coming out of “the great tribulation”? (b) What does Jehovah’s loyalty move you to do?
21 Jehovah shows similar loyalty to “a great crowd” who have the prospect of coming out of “the great tribulation” and of living forever on a paradise earth. (Revelation 7:9, 10, 14) Although his servants are imperfect, Jehovah loyally extends to them the opportunity to live forever on a paradise earth. How does he do so? By means of the ransom—the greatest demonstration of Jehovah’s loyalty. (John 3:16; Romans 5:8) Jehovah’s loyalty attracts those who, in their hearts, hunger for righteousness. (Jeremiah 31:3) Do you not feel closer to Jehovah for the deep loyalty he has shown and will yet show? Since it is our desire to draw close to God, may we respond to his love by strengthening our resolve to serve him with loyalty.
Revelation 7:9, 10 After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. 10 And they keep shouting with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Revelation 7:14 So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one who knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:8 But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Jeremiah 31:3 3 From far away Jehovah appeared to me and said: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have drawn you to me with loyal love.
Questions for Meditation
1 Samuel 24:1-22 In his treatment of King Saul, how did David display the kind of loyalty that Jehovah values?
1 Samuel 24:1-22 As soon as Saul returned from pursuing the Phi•lisʹtines, they told him: “Look! David is in the wilderness of En-gedʹi.” 2 So Saul took 3,000 men chosen from all Israel and went to look for David and his men on the rocky cliffs of the mountain goats. 3 Saul came to the stone sheepfolds along the road, where there was a cave, and he went in to relieve himself while David and his men were sitting in the recesses at the back of the cave. 4 David’s men said to him: “This is the day on which Jehovah is saying to you, ‘Look! I am giving your enemy into your hand, and you can do to him whatever seems good to you.’” So David rose up and quietly cut off the edge of Saul’s sleeveless coat. 5 But afterward David’s heart kept striking him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s sleeveless coat. 6 He said to his men: “It is unthinkable from Jehovah’s standpoint that I should do such a thing to my lord, the anointed of Jehovah, by lifting my hand against him, for he is the anointed of Jehovah.” 7 So David restrained his men with these words, and he did not allow them to attack Saul. As for Saul, he rose up from the cave and went on his way. 8 Then David got up and went out from the cave and called out after Saul: “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down low with his face to the ground and prostrated himself. 9 David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Look! David is seeking to harm you’? 10 This very day your own eyes have seen how Jehovah gave you into my hand in the cave. But when someone said to kill you, I had pity on you and said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my lord, for he is the anointed of Jehovah.’ 11 And look, my father, yes, see the edge of your sleeveless coat in my hand; for when I cut off the edge of your sleeveless coat, I did not kill you. You can now see and understand that I do not intend to harm you or to rebel, and I have not sinned against you, whereas you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May Jehovah judge between you and me, and may Jehovah take vengeance on you for me, but my hand will not come against you. 13 Just as the ancient proverb says, ‘From the wicked comes wickedness,’ but my hand will not come against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel gone out? Whom are you chasing? A dead dog? A single flea? 15 May Jehovah be the judge, and he will judge between you and me, and he will see and will plead my case and judge me and rescue me from your hand.” 16 At the moment that David finished speaking these words to him, Saul said: “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul began to weep loudly. 17 He said to David: “You are more righteous than I am, for you have treated me well and I have repaid you with evil. 18 Yes, today you have told me of the good you did by not killing me when Jehovah surrendered me into your hand. 19 For what man finds his enemy and sends him on his way unharmed? Jehovah will reward you with good because of what you have done for me today. 20 And now look! I know that you will surely rule as king and that in your hand the kingdom of Israel will endure. 21 Now swear to me by Jehovah that you will not wipe out my descendants after me and that you will not annihilate my name out of my father’s house.” 22 So David swore to Saul, after which Saul went home. But David and his men went up to the stronghold.
Esther 3:7-9; 4:6-14 How did Esther demonstrate godly loyalty toward her people, even at the risk of her life?
Esther 3:7-9 In the first month, that is, the month of Niʹsan, in the 12th year of King A•has•u•eʹrus, they cast Pur (that is, the Lot) before Haʹman to determine the day and the month, and it fell on the 12th month, that is, Aʹdar. 8 Haʹman then said to King A•has•u•eʹrus: “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of all other peoples; and they do not obey the king’s laws, and it is not in the king’s interests to let them be. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed. I will pay 10,000 silver talents to the officials to put into the royal treasury.”
Esther 4:6-14 So Haʹthach went out to Morʹde•cai in the public square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Morʹde•cai told him about everything that had happened to him and the exact amount of money that Haʹman had promised to pay to the king’s treasury for the Jews to be destroyed. 8 He also gave him a copy of the written decree that had been issued in Shuʹshan for their annihilation. He was to show it to Esther and explain it to her and instruct her to go in to the king to beg for his favor and to plead directly with him in behalf of her people. 9 Haʹthach came back and told Esther what Morʹde•cai had said. 10 Esther replied to Haʹthach with instructions to tell Morʹde•cai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces are aware that if any man or woman goes into the king’s inner courtyard without being summoned, there is only one law that applies: He is to be put to death; he may live only if the king holds out to him the golden scepter. And I have not been summoned to the king now for 30 days.” 12 When Morʹde•cai was told what Esther had said, 13 he replied to Esther: “Do not imagine that because you are in the king’s household you are any more likely to escape than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether it is for a time like this that you have attained to your royal status?”
Psalm 136:1-26 What does this psalm teach us about Jehovah’s loving-kindness, or loyal love?
Psalm 136:1-26 Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good;His loyal love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods,For his loyal love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,For his loyal love endures forever. 4 He alone does great wonders,For his loyal love endures forever. 5 He skillfully made the heavens,For his loyal love endures forever. 6 He spread out the earth over the waters,For his loyal love endures forever. 7 He made the great lights,For his loyal love endures forever, 8 The sun to rule over the day,For his loyal love endures forever, 9 The moon and the stars to rule over the night,For his loyal love endures forever. 10 He struck down Egypt’s firstborn,For his loyal love endures forever. 11 He brought Israel out from their midst,For his loyal love endures forever,12 With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,For his loyal love endures forever. 13 He split the Red Sea in two,For his loyal love endures forever. 14 He caused Israel to pass through the middle of it,For his loyal love endures forever. 15 He shook off Pharʹaoh and his army into the Red Sea,For his loyal love endures forever. 16 He led his people through the wilderness,For his loyal love endures forever. 17 He struck down great kings,For his loyal love endures forever. 18 He killed mighty kings,For his loyal love endures forever,19 Siʹhon the king of the Amʹor•ites,For his loyal love endures forever,20 And Og the king of Baʹshan,For his loyal love endures forever. 21 He gave their land as an inheritance,For his loyal love endures forever,22 An inheritance to Israel his servant,For his loyal love endures forever. 23 He remembered us when we were low,For his loyal love endures forever. 24 He kept rescuing us from our adversaries,For his loyal love endures forever. 25 He gives food to every living thing,For his loyal love endures forever. 26 Give thanks to the God of the heavens,For his loyal love endures forever.
Obadiah 1-4, 10-16 How did Jehovah’s loyalty to his people move him to punish the Edomites for their disloyal conduct?
Obadiah 1-4 The vision of O•ba•diʹah: This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says regarding Eʹdom: “We have heard a report from Jehovah,An envoy has been sent among the nations: ‘Rise up, let us prepare for battle against her.’” 2 “Look! I have made you insignificant among the nations;You are utterly despised. 3 The presumptuousness of your heart has deceived you,You who reside in the retreats of the crag,Dwelling in the height, saying in your heart,‘Who will bring me down to the earth?’ 4 Even if you make your dwelling high like the eagle,Or if you place your nest among the stars,I would bring you down from there,” declares Jehovah.
Obadiah 10-16 Because of the violence done to your brother Jacob,Shame will cover you,And you will perish forever. 11 On the day when you stood off to the side,On the day when strangers took his army into captivity,When foreigners entered his gate and cast lots over Jerusalem,You acted like one of them. 12 You should not gloat over your brother’s day on the day of his misfortune,You should not rejoice over the people of Judah on the day of their perishing,And you should not speak so arrogantly on the day of their distress. 13 You should not come into the gate of my people in the day of their disaster,You should not gloat over his calamity in the day of his disaster,And you should not lay your hands on his wealth in the day of his disaster. 14 You should not stand at the crossroads to slaughter his escapees,And you should not hand over his survivors in the day of distress. 15 For the day of Jehovah against all the nations is near. As you have done, so it will be done to you. The way you treated others will come back on your own head. 16 For in the way that you have drunk on my holy mountain,All the nations will keep drinking constantly. They will drink and gulp down,And they will be as though they had never existed.
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