New Light at DC?

by zack 36 Replies latest jw friends

  • stillajwexelder

    I have known information being released at DCs before - so not totally impossible

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    Dear Mudwhich:

    Here is the "explanation" regarding the Nethinim.





    "Strangers will actually stand and shepherd the flocks of you people."—ISAIAH 61:5.

    WHAT a generous giver God is! The apostle Paul said: "[Jehovah] himself gives to all persons life and breath and all things." (Acts 17:25) Each of us can benefit from reflecting on the many ‘good gifts and perfect presents’ that we receive from God.—James 1:5, 17; Psalm 29:11; Matthew 7:7; 10:19; 13:12; 21:43.


    With good reason the psalmist wondered how he might repay Jehovah. (Psalm 116:12) Our Creator does not really need anything that humans might have or could give. (Psalm 50:10, 12) Jehovah indicates, though, that it pleases him when people appreciatively give of themselves in true worship. (Compare Hebrews 10:5-7.) All humans should give of themselves in dedication to their Creator who, in turn, may extend added privileges, as was the case with the ancient Levites. Though all Israelites were dedicated to God, he chose the Levitical family of Aaron as priests to offer sacrifices at the tabernacle and the temple. What about the rest of the Levites?


    Jehovah told Moses: "Bring the tribe of Levi near . . . And they must take care of all the utensils of the tent of meeting . . . And you must give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They are given ones [Hebrew, nethu·nim´], given to him from the sons of Israel." (Numbers 3:6, 8, 9, 41) The Levites were "given" to Aaron to carry out duties in tabernacle service, so God could say: "They are given ones, given tome from among the sons of Israel." (Numbers 8:16, 19; 18:6) Some Levites performed simple tasks; others received outstanding privileges, such as teaching God’s laws. (Numbers 1:50, 51; 1 Chronicles 6:48; 23:3, 4, 24-32; 2 Chronicles 35:3-5) Let us now shift our consideration to another "given" people and a modern parallel.




    Ezra and Nehemiah relate how a remnant of Israelites, led by Governor Zerubbabel, returned from Babylon to their land, to restore true worship. Both accounts report that these returnees totaled 42,360. Thousands of that number were "men of the people of Israel." The accounts next list the priests. Then come about 350 Levites, including Levitical singers and gatekeepers. Ezra and Nehemiah write also of additional thousands who were apparently Israelites, maybe even priests, but who could not prove their genealogy.—Ezra 1:1, 2; 2:2-42, 59-64; Nehemiah 7:7-45, 61-66.


    This remnant of Israel taken into exile and who later returned to Jerusalem and to Judah displayed outstanding devotion to God and deep commitment to true worship. As noted, we see in modern times a fitting correspondency in the remnant of spiritual Israel who came out of captivity to Babylon the Great in 1919.


    Since their release in 1919, the remnant of Christ’s anointed brothers have moved zealously forward in true worship. Jehovah has blessed their efforts to gather the final ones of the 144,000 making up "the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:16; Revelation 7:3, 4) As a group, the anointed remnant constitute "the faithful and discreet slave" class used to provide an abundance of life-giving spiritual food, which they have worked hard to distribute earth wide.—Matthew 24:45-47.


    As the preceding article showed, Jehovah’s people now include millions of "other sheep," who have the God-given hope of passing through the great tribulation just ahead. They desire to serve Jehovah forever on earth, where they will hunger and thirst no more and where tears of sadness will no longer flow. (John 10:16; Revelation 7:9-17; 21:3-5) Do we find in the account of the returnees from Babylon anything corresponding to such ones? Yes!




    When the call went out for lovers of Jehovah in Babylon to return to the Promised Land, thousands of non-Israelites responded. In the lists provided by Ezra and Nehemiah, we read of the "Nethinim" (meaning, "Given Ones") and "the sons of the servants of Solomon," whose combined number was 392. The accounts mention also more than 7,500 others: ‘men slaves and slave girls,’ as well as non-Levite "male singers and female singers." (Ezra 2:43-58, 65; Nehemiah 7:46-60, 67) What moved so many non-Israelites to return?


    Ezra 1:5 speaks of "everyone whose spirit the true God had roused, to go up and rebuild the house of Jehovah." Yes, Jehovah moved all those who returned. He stimulated their spirit, that is, their impelling mental inclination. Even from the heavens, God could do this by using his holy spirit, his active force. Thus, all who rose "to go up and rebuild the house of Jehovah" were helped "by [God’s] spirit."—Zechariah 4:1, 6; Haggai 1:14.




    Who are foreshadowed by such non-Israelite returnees? Many Christians might reply: ‘The Nethinim correspond to the "other sheep" today.’ True, but not just the Nethinim; for allthenon-Israeliteswhoreturned represent Christians today who are not of spiritual Israel.


    The book YouMaySurviveArmageddonIntoGod’sNewWorld observed: "The remnant of 42,360 Israelites were not the only ones that left Babylon with governor Zerubbabel . . . There were thousands of non-Israelites . . . Besides the Nethinim there were other non-Israelites, the slaves, the professional male and female singers and the descendants of the servants of King Solomon." The book explained: "The Nethinim, the slaves, the singers and the sons of the servants of Solomon, all non-Israelites, left the land of captivity and returned with the Israelite remnant . . . So is it right to think that today people of different nationalities who are not spiritual Israelites would associate themselves with the remnant of spiritual Israel and promote the worship of Jehovah God with them? Yes." Such ones ‘have become modern-day, antitypical Nethinim, singers, and sons of the servants of Solomon.’


    As in the ancient pattern, God provides his spirit also for these hoping to live forever on earth. True, they are not born again. Each of the 144,000 has the singular experience of being born again as a spiritual son of God and anointed with holy spirit. (John 3:3, 5; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13, 14) Of course, that anointing is a unique manifestation of God’s spirit in behalf of the little flock. But God’s spirit is also needed to carry out his will. Hence, Jesus said: ‘The Father in heaven gives holy spirit to those asking him.’ (Luke 11:13) Whether the one asking has the heavenly hope or is of the other sheep, Jehovah’s spirit is abundantly available to carry out His will.


    God’s spirit moved both Israelites and non-Israelites to return to Jerusalem, and it strengthens and helps all of his loyal people today. Whether a Christian’s God-provided hope is life in heaven or life on earth, he must preach the good news, and holy spirit enables him to be faithful in that. Every one of us—whichever our hope—ought to cultivate the fruits of the spirit, which all of us need in full measure.—Galatians 5:22-26.




    Among the thousands of non-Israelites that the spirit moved to return were two small groups that God’s Word singled out—the Nethinim and the sons of the servants of Solomon. Who were they? What did they do? And what might this mean today?


    The Nethinim were a group who had non-Israelite origins and who were privileged to minister with the Levites. Recall the Canaanites from Gibeon who became "gatherers of wood and drawers of water for the assembly and for Jehovah’s altar." (Joshua 9:27) Probably some of their descendants were among the Nethinim returning from Babylon, as well as others who had been added as Nethinim during David’s reign and at other times. (Ezra 8:20) What did the Nethinim do? The Levites were given to help the priests, and thereafter the Nethinim were given to help the Levites. Even for circumcised foreigners, this was a privilege.


    When the group returned from Babylon, it contained few Levites, compared to the priests or Nethinim and "sons of the servants of Solomon." (Ezra 8:15-20) The DictionaryoftheBible, by Dr. James Hastings, observes: "After a time we find [the Nethinim] so completely established as a sacred official class, that privileges are accorded to them." The scholarly journal VetusTestamentum notes: "A change occurred. After the Return from Exile, these [foreigners] were no longer regarded as slaves of the Temple, but as ministrants in it, enjoying a status similar to that of those other bodies, which officiated in the Temple."—See the box "A Changed Status."


    Of course, the Nethinim did not become the equals of the priests and the Levites. The latter groups were Israelites, who were chosen by Jehovah himself and not to be supplanted by non-Israelites. Yet, the Biblical indications are that in the face of a reduced number of Levites, the Nethinim were given more to do in God’s service. They were assigned living quarters close to the temple. In Nehemiah’s day they worked with priests in repairing walls near the temple. (Nehemiah 3:22-26) And the king of Persia decreed that the Nethinim be exempt from taxes, just as the Levites were exempt because of their temple service. (Ezra 7:24) This indicates how closely these "given ones" (Levites and Nethinim) were then linked in spiritual matters and how the Nethinim’s assignments increased in accord with the need, though they never were counted as being Levites. When Ezra later collected exiles to return, no Levites were initially among them. So he intensified efforts to collect some. That resulted in 38 Levites and 220 Nethinim returning to serve as "ministers for the house of our God."—Ezra 8:15-20.


    A second group of non-Israelites singled out were the sons of the servants of Solomon. The Bible gives few details about them. Some were "the sons of Sophereth." Ezra adds a definite article to that name, making it Has·so·phe´reth, possibly meaning "the scribe." (Ezra 2:55; Nehemiah 7:57) They thus may have been a staff of scribes or copyists, possibly temple/administrative scribes. Though of foreign extraction, the sons of the servants of Solomon proved their devotion to Jehovah by leaving Babylon and returning to share in restoring His worship.




    In our time, God has used the anointed remnant mightily in spearheading pure worship and declaring the good news. (Mark 13:10) How these have rejoiced to see tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and then millions of other sheep join them in worship! And what delightful cooperation there has been between the remnant and the other sheep!—John 10:16.


    All the non-Israelites who returned from exile in ancient Babylon parallel the other sheep who now serve with the remnant of spiritual Israel. What, though, of the fact that the Bible singles out the Nethinim and the sons of the servants of Solomon? In the pattern the Nethinim and the sons of the servants of Solomon were given privileges beyond those of other non-Israelite returnees. This could well foreshadow that God today has extended privileges and added duties to some mature and willing other sheep.


    The Nethinim’s added privileges were linked directly to spiritual activities. The sons of the servants of Solomon evidently received administrative responsibilities. Similarly today, Jehovah has blessed his people with "gifts in men" to care for their needs. (Ephesians 4:8, 11, 12) Included in this provision are many hundreds of mature, experienced brothers who share in ‘shepherding the flocks,’ serving as circuit and district overseers and on Branch Committees at the Watch Tower Society’s 98 branches. (Isaiah 61:5) At the world headquarters of the Society, under the direction of "the faithful steward" and its Governing Body, capable men receive training to help in preparing spiritual food supplies. (Luke 12:42) Other longtime dedicated volunteers have been trained to operate Bethel homes and factories and to oversee programs worldwide in constructing new branch facilities and halls for Christian worship. They have excelled in serving as close helpers of the anointed remnant, who constitute part of the royal priesthood.—Compare 1 Corinthians 4:17; 14:40; 1 Peter 2:9.


    In ancient times, priests and Levites continued to serve among the Jews. (John 1:19) Today, however, the remnant of spiritual Israel on earth must go on decreasing. (Contrast John 3:30.) Finally, after the demise of Babylon the Great, all 144,000 ‘sealed ones’ will be in heaven for the marriage of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:1-3; 19:1-8) But now the other sheep must go on increasing. The fact that some of them, comparable to the Nethinim and the sons of the servants of Solomon, are now being assigned weighty responsibilities under the oversight of the anointed remnant does not cause them to be presumptuous or feel self-important. (Romans 12:3) This gives us confidence that as God’s people "come out of the great tribulation," there will be experienced men—"princes"—prepared to take the lead among the other sheep.—Revelation 7:14; Isaiah 32:1; compare Acts 6:2-7.


    All who returned from Babylon were willing to work hard and prove that they had Jehovah’s worship uppermost in mind and heart. It is the same today. Along with the anointed remnant, "strangers . . . actually stand and shepherd the flocks." (Isaiah 61:5) So no matter what God-provided hope we have, and no matter what privileges may be extended spirit-appointed elders before the day of Jehovah’s vindication at Armageddon, let all of us cultivate a selfless, wholesome, giving spirit. While we can never repay Jehovah for all of his grand benefits, may we be whole-souled in whatever we are doing within his organization. (Psalm 116:12-14; Colossians 3:23) Thus all of us can give of ourselves for true worship, as other sheep serve closely with anointed ones, who are destined to "rule as kings over the earth."—Revelation 5:9, 10.


  • stillajwexelder

    Ezekiel Chieftain Class - could also pave the way for an updated Ezekiel book to be released at DC. Think about it. Re-released Revelation, Daniel Book a few years ago, Isaiah books 1 and 2 recently and of course last year the minor prophets. I feel time is ripe for a new Ezekiel book

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    Paragraph 18:

    "Will all the anointed receive their heavenly reward before the war of Armageddon? We do not know...."

    Per JWs, there is a pause between the outbreak of the GT and the war of Armageddon. The statement quoted does not address the issue of whether or not the anointed will be present at the outbreak of the GT.


  • MadTiger

    I have been to only one meeting and one Memorial in 7.5 years, and I don't consider this new light.
    I don't ever recall anything being said contrary to this while I was deeply in (1990-9)

    Unless it just made sense to me in the 90s, and I was "ahead of the chariot."

  • blondie

    What would be the change, zack, from what was on the DC in 1998 and studied in the WT in 1999. I was still in then and I remember it meaning that when the anointed were gone that the chieftains (princes, sheiks) would be in charge. They are in charge now. How many congegations have elders that are anointed, how many COs and DOs are anointed, how many in charge at Bethel are anointed.

    The question is will the anointed die off slowly or suddenly die and be taken to heaven at the beginning of the GT when the WTS says the marriage of the Lamb takes place. Could a wedding take place with part of the bride "class" still on earth?

    These are old questions without answers and I don't think the WTS has the answers now.

    As to getting direction from the anointed in heaven, the same questions are there that were there in regard to how does Jesus communicate (or God) with the FDS on earth? Visions, conversations, angels, etc. They haven't had an opinion since Rutherford said the angels "guided" him.


  • becca1

    To second what has already been said by Blondie and others: Th Sociaey has said for years now that they "dont' know if any annointed will be left on earth" at Armaggedon. Therefore leaving the door open for that possibility, and covering their tooshies.

  • Gregor

    Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall during a major doctrine 'adjustment' discussion by the GB?

    I think the R&F JW would be shocked to hear the GB talking about the pragmatic strategy and legal issues and not talking about any visions from Jah or new understanding of the Greek word for "horseshit".

  • zack

    Blondie: Yes, the "Chieftain" class (and this is all JW speak) has done the heavy lifting in reality, not the "anointed" for many, many years. But it has

    been under the "direction" of the FDS (read GB.) The FDS doctrine is the CORE doctrine of ecclesiastical authority in the Org. If there are no more "anointed" on

    Earth, or "genuine" anointed, then there can be no FDS on Earth. So, a doctrinal shift has to be made for the future before the ranks of the "new" anointed fill up

    with people who may believe themselves to be ''Christians" and not of the ilk the power players can mollify or manipulate. If the doctrine were to be changed,

    the FDS, like Elijah, can then "pass the mantle" to the "Chieftain" class, like Elisha, and the doctrine of divine appointment and authority can continue. The interim between

    the passing of the mantle and the start of the BIG A can be reasoned away by likening it to the period of time it takes the angels to "release" the 4 winds of the Big A and the winds

    ACTUALLY reaching the Earth. I know it's far fetched, but I have heard similiar scenarios, and the reason is that the power structure wants to stay in power and they

    will not let ANYONE get in their way. They will control the corporations, the teachings, and the people no matter how convoluted the explanation. The explanation, however, has

    to contain continuity, (like Peter and the Bishops of Rome for Catholics), and if the living FDS on Earth pass the mantle, what true Christain of Jehovah could deny it was God's will?

    If the FDS says it IT MUST BE TRUE.

    (I love your posts, by the way. Your WT comments are great!)

  • truthseeker

    There's one problem with that theory Zack, and that is how to non-anointed chieftains get direction?

    Are they going to say that the 24 elders communicate with the Nephinim?

    There is a HUGE difference between an anointed member and a member of the great crowd. One is supposed to have some sort of telecommunicative ability, becasue that's what the Jan 1 WT says, that the 24 elders are giving new light to the anointed - maybe the 24 elders plant thoughts into their minds or something.

    A member of the Nephinim doesn't have this so called privilege, so how would they discern what Jehovah wants them to do in the future if there were no more FDS on earth?

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