Comments You Will Not Hear at the 09-18-11 WT Study (JULY 15, 2011, pages 24-28)(GOD’S REST)
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GOD’S REST—WHAT IS IT?
“There remains a sabbath resting for the people of God.”—HEB. 4:9.
Pre-1975, the WTS talked a great deal about the 7 th creative day being God’s day of rest and that it had not ended yet in the late 60’s to early 70’s. Thus Armageddon and the 1,000 year reign was still in the future.
They developed the idea that humans were approaching the 6,000 year of human history in 1975 and that an additional 1,000 years were needed to fall within that 7,000 year long 7 th creative day. 6,000 + 1,000 = 7,000. Of course that had to explain the time period between Adam’s creation (beginning of human history) and the creation of Eve (end of the 6 th creative day). In the Aid to Bible Understanding book they put for the idea that Adam and Eve were created in the same year. The WTS later backed away from that idea and by 1989 no longer says that a creative day is 7,000 years long, just an ambiguous “thousands of years.” Later when the end did not materialize in 1975, they said that point had been overlooked by the rank and file, that Adam could have been 30 years old when Eve was created. Yet, here we are 36 years past 1975 (2011) and the end is not yet.
*** w67 7/15 p.427 par.5***
It is good to know that this weekly sabbath of the Jews is only “a shadow of the good things to come.” The Bible indicates that Jehovah created the heavens and the earth in six days, each 7,000 years in length. On the seventh day Jehovah rested from his creative work and entered into his sabbath. Mankind, however did not keep peaceful rest or sabbath with Jehovah, but through disobedience came into bondage to sin, imperfection and death. Almost six thousand years of the seventh day have passed and there is only a little more than a thousand years left. Jesus, speaking of the weekly sabbath day, said: “The sabbath came into existence for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the sabbath.” So these last thousand years are set aside by Jehovah for a special purpose foreshadowed by the weekly sabbath of the Jews, namely, for the reign of Christ Jesus, his Son, for Jesus went on to say: “Hence the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, 28) It is a thousand-year sabbath within Jehovah’s great 7,000-year sabbath of rest. Like the weekly sabbath, the greater thousand-year sabbath will be devoted to the worship of Jehovah, and to the education of all the living, including those resurrected from the memorial tombs, in the righteous requirements of Jehovah.—Heb. 10:1; Gen. 2:1-3; John 5:28, 29.
***w76 1/1 p. 30 ***
Why do we not know when God’s “rest day” began and when it will end?
Although the time of Adam’s creation can be determined, the beginning of God’s “rest day” cannot. This is so because there was a time lapse of unspecified length between Adam’s creation and the creation of Eve. Not until after the creation of Eve did God’s “rest day” begin. The start of that day being unknown, its end is likewise unknown.—P. 579.
"According to reliable Bible chronology, Adam and Eve were created in 4026 B.C.E." (Awake!, 10-8-68, p. 14)
"Therefore, God's seventh day and the time man has been on earth apparently run parallel. To calculate where man is in the stream of time relative to God's seventh day of 7,000 years, we need to determine how long a time has elapsed from the year of Adam and Eve's creation in 4026 B.C.E. ....Thus, eight years remain to account for a full 6,000 years of the seventh day. Eight years from the autumn of 1967 would bring us to the autumn of 1975, fully 6,000 years into God's seventh day, his rest day." (The Watchtower, 5-1-68, p. 271)
"At the age of 130 another son was born to her. Eve called his name Seth...." (Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971 ed., p. 538). If this information is compared to the chart in the lower right-hand corner of page 333 of the same volume, one will see, "From Adam's creation to the birth of Seth" was "130 years". Hence, both Adam and Eve were 130 years old when Seth was born, implying they were both created in the same year.
START OF ARTICLE
1, 2. What can we conclude from an accurate rendering
of Genesis 2:3, and what questions arise?
FROM the first chapter of Genesis, we
learn that God prepared the earth for human
habitation during six figurative days.
The end of each of these periods is marked
by the words: “There came to be evening
and there came to be morning.” (Gen. 1:5, 8,
13, 19, 23, 31) However, with respect to the
seventh day, the Bible states: “God proceeded
to bless the seventh day and make it sacred,
because on it he has been resting from
all his work that God has created.”—Gen.
If you ask an older jw, someone who was an adult before 1975, how long a creative day is, they might just say 7,000 years; younger jws might just say, thousands of years. Why the difference. Because since 1987 the WTS never mentions 7,000 year creative days, just generally, thousands of years.
2 Notice the form of the verb “has been
resting.” That suggests that the seventh day
—God’s “day” of rest—was under way in
1513 B.C.E. when Moses wrote the book of
Genesis. Is God’s rest day still ongoing? If so,
can we enter into it today? The answers to
these questions are of vital importance to us.
Why does the WTS find it necessary to remind jws that they are still in “God’s rest day”? Are the over 7 million jws getting antsy for the end to come SOON as the WTS advertises?
Do you remember the “six lines of evidence” used by the WTS in 2000?
*** w00 1/15 pp.12-13 Six Convincing Lines of Evidence
First , we clearly see the fulfillment of the apostle Paul’s prophecy concerning “the last days.” Paul wrote: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away. But wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) Do we not see this prophecy being fulfilled in our day? Only those who ignore the facts can deny it!
Second , we see the effects of the ouster of Satan and his demons from heaven, in fulfillment of Revelation 12:9. There, we read: “Down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.” This has resulted in great woe for the earth. Truly, there has been much woe for mankind, particularly since 1914. But the prophecy in Revelation adds that when the Devil is cast down to the earth, he knows that “he has a short period of time.” (Revelation 12:12) During this period, Satan wages war with the anointed followers of Christ. (Revelation 12:17) We certainly have seen the effects of his attack in our time. Soon, however, Satan will be confined in the abyss so that “he might not mislead the nations anymore.”—Revelation 20:1-3.
Third , we are living in the time of the eighth and final “king” mentioned in the prophecy recorded at Revelation 17:9-11. Here the apostle John mentions seven kings, representing seven world powers—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Anglo-American dual world power. He also sees “an eighth king” that “springs from the seven.” This eighth king—the last one that John envisions—now represents the United Nations. John says that this eighth king “goes off into destruction,” after which no further earthly kings are mentioned.
Fourth , we are living in the period symbolized by the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image. The prophet Daniel interpreted this mysterious dream of an enormous image in human form. (Daniel 2:36-43) The four metallic parts of the image represent various world powers, beginning with the head (the Babylonian Empire) and extending down to the feet and toes (the governments that are ruling today). All the world powers represented in that image have made their appearance. We are living in the period symbolized by the feet of the image. No mention is made of other powers to come.
Fifth , we see a global preaching work being accomplished, which Jesus said would take place just before the end of this system. Jesus stated: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Today, that prophecy is in the course of fulfillment on an unprecedented scale. True, untouched territories still exist, and it may be that in Jehovah’s due time, a large door leading to greater activity will open. (1 Corinthians 16:9) Nevertheless, the Bible does not state that Jehovah will wait until every individual on earth has received a personal witness. Rather, the good news must be preached to Jehovah’s satisfaction. Then the end will come.—Compare Matthew 10:23.
Sixth , the number of genuine anointed disciples of Christ is dwindling , though some will evidently still be on earth when the great tribulation begins. Most of the remnant are quite elderly, and over the years the number of those who are truly anointed has been getting smaller. Yet, referring to the great tribulation, Jesus stated: “Unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21, 22) Evidently, then, some of Christ’s “chosen ones” will still be on earth when the great tribulation begins.
Is Jehovah Still “Resting”?
3. How do Jesus’ words recorded at John 5:16, 17 indicate
that the seventh day was continuing in the
3 Two lines of evidence lead us to the conclusion
that the seventh day was still under
way in the first century C.E. First, consider
Jesus’ words to opposers who criticized him
for healing on the Sabbath, which they construed
as a form of work. The Lord said to
them: “My Father has kept working until
now, and I keep working.” (John 5:16, 17)
What was the point? Jesus was being accused
of working on the Sabbath. His reply:
“My Father has kept working” answered that
charge. In effect, Jesus was saying to his critics:
‘My Father and I are engaged in the same
type of work. Since my Father has kept working
during his millenniums-long Sabbath, it
is quite permissible for me to keep working,
even on the Sabbath.’ Thus, Jesus implied
that as regards the earth, God’s great Sabbath
day of rest, the seventh day, had not
ended in his day.*
*The priests and Levites performed work on the Sabbath
in connection with the temple and ‘remained guiltless.’
As the high priest of God’s great spiritual temple,
Jesus could also carry out his spiritual assignment without
fear of violating the Sabbath.—Matt. 12:5, 6.
4. What further evidence does Paul furnish that the
seventh day was ongoing in his day?
4 A second line of evidence is provided by
the apostle Paul. When quoting Genesis 2:2
concerning God’s rest, Paul wrote under inspiration:
“We who have exercised faith do
enter into the rest.” (Heb. 4:3, 4, 6, 9) So the
seventh day was ongoing in Paul’s day. How
much longer was that day of rest to continue?
Notice that not once has the WTS said that the seventh day is 7,000 years long. Or that 4026 BCE to today is 4026 + 2011 = 6037 (6036) years. How does the WTS plan to schedule the 1,000 year reign of Christ within the 7,000 years they once allotted. Or was Adam 30 years old when Eve was created, ending the sixth day. That still leads us to 6036 years (3996 + 2011 = 6037 (6036))…964 years, 36 years short.
5. What was the purpose of the seventh day, and
when will that purpose be fully realized?
5 In order to answer that question, we
must remember the purpose of the seventh
day. Genesis 2:3 explains what it is: “God
proceeded to bless the seventh day and make
it sacred.” That day was ‘made sacred’—sanctified,
or set apart, by Jehovah—in order to
bring his purpose to completion. That purpose
is for the earth to be inhabited by obedient
men and women who will take care of it
and all life upon it. (Gen. 1:28) It is toward
the realization of that purpose that both
Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, the “Lord
of the sabbath,” have “kept working until
now.” (Matt.12:8) God’s rest day will continue
until his purpose in connection with it
has been fully realized at the end of Christ’s
Thousand Year Reign.
Remember that Adam and Eve sinned after the end of the sixth creative day, during the 7 th creative day.
Obedient men and women = only jws
Do Not “Fall in the Same Pattern of Disobedience”
6. What examples serve as a warning to us, and
what lesson can we learn from them?
6 God’s purpose was clearly explained to
Adam and Eve, but they failed to cooperate
with it. Of course, Adam and Eve were only
the first humans to pursue a course of disobedience.
There have been millions of others since then.
Even God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel,
fell into a pattern of disobedience.
And significantly, Paul warned
first-century Christians that even some of
them could fall into the same trap as the ancient
Israelites. He wrote: “Let us therefore
do our utmost to enter into that rest, for fear
anyone should fall in the same pattern of
disobedience.” (Heb. 4:11) Notice that Paul
links disobedience with failure to enter into
God’s rest. What does that mean for us? If
we were to rebel against God’s purpose in
some way, might we run the risk of not entering
into God’s rest? Clearly, the answer to
that question is of great importance to us,
and we will consider it further. At this point,
however, let us see what more we can learn
about entering into God’s rest by considering
the bad example of the Israelites.
Remember that God did not “clearly” explain anything to Eve. Per the WTS, Adam explained it to her. Eve never had any direct contact with God or even his spirit representative (said to be Jesus as Michael the archangel).
*** w89 8/1 pp.11-12 par.7***
Not for long was the first man, Adam, baffled about the situation in which he found himself alive and alone, with no one else like him visible in the Paradise garden. He heard a voice, someone speaking. The man understood it. But where was the speaker? The man saw no one doing the speaking. The voice came from the invisible, the unseen realm, and it was addressing him. It was the voice of the man’s Maker, his Creator! And the man could answer him in the same kind of speech. He found himself talking with God, the Creator. The man needed no modern scientific radio receiver to hear the divine voice. God conversed with him directly as his creature.
*** w64 11/15 p.687 par.19***
The serpent induced Eve to believe that her Creator, Jehovah God, was a liar in what he had taught her husband Adam.
***w56 9/1 p.534 par.2***
Adam taught Eve. He toured her around the paradise garden of Eden with which he was fully acquainted. He told her the names that he had given to the animals. Most important of all, he told her how to live forever in this paradise of pleasure as the mother of a perfect human family by telling her the special commandment of Jehovah God.
*** it-2 p.53 Jesus Christ***
Doubtless on many occasions during his prehuman existence as the Word, Jesus acted as Jehovah’s Spokesman to persons on earth. While certain texts refer to Jehovah as though directly speaking to humans, other texts make clear that he did so through an angelic representative. (Compare Ex 3:2-4 with Ac 7:30, 35; also Ge 16:7-11, 13; 22:1, 11, 12, 15-18.) Reasonably, in the majority of such cases God spoke through the Word. He likely did so in Eden, for on two of the three occasions where mention is made of God’s speaking there, the record specifically shows someone was with Him, undoubtedly his Son. (Ge 1:26-30; 2:16, 17; 3:8-19, 22)
Not only does the WTS teach that Israel fell into a “pattern of disobedience” they teach that all but a few unidentified Christians fell away by the end of the first century, into “apostasy” and were not revived until 1879 with the appearance of Charles Taze Russell and his followers. How though could there have been a “governing body” from 1,000 AD to 1879 AD?
The Watchtower makes the claim that:
" “ Beginning with Pentecost, 33 C.E., and continuing through the 19 centuries since then, this slavelike congregation has been feeding its members spiritually." ” Watchtower 1981 Mar 1 p.24
If that is true, who was the Slave immediately preceding Russell? There has never been a religion that taught what Russell taught. Russell felt that:
"It was often the case, however, that one religious group was distinguished by a clearer understanding of one Bible truth; another group, by a different truth. Their further progress was frequently hindered because they were shackled to doctrines and creeds." ” Proclaimers p.120
“They Shall Not Enter Into My Rest”
7. What did Jehovah have in mind when he delivered
the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and what
was expected of them?
7 In 1513 B.C.E., Jehovah revealed his purpose
concerning the Israelites to his servant
Moses. God said: “I am proceeding to go
down to deliver them out of the hand of the
Egyptians and to bring them up out of that
land [Egypt] to a land good and spacious, to
a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Ex.
3:8) Just as Jehovah had promised their forefather,
Abraham, God’s purpose in delivering
the Israelites “out of the hand of the
Egyptians” was to raise them up as his people.
(Gen. 22:17) God gave the Israelites a
code of laws that would enable them to enjoy
a peaceful relationship with him. (Isa.
48:17, 18) He told the Israelites: “If you will
strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep
my covenant [as outlined in the Law code],
then you will certainly become my special
property out of all other peoples, because
the whole earth belongs to me.” (Ex.19:5, 6)
Thus, the Israelites’ enjoying a privileged relationship
with God was contingent on their
obeying his voice.
Remember the recent study article on “God’s purpose” as opposed to “plan”? Now you know what the future lead in was.
Do jws today have a code of laws, not necessarily the Law code? What does the WTS say about “laws” and jws? Notice this is a perfect example of how the WTS speaks out of both sides of their mouth.
Does the Bible say that the Israelites relationship was “contingent” to obeying God’s voice or the voice of the priests or kings?
*** w96 9/1 p.20 pars.3-4***
The law of the Christ includes all of Christ Jesus’ commands—whether preaching and teaching, keeping the eye pure and simple, working at keeping peace with our neighbor, or removing uncleanness from the congregation. (Matthew 5:27-30; 18:15-17; 28:19, 20; Revelation 2:14-16) Indeed, Christians are obligated to observe all commands in the Bible that are directed to followers of Christ. And there is more. Jehovah’s organization, as well as individual congregations, has to establish necessary rules and procedures in order to preserve good order. (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40) Why, Christians could not even meet together if they had no rules as to when, where, and how to hold such meetings! (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Cooperating with reasonable guidelines laid down by those given authority in the organization is also a part of fulfilling the law of the Christ.—Hebrews 13:17.
Nonetheless, true Christians do not allow their worship to become a meaningless structure of laws. They do not serve Jehovah merely because some individual or organization tells them to do so. Rather, the driving force behind their worship is love. Paul wrote: “The love of the Christ compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, footnote)
8. What lifestyle could the Israelites have enjoyed if
they had been obedient to God?
8 Just think what life would have been
like if the Israelites had only obeyed God’s
voice! Jehovah would have blessed their
fields, their vineyards, their flocks, and their
herds. Their enemies would have had no
permanent hold on them. (Read 1 Kings
10:23-27.) When the Messiah appeared, he
would likely have found Israel functioning
well as an independent nation, not cringing
under the Roman whip. Israel would have
been a model kingdom for its neighbors,
providing concrete proof that obedience to
the true God brings spiritual and material
Notice that the Israelites were enticed into obeying God with the promise of MATERIAL things.
When Jesus appeared in 1918 to inspect his congregation, did he find the WTS serving faithfully.
Is this really what Jesus found in 1919 when he inspected the Watchtower Society? No, he found the following teachings being promoted:
· That Jesus presence commenced in 1874 3
· That Jesus had begun ruling in 1878 4
· Armageddon had occurred in 1914
· That the end was going to come in 1925
· That blood was acceptable as food for Christians
· That Jesus should be prayed to and worshipped , as well as Jehovah
· That the Great Crowd were a heavenly class
· That birthdays and Christmas were acceptable celebrations
· The cross was on the cover of the Watchtower
· Teachings adapted from Freemasons, such as that pyramids and astrology supported 1914
· Strong Zionist support for a new nation of Israel in fulfillment of Bible prophecy
· That the Faithful and Discreet Slave was not the anointed, but rather Pastor Russell
Furthermore, the most noteworthy doctrine introduced in 1918 – - that the earthly resurrection would start in 1925 - was a false and embarrassing failure.
9, 10. (a) Why was Israel’s desire to return to Egypt
a serious matter? (b) How might a return to Egypt
have affected the Israelites’ worship?
9 What a privilege Israel had—to work
along with Jehovah’s purpose, resulting
in blessings not only for themselves but,
eventually, for all families of the earth!
(Gen. 22:18)However, as a whole, that rebellious
generation showed little interest in setting
up a model kingdom under theocratic
rule. Why, they even demanded to return
to Egypt! (Read Numbers 14:2-4.) Now,
how would their returning to Egypt advance
God’s purpose to make Israel into a model
kingdom? It would not do so. In fact, if the
Israelites returned to the custody of their pagan
captors, they would never be able to follow
the Mosaic Law and benefit from Jehovah’s
arrangement for forgiveness of their
sins. How fleshly—how shortsighted—they
were! No wonder Jehovah said of those rebels:
“I became disgusted with this generation
and said, ‘They always go astray in their
hearts, and they themselves have not come
to know my ways.’ So I swore in my anger,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.’”—Heb. 3:
10, 11; Ps. 95:10, 11.
As a whole—a typical phrase that the WTS uses to tar the whole but allow the possibility of faithful individuals
Similar to saying that the “great crowd” as a group will survive Armageddon, but some individuals might die before or during.
So was God going to destroy the nation; would that have furthered his purpose; was God allowing his anger to have him make a rash statement? According to the WTS, did the nation of Israel enter into his rest, no, but when they put Jesus to death, lost the “privilege” of being the complete 144,000, and God allowed the Romans to destroy Israel as a nation on earth.
10 By seeking to return to Egypt, that
wayward nation showed that it esteemed
as of little value the spiritual blessings it
had received, preferring instead the leeks,
onions, and garlic that were available in
Egypt. (Num.11:5) Like ungrateful Esau, the
rebels were ready to forfeit a precious spiritual
heritage in exchange for a tasty meal.
—Gen. 25:30-32; Heb. 12:16.
Is the WTS here making a reference to “apostate” jws today “like ungrateful Esau, the rebels”?
So far all the WTS references have been to OT examples, is it no wonder jws know more about life as an Israelite than life as a Christian.
11. How did the unfaithfulness of the Israelites in
Moses’ day affect God’s purpose?
11 Notwithstanding the faithlessness of
the generation of Israelites that left Egypt,
Jehovah “kept working” patiently toward
the fulfillment of his purpose, now focusing
his attention on the next generation. The
members of that new generation were more
obedient than their fathers had been. In harmony
with Jehovah’s command, they entered
the Promised Land and began to conquer
it. At Joshua 24:31, we read: “Israel
continued to serve Jehovah all the days of
Joshua and all the days of the older men
who extended their days after Joshua and
who had known all the work of Jehovah that
he did for Israel.”
Why did it have to take 7,000 years for God to achieve his “purpose.” How many people have died since then; how many have died eternally like those in the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and SOON Armageddon? Very few humans even knew what was going on, they were like Job, in the dark. Even the Israelites were in the dark.
How long did the obedience of the Israelites last; how many of the judges were obedient even partially?
Did you know that conquering meant killing children, babes, even unborn babes in the womb? And at Armaggeddon, children will die, incorrigibly wicked “pests” they are. Even Fred Franz was heard to say that little nits grow up to be big nits.
***w05 12/1 p.6***
Many wonder, however, why a God who is the very embodiment of love would inflict death and destruction on much of humankind. The situation might be compared to that of a pest-infested house. Would you not agree that a conscientious homeowner should safeguard the health and well-being of his family by exterminating the pests?
Similarly, it is because of Jehovah’s deep affection for humans that the battle of Armageddon has to be fought. God’s purpose is to make the earth a paradise and to elevate mankind to perfection and peace, with “no one making them tremble.” (Micah 4:3, 4; Revelation 21:4) What, then, is to be done with those who threaten the peace and security of their fellow humans? God must eliminate such “pests”—the incorrigibly wicked—for the sake of the righteous ones.—2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9; Revelation 21:8.
12. How do we know that it is possible to enter into
God’s rest today?
12 However, that obedient generation
gradually died out and was replaced by a
generation that “did not know Jehovah or
the work that he had done for Israel.” Consequently,
“the sons of Israel fell to doing what
was bad in the eyes of Jehovah and serving
the Baals.” (Judg. 2:10, 11) The Promised
Land did not prove to be a real “place of rest”
for them. Because of their disobedience,
they did not enjoy lasting peace with God. In
speaking of a later time, Paul wrote: “If Joshua
had led [the Israelites] into a place of rest,
God would not afterward have spoken of another
day. So there remains a sabbath resting
for the people of God.” (Heb. 4:8, 9) “The
people of God” Paul was referring to were
Christians. Does that mean that Christians
could enter into God’s rest? Most assuredly
—both Jewish and non-Jewish Christians!
So how was the bad of the Baals (tossing children into the fire) and different than God’s eternal destruction of the “pests” including children?
The real question is do the anointed enter into this “rest” at the same time as the “other sheep”? All the Christians of Paul’s time were anointed.
God’s people = only jws
What continues to be necessary for God’s people to enter into his rest?
Some Fail to Enter Into God’s Rest
13, 14. What connection was there between observing
the Mosaic Law and entering into God’s rest
(a) in Moses’ day? (b) in the first century?
13 When Paul wrote to Hebrew Christians,
he was concerned that some among them
were not cooperating with God’s advancing
purpose. (Read Hebrews 4:1.) In what sense?
Ironically, it had to do with the observance of
the Mosaic Law. For some 1,500 years, any Israelite
who wished to live in harmony with
God’s purpose had to observe the Law. However,
with Jesus’ death, the Law was taken out
of the way. Certain Christians failed to recognize
that, and they insisted on continuing to
observe certain aspects of the Law.*
*Whether any Jewish Christian would have gone so
far as to support arrangements for the Day of Atonement
after Pentecost 33 C.E. is not known. To do so would certainly
show a lack of respect for Jesus’ sacrifice. However,
some Jewish Christians were clinging to other traditions
associated with the Law.—Gal. 4:9-11.
Notice how the WTS at the same time says “is not known” but then answers their own question “certainly.”
Do you remember Paul clung to traditions associated with the Law when he had Timothy (but not Titus) circumcised (after the decision in Jerusalem in Acts), and he himself performed an act of worship under the Law so not to offend Jews in Jerusalem?
(Acts 21:23-24) 23 Therefore do this which we tell you: We have four men with a vow upon themselves. 24 Take these men along and cleanse yourself ceremonially with them and take care of their expenses, that they may have their heads shaved. And so everybody will know that there is nothing to the rumors they were told about you, but that you are walking orderly, you yourself also keeping the Law.
14 To Christians who were bent on observing
the Law, Paul explained that the high
priesthood of Jesus, the new covenant, and
the spiritual temple were all superior to their
pre-Christian counterparts. (Heb. 7:26-28; 8:
7-10; 9:11, 12) Thus, likely with the observance
of the weekly Sabbath under the Law
in mind, Paul wrote of the privilege of entering
into Jehovah’s rest day: “There remains a
sabbath resting for the people of God. For
the man that has entered into God’s rest has
also himself rested from his own works, just
as God did from his own.” (Heb. 4:8-10)
Those Hebrew Christians had to stop thinking
that they could earn Jehovah’s approval
by performing works based on the Mosaic
Law. Since Pentecost 33 C.E., God’s favor has
graciously been bestowed on those who exercise
faith in Jesus Christ.
Why were the Christians in the first century not known as Jehovah’s Witnesses; why did God “by divine providence” see to it they were called Christians?
If these elements were superior, why does the WTS use OT examples 80% of the time?
Paul was writing only to anointed Christians, so only they entered into God’s rest.
JWs believe that works are necessary and have their own “law” designed to keep things orderly.
15. Why is obedience essential if we are to enter
into God’s rest?
15 What had prevented the Israelites in
Moses’ day from entering the Promised
Land? Disobedience. What was preventing
some Christians in Paul’s day from entering
into God’s rest? The same—disobedience.
They failed to recognize that the Law had
served its purpose and that Jehovah was
leading his people in a different direction.
Obedience to God or only to and through the WTS organization enables jws to enter God’s rest?
We can enter into Jehovah’s rest today
by obediently working in harmony with his
advancing purpose as it is revealed to
us through his organization
Entering Into God’s Rest Today
16, 17. (a) What does it mean to enter into God’s
rest today? (b)What will be discussed in the next article?
16 Few Christians today would insist on observing
some aspect of the Mosaic Law in order
to obtain salvation. Paul’s inspired words
to the Ephesians are perfectly clear: “By this
undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been
saved through faith; and this not owing to
you, it is God’s gift. No, it is not owing to
works, in order that no man should have
ground for boasting.” (Eph. 2:8, 9) What,
then, does it mean for Christians to enter
into God’s rest? Jehovah set aside the seventh
day—his rest day—in order to bring his
purpose respecting the earth to a glorious
fulfillment. We can enter into Jehovah’s rest
—or join him in his rest—by obediently working
in harmony with his advancing purpose as it is
revealed to us through his organization.
Christians today = only jws
Does the WTS though insist that their members observe some aspect of their man-made rules (right or wrong) to get salvation?
Not owing to me but owing to the WTS organization?
Did Paul obediently work in harmony with Peter when he withdrew from associating with Gentile Christians? Didn’t he trust that God was working through Peter, the one who gave the opening talk to the crowd on the day Christians received holy spirit? Didn’t Paul ascertain that Peter’s withdrawal from associating with Gentile Christians was not a revelation from God?
17 On the other hand, if we minimized the
Bible-based counsel that we receive through
the faithful and discreet slave class, choosing
to follow an independent course, we
would be placing ourselves at odds with
God’s unfolding purpose. This could endanger
our peaceful relationship with Jehovah.
In the next article, we will consider a few
common situations that can affect God’s
people and discuss how the decisions we
make, whether to obey or to take an independent
course, can determine if we have
truly entered into God’s rest.
Were Peter’s actions bible-based? Did Paul hold back from correcting him in front of the congregation? Was Paul choosing an independent course? Was he endangering his relationship with God? I think not!
Questions for Meditation
? What was the purpose of God’s seventh day of rest?
? How do we know that the seventh day is still under way today?
? What prevented the Israelites in Moses’ day as well as some first century
Christians from entering into God’s rest?
? What does it mean to enter into God’s rest today?
Next, GOD’S REST—HAVE YOU ENTERED INTO IT? You think this is more of the same, no, it is a way of discussing the “laws” the WTS has, especially df’ing.