Comments You Will Not Hear at the 01-20-2013 WT Study (NOVEMBER 15, 2012, pages 21-25)(FORGIVENESS)
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WHAT DOES JEHOVAH’S
FORGIVENESS MEAN FOR YOU?
“Jehovah [is] a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger . . . , pardoning error and
transgression and sin.” —EX. 34:6, 7.
LOOK FOR THE ANSWERS
How did Jehovah deal with the sins of David and Manasseh,
and why so?
Why did Jehovah handle matters as he did when dealing with the
nation of Israel as a whole?
How can we gain Jehovah’s forgiveness?
Yes, why did God deal differently with the capital sins of David and Manasseh? Did the Law provide for the avoidance of execution for murder and adultery? Were there any other accounts of repentant, Israelite, deliberate murderers and adulterers that were forgiven by God and allowed to live? What important background did both David and Manasseh share that ordinary Israelites did not that would make them “worthy” of this special treatment? Both David and Manasseh were descendants of Judah, Manasseh a descendant of David, and his father was Hezekiah. According to the WTS when David sinned greatly, he had no son that God felt was qualified to be king, and after tossing his sons into the fire, neither did Manasseh. God was protecting the Messianic line by not applying the law equally. It could be compared to elder bodies that cover up or minimize their judgments to protect friends, more worthy elders, or people with money in the congregation to “protect” the congregation.
*** lp chap. 13 p. 149 par. 21 A Pattern of Things to Come ***
Life was considered sacred under the Law. A deliberate murderer could in no way be exonerated. He was to be put to death without fail. Thus in Numbers 35:30-33 we read: “Every fatal striker of a soul should be slain as a murderer at the mouth of witnesses, and one witness may not testify against a soul for him to die. And you must take no ransom for the soul of a murderer who is deserving to die, for without fail he should be put to death. . . . And you must not pollute the land in which you are; because it is blood that pollutes the land, and for the land there may be no atonement respecting the blood that has been spilled upon it except by the blood of the one spilling it.” This law removed such a wicked person from Israelite society. He did not run free to commit more murders.
*** it-1 p. 549 Crime and Punishment ***
Major crimes under the Law. Capital crimes. Under the Law the death penalty was prescribed for (1) blasphemy (Le 24:14, 16, 23); (2) worship of any god other than Jehovah, idolatry in any form (Le 20:2; De 13:6, 10, 13-15; 17:2-7; Nu 25:1-9); (3) witchcraft, spiritism (Ex 22:18; Le 20:27); (4) false prophecy (De 13:5; 18:20); (5) Sabbath breaking (Nu 15:32-36; Ex 31:14; 35:2); (6) murder (Nu 35:30, 31); (7) adultery (Le 20:10; De 22:22);
(Deuteronomy 22:22) 22 “In case a man is found lying down with a woman owned by an owner, both of them must then die together, the man lying down with the woman and the woman. So you must clear away what is bad out of Israel.
*** w11 1/1 p. 18 “He Softened the Face of Jehovah” ***
Was the young king influenced by counselors who had no regard for true worship? The Bible does not say. What it does tell us is that Manasseh descended to gross idolatry and cruelty. He set up altars to false gods, offered his own sons in sacrifice, practiced spiritism, and put a graven image in Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. Stubborn Manasseh refused to heed repeated warnings from Jehovah, the God whose miracle had enabled his birth.—Verses 3-10.
Whatever the case, Manasseh had a change of heart. The record says: “He softened the face of Jehovah his God and kept humbling himself greatly . . . And he kept praying to Him.” (Verses 12, 13) But could a man who had committed such gross sins really be forgiven by God?
Jehovah was touched by Manasseh’s sincere repentance. God heard his pleas for mercy “and restored him to Jerusalem to his kingship.” (Verse 13)
So are we to believe there were no other repentant sinners in David’s time or Manasseh’s? Were all the other murderers and adulterers told they could escape execution by repenting?
Manasseh became repentant while he was in captivity in Assyria…what was his repentance based on?
Why was Bathsheba spared, did she show repentance? Why did the child die then?
Based on these 2 OT examples, what basis is there for Christians to expect that kind of forgiveness? Would it not be that Christ died for all humans while they were yet sinners and laid the basis for an otherwise unreachable forgiveness?
START OF ARTICLE
1, 2. (a) What kind of God did Jehovah prove to be to the nation
of Israel? (b) What question does this article address?
IN THE days of Nehemiah, a group of Levites
acknowledged in public prayer that their forefathers
had repeatedly “refused to listen” to Jehovah’s
commandments. Again and again, however,
Jehovah proved to be “a God of acts of forgiveness,
gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant
in loving-kindness.” To those repatriated exiles in
Nehemiah’s time, Jehovah was continuing to show
undeserved kindness.—Neh. 9:16, 17.
Remember the Messiah had not yet come and Israel had to be intact until then. After Jesus came, forgiveness for the Jews as a group ended and Jerusalem was destroyed and they were scattered.
2 On a personal level, each of us might ask, ‘What
does Jehovah’s forgiveness mean for me?’ To help
answer this important question, let us examine
God’s dealings with two men who benefited from Jehovah’s
forgiveness—the two kings David and Manasseh.
Should Christians compare themselves to Israelites under the law, and kings at that who were part of the Messianic line?
Why not Paul who was forgiven on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice.
DAVID’S SERIOUS SINS
3-5. How did David become involved in serious sin?
3 Although David was a God-fearing man, he did
commit serious sins. Two of these involved a married
couple, Uriah and Bath-sheba. The consequences
of those sins were painful for all involved.
Nevertheless, the way that God corrected David reveals
a great deal about Jehovah’s forgiveness. Consider
Not just serious, but capital ones, punishable by death, no “exoneration” or “atonement” allowed. Instead of David dying as the law said, God let David’s first son by Bathsheba die. Are sons supposed to die for the father’s sins? The WTS finds it very hard to use the word “murder” in connection with David’s actions toward Uriah.
(Deuteronomy 24:16) 16 “Fathers should not be put to death on account of children, and children should not be put to death on account of fathers. Each one should be put to death for his own sin.
4 David sent Israel’s army to besiege the Ammonite
capital, Rabbah. It was located some 50 miles
(80 km) east of Jerusalem, beyond the Jordan River.
Meanwhile, from the roof of his palace in Jerusalem,
David saw Bath-sheba—a married woman—bathing.
Her husband was away. David was so aroused by
observing Bath-sheba that he had her brought to
his palace, where he committed adultery
with her.—2 Sam. 11:1-4.
Remember that David had several wives and had no restriction as to having married another as long as she was not married to someone else.
Do you think the servants had no idea what was going on? No running to the priests to tell them how David was violating God’s law.
What about Joab? Note how the WTS avoids saying murder = “result in his death”
*** w04 4/1 p. 17 par. 10 Rely on God’s Spirit in Dealing With Life’s Changes ***
The letter directed that Uriah be put in a battle situation that would result in his death. Joab obeyed, and Uriah was slain
(2 Samuel 11:14, 15) 14 And it came about in the morning that David proceeded to write a letter to Jo′ab and send it by the hand of U·ri′ah. 15 So he wrote in the letter, saying: “PUT U·ri′ah in front of the heaviest battle charges, and YOU men must retreat from behind him, and he must be struck down and die.”
5 When David learned that Bathsheba
was pregnant, he had her husband,
Uriah, brought back to Jerusalem
in hopes that he would have sexual relations with
her. But Uriah would not even
enter his home—despite David’s efforts
to encourage him to do so. Therefore,
the king secretly wrote to his army commander
to have Uriah placed “in front
of the heaviest battle charges” and to
have his fellow soldiers retreat from behind
him. An easy target, Uriah died in
the battle, just as David had planned.
(2 Sam. 11:12-17) The king’s sin of adultery
was thus compounded by his having
an innocent man killed.
So how long did it take for David to admit to his “serious” sins of murder and adultery?
Murder or “having an innocent man killed”
DAVID’S CHANGE OF ATTITUDE
6. What was God’s reaction to David’s sins,
and what does this reveal about Jehovah?
6 Of course, Jehovah saw everything
that happened. Nothing escapes his attention.
(Prov. 15:3) Although the king
subsequently married Bath-sheba, “the
thing that David had done appeared bad
in the eyes of Jehovah.” (2 Sam. 11:27)
So how did God react to David’s serious
sins? He sent his prophet Nathan to
David. Being a God of forgiveness, Jehovah
was apparently interested in finding
a basis for extending mercy. Do you
not find this approach on Jehovah’s part
heartwarming? He did not force David
to confess but simply had Nathan present
the king with a story that illustrated
the badness of his sins. (Read 2 Samuel
12:1-4.) How effective that way of
handling that delicate situation proved
If God was seeing everything, why did he not send Nathan before Uriah’s murder?
Did God find a basis of extending mercy to other adulterers and murderers in Israel? What did the law say?
Numbers 35:30-33 “Every fatal striker of a soul should be slain as a murderer at the mouth of witnesses, and one witness may not testify against a soul for him to die. And you must take no ransom for the soul of a murderer who is deserving to die, for without fail he should be put to death. . . . And you must not pollute the land in which you are; because it is blood that pollutes the land, and for the land there may be no atonement respecting the blood that has been spilled upon it except by the blood of the one spilling it.”
7. How did David respond to Nathan’s illustration?
7 Nathan’s illustration stirred up the
king’s sense of justice. David became
angry at the rich man of the story and
said to Nathan: “As Jehovah is living, the
man doing this deserves to die!” Moreover,
David stated that the victim of
such an injustice should be compensated
for his losses. But then came a powerful
blow. “You yourself are the man!”
Nathan declared. David was then told
that as a consequence of his actions, “a
sword” would not depart from his house
and calamity would strike his family.
He would also be publicly humiliated
for his errors. David realized the gravity
of what he had done and contritely admitted:
“I have sinned against Jehovah.”
—2 Sam. 12:5-14.
How good an illustration if Nathan had to make the application?
Note that the sword and calamity would come against David’s other wives and his sons, not David as the law said. Should sons suffer for the sins of their fathers? How does public humiliation compare to Uriah’s murder?
DAVID’S PRAYER AND GOD’S FORGIVENESS
8, 9. How does Psalm 51 reveal David’s inmost
thoughts, and what does it teach us about Jehovah?
8 The words of a song that King David
thereafter composed reveal his heartfelt
remorse. Psalm 51 contains David’s
touching pleas to Jehovah and clearly
shows that he did more than admit his
errors. He also repented of his sins. David
was primarily concerned about his
relationship with God. “Against you, you
alone, I have sinned,” he confessed. He
pleaded with Jehovah: “Create in me
even a pure heart, O God, and put within
me a new spirit, a steadfast one. . . .
Do restore to me the exultation of salvation
by you, and may you support me
even with a willing spirit.” (Ps. 51:1-4, 7-
12) Are you as earnest and as open with
Jehovah when you speak to him about
How many jws can speak to God about their sins but not the humans they have sinned against?
9 Jehovah did not eliminate the painful
consequences of David’s sins. Their
effects were to continue with him for
the rest of his life. However, in recognition
of David’s repentant spirit—he had
“a heart broken and crushed”—Jehovah
forgave him. (Read Psalm 32:5; Ps. 51:
17) Almighty God understands the true
attitude and motive behind sins. Rather
than have the adulterers condemned
to death by human judges according to
the Mosaic Law, Jehovah mercifully intervened,
dealing with David and Bathsheba
himself. (Lev. 20:10) God even
made their son Solomon Israel’s next
king.—1 Chron. 22:9, 10.
He didn’t eliminate the painful consequences! Who died his children, his other wives were raped.
So were the other adulterers condemned to death by human judges have God step in and send a prophet to save them? Does Jesus’ sacrifice extended only to some? Were there no other Israelites worthy of the same mercy God showed David and Bathsheba?
Solomon, their son, who died and apostate……
10. (a) What basis might Jehovah have found
for forgiving David? (b) What factors move Jehovah
to extend forgiveness?
10 Perhaps another factor in Jehovah’s
forgiveness is the way David himself
had shown mercy to Saul. (1 Sam. 24:
4-7) As Jesus explained, Jehovah treats
us the way we treat others. “Stop judging
that you may not be judged,” said
Jesus, “for with what judgment you are
judging, you will be judged; and with
the measure that you are measuring out,
they will measure out to you.” (Matt. 7:
1, 2) What a relief it is to know that Jehovah will
forgive our sins—even sins as serious
as adultery or murder! He will do
so if we have a forgiving spirit, if we confess
our sins before him, and if we manifest
a changed attitude toward our bad
actions. “Seasons of refreshing” come
from Jehovah when sinners sincerely repent.—
Read Acts 3:19.
Perhaps…might have: reading God’s mind?
So how many adulterers and murderers in Israel had their sins personally forgiven like David, Bathsheba, and Manasseh?
Why use OT examples to illustrate forgiveness to Christians…why not Paul or Peter?
MANASSEH SINS GRAVELY BUT REPENTS
11. In what ways did King Manasseh do what
was bad in God’s eyes?
11 Consider another Scriptural account
that illustrates the extent of Jehovah’s
willingness to forgive. Some 360
years after David began to rule, Manasseh
became king of Judah. His 55-year-long
reign was infamous for wickedness,
and his detestable practices brought
condemnation from Jehovah. Among
other things, Manasseh set up altars to
Baal, worshipped “all the army of the
heavens,” made his sons pass through
fire, and promoted spiritistic practices.
Yes, “he did on a grand scale what was
bad in the eyes of Jehovah.”—2 Chron.
Another OT account
I wonder how many of his sons he killed by fire?
12. How did Manasseh return to Jehovah?
12 Eventually, Manasseh was taken
from his homeland and thrown into a
Babylonian prison. There he may have
recalled these words of Moses to Israel:
“When you are in sore straits and
all these words have found you out at
the close of the days, then you will
have to return to Jehovah your God
and to listen to his voice.” (Deut. 4:30)
Manasseh did return to Jehovah. How?
He “kept humbling himself greatly” and
“kept praying” to God (as depicted on
page 21). (2 Chron. 33:12, 13) We have no
record of the exact words Manasseh uttered
in those prayers, but we can imagine
that they may in some ways have paralleled
those of King David, as recorded
in Psalm 51. In any case, Manasseh underwent
a complete change of heart.
So would you ask God to help you if you were in prison, but not until then?
“No record of the exact words Manasseh utter….but we can IMAGINE.
13. Why did Jehovah forgive Manasseh?
13 What was Jehovah’s response to
Manasseh’s prayers? “He let himself be
entreated by [Manasseh] and He heard
his request for favor.” Like David before
him, Manasseh recognized the seriousness
of his sins and was truly repentant.
That is why God forgave Manasseh
and restored him to the kingship in Jerusalem.
As a result, “Manasseh came
to know that Jehovah is the true God.”
(2 Chron. 33:13) How heartening it is to
have this further evidence that our merciful
God forgives those who are genuinely
So how many murders was Manasseh forgiven by God, Manasseh’s own children?
The law says no atonement except by the murderers own blood, death.
IS JEHOVAH’S FORGIVENESS UNLIMITED?
14. What determines whether Jehovah will
grant sinners forgiveness?
14 Few among God’s people today will
ever have to seek forgiveness for sins as
serious as those of David and Manasseh.
Yet, the fact that Jehovah forgave these
two kings helps us to realize that our
God is willing to forgive even gross sins
if the sinner is truly repentant.
God’s people today = only jws
Gross sins = disfellowshipping = supposedly sins Christians would have been put to death for if they lived in pre-Christian times; unless God played favorites.
15. How do we know that Jehovah’s forgiveness
is not automatic?
15 Of course, we cannot rightly conclude
that Jehovah automatically forgives
all humans for their sins. In this
regard, let us compare the attitude of
David and Manasseh with that of the
wayward people of Israel and Judah.
God sent Nathan to confront David and
give him an opportunity to change his
attitude. David gratefully accepted this
Because of Jehovah’s forgiveness, Manasseh
was restored to his kingship in Jerusalem
offer. When Manasseh found himself in
sore straits, he was moved to sincere repentance.
Often, however, the inhabitants
of Israel and Judah did not repent.
Therefore, Jehovah did not forgive them.
Instead, he repeatedly had his prophets
declare how he viewed their disobedient
conduct. (Read Nehemiah 9:30.) Even
after the exiles returned from Babylon
to their homeland, Jehovah continued
to raise up faithful messengers, such as
the priest Ezra and the prophet Malachi.
When the people acted in harmony
with Jehovah’s will, they experienced
great joy.—Neh. 12:43-47.
Where are Paul and Peter as examples. So murder only requires a change in attitude?
16. (a) For the nation of Israel as a whole, what
were the consequences of their being unrepentant?
(b) What outcome can there be for individual
descendants of the ancient Israelites?
16 After Jesus was sent to the earth
and the one perfect ransom sacrifice
was provided, Jehovah no longer accepted
Israel’s animal sacrifices. (1 John 4:9,
10) As a man, Jesus reflected his Father’s
viewpoint when he spoke these moving
words: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer
of the prophets and stoner of those
sent forth to her,—how often I wanted to
gather your children together, the way
a hen gathers her chicks together under
her wings! But you people did not
want it.” So Jesus declared: “Look! Your
house is abandoned to you.” (Matt. 23:
37, 38) Thus, the sinful and unrepentant
nation was replaced by spiritual Israel.
(Matt. 21:43; Gal. 6:16) But what about
individual members of natural Israel?
They are welcome to benefit from Jehovah’s
forgiveness and mercy by exercising
faith in God and in the sacrifice of
Jesus Christ. That opportunity will also
be open to people who died without repenting
of their sins but who are resurrected
on a cleansed earth.—John 5:28,
29; Acts 24:15.
The day may come when the WTS may have to answer to their God about their child abuse policies and their ever-changing blood transfusion doctrine.
Cleansed earth – cleansed of 7 plus billion non-jws men, women, and children soon to die at Armageddon who have no hope of being resurrected.
How many jws know that until the final judgment to death of the goats happens after the great tribulation begins not between 1914 and the great tribulation
BENEFITING FROM JEHOVAH’S FORGIVENESS
17, 18. How can we receive Jehovah’s forgiveness?
17 How should we respond to Jehovah’s
willingness to forgive? Surely we
ought to act as did David and Manasseh.
We should recognize our sinfulness,
repent of our errors, earnestly beseech
Jehovah for forgiveness, and ask
him to create in us a pure heart. (Ps.
51:10) If we have sinned seriously, we
should also seek the spiritual assistance
of the elders. (Jas. 5:14, 15) Regardless
of our circumstances, it is comforting to
bear in mind that Jehovah is as he described
himself to Moses—“a God merciful
and gracious, slow to anger and
abundant in loving-kindness and truth,
preserving loving-kindness for thousands,
pardoning error and transgression
and sin.” Jehovah has not changed.
—Ex. 34:6, 7.
Why not act as Paul and Peter did?
Will jws who go to elders regarding murder be turned into the secular authorities or will God’s forgiveness be all that is required, once again law is ignored?
1992 BOE MURDER LETTER
18 Using a powerful comparison, Jehovah
promised repentant Israelites the
complete removal of the stain of their
sins, making what was “scarlet” as white
as “snow.” (Read Isaiah 1:18.) What,
then, does Jehovah’s forgiveness mean
for us? A complete pardon for our sins
and errors, provided that we manifest a
grateful and repentant attitude.
With so many OT references, there is little or no mention of Jesus and the ransom, the basis for forgiveness of sins.
A complete pardon…David was not removed as king or privately reproved was he? I knew one sister df’d for 8 years for adultery and a pedophile brother for only 8 months. How long before the elders will view a person as forgiven……..years, years, years.
19. What will we consider in the article that
19 As the recipients of Jehovah’s forgiveness,
how can we imitate him in our
dealings with one another? How can we
avoid adopting an unforgiving attitude
toward those who sin seriously but manifest
genuine repentance? The next article
will help us examine our own hearts
so that we can become more like our Father,
Jehovah, who is “good and ready to
Not only elders judge what is “genuine repentance” but the whole congregation can.
(1 John 3:17-18) . . .. 17 But whoever has this world’s means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him? 18 Little children, let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.
Next week, FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER FREELY.
Growing up I noticed that when gossiping was discussed almost 90% of the time the pictures showed women…from the picture next week can we assume that women are more unforgiving than men?