Treasures from God’s Word
Theme: “Do You have a ‘Heart to Know’ Jehovah?”.
Jeremiah 24:1-3: “Jehovah compared people to figs”
Jeremiah 24:4-7: “The good figs represented those who had a receptive, obedient heart.”
Jeremiah 24:8-10: ”The bad figs represented those who had a rebellious, disobedient heart.”
This likening of the exiles to figs by Jehovah was recorded in the first year or so of Zedekiah (vs. 1), nearly 11 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Jehoiachin and the bulk of the Judean population had just been taken into exile. (See Jeremiah 52:28, 29 where population fell from 3,023 to 832 just 11 years later.) Jehovah viewed these ones who had already been taken into exile (vs 5) as worth protecting and saving, and stated (vs 6) that he would “cause them to return to this land [Judah]”. What fate was in store for those still in Judah and Jerusalem such as King Zedekiah, or already in Egypt? (vss. 9, 10) They were to be an object of horror and calamity, and they would suffer from “the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until they have perished from the land that I gave to them and their forefathers”. Yes, the chances that these bad figs would return was slim.
There is an interesting change of text between the NWT Reference Edition and the NWT 2013 (Grey) Edition Bibles. This time it is actually correcting an error instead of introducing one.
The NWT 2013 Edition reads in vs. 5: “Like these good figs, so I will regard in a good way the exiles of Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans”. This is the correct rendering. The exiles had been sent away with Jehoiachin to Babylon and Zedekiah installed as king by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The NWT Reference edition erroneously reads “Like these good figs, so I will regard in a good way the exiles of Judah, whom I will send away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans”. This older rendering was used to support the exile starting with the destruction of Jerusalem under Zedekiah, when facts show the main exile occurred at the time of Jehoiachin with some even earlier in the 4th Year of Jehoiakim.
Digging for Spiritual Gems: Jeremiah 22-24
Jeremiah 22:30 – Why did this decree not annul Jesus’ right to ascend the throne of David?
The reference given of w07 3/15 p. 10 par. 9 says that Jesus was to rule from the heavens, not from a throne in Judah. There are however other possible explanations.
The Hebrew word translated as ‘descendants’, ‘miz.zar.ow’ refers strictly speaking to ‘seed or offspring’ not specifically to ‘offspring of offspring’. This is similar to usage of son which can also mean grandson in certain contexts. A possible understanding is therefore that his immediate offspring (i.e. sons, and potentially grandsons) would not rule on the throne of Judah and this was fulfilled as none of them ruled as King.
Additionally the lineage of Jesus Christ goes through Shealtiel the son of Jehoiachin, but then to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel’s brother Pedaiah (the third born). Neither Shealtiel nor the other three brothers are recorded as having offspring (1 Chronicles 3:15-19). Zerubbabel become Governor in the return from Exile, but not King. Nor did any other descendant become King. We must also not overlook that Jesus inherited the legal right to Kingship through his step-father Joseph, but was not a physical offspring of Jehoiachin. The account of Luke regarding the line of Mary states that Shealtiel was the son of Neri, (perhaps the son-in-law, or adopted as a son by Jehoiachin). Whichever solution is correct we can be confident Jehovah kept and keeps his promises.
Jeremiah 23:33 – What is the “burden of Jehovah”?
In verse 32 Jehovah says “Here I am against the prophets of false dreams … who relate them and cause my people to wander about because of their falsehoods and because of their boasting. But I myself did not send them or command them. So they will by no means benefit this people, is the utterance of Jehovah.” And verse 37 “… and you have changed the words of the living God …”
Yes, the burden was the warnings Jehovah had sent them via Jeremiah, which the people rejected because they wanted to do their own thing, and also because the false prophets had caused his people to wander about confused, due to the contradictory messages they taught. The false prophets had also “changed the words of the living God.”
Do we notice parallels today? Witnesses are confused because the number of ‘anointed’ is increasing, and their many false dreams of dates for Armageddon have come and gone. The organization has changed the “words of the living God” for their own ends.
Another instance of the organization changing the words of the living God is Acts 21:20. If this verse was translated correctly in the NWT translation the confusion would be even greater. There the older men said to Paul “You behold, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews”. The Kingdom Interlinear makes it clear the Greek word here translated is ‘myriads’ which means plural of 10 thousand not thousands. The import of this is that by the death of the Apostle John over 40 years later, the number of Christian ‘anointed ones’ and hence part of the ‘144,000’ according to the organization’s teaching must have numbered at least 100,000, if not far more. If we add in those who claimed to be anointed from 1874 to now, the numbers exceed a literal 144,000 by a large margin. It therefore becomes obvious something is seriously wrong with this teaching.
Bible Study: God’s Kingdom Rules
(from chapter 11 para 1-8)
The Theme: ‘Moral Refinements – Reflecting God’s Holiness’
The claims that the vision of the Temple in Ezekiel 40-48 is a spiritual Temple representing Jehovah’s arrangement for pure worship and that every feature has meaning for our own worship today is based on claims made in the book Vindication Volume 2 published in—wait for it—1932. Yes, that’s right 1932 by J F Rutherford.
Apparently, this 85-year-old publication doesn’t come under the injunction against using prophetic types and antitypes to interpret the Bible since, according to p. 178, “What Ezekiel saw was only a vision, and hence was not a type, but a prophecy; therefore we need not look here for type and antitype, but look for a prophecy and the fulfillment thereof.” How do we know this? How exactly did Jehovah convey this understanding? Let us try to follow the logic: “Jerusalem foreshadowed “Christendom…”. Isn’t that a type/antitype relationship? The reasoning continues, “…which latter thing was smitten by the World War, which began in 1914. It was fourteen years after the beginning of that war, to wit, 1928, when Jehovah gave his covenant people on earth the first understanding of the meaning of his organization, as pictured in the first chapter of Ezekiel’s prophecy, and which truth was first declared at the Detroit convention in 1928. (See The Watchtower, 1928, page 263.) The World War, by which” Christendom” was smitten, ended in 1918, and fourteen years thereafter, to wit, in 1932, God permits the publication of the meaning of Ezekiel’s vision concerning the temple. The facts show that it was fourteen years after the destruction of Jerusalem before Ezekiel got his temple vision about which he prophesied.”
So fourteen years after Jerusalem’s destruction, Ezekiel got the temple vision (type) and 14 years after World War I, the Organization was defined (antitype). This is prophetic chronology. Has there been a single instance—a single instance, just one—in the 140-year publishing history of the Organization when a piece of typical/antitypical prophetic chronology has proven true? With such a perfect track record of failure and with yet another example of them abandoning their own rule against the use of types and antitypes not applied in Scripture, why should we waste any more time on this? If they have to reach this far to find support for the idea of their human-directed Organization is really divinely backed, it shows that things are starting to falter.
The logical inconsistencies get better.
“Ezekiel did not choose his particular day to prophesy. He was in the hand of the Lord, who arranged the matter and who put his spirit upon Ezekiel. Likewise the remnant do not choose the time to understand God’s Word and to proclaim it. “This is the day which the Lord hath made.” (Ps. 118:24) This is the day chosen by the Lord in which “young men … see visions” and discern the fulfillment of this grand vision which was given to Ezekiel. The power of the Lord is upon his “faithful servant” class, the remnant, and for this reason they are permitted to understand.”
So the Lord chose 1932 to reveal the true nature of the Organization, but waited 80 more years to tell the “faithful servant class, the remnant” that they weren’t the faithful servant after all. (See w13 7/15 p. 22 par. 10.) Oh, and while revealing the truth of the Organization back in 1932, he revealed a falsehood as well, because the same publication that claims divine revelation states, “Now it appears from the Scriptures, and supported by the facts as set forth in chapter eleven, that Christ Jesus, the Messenger of Jehovah, came to his temple in the year 1918 but that the true followers of Christ Jesus on earth did not discern that fact until the year 1922.”(Vindication Vol 2, p175). Well, now we say that “Jesus began to inspect the spiritual temple in 1914. That inspection and cleansing work involved a period of time—from 1914 to the early part of 1919.” With reference to a footnote which said “This is an adjustment in understanding. Previously, we thought that Jesus’ inspection took place in 1918”. (w13 7/15 p. 11 par. 6).
So did the Lord reveal truth back in 1932, or is what we have now the truth, or will there be a new truth in the future. How can we have confidence in anything they say. Their teaching is built on shifting sand.
I could not find this quote in “Vindication Vol. 2” but in volume 3, p. 178
It’s confusing. You are correct it is in volume 3, but it seems it was printed in volume 2 book unless someone else can clarify more what happened. That is why I referenced it volume 2.
Meleti, I appreciated the point about Acts 21:20 being myriads. However, both Vines and Spiros Zodhiates greek dictionaries say the word can also denote a vast indefinite large number. The NET Bible makes the following comment: tn Grk “how many thousands there are among the Jews.” sn How many thousands of Jews. See Acts 2-5 for the accounts of their conversion, esp. 2:41 and 4:4. Estimates of the total number of Jews living in Jerusalem at the time range from 20,000 to 50,000.” If it could be established that this should be understood as 100,000 in this verse that would… Read more »
Hi Jerome, a case for a little more research on our parts I think. One comment I would make now is that in my late teenage years I remember questioning my father about whether the great crowd existed in the 1st century because I couldn’t reconcile the numbers of ‘anointed’ in this century with the numbers of early Christians totalling less than 144k. It stands to reason that if Christianity became so big that by the time of Constantine less than 300 years later it was a significant portion of the Roman Empire so much that he adopted it as… Read more »
Tadua, I agree with your assessment in light of Col 1:23. Was James comment in Acts 21:20 about believing Jews living in Jerusalem or was he talking about the total number of Jewish believers? It seems the NET Bible is commenting about Jews living in Jerusalem. Is this an estimate of believing Jews? It would be interesting to find some historical comment as to how many Christians there were at this time. Of course, after the death of the Apostles it gets tricky since witnesses would say that’s when the weeds started infiltrating. Personally, I believe the 144,000 number in… Read more »