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This beautiful valley of Jezreel/Megiddo will never see an end-time battle
In defence of the sidelined God Jehovah, Creator of the Universe and Father of Humanity
The Birth of a Nation
The second of two foundation Essays stating my gleanings from Holy Scripture that I had submitted as letters to the leading committees of Elders of the WTB&TS i.e. Jehovah's Witnesses in April 2006 – edited 2010
In a public talk given at our local congregation (Mulgrave) here in Melbourne Australia quite a while ago, the speaker stated that a new nation was formed at Pentecost 33CE when the holy spirit was poured out on the 120 disciples.
This reflects The Witnesses' current, long held understanding.
Alas, what really happened there at Pentecost 33, was the anointing of a faithful remnant of the original nation: The Israel of God.
Because they had accepted Jesus, the Messiah the Law had lead them to, this faithful
remnant were able to continue to run with the baton of the promises that was meant
to lead the original nation to their intended place as The Heavenly Kingdom of Priests
and a Holy Nation.
–Exodus 19:3-6; 1 Peter 2:9.
Allow me to take you on a journey as we follow the nation of Israel from its conception to its birth and final place in Heaven.
Although Isaiah has a lot to say about Zion in labor pains, may we firstly just look at some rhetorical questions posed in Chapter 66 verse 8:
8 Who has heard of a thing like this? Who has seen things like these? Will a land be brought forth with labor pains in one day? Or will a nation be born at one time? For Zion has come into labor pains as well as given birth to her sons.
Indeed, nations are not born in one day. It can take many centuries, even millennia, for a family to become a nation, a process of great complexity often fraught with many problems and difficulties. From the founding of the nation at its initial birth in Exodus 15, Israel remained in gestation, as it were, until their being born again in Jesus.
How does Zion give birth to her sons? Why, at their resurrection as spirit sons
of God, as it indeed happened to the Christ when he was born again as a true son
of son of God and the first true family member of the God Kind and not just an elevated
‑(Romans 1:4; Acts 13:33) Hence this phrase from the above verse:
For Zion has come into labor pains as well as given birth to her sons.
Yes, the anointed Israel of God as a whole is resurrected when those already sleeping
in death and waiting, together with those still alive at that time who are then to
be changed at the twinkling of an eye Revelation 6:11:
.they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled also of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they also had been.
Notice how the following two verses must be linked to For Zion has come into labor pains as well as given birth to her sons of Isaiah 66:8:
1 Corinthians 15:15: in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we
shall be changed.
Revelation 12:5: And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne . .
We* know that this Child is the Kingdom, but we don't acknowledge that to be Jehovah's firstborn son Israel to whom He is intimately attached to with a great, passionate Love.
* Still identifying with the Witnesses at time of writing, since I had not been removed nor had completely understood the Word of God.
That Firstborn is identified here in Exodus 4:22: And you must say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what Jehovah has said: “Israel is my son, my firstborn M.. . .
Here are the NWT's marginal cross-references at firstborn in Exodus 4:22:
Marginals (Deuteronomy 7:6) For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God. It is you Jehovah your God has chosen to become his people, a special property, out of all the peoples that are on the surface of the ground.
(Deuteronomy 14:2) For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God, and Jehovah has chosen you to become his people, a special property, out of all the peoples who are on the surface of the ground.
(Hosea 11:1) “When Israel was a boy, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
(Romans 9:4) who, as such, are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the sacred service and the promises;
Not only were Israel Jehovah's Firstborn Son, but they were also collectively His Wife. Since a man usually treats his wife differently than his firstborn, the way Jehovah treated and cared for Israel, should engender a much deeper appreciation of Jehovah's personality in us, as He lavished both fatherly and husbandly loving care on Israel.
Take note also of the role inheritance played in an Israelite household.
The firstborn was generally the heir, not the wife.
The desired outcome was therefore not affected by a wife's dismissal.
In their dual role as firstborn son and wife, disobedient Israel only lost their wifely status when Jehovah divorced Israel without them loosing their principal place as firstborn and heir.
Jehovah's special People Israel became His firstborn in a unique and complete way at the last plague of death of the firstborn in all the land of Egypt, which included the land of Goshen, where the people Israel resided.
The only thing that saved the individual firstborn of Israel was the Passover Lamb and their obedience to all the attached requirements. Since all firstborn in the land of Egypt were meant to die, Israel's firstborn belonged to Jehovah, who in a sense paid for them with the death of all of Egypt's firstborn. With the exchange arrangement between Israel's firstborn and the Levites, Israel became Jehovah's firstborn in a more complete sense. In this way the people Israel became Jehovah's firstborn son at their salvation.
Let's just look at the point again made earlier in the following verses:
1 Corinthians 15:15: in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Revelation 12:5: 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne. .
Yes here we have those already dead being raised together with those alive not seeing death and being taken up to heaven at the time of the Kingdom being born in the heavens as Zion gives birth to her sons. as per Isaiah 66:8.
The Kingdom of the Heavens can only ever be a fully functioning entity when the entire nation of the 144000, comprising an amalgam of Jews and Gentiles, are installed there at one and the same time. Since it shall rule for the 1000 years, this time period cannot have had its start in 1914.
The Kingdom is still in gestation. Zion is still pregnant with it, but in severe labor pains and about to give birth to it as its sons are individually and collectively born from her at the one time and at the beginning of the 1000-year rule -compare Matthew 24:29-31.
In the meantime is the Kingdom of the son of His love, the multiethnic Israel of God on earth, ruled by the heavenly Only-Begotten of God who had inherited David's throne at the death of the son of man, to whom it rightfully belonged as a descendant of David through his mother.
My Ideas? My fantasy?
you be the judge, as I invite to continue the journey back to Jehovah's Planting of Israel into the Heavenly Woman
To have a birth there must be a pregnancy, to have a pregnancy there must be a conception or fertilization and there must be pain.
A number of questions arise out of Revelation 12:1-2:
12 And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars, 2 and she was pregnant. And she cries out in her pains and in her agony to give birth.
* Intuitive NWT cross-references (marginals in the NWT) - My gratitude to Jehovah's Witnesses
(Genesis 3:15) And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”
(Isaiah 54:13) And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.
(Philippians 3:20) As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
(Revelation 12:1) And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars,
The first two are firmly based on Scripture and realities.
Questions 3 & 4 may need to get a helping hand from Jehovah. How?
Through some direct inspired revelation?
No, because all that was to be inspired and revealed already has! That ended with the death of the last Apostle John.
Instead and in the time of the end of Israel Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant ? (Daniel 12:4)
One could argue forever about the timing of the heavenly conception. Was there another conception? When was the Heavenly woman impregnated? Jehovah's promises to Abraham perhaps? Isaac's marriage? Rachel becoming Jacob's wife and the birth of Reuben out of Leah? The 70 souls entering Egypt including Joseph, his wife and offspring already present there?
Perhaps it was the covenant made between Jehovah and the people Israel where He promised for them to become a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation provided they continued to obey Him? Or when the Law was covenanted between Jah and His people Israel at the inauguration sacrifices? Or what about Genesis 3:15 for the conception? Alternatively from there far into the future to Pentecost 33 where some and especially Jehovah's Witnesses assert a new nation had been born?
While not presumptuously wishing to speculate, there seems to be a singular moment in history when the eternal role of Israel was clearly defined by Jehovah:
After Israel had just passed through the red sea and had witnessed Jehovah's victory over Pharaoh's forces, they broke out in an inspired victory song recorded for us at Exodus 15:1-19.
You (JW Leadership) concur about the timing of the birth of Israel as a Nation when they came out of the Red Sea, but not that its journey into heaven had commenced there and then.
You see, this victory song is much more than just a joyful shout to Jehovah at their deliverance and salvation as a people.
The apostle Paul acknowledged as much, when he pointed to their passage through the red sea to have been a defining moment, in these words addressed largely to the anointed Jews and proselytes at 1 Corinthians 10:1-4: Now I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea 2 and all got baptized into Moses by means of the cloud and of the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.. . .
Note how Paul here ties Israel's Exodus to their destiny with the Christ. This parallels beautifully with the apostle Paul's explanation of the veil in 2 Corinthians 3. The apostle similarly touches on that theme in Galatians 3. Please checkout Israel's 2nd Exodus here.
But now let us have a closer look at that defining moment through the eyes of the apostle John in Revelation 15:2-3:
. . .those who come off victorious from the wild beast and from its image. . . . . having harps* of God. 3 And they are singing the song of Moses* the slave of God and the song of the Lamb, saying. . .
The identity of the Harpists:
* (Revelation 5:7-10) . . .. 8 And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense, and the [incense] means the prayers of the holy ones. 9 And they sing a new song, saying: “you are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”
* (Exodus 15:1) At that time Moses and the sons of Israel proceeded to sing this song to Jehovah and to say the following: “Let me sing to Jehovah, for he has become highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has pitched into the sea.
(Exodus 15:16-18). . .Until your people pass by, O Jehovah, Until the people whom you have produced pass by. . . . 17 you will bring them and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, An established place that you have made ready for you to inhabit, O Jehovah, A sanctuary, O Jehovah, that your hands have established. 18 Jehovah will rule as king to time indefinite, even forever.
Though there are two songs of Moses, it is this song at Exodus 15:1, 16-18 that is tied in with the Kingdom of the Heavens of Revelation 15.
These verses clearly place Jehovah's rule and the mountain of His inheritance well beyond literal MT Zion and the representative, but temporary, rule of Kings in the line of Judah there, with these words: to time indefinite, even forever, which is never used in connection with the rule over the earthly Nation of Israel.
David finally conquered Jerusalem and occupied MT Zion in residence 430 years after the above inspired declaration was made by Moses ‑ See 2 Samuel chapter 7, where only, and appropriately, time indefinite is used with reference to this earthly kingdom in David's line.
It also lays the foundation for and sets in motion the chain of events that would
ultimately lead the multiethnic Seed of Abraham Israel* into the heavens as Jehovah's
spirit sons to rule for a 1000 years in The Kingdom of the Heavens.
* name only, since all earthly tribal and marriage ties will not exist in heaven.
Though various forms and expressions of The inheritance of Jehovah have a prominent place in the Hebrew Scriptures, there is another inheritance that fleshly Israel along with its promises is intimately connected with.
This involves its relationship and outworking of the original testament Jehovah made with that nation. I am aware that you (JW leadership) do not like that expression Testament, since it seems all too closely tied to the doctrines of other members of Christendom.
Consistency in translation may be a virtue, as indeed it has been with the word soul, but there are many words in any language, including English, that consistently defy consistency.
One word that stands out in connection with Israel in translation is Covenant. In translating the Greek word that the Apostle Paul chose under inspiration, the translators of the NWT have sacrificed meaning on the altar of consistency. This is nowhere more obvious and critical than in the following verses, where the word covenant obscures its intended meaning of testament, which is essential to correctly understand Jehovah's purpose:
(Hebrews 9:15-17) 15 So that is why he is a mediator of a new covenant, in order that, because a death has occurred for [their] release by ransom from the transgressions under the former covenant, the ones who have been called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. 16 For where there is a covenant, the death of the [human] covenanter needs to be furnished. 17 For a covenant is valid over dead [victims], since it is not in force at any time while the [human] covenanter is living.
Why does the covenanter need to die? There are all manner of covenants in human society that cover a whole spectrum of contracts from marriage to building, land acquisition to apprenticeship, where none of the participants are required to die.
Alas, there is one specific kind that actually requires the death of one of the parties to the contract or covenant, and that involves wills and testaments, where the one making the last will and testament has to die to validate it or put it into operation so that those chosen to inherit the estate, can.
Why have we persisted in our (NWT) use of covenant in the above verses 16 & 17, when testament and testator are the only terms that contextually fit in with the meaning of the verses and the purpose of the covenant?
The principal reason must be our conviction that the Ransom could not have been only for Israel, since we consistently hold the belief, along with Christendom and all the rest of Babylon the Great, that man is by default and nature imperfect, incomplete and depraved.
We have not consistently separated ourselves sufficiently from Babylon the Great*
if we hold that view.
* now I believe that to be the once virginal but now adulterous Bride of Christ.
The second one is that we believe Israel to have been completely rejected in our attempt to negate Christendom's retention of Israel in their doctrinal mindset and their nonsensical expectations for their own future so near.
Because we felt that other translations favoured Christendom's distorted view of Israel's destiny and their own salvation strategy, we tried to counteract what these two familiar bible versions appear to be saying:
KJV Hebrews 9:15-17 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Now it becomes interesting, because the brother assigned to intercept my previous communication, which the Governing Body and/or the Teaching Committee probably never got to see anyway, in his reply debunked me by insisting that all was my idea.
Is what Paul said above actually my idea? Why, thank you, but I sincerely believe that I am neither inspired nor capable of originating original ideas, which might be termed my ideas.
It is we who have our own ideas, such as inserting covenant in Hebrews 9:18: Consequently neither was the former [covenant] inaugurated without blood. ., but that is not original, since many other translation follow the same path, even though the original Greek does not contain it.
This is all based on the assumption that the Moses-mediated covenant was not a Testament.
Alas, Jehovah in his wisdom made sure that Israel was never made aware of the temporary nature of that covenant by
1. the meaning of the Hebrew word berith conveying only the intended meaning of covenant, while hiding its intended purpose as a testament. and
2. The veil Moses wore as he came off the mountain, clearly explained by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:13: . . .that the sons of Israel might not gaze intently at the end of that which was to be done away with. Yes, Israel was not to see the end of that which had only just begun.
The Apostle Paul and other writers of the NT wrote under inspiration fully aware of Jehovah's purpose for Israel. They were highly intelligent and well versed in both Hebrew and Greek. So when they used the Greek word meaning testament in quoting from Hebrew verses containing the Hebrew word berith for covenant, they knew exactly what they were saying and why.
And no, the mediator Moses did not have to die then, or any other time, with the annual sacrifices taking his place, as you assert, nor did the mediator of the new covenant have to die.
The man Jesus in his dual role actually was the lamb that the heavenly mediator offered on Jehovah's behalf. But more about this in another place.
An inheritance is usually something that is permanent and cannot be taken away. In the human earthly realm, however, it is only temporary at best, since all humans eventually die and, in the case of the land inheritance given to Israel, it was limited in that it was meant to serve Jehovah's purpose but for a time.
In contrast Israel, the inheritance Jehovah inherits, is permanent, even forever, as Exodus 15:17, 18 clearly indicates.
This in turn gives that original fleshly nation of Israel an everlasting status beyond their temporary earthly sojourn.
Due to their sin against the Law, their future was doomed, since they were condemned to death as a nation. Jesus, who as the lamb, which in the shadow of the Exodus was also Israel specific, had come into their world and had to die for that disobedient nation –to quote the inspired Ca´ia·phas from John 11:49-53:
49 But a certain one of them, Ca´ia·phas, who was high priest that year, said to them: “you do not know anything at all, 50 and you do not reason out that it is to your benefit for one man to die in behalf of the people and not for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 This, though, he did not say of his own originality; but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was destined to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that the children of God who are scattered about he might also gather together in one. 53 Therefore from that day on they took counsel to kill him. .
As a result, the congregation of Israel was now owned by the Christ, the rock-mass, on whom his congregation of fleshly Israel was to be built to completion in readiness for their purposed place in heaven as the Kingdom of God.
(Acts 20:28) 28 Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood M of his own [Son].
M Marginals-(Matthew 26:28) for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,*’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many M for forgiveness of sins.
M Marginals-(Mark 14:24) And he said to them: “This means my ‘blood of the covenant M*,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many
M Marginals-(Jeremiah 31:31-32) “Look! There are days coming,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant*; 32 not one like the covenant* that I concluded with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, ‘which covenant* of mine they themselves broke, although I myself had husbandly ownership of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”
(Hebrews 9:15) So that is why he is a mediator of a new covenant*, in order that, because a death has occurred for [their] release by ransom from the transgressions under the former covenant*, the ones who have been called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance.
* Greek ...................Testament.......Strong's 1242 diayhkh diatheke
* Greek Septuagint:..Testament.......Strong's 1242 diayhkh diatheke
What can I add to the brilliance of Jehovah's purpose respecting Israel, as expressed in His magnificent word?
Words fail me to even remotely comprehend how you (JW Leadership) could miss this beautiful truth.
The uniqueness of the people Israel as a nation is certainly highlighted in:
(2 Samuel 7:22-24) 22 That is why you are indeed great, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah; for there is no other like you, and there is no God except you among all of whom we have heard with our ears. 23 And what one nation in the earth is like your people Israel, whom God went to redeem to himself as a people and to assign himself a name and to do for them great and fear-inspiring things—to drive out because of your people, whom you have redeemed to yourself from Egypt, the nations and their gods? 24 And you proceeded to establish your people Israel firmly for yourself as your people to time indefinite; and you yourself, O Jehovah, have become their God.
Here is some additional evidence from a Witnesses publication that Israel's exodus from Egypt signaled a unique defining moment in their history as a nation:
* Isaiah-2 chap. 5 p. 62 Par 4 The True God Foretells Deliverance *
4 Chapter 44 begins on a positive note with a reminder that Israel has been chosen by God, separated from the surrounding nations to become his servant. The prophecy says: “Now listen, O Jacob my servant, and you, O Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what Jehovah has said, your Maker and your Former, who kept helping you even from the belly, ‘Do not be afraid, O my servant Jacob, and you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.’” (Isaiah 44:1, 2) Jehovah has cared for Israel from its mother’s womb, as it were, ever since fleshly Israel became a nation at their coming out of Egypt.
Others however, were to join Israel and share in their journey:
(Isaiah 55:5) 5 Look! A nation that you do not know you will call M, and those of a nation who have not known you will run even to you, for the sake of Jehovah your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he will have beautified you.. .
M Marginals Rbi8 from Isaiah 55:5:
(Psalm 18:43) you will provide me escape from the faultfinding of the people. you will appoint me the head of the nations. A people that I have not known—they will serve me.
(Isaiah 56:8) The utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, who is collecting together the dispersed ones of Israel, is: “I shall collect together to him others besides those already collected together of his.”
Caiaphas prophesied that Jesus was destined to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that the children of God who are scattered about he might also gather together in one. . (John 11:51-52)
(Acts 15:14) Sym´e·on has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.
(Romans 11:17) However, if some of the branches were broken off but you, although being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became a sharer of the olive’s root of fatness,
(Ephesians 2:11) Therefore keep bearing in mind that formerly you were people of the nations as to flesh; “uncircumcision” you were called by that which is called “circumcision” made in the flesh with hands—
Why did the Apostle Paul here say that the Ephesians were no longer people of the nations? Because they were now an integral part of fleshly Israel, as were all the Gentiles he addressed in his letters:
(1 Corinthians 10:1-4) 10 Now I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea 2 and all got baptized into Moses by means of the cloud and of the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.. . .
Our forefathers? Yes, since they were now literal fleshly Israelites, they shared forefathers with those who were the original direct descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In our (JWs) RS book on page 308 under the main heading Ransom and subheading: To whom first was the merit of Jesus’ sacrifice applied, and with what objective? we quote:
Eph. 1:11-14: “In union with [Christ] we [Jews, including the apostle Paul] were also assigned as heirs [Heirs of what? Of the heavenly Kingdom] . . . that we should serve for the praise of his glory, we who have been first to hope in the Christ. But you also [Christians taken out of the Gentile nations, as were many in Ephesus] hoped in him after you heard the word of truth, the good news about your salvation. By means of him also, after you believed, you were sealed with the promised holy spirit, which is a token in advance of our inheritance, for the purpose of releasing by a ransom God’s own possession, to his glorious praise.” (That inheritance, as shown at 1 Peter 1:4, is reserved in the heavens. Revelation 14:1-4 indicates that those who share in it number 144,000. Along with Christ, these will serve as kings and priests over mankind for 1,000 years, during which God’s purpose for the earth to be a paradise populated by perfect offspring of the first human pair will be accomplished.)
Unfortunately we (JWs) have made insertions there in keeping with what we believe to be true. These are contextually wrong, because the Apostle makes here no reference at all either to his own Hebrew descent or to those of his Israelite brothers in the fashion of Romans 11.
Note that the first we is said by the Witnesses to apply only to literal fleshly descendents of Jacob i.e. Paul's ethnic, natural brothers in the flesh, when in actual fact it includes those Gentiles in Ephesus, because not only were many of Jewish descent, but the gentile Ephesians had also become literal Israelites, after having been grafted into the Israel Olive Tree to replace some of the disobedient natural Israelite olive branches and becoming a part of the 144000 fleshly Israelites drawn from all nations making up Abraham's seed and the kingdom of the heavens. –compare Romans 11:1-2.
After Jeremiah had just stated that Jehovah was to make a new covenant with Judah and Israel, here are Jehovah's comforting assurances in the same chapter of Jeremiah regarding the everlasting continuance of that original nation that came up out of the red sea:
(Jeremiah 31:35-37) 35 This is what Jehovah, the Giver of the sun for light by day, the statutes of the moon and the stars for light by night, the One stirring up the sea that its waves may become boisterous, the One whose name is Jehovah of armies, has said: 36 “‘If these regulations could be removed from before me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘those who are the seed of Israel could likewise cease from proving to be a nation before me always.’” 37 This is what Jehovah has said: “‘If the heavens up above could be measured and the foundations of the earth below could be searched out, I myself also could reject the entire seed of Israel on account of all that they have done,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”
Since with the Father of the [celestial] lights there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow. . . (James 1:17) . He will never change the statutes of the heavenly bodies. Neither are we ever able to measure the heavens. Thus the above assurances are a guarantee of the permanence of Jehovah's Inheritance: Israel, later complemented with Gentile branches.
What about Matthew 21:43, which your correspondent offered me as the antidote to Israel's continuance?
That has all to do with the word nation, which the translators of the NWT chose instead of people. Of the 164 occurrences of the Greek word, 100 of them were translated with words other than nation in the AV.
Jesus was addressing the shepherds of Israel when he said in verse 43 using inspired Greek choice of words:
This is why I say to you, The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a people producing its fruits.
Yes, other shepherds will be looking after Jehovah's Vineyard and inheritance to lead them to their final destiny of becoming the Kingdom of the Heavens, the focus of Jesus' ministry. ‑compare Isaiah 5:1-7; Ezekiel 34:1-31.
The following translations use the more appropriate term people: NRSV; NIV; ESV; NAS95. This fits in with the continuing Nation of Israel being drawn from all nations including Israel.
The translators of the NWT used nation because Jehovah's Witnesses had already convinced themselves a long time ago that the nation of Israel had been rejected by God. –see Rejected Israel.
True to His words in Jeremiah 31:35-37, Jehovah did not reject Israel, as the Apostle Paul clearly indicated in Romans 11:1-5:
I ask, then, God did not reject his people, did he? Never may that happen! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he first recognized. Why, do you not know what the Scripture says in connection with E·li´jah, as he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Jehovah, they have killed your prophets, they have dug up your altars, and I alone am left, and they are looking for my soul.” 4 Yet, what does the divine pronouncement say to him? “I have left seven thousand men over for myself, [men] who have not bent the knee to Ba´al.” 5 In this way, therefore, at the present season also a remnant has turned up according to a choosing due to undeserved kindness
On the basis of all the foregoing some big questions arise out of the Witnesses' view of Jesus' commands in Matthew 28:19-20:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. . .
What are all the things he had commanded them and who only could observe them?
Well, one could start with Jesus' preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of the Heavens, via the beatitudes to his inviting them to heaven and what they needed to do to get there and everything he had said in between in all of the four gospels.
That can only ever apply to those inheriting the Kingdom of the Heavens.
So the command of Matthew 28 19-20 encompasses the entire time period from Pentecost to the moment when Matthew 24:29-31 is fulfilled, during which the disciples are to seek out from those nations those deserving God's Undeserved Kindness (Grace) , Jew and Gentile alike, who will finally make up this anointed group.
The warning of the end coming upon an age/system in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 has no future value beyond Israel' destruction by the Romans in 70 CE other than signalling the beginning of their Greatest Tribulation, which shall continue until all all members of the 1000 Kingdom are called for governance (Matthew 24:29-31) -a time not far at this Jan 2015 edit.
The expression Sheep also belongs exclusively to the anointed. Even in Jesus' prophecy of his dividing the sheep from the goats he said this about their destiny:
(Matthew 25:34, 46) 34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom* prepared for you from the founding of the world. . . . 46. . . but the righteous ones into everlasting life *.” link
Just follow these intuitive NWT xrefs:
* (1 Thessalonians 2:12) to the end that you should go on walking worthily of God who is calling you to his kingdom and glory.
(Revelation 5:10) and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”
* (Romans 2:7) 7 everlasting life to those who are seeking glory and honor and incorruptibleness * by endurance in work that is good;
* (1 Corinthians 15:53-54) For this which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put on immortality. . . .. 54 But when [this which is corruptible puts on incorruption and] this which is mortal puts on immortality, then the saying will take place that is written: “Death * is swallowed up forever.”.
* (Revelation 20:6) Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.
(Revelation 21:4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
Also there are these references to the final destiny of the sheep of the nations:
(Zechariah 8:23) 23 “This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘It will be in those days that ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will actually take hold of the skirt of a man who is a Jew, saying: “We will go with you people, for we have heard [that] God is with you people.”’”. . .
Go with the Jew where? Well, wherever the Jew is going: Heaven!
(John 10:26-28) 26 But you do not believe, because you are none of my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 And I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.. . .
They follow him? Where to? The Heavens of course!
. . . and will by no means ever be destroyed? Really? Yes, for they shall have immortality.
(Matthew 10:38) 38 And whoever does not accept his torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me.
(Revelation 14:4) 4 These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins. These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb,
no matter where he goes? Where was he going?
(John 13:36) 36 Simon Peter said to him: “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered: “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterwards. *”
* (John 14:3) Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.
(Hebrews 10:19-20) 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness for the way of entry into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 which he inaugurated for us as a new and living way through the curtain, that is, his flesh*,. . .
* (John 6:51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and, for a fact, the bread that I shall give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.” *
(Hebrews 6:19-20) 19 This [hope] we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm, and it enters in within the curtain, 20 where a forerunner has entered in our behalf, Jesus, who has become a high priest according to the manner of Mel·chiz´e·dek forever.
*(Hebrews 10:10; 16-18) 10 By the said “will” we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. 16 “‘This is the covenant that I shall covenant toward them after those days,’ says Jehovah. ‘I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds I shall write them,’” 17 [it says afterwards:] “And I shall by no means call their sins and their lawless deeds to mind anymore.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Since this quote from Jeremiah 31 was originally said and applies only to Judah and Israel, the forgiveness for the lawless deeds against the Law of Moses not only stand forgiven for Israel but it includes forgiveness to those to whom Paul was writing: the continuing Israel.
If you were only to listen to what the spirit says to the congregation through Peter here in:
(1 Peter 2:21-25) 21 In fact, to this [course] you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely. 22 He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. 23 When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously. 24 He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And “by his stripes you were healed*.” 25 For you were like sheep, going astray*; but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.. . .
you would indeed be doing the work God has assigned to Jesus' disciples and in keeping with this clear picture presented in Isaiah and intuitively cross-referenced from the above:
* (Isaiah 53:5) . . .. 5 But he was being pierced for our transgression; he was being crushed for our errors. The chastisement meant for our peace was upon him, and because of his wounds there has been a healing for us.. . .
* (Isaiah 53:6) 6 Like sheep we have all of us wandered about; it was each one to his own way that we have turned; and Jehovah himself has caused the error of us all to meet up with that one.. . .
Here again and at the risk of appearing boring and repetitious, I must draw your attention again to the context of Isaiah 53. The prophet Isaiah an Israelite by natural descent from Jacob, situated in the national fold of Israel was commissioned by Jehovah and inspired by Him to speak and prophesy to those Israelite sheep in that Israelite fold. So when he said us, we, and our, he did not refer to mankind, but exclusively to those he was speaking to: Israel.
Quoting from Isaiah 53:5-6 (NWT) and then saying now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls, the Apostle Peter clearly indicated a returning to Jehovah for those Christians who were now truly Israelites irrespective of their ethnic origins, and having been forgiven their inherited sins against the Law. They could not have returned to the shepherd Jesus because he was not the shepherd they originally had and have now returned to.
By the way, our cross-reference falsely points there to Jesus as the shepherd.
This journey, as we accompany Israel, has taken us now from their victory song of Exodus 15 to their being individually born again at their collective birth as a nation of Kings and Priests as that Kingdom of the Heavens Jesus had commenced preaching about at the beginning of his ministry.
Hebrews 9:15-18 will now finally assume its beautiful clarity as the spirit says loud and clear that the Christ had died only for those who were led, protected under the custody of sin, to him who became sin for them and died instead of and in behalf of that nation of Israel, Jehovah's eternal inheritance:
Heb 9:15-18 And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions, which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a testament, the death of the testator must of necessity come in. 17 For a testament is of force, after men are dead: otherwise it is as yet of no strength, whilst the testator liveth. 18 Whereupon neither was the first indeed dedicated without blood. Douay Rheims
other essays specifically deal with the testamental aspect of the Mosaic Law covenant and the new covenant on pages under the Bible button of the main menu.
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