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
Follow the Christ
Many Christian preachers and proselytising organizations use the above catch phrase to good ends and some success.
However, some very fundamental questions arise:
Who is to follow the Christ? Follow to where; to what? Is the destination a particular place or a condition? Does God want humans to follow a creature?
There were those who followed Hitler, Marx & Engels, Stalin, Miller, Luther, Mao and others, which is a following mainly of ideology and belief. It generally leads nowhere, but frequently to disaster, especially for those who literally followed them.
Where are they all now? In no man's land.
Then there are tour guides whom one follows through treacherous terrain so as to arrive safely at one's destination. Teachers, tutors and instructors can likewise guide one successfully to a desired and/or chosen goal.
God certainly wishes no one to follow any person and/or creature to become like them, to adopt their names or that of their ideology.
The Satan [adversary] has consistently twisted right and proper ideals, concepts, practices and emotions to get humans to follow creatures in the furtherance of his aims.
It was right and proper for the first two humans to follow Jehovah, because to follow His guidance is to reflect His image to an ever greater degree. This was not to the literal place of His residence, but rather to the a conceptual location of success in life and to resemble ever more the image of the one who created them.
Jehovah wanted them to follow Him as a guide to successfully negotiate the road of life, avoiding all pitfalls along the way. Hence His first dietary advice: Do not eat from THAT tree, or you will die should have been followed.
Whose leader is the Christ in order to follow him?
Well, after Adam messed up, Jehovah set a train of events in motion that would ultimately lead man to a successful resolution, if they follow Him. He was never out of reach for those seeking His guidance and support. Since an organized structure for guidance no longer existed, Jehovah immediately arranged to provide one in due course: The Seed of the Woman of Gen 3:15.
That in turn lead to the Seed of Abraham that was to furnish the means to solve the dilemma Adam had foisted upon mankind.
When his progeny through Jacob/Israel finally exited the womb of Egypt, Jehovah immediately provided a guide for them to be lead to a successful destination. That was to a particular location, which they would certainly reach as long as they were also willing to follow all directions along the way.
That guide was undoubtedly none other than that angel of God involved all the way from Abraham to the Exodus, namely the only begotten god/son of Jehovah, the archangel Michael, as the Bible and rightly, in this case, JW's publications indicate.
Firmly but kindly did Jehovah admonish Israel here to listen, learn and be obedient to that guide, since it was only for their benefit. (Isaiah 48:17)
(Exodus 23:20-21) 20 “Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 21 Watch yourself because of him and obey his voice. Do not behave rebelliously against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; because my name is within him.
In this manner Jehovah had provided the means to lead them to the place He had prepared for them. Where was that?
On an earlier occasion, just after Abraham's seed Israel was born as His firstborn son at their Exodus (Exodus 4:22), Jehovah caused Moses to compose a victory song that specifically spoke of the place Jehovah had prepared for them:
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. (Exodus 15:16-18)
Not only does Jehovah here speak of a sanctuary that He had established for them on the mountain of His inheritance Israel, but more particularly he placed that into a time period far beyond their temporary residency in that land promised to Abraham with the words: time indefinite, even forever, an expression He never used in connection with Israel's earthly sojourn.
Interesting How Jehovah makes the connection between that and the heavenly anointed Israel who are actually singing that same song in heaven. ‑Rev 15:2-3 - see NWT xref at Moses
He could not have had in mind MT Zion in the Salem environs, since that was not captured by King David until over 400 years later, with Jehovah's sanctuary certainly never residing there.
After the Exodus, Jehovah's Angel led His firstborn son Israel to MT Horeb so that further guidance could be provided by means of the Law transmitted under angelic guidance to lead them under its tutorage to that place prepared by Jehovah.
Before the law was agreed upon, Jehovah made a covenant with them for a Kingdom, in that He pledged Israel to eventually becoming a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation as long as they accepted His guidance by following it. This was a bilateral covenant mutually agreed upon.
That acted as a prelude toward Israel becoming God’s wife, like an engagement or promise to marry.
As a result, Jehovah acquainted Israel, His betrothed, with His family's standards through the Law and the consequences that would befall her if she failed to meet them, after which the marriage was consummated via the sacrifices. ‑Ezekiel 16 is a Must Read!
During their long journey, Jehovah continued to provide guidance by means of Moses, Joshua, Judges, Kings, Priests and Prophets under the oversight of that guiding Angel. The will to obey, however, soon faded, was replaced and overwritten.
They messed up so badly that they were condemned to vanish as the nation of Jehovah's beloved inheritance. Nonetheless, even after the divorce and without Jehovah's presence in the most holy of the rebuilt temple, as evidenced by the absent Ark of the Covenant, they remained under the tutorage of the law and imprisoned by its condemnation of them due to their sins against it. -Gal 3:21-25
That is why Jesus could read this from Isaiah: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year. ‑Luke 4:18-19.
Captives to whom; to what? The Apostle acknowledged that he was held prisoner by that Mosaic Law of sin and death, since it defined sin and the penalty of death for serious transgressors: 23 but I behold in my members another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my members. ‑Romans 7:23
It was the Mosaic Law that was the law of sin and death and the cause for Paul's dilemma, as he also noted in 1 Cor 15:56: The sting producing death is sin, but the power for sin is the Law.
When Jesus died, that Law came to an end, freeing the Jews from it. That is why Paul also said: 8 1 Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. 2 For the law of that spirit which gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.. . . ‑Romans 8:1-2
That is also why Jesus could unequivocally state that: 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ‑John 8:32
Jesus had come exclusively into their world, the world of Israel, in order to save and prepare them to finally become Jehovah's promised heavenly inheritance:
(Matthew 15:24) 24 In answer he said: “I was not sent forth to any but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.. . .
(Matthew 10:5-6) 5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, giving them these orders: “Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter into a Sa·mar´i·tan city; 6 but, instead, go continually to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.. . .
Israel was to continue to follow the Angel's guidance. In keeping with that, the law finally guided them to their Messiah. But wait, there was more.
They had to continue to follow him to that literal place on Jehovah's mountain he had prepared for them so long ago as per that Song of Moses of Exodus 15.
Look at the following scenarios:
(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 first-fruits to God and to the Lamb,
(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 will by no means ever be destroyed ? Well, how is that for immortality! Also look at all the plural personal pronouns throughout the entire NT (C.G.S.). Can only apply to the anointed brothers of the Christ.
Then there is this conversational interchange:
(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 14:1-7) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. 2 In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. 3 Also, if I go my way and prepare a place <in the Most Holy sanctuary of God's presence> for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be. 4 And where I am going you know the way.”
5 Thomas said to him: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father <literally> except through me <the curtain of Jesus' flesh –Hebrews 6:19, 20; 10:19, 20>. 7 If you men had known me, you would have known my Father also; from this moment on you know him and have seen him.”
How were they to follow him to that prepared place?
(Hebrews 6:17-20) 17 In this manner God, when he purposed to demonstrate more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his counsel, stepped in with an oath, 18 in order that, through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to lay hold on the hope set before us. 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. . .
So, the forerunner Jesus had entered within the curtain of direct access to the Person of Jehovah. Where was that curtain?
Paul continues: 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,. . . (Hebrews 10:19-20), with the we and the us being those of the anointed 144000 members of Israel destined for heavenly government, composed of all nations including Jews. ‑Gal 3:28-29.
So, it had not been so much a question of where that curtain was, but who or what it was.
Marvellous indeed. They could all now follow that same angel, as it were, that lead them from the Exodus through their perilous journey right into the heavenly abode of Jehovah's presence, where the Christ had gone to prepare that place for them according to Jehovah's will and as anticipated from Exodus 15:17.Why did the Christ enter through that curtain and how did he prepare that place for Jehovah's inheritance Israel? For Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.. . . ‑Hebrews 9:24.
The Christ offered the blood of the Passover/atonement lamb Jesus that had died sacrificially for Jehovah's firstborn son Israel. Since the lamb Jesus had remained unblemished in obedience to the Law he was subject to as a Jew throughout his life, that substitutionary offering was accepted by Jehovah in behalf of His disobedient special possession, His inheritance Israel.
This paved the way for their entry in to the heavenly Holy Place not understood by their forefathers: 8 Thus the holy spirit makes it plain that the way into the holy place had not yet been made manifest while the first tent was standing. ‑Hebrews 9:8. –see also Romans 3:13
It was however made clear now in the same Epistle of Paul under inspiration: 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, ‑Hebrews 10:19-20.
What does all this say about following the Christ?
The thought of imitating his personality, behaviour and actions certainly crosses our minds as we try to grapple with life's complexities and the madness of Satan's system.
It must be remembered, however, that Jesus was required to act within the parameters
set by the Law he was subject to, something not required of his followers. He also
had the task set for him by Jehovah for the 3½ years of his trial period, as he substituted
for Israel eye for eye and tooth for tooth; firstborn for firstborn; at his baptism,
ministry and death,
‑1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:20-21; Gal 3:13; Heb 9:15; (to identify the us, we and our in the foregoing verses, please see Philippians 3:20-21)
Those of us, who are members of all the families of the earth, to be eventually blessed by means of that seed of Abraham, cannot possibly follow him, because we are not of the anointed chosen ones destined for heaven.
But we can follow Jehovah's guidance as he teaches us also to benefit ourselves by whatever means He chooses to express it: His word and His coming Kingdom soon to exercise complete control over all those of all the families of the earth yielding to Him, as Adam did not and the Israelites largely failed to.
When the last of anointed Israel finally enter the heavenly realm together with their brothers still resting in death, the Marriage of the Lamb with the completed Bride will finally be consummated. (1 Cor 15:50-52; 1 Thess 4:15-17; Rev 6:9-11; 20:4)
At that time of the Kingdom's establishment, when it begins its rule, death is swallowed up forever for the little flock of anointed Israel when they are saved (Rom. 11:26) and have finally completed their journey of following the Christ from the Exodus to their foreordained destination in Heaven.
Thank you for reading this far.
May it prove to be a blessing to you.