“I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel.”
Since most of Ezekiel’s prophecies were executed by Babylon’s army, how was this prophecy fulfilled?
Despite also being descendants of Abraham through Isaac, the people of Edom had demonstrated hatred toward the people of Israel throughout their history. (Ps. 137:7; Am. 1:11)
When Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jews captive, Edom was apparently an ally of Babylon. (Obad. 1, 7)
Some fifty years later, though, under the new Babylonian King Nabonidus, an army that included Jewish soldiers conquered Edom, thereby fulfilling the aforementioned prophecy. (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. I. “Edom: Later History and Disappearance.”)
Edom did not survive as a nation. (Obad. 10)
How awe-inspiring it is to see Jehovah’s prophetic justice fulfilled.
“‘[…] They will sleep a lasting sleep,
From which they will not wake up,’ declares Jehovah.”
The Bible explains that there are at least two different types of deaths.
One is the death of someone whom God will resurrect in Paradise, a death Jesus likened to sleep. (Luke 23:39-43; John 11:11-13)
The other death the Bible refers to is that which results in nothingness, nonexistence, simply dust and ashes. (Gen. 3:17,19; Isa. 66:24; Luke 12:4,5; Rev. 20:15)
God foretold through his prophet Jeremiah that Babylon’s leaders would receive permanent punishment for the war crimes they committed, reiterating in verse fifty-seven that they would not benefit from the resurrection hope. (Jer. 51:6, 9, 24, 25, 35, 47, 49, 56)
This prophecy was fulfilled in the year 539 b.C.E., when the city fell in one night to the Mede and Persian armies while the empire’s leaders celebrated a banquet. (Daniel 5:1-3, 30)
Because Jehovah God has appointed his son Jesus as judge, it is unwise for us to speculate whether someone who does not serve God today will not benefit from the resurrection in Paradise. (Acts 10:36,42)
“’In those days and at that time,’ declares Jehovah,
‘Israel’s guilt will be searched for,
But there will be none,
And the sins of Judah will not be found,
For I will forgive those whom I let remain.'”
God allowed his people to be disciplined for not heeding his commandments and straying from true worship. (Jer. 44:10,11)
But God also foretold that his people would return to the Promised Land after a set period and they would then be at peace with him. (Isa. 44:22; Jer. 31:34, 33:7)
Jehovah God is willing to forgive once he has set matters straight, leaving the past in the past.
Shouldn’t we be willing to do the same?
“[…] You should know for a certainty that I have warned you today that your error will cost you your lives.”
After the Chaldeans took most of the Jews captive, the army chiefs along with the remaining people in the vicinity of Jerusalem asked the prophet to pray on their behalf and find out what God’s will for them was. (Jer. 42:1-3)
Ten days later, Jehovah gave his reply, asking them to remain there and not fear the king of Babylon. (Jer. 42:7,10,11)
But the people had allowed their fear to overcome them and were headstrong about fleeing to Egypt (Jer. 43:4-7)
Eventually, the Chaldeans extended their battles into Egypt, and that remnant did not survive (Jer. 43:10,11)
They were not necessarily evil people.
They mostly consisted of the poorest sector of the population. (Jer. 40:7)
The fact that they first sought out God’s guidance indicates that at least at one point they had the right intention. (Jer. 42:5,6)
But their subsequent decision to ignore Jehovah’s commandment and head on into Egypt without his blessing ended up having tragic consequences.
Today, God warns us that a time is coming in which he will judge all of humanity. (Mark 13:32,33; Acts 17:30,31)
If we were in the habit of praying for his guidance and then ignoring Biblical counsel, we, too, would be falling in an error that will cost us our lives.
“[…] In order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, something that I had not commanded and that had never even come into my heart.”
The people of Judah’s sinful inclination to worship idols had led them to the point of burning their own children in altars to false gods.
Jehovah God makes it very clear that their form of worship had nothing to do with him.
He had sent them prophets warning them of their evil ways but his People had stubbornly ignored him. (Jer. 7:13,26)
The disheartened practices of parents in those days may be somewhat shocking by today’s standards, but there are people who still teach that hellfire is a Divine punishment for wrongdoers.
Jehovah says the practice of burning people has ‘never even come into his heart.’
Although Jesus did refer to the “fiery Gehenna,” historically this was a valley of refuse where dead bodies unworthy of graves were thrown out and cremated. (Matt. 5:22; 10:28; Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 1)
Jesus was not referring to a place of torment, but a place of utter destruction.
By comparing God’s principles with ancient practices, most conscientious Bible students can conclude that the teaching of torment by hellfire is false. (1 John 4:8)
“Now make confession to Jehovah the God of your forefathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from these foreign wives.”
Does the Jews sending their wives away violate the Bible viewpoint of marriage?
After all, this action directly contradicts Jesus’ words: “What God has yoked together, let no man put apart,” (Matt. 19:6).
But we need to keep in mind that Mosaic Law, written well over a thousand years before Jesus was even born, allowed for divorce, providing anything “indecent” be found in the wife (Deut. 24:1).
In Jewish culture, the husband who wished to divorce his wife had to provide a divorce certificate that legally freed her up to marry again.
Man and wife were originally united as “one flesh.”
That principle was instituted “from the beginning,” (Matt. 19:3-5).
But Jesus himself explains that the divorce provision was due to the hard-heartedness characteristic of men in his own culture.
Therefore, we cannot judge the actions of the pre-Christian men, who were tasked with reestablishing their religious customs, by modern day Christian standards.
The Jews had the express mission of reinstating pure worship so that the Messiah could be born to them, as had been promised to Abraham, Jacob, and King David (Gen. 22:18; 28:14; Isa. 9:7).
That was, in part, why the Mede and Persian rulers had supported their efforts to rebuild Jerusalem (Ez. 6:3,12; 7:21).
Their associations in the surrounding pagan nations distracted them.
They were in danger of adopting their foreign wives’ idolatrous practices and once again garnering God’s disaproval.
It was under these circumstances and three months of litigating on a case by case basis that the foreign wives were eventually sent away with full custody of the children they had borne (Ez. 10:16,17,44).
Christians, on the other hand, were to be composed of all nations, not just of Israeli descent, and are not to divorce unless one is the innocent victim of a marital affair (Matt. 19:9; 28:19; 1 Pet. 3:1,7).
So while it was imperative to the survival of the Jewish religion to send away the pagan wives, Christians cannot use their stand as a precedent to excuse themselves from their marriage dues.
“Then he [Bezalel] made the basin of copper and its copper stand; he used the mirrors of the women who were organized to serve at the entrance of the tent of meeting.
Since ancient times, women have played an important role in supporting God’s earthly endeavors.
Here, we see not only that they were self-sacrificing, (for mirrors must have been hard to come by in the desert) but also that they were organized.
Being organized implies being submissive to someone giving instructions.
Nowadays, “the women proclaiming the good news are a large army.” (Ps. 68:11)
I am going to make a rough estimate here and say that 75-80% of the time you see Jehovah’s Witnesses preaching, they will be women.
This might be because women tend to be more social than men, or more inclined to be verbally expressive, or perhaps in many cultures it is still more typical for the mother to stay at home and watch the kids, which gives some women a certain degree of flexibility in their schedules.
When we meet to make arrangements to go out and visit people, it is important to do it in an organized manner.
We must take to heart the various instructions we receive during our regular weekly meetings and carry them out as closely as possible while still using common sense.
Although we do not make up a literal army, we have to be willing to take directions through God’s chain of command.
By doing so, the worldwide congregation as a whole works more efficiently and we receive God’s blessing.
“For God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33)
The half shekel for each individual was half a shekel by the standard shekel of the holy place for every man who was among those registered from 20 years of age and up, amounting to 603,550.
Mosaic law is crystal clear when drawing the line between boy and man.
20 years of age is a constant used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures for when a man was to be registered in order that he may serve the nation.
In this context, we see that even if a young man was still living with his parents, he was expected to make his own monetary contribution toward the Tabernacle building project.
Christian parents make a genuine effort to ‘go on bringing [their children] up in the discipline and admonition of Jehovah,’ (Eph. 6:4).
Upon entering adulthood, every person must decide for him/herself whether or not they will continue in that path, building up their own personal relationship with God without relying on their parents to tell them what is right or wrong.
Young Christian adults who vow to serve God are expected to forge their own name in spiritual terms and make their own spiritual contributions instead of lazily living off of their parents’ good name and works.