1 Samuel, chapters 5-9

But he would return to Ramah, because his house was there, and there he also judged Israel. He built an altar there to Jehovah.
~1 Samuel 7:17

While reading the account of how Samuel went about leading the Israelites in true worship, I couldn’t help but wonder that he had built an altar at a place other than the tabernacle (De. 12:11).

Worshipping in high places was a practice God had clearly condemned until shortly before then (Jos. 22:29).
The indicated place of worship was supposed to be where God’s sacred Ark resided- the Ark symbolizing God’s divine presence.
However, with God’s sacred Ark having been robbed from the tabernacle, Jehovah allowed his worshippers to practice their faith elsewhere, so long as it remained clean of idolatry (1 Ki. 3:2-4).

God’s reasonableness is thus reflected in the flexibility he offers his servants when they are sincerely approaching him to worship.

A Samaritan woman once inquired of the Messiah about the proper place to worship (John 4:19,20).

Jesus’s reply clearly indicates that the determining factor in whether God accepts someone’s worship is the attitude with which a person approaches God, not so much the physical place the person is at.
He also mentioned that it should be spirit-based, or free of idol use (John 4:24).

An example of this can be seen today in the hundreds of conscientious objectors who are imprisoned for practicing their faith.
Although they are in most cases isolated from the worldwide brotherhood, without a doubt Jehovah hears their prayers and holds their worship in high esteem.

Leviticus, chapters 14-16

[…] The goat designated by lot for A·za′zel should be brought alive to stand before Jehovah in order to perform the atonement upon it, so that it may be sent away for A·za′zel into the wilderness.
~Leviticus 16:10

The word “Azazel” seems to come from two Hebrew words.

Na·saʼ′ can mean pardon, take away, carry and in this instance, disappear;ʽez means goat (Insight, vol. ii, “Pardon”).

In effect, Azazel means disappearing goat, scapegoat, or as the Greek Septuagint translates it, “the one averting evil,” (Insight, vol. i, “Azazel”).

The High Priest of Israel was to enter the Most Holy, that is, the compartment of the Tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, only once a year.

There, he was to make atonement first for himself and his family, then for all of Israel (Lev. 16:12-16).

This occurred on the holiday known as Atonement Day.

This was the only day in which all of Israel was obligated to fast and ‘afflict their souls.’ They were prohibited from working on this day (Lev. 16:31).

There were two goats: one goat was sacrificed to Jehovah as a sin offering on behalf of the nation, and the other stood before Jehovah while the life of the sacrificed goat was symbolically transferred to the live goat through the blood it shed (Lev. 17:11).

Then the live goat was led away and set free in the wilderness, carrying off the nation’s sins, so to speak (Lev. 16:20-22).

The prophet Isaiah correctly applied this ceremony to what Christ was to do for mankind:

“Truly he himself carried our sicknesses,
And he bore our pains.
But we considered him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgression;
He was crushed for our errors.
He bore the punishment for our peace,
And because of his wounds we were healed,”
(Isa. 53:4,5).

Therefor both goats represent one symbol: that of Christ shedding his blood for us, presenting it in Heaven before his Father, and through his atonement, carrying away the sins of repentant humanity (Heb. 9:11, 12).

 

 

Exodus, chapters 38-40

“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.
~Exodus 38:8

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.
~Exodus 38:26

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.