The Creator Reveals Himself—To Our Benefit!
AMID thunder and lightning, some three million people stood before a lofty mountain on the Sinai Peninsula. Clouds enveloped Mount Sinai, and the ground trembled. In such memorable circumstances, Moses led ancient Israel into a formal relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth.—Exodus, chapter 19; Isaiah 45:18.
Why, though, would the Creator of the universe reveal himself in a special way to a single nation, a comparatively minor one at that? Moses provided this insight: “It was because of Jehovah’s loving you, and because of his keeping the sworn statement that he had sworn to your forefathers.”—Deuteronomy 7:6-8.
Such a statement reveals that the Bible holds far more information for us than facts about the origin of the universe and life on earth. It has much to say about the Creator’s dealings with humans—past, present, and future. The Bible is the world’s most studied and most widely circulated book, so everyone who values education ought to be acquainted with its contents. Let us get an overview of what we can find in the Bible, concentrating first on the part that is often called the Old Testament. In doing so, we will also gain valuable insight into the personality of the Creator of the universe and Author of the Bible.
In Chapter 6, “An Ancient Creation Record—Can You Trust It?,” we saw that the Bible’s creation account contains otherwise unavailable facts about our earliest ancestors—our origins. This first Bible book contains much more. Such as?
Greek and other mythologies describe a time when gods and demigods had dealings with humans. Also, anthropologists report that around the globe there are legends about an ancient flood wiping out most of mankind. You may rightly dismiss such myths. Yet, did you know that the book of Genesis alone reveals to us the underlying historical facts that later were echoed in such myths and legends?—Genesis, chapters 6, 7.*
In the book of Genesis, you will also read about men and women—credible people with whom we can identify—who knew that the Creator exists and who took his will into account in their lives. We owe it to ourselves to know about such men as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were among the “forefathers” Moses mentioned. The Creator came to know Abraham and called him “my friend.” (Isaiah 41:8; Genesis 18:18, 19) Why? Jehovah had observed and gained confidence in Abraham as a man of faith. (Hebrews 11:8-10, 17-19; James 2:23) Abraham’s experience shows that God is approachable. His might and capacities are awesome, yet he is not merely some impersonal force or cause. He is a real person with whom humans like us can cultivate a respectful relationship—to our lasting benefit.
Jehovah promised Abraham: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Genesis 22:18) That builds on, or extends, the promise made in Adam’s time about a coming “seed.” (Genesis 3:15) Yes, what Jehovah told Abraham confirmed the hope that someone—the Seed—would in time appear and make a blessing available for all peoples. You will find this to be a central theme running through the Bible, underscoring that this book is not a collection of diverse human writings. And your knowing the theme of the Bible will help you to realize that God used one ancient nation—with the goal of blessing all nations.—Psalm 147:19, 20.
That Jehovah had this objective in dealing with Israel indicates that ‘he is not partial.’ (Acts 10:34; Galatians 3:14) Moreover, even while God was dealing primarily with Abraham’s descendants, people of other nations were welcome to come and also serve Jehovah. (1 Kings 8:41-43) And, as we will see later, God’s impartiality is such that today all of us—no matter what our national or ethnic background—are able to know and please him.
We can learn much from the history of the nation that the Creator dealt with for centuries. Let us divide its history into three parts. In considering these parts, note how Jehovah lived up to the meaning of his name, “He Causes to Become,” and how his personality showed through in his dealings with real people.
Part One—A Nation Ruled by the Creator
Abraham’s descendants became slaves in Egypt. Finally God raised up Moses, who led them to freedom in 1513 B.C.E. When Israel became a nation, God was its ruler. But in 1117 B.C.E., the people sought a human king.
What developments led to Israel’s being with Moses at Mount Sinai? The Bible book of Genesis provides the background. Earlier, when Jacob (also named Israel) lived to the northeast of Egypt, a famine occurred throughout the then-known world. Concern for his family caused Jacob to seek food from Egypt, where there was an ample supply of grain in storage. He discovered that the food administrator was actually his son Joseph, whom Jacob thought had died years earlier. Jacob and his family moved to Egypt and were invited to remain there. (Genesis 45:25–46:5; 47:5-12) However, after Joseph’s death, a new Pharaoh conscripted Jacob’s descendants into forced labor and “kept making their life bitter with hard slavery at clay mortar and bricks.” (Exodus 1:8-14) You can read this vivid account and much more in the second Bible book, Exodus.
The Israelites suffered ill-treatment for decades, and “their cry for help kept going up to the true God.” Turning to Jehovah was the wise course. He was interested in Abraham’s descendants and was determined to fulfill His purpose to provide a future blessing for all peoples. Jehovah ‘heard Israel’s groaning and took notice,’ which shows us that the Creator is sympathetic toward people who are downtrodden and suffering. (Exodus 2:23-25) He selected Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery. But when Moses and his brother, Aaron, came to ask Egypt’s Pharaoh that this enslaved people be allowed to leave, he responded defiantly: “Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away?”—Exodus 5:2.
Could you imagine the Creator of the universe shrinking from such a challenge, even if it came from the ruler of the greatest existing military power? God struck Pharaoh and the Egyptians with a series of plagues. Finally, after the tenth plague, Pharaoh agreed to release the Israelites. (Exodus 12:29-32) Thus Abraham’s descendants came to know Jehovah as a real person—one who provides freedom in his due time. Yes, as his name implies, Jehovah became a fulfiller of his promises in a dramatic way. (Exodus 6:3) But both Pharaoh and the Israelites were to learn yet more concerning that name.
This occurred because Pharaoh soon changed his mind. He led his army in heated pursuit of the departing slaves, catching up with them near the Red Sea. The Israelites were trapped between the sea and the Egyptian army. Then Jehovah intervened by opening a way through the Red Sea. Pharaoh should have recognized this as a display of God’s invincible power. Instead, he led his forces headlong after the Israelites—only to drown with his army when God let the sea return to its normal position. The account in Exodus does not say precisely how God performed these feats. We can rightly call them miracles because the deeds and their timing were beyond human control. Certainly such deeds would not be beyond the One who created both the universe and all its laws.—Exodus 14:1-31.
This event demonstrated for the Israelites—and it should highlight for us too—that Jehovah is a Savior who lives up to his name. However, we ought to discern from this account even more about God’s ways. For example, he executed justice against an oppressive nation, while he showed loving-kindness to his people through whom the Seed would come. In regard to the latter, what we read in Exodus is clearly much more than ancient history; it relates to God’s purpose to make a blessing available to all.
On to a Promised Land
After leaving Egypt, Moses and the people marched through the desert to Mount Sinai. What happened there shaped God’s dealings with the nation for centuries to come. He provided laws. Of course, aeons before this the Creator had already formulated the laws governing matter in our universe, which laws are still in effect. But at Mount Sinai he used Moses to provide national laws. We can read both what God did and the Law code that he provided in the book of Exodus and the three books that follow—Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Scholars believe that Moses also wrote the book of Job. We will consider some of its important contents in Chapter 10.
Even to this day, millions of people worldwide know of and try to follow the Ten Commandments, the central moral direction of this complete Law code. That code, though, contains many other directives that are admired for their excellence. Understandably, many regulations centered on Israelite life back then, such as rules about hygiene, sanitation, and disease. While set out initially for an ancient people, such laws reflect knowledge of scientific facts that human experts have discovered only in the last century or so. (Leviticus 13:46, 52; 15:4-13; Numbers 19:11-20; Deuteronomy 23:12, 13) A person does well to ask, How could it be that the laws for ancient Israel reflected knowledge and wisdom far superior to what was known by contemporary nations? A reasonable answer is that those laws came from the Creator.
The laws also helped to preserve family lines and prescribed religious duties for the Israelites to follow until the Seed would appear. By agreeing to do all that God asked, they would become accountable to live by that Law. (Deuteronomy 27:26; 30:17-20) Granted, they could not keep the Law perfectly. Yet even that fact served a good purpose. A legal expert later explained that the Law ‘made transgressions manifest, until the seed should arrive to whom the promise was made.’ (Galatians 3:19, 24) So the Law code made them a separate people, reminded them of their need for the Seed, or Messiah, and prepared them to welcome him.
The Israelites, assembled at Mount Sinai, agreed to abide by God’s Law code. They thus came under what the Bible calls a covenant, or an agreement. The covenant was between that nation and God. Despite their willingly entering this covenant, they showed themselves to be a stiff-necked people. For example, they made a golden calf as their representation of God. Their doing that was a sin because idol worship directly violated the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6) Moreover, they complained about their provisions, rebelled against God’s appointed leader (Moses), and abandoned themselves to immoral relations with foreign women who worshiped idols. But why should this interest us, living so far removed in time from Moses’ day?
Again, this is not simply ancient history. Bible accounts about Israel’s ungrateful actions and God’s response show that he truly cares. The Bible says that the Israelites put Jehovah to the test “again and again,” making him “feel hurt” and “pained.” (Psalm 78:40, 41) Hence, we can be sure that the Creator has feelings and that he cares what humans do.
From our standpoint, one might think that Israel’s wrongdoing would result in God’s terminating his covenant and perhaps selecting another nation to fulfill his promise. Yet he did not. Instead, he exacted punishment on the flagrant wrongdoers but extended mercy toward his wayward nation as a whole. Yes, God continued loyal to his promise made to his faithful friend Abraham.
Before long, Israel approached Canaan, which the Bible calls the Promised Land. It was populated by powerful peoples steeped in morally degrading practices. The Creator had allowed 400 years to pass without interfering with them, but now he justly chose to turn the land over to ancient Israel. (Genesis 15:16; see also “A Jealous God—In What Sense?,” pages 132-3.) In preparation Moses sent 12 spies into the land. Ten of them showed a lack of faith in Jehovah’s saving power. Their report moved the people to murmur against God and conspire to return to Egypt. As a result, God sentenced the people to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.—Numbers 14:1-4, 26-34.
What did that judgment accomplish? Before his death, Moses admonished the sons of Israel to remember those years during which Jehovah had humbled them. Moses told them: “You well know with your own heart that just as a man corrects his son, Jehovah your God was correcting you.” (Deuteronomy 8:1-5) Despite their having acted insultingly toward him, Jehovah had sustained them, demonstrating that they were dependent on him. For example, they survived because he provided the nation with manna, an eatable substance that tasted like cakes made with honey. Clearly, they should have learned much from their wilderness experience. It should have proved the importance of obeying their merciful God and depending on him.—Exodus 16:13-16, 31; 34:6, 7.
After Moses’ death, God commissioned Joshua to lead Israel. This valiant and loyal man brought the nation into Canaan and courageously embarked on the conquest of the land. Within a short period, Joshua defeated 31 kings and occupied most of the Promised Land. You can find this exciting history in the book of Joshua.
Rule Without a Human King
Throughout the wilderness sojourn and during the early years in the Promised Land, the nation had Moses and then Joshua as leaders. The Israelites did not need a human king, for Jehovah was their Sovereign. He made provision for appointed older men to hear legal cases at the city gates. They maintained order and assisted the people spiritually. (Deuteronomy 16:18; 21:18-20) The book of Ruth offers a fascinating glimpse of how such older men handled a legal case based on the law found at Deuteronomy 25:7-9.
Over the years, the nation often incurred God’s disfavor by disobeying him repeatedly and turning to Canaanite gods. Still, when they came to be in sore straits and called to Jehovah for help, he remembered them. He raised up judges to take the lead in freeing Israel, rescuing them from oppressive neighboring peoples. The book named Judges vividly presents the exploits of 12 of these courageous judges.—Judges 2:11-19; Nehemiah 9:27.
The record says: “In those days there was no king in Israel. What was right in his own eyes was what each one was accustomed to do.” (Judges 21:25) The nation had the standards set out in the Law, so with the help of the older men and instruction from the priests, the people had a basis to ‘do what was right in their own eyes’ and be secure in this. Furthermore, the Law code provided for a tabernacle, or portable temple, where sacrifices were offered. True worship was centered there and helped to unite the nation during that time.
Part Two—Prosperity Under Kings
While Samuel was a judge in Israel, the people demanded a human king. The first three kings—Saul, David, and Solomon—reigned 40 years each, from 1117 to 997 B.C.E. Israel reached its pinnacle of wealth and glory, and the Creator took important steps in preparing for the kingship of the coming Seed.
As judge and prophet, Samuel cared well for Israel’s spiritual welfare, but his sons were different. The people finally demanded of Samuel: “Now do appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” Jehovah explained to Samuel the import of their demand: “Listen to the voice of the people . . . for it is not you whom they have rejected, but it is I whom they have rejected from being king over them.” Jehovah foresaw the sad consequences of this development. (1 Samuel 8:1-9) Yet, in accord with their demand, he designated as king over Israel a modest man named Saul. Despite his promising start, after becoming king, Saul showed wayward tendencies and overstepped God’s commands. God’s prophet announced that the kingship would be given to a man agreeable to Jehovah. This should underscore for us how much the Creator values obedience from the heart.—1 Samuel 15:22, 23.
David, who was to be the next king of Israel, was the youngest son in a family of the tribe of Judah. As to this surprising choice, God told Samuel: “Mere man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart is.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Is it not encouraging that the Creator looks at what we are inside, not at outward appearances? Saul, though, had his own ideas. From the time that Jehovah chose David as the future king, Saul was obsessed—driven by the idea of eliminating David. Jehovah did not let that happen, and finally Saul and his sons died in battle against a warring people called the Philistines.
David ruled as king from the city of Hebron. Then he captured Jerusalem and moved his capital there. He also extended Israel’s borders to the full limit of the land God had promised to give to Abraham’s descendants. You can read of this period (and the history of later kings) in six historical books of the Bible.* They reveal that David’s life was not free from problems. For instance, succumbing to human desire, he committed adultery with beautiful Bath-sheba and then committed other wrong deeds in order to cover his sin. As the God of justice, Jehovah could not just ignore David’s error. But because of David’s heartfelt repentance, God did not require that the Law’s penalty be rigidly applied; still, David would have many family problems as a result of his sins.
Through all these crises, David came to know God as a person—someone with feelings. He wrote: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him . . . and their cry for help he will hear.” (Psalm 145:18-20) David’s sincerity and devotion are plainly expressed in the beautiful songs he composed, which make up about one half of the book of Psalms. Millions have drawn comfort and encouragement from this poetry. Consider David’s closeness to God, as reflected in Psalm 139:1-4: “O Jehovah, you have searched through me, and you know me. You yourself have come to know my sitting down and my rising up. You have considered my thought from far off. . . . For there is not a word on my tongue, but, look! O Jehovah, you already know it all.”
David was especially aware of God’s saving power. (Psalm 20:6; 28:9; 34:7, 9; 37:39) Each time he experienced it, his trust in Jehovah grew. You can see evidence of that at Psalm 30:5; 62:8; and Ps 103:9. Or read Psalm 51, which David composed after being reproved for sinning with Bath-sheba. How refreshing it is to know that we can readily express ourselves to the Creator, assured that he is not arrogant but is humbly willing to listen! (Psalm 18:35; 69:33; 86:1-8) David did not come to such appreciation just through experience. “I have meditated on all your activity,” he wrote, “I willingly kept myself concerned with the work of your own hands.”—Psalm 63:6; 143:5.
Jehovah concluded a special covenant with David for an everlasting kingdom. David probably did not understand the full import of that covenant, but from details recorded in the Bible later on, we can see that God was indicating that the promised Seed would come in David’s line.—2 Samuel 7:16.
Wise King Solomon and the Meaning of Life
David’s son Solomon was renowned for his wisdom, and we can benefit from it by reading the very practical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.* (1 Kings 10:23-25) The latter book is especially helpful to people who are searching for meaning to their life, even as wise King Solomon did. As the first Israelite king born into a royal family, Solomon had vast possibilities before him. He also undertook majestic building projects, had foods of impressive variety on his table, and enjoyed music and the company of outstanding companions. Yet, he wrote: “I, even I, turned toward all the works of mine that my hands had done and toward the hard work that I had worked hard to accomplish, and, look! everything was vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 2:3-9, 11) To what did that point?
Solomon wrote: “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man. For the true God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14) In line with that, Solomon engaged in a seven-year project of building a glorious temple, where people could worship God.—1 Kings, chapter 6.
For years Solomon’s reign was marked by peace and abundance. (1 Kings 4:20-25) Still, his heart did not prove to be as complete toward Jehovah as David’s had been. Solomon took many foreign wives and allowed them to incline his heart toward their gods. Jehovah finally said: “I shall without fail rip the kingdom away from off you . . . One tribe I shall give to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem.”—1 Kings 11:4, 11-13.
Part Three—The Kingdom Divided
After Solomon’s death, in 997 B.C.E., ten northern tribes broke away. These formed the kingdom of Israel, which the Assyrians conquered in 740 B.C.E. The kings in Jerusalem ruled over two tribes. This kingdom, Judah, lasted until the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. and took the inhabitants captive. Judah lay desolate for 70 years.
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam came to power and made life hard for the people. This led to a revolt, and ten tribes broke away to become the kingdom of Israel. (1 Kings 12:1-4, 16-20) Over the years, this northern kingdom did not stick to the true God. The people often bowed before idols in the form of a golden calf or fell into other forms of false worship. Some of the kings were assassinated and their dynasties were overthrown by usurpers. Jehovah showed great forbearance, repeatedly sending prophets to warn the nation that tragedy was ahead if they continued their apostasy. The books of Hosea and Amos were written by prophets whose messages centered on this northern kingdom. Finally, in 740 B.C.E., the Assyrians brought the tragedy that God’s prophets had foretold.
In the south, 19 successive kings of David’s house ruled over Judah down till 607 B.C.E. Kings Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah ruled as their forefather David had, and they gained Jehovah’s favor. (1 Kings 15:9-11; 2 Kings 18:1-7; 22:1, 2; 2 Chronicles 17:1-6) When these kings reigned, Jehovah blessed the nation. The Englishman’s Critical and Expository Bible Cyclopædia observes: “The grand conservative element of J[udah] was its divinely appointed temple, priesthood, written law, and recognition of the one true God Jehovah as its true theocratic king. . . . This adherence to the law . . . produced a succession of kings containing many wise and good monarchs . . . Hence J[udah] survived her more populous northern sister.” These good kings were far outnumbered by ones who did not walk in the way of David. Still, Jehovah worked things out so that ‘David his servant might continue having a lamp always before him in Jerusalem, the city that God had chosen for himself to put his name there.’—1 Kings 11:36.
Heading for Destruction
Manasseh was one of the kings of Judah who turned away from true worship. “He made his own son pass through the fire, and he practiced magic and looked for omens and made spirit mediums and professional foretellers of events. He did on a large scale what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, to offend him.” (2 Kings 21:6, 16) King Manasseh seduced his people “to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated.” After repeatedly warning Manasseh and his people, the Creator declared: “I shall simply wipe Jerusalem clean just as one wipes the handleless bowl clean.”—2 Chronicles 33:9, 10; 2 Kings 21:10-13.
As a prelude, Jehovah let the Assyrians capture Manasseh and take him captive in copper fetters. (2 Chronicles 33:11) In exile Manasseh came to his senses and “kept humbling himself greatly because of the God of his forefathers.” How did Jehovah react? “[God] heard his request for favor and restored him to Jerusalem to his kingship; and Manasseh came to know that Jehovah is the true God.” King Manasseh and his grandson, King Josiah, both carried out needed reforms. Still, the nation did not permanently turn from wholesale moral and religious degradation.—2 Chronicles 33:1-20; 34:1–35:25; 2 Kings, chapter 22.
Significantly, Jehovah sent zealous prophets to declare his view of what was developing.* Jeremiah related Jehovah’s words: “From the day that your forefathers came forth out of the land of Egypt until this day . . . I kept sending to you all my servants the prophets, daily getting up early and sending them.” But the people did not listen to God. They acted worse than their forefathers! (Jeremiah 7:25, 26) He warned them repeatedly “because he felt compassion for his people.” They still refused to respond. So he allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and desolate the land in 607 B.C.E. For 70 years it lay abandoned.—2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Jeremiah 25:4-11.
This brief review of God’s actions should help us to recognize Jehovah’s concern and just dealings with his nation. He did not stand back and simply wait to see what the people would do, as if he were indifferent. He actively tried to help them. You can appreciate why Isaiah said: “O Jehovah, you are our Father. . . . All of us are the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) Accordingly, many today refer to the Creator as “Father,” for he responds as would a loving, interested human father. However, he also recognizes that we must be responsible for our own course and its outcome.
After the nation experienced a 70-year period of captivity in Babylon, Jehovah God fulfilled his prophecy to restore Jerusalem. The people were liberated and allowed to return to their homeland to ‘rebuild the house of Jehovah, which was in Jerusalem.’ (Ezra 1:1-4; Isaiah 44:24–45:7) A number of Bible books* deal with this restoration, the rebuilding of the temple, or the events that followed. One of them, Daniel, is particularly interesting because it prophesied exactly when the Seed, or Messiah, would appear, and it foretold world developments in our period.
The temple was finally rebuilt, but Jerusalem was in a pitiful condition. Her walls and gates were in ruins. So God raised up men such as Nehemiah to encourage and organize the Jews. A prayer that we can read in Nehemiah chapter 9 well summarizes Jehovah’s dealings with the Israelites. It shows Jehovah to be “a God of acts of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness.” The prayer also shows that Jehovah acts in harmony with his perfect standard of justice. Even when he has good reason to exercise his power to execute judgment, he is ready to temper justice with love. His doing this in a balanced and admirable way requires wisdom. Clearly, the Creator’s dealings with the nation of Israel ought to draw us to him and motivate us to be interested in doing his will.
As this part of the Bible (the Old Testament) concludes, Judah, with its temple at Jerusalem, was restored but was under pagan rule. So how could God’s covenant with David about a “seed” who would rule “forever” be fulfilled? (Psalm 89:3, 4; 132:11, 12) The Jews were still looking forward to the appearance of a “Messiah the Leader” who would free God’s people and establish a theocratic (God-ruled) kingdom on earth. (Daniel 9:24, 25) Was that Jehovah’s purpose, though? If not, how would the promised Messiah bring about deliverance? And how does that affect us today? The next chapter will consider these vital issues.
The names of Bible books are in boldfaced type as an aid to identifying their contents.
These are 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and 2 Chronicles.
He also wrote Song of Solomon, a love poem highlighting the loyalty of a young woman toward a humble shepherd.
A number of Bible books contain such inspired prophetic messages. These include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Joel, Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah. The books of Obadiah, Jonah, and Nahum focused on surrounding nations whose dealings affected God’s people.
These books of history and prophecy include Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
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Miracles—Can You Believe Them?
“It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles.” Those words of the German theologian Rudolf Bultmann reflect what many people today feel about miracles. Is that how you feel about miracles recorded in the Bible, such as God’s dividing of the Red Sea?
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “miracle” as “an extraordinary event attributed to some supernatural agency.” Such an extraordinary event involves an interruption in the natural order, which is why many are not inclined to believe in miracles. However, what seems to be a violation of a natural law may easily be explained in the light of the other laws of nature involved.
To illustrate, New Scientist reported that two physicists at the University of Tokyo applied an extremely strong magnetic field to a horizontal tube partially filled with water. The water rushed to the ends of the tube, leaving the middle section dry. The phenomenon, discovered in 1994, works because water is weakly diamagnetic, repelled by a magnet. The established phenomenon of water moving from where a magnetic field is very high to where it is lower has been dubbed The Moses Effect. New Scientist noted: “Pushing water around is easy—if you have a big enough magnet. And if you do, then nearly anything is possible.”
Of course, one could not say with absoluteness which process God used when he parted the Red Sea for the Israelites. But the Creator knows in the fullest detail all the laws of nature. He could easily control certain aspects of one law by employing another of the laws that he originated. To humans, the result could seem miraculous, especially if they did not fully grasp the laws involved.
As to miracles in the Bible, Akira Yamada, professor emeritus of Kyoto University in Japan, says: “While it is correct to say that [a miracle] cannot be understood as of now from the standpoint of the science in which one is involved (or from the status quo of science), it is wrong to conclude that it did not happen, simply on the authority of advanced modern physics or advanced modern Bibliology. Ten years from now, today’s modern science will be a science of the past. The faster science progresses the greater the possibility that scientists of today will become the target of jokes, such as ‘Scientists of ten years ago seriously believed such and such.’”—Gods in the Age of Science.
As the Creator, being able to coordinate all the laws of nature, Jehovah can use his power to work miracles.
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A Jealous God—In What Sense?
“Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, he is a jealous God.” We can read that comment at Exodus 34:14, but what is its import?
The Hebrew word rendered “jealous” can mean “exacting exclusive devotion, tolerating no rivalry.” In a positive sense that benefits his creatures, Jehovah is jealous respecting his name and worship. (Ezekiel 39:25) His zeal to fulfill what his name represents means that he will carry out his purpose for mankind.
Consider, for example, his judgment of the people dwelling in the land of Canaan. One scholar offers this shocking description: “The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted in the most extravagant orgies; their temples were centers of vice. . . . Canaanites worshiped, by immoral indulgence, . . . and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods.” Archaeologists have discovered jars containing the remains of the sacrificed children. Although God noted the error of the Canaanites in Abraham’s day, he showed patience toward them for 400 years, allowing them ample time to change.—Genesis 15:16.
Were the Canaanites aware of the gravity of their error? Well, they possessed the human faculty of conscience, which jurists recognize as a universal basis for morality and justice. (Romans 2:12-15) Despite that, the Canaanites persisted in their detestable child sacrifices and debased sex practices.
Jehovah in his balanced justice determined that the land needed to be cleansed. This was not genocide. Canaanites, both individuals such as Rahab and whole groups such as the Gibeonites, who voluntarily accepted God’s high moral standards were spared. (Joshua 6:25; 9:3-15) Rahab became a link in the royal genealogy leading to the Messiah, and descendants of the Gibeonites were privileged to minister at Jehovah’s temple.—Joshua 9:27; Ezra 8:20; Matthew 1:1, 5-16.
Consequently, when one seeks the full and clear picture based on fact, it is easier to see Jehovah as an admirable and just God, jealous in a good way that benefits his faithful creatures.
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The Creator liberated an enslaved people and used them to carry out his purpose
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At Mount Sinai the ancient nation of Israel came into a covenant relationship with the Creator
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Keeping the Creator’s matchless laws helped his people to enjoy the Promised Land
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You can visit the area south of Jerusalem’s wall where King David had his capital