Our Treasure, a Modern-Day Ministry of Glory
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.”—2 CORINTHIANS 4:7.
1. (a) What glorious treasure may we have, and why? (b) How does the Bible describe the delivery of the Mosaic Law?
THE ministry of preaching “this good news of the kingdom” during the conclusion of the system of things is indeed a treasure, a possession most valuable. Because Jehovah is a God of glory, the service to God is a ministry of glory, thus a treasure. (Matthew 24:14; 2 Corinthians 3:18–4:1) Concerning the glorious delivery of the Mosaic Law, it is written at Exodus 34:29, 30: “Now it came about when Moses came down from Mount Sinai that the two tablets of the Testimony were in the hand of Moses when he came down from the mountain, and Moses did not know that the skin of his face emitted rays because of his having spoken with [Jehovah]. When Aaron and all the sons of Israel got to see Moses, why, look! the skin of his face emitted rays and they grew afraid of coming near to him.”
2. What was foreshadowed by the service of the Mosaic Law, and why is the latter ministry more glorious?
2 Ex 34 Verses 32 to 34 add: “After that all the sons of Israel came near to him, and he began commanding them all that Jehovah had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses would finish speaking with them, he would put a veil over his face. But when Moses would go in before Jehovah to speak with him, he would take away the veil until his going out.” The service of the Mosaic Law foreshadowed the ministry of the new covenant by the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Hence, if the former ministry was glorious, how much more must the latter, “the administering of the spirit,” exceed it in glory! (2 Corinthians 3:7-11) It is more glorious because it has a glory that remains, and the followers of Jesus Christ share in it.—Romans 12:11.
3. (a) What must be true about the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but why is this not apparent to many people? (b) What proved that Moses had been in the glorious presence of Jehovah?
3 It follows, therefore, that the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a glorious one. This, however, is not apparent to the many people who have been blinded by false religion. Though many have the Bible and may read it, they do not have ‘seeing eyes.’ (2 Peter 1:5-9) To get the veil removed from before their eyes, they must turn to Jehovah God in faith, for when Moses went before the presence of Jehovah, he removed the veil that hid his face from the Jews. (2 Corinthians 3:16) The Israelites were fearful of seeing God’s glory in the face of their mediator and asked that it be veiled from their eyes. Just as a phosphorescent substance that has been exposed to light emits an afterglow in the dark, so Moses, their go-between, reflected Jehovah’s glory, proving that he had been before Jehovah.
4. How do unbelieving people today imitate the Jews of old, but what do the followers of the Greater Moses not fear?
4 Moses foreshadowed God’s great Prophet, Jesus Christ. Like his prototype, this Greater Moses is not afraid to behold Jehovah’s glory directly. To this day, however, unbelieving people blinded by the Devil and his Babylonish religion imitate those Jews of old and refuse to see, or discern, the glory of the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:12-15) Yet, his true followers do not fear to look at the reflection of Jehovah’s glory as shed forth from the face of Jesus Christ. Freed from Babylonish influence, they are emboldened to show forth God’s glory. “Therefore,” wrote Paul, “as we have such a hope, we are using great freeness of speech.”—2 Corinthians 3:12.
Reflectors of God’s Glory
5. How can we reflect God’s glory and be like Moses on the mountaintop in Jehovah’s presence?
5 Jesus Christ has taken away the veil by revealing and declaring Jehovah God to us. (John 1:14, 17, 18) So we must shine, and thus God’s glory shines through “the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God,” which we must proclaim. Its radiance is “the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.” We must reflect this glory by speaking of the glory of Jehovah and the glory of his Kingdom by his Son. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6) Like Moses on the mountaintop in Jehovah’s presence, His Witnesses on earth do not veil their hearts from Jehovah’s glory. They admire the glory reflected in the face of Jehovah’s Son and King, Jesus Christ. Thus, they must shed forth to others the light concerning God’s glory.
6. How does Paul describe our ministry of glory at 2 Corinthians 3:18, and in what ways are we thus “transformed”?
6 To all fellow witnesses of Jehovah’s glory, the apostle Paul describes it in these words: “And all of us, while we with unveiled faces reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, exactly as done by Jehovah the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) The more of the glory of this light we receive, the more thereof we must radiate forth, and thus the more we are transformed. Minds are renewed and renovated, although no bodily or facial changes may be discernible. It is the light of the glorious message that we shed forth that produces the difference in us. Our lives are transformed to be like Christ, as we set ourselves to carry out the privileged service of spreading this glorious light abroad to others.—Hebrews 13:15.
7. From what source is genuine glory, and how may we express such glory?
7 All such transformation is due to the spirit, or active force, of God. Christendom’s clergy do not reflect the glory of Jehovah God but have to resort to a put-on show so as to create a spectacle. The glory is not our glory, and we need not adorn ourselves in gorgeous ecclesiastical vestments of silk, gold, and glittering jewelry. Genuine glory is derived from God’s spirit and is expressed in giving forth the glorious witness concerning Jehovah the Spirit.
All Privileged Light-Bearers
8, 9. What encouragement does Paul give us at 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2, and what determination on our part does it call for?
8 At 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2, we read: “That is why, since we have this ministry according to the mercy that was shown us, we do not give up; but we have renounced the underhanded things of which to be ashamed, not walking with cunning, neither adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.” God has had mercy upon us to assign us this ministry. This is an exhortation to encourage us to keep on courageously, and this we shall do! Since we have been favored with light from God’s Word, we are obligated to beam it out to others.—Compare Matthew 5:14-16.
9 Things that men are ashamed of, such as fraud, they hide by deceit and trickery. But we have no cause for shame because our message and work are not fraudulent but are righteous and true. Hence, we may beam forth the full glory of the light. We do not handle God’s Word deceitfully. To do so would mean handling it selfishly for personal gain, glory, advantage, and worldly power and to escape opposition and persecution from the world. Those who do not fear to come to Jehovah with unveiled faces and to gaze into the glorious light of truth will likewise not fear to face their responsibility. They will let the light be reflected from them.
10. Why is it not the fault of Jehovah’s Witnesses if the Kingdom good news is veiled from the sight of some people?
10 If any have the Kingdom good news veiled from their sight, it is not the fault of Jehovah’s Witnesses but their own fault. The good news of the Kingdom is not being hidden. The worldwide preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses is well-known. Thus, they can say as did the apostle Paul: “This thing has not been done in a corner.” Indeed, as he wrote, the good news has been “preached in all creation that is under heaven.”—Acts 26:26; Colossians 1:23.
11. Why is the glorious good news veiled among so many of mankind?
11 The ones to whom the good news of God’s Kingdom is hidden are opposers, those blinded by the Devil. (Compare Matthew 12:30.) Unless they break free from false religion and the Devil’s snares, they are in line for destruction. Under demonic influence, such persons draw a veil before their very own eyes, for the apostle Paul says at 2 Corinthians 4:3-5: “If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through. For we are preaching, not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.”
12. In contrast with the mentally blinded ones, how do Jehovah’s people respond to the words at 2 Corinthians 4:6?
12 Mentally blinded ones do not want to believe. Their unbelief opens up their mind to invasion by the demons. (1 Timothy 4:1) They cannot see Jehovah’s glory or its reflection from the countenance of Jesus, the Greater Moses. Jehovah’s people catch the glorious light from the Bible and radiate it to others. So all of God’s servants are light-bearers, and God commands the light to shine. The light must reflect from God’s people and flash upon others who are in darkness and in danger of destruction. This is just as 2 Corinthians 4:6 puts it: “For God is he who said: ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.” In view of this, Jehovah’s Witnesses obey the divine command and let their light shine forth to others, to God’s glory.
Glorious Treasure in Frail Vessels
13. Bestowing the blessed service of being light-bearers upon creatures of flesh results in what?
13 In this unspeakably grand privilege of service, it is of prime importance that the light-bearers prove worthy of having the light by keeping their integrity to God. To perform this wondrous privilege of service, God has not used the holy angels, who desire to peer into these things, but he has bestowed this blessed service upon creatures of flesh. (1 Peter 1:12) This he has done to the magnifying of his own power amid human weakness. As 2 Corinthians 4:7 states: “However, we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.”
14. (a) What is “this treasure in earthen vessels”? (b) Why are Moses and Jesus Christ wise examples for us with regard to treasure?
14 Vessels in ancient times were often used as receptacles for valuables. What is this glorious treasure that Jehovah’s Witnesses possess in frail, earthen vessels—themselves, as weakling creatures from the dust of the earth? This treasure is not merely the light that has shone into their hearts. It is the ministry of that light, which ministry, or service, must be performed in their earthly bodies. The ministry is the sending out of the light that God has shed upon their hearts. This ministry is a good treasure inasmuch as it is a valuable privilege of service shared in today not only by the anointed remnant of the “little flock” but also by the “great crowd” of “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ. (Luke 12:32; John 10:14-16; Revelation 7:9) Moses and his antitype, Jesus Christ, are wise examples for us, to fix our hearts on this treasure of divine service, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matthew 6:19-21; Hebrews 11:26.
15, 16. (a) How is the power beyond what is normal shown to be from God and not that out of ourselves? (b) Why will all the world’s opposition fail to break God’s earthen vessels?
15 How, then, is the power beyond what is normal shown to be from God and not that out of ourselves? In this way: Such frail, earthen vessels as we who hold this treasured service and commission are unworthy and could never bear such honor of ourselves. Moreover, we Witnesses of Jehovah are subjected to all kinds of enemy pressure to try to crack us and make us burst so as to make us unfit to bear the commission from God. Hence, it must be the power of the Great Commissioner that helps us withstand the great mishandling by this world and to hold fast the commission and prove worthy of being retained in his service. Thus, all the world’s opposition will fail to break God’s earthen vessels and rob them of their precious treasure, for it is written at 2 Corinthians 4:8-12:
16 “We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not left in the lurch; we are thrown down, but not destroyed. Always we endure everywhere in our body the death-dealing treatment given to Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our body. For we who live are ever being brought face to face with death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our mortal flesh. Consequently death is at work in us, but life [through the preaching of the Kingdom good news] in you.”
Great Crowd Highly Prize “This Treasure”
17. How do the great crowd evaluate “this treasure” of the ministry of glory?
17 “Death is at work in us, but life in you.” This statement applies to spirit-anointed Christians. Yet, it may well make us think about the relationship of God’s anointed remnant with the great crowd of other sheep. The anointed know they must eventually finish their earthly course in death as Jesus did, but they have companions to share with them the glorious treasure of service, to help them by doing the bulk of the work of the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. Like the anointed remnant, the great crowd of other sheep today appreciate that the only treasure that will survive the fiery battle of Armageddon and continue unsinged and unconsumed into the new world is this treasure of the blessed ministry, the service unto Jehovah God and his glorious King, Jesus Christ. The great crowd will hold it fast, “rendering [God] sacred service day and night in his temple.”—Revelation 7:15.
18. (a) What will soon happen to the false glory of this world? (b) What “glory” did Jesus refuse, and by doing what did he gain a superior glory?
18 Shortly, God will put an end to the false glory of this present evil system of things—a “glory” that has continued since Satan the Devil took Jesus up into the high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and “the glory of them.” (Luke 4:5, 6) Jesus refused the offer of glory from such a source as that and kept pursuing the course of action on earth that God approved. For doing so, he would be crowned with a glory superior even to the glory that he, the only-begotten Son of God, had enjoyed in heaven before undertaking his earthly assignment as outlined by Jehovah.—John 5:36; 17:5; Philippians 2:9-11.
19. What honorable privilege of service is nearing its full accomplishment, and what is our determination in this regard?
19 The predicted end of this diabolic system of things will not come before the Kingdom witness has been given in all the earth as a grand finale to the activity of the followers of Jesus Christ, the Witnesses of Jehovah. (Matthew 24:14) The Kingdom witness has been given now for three quarters of a century, and as indicated by the world developments of our times, that foretold end must be near. Consequently, the honorable privilege of sharing in the ministry of the royal, holy government should be nearing its full accomplishment. (Matthew, chapters 24, 25; Mark, chapter 13; Luke, chapter 21) Our privilege of participating in giving the earth-wide witness to the established Kingdom is indeed a glorious treasure that the Witnesses of Jehovah, as followers of his enthroned Son, Jesus Christ, highly prize. They earnestly desire to hold on to it until the Kingdom witness is completed and Almighty God, Jehovah, crowns the universal situation with his own personal witness to his universal sovereignty.—Zephaniah 3:8.
What Are Your Answers?
□ Why is the ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses a glorious one?
□ Why is the good news veiled among so many today?
□ What is “this treasure in earthen vessels”?
□ Why has God used frail, earthen vessels for his treasured service?
□ How do Jehovah’s people evaluate “this treasure,” and why?
[Picture on page 17]
God’s glory is reflected from the countenance of Jesus Christ, the Greater Moses. Jehovah’s Witnesses are privileged to catch God’s glorious light from the Bible and reflect it to others