Jehovah—A God Who Teaches
“They will all be taught by Jehovah.”—JOHN 6:45.
1. What is Jesus now doing in Capernaum?
JESUS CHRIST had recently performed miracles and is now seen teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. (John 6:1-21, 59) Many express disbelief when he says: “I have come down from heaven.” They murmur: “Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it that now he says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:38, 42) Rebuking them, Jesus proclaims: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him; and I will resurrect him in the last day.”—John 6:44.
2. What basis is there for believing Jesus’ promise about the resurrection?
2 What a marvelous promise—to be resurrected in the last day, when God’s Kingdom rules! We can believe this promise because it is backed up by the Father, Jehovah God. (Job 14:13-15; Isaiah 26:19) Indeed, Jehovah, who teaches that the dead will rise, is “the greatest teacher of all.” (Job 36:22, Today’s English Version) Focusing on the Father’s teaching, Jesus next says: “It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by Jehovah.’”—John 6:45.
3. What questions will we consider?
3 Surely, it would be a privilege to be among those of whom the prophet Isaiah wrote: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah.” (Isaiah 54:13) Can we be? Who have been like sons to him and have received his teachings? What are vital teachings of Jehovah that we must know and act upon to receive his blessing? How did Jehovah teach in the past, and does he teach the same way today? These are questions we will consider.
Father, Teacher, Husband
4. Who were the first of Jehovah’s sons to receive his teachings?
4 Jehovah first became both Father and Teacher when he created his only-begotten Son, the prehuman Jesus. This one is called “the Word” because he is Jehovah’s Chief Spokesman. (John 1:1, 14; 3:16) The Word served “beside [the Father] as a master worker,” and he learned well from his Father’s teaching. (Proverbs 8:22, 30) In fact, he became the Agent, or instrumentality, through whom the Father created all other things, including spirit “sons of God.” How they must have rejoiced to be taught by God! (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Colossians 1:15-17) Later, the first human, Adam, was created. He too was a “son of God,” and the Bible reveals that Jehovah instructed him.—Luke 3:38; Genesis 2:7, 16, 17.
5. What precious privilege was lost by Adam, yet whom did Jehovah teach, and why?
5 Sadly, Adam, by his willful disobedience, lost the privilege of continuing to be God’s son. His descendants, therefore, could not claim the relationship of being sons of God simply on the basis of birth. Yet, Jehovah taught imperfect humans who looked to him for guidance. Noah, for example, proved to be “a righteous man” who “walked with the true God,” and so Jehovah instructed Noah. (Genesis 6:9, 13–Ge 6:13 through 7:5) By his obedience, Abraham proved himself to be “Jehovah’s friend,” and therefore he also was taught by Jehovah.—James 2:23; Genesis 12:1-4; 15:1-8; 22:1, 2.
6. Whom did Jehovah come to view as his “son,” and what kind of teacher was he to them?
6 Much later, during Moses’ day, Jehovah entered into a covenant relationship with the nation of Israel. As a result, that nation became his chosen people and was viewed as his “son.” God said: “Israel is my son.” (Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:3-6; Deuteronomy 14:1, 2) Based on that covenant relationship, the Israelites could say, as recorded by the prophet Isaiah: “You, O Jehovah, are our Father.” (Isaiah 63:16) Jehovah assumed his fatherly responsibility and lovingly taught his children, Israel. (Psalm 71:17; Isaiah 48:17, 18) In fact, when they became unfaithful, he mercifully pleaded with them: “Return, O you renegade sons.”—Jeremiah 3:14.
7. What relationship did Israel have with Jehovah?
7 As a consequence of the covenant relationship with Israel, Jehovah also figuratively became the Husband of the nation, and it became his figurative wife. Of her the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Your Grand Maker is your husbandly owner, Jehovah of armies being his name.” (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 31:32) Although Jehovah honorably fulfilled his role as Husband, the nation of Israel became an unfaithful wife. “As a wife has treacherously gone from her companion,” Jehovah said, “so you, O house of Israel, have dealt treacherously with me.” (Jeremiah 3:20) Jehovah kept appealing to the sons of his faithless wife; he continued to be their “Grand Instructor.”—Isaiah 30:20; 2 Chronicles 36:15.
8. Even though Israel as a nation was cast off by Jehovah, what antitypical figurative wife does he yet have?
8 When Israel rejected and killed His Son, Jesus Christ, God finally rejected her. So no longer was that Jewish nation a figurative wife to him, nor was he the Father and Teacher of her wayward sons. (Matthew 23:37, 38) However, Israel was only a typical, or symbolic, wife. The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 54:1, which speaks of a “barren woman” who is different and distinct from “the woman with a husbandly owner,” the nation of natural Israel. Paul reveals that anointed Christians are children of the “barren woman,” whom he calls “Jerusalem above.” This antitypical figurative woman consists of God’s heavenly organization of spirit creatures.—Galatians 4:26, 27.
9. (a) Who was Jesus referring to when he spoke of ‘your sons being taught by Jehovah’? (b) On what basis do people become spiritual sons of God?
9 Thus, in the Capernaum synagogue, when Jesus quoted Isaiah’s prophecy: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah,” he was speaking about those who would become “sons” of “Jerusalem above,” God’s wifelike heavenly organization. By accepting the teachings of God’s representative from heaven, Jesus Christ, those Jewish listeners could become children of God’s previously barren heavenly woman and make up “a holy nation,” the spiritual “Israel of God.” (1 Peter 2:9, 10; Galatians 6:16) Describing the grand opportunity that Jesus made available for becoming spiritual sons of God, the apostle John wrote: “He came to his own home, but his own people did not take him in. However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.”—John 1:11, 12.
Vital Teachings of Jehovah
10. Immediately after the rebellion in Eden, what did Jehovah teach regarding the “seed,” and who did this Seed prove to be?
10 Jehovah, as a loving Father, informs his children of his purposes. Thus, when a rebel angel induced the first human pair to disobey, Jehovah immediately gave notice of what he would do to fulfill his purpose to make the earth a paradise. He said that he would put hatred between “the original serpent,” who is Satan the Devil, “and the woman.” He then explained that the woman’s “seed” would bruise Satan fatally, “in the head.” (Genesis 3:1-6, 15; Revelation 12:9; 20:9, 10) As we have noted, the woman—later identified as “Jerusalem above”—is God’s heavenly organization of spirit creatures. But who is her “seed”? He is God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the one sent from heaven and the one who will eventually destroy Satan.—Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8.
11, 12. How did Jehovah expand on his vital teaching regarding the “seed”?
11 Jehovah expanded on this vital teaching regarding the “seed” when he promised Abraham: “I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens . . . And by means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Genesis 22:17, 18) Jehovah used the apostle Paul to explain that Jesus Christ is the promised Seed of Abraham but that others would also become part of the “seed.” “If you belong to Christ,” Paul wrote, “you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.”—Galatians 3:16, 29.
12 Jehovah also revealed that Christ, the Seed, would come from the royal lineage of Judah and that to him “the obedience of the peoples will belong.” (Genesis 49:10) Regarding King David of the tribe of Judah, Jehovah promised: “I shall certainly set up his seed forever and his throne as the days of heaven. His seed itself will prove to be even to time indefinite, and his throne as the sun in front of me.” (Psalm 89:3, 4, 29, 36) When the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus, he explained that the child was God’s appointed Ruler, the Seed of David. “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,” Gabriel said, “and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, . . . and there will be no end of his kingdom.”—Luke 1:32, 33; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Daniel 7:13, 14.
13. To receive Jehovah’s blessing, how must we respond to his teaching?
13 In order to receive Jehovah’s blessing, we must know and act upon this vital teaching about God’s Kingdom. We must believe that Jesus came down from heaven, that he is God’s appointed King—the royal Seed who will oversee the restoration of Paradise on earth—and that he will resurrect the dead. (Luke 23:42, 43; John 18:33-37) In Capernaum when Jesus spoke about resurrecting the dead, it should have been evident to the Jews that he spoke the truth. Why, only a few weeks before, probably right there in Capernaum, he had resurrected the 12-year-old daughter of a presiding officer of the synagogue! (Luke 8:49-56) Surely we too have every reason to believe and act in harmony with Jehovah’s hope-inspiring teaching regarding his Kingdom!
14, 15. (a) How important is Jehovah’s Kingdom to Jesus? (b) What do we need to understand and be able to explain about Jehovah’s Kingdom?
14 Jesus devoted his earthly life to teaching about Jehovah’s Kingdom. He made it the theme of his ministry, and he even instructed his followers to pray for it. (Matthew 6:9, 10; Luke 4:43) Natural Jews were in line to be “sons of the kingdom,” but because of lack of faith, most of them lost out on that privilege. (Matthew 8:12; 21:43) Jesus revealed that only a “little flock” receive the privilege of becoming “sons of the kingdom.” These “sons” become “joint heirs with Christ” in his heavenly Kingdom.—Luke 12:32; Matthew 13:38; Romans 8:14-17; James 2:5.
15 How many kingdom heirs will Christ take to heaven to rule with him over the earth? Only 144,000, according to the Bible. (John 14:2, 3; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10; 14:1-3; 20:4) But Jesus said he had “other sheep,” who will be earthly subjects of that Kingdom rule. These will enjoy perfect health and peace forever on a paradise earth. (John 10:16; Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:3, 4) We need to understand and be able to explain Jehovah’s teaching about the Kingdom.
16. What vital teaching of Jehovah do we need to learn and practice?
16 The apostle Paul identified another vital teaching of Jehovah. He said: “You yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9) To please Jehovah, we need to demonstrate such love. “God is love,” the Bible says, and we must imitate his example of showing love. (1 John 4:8; Ephesians 5:1, 2) Sadly, most people have failed miserably to learn to love their fellow humans as God teaches us to do. What about us? Have we responded to this teaching of Jehovah?
17. Whose attitude should we imitate?
17 It is vital that we be receptive to all of Jehovah’s teachings. May our attitude be that of the Bible psalmists who wrote: “Make me know your own ways, O Jehovah; teach me your own paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me.” “Teach me your regulations. Teach me goodness, sensibleness and knowledge themselves . . . Teach me your own judicial decisions.” (Psalm 25:4, 5; 119:12, 66, 108) If your sentiments are the same as those of the psalmists, you can be among a vast crowd who are taught by Jehovah.
Great Crowd of Taught Ones
18. What did the prophet Isaiah foretell would occur in our time?
18 The prophet Isaiah foretold what would happen in our time: “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains . . . And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways.’” (Isaiah 2:2, 3; Micah 4:2) Who are these persons taught by Jehovah?
19. Who today are included among those taught by Jehovah?
19 They include others besides those who will rule in heaven with Christ. As noted earlier, Jesus said he had “other sheep”—earthly subjects of the Kingdom—in addition to the “little flock” of Kingdom heirs. (John 10:16; Luke 12:32) The “great crowd,” who survive “the great tribulation,” are of the other sheep class, and they enjoy an approved standing before Jehovah on the basis of their faith in Jesus’ shed blood. (Revelation 7:9, 14) Even though the other sheep are not directly included among the “sons” spoken of at Isaiah 54:13, they are blessed with being taught by Jehovah. Therefore, they properly address God as “Father” because he will, in effect, be their Grandfather through the “Eternal Father,” Jesus Christ.—Matthew 6:9; Isaiah 9:6.
How Jehovah Teaches
20. In what ways does Jehovah teach?
20 Jehovah teaches in many ways. For example, he does so by means of his creative works, which testify both to his existence and to his great wisdom. (Job 12:7-9; Psalm 19:1, 2; Romans 1:20) In addition, he teaches by direct communication, as he did in instructing the prehuman Jesus. Similarly, on three recorded occasions, he spoke directly from heaven to people on earth.—Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28.
21. What angel did Jehovah particularly use as his representative, but how do we know that others also were used?
21 Jehovah also uses angelic representatives to teach, including his Firstborn, “the Word.” (John 1:1-3) Although Jehovah could have spoken directly to his perfect human son, Adam, in the garden of Eden, likely he used the prehuman Jesus to speak for Him. (Genesis 2:16, 17) This one was probably “the angel of the true God who was going ahead of the camp of Israel” and regarding whom Jehovah commanded: “Obey his voice.” (Exodus 14:19; 23:20, 21) No doubt the prehuman Jesus was also the “prince of the army of Jehovah” who appeared to Joshua to strengthen him. (Joshua 5:14, 15) Jehovah also uses other angels to impart his teachings, such as those he used to deliver his Law to Moses.—Exodus 20:1; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2, 3.
22. (a) Who on earth has Jehovah used to teach? (b) What is the primary means by which Jehovah instructs humans today?
22 In addition, Jehovah God uses human representatives to teach. Parents in Israel were to teach their children; prophets, priests, princes, and Levites taught Jehovah’s Law to the nation. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21; 1 Samuel 12:20-25; 2 Chronicles 17:7-9) Jesus was God’s principal Spokesman on earth. (Hebrews 1:1, 2) Jesus often said that what he taught was precisely what he had learned from the Father, so his listeners were, in effect, being taught by Jehovah. (John 7:16; 8:28; 12:49; 14:9, 10) Jehovah has had his sayings recorded, and in our day he teaches humans primarily by means of these inspired Scriptures.—Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16.
23. What questions will be considered in the next article?
23 We are living in important times, since the Scriptures promise that ‘in the final part of the days [in which we are living] many peoples will be instructed about Jehovah’s ways.’ (Isaiah 2:2, 3) How is this instruction provided? What must we do to benefit from, as well as share in, Jehovah’s grand teaching program now in progress? We will consider such questions in the next article.
How Would You Answer?
□ How did Jehovah come to be a Father, a Teacher, and a Husband?
□ What does Jehovah teach regarding the “seed”?
□ What vital teaching by God must we observe?
□ How does Jehovah teach?
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Resurrecting Jairus’ daughter provided basis for believing Jesus’ resurrection promise