Taught by Jehovah Down Till This Day
“Jehovah himself has given me the tongue of the taught ones.”—ISAIAH 50:4.
1, 2. (a) For what did Jehovah prepare his favorite pupil, and what was the result? (b) How did Jesus acknowledge the Source of his teachings?
JEHOVAH GOD has been a Teacher ever since he became a Father. Some time after certain of his children rebelled, he prepared his favorite pupil, his Firstborn, for a ministry on earth. (Proverbs 8:30) Isaiah chapter 50 prophetically presents this pupil as saying: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah himself has given me the tongue of the taught ones, that I may know how to answer the tired one with a word.” (Isaiah 50:4) As a result of applying his Father’s teaching while on earth, Jesus was a source of refreshment to all those who were ‘tired and loaded down.’—Matthew 11:28-30.
2 Jesus did many powerful works during the first century. He opened the eyes of the blind and even raised the dead, yet he was primarily known by his contemporaries as a teacher. His followers as well as his opposers called him that. (Matthew 8:19; 9:11; 12:38; 19:16; John 3:2) Jesus never took credit for what he taught but humbly acknowledged: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me.” “Just as the Father taught me I speak these things.”—John 7:16; 8:28; 12:49.
Ideal Teacher-Pupil Relationship
3. How does Isaiah’s prophecy indicate Jehovah’s interest in those whom he teaches?
3 A superior teacher takes a personal, conscientious, and loving interest in his pupils. Isaiah chapter 50 reveals that Jehovah God has that kind of interest in those whom he teaches. “He awakens morning by morning,” the prophecy notes, “he awakens my ear to hear like the taught ones.” (Isaiah 50:4) The language here suggests an instructor who awakens his pupils early in the morning so as to teach them. Commenting on the application of the prophecy, one Bible scholar observed: “The idea is, that the Redeemer would be . . . one who was, so to speak, in the school of God; and who would be qualified to impart instruction to others. . . . The Messiah would be eminently qualified, by Divine teaching, to be the instructor of mankind.”
4. How did Jesus respond to his Father’s teaching?
4 Ideally, pupils are responsive to the teaching of their instructor. How did Jesus respond to his Father’s teaching? His response was in line with what we read at Isaiah 50:5: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah himself has opened my ear, and I, for my part, was not rebellious. I did not turn in the opposite direction.” Yes, Jesus was eager to learn. He was, as the saying goes, all ears. More than that, he was willing to do whatever his Father asked of him. He was not rebellious; rather, he said: “Let, not my will, but yours take place.”—Luke 22:42.
5. (a) What indicates that Jesus knew in advance the trials he would suffer on earth? (b) How was the prophecy at Isaiah 50:6 fulfilled?
5 The prophecy indicates that the Son was informed of the potential consequences of his doing God’s will. This is shown by what the taught one says: “My back I gave to the strikers, and my cheeks to those plucking off the hair. My face I did not conceal from humiliating things and spit.” (Isaiah 50:6) As the prophecy indicates, Jesus was treated cruelly on earth. “They spit into his face,” the apostle Matthew wrote. “Others slapped him in the face.” (Matthew 26:67) This occurred at the hands of religious leaders on Passover night of 33 C.E. The following day Jesus gave his back to the strikers, as the Roman soldiers beat him mercilessly before hanging him on a stake to die.—John 19:1-3, 16-23.
6. What shows that Jesus never lost confidence in his Teacher, and how was his confidence rewarded?
6 The Son, well schooled in advance, never lost confidence in his Teacher. This is shown by what he says next according to the prophecy: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah himself will help me. That is why I shall not have to feel humiliated.” (Isaiah 50:7) Jesus’ confidence in his Teacher’s help was richly rewarded. His Father exalted him, blessing him with a superior position above that of all other servants of God. (Philippians 2:5-11) Grand blessings are in store for us too if we obediently adhere to Jehovah’s teaching and do not “turn in the opposite direction.” Let us look at how that teaching has been made available down to our day.
An Expanded Teaching Program
7. How has Jehovah carried on his teaching in the earth?
7 As we noted earlier, Jehovah used his earthly Representative, Jesus Christ, to carry out divine teaching during the first century. (John 16:27, 28) Jesus constantly pointed to God’s Word as the authority for his teaching, setting the example for those whom he taught. (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 21:13; 26:24, 31) Afterward, Jehovah’s teaching was carried on in the earth by means of the ministry of such taught ones. Recall that Jesus commanded them: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) When disciples were made, these became part of “God’s household, . . . the congregation of the living God.” (1 Timothy 3:15) They were also formed into individual congregations in which they were taught by Jehovah. (Acts 14:23; 15:41; 16:5; 1 Corinthians 11:16) Has divine teaching in that way continued down till our day?
8. How did Jesus indicate that the preaching work would be directed on earth before the end would come?
8 Indeed, it has! Three days before his death, Jesus foretold that before the end of this system of things, there would be a great preaching work. “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,” he said, “and then the end will come.” Jesus went on to describe the means by which this worldwide preaching and teaching program would be directed. He spoke of “the faithful and discreet slave” that would serve as a channel, or instrument, to provide His servants with spiritual food. (Matthew 24:14, 45-47) Jehovah God has used this “slave” to oversee Kingdom interests throughout the earth.
9. Who make up the faithful and discreet slave?
9 Today, the faithful and discreet slave is made up of the remnant of Kingdom heirs. These are anointed Christians, the remaining ones on earth of the 144,000, who “belong to Christ” and who are part of “Abraham’s seed.” (Galatians 3:16, 29; Revelation 14:1-3) How can you identify the faithful and discreet slave? Particularly by the work they do and by their close adherence to God’s Word, the Bible.
10. What instruments are used by the slave class to promote Jehovah’s teachings?
10 Jehovah uses this “slave” as his means of teaching people today. Those of the slave class adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. Since then millions have associated with them and have accepted that name and joined in proclaiming God’s Kingdom. This magazine, The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, is the principal instrument employed by the “slave” in the teaching work. However, other publications are also used, including books, booklets, brochures, tracts, and the Awake! magazine.
11. What schools has the “slave” sponsored, and what purpose does each of these schools serve?
11 In addition, the “slave” sponsors various schools. These include the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, which is a five-month course that prepares young ministers for foreign missionary service, and the two-month Ministerial Training School course, which trains unmarried elders and ministerial servants for special theocratic assignments. There is also the Kingdom Ministry School, in which Christian elders and ministerial servants are periodically instructed in their congregational responsibilities, and the Pioneer Service School, which equips full-time evangelizers to become more effective in their preaching activity.
12. What is a weekly feature of the teaching program?
12 Another feature of the teaching program is the five weekly meetings held in the more than 75,500 congregations of Jehovah’s people worldwide. Do you benefit as fully as possible from these meetings? By your attentiveness to the instruction given, do you show that you really believe that you are, as it were, in the school of God? Does your spiritual progress make it obvious to others that you have “the tongue of the taught ones”?—Isaiah 50:4; 1 Timothy 4:15, 16.
Taught at Congregation Meetings
13. (a) What is an important way that Jehovah teaches his people today? (b) How can we show our appreciation for The Watchtower?
13 Jehovah particularly teaches his people by means of a weekly study of the Bible, using The Watchtower as a teaching aid. Do you view this meeting as a place where you can be taught by Jehovah? Although Isaiah 50:4 applies primarily to Jesus, it can also apply to all those who avail themselves of God’s provisions to receive “the tongue of the taught ones.” One way you can show that you treasure The Watchtower is by reading each issue as soon as possible after you receive it. Then, when The Watchtower is studied in the congregation, you can show your appreciation to Jehovah by being present and also by being prepared to make a public declaration of your hope.—Hebrews 10:23.
14. (a) Why is commenting at meetings such an important privilege? (b) What kind of comments by youngsters are most encouraging?
14 Do you appreciate that by your comments at meetings, you can have a part in Jehovah’s grand teaching program? No question about it, commenting at meetings is an important way that we can incite one another “to love and fine works.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) Can children have a part in this program of instruction as well? Yes, they can. Heartfelt comments by young ones are often encouraging to older ones. At times, newer ones at our meetings have been motivated by the comments of children to take a more serious interest in Bible truth. Some youngsters make it a habit to read their comments directly from the paragraph or repeat after an adult who is whispering in their ear. However, it is most encouraging when their comments are well prepared. Such commenting truly brings honor to our Grand Instructor and his exalted program of teaching.—Isaiah 30:20, 21.
15. What can parents do to help children comment more effectively?
15 It is a joy to see children wanting to share in praising our God. Jesus appreciated expressions of praise from young ones. (Matthew 21:15, 16) One Christian elder observes: “When I was a child, I wanted to comment at the Watchtower Study. After helping me prepare a comment, my father would require that I practice the comment at least seven times.” Possibly during your family Bible study, you parents could help your children prepare comments in their own words on selected paragraphs in The Watchtower. Help them appreciate the great privilege they have of sharing in Jehovah’s teaching program.
16. What has been the benefit of the Theocratic Ministry School, and who may enroll in the school?
16 The teaching at other Christian meetings should also be given serious consideration, both by those privileged to deliver the information and by those who listen to the instruction presented. For over 50 years now, Jehovah has used the weekly Theocratic Ministry School to train millions of men and women to present the Kingdom message more effectively. Those who are actively associated with the congregation may enroll, including people who have recently started to attend the meetings, as long as they are leading a life that is in harmony with Christian principles.
17. (a) For what purpose particularly was the Public Meeting established? (b) What are matters public speakers should keep in mind?
17 Another longtime feature of the teaching program is the Public Meeting. As its name indicates, this meeting was established particularly to acquaint non-Witnesses with basic Bible teachings. Thus, the one giving the talk needs to present the information so that it is understandable to those hearing the message for the first time. This means explaining terms such as “other sheep,” “brothers,” and “remnant,” terms that non-Witnesses may not understand. Since people who attend the Public Meeting may have beliefs or life-styles that are quite contrary to the Scriptures—though acceptable in today’s society—the speaker should always be tactful and never make fun of such beliefs or life-styles.—Compare 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
18. What other weekly congregation meetings are there, and what purposes do they serve?
18 The Congregation Book Study is a meeting at which publications prepared under the direction of the faithful and discreet slave are studied each week along with the Bible. The book Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! is the one currently being studied in many lands. The Service Meeting is designed to equip Jehovah’s people to have a full share in preaching the Kingdom good news and to make disciples.—Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 13:10.
Taught at Larger Meetings
19. What larger gatherings does the “slave” arrange each year?
19 For over a hundred years, the ‘faithful slave’ has arranged conventions and assemblies for the teaching and special encouragement of true Christians. Three such larger meetings are now held each year. There is the one-day assembly that is attended by a group of congregations that make up a circuit. During the year, each circuit also has a two-day gathering called a circuit assembly. In addition, there is a gathering called a district convention, attended by a number of circuits. In some years there may be international conventions. These large gatherings with guest Witnesses from many countries are truly faith strengthening for Jehovah’s people!—Compare Deuteronomy 16:16.
20. What has been consistently emphasized at larger gatherings of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
20 In 1922, when some 10,000 met in Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., the delegates were inspired by the speaker’s encouragement: “This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.” Such large conventions have consistently placed emphasis on the preaching work. For example, at the international convention in New York City in 1953, announcement was made about the institution of a house-to-house training program in all congregations. The implementation of it had a very positive effect on the Kingdom preaching in many lands.
Taught by God to Teach
21. What privilege do we want to accept, not missing its purpose?
21 Surely, Jehovah has a marvelous teaching program in the earth today! All who take advantage of it can be taught by God, yes, can be among those who have been given “the tongue of the taught ones.” What a privilege to be, as it were, in the school of God! Yet, when accepting this privilege, we must not miss its purpose. Jehovah taught Jesus so that he could teach others, and Jesus taught his disciples so that they could do the same work as he was doing but on an even greater scale. Similarly, we are being trained in Jehovah’s grand teaching program for the purpose of teaching others.—John 6:45; 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:20, 21; 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:2.
22. (a) What problem did Moses and Jeremiah have, but how was it solved? (b) What assurance can we have that God will see to it that the Kingdom preaching is accomplished?
22 Do you say, as did Moses, “I am not a fluent speaker,” or as Jeremiah said, “I actually do not know how to speak”? Jehovah will help you as he helped them. “I myself shall prove to be with your mouth,” he told Moses. And to Jeremiah he said: “Do not be afraid . . . I am with you.” (Exodus 4:10-12; Jeremiah 1:6-8) When religious leaders wanted to silence his disciples, Jesus said: “If these remained silent, the stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40) But the stones did not have to cry out then, and they do not need to now because Jehovah is using the tongue of his taught ones to deliver his Kingdom message.
Can You Answer?
□ What ideal Teacher-pupil relationship is highlighted in Isaiah chapter 50?
□ How has Jehovah carried on an extensive teaching program?
□ What are some features of Jehovah’s teaching program?
□ Why is it a grand privilege to share in Jehovah’s teaching program?
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Heartfelt comments by children are often encouraging to older ones