Benefits from Our “Double” Blessing of New Books
Regarding Job’s blessings following his difficult test, Job 42:10 says: “And Jehovah began to give in addition all that had been Job’s, in double amount.”
Does not the expression “double amount” bring to mind great blessings for Job, even as the account goes on to describe? But think of the “double” blessing in the form of new pocket-size books that we received at the recent district assembly. We were delighted at the release of Is This Life All There Is? (ts) and looked forward to reading it ourselves and using it in the field service. Yet then our joy at the assembly was more than “doubled” when we got God’s “Eternal Purpose” Now Triumphing for Man’s Good (po) and learned that we will be studying it in the congregation book studies starting in December. What blessings!
We also learned that during November and December we will have a series of special talks based on these new books. Many of us know from experience in past years how beneficial it is to cover new books quickly by means of such talks. It aids us rapidly to become familiar with their contents, or serves as a fine review if we have already read them. However, additional benefits will be ours in this case. We will be placing the “Eternal Purpose” book in the field service in November, and the This Life book along with the New World Translation during December. Hence, will not our covering the books in these talks stimulate our enthusiasm to share the publications with others? And will not this coverage also familiarize us with their contents so we can effectively present them to others?
True, you may not be one of the speakers handling these talks. By all means, though, plan to read ahead of time the chapters to be covered. Make the talks a part of your conversation. Enthusiastically invite your relatives and interested persons. Make sure they have personal copies of the books so they can follow along during the talks, just as you will be doing. Thus all will benefit fully.
As announced in the July Kingdom Ministry, if possible, the talks should be arranged for the nine weekends of November and December. The first five talks will be based on the “Eternal Purpose” book, followed by four from Is This Life All There Is? If the circuit overseer’s visit or a circuit assembly comes during that period, the series of talks should be arranged around these events.
In some cases the elders (and certain ministerial servants) of a congregation will be able to handle all of the talks. If that does not seem possible or advisable, two congregations can exchange speakers who are elders, dividing the talks between the two. When this is the arrangement, an elder will give his talk in both congregations. This may involve one congregation’s having each talk a week after the same talk was given in the other congregation. But in working out the schedule, the nine talks should come in their proper sequence. As soon as details have been completed, handbills should be ordered. And the congregation should be informed exactly when they can expect the talks.
Speaker’s Preparation and Delivery
If you are to give one of the talks, thoroughly study the chapters assigned to you and the corresponding outline that follows. Note that you are not merely covering material—you are to give an informative talk on a specific theme. Instead of trying to present every detail of the chapters assigned to you, strive to convey the main ideas highlighted in the outline. Be conscious of your audience, working to involve them; reason with them and motivate them. You may want to refer the audience to key passages or illustrations in the book so they can actually follow along in the book, becoming more familiar with its contents. Thus you will be multiplying the benefits.
1. Coming to Know the God of Purpose (po chapters 1-4)
Happily persons of all sorts are coming to know God. (5 min.) In our midst are persons from many backgrounds and religions. Many formerly had no true concept of God and his purpose for man. (P. 5) Some who became spirit-anointed Christians had been like that, but came to know and be known by God. Similar with some here. (Gal. 4:8, 9; pp. 6, 7) Are you progressively coming to know God better? Is it affecting you for good?
Come to know Him as an Eternal God of purpose. (20 min.) We should know him as everlasting, for he is eternal. (Ps. 90:2-4; p. 7) He thus can have eternal purpose. (Eph. 3:10, 11; p. 13) Even his name should reveal that to us. (Pp. 14-16) Really to know Him involves more; we need to appreciate his reliability in carrying out his will. If we do, can confidently build our lives around his purposes. God’s reliability was shown by his determined will regarding Assyrian Empire. (Isa. 14:24-27; pp. 18, 19) His “counsel” or decrees stand. Do we appreciate what this means regarding wicked of our day? (Prov. 16:3, 4; pp. 17, 18, ¶¶22, 23; p. 23, ¶34) It should strengthen our confidence in certainty of his prophecies. Are we, with confidence in God’s counsel, bringing lives into harmony with his good purpose? (Ps. 33:9-12; pp. 24, 25)
Mankind was created to harmonize with God’s purpose. (15 min.) God purposed to become a Father, and first produced spirits. (Pp. 26, 27) Angels interested in carrying out his will and helping us be holy. (P. 31) Creation of man reflects God’s loving interest. (Ps. 103:13, 14; pp. 33, 34) Proved He is loving provider. (Pp. 35, 41) Made man perfect, and placed him in Paradise with a purpose. (Gen. 2:7, 8, 15; pp. 37, 40) Had prospect of eternal life. (P. 43) Death would come only from disobedience. (P. 44, read ¶33; p. 62, ¶25)
Choose to harmonize your life with God’s purpose. (15 min.) Man and woman were not created aimless, but in accord with His purpose. (P. 45) Stated purpose was good for man, to lead to an earth-wide paradise. (Gen. 1:27, 28; pp. 48, 49) Angels rejoiced in progress of God’s purpose. (P. 51) Goal was earth fully populated with happy worshipers by end of seventh “day.” (Read ¶18.) That day continues, so we can enter into God’s rest in spiritual way; will we? (Pp. 52, 53, read ¶24.) Are we choosing to serve God, to harmonize our life with all we know of him? We can be sure his purpose will succeed; will we? Our eternal salvation and happiness depend on it. (P. 25, ¶40)
2. God’s Purpose Sustained in the Face of Rebellion (po chapters 5-7)
Do you believe rebellion against God can succeed? (5 min.) Rebellion is common. Sometimes on personal basis, as student against teacher. Often on national basis. Usually stern efforts are employed to deal with rebels. (Prov. 17:11) But some succeed—North American colonies against England. Could rebellion against God succeed? How would rebellion affect God’s purposes? How much confidence do you have in God’s accomplishing his purposes?
His purpose continued despite rebellion in heaven and on earth. (15 min.) Original purpose was to populate earth with true worshipers. (P. 61, ¶21) God did not desire man to die. (Ezek. 18:23; pp. 54, 55) Through serpent, an unseen spirit led Eve to rebel. (P. 57, read ¶11.) She followed course of that rebellious spirit. (P. 59, ¶16) In face of rebellion, did God abandon purpose? No. God’s sustaining of His purpose evident in allowing Adam and Eve to procreate. (Gen. 3:16) Reinforced it by forming purpose to have anointed one who would crush Rebel. (Gen. 3:14, 15; pp. 59-61; p. 64, ¶29)
Examples of those who cooperated with God’s purpose. (20 min.) Since first humans rebelled, how could God produce “seed”? Bible focuses on His doing so. (P. 65, ¶2) Did death of Abel thwart God’s purpose? No. Used Seth. (P. 66) Enoch stuck to God and his purpose even in face of danger to life. Would we? (Pp. 68-70, read ¶15.) Noah walked with God for centuries, not quitting. Do we show patient obedience? (Gen. 6:9, 10; p. 71) Finally God brought Flood to cut short wickedness; showed he was in control. (Pp. 72, 73) By preserving Noah and family, God also preserved line of “seed.” (P. 75, ¶29; p. 77, read ¶35.) Wicked spirits still active. (P. 78, ¶38) Rebellion did not defeat God’s purpose; faithful ones stuck to it. (Pp. 79, 80)
History of “seed’s” line shows purpose was sustained. (15 min.) Could Satan thwart purpose by preventing “seed’s” appearance? (P. 81 ¶1) Line was through Shem; blessing was in accord with Shem’s respect for God’s dealing. (P. 83) Centuries later God promised “seed” through Abraham. (Gen. 12:1-3; p. 85) Isaac’s birth gave assurance God could produce “seed.” (Gen. 3:15; p. 87, ¶15) Melchizedek blessed Abraham; prefigured coming kingly “seed.” (Pp. 88, 89) Because of faith, Abraham was God’s “friend.” (Isa. 41:8; p. 90)
Will we, like Enoch, Noah and Abraham, be patient and loyal, confident that nothing thwarts God’s purpose? (P. 80)
3. A Nation’s Role in Developing God’s “Eternal Purpose” (po chapters 8-10)
God can irresistibly use a nation. (5 min.) Nations now strive for power and full independence; have strong armies, powerful weapons. But does any nation have God’s approval, being used to accomplish His purpose? Could any nation resist his will? Answers affect our view of life and how we use it. Nebuchadnezzar was forced to acknowledge correct conclusion. (Dan. 4:34, 35) God’s ability to choose irresistibly to use a nation is seen in Bible record.
God himself would do choosing in working out purpose. (15 min.) Had made covenant to bring “seed” through Abraham’s descendants. (Gen. 12:1-3, 7) In selecting one of Isaac’s sons, God was not bound by right of firstborn. (Pp. 93, 94, read ¶4.) Choice of Jacob explains why Bible focuses on his line. (P. 95) Through which son would Messiah come? Again, God adapted to circumstances; selected Judah. (Pp. 96, 97, 100) Royal leadership not bound to firstborn. (1 Chron. 5:1, 2; p. 101) Bible record aids in following progress of purpose; of interest, as our future is involved.
God chose a nation. (20 min.) Before giving Abraham’s descendants Promised Land, allowed time for nation to grow. (Gen. 15:18-21; p. 104) Proves He acts according to his schedule. (Pp. 105, 106) Would use Moses as mediator of covenant, but Moses had to wait on God. (P. 107, ¶11) Opposition of powerful Egypt could not stop purpose. (Pp. 108, 109) Through mediator, nation indicated willingness to be in covenant. (Ex. 24:6-8; p. 113) If they kept Law flawlessly, could gain life. They could not; neither could we, showing need for “seed.” (Lev. 18:5; pp. 117, 118) Still, nation with Law was used in leading to “seed” and so developing purpose. (P. 116)
From this nation God chose line of kings leading to “seed.” (15 min.) God allowed time for nation to be guided by judges. (Pp. 120-122) Saul of tribe of Benjamin selected as king. Was God abandoning stated will about Judah? No. When Saul went bad, God chose David of Judah. (1 Sam. 13:13, 14; p. 123) After being selected, David waited on God to become ruler of whole nation. (P. 124) God covenanted with him for dynasty of kings. (2 Sam. 7:12-16; pp. 126-128) End of human kings of David’s line did not stop God’s purpose; line still led to Jesus and everlasting Kingdom.
Evident that God can do what he wants with individuals or nations. (Job 34:29) Do we follow his leading of a unified people today? Confidence that he is working out his purpose leads to blessings.
Will you accept opportunities for life open to you? (10 min.) Sane person, if given opportunity to enjoy a rich and rewarding life, will accept. When Israel given choice between life and death, chose correctly. (Deut. 30:19, 20; Josh. 24:15-18) Later had opportunity to identify and accept promised Messiah. Some accepted Jesus. Do we believe he is Messiah? Could we prove it? Does our life indicate we accept his leadership?
Heaven involved in appearance of Messiah of God’s purpose. (25 min.) Coming of Anointed One was important in accomplishing God’s purpose. (P. 64, ¶29) Long in advance God indicated time and place of Messiah’s appearance. (Dan. 9:24-27; Mic. 5:2; pp. 130-134) Jesus’ appearance thus is evidence he is Messiah. But in other ways heaven was involved, supporting Messiahship. Angels communicated with Mary and Joseph before His birth, highlighting role as king and Messianic sin-remover. (Luke 1:26-33; Matt. 1:20, 21; pp. 134, ¶10, 139, 142) Was of right lineage to be David’s heir. (Pp. 135, 136, 142, ¶32) Child conceived was holy. (P. 137) By angelic action shepherds were eyewitnesses to birth, and child’s life saved. (Pp. 140-143) Is also eyewitness testimony that God anointed Jesus. (P. 144) Questions remain: Did Jews accept Jesus? Do we?
Messiah’s course fulfilled prophecy and gives us assurance for future. (20 min.) Messiah was to suffer, and be like Moses. (Isa. 53:7, 9, 12; Deut. 18:15, 18; pp. 146-148) Performed many miracles greater than Moses’. (Ex 7:2, 3; John 2:23; 3:1, 2; p. 149) Do we appreciate what his miracles indicate? Is Messiah. Also suggest what he can do in future—healing, raising dead. Do we believe that under his rulership people will not be sick, hungry, sad? As a prophet he foretold own death and many things we see happening today. (P. 150) His death as sacrifice important for God’s “eternal purpose” to be accomplished. (Isa. 53:9, 12; pp. 152, 153) Raised as a spirit and able to present in heaven value of life that is vital for our eternal life. (Pp. 154, 155, read ¶¶22, 23.)
5. Are You Benefiting from the Triumph of God’s Purpose? (po chapters 13-15)
Do you appreciate God’s patience in working out purpose? (5 min.) All people are impatient at times; are we, regarding God’s purpose? (P. 188, ¶3) Patient development of purpose allows us to benefit, learning of it and lining up with it. Dealings regarding complete “seed” show God wants humans to benefit. (2 Pet. 3:9)
God gradually developed purpose involving full “seed” (20 min.) Identity of “seed” and what it would accomplish was long a secret. Jesus came as Messiah and principal “seed,” but more was involved. (Gen. 22:17, 18; p. 161, ¶12) God’s purpose included an administration, his way of doing things that would result in a unification under Christ. (Pp. 156, 157) On Pentecost 33 C.E. Jesus began to build congregation, replacing natural Israel with spiritual “Israel of God.” (Pp. 158-160) Spirit-anointed became part of Abraham’s seed; Jews first. (Acts 3:24-26; p. 162) Later extended to Gentiles, ones formerly with “no hope.” God’s patience was thus great benefit to them. (Eph. 2:11, 12; p. 164) This settled “sacred secret.” (Eph. 3:5, 6, 10-12; pp. 167, 168) Dealings verify God’s wisdom and patience. We are in position to benefit. But will we?
Progressive purpose allows us to gain eternal life. (20 min.) Can be confident God’s purpose will triumph, despite efforts to thwart it. (P. 169) No benefit to be gained from Christendom. (2 Pet. 2:1-3; pp. 170, 171, read ¶¶4, 5.) Live at crucial time since 1914. (Pp. 173-178) Anointed have not missed using opportunity to honor Jehovah, even took on Name. (P. 179) Is evidence purpose is triumphing. (P. 180) Since “all nations”—not just spiritual Israel—blessed, we can uphold, benefit from purpose. (Pp. 181-184) “Tribulation” ahead, so may be problems and inconvenience for ones loyal to purpose, but “great crowd” will survive. (P. 185)
Must decide now what you will do. (10 min.) Full accomplishment of purpose will bring great joy. Dead will benefit through resurrection. (Pp. 187, 188) Satan and other rebels will not benefit; be destroyed. Are we now proving we are not of that kind? Congregation involved in God’s “eternal purpose.” (Eph. 3:10, 11) Are we loyally working with it? Prepares us to benefit from Kingdom during Millennium. Will you rejoice forever in triumph of God’s “eternal purpose”? (P. 191)
6. Mankind—Created to Live, Not to Die (ts chapters 1-5)
It is reasonable that humans should live longer. (7 min.) We love life; do not want it to end. Much Bible counsel based on our love of life. (1 Pet. 3:10; Prov. 3:1, 2) We associate life with learning, enjoying, experiencing. Does not seem reasonable that man should have such short life. (Discuss briefly illustrations on pages 4 and 24.)
Death affects lives and thinking of persons earth wide. (15 min.) Most religions are death-oriented. Often person’s efforts in life molded by realization of death. (Pp. 5, 6) Common to hear people use expressions that reflect widespread belief in fate. Bible does not support view that life-span is set by fate. (Pp. 9-12, draw attention to illustration.) Since death seems inevitable, many people live for the moment. (1 Cor. 15:32; pp. 13, 14) Even believers in Bible do well to reflect on meaning of death, and how are using life. (Eccl. 7:1-4; pp. 15, 16) Bible acknowledges fundamental questions about life and death that we need answered. (P. 8, read ¶3.)
Man was made to live. (8 min.) Man’s physical makeup and concept of eternity indicate he was made to live; death is unnatural. (Eccl. 3:10, 11; pp. 17-22) Then, why does he die? (Pp. 23-26)
How death came about. (10 min.) Myths of many peoples reflect idea that death resulted from disobedience. (Pp. 27-29) Bible shows man was created with prospect of life, with death resulting only from disobedience. (Pp. 30-33, discuss p. 32; Gen 2:16, 17) Sin brought death, which spread to Adam’s descendants. (Rom. 5:12; pp. 34, 35) But does something survive?
The whole “soul” dies. (15 min.) Many pagans and others believe man has immortal soul. (Pp. 35-37) Bible, though, indicates that humans and animals are souls, breathers. (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45; Deut. 24:7; pp. 37-41, discuss p. 40.) One can lose his life as a soul. (Gen. 35:18; pp. 42, 43) Idea of immortal soul is of pagan origin, likely stemming from ancient Babel. (Pp. 43-45) Since Bible does not uphold this false teaching, is it sensible to be part of organization that does? Creator wants you to live; made you to do so. Why not learn what Bible says about how we can? (Acts 13:48)
7. Can Spirits of the Dead Affect Your Life? (ts chapters 6-10)
Ideas about life after death affect many people. (5 min.) People around us reflect belief in life after death. Many believe conscious spirit leaves body at death, perhaps going to heaven, hell or purgatory. Some fear such spirits, trying to drive them away. Others attempt to communicate with them. Because certain things seem familiar, some wonder if they lived before birth. Does Bible give guidance? It should, being God’s Word. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17)
No conscious spirit survives death of body. (20 min.) Bible says dead are unconscious. (Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 9:5, 10; p. 73, ¶2) Does Bible support view that conscious spirit leaves body at death? Let us consider: Ecclesiastes 12:7 is said to teach this, but “spirit” is invisible life-force. (Ps. 104:29; Eccl. 3:19; pp. 47-49) Can in some ways be compared to electricity. (Pp. 50, 51, discuss illustration.) “Returns” to God in sense that he has authority over it. (Luke 23:46; pp. 52, 53) How about thoughts of having lived before? (Read p. 53, ¶¶4, 5.) Familiarity does not prove rebirth, which is contrary to Bible. (P. 54) What about John 9:2? Does not conflict. (Pp. 59, 60)
Living need not try to help dead nor fear them. (10 min.) Efforts to appease dead sometimes reflected in funeral practices. (Pp. 60-63) Church teaching of purgatory based on tradition, not Bible; runs contrary to Scriptures. (Matt. 15:6-9; 6:7, 8; pp. 64-69, call attention to illustrations.) Avoiding cemeteries, using juju priest, etc.,—evidence fear of spirits of dead. (Pp. 69-73) Bible helps us to have correct view. (Eccl. 9:6)
Avoid “talking with dead” and similar unscriptural practices. (20 min.) Some seem to be able to contact dead; how? Did King Saul contact dead Samuel? (1 Sam. 28:12-15; pp. 74, 75, note illustration on p. 77.) Jehovah would not have approved or permitted such to occur. (Lev. 19:31; pp. 76, 77) What is source of such voices? Similar to experience of Eve. (Gen. 3:1-6) Jesus showed lying source was Satan. (John 8:44; pp. 79-81) Other spirit creatures joined Satan, becoming demons; now in “Tartarus.” (Gen. 6:1-4; pp. 83-85) We must be on guard against their efforts to contact and influence humans. (P. 86, read ¶¶1, 2.) Bible advises us to avoid spiritistic practices. (Lev. 20:27; pp. 87, 88)
8. Would a God of Love Torment Souls? (ts chapters 11-15)
See God or what he is—loving, merciful, kind. (5 min.) Bible abundantly testifies to God’s mercy, kindness, love. (Ps. 103:8, 13, 14) We can recognize this from good things he provides for all, even ones ignoring him. (Acts 14:17) Some teachings, even ones claimed to be from Bible, present distorted, untrue picture of God. Need to clear up these matters and have correct view.
God’s Word does not teach torment in fiery hell. (25 min.) Earlier talks in series proved dead are not conscious, man has no immortal soul but is a soul; God retains power to resurrect faithful. Yet many, including pagans, teach punishment in fiery hell. (Pp. 88-91, call attention to illustrations.) What does Bible refer to as “hell”? Hebrew sheʼohlʹ and Greek haiʹdes, sometimes translated “hell,” refer to place of dead, mankind’s common grave. (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:30, 31; pp. 91-95) Harmonizes with fact that God sets as penalty death, not torment. (Deut. 30:19, 20; p. 93) Doctrine of hell of torment probably comes from Greek and Roman ideas. (P. 96, read ¶3.) It slanders God. (Pp. 96, 97) How, then, can we understand Luke 16:19-31? (Read passage and call attention to illustration on pp. 100, 101) Clergy view is illogical. (Prov. 30:8; pp. 101, 102) “Rich man” and “Lazarus” are figurative. (Matt. 23:5-7; 21:31, 32; pp. 102, 103) Their “death” is change in situation. (Rom. 7:2, 4; p. 106) “Rich man” class tormented by Christian message. (Acts 5:33; pp. 107, 108) This Scriptural view does not malign God.
Just God punishes unreformable ones with destruction. (17 min.) Reasonable that a just God would punish unreformably wicked, but in accord with his qualities; excludes eternal suffering. View borne out by Bible’s comments about Gehenna; based on total destruction of refuse. (Mark 9:43-48; 2 Chron. 28:1, 3; 2 Ki. 23:10; pp. 110-115) Symbol of everlasting destruction. (P. 115, read ¶3.) Persons and things thus destroyed are spoken of as being tormented forever. (Rev. 20:10; pp. 117-119) Means being confined under reproach forever. (Matt. 18:34, margin; p. 120, ¶2) This is consistent with other Bible indications of God’s personality. (Deut. 25:4; Lam. 3:32, 33; pp. 123, 124)
God of love will conquer man’s enemies, including death. (8 min.) Promises to destroy even death. (1 Cor. 15:26; pp. 125, 126) Will do so by means of Son, now a powerful spirit in heaven. (P. 129) Christ will have associate rulers in heaven. (Rom. 16:20) Can look forward to their rule, for it will be in harmony with God’s qualities—love, mercy, kindness. (Matt. 20:25-27; pp. 132)
9. An Earth Free from Sickness and Death—Near at Hand! (ts chapters 16-21)
Reasons for praising God! (5 min.) Is a joy when our children, relatives or friends are grateful for things we do. Have reason for gratitude to God for what he has and will do. Does it move us to praise and serve him? (Isa. 12:4, 5) Consider future blessings:
Right before us, an earth free of sickness and death. (25 min.) Are familiar with Revelation 21:3, 4, but how accomplished and what will it mean? Will be ample food. (Pp. 134-137; Isa. 25:6) Jesus will heal sickness, gradually or instantaneously, as need may be. (Isa. 25:8; pp. 137-139) Can be confident he and associate rulers will deal sympathetically. (Heb. 4:15, 16; pp. 140, 141) Endless life free from sickness will not be boring; much to learn and do. (Pp. 144-148) Endless opportunities to express love. (Pp. 149, 150, read p. 150, ¶2.) Is “near at hand” since we are at threshold of New Order. Dream of “tree” in Daniel chapter 4 gives prophetic indication of time for Kingdom’s establishment. (Pp. 152, 153) Signifies period of 2,520 years. (Very briefly call attention to pp. 155-162; note illustration, and read ¶4 on p. 162.) End of wicked system to come in this “generation.” (Matt. 24:34; p. 163) Does prospect of never dying, but of gaining blessings of New Order, move us to praise God?
Even billions of dead will have opportunity to praise God. (20 min.) For Isaiah 65:17 to prove true in New Order, dead must be raised. (Pp. 166, 167) Past resurrections show it can be accomplished. (Acts 17:31; pp. 167-169) God unquestionably is able to resurrect dead. (Pp. 171-173; Ps. 139:16) This should help us dispel fear of violent death. (Heb. 2:14; pp. 174, 175) All details as to arrangements for resurrected are not now needed. (Pp. 176, 177) Bible does say resurrected ones will not marry. Death now ends marriage, and survivors free to remarry if they choose; is a kindness that God has told us this. (Pp. 178-180) Bible indicates that some will not be raised, emphasizing importance of maintaining loyalty now. (Pp. 181, 182) Some resurrected ones will not pursue righteousness, which should admonish us now to do so. (Pp. 185, 186)
We can have more than this life—will we? (5 min.) God’s promises should draw us close to him; time left is short. (Zeph. 2:2, 3; p. 187) Avoid shortsighted view of life, and reflect daily your gratitude to and love for Creator.