So it was also with the Israelite nation. It had been cleansed and set apart from heathendom and Satan’s rulership, but it soon left undone the weighty matters of Jehovah’s law and covenant, and rather than occupying and filling its national history with service directed by Jehovah’s spirit it fussed with minor matters and human traditions and an outward show of piety and ceremonial purity. By the time Jesus came the wicked generation of religious Jews were under Satan’s control to such a complete degree that they rejected the Messiah. The end of this nation made responsible with divine knowledge was worse than its beginning.
Incidentally, King Saul’s case shows that if one’s life is not filled with Jehovah’s spirit it is likely to be taken over by a demon spirit. David had been anointed king in wicked King Saul’s stead, and the spirit of Jehovah came upon David; but note what occurred in Saul’s case: “Now the spirit of Jehovah departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him.” (1 Sam. 16:13, 14, AS) Not that Jehovah actually sent an evil spirit to trouble Saul, but by Jehovah’s removing his spirit it left a vacancy, and that vacancy was now filled by a demon spirit. Since Jehovah made this demon possession possible by removing his spirit, Jehovah is referred to as the source of the evil spirit.
It is comparable to the statement that Jehovah hardened Pharaoh’s heart; Jehovah did not do so, but the message from Jehovah caused Pharaoh to harden his own heart. Jehovah’s message and Jehovah’s dealings with the Egyptians caused Pharaoh to react in hard stubbornness and anger; and since the message and dealings were from Jehovah he may be said to have indirectly hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (Ex. 7:3; 8:15, 32) Another illustration of this principle is where Jehovah told Isaiah to “make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes”; he, Isaiah, was not to do this literally, but the message he declared made these rebellious ones unreceptive because it did not please them. (Isa. 6:10) So when Jehovah’s spirit was removed from Saul, a demon spirit entered Saul, for Saul was like an unoccupied house.
“JUBILEE TRUMPET” WITNESSING PERIOD—Leviticus 25:9, 10
The time is here for sounding liberty among all of earth’s inhabitants, to all races and nations. As conditions worsen and grow more unbearable, why should not people want to be free from such? The great Liberator has decreed that evil will not always prevail. No, his Word of promise offers freedom even now. This good news of liberation must be sounded out as though by trumpet blasts. This is being done by God’s faithful servants world-wide through the distribution of the Watchtower magazine. The “Jubilee Trumpet” Witnessing Period during April affords opportunity for many to take part in this fourth and last month of the Watchtower campaign. The Watchtower magazine is offered at $1 for a year’s subscription. New subscribers receive three Scriptural booklets free. To those already subscribers for The Watchtower, the Awake! magazine may be offered on the same basis. Single copies may be left with those who do not subscribe. Regular house-to-house distribution of the magazine will aid many. So make April a magazine month.
For the past six thousand years religion has played a prominent part in the affairs of men and nations. Many and various have been the things done in the name of religion, both good and bad, and arousing strong sentiment for and against. Just how clear is your concept of religion’s value? Can you, if called upon, give an intelligent and correct answer to the question: What has religion done for mankind? You will find a wealth of informative material on the subject in the book What Has Religion Done for Mankind? enabling you to have an authentic answer. It furnishes reliable proof for all the interesting and absorbing information supplied. Learn the facts and be equipped to give a satisfactory answer to any and all with whom you come in contact. A copy of the handsomely and durably bound 352-page book will be mailed postpaid for 50c.
Week of April 20: Are You Choosing Life or Death? Also, Choosing Now to Live Then, ¶ 1-3.
Week of April 27: Choosing Now to Live Then, ¶ 4-21.