saying: “Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation.” History recounts that about thirty-seven years later (in 70 C.E.) that contemporary generation personally experienced the destruction of Jerusalem, as foretold.—Matt. 23:36.
Later that same day, Jesus again used practically the same words, saying “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Matt. 24:34) In this instance, however, Jesus was not speaking only of the things that would befall natural Israel. He was answering a question as to what “sign” would mark his “presence” and “the conclusion of the system of things.” Therefore, he outlined things that would befall the Jewish nation during the execution of Jehovah’s judgment upon Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman general Titus. (Dan. 9:26) But his words also were evidently to have a later and larger fulfillment upon the system of things that would be in existence during his second presence, when he would come “in his glory.” (Matt. 25:31-33; Rev. 1:7) In both instances Jesus was using the word “generation” in a literal sense, not in a symbolic or figurative sense, for the events Jesus described in the context were literal.—Matt. chap. 24.
The people of this twentieth-century generation living since 1914 have experienced these many terrifying events concurrently and in concentrated measure—international wars, great earthquakes, terrible pestilences, widespread famine, persecution of Christians, and other conditions that Jesus outlined in Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21.
That noble, warmhearted readiness to bless others by freely giving out of an open hand, unstintingly. This is the meaning Bible writers often expressed in their writings, a deeper meaning than is usually conveyed by our English words ‘generous’ or ‘liberal.’ Jehovah himself is the personification of generosity, the One who fully supplies all the needs of his obedient creatures “according to his will.” (1 John 5:14; Phil. 4:19) Every good gift and perfect present is from him, including such an intangible gift as wisdom.—Jas. 1:5, 17.
Moses urged his fellow Israelites to cultivate this divine quality of generosity, even when making a loan on pledge. “You must not harden your heart or be closefisted toward your poor brother. For you should generously open your hand to him. . . . You should by all means give to him, and your heart should not be stingy in your giving to him. . . . That is why I am commanding you, saying, ‘You should generously open up your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land.’”—Deut. 15:7-11.
Says the proverb: “The generous soul [literally, “the soul with a blessing gift”] will itself be made fat [prosperous], and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.” (Prov. 11:25) Jesus Christ expressed it this way: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Again he said: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.”—Luke 6:38.
IN THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION
The apostle Paul also stated this proverbial truth in yet another way: “He that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Since this is so, the apostle reasons, “let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6, 7) Paul continues, pointing to Jehovah’s great example of generosity, not only in abundantly supplying seed for the sower and bread for food, but also in how He enriched the Corinthian brothers “for every sort of generosity,” that they might be generous toward others. Such gestures of generosity, Paul declared, resulted in “an expression of thanks to God.”—2 Cor. 9:8-13.
Paul, encouraging this same godly generosity, wrote the Romans (12:8): “He that distributes, let him do it with liberality.” To the Hebrews (13:16) he wrote: “Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The congregations in Macedonia were outstanding examples of generous giving. The fact that they had even joyfully gone “beyond their actual ability,” contributing out of their poverty, made “the riches of their generosity abound.”—2 Cor. 8.1-4.
Let it be noted that these scriptures on generosity and liberality are not in conflict or out of balance with others that condemn ingrates, sluggards and lazy persons. For example, the lazy one who will not plow in cold weather deserves nothing when begging in harvesttime; he that refuses to work is not entitled to the generosity of others. (Prov. 20:4; 2 Thess. 3:10) Widows were not to be put on the list for relief unless they qualified. (1 Tim. 5:9, 10) The contributions made by the congregations throughout Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia were not for the needy ones among pagan worshipers in general, but for “the holy ones” that were in need.—1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 9:1, 2.
GENESIS, BOOK OF
[Gr., origin; generation; coming into existence].
The first book of the Pentateuch (Greek for “five rolls” or “fivefold volume”). “Genesis” is the name given to the first of these books by the Septuagint translation, whereas its Hebrew title Bereʹshithʹ (“In the beginning”) is taken from the first word in its opening sentence.
WHEN AND WHERE WRITTEN
Since the book of Genesis was evidently part of the one original writing (the Torah), it was possibly completed by Moses in the wilderness of Sinai in the year 1513 B.C.E. After Genesis 1:1, 2 (relating to the creation of the heavens and the earth) the book evidently covers a span of thousands of years involved in the preparation of the earth for human habitation, the creation of marine creatures, land animals and birds (see CREATION [Length of Creative Days]; DAY), and thereafter covers the period from man’s creation (either 4027 or 4026 B.C.E., according to the method of calculation employed) on down to the year 1657 B.C.E., when Joseph died.—See ABRAHAM (Sojourn in Canaan); Chronology (Counting from the Time of Human Creation to the Present).
The objection once raised by some skeptics that writing was not known in Moses’ day is today generally discounted. P. J. Wiseman, in his book New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis, points out that archaeological research gives ample proof that the art of writing began in the earliest historical times known to man. Virtually all modern scholars acknowledge the existence of writing a thousand years or more before the time of Moses (in the second millennium B.C.E.). Expressions such as that found in Exodus 17:14, “Write this as a memorial in the book,” substantiate very soundly that writing was in common use in Moses’ day. It was no doubt an ability Adam possessed, God having given him, as a perfect man, a language, with the ability to handle it perfectly, even to composing poetry.—Gen. 2:19, 23.
SOURCE OF MATERIAL
All the information contained in the book of Genesis relates to events that took place prior to Moses’ birth. It could have been received directly by divine revelation. It is obvious that someone had to receive the information relating to the events prior to man’s creation in that way, whether Moses or someone prior to him. (Gen. 1:1-27; 2:7, 8) This information and the remaining information, however, could have been transmitted to Moses by means of oral tradition. Due to the long life-span of men of that period, the information could have been passed from Adam to Moses through just five human links, namely, Methuselah,