to give them uplift and comfort through the congregation, they will agree that such “gifts in men” are indeed “a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.”—Eph. 4:8, 11, 12; Isa. 32:1, 2.
Questions From Readers
● It is said that in Israel’s tabernacle and later in the temple Solomon built there was the Shekinah. What was it?—A. G., U.S.A.
The Hebrew word Shekinah means “that which dwells” or “the dwelling.” Though this term is not employed in the Bible, it is found in the Targumim, or Targums, the Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures. Shekinah is used in the Targums in such Biblical passages as those related to God’s dwelling or tabernacling or residing among his chosen people. (E.g., Ex. 25:8; 29:45, 46; Num. 5:3; 35:34) In the Targums the Hebrew word “dwell” or “tabernacle” is rendered “let the Shekinah rest.”—See Targum of Isaiah 48:11; 63:17; 64:3, 6.
The Shekinah was in evidence in the Most Holy of both the tabernacle and Solomon’s temple. Within this innermost compartment rested the sacred ark of the covenant, or testimony, with two golden cherubs fashioned for its lid or cover. Making reference to this Ark, God told Moses: “And you must place the cover above upon the Ark, and in the Ark you will place the testimony that I shall give you. And I will present myself to you there and speak with you from above the cover, from between the two cherubs that are upon the ark of the testimony, even all that I shall command you for the sons of Israel.” (Ex. 25:21, 22) But how might Jehovah present himself there to Moses? A fitting manner would be by means of a miraculous light. Also, the high priest would need light when he was in the Most Holy on the atonement day.—Lev. 16:11-16.
The Shekinah in the tabernacle and in Solomon’s temple was such a light or supernatural glow. It shone between the two golden cherubs on the cover of the Ark. Just how high above the cherubs it extended or had its source cannot be determined. However, the Shekinah light was the only source of illumination in the Most Holy.
What, then, was the significance of the Shekinah light? This effulgence in the Most Holy signified or represented God’s presence. Of course, Jehovah himself could not be confined to any literal tabernacle or temple. (2 Chron. 6:18; Acts 17:24) But this marvelous light was an indication to the Israelites that Jehovah’s favor attended them.
According to the Jewish Mishnah, the Shekinah light in the Most Holy was one of the things lacking in the temple built under Governor Zerubbabel’s supervision.—Yoma, 21,2.
No, this would not be Scripturally fitting. All those making up the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9 are “other sheep,” but not all of the “other sheep” of John 10:16 constitute a part of the “great crowd.” These terms are not wholly synonymous.
All persons having God’s approval may Scripturally be viewed as sheep. And Jesus Christ said: “I surrender my soul in behalf of the sheep.” (John 10:15) Whereas there is a “little flock” of 144,000 “sheep” with the prospect of resurrection to heavenly life, many other sheeplike ones have the prospect of life on earth in God’s promised new order. (Luke 12:32; Rev. 14:1-4; Ps. 37:11, 29) All persons with earthly hopes and possibilities are referred to as the “other sheep,” at John 10:16, to distinguish them from those “sheep” who are granted heavenly life. The earthly “other sheep” will include faithful men of old times, like Abraham, David and Daniel. (Heb. 11:8-19, 32-35; Dan. 12:13) Many others resurrected during Christ’s thousand-year reign will prove obedient to God and will thus show that they too are “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd. This term also applies to the “great crowd” of righteously disposed persons who will live right through the destructive end of this system of things, and to any of their righteous offspring during Christ’s millennial reign.
So, “other sheep” is a broad term. However, the “great crowd” constitute but a part of the “other sheep” class. Revelation 7:9, 14 tells us: “After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. . . . ‘These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” To be noted is the fact that the “great crowd,” who are distinguished from the 144,000 of spiritual Israel, “come out of the great tribulation” marking the “last days.” (Matt. 24:20, 21) The “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9 have not come out prior to ‘the time of the end.’
Hence, the term “other sheep” takes in all righteously disposed persons with earthly prospects and it includes the “great crowd.” The “great crowd,” however, are only those sheeplike ones with earthly hopes who have associated with Jehovah God’s earthly organization during the time marked by the “great tribulation” attending these last days.
God’s truth, as set forth in the Bible, cannot be compromised, even though it may be unpopular, plaguing those who try to ignore God. Moved by love for God and for those who seek righteousness, Jehovah’s witnesses will continue to speak the truth boldly during September. As they do so they will offer to conduct a free home Bible study, on a regular basis, with any persons showing interest and they will leave helpful Bible literature, on a small contribution, with those who desire it.
REMINDER OF ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS
The corporate publisher of this magazine, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, formed and used by Jehovah’s witnesses for the advancement of the Kingdom interests, has a yearly corporation business meeting. In 1966 this meeting will be held on Saturday, October 1, at the office of the Society located at 4100 Bigelow Boulevard, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, at 10 a.m.
Letters of notice will be sent to the members of the corporation. The members can ensure their receiving the notice and accompanying proxy by making certain that the secretary’s office has the present mail address of the member to which the notice is to be sent.
While the purpose of here making mention of the annual meeting is to remind those who are members to provide the Society’s secretary with their present mailing address, mention is also made of the fact that any reader of The Watchtower is welcome to attend the annual meeting.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT GOD CARES?
With increasing disrespect for the Bible and growing disbelief in God seen in all lands, it is encouraging to see, at the same time, the tremendous acceptance of the internationally popular Bible-study aid “Things in Which It Is Impossible for God to Lie.” Within a year of its publication circulation had soared into the millions of copies in many languages, with the printing facilities of the publisher unable to keep up with the growing demand—proof that there are millions of people who still realize that God is alive and interested in the affairs of mankind. Are you one of such? Send for your copy of this fascinating book today and receive free the booklet Healing of the Nations Has Drawn Near. It is only 50c.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
September 18: Championing Jehovah’s Godship in Spite of Babylonish Hostility, ¶1-18. Page 521. Songs to Be Used: 88, 96.
September 25: Championing Jehovah’s Godship in Spite of Babylonish Hostility, ¶19-25, and Jesus, the “Object of Hostility,” Upholds Jehovah’s Godship, ¶1-11. Page 527. Songs to Be Used: 71, 76.
October 2: Jesus, the “Object of Hostility,” Upholds Jehovah’s Godship, ¶12-32. Page 532. Songs to Be Used: 8, 28.