expressed in words. If you reside with someone, you live in the same house with that one, do you not? That is the picture. What a joy and a comfort to all those in harmony with that heavenly government, giving them a sense of its immediate nearness! Also note that every time John refers to this city he is inspired to mention its descent. He mentions it three times for emphasis. The first instance is when he records the promise given to “the one that conquers” in the congregation at Philadelphia: “I will write upon him the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God.” (Rev. 3:12; 21:2, 10) This precedes the message to the congregation in Laodicea, where we find our other illustration. It is a personal one and has reference, not to God’s house, but to your own house.
21. (a) What counsel and illustration did Jesus give at Revelation 3:19, 20? (b) How would we benefit by responding to the knocking that Jesus mentioned?
21 What a sorry condition that last-named congregation was in! Lukewarm and ready to be vomited out of the Lord’s mouth. Yet we find given to any individuals in that congregation ready to listen, this friendly word of warning and counsel: “All those for whom I have affection I reprove and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Now notice what Jesus next says: “Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and take the evening meal with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:19, 20) No, he does not tell you to come and knock on the door of his house, wondering what the summons thither might mean. Instead, he pictures himself as standing and knocking at your door. What an amazing picture! Imagine it is your house and you are on your own, about to have the usual evening meal. Then suddenly you hear a knocking and a voice announcing who it is. The Lord himself! Why, of course, you would immediately invite him in. No need to worry about what is in the larder, for you would know he had not come to eat you out of house and home, as we sometimes say. Rather, you would know that the real purpose of his call was to give you the benefit of a rich, upbuilding, spiritual feast and to enjoy precious communion with him in the homely atmosphere of personal friendship. Is that not what Jesus did when on earth and invited in for an evening meal, such as with Lazarus and his sisters?—Luke 10:38-42.
22. How does dedication involve a two-way invitation, resulting in what blessings?
22 For one thing, this illustration shows that our dedication involves a two-way invitation. First, Jehovah, through Christ Jesus, invites you to give yourself in full and unreserved dedication to him. Secondly, Christ Jesus, speaking for his Father and himself, asks you to invite him into your house, into your mind and heart and your whole life. For what purpose? He wants you to let him talk to you in the quietness of your own mind and heart. How so? Through his Father’s Word and also his organization, that is, at the meetings and in fellowship with his people. That means, as you eagerly listen, there will be a free flow of Jehovah’s spirit. In such an atmosphere there would surely be no difficulty or barrier in the matter of prayer, no more than there is in fellowship with your brothers and sisters at the meetings.
23. What fine lesson of humility is here seen regarding the shepherding work?
23 Furthermore, what a striking lesson we have here of true humility. Even the risen Lord does not demand entrance, saying, Come on, open up! Instead, he pictures himself as standing out there, patiently knocking and waiting to see if you will be good enough to hear and respond. When on earth, Jesus said he was “mild-tempered and lowly in heart.” He still is, and in this he sets a fine example for us. Much emphasis is placed in these days on the shepherding work being done mainly by the appointed servants and overseers in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. These have a duty to call on all of Jehovah’s little ones, paying special attention to any who have become like sick or straying sheep. When making such calls, how careful these servants must be to have the same motive and show the same friendly and humble spirit as Jesus portrayed in his illustration.—Matt. 11:29; 18:12-14; Heb. 13:8.
24. How does this same lesson apply to all of Jehovah’s witnesses?
24 However, all of Jehovah’s witnesses can take the same lesson to heart. All of our work in calling on the people, from the first call onward, includes the aspect of shepherding. We are looking for sheeplike people. In a literal way, we keep “standing at the door and knocking.” Yes, we feel it is an obligation to keep on calling, but though many may fail to respond or show a sheeplike attitude, we must never, either literally or figuratively, put our foot in the door, insisting on delivering our message at all costs. We cannot demand either a hearing or an entrance, but we should let the people know we are there and by a sincere, friendly manner, “together with a mild temper and deep respect,” show that our motive is good.—Rev. 3:20; 1 Pet. 3:15.
25. In what further way will true humility be an invaluable help to us?
25 Finally, this lesson of humility is going to be a great help to us with regard to our prayers to the “Hearer of prayer.” A truly humble mind and heart will go a long way in enabling us at all times to “approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness,” assured of being heard and finding mercy and help at just the right time.—Heb. 4:16.
Assyrian Conquest of Israel
THE Bible records the conquest of Israel by Assyria. Assyrian king Pul, more commonly called by the name Tiglath-pileser, came against Israel at least twice some years before Israel was finally conquered completely by Assyria in 740 B.C.E. The Bible tells of the first of these invasions:
“Pul [Tiglath-pileser] the king of Assyria came into the land. Consequently Menahem [king of Israel] gave Pul a thousand talents of silver . . . At that the king of Assyria turned back, and he did not stay there in the land.”—2 Ki. 15:19, 20.
A few years later Pekah killed Menahem’s son who had succeeded him on the throne, and Pekah became king of Israel. The Bible goes on to tell about a second invasion by this same Assyrian king, this time in the days of King Pekah: “Tiglath-pileser the king of Assyria came in and proceeded to take Ijon and Abel-beth-maacah and Janoah and Kedesh and Hazor and Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and to carry them into exile in Assyria. Finally Hoshea the son of Elah formed a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him and put him to death; and he began to reign in place of him.”—2 Ki. 15:29, 30.
It is of interest that in writings of Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser, which have been uncovered in archaeological discoveries, he speaks about these very events recorded in the Bible. For example, in one document he wrote: “I received tribute from Kushtashpi of Commagene, Rezon of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria . . . ” And in another document he said: “They overthrew their king Pekah and I placed Hoshea as king over them.”