Sons Taught by Jehovah
8. Who were the first to enjoy this peace with God through Jesus Christ?
8 Who have such peace because of being taught by Jehovah and paying attention to his commandments? In reply, the Bible directs our attention first to those who make up spiritual Israel. They are spoken of at Galatians 6:16, where we read: “All those who will walk orderly by this rule of conduct, upon them be peace and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” These are the 144,000 who have been chosen by God to share heavenly life with Jesus Christ.—Revelation 14:1.
9. What was the “rule of conduct” associated with spiritual Israel’s enjoyment of peace?
9 Back in the first century, those of spiritual Israel were learning a basic truth, a “rule of conduct,” that was directly connected with their enjoyment of peace. It was vital that they grasp this rule of conduct. For over 15 centuries, Jehovah had used the Mosaic Law to set out shadows of good things to come. But after the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the requirements of the Mosaic Law were no longer binding. (Hebrews 10:1; Romans 6:14) This was manifested by the decision of the Christian governing body in Jerusalem on the issue of circumcision. (Acts 15:5, 28, 29) It was emphasized again in the inspired letter to the Galatians. The good things that the Mosaic Law foreshadowed had gone into effect. Patiently Jehovah was impressing on the minds and hearts of Christ’s anointed followers the significance of His undeserved kindness expressed through Christ. By exercising faith in this provision, by conducting themselves in harmony with it, they could enjoy peace of a sort that had never before been possible for sinful humans.—Galatians 3:24, 25; 6:16, 18.
10. (a) Spiritual Israel was experiencing fulfillment of what promise recorded at Isaiah 54:13? (b) How has Jehovah’s disciplining of them been a factor in their experiencing peace?
10 Those of spiritual Israel were experiencing fulfillment of the grand promise recorded at Isaiah 54:13. There God himself said to his wifelike organization of loyal spirit creatures: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.” Of course, her principal Son is Jesus Christ himself, brought forth as the Messiah when he was anointed with holy spirit in 29 C.E. But Jehovah’s heavenly “woman” has more sons—144,000 others who become the secondary part of the seed foretold at Genesis 3:15. Jehovah promised that he would be the Grand Instructor of all these sons. He has taught them the truth about himself and his purposes. He has told them how to serve him. At times, he has had to discipline them. This has been necessary when they have failed to heed his Word. Discipline can be hard to take. But they have humbly acknowledged their need of it and made the required changes, and that discipline has yielded good results—“peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.”—Hebrews 12:7, 11; Psalm 85:8.
15. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, what was Jehovah teaching his prospective sons that was vital to peace?
15 This helps us to appreciate what Jesus said as recorded at John 6:45-47. There he was speaking to Jews who were not drawn to him as the Messiah and so were murmuring against him. But it was with reference to his disciples that he said: “It is written in the Prophets [specifically, at Isaiah 54:13], ‘And they will all be taught by Jehovah.’ Everyone that has heard from the Father and has learned comes to me. Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God; this one has seen the Father. Most truly I say to you, He that believes has everlasting life.” Those disciples accepted the instruction that Jehovah was giving them. They were drawn to Jesus. When others rejected the things he taught and forsook Jesus, his apostles stayed. As Peter said: “We have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:69) Because of their faith in Jesus Christ, it would be possible for them to come into a peaceful relationship with Jehovah God, a relationship that carries with it the assurance of everlasting life.
16. (a) Starting at Pentecost 33 C.E., how did Jesus’ followers benefit from the provision made through Christ? (b) Thereafter, what was required of them?
16 Starting at Pentecost 33 C.E., the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice began to be applied to those faithful followers of Jesus. What Paul later wrote at Romans 5:1 came to be true of them: “Now that we have been declared righteous as a result of faith, let us enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” By birth all of these were descendants of Adam. As sinners, they were alienated from God. No good works that they might personally have done could have canceled out their inheritance of sin. But by His undeserved kindness, Jehovah accepted the sacrifice of Jesus’ perfect human life in behalf of Adam’s offspring. For those who exercised faith in this provision, it now became possible to have righteousness credited to them and for them to be adopted by God as sons with heavenly life in view. (Ephesians 1:5-7) But was more required on their part? Yes, they had to walk in Jehovah’s ways. No longer were they to make a practice of sin. But they realize that whatever righteousness they have is a result of God’s undeserved kindness expressed through Christ. As the scripture says, they ‘enjoy peace with God through Jesus Christ.’