We who are living in this time of the end of this old world, as is apparent from the fulfillment of Bible prophecy—whom will we imitate? Those who failed God or those who proved faithful? Today God has a people that are proving faithful to him, carrying out his purposes, even as he foretold. (Isa. 43:10-12) This people he has enlightened by a knowledge of him and his purposes; he has put his spirit upon them and ordained them to be his witnesses. Will we individually keep integrity by right conduct, by never compromising, by keeping steadfast in the ministry, and so be among the faithful ones that never shrink back, that never fail God?
In order never to be failing our God in the time of the end we must guard against any tendency to shrink back. This shrinking back can begin very subtly, almost imperceptibly, as when we refuse to make progress, as when we shrink from taking a forward step, as when we turn down added privileges in the Christian ministry.
What will aid us to keep from shrinking back? There are many aids of which we can avail ourselves. One of these is the regular study of God’s Word with the helps he has provided, for his Word is “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) Another great aid is prayer, talking to God. Still another aid is the weekly gathering of ourselves together at our Kingdom Halls and neighborhood Bible studies, where we can incite one another to love and fine works. Nor would we overlook the strength that comes from zealous activity in the ministry. By taking advantage of all such aids we shall be able to resist any tendency to shrink back and thus keep from failing our God in this time of the end.
Questions From Readers
● Would you please explain Psalm 78:24, 25? Does this indicate that angels need some type of nourishment to continue living?—D. H., United States.
Psalm 78:24, 25 in the King James Version says that the Israelites ate “angels’ food” in the wilderness. We read: “And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.” Interestingly, The Newberry Study Bible, edited by Thomas Newberry and based on the King James Version, says in a marginal note pertaining to the expression “Man did eat angels’ food”: “ish or Everyone did eat the bread of mighty ones, Heb. lehhem abbirim.” Now note the rendering of these verses in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: “And he kept raining upon them manna to eat, and the grain of heaven he gave to them. Men ate the very bread of powerful ones; provisions he sent them to satisfaction.”
Yes, the Israelites, though they were mere men, ate “the very bread of powerful ones.” And this expression has reference to the manna they ate in the wilderness. Well, then, was the manna really the food of angels given by God to man? The manna did, as it were, descend from heaven, because it appeared upon the ground by the operation of God’s spirit from heaven. However, this was not any kind of bread that angels eat, nor have we any Scriptural proof that the angels in heaven eat anything.
So, when Psalm 78:24 and 25 shows that in eating manna the Israelites “ate the very bread of powerful ones,” what is meant? Simply that they subsisted on food from a powerful spiritual source, supplied by reason of the operation of Jehovah’s spirit or active force. Hence, they were eating food that was divinely provided.
● Since the Logos, the prehuman Jesus, was not among the angels used by Jehovah to transmit the law of God to Moses, how is Exodus 23:20-23, which speaks of an angel with the name of Jehovah within him, to be understood?—A. M., United States.
That the Logos, the Son of God, was not among the angels used by God at the time he transmitted his law to Moses is clear from the words of Paul at Hebrews 2:2, 3: “If the word spoken through angels proved to be firm, and every transgression and disobedient act received a retribution in harmony with justice; how shall we escape if we have neglected a salvation of such greatness in that it began to be spoken through our Lord and was verified for us by those who heard him?” It therefore follows that the angels were used at that time and that the Son of God, the prehuman Jesus, was not.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of the Logos’ having been used in some special capacity in God’s dealing with Israel. Exodus 23:20-23 says: “Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. Watch yourself because of him and obey his voice. Do not behave rebelliously against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; because my name is within him. However, if you strictly obey his voice and really do all that I shall speak, then I shall certainly be hostile to your enemies and harass those who harass you. For my angel will go ahead of you.” It is reasonable to conclude that this angel of whom Jehovah says “my name is within him” was Jesus Christ in his prehuman spirit form. (1 Cor. 10:1-4) Jesus, whose name means “Jehovah is salvation,” is the chief one to uphold and vindicate his Father’s glorious name.