Rejoice in the Knowledge of Jehovah
“Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!”—LUKE 11:28.
1. When did Jehovah begin to communicate with humans?
JEHOVAH loves humans and is deeply interested in their welfare. It is not surprising, therefore, that he communicates with them. This communication began in the garden of Eden. According to Genesis 3:8, on one occasion “about the breezy part of the day,” Adam and Eve “heard the voice of Jehovah God.” Some suggest that this implies that it was Jehovah’s custom to communicate with Adam at this time, possibly every day. Whatever the case, the Bible makes it clear that God had taken time not only to give instructions to the first man but also to teach him what he needed to know in order to carry out his responsibilities.—Genesis 1:28-30.
2. How did the first couple cut themselves off from the guidance of Jehovah, and with what result?
2 Jehovah gave Adam and Eve life, dominion over the animals, and authority over the entire earth. There was but one prohibition—they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Influenced by Satan, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:1-6) They chose to act independently, deciding for themselves what was right and what was wrong. In so doing, they foolishly cut themselves off from the guidance of their loving Creator. The consequences were disastrous for them and for their unborn offspring. Adam and Eve grew old and eventually died with no hope of a resurrection. Their descendants inherited sin and its consequence, death.—Romans 5:12.
3. Why did Jehovah communicate with Cain, and how did Cain respond?
3 Despite the rebellion in Eden, Jehovah continued to communicate with his human creation. Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, was in danger of being overcome by sin. Jehovah warned him that he was heading for trouble and advised him to “turn to doing good.” Cain rejected this loving counsel and murdered his brother. (Genesis 4:3-8) Thus, the first three humans on earth all spurned the clear direction provided by the one who gave them life, the God who gives instruction to his people so that they might benefit themselves. (Isaiah 48:17) How disappointing this must have been to Jehovah!
Jehovah Reveals Himself to Men of Old
4. Regarding Adam’s descendants, of what was Jehovah confident, and what message of hope did he give with that in mind?
4 Though he had every right to cut off communication with humans, Jehovah did not do so. He was confident that some of Adam’s descendants would wisely heed His direction. When pronouncing judgment on Adam and Eve, for example, Jehovah foretold the coming of a “seed” who would stand in opposition to the Serpent, Satan the Devil. In time, Satan would be fatally bruised in the head. (Genesis 3:15) This prophecy was a joyful message of hope to “those hearing the word of God and keeping it.”—Luke 11:28.
5, 6. In what ways did Jehovah communicate with his people before the first century C.E., and how did this benefit them?
5 Jehovah communicated his will to faithful patriarchs of old, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Job. (Genesis 6:13; Exodus 33:1; Job 38:1-3) Later, through Moses he set out an entire code of laws for the nation of Israel. The Mosaic Law benefited them in many ways. By observing it, Israel was separated from all other nations as God’s special people. God assured the Israelites that if they obeyed the Law, he would bless them not only materially but also spiritually, making them into a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. The Law even provided dietary and sanitary regulations that promoted good health. However, Jehovah also warned of the tragic consequences that would result from disobedience.—Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 28:1-68.
6 In time, other inspired books were added to the Bible canon. Historical accounts told of Jehovah’s dealings with nations and peoples. Poetic books beautifully described his qualities. Prophetic books foretold the future outworking of Jehovah’s will. Faithful men of old carefully studied and applied these inspired writings. One wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.” (Psalm 119:105) To those who were willing to listen, Jehovah provided education and enlightenment.
The Light Becomes Brighter
7. Although Jesus performed miracles, for what was he primarily known, and why?
7 By the first century, Jewish religious groups had added human traditions to the Law. The Law was misapplied, and instead of being a source of enlightenment, it became burdensome because of those traditions. (Matthew 23:2-4) However, in 29 C.E., Jesus appeared as the Messiah. His mission was not only to give his life in behalf of humankind but also to “bear witness to the truth.” Though he performed miracles, he was primarily known as “the Teacher.” His teaching was like a light beaming through the spiritual darkness that shrouded the minds of people. Jesus himself rightly said: “I am the light of the world.”—John 8:12; 11:28; 18:37.
8. What inspired books were written in the first century C.E., and how did they benefit early Christians?
8 Later were added the Gospels, four written accounts of Jesus’ life, and the book of Acts, a history of the spread of Christianity after Jesus’ death. There were also the inspired letters written by Jesus’ disciples, as well as the prophetic book of Revelation. These writings, combined with the Hebrew Scriptures, completed the Bible canon. With the help of this inspired library, Christians could “grasp mentally with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of the truth. (Ephesians 3:14-18) They could have “the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) Nevertheless, those early Christians did not fully understand every aspect of Jehovah’s purposes. The apostle Paul wrote to fellow believers: “At present we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Such a mirror would reflect an outline but not all the details. A fuller comprehension of God’s Word was yet to come.
9. What enlightenment has occurred during “the last days”?
9 Today, we live in an era called “the last days,” an era marked by “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) The prophet Daniel foretold that during this time “the true knowledge [would] become abundant.” (Daniel 12:4) Hence, Jehovah, the Great Communicator, has helped honesthearted ones to grasp the meaning of his Word. Multitudes of people now understand that Christ Jesus was enthroned in the invisible heavens in 1914. They also know that he will soon bring an end to all wickedness and transform the earth into a global paradise. This important aspect of the Kingdom good news is now being preached throughout the earth.—Matthew 24:14.
10. Throughout the centuries, how have people reacted to Jehovah’s counsel?
10 Yes, throughout history Jehovah has communicated his will and purpose to people on earth. The Bible record describes many who listened, applied godly wisdom, and were blessed for it. It tells of others who rejected God’s loving counsel, following the ruinous course of Adam and Eve. Jesus illustrated this situation when he spoke of two symbolic roads. One leads to destruction. Broad and spacious, it is followed by the many who reject God’s Word. The other road leads to everlasting life. Though cramped, it is the path of the few who accept the Bible for what it is, the Word of God, and live in harmony with it.—Matthew 7:13, 14.
Appreciating What We Have
11. Our knowledge of and belief in the Bible is evidence of what?
11 Are you among those who have chosen the road to life? If so, you will no doubt want to stay on it. How can you do so? Reflect regularly and appreciatively on the blessings that knowing Bible truths has brought to your life. The very fact that you have responded to the good news is evidence of God’s blessing. Jesus indicated this when he prayed to his Father in these words: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes.” (Matthew 11:25) Fishermen and tax collectors got the sense of Jesus’ teaching, while highly educated religious leaders did not. Jesus further said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) If you have come to know the Bible and you believe and follow its teachings, this is evidence that Jehovah has drawn you. It is reason for rejoicing.
12. In what ways does the Bible give enlightenment?
12 God’s Word contains liberating truths and gives enlightenment. Those who live according to Bible knowledge are freed from the superstitions, false teachings, and ignorance that dominate the lives of millions. For example, knowing the truth about the soul frees us from any fear that the dead can harm us or that our dead loved ones are suffering. (Ezekiel 18:4) Knowing the truth about wicked angels helps us avoid the perils of spiritism. The teaching of the resurrection is comforting to those who have lost loved ones in death. (John 11:25) Bible prophecies show us where we are in the stream of time and give us confidence in God’s promises for the future. They also reinforce our hope of living forever.
13. How does heeding God’s Word benefit us physically?
13 The godly principles in the Bible teach us to live in a way that brings physical benefits. For example, we learn to avoid practices that defile our bodies, such as the misuse of tobacco and other drugs. We shun alcohol abuse. (2 Corinthians 7:1) Heeding God’s moral laws serves as a protection from sexually transmitted diseases. (1 Corinthians 6:18) By observing God’s counsel to avoid the love of money, we do not destroy our peace of mind, as many have, in the pursuit of riches. (1 Timothy 6:10) In what ways have you benefited physically because of applying God’s Word in your life?
14. What influence does the holy spirit have on our lives?
14 If we live according to God’s Word, we receive Jehovah’s holy spirit. We cultivate a Christlike personality, characterized by such appealing qualities as mercy and compassion. (Ephesians 4:24, 32) God’s spirit also produces in us its fruitage—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22, 23) These qualities promote happy and meaningful relationships with others, including family members. We gain inner strength that helps us to face hardship with courage. Do you discern how the holy spirit has influenced your life for the better?
15. As we harmonize our lives with God’s will, how do we benefit?
15 As we harmonize our lives with God’s will, we strengthen our relationship with Jehovah. Our conviction grows that he understands and loves us. We learn through experience that he supports us during difficult times. (Psalm 18:18) We discern that he really listens to our prayers. (Psalm 65:2) We come to rely on his guidance, confident that it will benefit us. And we have the wonderful hope that in due time God will bring his faithful ones to perfection and bestow upon them his gift of everlasting life. (Romans 6:23) “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you,” wrote the disciple James. (James 4:8) Have you felt that your relationship with Jehovah has been strengthened as you have drawn close to him?
A Treasure Beyond Compare
16. What changes did some first-century Christians make?
16 Paul reminded spirit-anointed Christians of the first century that some of them had at one time been fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy persons, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Bible truth caused them to make major changes; they were “washed clean.” Try to imagine what your life would be like without the liberating truths you have learned from the Bible. Surely the truth is a treasure far beyond compare. How happy we are that Jehovah communicates with us!
17. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses been fed spiritually at Christian meetings?
17 Further, think of the blessing that we have in our multiracial brotherhood! “The faithful and discreet slave” supplies spiritual food at the proper time, including Bibles, magazines, and other publications in a multitude of languages. (Matthew 24:45-47) At congregation meetings during the year 2000, Jehovah’s Witnesses in many lands reviewed highlights from eight major books of the Hebrew Scriptures. They meditated on the lives of 40 Bible characters discussed in Insight on the Scriptures. They considered about one fourth of the book The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived and almost the entire book Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! Thirty-six secondary articles were considered from the Watchtower magazine in addition to 52 study articles. Furthermore, Jehovah’s people were nourished with 12 issues of Our Kingdom Ministry and weekly public talks on a variety of Bible subjects. What a wealth of spiritual knowledge has been made available!
18. In what ways are we helped within the Christian congregation?
18 Throughout the world, over 91,000 congregations provide support and encouragement through meetings and association. We also enjoy the support of mature fellow Christians who are willing to help us spiritually. (Ephesians 4:11-13) Yes, we have greatly benefited by receiving a knowledge of the truth. It is a joy to know and serve Jehovah. How true are the words of the psalmist who wrote: “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”—Psalm 144:15.
Do You Remember?
• With whom did Jehovah communicate in pre-Christian times?
• How did spiritual light become brighter in the first century? in modern times?
• What blessings come from living according to the knowledge of Jehovah?
• Why do we rejoice in our knowledge of God?
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Jehovah communicated his will to Moses, Noah, and Abraham
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In our day, Jehovah has shed light on his Word
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Think of the blessing that we have in our multiracial brotherhood!