Why were there money changers in Jerusalem’s temple?

•09/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

Shortly before his death, Jesus addressed a gross injustice taking place in the temple. The Bible reports: “Jesus . . . threw out all those selling and buying in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. And he said to them: ‘It is written, “My house will be called a house of prayer,” but you are making it a cave of robbers.’”

First-century Jews and Jewish proselytes traveled from many lands and cities to the temple in Jerusalem, bringing with them coins from their local area. Yet, they were required to use acceptable currency to pay the annual temple tax, to buy sacrificial animals, and to make other voluntary offerings. Thus, money changers would, for a fee, convert coins of different origins and denominations into the required currency. As Jewish festivals approached, these money changers would set up stalls in the temple’s Court of the Gentiles.

Jesus’ criticism that the money changers were turning the temple into “a cave of robbers” evidently indicates that the charges for their services were exorbitant.

Remember Jesus’ Death

•06/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

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Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) Jesus commanded that we commemorate his death, and every year millions of people gather with Jehovah’s Witnesses to observe this important event. We invite you to attend with us this year.

April 11th 2017….

Jehovah Witnesses…..

 

In the Name of the Holy Spirit….

•03/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness,

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What does it mean to be baptized in the name of the holy spirit? As noted earlier, those hearing Peter on the day of Pentecost were aware of the holy spirit. In fact, they could see proof right before their eyes that God continued to use the holy spirit. Peter was one of those who had been “filled with holy spirit and [who had] started to speak with different tongues.” The expression “in the name of” need not imply the name of a person. Today, many things are done “in the name of the government,” which is not a person. They are done by the authority of the government. Similarly, one who is baptized in the name of the holy spirit recognizes that the holy spirit is, not a person, but Jehovah’s active force. And such baptism means that one acknowledges the role the holy spirit plays in God’s purpose.

Have you not come to know about the holy spirit through studying the Bible? For example, you have come to appreciate that the Scriptures were written under the inspiration of holy spirit. As you made spiritual progress, you likely gained a deeper appreciation of the fact that ‘the Father in heaven gives holy spirit to those asking him,’ including to you.  You have probably seen holy spirit working in your life. On the other hand, if you are yet to be baptized in the name of the holy spirit, Jesus’ assurance that the Father gives holy spirit means that you have real blessings ahead as you receive that spirit.

It is evident that today, too, Jehovah guides and leads the Christian congregation through his spirit. That spirit also helps us individually in our daily activities. Our having been baptized in the name of the holy spirit involves recognizing its role in our life and gratefully cooperating with that spirit. Some may wonder, though, how we can live up to a dedication made to Jehovah and how the holy spirit is involved.

In the Name of the Son

•02/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have concluded, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died.  And he died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.

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Think again, though, about what Peter said to the crowd. He stressed accepting Jesus, which is directly linked to being baptized “in the name . . . of the Son.” Why was that vital then, and why is it vital now? Well, accepting Jesus and being baptized in his name means recognizing his role in our relationship with the Creator. Jesus had to be hanged on a torture stake in order to remove the curse of the Law from the Jews; however, his death had a greater benefit.  He provided the ransom sacrifice that all mankind needed.  To that end, Jesus endured injustice, reviling, torture, and finally death. How much do you appreciate his sacrifice? Imagine you were a 12-year-old boy traveling on the Titanic, the ship that struck an iceberg and sank in 1912. You try to jump into a lifeboat, but it is full. Then a man on the lifeboat kisses his wife, jumps back onto the deck, and puts you into the lifeboat. How do you feel? Certainly you are grateful to him! You can understand how one boy who really had that experience felt. Yet, Jesus did much more for you. He died so that you can gain endless life.

How did you feel upon learning what the Son of God did for you?  Likely you felt deep gratitude. That helped to move you to dedicate your life to God and to ‘live no longer for yourself, but for him who died for you.’ Being baptized in the name of the Son means acknowledging what Jesus has done for you and accepting his authority as “the Chief Agent of life.”  Previously, you had no relationship with the Creator, and actually you had no valid hope. But by exercising faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and being baptized, you now have a relationship with the Father.  “You who were once alienated and enemies because your minds were on the works that were wicked,” wrote the apostle Paul, “God now has again reconciled by means of Jesus’ fleshly body through his death, in order to present you holy and unblemished.”

Though you were baptized in the name of the Son, you are keenly aware of your own sinful inclinations. That awareness is helpful every day. For example, if someone offends you, do you bear in mind that both of you are sinners? You both need God’s forgiveness, and you should both be forgiving.  To emphasize this need, Jesus gave an illustration: The master of a slave canceled his debt of ten thousand talents (60 million denarii). Later, that slave would not release his fellow slave who owed him 100 denarii. Jesus then made this point: Jehovah will not forgive the one who does not forgive his brother.  Yes, being baptized in the name of the Son means recognizing Jesus’ authority and striving to follow his example and teachings, including that of being willing to forgive others.

Being imperfect, you are not able to imitate Jesus fully. Nevertheless, in line with your wholehearted dedication to God, you want to imitate Jesus to the best of your ability. This involves continuing to work at putting away the old personality and putting on the new. When you come to respect a friend, you likely try to learn from his example and good qualities. Likewise, you want to learn from Christ and imitate him.

There is another way you can show that you understand what is involved in having been baptized in the name of the Son. God “subjected all things under Jesus’ feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation.”  Thus, you need to respect the way Jesus directs those dedicated to Jehovah. Christ is using imperfect humans in the local congregation, particularly the spiritually older men, the appointed elders. The provision of having such men appointed is “with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, . . . for the building up of the body of the Christ.”  Even if an imperfect human makes a mistake, Jesus as King of the heavenly Kingdom is able to handle the matter in his time and way. Do you believe that?

Again, some have not yet dedicated themselves to Jehovah and been baptized. If you have not, can you see from the above that recognizing the Son is the reasonable and appreciative thing for you to do? Being baptized in the name of the Son will bring you in line to receive grand blessings.

In the Name of the Father

•31/03/2017 • Leave a Comment

This is why I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.

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As noted, those who responded to Peter’s discourse worshipped Jehovah and had previously had a relationship with him. They had been trying to follow his Law, which was the reason those from other lands had come to Jerusalem. However, God had just made a significant change in his dealings. He rejected the Jews as his special nation; their keeping the Law was no longer the means to obtain his approval. If those listeners wanted an ongoing relationship with Jehovah, they needed something else.

It certainly was not to turn away from Jehovah, their Life-Giver.  No, those responding to Peter’s explanation could see now more than ever that Jehovah was a benevolent Father. He sent the Messiah to deliver them and was willing to forgive even those to whom Peter could say: “Let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.” Actually, those applying Peter’s words would now have even greater reason to appreciate what the Father had done for all who wanted a relationship with God!

Indeed, those Jews and proselytes could now see that a relationship with Jehovah involved recognizing him as the Provider of salvation by means of Jesus. You can understand, then, why they repented of their sins, including that of knowingly or unknowingly sharing in killing Jesus. And it is equally understandable that during the following days “they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles.”  They could and would want to “approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness.”

Today, millions of people from various backgrounds have learned from the Bible the truth about Jehovah.  Some were atheists or deists, but they became convinced of the existence of a Creator with whom they could have a meaningful relationship. Others worshipped a triune god or various idols. They learned that Jehovah alone is the almighty God, and they now address him by his personal name. That is in line with the fact that Jesus said his disciples should be baptized in the name of the Father.

They have also learned that they inherited sin from Adam.  This was something new that they had to accept as true. Such ones can be likened to a sick man who was unaware of his illness. He may have had some symptoms, such as an occasional pain. Yet, having no diagnosis of a specific disease, he might have imagined that he was basically in good health. The facts proved otherwise, however.  What if he got an accurate diagnosis of his illness? Would he not be wise to seek and accept a known, proven, and effective treatment? Similarly, upon learning the truth about inherited sin, many have accepted the Bible’s “diagnosis” and have come to understand that God is offering the “cure.” Yes, all who are alienated from the Father need to turn to the One who can “cure” them.

If you have already dedicated your life to Jehovah God and have become a baptized Christian, you know what a wonderful thing it is to have a relationship with him. You can now appreciate how loving your Father, Jehovah, is.  Although Adam and Eve had sinned against him, God took the initiative so that their descendants including us could have a good relationship with him. In doing that, God had to face the pain of seeing his dear Son suffer and die. Does knowing this not help us to recognize God’s authority and obey his commands out of love? If you have not yet done so, you have reasons to dedicate yourself to God and be baptized.

Baptized in the Name of Whom and What?

•29/03/2017 • Leave a Comment

Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit,…

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JERUSALEM was bustling with crowds from many lands. On the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., an important festival was in progress and many visitors were sharing in it. But something unusual occurred, after which the apostle Peter gave a stirring discourse that had an amazing effect. Some 3,000 Jews and proselytes were touched by his words, repented, and got baptized in water. Thus they were added to the newly formed Christian congregation. The baptism of so many in the pools or reservoirs around Jerusalem must have caused considerable commotion!

What led up to so many getting baptized? Earlier that day, “there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze.” In the upper chamber of a house, some 120 of Jesus’ disciples were filled with holy spirit. Thereafter, reverent men and women gathered and were intrigued to hear these disciples “speak with different tongues.” Upon listening to what Peter said, including his pointed comments about Jesus’ death, many “were stabbed to the heart.” What should they do? Peter answered: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ . . . , and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit.”

Think of the religious situation of those Jews and proselytes who heard Peter. They had already accepted Jehovah as their God. And from the Hebrew Scriptures, they knew about the holy spirit, God’s active force used during creation and thereafter.

But they needed something more. It was vital for them to understand and accept God’s means of salvation the Messiah, Jesus. Hence, Peter highlighted their need for being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Some days before, the resurrected Jesus commanded Peter and others to baptize people “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” That had profound meaning in the first century, and it still does. What is it?

Meekness Helps Us to Be Positive

•27/03/2017 • Leave a Comment

Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, Who observe his righteous decrees. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you will be concealed on the day of Jehovah’s anger.

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Meekness is mildness of temper. It enables us to endure injury with patience and without irritation, resentment, vindictiveness. Meekness is a difficult quality to cultivate. Interestingly, in one Bible text, the “meek ones of the earth” are invited to “seek meekness.”  Meekness is related to humility and modesty, but it also embraces other qualities, such as goodness and mildness. A meek person can grow spiritually as he shows himself to be teachable and lets himself be molded.

How can meekness help us deal with new phases of our life? You have likely observed that many tend to view changes in a negative light. In actual fact, they can be opportunities for us to be further trained by Jehovah. Moses’ life illustrates that.

At 40 years of age, Moses already possessed excellent qualities. He had proved to be sensitive to the needs of God’s people and displayed a spirit of self-sacrifice.  Yet, before being assigned by Jehovah to lead Israel out of Egypt, Moses had to face changes that refined his meekness. He had to flee Egypt and live in the land of Midian for 40 years, working as a shepherd, out of the limelight. What was the result? This change made him a better person. He learned to put spiritual interests ahead of personal ones.

To illustrate Moses’ meekness, let us consider what happened when Jehovah said that He wanted to reject the disobedient nation and have Moses’ descendants become a mighty nation.  Moses interceded for the nation. His words show that his concerns were God’s reputation and the well-being of his brothers, not his own self-interest. A meek person was needed for Moses’ role as leader of the nation and mediator. Miriam and Aaron murmured against him, yet the Bible record says that Moses was “by far the meekest of all the men.” It seems that Moses meekly put up with their insults. How would things have turned out if Moses had not been meek?

On another occasion, Jehovah’s spirit settled upon some men, causing them to prophesy. Joshua, Moses’ attendant, felt that these Israelites were acting improperly. Moses, on the other hand, meekly saw things from Jehovah’s viewpoint and was not worried about losing his authority. Had Moses not been meek, would he have accepted this change in Jehovah’s arrangement?

Meekness enabled Moses to make good use of the great authority given him and the role God assigned him. Jehovah invited him to go up on Mount Horeb and stand before the people. God spoke to Moses through an angel and appointed him as mediator of the covenant. Moses’ meekness enabled him to accept this great change in authority and yet remain in God’s favor.

What about us? Meekness is indispensable to our individual growth. All who have been entrusted with privileges and authority among God’s people need to be meek. It prevents us from being proud when we are faced with changes and enables us to deal with situations with the right attitude. Our reaction is important. Will we accept the change? Will we view it as an opportunity to improve? It may turn out to be a unique chance to cultivate meekness!

We will constantly find ourselves facing changes in our lives. Sometimes it is not easy to understand why things happen. Personal limitations and emotional tension may make it difficult for us to maintain a spiritual outlook. Still, such qualities as humility, modesty, and meekness will help us to accept the changes and remain in God’s favor.