To Jehovah`s witnesses.
MAIN TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAN THE MODERN SERVANTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BECOME THE SERVANTS OF THE LETTER ?This question can seem absurd, because, when we meet the word "letter" in the New Testament, the context shows that the text is about Mose`s law, which was abrogated by Christ. The attitude towards the "letter" of apostle Paul was extremely negative: he calls it fatal, a killer, decrepit -2Kor.3:6,7, Rom.7:6. Could Paul treat Jehovah`s law so badly? The Bible shows that it is not true: the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple -Psal.19:7,8. Paul loved the law of Jehovah and took a delight in it - Rom.7:22. Why then did the apostle talk so unflattering about the "letter"? Because the service to the letter of the law made some people spiritually blind, because the law of Jehovah consists not only of letters, it is spiritual - Rom.7:14. And it should be read not only with physical but also with spiritual sight.
Before Paul, Jesus Christ pointed out to his disciples that their justness must surpass justness of bookmen and pharisees - Mat.5:20, who studied carefully all the points of Mose`s law and watched their implementation meticulously. What was bad when they counted off a tithe even from unimportant food -myaty stuffs, anise and cumin, if to give all the tithe of the land or of the fruit of the tree - was the command of Jehovah - Lev.27:30? Why was it necessary to strain off a mosquito, if this insect Jehovah forbade even to touch -Lev.11:23,24, Mat.23:23,24? Why did Jesus call the fervent executors of the points of Mose`s law - blind, if they were physically healthy? Jesus meant the same reason, as Paul: the people saw the letters of Mose`s law only, but did not see its spirit.
Thus, according to the Bible, not only the word "letter" but also the word "spirit" relates to Mose`s law. It means that it was necessary to see something more major and valuable, than only the rules, which were to be observed absolutely.
The New Testament also has some written recommendations in form of rules and principles, therefore to the modern servants of the New Testament it will be useful to get to know the answer to the question of the article: "Can the modern servants of the New Testament become the servants of the letter"? This is very important, because the service to the letter - kills, and the service to a spirit - gives life -2Kor.3:6
In order to get the answer to this question, it is necessary to probe the point of view of the Bible to such additional questions:
1. What does the word " testament" mean?
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The word "testament" in the modern sense means an agreement or union of two parties interested in each other. Both sides, concluding the agreement, assure each other in their intention to keep loyally their promises, which were given to each other at the conclusion of the treaty.
The Old Testament was the "agreement" between Jehovah and His faithful servants of the period of human history from Abraham and his descendants - Israel - Genesis 5:18, 17:10, Deut.29:10-12 - to advent of Jesus Christ on the earth -Gal.3:16, Rom.10:4. It was necessary to believe that Jehovah has the power to redeem the promise and to show the Rescuer from Adam`s sin and death to the world, because this promise had to do with the distant future and at the moment of promise to Abraham Jehovah did not plan to bring Christ over.- Gal.4:4,5 Abraham trusted the God about the future blessings, because he did not get it during his life - Hebr.11:8-10,13. For this faith Abraham was beloved by Jehovah - James 2:23, Rom.4:18-21.
The New Testament is an agreement between Jehovah and the followers of His son - Jesus Christ, who came in accordance with the promise of the Old Testament. "The follower" - it that one, who follows Christ or imitates his example. -1Peter 2:21. Those who believed that Christ was the promised Rescuer to the world, appeared to be the "continuers" of Abraham`s faith and became his sons - Gal.3:7, 29, Rom.9:6-8, 2:28,29.
2. What was the Old testament necessary for ?
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The Old Testament from the moment of promise, which was given to Abraham by the God, during all intermediate period of expectation of promised Jesus Christ foresaw the introduction of organizational and legislative part for the descendants of Abraham increasing in number - Gal.3:19, which became part of the Old Testament and is known to the humanity as "Mose`s law", although, certainly, is the law of Jehovah for Israel - Psal.147:8,9.
Mose`s law had to perform a few functions:
1. A law promoted the organization of life of Israel society on the little piece of earth of Jehovah - Deut.11:11,12, 8:7,9, in order that other people of the earth could compare, how disorderly and senselessly is their life, organized by imperfect human rulers, in comparison with well-organized and satisfying life of Israel, organized by perfect celestial Ruler - Deut.4:5-8, 2 Cron.12:8 and to wish to serve the God of Israel- 3 Kings 8:60. The organization of Israel society meant that the vital functions of people were ruled by the earthly representatives of Jehovah - the priests, who taught people His laws.
2. Like the grain and the content of the picture can present the essence of its artist`s personality, so the content and the character of the picture of life of society, whose artist and the builder was the God - Hebr.11:10, Israel people had to imagine and understand the essence of that Personality who set these laws with help of logical reflection about His laws. The God acquainted Himself with His people - showed Himself to Israel - through Mose`s law.
3. A law "bared" - did visible -the sin - the reason of death of wicked humanity - Rom.7:7-9, 3:20, 5:12 and showed, which way of life is unacceptable for reasonable creations of Jehovah. With the law Jehovah conditionally "drew a restrictive line" of the way of life of His society, which His people were not allowed to cross in order not to die. Those who crossed it became criminals against His law -1 John 3:4, Rom.8:7,8 - and deserved the punishment of death - Rom.6:23a
4. The law explained the method of "clearing" from the sin so that pure Jehovah could communicate with wicked Israel, not violating the principle to "be distant from wicked"- Proverbs 15:29. The system of "washing" from the sins through the blood of sacrificial animals helped the society to become conditionally clean in the eyes of Jehovah, to get forgiveness from Him and the possibility to live under His guardianship - Hebr.9:22. Figuratively speaking, the Old Testament was approved on blood of sacrificial animals -Hebr.9:18,20
5.The law prepared minds and hearts of Israel people to acceptance of Christ: to understanding the essence of his sacrifice on the altar of Jehovah and to the origin of faith that exactly his blood, spilled for sins of many people and "washing" them from their sins in the eyes of Jehovah -1John 1:7- is the execution of promise given toAbraham about the arrival of the Seed from his family - Hebr.10:3-10, Gal.3:6-9,23. As if an educator (schoolmaster), guarding the little children from troubles on the way to the teacher, Mose`s law guarded the descendants of Abraham from the complete depravation "on the way" to the higher teacher - Christ - Gal.3:24
6. The law showed that none of imperfect Israel people could carry this law out exactly, therefore all the servants of Mose`s law died: the law of Jehovah was "powerless" to give the eternal life, because it was "weakened" by the imperfect flesh - Rom.8:3, Gal.3:10, and the just retribution for a sin is death - Rom.6:23a.
7. If somebody from imperfect people could carry out the law, "acquittal" before the God - the justness - would be attained by execution of points of the law and the people wouldn`t need Christ for "washing off" the sins - Gal.3:21, 22, Rom.5:9.
8. The law showed that in order that a sinful man could become perfect and live eternally, it was not enough to carry out the points of Mose`s law. Something greater was required - to learn to love Jehovah and that way of life, which He offered through the rules of Mose`s law --Rom.13:8
3. What does the "letter" of Mose`s law mean?
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Mose`s law had two sides: the visible one - the letter - and the invisible - the spirit - like any durable structure has the invisible for the eye foundation and the visible building. The VISIBLE side of law is the vast list of points, written on the tables and in the book - presents the LETTER of the law - Ex.32:16, Deut.31:24-26
4. What does the "spirit" of Mose`s law mean?
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The INVISIBLE side of Mose`s law, its foundation (root), on which mutual relations of the God`s people with Him and with each other had to be built, is Love. The God is love and created intelligent creatures on His appearance and similarity, and they also had to become love on the essence - 1John 4:8, that is they had to be impelled in all their actions exactly by this quality. Love - it spiritual, internal, invisible to the eye, quality of a man, his spirit or mood of mind and heart. And actions are the external visible sign of the invisible spirit of a man - Mat.15:19. From the external signs - actions of a man - it is possible to guess about an internal man - about what his heart is disposed to.
If we make an attempt to compare Mose`s law with the man, LOVE is the heart of the law, its SPIRIT, and the points of the law - LETTER are its external sign, "list" of acts which the loving person has to accomplish.
5. What is the correlation between the letter and the spirit?
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Construction by Jehovah of society where people would live happily is in fact like the building of any earthly dwelling. The construction of a building begins with laying off a solid durable - a "stone" foundation. If there is no foundation or the foundation is flimsy - the whole building can easily collapse and has no value - Mat.7:24-27. The building and the foundation have close connection between themselves, however their degree of value for all the structure on the whole is different: not the building holds the foundation, but the foundation holds the building - Rom.11:16,18 b.
However without the building only the foundation is not a house, suitable for the use on purpose. Analogically, the society, which is built without foundation - not on love to the God and to each other - is flimsy and inclined to destruction. But the love itself - the foundation - without society - the building - is useless, if there is nobody to apply it. Jehovah, being love Himself, began to create those, whom He could show His love.
Consequently, the intercommunication of spirit of the God`s law and the letter is the following:
1. The SPIRIT - love - is the REASON, which impelles a loving man to act for the good of other people - to show love. DISPLAYS of love, in accordance with the rules, are the effects. For example, if a husband wants to assure his wife in his love, he will set a few points for him, execution of which will show his wife, that he loves her:
1. I will come in time today.
2.I will buy something for supper
3. I will buy a gift to my wife.
4. I will help to prepare supper.
5. I will say that I love her very much etc.
Not the execution of points impelled him to love his wife, but love to his wife impelled him to act in accordance with the points. Not the letter gives birth to the spirit, but the spirit gives birth to the letter.
2. Not knowing the LETTER - the rules of loving Jehovah, explaining, how it is possible to show love correctly (with the benefit for fellow creatures), it is difficult to learn to love how it was planned by the Creator. Through description of acts, which follow the observance of the points of His law, Jehovah teaches to love and to do this love obvious for those, whom we love - Proverbs 27:5. Actions in accordance with the rules help to develop love and to do this quality useful both for us and for our fellow creatures. This means, that the letter is very useful : it helps to develop the spirit.
!!! The servant of the God has to master both the letter of the law and its spirit
. If behind actions, carrying out the point of law, stands only the desire to carry out the point of the law or some other desire, for example, to become famous or to get into the "book of life" of the Creator, such actions can`t be approved by the God - 1Kor.13:1-3. We will consider two examples of execution of Mose`s law:
1.If I return the lost bullock to my friend only because I must carry out the point 512 of the law (for example) - I mastered the letter well, but I did not master the spirit of this point. If I return a bullock because I love my friend and understand how difficult it will be for him to plough the earth without a bullock - I mastered both the letter and the spirit of Jehovah`s law.
2. If I obey the requirements of life of Jehovah`s society only because I feel comfortable in it, I made myself comfortable and do not want to be rejected - I did not master the spirit of love to Jehovah, although I carry out the points of His law in His society. But if I act according to the rules of Jehovah because I love His way of life, I can not live otherway and I like to act SO, as He offers through the law, I mastered the spirit of the law and came to love the God who set exactly THIS law of life.
6. Why is it necessary to learn to love?
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The God is love, therefore He knows, that in large society which He intends to create on His planet, only people who love each other will be able to get along together for a long time and to experience joy and happiness from a joint residence in full measure. However with the loss of perfection people also lost the ability to love correctly - Deut.32:5 - the way Jehovah loves: His love is of only use to all, whom He loves - Rom.13:10. And our human love and its wrong displays can even harm those people, whom we love. For example, for the love of the child we guard him from difficulties of life and try to do everything for him. As a result a completely helpless person grows who falls into depression after the slightest nuisance.
The correct love had to be learnt anew . In the displays of correct love Israel people were babies, like all imperfect people. That`s why Jehovah explained them through the rules of behaviour, written down in Mose`s law, what meant to be a loving man and how to act in accordance with it. The basic part of the law is devoted to the description of types of displays of love in different worldly situations . On the noble and decent acts of Israel people, on their mercy, deference, long-suffering etc other people had to notice that care of each other and love are peculiar to them. For example, it was forbidden to lay a stick in front of the blind, so that he didn`t stumble, it was forbidden to talk scandal about a blind person, it was forbidden to accumulate offense on fellow creatures and it was advised to settle all misunderstandings through benevolent intercourse etc - Lev 19:14,17. Acting in accordance with the rules of the law, Israel people felt comfortable. A loving man, as a rule, is capable to compassionate and sympathize, therefore it is easier for him to act in relations with the fellow creatures how Jehovah required. The commandment -"Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him" - included the main wish of Jehovah to His children - Lev.19:13,18, 25:17. A father can be glad for his children only in case the children are friendly and happy because they live with each other. However they had to learn not to offend a fellow creature not because they will be punished for it and will not get into the "book of life", but because they sincerely do not WANT to offend him because they love him very much. Where there is love, such reason as the fear of punishment is absent - 1John.4:18. About the displays of correct love through acts - see 1Kor.14:4-8. The correctly shown love included not only the polite attitude to each other but also the necessity of exposure (making understand) of fellow creature in the cases when he violated the principles of Jehovah, with a purpose, that he "saw" his error, stopped to act in the wrong way, stopped to cause trouble to a fellow creature and was rescued for Jehovah - Ezek. 3:18,19, 18:28, Hebr.12:5,6
7. Did Mose`s law have shortcomings?
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The abolition of the Old Testament was predicted by Jehovah - Jer.31:31- 33. He had the next lacks - Hebr.8:7:
1. It was written not on "hearts", but on the tables - it did not affect the internal essence of Israel people - Psal.77:8 b,37.
2. It didn`t contribute that Israel people could become perfect - Hebr.10:1 or to strive for perfection. And that is why:
a) the blood of trestles and calves could not compensate Adam`s sin to Jehovah - Hebr.10:4
b) the "pay off" system of atonement for sins, when the sinner could "purchase" forgiveness having given a sacrificial animal, cooled the desire to become better - Hebr.9:9, 7:11,12
c) learning by heart the limited list of points of the law and their execution creates the possibility not to show love in all other situations which are not statutory. For example, it is forbidden to lay a stick in front of the blind, but there is no prohibition on a brick or stone. It is possible not to help a fellow creature to carry a heavy bag, because there isn`t such point in the law. Having limited in his acts only by those kinds of displays of love, which are described by the law, the diligent executor of the law does not develop the internal ability to love and is not formed in loving personality. And, it means, that in a spiritual sense he remains a baby and stops to grow up, to become perfect, being satisfied with that degree of justness which he attained executing the points of the law - Rom.9:31,32, 10:3. Thus he deprives himself the possibility to carry out Jehovah`s law, because not that person who carried out the points of the law carried out the law of Jehovah, but the loving person carried out the essence of His law - Rom. 13:8-10. Not loving person did not get to know the God - 1John. 4:8
3. It could not give the eternal life even to those, who tried to carry it out - Gal.3:21
4. It caused anger of those, who jealously watched the execution of the law - Rom.4:15
a) of Jehovah, because He had to control the situation constantly. In this system of imperfect people He can not be in true rest, because until there is a restrictive line - the law - there will always be those, who will step over it. The veritable rest is possible only at following conditions: - If there is no line - it is impossible to step over it - Gal.5:23 - If there are no violators - Hebr.8:11
b) of the "holders" of Jehovah`s law - John 7:49 - Israel people, who thought themselves to be the responsible supervisors for that, how people carry out the law. However their anger was not caused with the absence of possibility to rest, but because they had to feel anger with violators according to the law.
5. The participants of the Old Testament (except for those, who was present at the conclusion of the Old Testament) were not asked, whether they want to live according to the laws of Jehovah and whether they like to live according to His laws. It was enough for a person just to be born in an Israel family, and the burden of duty to carry out Mose`s law "fell down" on him. Therefore in Israel sometimes were sorrowful cases of disobedience which were punished with death of disobedient children - Deut.21:18-21. Only the sense of duty can`t lead a person along Jehovah`s way. It is necessary to love this way of life. Actually the similar failings were foreseen by Jehovah, because the law itself was the temporary forced measure - Gal.3:19, restraining and retaining the lustful imperfect people within the framework of order till apointed by Jehovah time for Christ to arrive - Gal.4:4, who had to carry out the letter and the spirit of Mose`s law - Mat.5:17
8. What is the difference of the New Testament from the Old Testament?
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The New testament is not on principle "new" in that sense, that Jehovah changed the requirements to the universe and did for the habitants of the planet the new laws of life, having changed Mose`s law. The Old Testament was carried out by Jesus Christ - Rom.10:4, all what the prophets of Jehovah had written in the Old Testament, was executed by Christ - Mat.11:13, Dan.9:24b, but life went on. The history of humanity, continuing after the first arrival of Christ, needed to be organized further - until his second and last "advent" - Hebr.9:28. Jehovah concluded the New testament through His mediator Jesus Christ -1Tim.2:5, Hebr.7:22 and spread on the followers of Christ - those, who voluntarily wished to go the way of Christ to the Divine system of things - 1Peter 2:21, John 14:6. The New Testament did not abolish the SPIRIT of love of Mose`s law, on contrary, fastened it exactly in love - to Jehovah and to the fellow creatures - Mark.12:30,31, Rom.13:8-10.
However the New Testament had some differences from the Old one:
1. It was written not in ink and not on the stone tables, but the spirit of Jehovah was written on the hearts of christians, it affected the internal essence of a man - conscience, helping to distinguish good and evil with the eyes of Jehovah - Hebr.9:14, 2 Kor.3:3, Rom.2:28,29
2. It assisted the organization of vital functions of society, persons interested to learn the God`s love, to inherit the eternal life and the state of perfection -1Peter 3:10,11 The system of organization of society of the New Testament is the same, as of the Old one: life of Jehovah`s people was ruled through His earthly representatives - anointed sovereigns.
3. Love continued to be the distinctive sign of admirers of Jehovah - John 13:35, 1Peter 4:8, 1Tim.1:5 with the only difference, that the followers of the New Testament and Christ had to master the spirit of love in full measure and not only to look loving, showing love "on-schedule", but also to be loving .- Eph.5:2, 1John 4:11. Jesus Himself showed the example of a man, who loves Jehovah and fellow creatures, having given His life for them - John15:13,1John 3:16
4. In the New Testament Jehovah showed Himself to His admirers not through the rules of law, but through the character, capabilities and possibilities of Jesus Christ - John 10:30, 14:7, exactly reflecting the essence of His celestial Father - Kol.2:9
5. The Old Testament described, what meant to be loving, the New Testament showed, how - to what degree - it is necessary to love the God and fellow creatures and to what degree the God Himself loves - John 3:16, 1John.4:9
6. The New Testament helped the christians aspire to perfection not waiting for perfect body- Hebr.6:1, because it was ratified on blood of Christ - Mat.26:28, Hebr.10:29, that is the blood of Christ "washed" the sinful people from their sins in the eyes of Jehovah -1John.1:7
7. The New Testament does not require the execution of exteriority of the law - the letter - the points of Mose`s law, concerning festive ceremonies or ceremonies, related to offerings and cutting, It also doesn`t require the temple service - Acts 17:24, but requires the execution of the SPIRIT of the law. The servants of the New testament must differ from the world not on external visible signs, but on internal - a kind heart, which loves Jehovah and fellow creatures - Rom.2:28,29
8. The New Testament is a promise to the faithful followers of Christ to inherit the right to be together with Christ in the celestial government of Jehovah - Luke 22:29,16:16, for which in the following after Christ`s death period of time Jehovah needs to collect 144000 deserving followers of His faithful son - Rev.14:1,4, Mat.20:23.
9. Any tellurian can become the participant of the New Testament only of own free will, if he learns to love the way of Christ, Jehovah compels nobody to choose the way, leading to perfection. He only advises to choose the life - Deut.30:19, because to be, and to be perfect is incomparably better, than not to be at all - Eccl.9:4
Thus, the New Testament is the foundation and the heart - the spirit - of Mose`s law plus another promise - to recover the paradisial conditions and perfection for all who love Jehovah through the celestial government at the head with Christ - Rev.20:4, 21:4
9. Does the New testament have the letter?
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As it was considered above, only the foundation can not be used on purpose, if its setting is - to be the support to the structure for people to live in. The foundations of the New and the Old Testaments are identical - LOVE to Jehovah and to fellow creatures, the perfect embodiment of which became Christ - 1Kor.3:11, Eph.3:19.. In order that society of beginning servants of the New Testament was organized and successfully increased in cognition of essence of Jehovah through Christ, the New Testament contains some recommendations, helping to develop the ability to love the God and the fellow creatures correctly in all spheres of vital functions. These recommendations are given, as well as in Mose`s law, as the LETTER - in form of points, for example, Eph.4:25-32, 5:1-4, 28, 6:1-9. With the only difference, that the letter of Mose`s law was meant for the flesh of a man - the external rules of propriety and ceremonies - Hebr.9:9,10, and the letter of the New Testament is meant for the spirit of a man - the forming of internal qualities, imperceptible for an unpenetrating man, but noticeable to all- whosee Jehovah - Mat.6:2-7, 16-18, 1Peter 3:3,4, 1Kings 16:7b, so that as a result of influence of the spirit of the New Testament the new man was"born from the God" - the fruit of the Divine spirit, for whom it is not necessary to draw the restrictive line of law - Gal. 5:22,23 and to explain that he shouldn`t put a stick in front of the blind. To the correctly loving heart and correctly educated conscience it will be clear without the points of the law - Hebr.8:10,11.
10. Who is the servant of the letter, and who is the servant of the spirit ?
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Jesus Christ, when He came on the earth, saw that according to two sides of Mose`s law, the society, considering itself to be the servants of Jehovah, was also divided into two sides or groups : 1. The first group included the servants of Jehovah, possessing physical sight - John 9:40,41, who paid great attention to the consideration and study of visible part of the law, to the numerous rules - the LETTER, written in the book of law, and they stopped on their way of spiritual development and became the SERVANTS of the LETTER.
In the fable of Krylov one visitor of the museum examined diligently tiny midges and insects, but did not notice the elephant. But not because the elephant was difficult to notice. But because the degree of concentration of sight on small things was too great. The small things distracted his attention from more ponderable and considerable "figure" which it was difficult not to notice.
In similar manner, all the admirers of rules of Mose`s law, having the desire to serve Jehovah, carried away with consideration of " small things " - letters of the law - and were not able to see the "elephant" which Jehovah put behind the letters - Mat.23:24.
The striking example of the SERVANTS of the LETTER were the leaders of Lehovah`s people - the bookmen and pharisees of the times of Jesus Christ. Closely co-operating with the priests - John.1:19,24, they knew very well the maintenance of Mose`s law and taught people to act in accordance with it - Mat. 23:2,3. The basis of their studies was Jehovah`s law, therefore they had the reputation of the servants of Jehovah. However their service reduced only to the observance of some points of the law, comfortable for execution and sufficient for acquisition of reputation of righteous men in the eyes of society ignorant in the law of Jehovah. Pharisaic spirit or pharisaic approach with which they "worked for Jehovah" - was denounced by Jesus Christ - Mat.5:20, 23:28, Luke 6:26. His disciples were warned that it was very dangerously for christians to become the possessors of pharisaic spirit - Luke 12:1b, it means, that the servants of the New Testament nowadays are also subjected the danger to become the SERVANTS of the LETTER. What features do the servants of the "letter" have? A pharisee considers the service to Jehovah as the method to "earn" His approval. The more "expenditure of work", the greater portion of favour from Jehovah a pharisee expects to get. Such approach inevitably generates a contempt to all, who doesn`t make the similar labour - Luke 15:28-30, Mat.20:10-12 - and forms in the servant of the God the distinctive "signs" of a pharisee who:
A) Loves the law and its points, but not the people - John 7:49, Is.65:5. Supposes that already his status as a servant of the God is sufficiant that Jehovah and other members of His society were pleased with him - Jer.7:9,10
B) Does not love Jehovah - 1John 4:20, John 5:42, in the truth protects his "comfort" and interests foremost - Jes.34:2 b -4, 18-21, John 11:47,48. In this connection in cases, if truth of Jehovah is "uncomfortable" for perception and its acceptance can violate the formed way of life, does not want to take it for the truth of Jehovah - Is 30:10, John.12:42,43, 9:34
C) Does not understand that not people must serve for the good" of the law, but the law must be useful to the people - Deut.10:13, Mark 2:27
D) In situations, when necessary "audience" is present - acts correctly - Mat.23:5. If such audience is absent - acts, as he considers to be correct - Jes.8:12, Luke 16:15.
E) Is more disturbed with the opinion of people who are "necessary" to him, than with the opinion of Jehovah - Mat.6:2, John 5:44 b.
F) Actively searches, for what to accuse his brother and which point can be used in order to punish him - Luke11:54, Mark3:2, Mat.26:59,65,66
G) Distorts the word of Jehovah with his clarifications, adding to the requirements of Jehovah -his own, converting the law of Jehovah into the human law - Mark 7:1-12, Is.28:13, 29:13
A pharisee always acts as a template and any non-standard situation can lead him in a deadlock. For example, it would be hard to the modern pharisee to decide, whether to give a place to an expectant mother in a bus or not, because there is nothing about it in the law. Often their actions can not be analysed logically: the conscience of pharisees of times of Jesus did not allow them to accept money from Jude Iskariot back, however it easily allowed them to put Christ to death - Mat.267:3-7. Service to the letter of the law and unwillingness to understand its spirit converts even the loving servant of the God into a pharisee - legalist. The verbal portrait of a "pharisee" - "pedant"- you can read in "Awake" from 8 Mai 1998. p.14: " Justness without love makes us hard-hearted. Faith without love - fanatic. Power without love - cruel. Duty without love - stubborn. Exactness without love - petty".
2. The second group: some chiefs belonged to it - John.3:1,2, 19:38 and mainly - representatives of common folk without ambitions - the servants of Jehovah,who wished to learn to see more than the letter of the law. This desire developed their internal, spiritual sight and hearing, and helped them to "recognize" the envoy of Jehovah from his conduct and from unusual parables, which have the spiritual implication - Mat. 13:9-13, 36. Later almost all of them became the disciples of Jesus Christ and accepted the spirit of truth, which released from fear to forget some 56th point of the law and to perish because of it - John 8:31,32, 1 John 4:18
This group of people understands that it is very hard to struggle against the sinful tendencies of the imperfect flesh - Rom.7:14-19, however a person should begin to regenerate into the Divine man not from "brushing" of exterior, but from clearing of interior - the heart and the mind, disposed to the evil - Rom.7:21-24, Mat.23:26, 15:19, Jer.4:14, which requires considerable efforts. However their zeal is impelled by correct motives - not to "earn" the approval of the God, but to become the man of worth and for the love of Jehovah and of people to do something kind, useful for them: to spread the knowledge about the essence of the Creator to all who need it, and to facilitate the burden of hopelessness and irreparableness to His people - Rom.4:2-8,14, 1Tim.2:4.
They get renewed with the spirit of mind and aspire to perfection, - Hebr.6:1, Efes. 4:22-24, working at "clearing" of the internal qualities, and all, for what they do not have any forces, they are sure, Jesus "adds" for them in front of Jehovah from His perfect human body, sacrificied for them - 1John 2:1,2. They probe the Holy Scriptures, trying to be formed with the influence of the God`s word -"revitalizing" from it - Hebr.4:12, 1 Peter 1:23, training their senses to distinction of good and evil, in order that they become similar to the God`s - Hebr.5:13,14 and from babies, who learn at first to read the visible letter of the New Testament, they grow up to ability to "read" the spirit of love of the New Testament - to understand the measure of maturity - "the complete age" - of Christ who is the embodiment of perfection in ability to love - Eph. 4:13-15,3:19; 1 John 3:16. This group is called the christians and the SERVANTS of the SPIRIT of Jehovah`s law - Rom.7:6, 13:10 What features do the christians have?
A) Try to love people, but not points of the rules - 1John 4:7,8
B) Love Jehovah and protect His interests in spiritual war - Proverbs 27:1, 2Tim.2:3, in this connection accept the truth of Jehovah even, when its acceptance is "uncomfortable", and are ready to any changes in the usual way of life or in character - Proverbs 15:12, Hebr.12:5,6,11
C) Understand that not people serve to the law, but the law must be useful. If some rules, set in the life, are the burden for people, they are not founded on the principles of Jehovah - Acts 15:28,29, because the way of Christ - isn`t a heavy burden - Mat.11:30, 1John 5:3 b
D) Try not to distort the word of Jehovah, teach the word of truth correctly - 2 Kor.2:17, 4:2, 2Tim.2:15 and do not require from people more than Jehovah requires - Rom.14:1-5, 12, 13
E) Search the praise from Jehovah, the opinion of people interests them exactly so, as far it helps in the execution of will of Jehovah - Gal.1:10, 2 Kor.10:18
F) Search actively for what to "forgive" and how to help somebody who "stumbled" - James 5:19, 2:13, Mat.12:7, collecting, but not dissipating the "earthly" estate for Jehovah - Luke 19:13-19, because Iegova likes to grant pardon - Mikah 7:18 b.
11. Can the modern servants of Jehovah become the servants of the Letter?
(to the beginning)
Because "pharisees" on the spirit and "christians" on the spirit have different ideas of what means to be the servant of Jehovah, in the same situation they act in different ways. Below you can read for comparison the examples of identical situations from the Bible and from the modern service to the God and, how "pharisees" and "christians" act in them
1. Israel people eat meat of animals with blood. Judges:
2.A wife, who left her first husband, after some time of life with other man, goes back to the first husband. The husband:
3.Some people of apostate Israel of the times of Ezekil eat Easter, not clearing themselves up from impurity. Their fate:
4.David comes to the priest hungry and asks something to eat. The priest has only sacred bread, which nobody is allowed to eat, except for a priest. The priest:
5. Joseph, being just, gets to know about pregnancy of Maria, which happened in his absence, and takes measures:
6. A woman, suffering from bleeding, touches Jesus. Jesus:
7. A patient lies in a bathhouse on Saturday Jesus:
8. Peter renounces from Jesus three times. Jesus:
9. A brother comes on a sermon without a tie. The colleague with whom he agreed to go to service:
10. In order to study the Bible, the interested person chooses from the two sisters - one. The "removed" sister:
11. The intersted person makes a reproof to the baptized brother. The brother:
12. A sister, general pioneer, has the problem with another sister, whom general pioneer thinks for necessary to pass for consideration to the elder. The elder:
13.To the question " What does it mean - a study will be blessed?" a brother will answer:
14. An elder considers the congregation of the God:
15. A general pioneer picks up a partner for the sermon:
16. A baptized sister hurries to the congregation, but on the way she meets the elderly interested, who asks to take her home:
17.While studiing some book of the Society the additional references are brought over except for those which are given in the text. The leader of studiing:
18. To the question, " Who is spiritually mature?" a brother answers:
19. A brother plans to invite some guests. He chooses:
20.The society advises to "spread" in the congregation. The elder:
21.The christian, who moves slowly on crutches, walks up the 5th floor in the hall of Kingdom and rests. He has a sport suit on. The elder, seeing him:
22. An elderly sister needs care, has a dishonest son who does not wish to take care of her. On the request to organize a duty near this sister, the elder answers:
From the table above it is obviously, that the modern servants of Jehovah should be prudent in fervent execution of the orders of the organization which supposes their flexible application. Otherwise, being carried away beyond measure by consideration of the points, it is possible to miss the spirit of these points and, as in the fable of Krylov, to miss the main things among the great number of second-rate ones. A christian, having a spirit of a pharisee, can gradually become the servant of the LETTER of the New Testament even in case when he preaches 8 hours a day or is a supervisor.
As the Watchtower from 01.08.94, p.17, par.6 reports - sometimes actions, justified by the law, can be even low in moral sense.
If the modern servants of Jehovah are inclined to act how it is described in the column "So pharisees will act', there is danger that they are on the way of the servants of the letter -2 Kor.13:5, Proverbs 20:27 . In this case it is not necessary to be discouraged, but they should take measures very quickly and leave this fatal way. How this way results in death - see the answer to the next - last question.
12. How can the useful "letter" become fatal and put to death?
(to the beginning)
How a man acts, whom he tries to imitate in his life, - from all this it is possible to define, who is his teacher or spiritual father. If a christian stands on the way of service to the letter and has a pharisaic mood, he remains the pupil of the carnal father - Adam, who did not get to know the spirit of Jehovah. Even if such christian reads diligently a few chapters of the Bible according to the personal graph or the time-table of the organization, the spiritual word of Jehovah can not render any positive influence on him, because it is hidden from him behind visible letters. Such christian stops to be formed into the mature fruit of the Divine spirit, who thinks about spiritual things - Kol.3:1,2,5- and remains immature - a spiritual baby.
The mature fruit of the God`s spirit has some signs. They are like the signs of ripeness of garden fruit, for example, of apples. The signs of maturity are divided into external and internal. The external ripeness of an apple can be deceitful. It will turn out after you penetrate inside of an apple - taste it. The internal maturity is more trustworthy. For this reason, when the Bible gives description to the mature fruit of the Divine spirit - a mature christian - it pays attention not to external signs of maturity, but to internal qualities of a mature christian personality - Eph.3:16,17, Gal.5:22,23. Because external signs are deceitful - Proverbs 31:30.
If to judge only according to the external signs, to a suit, a tie and pleasant manners, it is possible to add to the servants of Jehovah also successful business people, because in the world of business it is customary to have a neat exterior and pleasant manners, which attract the clients.
To the external or visible signs belongs not only the appearance, but also visiting of meetings of congregation, amount of hours in service and the degree of participating in the matters of congregation . But the criterion of christian spirituality is, certainly, not statistical information, but WHAT kind of person a christian is becoming under the influence of spiritual word of Jehovah -Hebr.4:12, preparing to the conditions of the new world -2Tim.3:17 - see WT from 15.06.95.
A christian, who has the spirit of a pharisee and serves to the points of the law, remains a spiritual baby and can not understand the deep spiritual truth of Jehovah`s word, seeing only its perfunctory part - the letter - like some hebrew christians couldn`t understand the spiritual instructions of Paul - Hebr.5:12 -14. Being an immature fruit - a servant of the letter - a christian can stop to be the follower of Christ, and it means - to perish - Mat.24:13, even if he serves in the congregation of Jehovah`s people - Rev. 3:1,2,4,9,15-17. Thus useful letter, intended for help in the creation of christian personality, can appear fatal for those, who did not want to hurry to christian maturity, and "stuck" on the letter - Hebr.6:1-3, 1Tim.1:3,4.
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