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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 5

Liberating and Organizing a New Nation

JEHOVAH promised to Abraham the Hebrew to give him and his descendants the land "from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates." This was contrary to the ambitions of the rulers of Egypt. (Genesis 12:7; 13:14-17; 15:18-21) The rulers or Pharaohs of Egypt were building an empire that extended from the fourth cataract of the Nile River in upper (southern) Egypt, 950 miles south of the Nile delta, through the peninsula of Sinai and across Palestine to the Euphrates River. During a famine in the land of Canaan Abraham spent a little time down in Egypt, and Jehovah God had to reprove Pharaoh for wanting to take Abraham's wife Sarah away from him. — Genesis 12:10-20.

Imperial Egypt became the First World Power of Bible history, and the time was bound to come for Jehovah to display his power over Egypt and to show her who holds sovereignty over all the earth. According to what he told Abraham, his descendants were to be enslaved in Egypt, but in the fourth generation* after Abraham's grandson Jacob, Jehovah would execute judgments upon Egypt and deliver Abraham's seed or descendants from that first world power. No world


* The four generations can be counted through (1) Jacob's son Levi, (2) Kohath, (3) Amram, and (4) Moses. Whether four generations of the Amorites in Canaan spanned that time, we cannot determine from the Bible.
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power would block Jehovah's purpose. — Genesis 15: 12-16.

In course of time a drought of seven years' length struck Egypt, according to Jehovah's foreknowledge. Providentially, twenty years before that famine, Joseph the son of Jacob was kidnaped and sold into slavery in Egypt. At that time Egypt's capital appears to have been near the delta of the Nile River. For thirteen years Joseph slaved in Egypt and was even imprisoned, but unjustly so. Then, to forewarn Egypt of the seven-year drought, Jehovah sent dreams to Pharaoh the ruler, and Joseph was taken from prison to interpret the dreams. Pharaoh, recognizing that God's spirit was with Joseph, made him the prime minister and food administrator of Egypt. Then, just as predicted, the seven years of unusual abundance for Egypt began, and Joseph had tremendous supplies of foodstuffs stored away. After that the seven-year-long drought began upon Egypt, and Joseph opened the storehouses and began distributing the stocks of food. He was a savior to Egypt. — Genesis 37:1 to 41:57.

In time the famine struck the land of Canaan where Joseph's father Jacob and his eleven brothers and his sister were living. Acting on information, Jacob sent the ten older sons down to Egypt for supplies of food. Joseph, unrecognized by them after more than twenty years of separation, took care of their needs. But he kept one of them, Simeon, as a hostage to make sure that when they came back for their next supply of food they would bring their youngest brother, Benjamin, down with them, for Benjamin was Joseph's full brother. The second year of famine was ending when Joseph's brothers returned, with Benjamin. After putting their brotherly love to a test, Joseph revealed himself to all eleven of them. What a love feast there was then! Joseph now arranged for them to bring Jacob his father and all the rest of the household down to Egypt to live with him. — Genesis 42:1 to 45:24.

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In the year 1728 B.C. Jacob with all his family moved down into Egypt. Joseph saw to it that they were to reside in the land of Goshen, "the land of Rameses," east of the Nile delta. There they survived the five remaining years of the famine. At that time there were seventy of Jacob's household dwelling in Egypt, "the land of Ham." With Jacob's arrival in Egypt there began a long sojourn of 215 years of his descendants in Egypt, that is, for four generations. "Jacob lived on in the land of Egypt for seventeen years." He died 147 years old in Egypt, but was buried with Isaac his father and Abraham his grandfather in the Promised Land. — Genesis 45:25 to 50:14.

Jehovah God had changed Jacob's name to Israel, and at his death in Egypt his twelve sons and their families were called "the twelve tribes of Israel." (Genesis 32:27, 28: 35:10: 49:28) Through these the seed or offspring of Abraham was to become like the stars of the heaven and like the grains of sand of the seashore for multitude, according to God's promise. During the rest of Joseph's life as prime minister of Egypt things went well for the twelve tribes of Israel in the land of Goshen. But some time after Joseph died a change of rulership occurred in Egypt. Through revolt the foreign rulers known as the Hyksos kings were driven out of the Nile delta and the Hyksos Empire was broken. New rulers came into power who did not know or recall Joseph and who felt no sense of gratitude to Joseph's people, the Israelites. They enslaved the Israelites, the main purpose of this oppression being to prevent them from multiplying so rapidly. Despite the oppression the enslaved Israelites kept multiplying. Finally, in desperation, the Pharaoh decreed that, from then on, all Hebrew or Israelite boys should be drowned in the Nile River and only the baby girls be allowed to live. — Genesis 50:15-26: Exodus 1:1-22.

At this critical time Moses was born, the fourth generation in the line from Levi, the son of Jacob.

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Because of the faith of his parents, Amram and Jochebed, who refused to obey Pharaoh's orders, Moses' life was spared. In his childhood he was reared as a Hebrew or an Israelite with faith in Jehovah God, after which he was taken into Pharaoh's own household as the adopted son of the king's daughter. In his fortieth year of life Prince Moses killed an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew. For this deed Moses was forced to flee for his life across the Sinaitic peninsula to the land of Midian, east of the Gulf of Aqabah. Here he married and became a shepherd in the service of his father-in-law. There forty years pass, and now a marked year begins. — Exodus 2:1 to 3:1: Acts 7:20-30.

Moses, now in his eightieth year, is still shepherding. In seeking pasture for his sheep he leads them as far as to the base of Mount Horeb on the Sinaitic Peninsula. Here Jehovah's angel speaks to Moses from the flames that envelop a thornbush but do not consume it. He says that Moses must go back to Egypt and face Pharaoh and lead the twelve tribes of Israel out of slavery there. "Then," as Exodus 3:15 tells us, "God said once more to Moses: 'This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, "Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you." This is my name to time indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.'" After bringing his father-in-law's sheep safely back home, Moses leaves the land of Midian for Egypt. On the way back he is met by his older brother, Aaron, in the wilderness at Mount Horeb. Together they return to Egypt. — Exodus 3:2 to 4:31: Acts 7: 30-36.

At Moses' first appearance before Pharaoh, this ruler of the first world power of Bible history challenges the Sovereign of the universe in whose name Moses and Aaron have come. His defiant words are: "Who is Jehovah, so that I should obey his voice to send Israel away? I do not know Jehovah at all and, what is more,

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I am not going to send Israel away." (Exodus 5:1, 2) This forces the contest between the first world power on earth and Jehovah God. Almighty God does not strike Pharaoh down in death, but begins to show his power over Pharaoh, by bringing plagues upon him and all Egypt.

Jehovah plainly tells Pharaoh what his purpose is in sparing Pharaoh alive. Before announcing the seventh plague, he says to stubborn Pharaoh: "But, in fact, for this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth." (Exodus 9:16) After the ninth plague Jehovah tells Moses that "one plague more," the tenth, will be enough to force Pharaoh literally to drive the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt. Before Moses and Aaron announce this final plague to Pharaoh, he hardheartedly tells them to get out and stay out, for if they made bold to come back to see him they would die. Moses answers that he will not come back. — Exodus 7:1 to 11:8.

TRIUMPHANT POWER SHOWN
OVER WORLD POWER ONE

Even the houses of the twelve tribes of Israel are threatened by this tenth plague, namely, the death of the firstborn ones of man and beast in all Egypt. The Israelite houses did not want to lose their firstborn children and beasts anymore than Pharaoh did. There was a way to have the tenth plague pass over the houses of the Israelites, and in his mercy Jehovah both provided and showed them this way. It required faith and obedience on their part.

To inform the Israelites, Jehovah's prophet Moses did not call all the firstborn ones together and tell them to take action. The firstborn ones were not the heads of the houses. Furthermore, what could a firstborn baby still nursing at its mother's breast or an animal

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in the barn do about the matter? Whom, then, did Moses call?

After Jehovah told Moses and Aaron what the Israelite houses were to do, "promptly Moses called all the older men of Israel and said to them: 'Draw out and take for yourselves small cattle according to your families, and slaughter the passover victim.' " (Exodus 12:21) It was not left to the firstborn ones to decide and take action; they were not the heads of the houses. It was the "older men" who had to show faith and obedience and decide upon action. They were the representatives of the households; they were the heads of the households. If they refused to take obedient action, then there was nothing that the firstborn ones could do about it but take the consequences of the failure on the part of the head of the household. True, in that case, the firstborn one of the house would die the same as Pharaoh's firstborn son would, but it was the disobedient older one, the head of the household, who, together with all the other members of the family, would suffer the loss.

The whole Israelite household was one in this dangerous situation. The whole household was in danger of being affected by this tenth plague. The head of the household, not the firstborn, was the representative of the household and the one to decide, the responsible one. The outcome depended on his decision and action. Additionally, if the "older men of Israel" did not obey Jehovah's instructions, they would be no different from the Egyptians in losing their firstborn. Pharaoh would then see no difference between Israelites and Egyptians, and the Israelites would not march out as a free people the next day under Pharaoh's urging.

It was then the lunar month called Nisan, in the year 1513 B.C. That month, Jehovah said, must become the first month of the Israelite year. On the tenth day of Nisan the older man, the head of each household, was to take into the house a sound young male sheep, or a

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goat, at least a year old, and must keep it there for four days. On the fourteenth day of Nisan, which began at sunset, the head of the household must slaughter the sheep after sundown and splash its blood upon the outside doorposts and the upper part of the doorway, where it could be plainly seen by any passerby. Then all the household must go inside and stay indoors all night. Without breaking any of the sheep's bones, they were to roast it, then eat it along with unleavened bread loaves or matzos and bitter greens.

They were to eat this passover meal standing up and all dressed up and equipped, ready to leave the house for the march to liberty. When Jehovah's executional angel passed through the land that night to kill the firstborn and to execute judgment upon all the false gods of Egypt, he would see the blood on the Israelite doorways and would pass over their houses. They would not suffer the loss of the firstborn son or the firstborn animal. So stay indoors, not only the firstborn, but everybody, under the protection of the passover victim's blood! It was dangerous for every Israelite, not just the firstborn, to venture out of doors, as the death angel might strike those not at the feast of the passover lamb, those not under the blood. Wisely, in faith the Israelites obeyed these orders. — Exodus 12:22.

"And it came about that at midnight Jehovah struck every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the prison hole, and every first-born of beast." (Exodus 12:29) What an outcry from the plagued Egyptian homes shattered the midnight stillness of Nisan 14! It was just as Jehovah had told Moses to say in warning to Pharaoh: "This is what Jehovah has said: 'Israel is my son, my first-born [the whole nation]. And I say to you, Send my son [the whole nation] away that he may serve me. But

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should you refuse to send him away, here I am killing your son, your first-born.' " — Exodus 4:22, 23.

From one standpoint the firstborn sons of Israel represented the entire nation, for the firstborn sons were the ones who succeeded their fathers to become the heads of the households. In this behalf, as the main heirs of the nation, the firstborn sons received each two parts of the family inheritance, whereas all other sons received just one part of the inheritance apiece. In this way the firstborn sons of Israel, who were the particular ones liable to death during the tenth plague upon Egypt, represented Israel as a whole, God's "firstborn" nation. — Deuteronomy 21:17.

That night of Nisan 14 Pharaoh, in terror and urged on by his bereaved subjects, told the Israelites to get out of Egypt. The Israelites were just as ready to leave their passover tables and to go to the place of general assembly and get organized for their exodus from Egypt. (Exodus 12: 1-39) It was a memorable night!

"And the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who had dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came about at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, it even came about on this very day that all the armies of Jehovah went out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:40. 41) On that very day of Nisan 14 four hundred and thirty years previously, or in 1943 B.C., Abraham their forefather crossed the Euphrates River into the Promised Land under Jehovah's leadership. From then on Abraham began dwelling in an alien land, for the land was not then given to him. This dwelling by him and his descendants in an alien land lasted for four hundred and thirty years, until his descendants, the Israelites, left their dwellings In the land of Goshen, the land of Rameses.

However, from the time that Jacob, Abraham's grandson, came into Egypt to live with Joseph it was only half that time, or two hundred and fifteen years. In agreement with this, not only the Samaritan Penta-

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teuch but the Greek Septuagint translation (the oldest translation from the Hebrew text) of Exodus 12:40 reads: "Now the sojourning of the Israelites which they and their fathers had sojourned in the land of Egypt and in the land of Chanaan was four hundred and thirty years." (C. Thomson's translation) How precise Jehovah is as a Timekeeper and a Fulflller of his own prophecies!

Not the firstborn son, but the older head of the house led each household on the march out of Egypt. Not even the prophet Moses was a firstborn son. After gathering at the assembly point, the Israelites under Moses began their march out of Egypt the next day after the passover. "And they proceeded to pull away from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. Directly the day after the pass-over the sons of Israel went out with uplifted hand before the eyes of all the Egyptians. All the while the Egyptians were burying those whom Jehovah had struck among them, that is, all the first-born; and upon their gods Jehovah had executed judgments." (Numbers 33:2-4) Deeply impressed by his demonstration of his power over Egypt and its gods, many persons decided to go along with Jehovah's people. Regarding this, Exodus 12:38 reports: "And a vast mixed company also went up with them, as well as flocks and herds, a very numerous stock of animals." They all had to depend upon Jehovah God to take care of them.

A pillar of cloud miraculously appeared at the head of the organized congregation of the twelve tribes of Israel and the mixed multitude with them. At night it became a pillar of fire to furnish light. It did not lead them to the strip of land that connected Egypt with the Sinaitic Peninsula, but led them to the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea. Here at the water's edge they seemed to be trapped. What a strange sort of way for God to lead his people!

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When word of this reached the bereaved Pharaoh, he saw what he thought was an opportunity to take vengeance upon Jehovah's people. (Exodus 15:9) He summoned his chariots and military forces and dashed in pursuit of them, in another defiance of Jehovah. But as he and his chariots and horsemen bore down upon the rear of the Israelites and vast mixed company, these suddenly disappeared from view. A vast blinding cloud got in between them and their pursuers. It kept them apart all through the night. When it lifted at the time of the morning watch, well, could the Egyptians believe their own eyes? They saw a wide corridor of dry land running through the bed of the Red Sea, with the waters unexplainably held back on each side. And far ahead in the corridor was the rear guard of the Israelite congregation moving toward the distant other shore.

"As for the sons of Israel, they walked on dry land in the midst of the seabed, and the waters were for them a wall on their right hand and on their left." Exodus 14:29) The Egyptians could not charge against them on their right or their left flank. But their rear was apparently exposed! "And the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all the horses of Pharaoh, his war chariots and his cavalrymen began going in after them, into the midst of the sea. And it came about during the morning watch that Jehovah began to look out upon the camp of the Egyptians from within the pillar of fire and cloud, and he went throwing the camp of the Egyptians into confusion. And he kept taking wheels off their chariots so that they were driving them with difficulty; and the Egyptians began to say: 'Let us flee from any contact with Israel, because Jehovah certainly fights for them against the Egyptians.' "

But it was too late for them to flee back. Jehovah had them just where he wanted them. He gave the command, and his prophet Moses, safe with all the other Israelites on the other side of the Red Sea,

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stretched out his hand over the sea. As the waters had parted at the beckon of his hand the night before, now they came together after he stretched out his hand. Then the Israelites safe ashore saw their Egyptian pursuers overwhelmed as the waters rushed in over the corridor. It was Jehovah's doing; he was the Savior of his chosen people Israel. He had mightily shown his sovereign power over that First World Power that had oppressed his people. He deserved to have them put faith in him. — Exodus 13:17 to 14:31.

Moses then led the Israelites in singing the praises of their heavenly Savior: "Let me sing to Jehovah, for he has become highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has pitched into the sea. My strength and my might is Jah, since he serves for my salvation. This is my God, and I shall laud him; my father's God, and I shall raise him on high. Jehovah is a manly person of war. Jehovah is his name. . . . Who among the gods is like you, O Jehovah? Who is like you, proving yourself mighty in holiness? The One to be feared with songs of praise, the One doing marvels. . . . All the inhabitants of Canaan will indeed be disheartened. Fright and dread will fall upon them. Because of the greatness of your arm they will be motionless like a stone, until your people pass by, O Jehovah, until the people whom you have produced pass by. You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, an established place that you have made ready for you to inhabit, O Jehovah, a sanctuary, O Jehovah, that your hands have established. Jehovah will rule as king to time indefinite, even forever." (Exodus 15:l-l8) Jehovah God was Israel's heavenly King.

LAWS, NOT MAN-MADE, BUT DIVINE

As God and King of these people whom he had freed and saved and who now belonged to him, Jehovah gave them his laws in harmony with which they were to live. In fulfillment of his promise to Moses at the burn-

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ing bush, and as a sign to prove that he had sent Moses to Israel, Jehovah brought them to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. Then as the mountain fairly smoked from his invisible presence, he spoke from the mountaintop without the aid of modern sound-system equipment and proclaimed the matchless Ten Commandments. (Exodus 3:12; 19:1, 2) Not to the Gentile or non-Jewish nations of the world, but only to the delivered nation of Israel could Jehovah say the following first two commandments of the Ten:

"I am Jehovah your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. You must not have any other gods against my face.

"You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation, in the case of those who hate me; but exercising loving-kindness toward the thousandth generation in the case of those who love me and keep my commandments." — Exodus 20:1-6.

With a reference to the land that he had promised to give, not to any Gentile nation, but to Abraham and his descendants, the sons of Israel, Jehovah's Fifth Commandment said to the Israelites: "Honor your father and your mother in order that your days may prove long upon the ground that Jehovah your God is giving you." — Exodus 20:12.

In the Fourth Commandment Jehovah commanded the Israelites to observe a weekly sabbath or cessation from all work, for the benefit of man and beast. This was to be on the seventh day, or from sundown of what the Gentiles now call Friday to the sundown of Saturday. (Exodus 20:8-11) To this commandment for

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a weekly sabbath Jehovah added laws requiring a number of sabbaths to be kept for the very ground that he gave the Israelites in fulfillment of his covenant with Abraham. Jehovah said to Moses as His mediator:

"Speak to the sons of Israel, and you must say to them, 'When you eventually come into the land that I am giving you, then the land must observe a sabbath to Jehovah. Six years you should sow your field with seed, and six years you should prune your vineyard, and you must gather the land's produce. But in the seventh year there should occur a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath to Jehovah. Your field you must not sow with seed, and your vineyard you must not prune. The growth from spilled kernels of your harvest you must not reap, and the grapes of your unpruned vine you must not gather. There should occur a sabbath of complete rest for the land. . . .

" 'And you must count for yourself seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years, and the days of the seven sabbaths of years must amount to forty-nine years for you. And you must cause the horn of loud tone to sound in the seventh month on the tenth of the month; on the day of atonement you people should cause the horn to sound in all your land. And you must sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty in the land to all its inhabitants. It will become a Jubilee for you, and you must return each one to his possession and you should return each man to his family. A Jubilee is what the fiftieth year will become for you. You must not sow seed nor reap the land's growth from spilled kernels nor gather the grapes of its unpruned vines. For it is a Jubilee. It should become something holy to you. From the field you may eat what the land produces. In this year of the Jubilee you should return each one to his possession.' " — Leviticus 25:1-13.

There was divine wisdom and purpose in providing for this series of seven sabbath years culminating in a

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fiftieth year called the Jubilee year. It was good for the ground of the Promised Land to lie fallow or unworked regularly according to this schedule. It also tested the faith of the Israelites in Jehovah's promise to provide such abundant crops during each sixth year that they would have enough food on hand to last over till the harvest of the eighth year, or first of the next week of years; and also that in the forty-eighth year He would bless them with such good crops that they would have enough food to last through the sabbatical forty-ninth year and sabbatical fiftieth or Jubilee year and down to the harvest of the fifty-first year or opening year of the new Jubilee cycle of years. (Leviticus 25:20-22) It was Jehovah who was giving them the Promised Land; it belonged to him. It was within his right to tell his tenant farmers in it when and when not to work the land. "To Jehovah belong the earth and that which fills it, the productive land and those dwelling in it." — Psalm 24:1.

In the fiftieth or Jubilee year the ancestral land estates that any Israelites had lost through debt were to be restored to the hereditary family, and liberty was to be granted to those who had lost personal freedom and independence through debt or a lack of the means of livelihood. What a year, that Jubilee year, to show obedience to God and brotherly love to fellow Israelites!

Just as Jehovah was strict about the weekly sabbath law, so he was strict and serious about the sabbatical years and the Jubilee. Israel's continuous prosperous dwelling on the God-given land depended upon it. In Leviticus 25:18,19 he says encouragingly: "So you must carry out my statutes and you should keep my judicial decisions and you must carry them out. Then you will certainly dwell on the land in security. And the land will indeed give its fruitage, and you will certainly eat to satisfaction and dwell in security on it."

If the Israelites repeatedly ignored the sabbath years I of the land and the Jubilee year, it would end up in

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tragedy for their nation. Jehovah told them how he would execute punishment, saying:

"I shall indeed give your cities to the sword and lay your sanctuaries desolate, and I shall not smell your restful odors. And I, for my part, will lay the land desolate, and your enemies who are dwelling in it will simply stare in amazement over it. And you I shall scatter among the nations, and I will unsheathe a sword after you; and your land must become a desolation, and your cities will become a desolate ruin. At that time the land will pay off its sabbaths all the days of its lying desolated, while you are in the land of your enemies. At that time the land will keep sabbath, as it must repay its sabbaths. All the days of its lying desolated it will keep sabbath, for the reason that it did not keep sabbath during your sabbaths when you were dwelling upon it....

"Perhaps at that time their uncircumcised heart will be humbled, and at that time they will pay off their error. And I shall indeed remember my covenant with Jacob; and even my covenant with Isaac and even my covenant with Abraham I shall remember, and the land I shall remember. All the while the land was left abandoned by them and was paying off its sabbaths while it was lying desolated without them and they themselves were paying for their error, because, even because, they had rejected my judicial decisions, and their souls had abhorred my statutes. . . . And I will remember in their behalf the covenant of the ancestors whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt under the eyes of the nations, in order to prove myself their God. I am Jehovah." — Leviticus 26:31-45.

When was the arrangement for the land sabbaths and the Jubilee to go into force and when were the years to begin counting? In the very year in which they would come into the Promised Land. (Leviticus 25:1. 2) Regarding the sale of any family estate of land Jehovah said: "So the land should not be sold in per-

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petuity, because the land is mine. For you are alien residents and settlers from my standpoint." (Leviticus 25:23) As the land was his, he could put them in the land and he could put them out of it for as long as it suited his purpose. Would he ever have to enforce his covenant and put them out? The answer was for them to decide.

NO RULER LIKE MELCHIZEDEK

Before he gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments and brought them into a covenant of law with him, Jehovah said to Moses as the mediator of the covenant: "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and to tell the sons of Israel, 'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, that I might carry you on wings of eagles and bring you to myself. And now if you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you are to say to the sons of Israel." — Exodus 19:3-6.

If, for keeping this covenant or solemn contract, they became a "kingdom of priests," then they would become like Melchizedek, who was a king-priest of Jehovah at Salem. But for the time being, Jehovah was the real and only king over their nation. In consequence of this he appointed among them a priesthood that was without kingly rank and powers. For the priesthood and the other service of his house of worship he chose the tribe of Levi, to which Moses also belonged. He appointed Moses' older brother Aaron to be the first high priest and Aaron's sons to be the underpriests. All other qualified male members of the tribe of Levi were to be the servants of the priesthood at the temple and were called Levites. The high priest was to be anointed with a special holy anointing oil at the time

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of his installation. For this reason he became the Anointed One or Messiah, or, as the Greek Septuagint Bible calls him, Christós, the Anointed of Jehovah, but only in a priestly sense.

Jehovah's house of worship was built according to the pattern that he gave. On the first day of Nisan in 1512 B.C. it was set up in the midst of the camp of the Israelites at the base of Mount Horeb or Sinai. The prophet Moses had the gold-covered "ark of the testimony," which contained the stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, put in the Most Holy compartment of this house of worship. He also had all the other furniture for use in and about this tabernacle of worship put in the places that Jehovah had specified. "So Moses finished the work. And the cloud began to cover the tent of meeting, and Jehovah's glory filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to go into the tent of meeting, because the cloud resided over it and Jehovah's glory filled the tabernacle." (Exodus 40: 1-35) Then Moses put the official priestly robes upon his brother Aaron and anointed him as high priest, and also installed Aaron's sons as underpriests. After this he offered the installation sacrifices upon the copper altar in the courtyard before the Tabernacle, as is described in Leviticus 8:1-30. The installation required a whole week. On the eighth day High Priest Aaron and his four sons undertook the work of performing the sacrifices and supervising all the features of worship at the Tabernacle.

The first day of their service as priests was climaxed by the blessing of the people of Israel and by Jehovah's manifesting his acceptance of this newly installed priesthood. Regarding this the record says: "Finally Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting and came out and blessed the people. Then Jehovah's glory appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before Jehovah and began consuming the burnt offering and the fatty pieces upon the altar. When all the people

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got to see it, they broke out into shouting and went falling upon their faces." — Leviticus 9:1-24.

This Aaronic priesthood, even the high priest, was given no kingly dignity or power. It was not like Melchizedek, who was both king and priest of the Most High God. Inasmuch as Jehovah was the invisible heavenly King of Israel, he kept the priesthood and the kingship separate in Israel. He foresaw that the time would come when the Israelites would lose faith and would ask to have a visible human king, and so Jehovah had Moses say to them:

"When you eventually come into the land that Jehovah your God is giving you, and you have taken possession of it and have dwelt in it, and you have said, 'Let me set a king over myself like all the nations who are round about me'; you should without fail set over yourself a king whom Jehovah your God will choose. From among your brothers you should set a king over yourself. You will not be allowed to put over yourself a foreigner who is not your brother. . . . And it must occur that when he takes his seat on the throne of his kingdom, he must write in a book for himself a copy of this law from that which is in the charge of the priests, the Levites." — Deuteronomy 17:14-18.

Centuries later, when King Uzziah of Jerusalem ambitiously tried to add priestly duties to his royal power, Jehovah smote him with leprosy, which barred him from the temple and which obligated his son Jotham to take the throne as king. — 2 Chronicles 26:l6-23.

The duty of offering up incense at Jehovah's house of worship was assigned exclusively to the Aaronic priesthood. (Exodus 30:7, 8: Luke 1:8-11) As the incense was offered on the golden incense altar every morning and evening, the priesthood had to offer up a young male sheep as a burnt offering on the altar in the courtyard, constantly, day after day. "It is a constant burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before Jehovah,

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where I shall present myself to you people to speak to you there." — Exodus 29:38-42.

The high priest was appointed also to offer up the firstfruits of the grain harvest on set dates. Each year on the anniversary of the passover, namely, on Nisan 14, the Israelites were to celebrate a passover memorial. On the following day, Nisan 15, there would be a sabbath, that is, a day of cessation from work, no matter on what day of the week it fell. On the day after this particular sabbath, namely, on Nisan 16, the high priest must wave a sheaf of barley at the temple. Jehovah said: "You must also bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. And he must wave the sheaf to and fro before Jehovah to gain approval for you. Directly the day after the sabbath the priest should wave it to and fro." (Leviticus 23:10, 11) After that they could eat new barley. Not by accident, it was on Nisan 16, A.D. 33, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. — 1 Corinthians 15:20.

The way of calculating the date for offering the firstfruits of the wheat harvest was like that for calculating the Jubilee year. "You must count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath [Nisan 16], from the day of your bringing the sheaf of the wave offering, seven sabbaths. They should prove to be complete. To the day after the seventh sabbath you should count, fifty days, and you must present a new grain offering to Jehovah. Out of your dwelling places you should bring two loaves as a wave offering. Of two tenths of an ephah of fine flour they should prove to be. They should be baked leavened, as first ripe fruits to Jehovah. . . . And you must proclaim on this very day Jehovah's holy convention for yourselves. No sort of laborious work may you do. It is a statute to time indefinite in all your dwelling places for your generations." — Leviticus 23:15-21.

Because this celebration fell on the fiftieth day from Nisan 16, and because the Greek word for "fiftieth

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day" is pentekosté, this celebration of the offering of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest has been called Pentecost, as in Acts 2:1. On that day of A.D. 33, which day then happened to be our Sunday or the first day of the Jewish week, the holy spirit was poured out upon the first Christians, Christ's followers, at Jerusalem.  — Acts 2:1-36.

NOT A TRIAD OF GODS

The high priest of Israel was no so-called Pontifex Maximus, for the city of Rome with its college of pontifices was first to be founded in Italy more than 750 years later. High Priest Aaron was the chief cohén of Jehovah God in Israel. Aaron was no bridge maker, as the Latin word pontifex is understood to mean. (Webster's Dictionary, 1943) The privilege of offering sacrifice to Jehovah that had previously been enjoyed by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as patriarchal heads of the nation of Israel, was now assigned to the anointed, installed Aaron and his sons and to their sons after them till the great Priest or Cohén like Melchizedek should come and the "kingdom of priests" would be introduced. — Exodus 19:6.

When King-Priest Melchizedek blessed the victorious Abraham after putting the king of Babylonia and his allies to rout, Melchizedek also blessed the priesthood of Aaron and his sons. How so? Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, and Levi was yet in the loins of Abraham at I he time of the blessing. As the king-priest who did the blessing was greater than the Levite priesthood that got the blessing, so the coming Priest like Melchizedek would be far greater than the Levitical priesthood of Aaron and he would replace it. (Hebrews 7:4-17) This Greater Priest would be the Seed of God's "woman."

Toward the end of the forty years that the nation of Israel spent in the wilderness High Priest Aaron died at the age of 123 years, in Mount Hor. He was succeeded by his faithful son Eleazar, and Eleazar was

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the first high priest after the Israelites entered the land that Jehovah had promised to Abraham. (Numbers 20:22-29) Thus, because of man's being born sinful, imperfect and subject to death, Israel's priesthood in the family of Aaron was handed down from father to son. It was necessary to do this until Jehovah raised up his royal priest like Melchizedek. This one would have the power of everlasting life because of his sinlessness, and he would therefore have no need of someone to succeed him. As being better than High Priest Aaron and his sons, he would be able to offer a sacrifice that would result in eternal life to faithful men.

Aaron's brother Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land either. He died on Mount Pisgah, from which he could look westward across the Jordan River and could survey the whole land "flowing with milk and honey," as it were. (Deuteronomy 34:1-8) In the month Shebat, the second last month before the end of the forty-year journey through the wilderness toward the land of Canaan, Moses gave farewell speeches to the nation of Israel. He encouraged them to keep on faithfully serving and worshiping Jehovah as God after they came into that Promised Land. To show that an all-surpassing love for Jehovah should be the motive behind their service and worship, Moses uttered, under inspiration, the greatest commandment of Israel's covenant with their God. Moses said to them:

"Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God [Elohím] is one Jehovah. And you must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force. . . . Jehovah your God [Elohím] you should fear, and him you should serve, and by his name you should swear. You must not walk after other gods, any gods of the peoples who are all around you, (for Jehovah your God in your midst is a God exacting exclusive devotion,) for fear the anger of Jehovah your God may blaze against you and he must annihilate you from off the surface of the ground." — Deuteronomy 6:4-15.

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This commandment to love Jehovah as God above all was not a commandment that applied just to the Jews, but is one that applies also to Christians. When the Leader of Christianity, Jesus Christ, was on earth nineteen centuries ago, a Jewish scribe asked him: "Which commandment is first of all?" The record, in Mark 12: 28-31. gives us Christ's reply: "Jesus answered: The first is, "Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God [Theós] is one Jehovah, and you must love Jehovah your God [Theós] with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength." The second is this, "You must love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these.'"

Let it be noticed that Jesus Christ, when quoting Moses' words, did not say that Jehovah was a triad of Gods, like the triads of deities in ancient Babylon. Jesus did not say, 'Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Gods [Theoí] is one Jehovah.' Jesus did not interpret Moses' words and quote Moses as saying, 'Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our Gods [Theoí], Jehovah is three.' He did not say that there were three Jehovahs and that he himself was one of such three Jehovahs. Mark 12:29 tells us that Jesus simply said: "Jehovah our God [Theós] is one Jehovah."* The whole Theós, the whole Elohím, is Jehovah. Jehovah is the whole Theós, the whole Elohím, the whole God. Jehovah is not sharing worship with two other Gods in a triad. Jehovah demands a devotion that is exclusive of other gods, from a heart not divided in love between three gods.

When Jesus quoted Moses and said: "You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart," he was not meaning himself; he was not applying this quota-1 ion to himself and saying that he himself was Jehovah. He was not saying that he himself was the one to be thus loved. Jesus Christ was referring to his own God


* See the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures and also Benjamin Wilson's The Emphatic Diaglott, on the rendering of this verse.
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and Father. Right after this discussion Jesus proved that he himself was not Jehovah, for Mark 12:35-37 tells us: "However, when making a reply, Jesus began to say as he taught in the temple: 'How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is David's son? By the holy spirit David himself said, "Jehovah said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet.' " David himself calls him "Lord," but how does it come that he is his son?'" Jesus thus proved that he was David's "Lord" whom Jehovah addressed, because Jesus was David's son and was to be made "Lord" over David.*

We must therefore watch out that we do not fall victim to false Babylonish religious ideas and teachings. Moses, as backed up later by Jesus Christ, plainly declares that Jehovah is no Babylonish triad of gods, no God of three Persons in one individual. Jehovah is only one God, one Person. For that reason he demands that his obedient creatures give exclusive devotion with the whole heart, soul, mind and strength to but one Person, namely, to the only One whose name is Jehovah. — Psalm 83:18: Isaiah 42:8.

The Israelites had every reason to love him with exclusive devotion. He had loved them, for the sake of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And now in fulfillment of his promise to their forefathers, he was about to give them the land in which their forefathers had been alien residents. — Deuteronomy 7:7-9.


* Corresponding to Mark 12:35. 36. we find Luke 20:42. as translated from the French, in the Gospel According to Saint Luke, by the Roman Catholic Abbe Geslin, 1940 edition, page 288, reading as follows: "David in fact himself said in the book of the Psalms: Jahveh said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a stool under your feet." (David en effet lui-même dit au livre des Psaumes: Iahveh a dit à mon Seigneur: Assieds-toi à ma droite, pendant que je vais mettre tes ennemis en escabeau sous tes pieds.) On page 3 is reproduced a letter to the author, Lettre de Sa Saintete Pie XI a L'Auteur, with the signature, E. Card. Pacelli. — Produced by the Abbaye Saint Wandrille, Canada, fifteenth edition of Evangile selon Saint Luc. Note the Abbe's use of the name Iahveh or Yahweh, or Jahveh.
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In showing his love for them he had humbled the mighty First World Power, Egypt, and had freed and organized them into a nation in the wilderness. During forty years of their movement through the wilderness he had provided food and drink for them and had preserved them. He had led them by the hand of his prophet and mediator, Moses. He had provided for them a house of worship with a priesthood to offer sacrifice to Him for their benefit, that they might continue in their sacred covenant with him. Now that the forty years of wandering were ending and Moses was to die and not lead them into the Promised Land, he appointed Moses' faithful minister, the military commander Joshua the son of Nun, to lead them through the Jordan River and into the land of milk and honey. If they continued to love and worship him and keep his commandments there, it would mean life to them and also their continuance as a nation on their God-given land. — Deuteronomy 30:15, 16; 31:14-23; 34:1-9.



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