Phone Line Transcript 2001
66 Books You Should NOT Read If You Want To Remain a Jehovah's Witness
No. 7 DEUTERONOMY: Progressive Light -- God's Way! (Phone Series)
In our last message on Numbers we considered the unfaithfulness of Israel, and how Yahweh punished them. Because they rejected Jehovah's prophet Moses and Jehovah's manna provision, an entire generation perished in the wilderness. But would the unfaithfulness of even the vast majority cancel Yahweh's promises to Israel? Deuteronomy is Yahweh's answer. Deuteronomy takes up the story where Numbers leaves it, with the next generation of Israel about to enter the promised land. And whereas Numbers highlights the severity of God -- by no means will he clear the guilty, according to Exodus 34:7 -- Deuteronomy in contrast highlights God's mercy and covenant love. For as Exodus 34:6 tells us, this same God is Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious ...forgiving iniquity and transgression.
There is no contradiction, for in Deuteronomy's progressive light on Yahweh's character God's severity is but the other side of his love. For as Hebrews 12:7 asks, who is the son that the father does not chastise? And this is the reason that Israel HAD to be severely disciplined. Yahweh had adopted the entire nation as His sons: You are sons of Jehavah your God (14:1). Too, Israel was collectively God's son: out of Egypt I called my son (Hosea 11:1). This explains why Jehovah had to chastise Israel severely, for as Hebrews 12 also tells us, those whom the Lord loves he also chastens, and scourges every son he receives.
But why would Jehovah love unfaithful Israel? Deuteronomy 7:8,9 tells us that this love of Yahweh for Israel was NOT due to anything in them, but simply because Jehovah loved you, and because he would keep the OATH which he had sworn to your fathers.... And you shall know that Jehovah YOUR God, He IS God, the FAITHFUL God, who is keeping covenant mercy to a thousand generations with them that love Him and keep His commandments .... Abraham is the one who obeyed Yahweh, and to whom God originally made the great promise that he would become a great nation (Gen.12:2). Nothing Israel could do would cancel that UNCONDITIONAL promise, which later was repeated to Abraham's son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Despite their disloyalty to God, Yahweh was going to prove Himself God to the offspring of Abraham. So it was at the Exodus. So it was now as Israel stood on the brink of the land that God told Abraham his seed would not occupy for over 400 years.
The book of Deuteronomy is entirely taken up with God's covenant love. In the first 4 chapters Moses recalls God's faitfulness to Israel in the past, even during the wilderness wandering. In the next 22 chapters, up to ch 26, Moses shows Israel God's covenant faithfulness in the present, in that God was now giving his law once again, this time to the children of those who heard the original revelation at Sinai. And this new light was "a second law" -- which is the literal meaning of the title Deuteronomy -- but this new revelation was not a departure from the past revelation, contradicting what God had said before. It was in some ways modified, however, to suit the new situation. God's people would no longer live in a desert wilderness, but in a settled condition in the land. And this brings us to the most amazing of all revelations contained in this neglected Bible book. For Moses testifies not only to God's love in the past -- Yahweh's 400 years of covenant faithulness -- not only to God's love in the present -- God's love in giving a second law to the children of an unfaithul generation -- but Moses also testifies, in the last 8 chapters of Deuteronomy, to Jehovah's faithful love in the future. In chapter 28 Moses foretells Israel's future rebellion, that Yahweh will scatter them all over the earth as punishment for their unfaithfulness. But that is NOT the end of Israel's story. For I AM HE, says Jehovah, I kill and I make ALIVE, I wound and I HEAL (ch.32:39). Moses tells us that the end for Israel is not misery, but joy: Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people. For Yahweh will avenge the blood of his servants, and render vengeance to his enemies, and will make atonement for HIS LAND and for HIS PEOPLE (v.43).
Jehovah's Witnesses, do you know this Jehovah. The God who forgives and shows mercy to a thousand generations? Who loves Israel even when they don't love Him? Who is faithful and true even when His servants are unfaithful and false? Or is the 'Jehovah' you know a God who loves you only if you love Him? Who is loyal to His people only when they are loyal to Him? If you doubt this is the God of the Watchtower, check out the second last paragraph in your Live Forever book and the last paragraph in your Knowledge book. Then we challenge you to read Deuteronomy beginning to end and tell us Jehovah of the Watchtower is the same God as Yahweh the God of Israel.
In 2 weeks we will begin the series again, with the message Who is Jehovah? We urge you to listen, and urge your friends to listen too. There is no more important knowledge in the world than knowledge of the meaning of this great NAME. Don't let The Watchtower tell you what this Name means, find out from the Bible itself. If you would like to explore the subject of progressive light in more detail, check out the message When Light is Darkness on the SOS Outreach website.