October 30–​November 5 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Joel 2:12, 13​—What do these verses teach us about true repentance?
Genuine repentance is heartfelt. It involves an inward ‘ripping apart of our hearts,’ not an outward ‘ripping apart of garments.’

2. Joel 3:14​—What is “the valley of the decision”?
It is a symbolic place for meting out God’s judgment. In the days of Judean King Jehoshaphat, whose name means “Jehovah Is Judge,” God delivered Judah from surrounding nations by confusing their military forces. Hence, the place is also called “the low plain of Jehoshaphat.” (Joel 3:2, 12) In our day, it represents a symbolic location in which nations will be crushed like grapes in a winepress.

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Joel 1:15. A title for God in Hebrew is Shad·daiʹ, or “the Almighty One.” This term is found once in the 12 prophetic books, at Joel 1:15. It has been suggested that its primary meaning is “be strong” or “act strongly.” A similar expression, ‘Jehovah of armies,’ is found 107 times in the 12 books. Might implies strength or power to accomplish a thing purposed. It also denotes overcoming obstacles or opposition. Jehovah’s almightiness involves his irresistible power to accomplish his purpose, to fulfill what he foretells.
  • “Jehovah Will Be a Refuge for His People.” (Joel 3:16): The rocking described in this verse could apply only to Jehovah’s execution of judgment during the great tribulation. We take comfort in knowing that Jehovah will deliver his faithful servants during that time. (Rev. 7:9, 14) As we engage in the preaching work and experience how Jehovah sustains and strengthens us, we build faith and endurance that will help us during the coming great tribulation.

4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Joel 3:4-8, 19. Joel prophesied that the nations surrounding Judah would be called to account for mistreating God’s chosen people. True to those prophetic words, the mainland city of Tyre was brought to ruin by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Later, when the island-city fell to Alexander the Great, thousands of its military men and prominent people were killed and 30,000 of its inhabitants were sold into slavery. The Philistines experienced like treatment at the hands of Alexander and his successors. By the fourth century B.C.E., Edom lay desolate. (Malachi 1:3) These fulfilled prophecies strengthen our faith in Jehovah as the Fulfiller of his promises. They also show how Jehovah will deal with nations that persecute his worshippers today.
  • Joel 2:28-32. Only he “who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe” on “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” How grateful we can be that Jehovah pours out his spirit on every sort of flesh and has young and old, male and female, share in the work of prophesying, that is, declaring “the magnificent things of God”! (Acts 2:11) As the day of Jehovah nears, should we not abound in “holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion”?—2 Peter 3:10-12.
October 23-​29 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Hosea 10:12​—What must we do to “reap loyal love” from Jehovah?
If we worship Jehovah in an unhypocritical and upright way, we will be recipients of his loving-kindness, or loyal love.

2. Hosea 11:1​—How were these words fulfilled in Jesus?
Before Herod’s death-dealing decree, an angel directed that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus go to Egypt. There they remained “until the decease of Herod, for that to be fulfilled which was spoken by Jehovah through his prophet [Hosea], saying: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’” (Matt. 2:13-15) Of course, Jesus himself could not have orchestrated any of the foretold events associated with his birth and early life.

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Hosea 11:1-4. We can have confidence that Jehovah always deals with his people in a loving way. Evidence of this is found at Hosea 11:1-4, where we read: “When Israel was a boy, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. . . . To the Baal images they took up sacrificing, and to the graven images they began making sacrificial smoke. But as for me, I taught Ephraim [the Israelites] to walk, taking them upon my arms; and they did not recognize that I had healed them. With the ropes of earthling man I kept drawing them, with the cords of love, so that I became to them as those lifting off a yoke on their jaws, and gently I brought food to each one.”Here Israel is compared to a small child. Jehovah lovingly taught the Israelites to walk, taking them upon his arms. And he kept drawing them with “the cords of love.” What a touching picture! Imagine that you are a parent helping your child to take his first steps. Your arms are outstretched. You may be using cords for your little one to hold on to so that he does not fall. Well, Jehovah’s love for you is just as tender. He is delighted to lead you with “the cords of love.”
  • Hosea 14:9 also turns our attention to the positive aspects of observing an upright course. Blessings and benefits come from measuring up to God’s requirements. As the Creator, he knows our makeup. What he expects of us is for our good. To illustrate the relationship between us and God, we might think of an automobile and its manufacturer. The maker knows how the auto is designed and put together. He knows that the car requires an oil change every so often. What would happen if you ignored that standard, perhaps reasoning that the car is running well? Much sooner than might otherwise be so, the engine would deteriorate and fail. The same is true of humans. Our Creator has given us commandments. Keeping them is for our benefit. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Appreciating that we do benefit gives us additional reason to live up to his standards, to keep his commandments.

4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Hosea 8:14. You might wonder, ‘How could the Israelites be so easily lured into disobedience?’ Hosea described the process: “Israel began forgetting his Maker.” (Hosea 8:14) The form of the original Hebrew verb is well-rendered “began forgetting.” The Israelites were not suddenly suffering from amnesia about Jehovah. Rather, over time they lost sight of the importance of worshipping him in the way that he approved. Do you think that a Christian could fall into such a trap? Take, for example, a man who is serious about providing for his family. (1 Timothy 5:8) To do so, he would appropriately view his secular work as important. Perhaps something develops, and he feels that he must miss some Christian meetings in order to work. In time, missing meetings becomes easier, and he misses more frequently. Little by little, his bond with God weakens—he has ‘begun to forget his Maker.’ A similar thing may happen to a Christian whose parents or other relatives are unbelievers. He faces issues: How much time will he reserve for them, and when? (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 10:37) What about deciding how much time and attention to use for trips, hobbies, or entertainment?
  • Hosea 10:12. Hosea used farming vocabulary when urging those in the northern kingdom of Israel: “Sow seed for yourselves in righteousness; reap in accord with loving-kindness. Till for yourselves arable land, when there is time for searching for Jehovah.” Despite that, most would not listen. They “plowed wickedness,” so unrighteousness is what they reaped. (Hosea 10:12, 13) They condoned or shared in corrupt practices, ‘trusting in their own way’ rather than in Jehovah’s way. Some today might wonder, ‘How could that happen to true worshippers living right there in the Promised Land?’ Hosea showed that their problem centered on an attitude like the attitude that we need to guard against if we are to keep in expectation of Jehovah’s great day. That is, of becoming settled and “satisfied.”
October 16-​22 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Hosea 1:7​—When was the house of Judah shown mercy and saved?
This was fulfilled in 732 B.C.E., in the days of King Hezekiah. At that time, Jehovah ended the Assyrian threat to Jerusalem by having an angel slay 185,000 of the enemy’s forces in one night. (2 Kings 19:34, 35) Jehovah thus delivered Judah, not “by a bow or by a sword or by war, by horses or by horsemen,” but by an angel.

2. Hosea 2:18​—What are the past and future fulfillments of this verse?
The Jewish remnant who returned to their homeland lived in security, with nothing to fear from animals. This prophecy also had a fulfillment in 1919 C.E., when the remnant of spiritual Israel was freed from “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion. They now dwell in security and enjoy life in a spiritual paradise with their companions, who hope to live forever on earth. Animalistic traits do not exist among these true Christians.​

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Hosea 5:15. Hosea’s prophecy has shown us that Jehovah is a merciful God who gives hope and blesses those applying his instruction and rejecting apostasy. Like repentant Israelites of the past, let us therefore seek Jehovah and always endeavor to please him. (Hosea 5:15) By doing so, we will reap what is good and have the incomparable joy and peace experienced by all who faithfully walk with God.
  • Hosea 2:15. God gives true hope. For example, he promised: “I will give her . . . the low plain of Achor as an entrance to hope.” (Hosea 2:15) Jehovah’s ancient wifelike organization had the sure hope of being restored to her homeland, where “the low plain of Achor” was located. Fulfillment of that promise, in 537 B.C.E., gives us sound reason to rejoice in the sure hope that Jehovah sets before us.

4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Hosea 1:7. Hosea’s prophecy highlights the compassion and mercy of the God we worship. Even if some deviate from his righteous ways, they can repent and turn around. If they do, Jehovah welcomes them. He showed mercy to repentant members of the nation of Israel, with which he had entered a figurative marriage. Though they disobeyed Jehovah and ‘pained the Holy One of Israel, he was merciful and kept remembering that they were flesh.’ (Psalm 78:38-41) Such mercy should move us to keep walking with our compassionate God, Jehovah.
  • Hosea 4:1, 6. To continue walking with God, we need to keep on taking in knowledge of him and applying it in our life. Knowledge of Jehovah was sorely lacking in Israel. (Hosea 4:1, 6) Yet, some prized divine teaching highly, acted in harmony with it, and were greatly blessed. Hosea was one of them. So were the 7,000 who in Elijah’s day had not bent the knee to Baal. (1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:1-4) Our own gratitude for divine instruction will help us to keep on walking with God.—Psalm 119:66; Isaiah 30:20, 21.
October 9-​15 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Daniel 12:3​—Who are “those having insight,” and when do they “shine as brightly as the expanse of heaven”?
Daniel 12:3 states that “the ones having insight [anointed Christians] will shine like the brightness of the expanse.” While still on earth, they do this by sharing in the preaching work. However, Matthew 13:43 points to the time when they will shine brightly in the heavenly Kingdom. Previously, we thought that both scriptures referred to the same activity​—the preaching work.

2. Daniel 12:13​—In what way will Daniel “stand up”?
Well, since the “rest” he had just referred to was death, the promise that Daniel would “stand up” at some later time could mean only one thing—resurrection!b In fact, some scholars have asserted that Daniel chapter 12 contains the first explicit reference to resurrection to be found in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Daniel 12:2) In this, though, they are wrong. Daniel was very familiar with the resurrection hope.

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Daniel 10:11, 19. He is a Helper without equal. On occasion, Jehovah used the angels to encourage and strengthen faithful humans. A touching example is found in Daniel chapter 10. At the time, Daniel was perhaps close to 100 years of age. The prophet was very discouraged, evidently because of the desolated state of Jerusalem and the delay in rebuilding the temple. He also became disturbed after seeing a frightening vision. (Daniel 10:2, 3, 8) God lovingly dispatched an angel to encourage him. More than once, the angel reminded Daniel that he was “very desirable” in God’s eyes. The result? The elderly prophet told the angel: “You have strengthened me.”—Daniel 10:11, 19.
  • Daniel 12:9. Jehovah is the Revealer of Secrets. We can now understand prophecies that were a “secret” for a very long time but are being fulfilled in the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9) Many of these prophecies are in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation. For example, Jehovah has helped us to know about things that happened in heaven that no human could see. We know that Jesus has become King, that there was a war in heaven, and that Satan was thrown down to the earth. (Revelation 12:7-12) God has also helped us understand the meaning of things that we can see. We understand why there are wars, earthquakes, sicknesses, and food shortages, and why people do the bad things that make our times “hard to deal with.”—2 Timothy 3:1-5; Luke 21:10, 11.

4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Daniel 10:9-11, 18, 19. In imitation of the angel who came to Daniel, we should encourage and strengthen one another with helping hands and consoling words.
  • Daniel 12:3. During the last days, “the ones having insight”—anointed Christians—have been “shining as illuminators” and have brought “many to righteousness,” including the “great crowd” of “other sheep.” (Philippians 2:15; Revelation 7:9; John 10:16) The anointed will ‘shine like the stars’ in the fullest sense during the Millennial Rule of Christ, when they share with him in applying the full benefits of the ransom to obedient mankind on earth. The “other sheep” should loyally stick to the anointed, wholeheartedly supporting them in every way.
October 2-​8 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Daniel 9:24​—When was “the Holy of Holies” anointed?
Well, consider what took place when Jesus presented himself for baptism in 29 C.E. From that point on in his life, Jesus fulfilled the words of Psalm 40:6-8. The apostle Paul later indicated that Jesus had prayed to God: “Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but you prepared a body for me.” (Hebrews 10:5) Jesus knew that God “did not want” animal sacrifices to continue to be offered at Jerusalem’s temple. Instead, Jehovah had prepared a perfect human body for Jesus to offer as a sacrifice. Expressing his heartfelt desire, Jesus continued: “Look! I am come (in the roll of the book it is written about me) to do your will, O God.” (Hebrews 10:7) And what was Jehovah’s response? The Gospel of Matthew states: “After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’”​—Matthew 3:16, 17.

Jehovah God’s acceptance of the presentation of Jesus’ body for sacrifice meant that an altar greater than the literal altar in Jerusalem’s temple had come into existence. This was an altar of God’s “will,” or arrangement for accepting Jesus’ human life as a sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10) The anointing of Jesus with holy spirit meant that God had now brought forth his entire spiritual temple arrangement.b Hence, at the time of Jesus’ baptism, God’s heavenly abode was anointed, or set apart, as “the Holy of Holies” in the great spiritual temple arrangement.

2. Daniel 9:27​—What covenant was kept in force for the many until the end of the 70th week of years, or 36 C.E.?
The Law covenant was removed in 33 C.E. when Jesus was impaled. But by keeping the Abrahamic covenant in force toward fleshly Israel until 36 C.E., Jehovah extended the period of special favor to the Jews on the basis of their being descendants of Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant continues in force with regard to “the Israel of God.”​

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Daniel 9:4. Jehovah’s loving-kindness “has filled the earth,” and how we appreciate this quality of God! We rejoice that Jehovah extends his loving-kindness to his approved servants—either as individuals or as a group. In prayer, the prophet Daniel addressed Jehovah as “the true God, the great One and the fear-inspiring One, keeping the covenant and the loving-kindness to those loving him and to those keeping his commandments.” (Daniel 9:4)
  • Daniel 9:14. Jehovah's promises are reliable. He is the God of revelation and the God of creation. Time and again he has proved to be a righteous God and a Savior of people of all nations.
4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Daniel 9:2. Daniel was a diligent student of the Scriptures. We know this because he himself wrote: “I . . . discerned by the books the number of the years . . . for fulfilling the devastations of Jerusalem.” (Daniel 9:2) The books available to him at the time likely included the inspired writings of Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets. We can imagine Daniel surrounded by numerous scrolls, thoroughly immersed in reading and comparing the prophetic pronouncements that had a bearing on the restoration of true worship in Jerusalem. Undisturbed, possibly in his roof chamber, he no doubt meditated deeply on the meaning of such passages. His purposeful study strengthened his faith and drew him close to Jehovah.
  • Daniel 9:3-6, 20. Daniel was a man of prayer. He made appropriate requests of God. Years later, in humble realization of his human imperfection, the faithful prophet confessed his sin together with the sin of his people and begged Jehovah for forgiveness. (Daniel 9:3-6, 20) When he lacked understanding regarding the things that were given him by inspiration, Daniel asked for God’s help.
August 28-September 3 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Ezekiel 39:7—When humans blame God for injustice, how are they profaning his name?
In the Bible, “name” often denotes reputation. One reference work says that God’s name refers to “what is known of him​—his revelation of himself; it also represents his fame, and then his honour.” When humans claim that God is responsible for the very things he abhors, they are sullying his reputation. They are thus “treating [his] name with disrespect.”​—Psalm 74:10.

2. Ezekiel 39:9—After Armageddon, what will be done with the war equipment that the nations will leave behind?
In view of the symbolic indication of the length of time it will take to dispose of the combustible parts of them, the quantity will be enormous. (Ezekiel 39:8-10) Armageddon survivors may be able to adapt the materials of any remaining war relics of the nations to useful purposes.​—Isaiah 2:2-4.

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Ezekiel 39:7. Notice that Jehovah twice uses the expression “my holy name.” (Verse 7) In the Bible, Jehovah’s name is associated with the terms “holy” and “holiness” numerous times. The word “holy” conveys the idea of separateness; it also denotes cleanness and purity. Jehovah’s name is holy because the God who bears it is holy—completely separated from anything that is sinful and unclean. Can you see why those who blame Jehovah for wickedness are heaping the greatest possible reproach upon his “holy name”?
  • Today, however, the nations are trying to wipe out pure worship. Soon, Jehovah’s servants will be attacked by the forces of Gog of Magog. (Ezekiel 39:13) Will that satanic assault succeed? No! Jehovah will then angrily thresh his enemies, pounding them underfoot like grain on a threshing floor. But he will save those who worship him with spirit and truth.

4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Ezekiel 40:14, 16, 22, 26. The wall carvings of palm trees in the entryways of the temple show that only those who are morally upright are allowed to enter. (Psalm 92:12) This teaches us that our worship is acceptable to Jehovah only if we are upright.
  • Then Jehovah adds: “On that day I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel. That is where they will bury Gog and all his hordes.” (Ezek. 39:11) But how could a spirit creature be eaten by “birds of prey and the wild beasts of the field”? How could Satan be given “a burial place” on earth? The Bible clearly shows that Satan will be abyssed for 1,000 years, not eaten or buried.—Rev. 20:1, 2.Therefore, “Gog” does not refer to Satan in either Ezekiel’s prophecy or the book of Revelation.When we compare all these Scriptural references about the final attack on God’s people, it becomes evident that the name Gog of Magog refers, not to Satan, but to a coalition of nations.
  • In this busy world, finding time for study and meditation is indeed a challenge. However, Christians today stand at the threshold of a wonderful Promised Land—God’s righteous new world. (2 Peter 3:13) Startling events, such as the destruction of “Babylon the Great” and the attack by “Gog of the land of Magog” upon Jehovah’s people, are in the offing. (Ezekiel 39:2) What lies ahead may put our love for Jehovah to the test. It is urgent that we now buy out the opportune time and apply our heart to God’s Word!
August 21-27 Christian Life and Ministry (Midweek) Meeting Answers

Digging for Spiritual Gems
1. Ezekiel 36:20, 21—What is a primary reason why we must maintain fine conduct?
If we hold firmly to God’s standards, it reflects well on him, honoring him. (Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:20) Your being aware of this can strengthen your resolve if you face temptations or situations where ignoring Christian morality might seem the easiest or most convenient way to act.

Beyond being personally aware that your conduct reflects on God, as you teach others, help them to see that how they apply the moral standards that they are learning will reflect on Jehovah.

2. Ezekiel 36:33-36—How have these words been fulfilled in modern times?
Jehovah promised: “I will save my sheep, and they will no longer become something for plunder; and I will judge between a sheep and a sheep. And I will raise up over them one shepherd, and he must feed them, even my servant David. He himself will feed them, and he himself will become their shepherd.” (Ezekiel 34:22, 23) In this time of the end, Jesus Christ, the Greater David, is the “one shepherd” whom Jehovah has appointed over all His servants on earth, both the spirit-anointed Christians and the “other sheep.”​—John 10:16.

3. What has this week’s Bible reading taught you about Jehovah?
  • Ezekiel 38:1-23. How reassuring it is to know that Jehovah will rescue his people from the attack of Gog of the land of Magog! Gog is the name given to “the ruler of this world,” Satan the Devil, after his ouster from heaven. The land of Magog refers to the vicinity of the earth, to which Satan and his demons are confined.—John 12:31; Revelation 12:7-12.
  • Ezekiel.37:28 Jehovah’s purpose to clear his name by means of his Kingdom is the main theme of the Bible. That theme is emphasized in the book of Ezekiel, which repeatedly states that “the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 36:23; 37:28; 38:23;39:7) Notice that the nations will not choose whether to know that he is Jehovah or not. Rather, they “will have to know.” In other words, Jehovah purposes to take action that will compel the nations on earth to recognize that he is who he says he is—Jehovah, the Sovereign Lord, whose name stands for all that is holy, pure, and clean.The oft repeated promise “the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah” is good news for those who long to see the end of injustice and suffering. Jehovah will soon fulfill that promise and clear his name of all reproach. He will eliminate wickedness and those who promote it but will preserve alive those who recognize and respect his name and what it stands for. (Proverbs 18:10)
  • In the near future, there will come a time when every one of us will need to trust in God’s saving power in a special way. Satan the Devil will launch an attack on God’s people, who will appear to be unprotected. (Ezekiel 38:14-16) God will then manifest his great power in our behalf, and everyone will have to know that he is Jehovah. (Ezekiel 38:21-23) Now is the time to build our faith and confidence in God the Almighty so that we will not waver at that crucial time.

4. What other spiritual gems have you discovered in this week’s Bible reading?
  • Ezekiel 36:20, 21. Because of not living up to what they were known as, that is, “the people of Jehovah,” the Israelites profaned God’s name among the nations. We should never become worshipers of Jehovah in name only.
  • Ezekiel 36:25, 37, 38. The spiritual paradise that we enjoy today is filled with “a flock of holy persons.” Therefore, we should strive to keep it clean.
  • Ezekiel 37:10. At times, Jehovah likens his earthly servants to an army. (Psalm 68:11; Ezekiel 37:1-10) If we were to rebel against the humans that Jehovah has put in authority over us, might we not be putting our fellow spiritual soldiers at risk? When a Christian rebels against appointed elders, others in the congregation may suffer as well. (1 Corinthians 12:14,25, 26) When a child rebels, the whole family may suffer. So we show our love for our fellow man by developing a respectful and cooperative spirit.