Toward Enlightenment Under the general heading, "The World's Need of a Messiah," a study is being made of Old Testament prophecy in order to understand some of the difficulties that stood in the way of man's coming to an understanding of the nature of God. The mind of man needed illumination, enlightenment, revelation. There were many followers of Abraham who clung to a belief in one God. As monothiests, they early felt their superiority to those who worshipped many gods, that they were God's chosen people, *nd early.looked upon Jehovah or Yaweh as a tribal God, who existed above patriarchs and warriors. God could become very angry because of their sins; so to appease His anger they offered up sacrifices. This custom was undoubtedly in imitation of the heathen who went so far as to offer human sacrifices to turn the wrath of their gods or to invoke victory over their enemies. The Iamb, that was caught in a thicket when Abraham was on the point of slaving his only son Isaac to offer him up lo the Lord, has long been considered .symbolic of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" for the sins of men. But we should study more closely man's reach for God in those early times. ~ ness for Jehovah to take his own life if He would only spare Israel, who had gone into sin. However, it was a weary and disappointed Moses who came to the age of 120. He had, in his impatience, sinned against Jehovah. A generation had all but passed away since he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and their sin had been apostasy. The Law, in itself, was seen by the great leader as being insufficient to result in righteousness. Jehovah, tVic rifihtccus Jud^e-, would need to rai.se up among the people a Man, who would in righteousness and with justice, rule over their nation. Amos, who is supposed to have written the first book of prophecy, interpreted Jehovah as saying, "Seek ye me r and ye shall live." It was the desire of Israel to be saved from captivity. But Amos looked upon the people as being held captive by their sins: accused them of treading upon the poor: of taking from them burdens of wheat. The prophet though, was not content simply to make them feel miserable. So he wrote: "Seek good and not evil, that yo ma T.orri man's very existence. Like men of today. he was saying back there, "Work, work, but I never seem to get anywhere! Floods succeed droughts and ruin my crops. I wonder if a just God would permit such a thing." A poet conceived that God gave lo man talents and Ihe right sort of world in which to succeed, but that along with an eise. He placed weariness to the end that it might cast men upon His breasi. But neither joy nor sorrow, poverty nor wealth is our destined end or way, Without sustaining grace, man could hardly keep from despairing. Enoch became a noble ensample for all ages, since he walked with God and sought to do His will. Noah acted upon what Jehovah revealed to him and saved a remnant of humanity from the great, flood. Abraham, Isaac. Jacob and Joseph passed on to posterity their triumphs through faith. .Moses not only led his people from bondage and gave them Law, but. showed great magnanimity of soul in his willing- hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken." — Amos 5:14. The prophets worked arduously to get Israel to see that obedience was better than ^acrifice, that all the ceremonies of uui^inp availed nothing if their hearts ""ore estranged from Gcd S f; !l ""•> «-t-,~"iri remember that Israel had suffer«f often under weak and dissolute kings; that they had been Jed into the worship of pagan sods, when Jehovah seemed to fail them A material ihing that can be seen and toucned. and purported to have divine pour;-, had il* Rnpea? to rjktraiiaht r^n and women. Breaking down within, they became an easy prey to invaders and were led into captivity. Iaaiah knew what that captivity had meant He knew thousands would despair if they could not have a fuller revelation of Jehovah. The Lord still spoke throu-h His prophets, but the people must havfe a Messiah who could share their bunfcnc live cnuessiy. 3n # ^ fQr th ^ .^ rr ^ that they might have life, forgiveness and Kope. So he wrote that wonderful panegyric, "The Suffering Son of Jehovah » to be found in the 53rd chapter of \te Book of Isaiah. This will form the basis of next Sundays editorial.