Digging for Spiritual Gems

Jeremiah 2:13, 18

The Watchtower of w07 3/15 p. 9 par. 8 referred to for the consideration of these verses from Jeremiah chapter 2 makes an interesting and true statement.

“Unfaithful Israelites did two bad things. They left Jehovah, the sure source of blessing, guidance and protection. And they hewed out for themselves their own figurative cisterns by seeking to make military alliances with Egypt and Assyria. In our time, to abandon the true God in favor of human philosophies and theories and worldly politics is to replace the ‘source of living water’ with ‘broken cisterns’.”

An interesting choice of words. This reminds us of the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman at John 4:10 where he said, “If you had known the free gift of God and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me a drink’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water”.

Acts 2:38 talks about repenting, being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the free gift of the Holy Spirit.” (See also Acts 8:20, 10:45, 11:17)

Also please read Romans 3:21-26:

“For all [all mankind, no exceptions] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom paid by Christ Jesus…26…that he [God] might be righteous even when declaring righteous the man [any man, not a limited number] that has faith in Jesus.”

Is a picture beginning to emerge?

By being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ we receive the free gift of the holy spirit from God which enables us to be declared righteous [as God’s sons] because we have shown our acceptance and appreciation for the ransom paid by Christ Jesus.  Jesus continued in John 4:14 “but the [living] water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life” and in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.”

To worship in spirit (Greek, pneuma – “breath, spirit, wind”) Galatians 5:22,23 shows we must display the fruitage of the spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control”. If we do not make every effort to display these qualities to the best of our abilities, with every breath of our body, are we really showing that we are using the Holy Spirit and thereby worshipping God in spirit the way he requires.

To worship in truth (Greek, aletheia – “truth, true to fact, reality”) means to speak and act what is true in any matter under consideration, not just when it suits us.

Therefore, does the Governing Body help us understand how we should worship “the living water” or does it serve up “broken cisterns”?

First, let us examine worshipping in spirit.

Let’s select one fruit of the spirit at random: self control.  The online WT Library reveals only one article dedicated to this subject, dating back 13 years to October 15, 2003. This article only dealt with how we could actually exercise self control in the last two paragraphs and only briefly, at that. The rest of the article concentrated on in what situations we should exercise self control.

By contrast, for the subject of ‘loyalty’ (not mentioned specifically as a fruit of the Spirit) there is an article appearing at least once every year  going back from February 2016.  Of course, let us not to forget it was the theme of the Regional Conventions last year.

If you picked ‘long-suffering’ the last article published dedicated to this subject was The Watchtower of November 1, 2001—over 15 years ago!

If you picked ‘ministry or preaching’ (again not a fruit of the Spirit) you will find the most recent article on ‘Making Disciples’ was May 2016, then February 2015, etc. with a similar frequency of occurrence to ‘loyalty’.

For your own benefit, personally do a check of the other fruits of the spirit. Is the situation any better for them than it is for ‘long-suffering’ and ‘self control’?

Is the water cistern broken?

Having considered the Organization’s record on helping us to worship with spirit, how does the water supply hold up when it comes to teaching us how to worship in truth? After all Jehovah’s Witnesses have a reputation of being honest, truth telling citizens so we should be okay there.  We even refer to our faith as “The Truth”!

Appearing before the Australian Royal High Commission on Child Abuse (ARHCCA) note how Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson, after swearing under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, answered the following question:

Q: [Stewart] And do you see yourselves as Jehovah God’s spokespeople on earth?

 A:  [Jackson] That I think would seem to be quite presumptuous to say that we are the only spokesperson that God is using. The scriptures clearly show that someone can act in harmony with God’s spirit in giving comfort and help in the congregations, but if I could just clarify a little, going back to Matthew 24, clearly, Jesus said that in the last days – and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe these are the last days – there would be a slave, a group of persons who would have responsibility to care for the spiritual food. So in that respect, we view ourselves as trying to fulfil that role.[1]

(The above quote is copied from the court transcripts of the proceedings. There is also video on YouTube of this exchange)

Is that the truth of the matter? Is that what you, as a Witness, understand Brother Jackson’s claimed position to be? Or, is it more in line with the following?

“Some may feel that they can interpret the Bible on their own. However, Jesus has appointed the ‘faithful slave’ to be the only channel for dispensing spiritual food. Since 1919, the glorified Jesus Christ has been using that slave to help his followers understand God’s own Book and heed its directives. By obeying the instructions found in the Bible, we promote cleanness, peace, and unity in the congregation. Each one of us does well to ask himself, ‘Am I loyal to the channel that Jesus is using today?’
(w16 15/11 p. 16 par. 9)

Do you have difficulty in reconciling those two statements? Which is right, or are both false?

In summary, how does the Governing Body match up to its own words? Are they providing ‘living water’ or water from a broken cistern?

Jeremiah 4:10

The reference for this scripture is The Watchtower (w07 3/15 p. 9 par. 4) which comments about this verse saying, “In Jeremiah’s Day, there were prophets ‘prophesying in falsehood.’ Jehovah did not prevent them from proclaiming misleading messages.”

What is the track record of the organization? Take just one example of many.

In 1920 the booklet was published Millions Now Living Will Never Die based on a discourse by J. F. Rutherford given from February 1918 onward. (See the Proclaimers book p. 425.)

At that time, expectations for 1925 published in the literature included (1) the end of Christendom, (2) the return of earth to a paradise, (3) the resurrection of the dead onto earth, (4) the Zionist teaching of the re-establishment of Palestine. (See p. 88 in the booklet.)

Later, 1975 produced similar expectations with the exception of point 4.  Now we are in 2017 with the new “overlapping generations” doctrine producing the same three failed expectations that disillusioned the flock almost 50 and again 100 years ago.  The cycle is repeating.

Prophesying is defined as: “to predict, foretell, forecast, prognosticate (foretell or predict from present indications or signs).”

Certainly, in the last 140 years of the organization, there has been plenty of prognostication, which has clearly not come true. This surely qualifies as “prophesying in falsehood”, yet, “Jehovah did not prevent them from proclaiming misleading messages.”

Bible Study, God’s Kingdom Rules

Theme: Results of Preaching – “The Fields … Are White for Harvesting”
(Chapter 9, pars. 10-15)

This week’s portion is about the parable of the mustard grain in Matthew 13:31, 32.

This parable has been well covered by a previous article on the Beroean Pickets Archive.  To read it, click on Listen and Understand the Meaning.

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[1] See page 9 of transcript