Introduction to Ezekiel (video)

An unremarkable video except for giving the wrong date of 617 BCE for the exile of Jehoiachin.[1]

Find Delight in Preaching the Good News ( + video)

Paragraph 1 asks “Have you ever found it difficult to preach? Many of us would answer yes to that question. Why?” That is a good question.  Is it apathy or hostility or fear of talking to strangers that has stopped you? Or is it rather because of having to deal with the consequences of a lack of education, leading to severe financial problems? Or is it because of being ashamed of belonging to an organization that refuses to adequately address the malignant problem of pedophiles and make much-needed policy changes? Or is it because your conscience will no longer allow you to preach doctrines that you know are not taught in God’s Word the Bible?

Can you no longer preach as a ‘message of hope’ that, although we should follow Christ, we cannot be his brothers, because we are not able to be sons of God, and Jehovah God cannot be our father, but just an invisible friend?

It is true that the real good news benefits us physically and spiritually if we apply it properly, but causing unnecessary divorce, for example, just because a mate decides they wish to leave the organization, brings harm, not benefits.

Paragraph 4 reverts to the default ‘select a scripture, misapply it, and hope no-one notices’ method. Hebrews 6:10 is used in support of the witnessing work. The NWT bible translates and obscures the true meaning of this scripture as ‘ministering to the holy ones and keep on ministering’ and applies the ministering to preaching. The Kingdom Interlinear however translates the Greek text more correctly “having served the Holy ones and serving [them]”. The scripture in context is therefore about serving and assisting the holy [chosen] ones rather than preaching to outsiders per se.

Isaiah 43:10,11 is likewise used in support of the witnessing work. However on reading the context it becomes clear that the witnesses (Israelites) were to be passive witnesses to Jehovah God’s actions. Rather than being commended or named as his special witnesses, indeed quite the opposite was the case. The nation of Israel continued to sin despite many warnings and so Jehovah had poured out and would pour out his anger on them. He warned them that to ransom them he would give Egypt to their captors (as he did to Cyrus’ son, Cambyses II), so they could not look to Egypt to save them. They were to witness Jehovah’s powerful actions in redeeming them and rescuing them from Babylon, not yet even a world power at that time. Rather, he had chosen them as a servant (under the Mosaic covenant), not as witnesses to go out and proclaim.

Video: Regain Joy through Study and Meditation

The video parallels the article’s content in many ways. It tells the likely fictitious story of a regular pioneer sister. She finds herself losing joy, but not because she is doing anything bad. She loves the congregation and Jehovah but found herself unmotivated. She felt something was missing, so her enthusiasm waned and her meeting attendance suffered.

All of this is plausible, but then comes the unlikely departure from reality. Two loving elders noticed and visited her to give her encouragement [to keep up the hour requirement?]. They asked about her spiritual routine [of reading the publications and as an afterthought the bible], and talked about the example of Mary the mother of Jesus who paid careful attention to what she was told by the angels and meditated upon it. The sister had been reading but not digesting, so they helped her take control of her schedule [which should have been done before she was appointed as a pioneer]. Finally they encouraged her (rightly) to do daily personal Bible reading and prayerful meditation.

Many witnesses who visit this site have found that they need to do even more meaningful Bible study and prayer to cope with the lack of motivation they feel for preaching and attending meetings, in this case not due to a lack of study, but rather because study of God’s word has opened their eyes to the misleading predictions and teachings made by the organization.

Many pioneers (and publishers as well) have suffered in these areas for a number of reasons. These include trying to live on meager income through low paying jobs due to a lack of education, qualifications and skills. Also, struggling to reach an artificial man-made target of hours per month, sometimes just for the kudos of being called a ‘regular pioneer’. As a result they have neglected their personal spirituality and can no longer spare time to assist their fellow brothers and sisters, and in some cases not even assist their own (witness) parents.

It was of interest to note that reference to one of the most appropriate scriptures for this common scenario was omitted: Romans 2:21 which asks the question “do you the one teaching someone else, not teach yourself?” In other words we have to feed ourselves spiritually on a regular basis, before attempting to help others. We also need to be convinced by our personal study of the scriptures so we can speak truth from God’s word at all times.

Additionally Jesus condemned the practice known as ‘corban’ mentioned in Matthew 15:5 “Whoever says to his father or mother: “Whatever I have that could benefit you is a gift dedicated to God,” 6 he need not honor his father at all.’ So you have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition.”

The scribes and Pharisees taught that money, property, or anything that a person dedicated as a gift to God belonged to the temple. According to this tradition, a son could keep the dedicated gift and use it for his own interests, claiming that it was reserved for the temple. Some evidently evaded the responsibility of caring for their parents by dedicating their assets in this way.”[2]

There was no counsel to avoid the modern day equivalent practice where many pioneers expect non-pioneer siblings and other witnesses to take care of their aged parents, because they are busy ‘doing the more important work’. Nor was there counsel to older parents to ensure that instead of leaving all their worldly goods to the organization they should first take care of any offspring.

Yes, sadly the whole thrust of this video was to encourage ones to remain as pioneers while no heed was paid to other vital Christian responsibilities. James 1:27 gave a totally different slant from the video on what is important as a Christian when he wrote that “the form of worship that is clean…from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world” by developing Christ-like qualities.

Gods Kingdom Rules (kr chap 14 para 1-7)

The content of paragraph 1 contradicts the opening sentence of paragraph 2. How so? Paragraph 2 opens with: “After the Kingdom was established in 1914”. Yet this statement conflicts with John 18:36, quoted in paragraph 1. Jesus said: “My kingdom is no part of this world”.  He spoke in the present tense, indicating his kingdom had to be already in existence. This was his reply to Pontius Pilate’s question: Are you ‘the king of the Jews’? Therefore, Jesus reply indicated he already had a kingdom of his own, so he was not going to be King of the Jews, in rivalry to Pontius Pilate and Rome. He confirmed this by saying “If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Pilate had nothing to fear, Jesus’ kingdom was not from the support of men.

However we should note that while the kingdom was already established at this time, it would appear Jesus was not yet king at that time, according to the parable he gave in Luke 19:12-27, and Luke 1:33.

Paragraph 2 makes a claim that cannot be substantiated “our unity provides compelling evidence that God’s Kingdom rules”. Unity or at least perceived unity can come about through any number of causes, and is not solely the preserve of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In Nazi Germany for instance there was a perceived unity, because of the oppressive dictatorship, and peer pressure.  There are many organizations, political, social and others which have unity of goals and thoughts because that is the reason they group and congregate together. That does not prove their goal is necessarily right, or for the common good. What unity is however more likely to indicate is that there is strong central control.

Paragraphs 3-5 discuss the changes in understanding regarding being no part of the world with regard to armed conflicts. It was not until a year after the start of the World War I in September 1915 that some guidance was given to the early Bible Students. We have to ask, if these early Bible Students were God’s chosen people, why did they not know about how to abstain from war much earlier? The following religious groups have all had a pacifist or similar stance to wars: the Amish/Mennonites from the late 1500’s, the Quakers from the late 1600’s, and the Christadelphians and Seventh Day Adventists from the 1860’s.  As some ideas such as 1914 had their origins with Seventh Day Adventists, why was this understanding also not taken up?

Paragraph 6 deals with the experience of a Brother Herbert Senior who followed the suggestion of the September 1, 1915 Watchtower. There were four other Bible students with him. Why were they not also mentioned?[3] Further information on the Richmond 16 can be found here.[4] These conscientious objectors included Methodists, a Congregationalist, a Quaker, a Church of England (Lay Reader), and Socialists.

Paragraph 7 shows it took until the beginning of World War II to give clearer direction on neutrality. It claims this was spiritual food at the proper time. Was it? Or was it over 60 years late? Indeed, hundreds of years later than other Christian faiths.

__________________________________________

[1] See previous articles on this site discussing the issues with dating 607 BC as the fall of Jerusalem.

[2] Study Notes: Matthew 15:5 NWT Matthew Study Notes.

[3] Clarence Hall, Charles Rowland Jackson (later left IBSA, but remained a Bible Student), plus 2 others

[4] http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/richmond-castle/richmond-graffiti/c-o-stories/