Treasures from God’s Word – Do you keep your promises?

Ezekiel 17:18,19 – Jehovah expected Zedekiah to keep his word (w12 10/15 page 30 para 11, W88 9/15 page 17 para 8)

The reference for W88 says in the third sentence: “If Zedekiah invoked God’s name in taking his oath, breaking it bought reproach on Jehovah” Here we have another case of speculation, notice the ‘if’. Those reading it however forget the ‘if’ and take it as fact.

Fortunately, in this instance, it does not matter. This reference is actually a case of poor research. 2 Chronicles 36:13 says, talking about Zedekiah, “and even against King Nebuchadnezzar he rebelled, who had made him swear by God”. So by rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar he was definitely bringing reproach against Jehovah God.

Digging for Spiritual Gems

Ezekiel 16:60 – What is the “permanent covenant” and who are included in it? (w88 9/15 17 para7)

The reference correctly gives citations of Jeremiah 31:31-34 as a parallel passage. Jeremiah 31 was written after the 4th year and before the 10th year of Zedekiah. Ezekiel 16 was likely written in the late 6th or early 7th year of Jehoiachin’s exile (which matches the years of Zedekiah). Given the extra detail in Jeremiah it is possible he wrote this after Ezekiel.

The reference, while citing Galatians 6:16, does not cite Luke 22:20 where Jesus instituted the new covenant. The new covenant must be available to all true Christians, not just a limited number, as Judas Iscariot was still at Jesus’ last evening meal and partook in this part of the meal, as shown by Luke 22:21. The covenant for a kingdom that Jesus made with his 11 faithful disciples followed the departure of Judas after he had decided to continue on his unfaithful course.

Fulfilling your marriage vow even when you are disappointed with your marriage. (g14/3 pp. 14-15)

A rare article indeed, where principles found in scriptures, rather than rules, are highlighted, and recommended for application. If only this format was used more often.

Become Jehovah’s Friend – Be Truthful (Video)

The theme scripture is Colossians 3:9 “Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices”. There is little of note in this video but for some blobby nasties. Presumably they are intended to represent lies or demons. It’s not clear which. What is a little disturbing is how one is drawn to watching them, especially when Caleb’s father asks “Would Jesus lie?”, and two of the blobs nod vigorously in agreement which totally overpowers Caleb’ s short nod of disagreement. Also what was the big blob in the background doing swallowing the light? What message is that trying to convey?

The other point is based on a proverbial saying taken from Luke 4:23 “‘Physician, cure yourself;”

While it is admirable that the organization endeavors to help parents teach their children to be honest and not lie, they should be setting the example. During our two most recent circuit visits the circuit overseer opened his item with ‘We are living in the last days of the last days’. On what is this claim based? Given that no reference to any scriptures is given, we can only surmise that it is based on the age of the current Governing Body members and the current interpretation taught that  ‘this generation (represented by the GB) will not pass away’.  They admit they are not inspired, yet they ask us to treat their interpretations are revealed truth and act upon it. Does that not fall into the category of lying, since if they are wrong—as they have been in the past—they could cause their followers harm—as they have done in the past?

We are also taught to obey Caesar’s laws as long as they do not go against God’s laws, yet they refuse to report credible allegations of child physical and sexual abuse to the authorities even when the law mandates it, thus failing in their moral duty to protect fellow witnesses and members of the general public. At times they hunker down under the umbrella of the sanctity of the confessional, claiming clergy privilege, while at the same time teaching that no clergy/laity distinction exists within the Organization.  One definition of a lie is an untruth that seeks to take immoral or wicked advantage of another.  Surely this untruth qualifies.

Gods Kingdom Rules (kr chp. 15 par. 1-8) – Fighting for Freedom to Worship

It is true that worship involves more than what one believes. But does worship actually require the things that the organization has fought for. The area covered this week is the right to exist as an organization and to meet at kingdom halls and assembly halls, and distribute literature.

So we have to ask, are these things a necessary part of worship in the scriptures or is it again an organizational requirement?

One item that stood out in these paragraphs was the fight to be able to print and distribute Bible literature. Did the early Christians suffer bans on bible literature? This doesn’t seem to have been an issue. Indeed they did not use literature, they only relied on the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels and Letters of Paul and the other apostles as they became available.

So why the need today, especially when we have the whole Bible readily available? Could it be that either deliberately or not, more weight is being given to the teachings in the literature than those taken directly from God’s word? Also is the good news being made unnecessarily complicated as a result, so that the simple clarity that the early disciples preached so successfully has been lost? There are no scriptures to support the right to distribute Bible literature.

What about meeting at kingdom halls and assembly halls? Again there is no scriptural requirement for these. True, the Bible does talk about not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:24,25) However, this scripture does not mandate the gathering together in meeting halls. The early Christians met in private homes.

Finally what about the right to exist as an organization? Again, there is no scriptural requirement for an organization, and as mentioned on previous occasions, the word ‘organization’ does not appear in the scriptures. Even the use of ‘association of brothers’ does not qualify as an organized official body. The normal use of the word association is ‘a connection or co-operative link between people or organizations.’ As they were brothers they had a co-operative link between them. To use the word association to prove existence of an organization is disingenuous at best. The Greek word used in 1 Peter 2:17 is adelphotes which means ‘brotherhood’, ‘band of brothers’, which implies an informal group of friends or brothers with the same interests.

So the brothers are fighting in the courts for things which are Organizational requirements, not Scriptural necessities.

Additionally, while these rights have been fought for and established in law in many countries, there has been no effort to fight for these rights in outright Muslim countries, and extreme Communist countries. Other arrangements have been made for these countries. So we ask, was the fight really necessary? Surely if it is necessary for ‘Western lands’ it is also necessary for Muslim and communist lands, and vice-versa.  Is Jehovah’s hand short, or does he simply not require such things at all?

When we read paragraph 8, we can only ask how do the witnesses in Russia feel about being under ban yet again in the year of 2017? We would want to have empathy for the witnesses as individuals, but once again it appears that to some extent it has been either unnecessarily provoked or at least incurred, in part due to the unscriptural rules they enforce, such as the policy of complete shunning of disassociated and disfellowshipped ones until reinstatement takes place.