[From ws6/17 p. 4 – July 31-August 6]
“The God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our trials.”—2Co 1:3, 4
(Occurrences: Jehovah=23; Jesus=2)
Here we go again, marginalizing Jesus. The title and theme text make the reader think that all comfort comes from Jehovah, but if they dutifully quoted the full thought from Paul expressed in the opening verses of the second letter to the Corinthians—perhaps even making it the “Read Scripture” for paragraph 1—the flock would get a better picture of Jesus’ role in providing comfort.
“May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our trials so that we may be able to comfort others in any sort of trial with the comfort that we receive from God. 5 For just as the sufferings for the Christ abound in us, so the comfort we receive through the Christ also abounds.” (2Co 1:2-5)
In other words, take Jesus out of the picture and we get no comfort from God at all. No Jesus, no comfort. It’s that simple. Despite this reality, no reference to our Lord’s vital role in providing comfort to the oppressed is made in this article.
Jesus said: “. . .Come to me, all YOU who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh YOU. 29 Take my yoke upon YOU and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and YOU will find refreshment for YOUR souls. 30 For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”” (Mt 11:28-30)
This was a “new truth” if you will, or better said, a new reality that transcended the comfort provided to God’s servants in pre-Christian Israelite times. Does this article make use of the abundant examples from the life of Jesus to show his followers—for that is what Witnesses still claim to be, n’est-ce pas—that he is now the means by which we can gain comfort and refreshment for our souls? Not a bit of it! No, all the examples harken back to the times before Christ came to earth to free us from sin. They go way back to before the flood for one example of God’s comfort. Fair enough. Nothing wrong with drawing from the times before Jesus for examples of God comforting his servants, but a little balance please! Let us give the man his due. (Romans 5:15; 1 Timothy 2:5)
Unfortunately, they do not. In this article, Jehovah is referred to 23 times, while Jesus garners only two adjectival mentions: “Jesus’ promise” (par. 9) and “Jesus’ day” (par. 12). An exceedingly poor showing, even for The Watchtower.
The rest of the issue deals with the difficulties facing married couples. Of course, some of those difficulties are the result of failed expectations born of the false teachings and “end mongering” of the Organization. How many couples would have had children had they not been primed to believe the end was “just around the corner”? How many elderly couples today have no children to care for them in their old age because of their misguided trust in the prophetic interpretations of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses? How many families made poor financial decisions, even to spending all their savings, during the euphoria of the 1975 fiasco? How many children from that era were deprived because their parents, thinking the end was only a few years away, uprooted them before completing school, going off to serve where the “need was greater”, squandering the money that could have been used to provide their offspring with an education resulting in gainful employment. All of this was done in a vain attempt to curry favor with God before Armageddon struck?
Does the Governing Body acknowledge any role whatsoever in the “tribulations of the flesh” that they have caused? Their repeated “adjustments” (really, misapplications) to the interpretation of “this generation” (Matthew 24:34) have caused many a couple to put off having children until it was too late, or make other life-altering ill-informed decisions.
Has the Governing Body learned from their past mistakes. Oh yes, they have learned from their mistakes. They have learned from their mistakes and are repeating them exactly. After dropping (in the mid-1990s) the whole idea of calculating the length of the last days by using a generation as the measuring stick, they resurrected it once again in 2010, stretching credulity to the breaking point for many JWs. The latest “adjustment” to their application of Matthew 24:34 has them creating a super-generation consisting of two disparate but overlapping generations. By their calculations, this new super-generation means the end will come before the current members of the Governing Body are old and decrepit. (See They’re Doing It Again.) Given their ages, we’re talking in the 8 to 10 year range—15 tops.
Of course, this isn’t the only way they’ve contributed to the “tribulation in the flesh” for married couples and their children. Their ongoing denunciation of higher education has deprived many of gainful employment and ensured them of a life of economic hardship working in demeaning and tedious jobs.
Some would argue that Jehovah has always provided, and yes He does provide. But does he provide because he supports the ban on higher education, or in spite of it. We are all free to choose our own course. If you want to study to be a lawyer or a doctor, that’s fine. If you want to live out your life as a window washer or a night janitor, more power to you. But no one should try to impose their rules and standards upon you. No one should guilt you into making a decision you would have not made of your own free will. That would decidedly be “going beyond what is written.” (1Co 4:6)
Any thoughtful Witness would do well to ponder the following words of our Lord Jesus to see if maybe, just maybe, they continue to apply to this day.
“They bind up heavy loads and put them on the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger.” (Mt 23:4)