Treasures from Gods Word – Ezekiel’s Temple Vision and you

Ezekiel 40:2 – Jehovah’s worship is elevated high above any other form of worship (w99 3/1 11 para 16

The reference states in the last sentence, “In fact, it has been in our own time, ‘the final part of the days’, that pure worship has been lifted up, restored to its proper place in the lives of God’s servants”. However, the prophecy in Micah 4 quoted in that sentence is far from clear as to what ‘final part of the days’ it is referring to. Micah 1:1 states that it is a vision concerning Samaria and Jerusalem, with no indication that it has either an anti-typical fulfillment nor that its fulfillment would be at Armageddon. If the ‘final part of the days’ refers to the last days of the Jewish system during the 1st century—the likely meaning given Micah’s target audience—then the pure worship and peoples streaming to Jehovah would be referring to the spread of Christianity drawing both Jews and Gentiles.

Second, but of no lessor importance, James 1:26,27 says: ‘”The form of worship that is clean and undefiled [pure] from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation’.  The worldwide record of the Organization’s policy of mishandling the crime of child sexual abuse is making headlines in country after country’s.  This growing scandal hardly qualifies as a fulfillment of a prophesy that speaks of ‘pure worship being lifted up.’

By acting with a legalistic mentality rather than out of love, JW.org has “become a sounding piece of brass or a clashing cymbal”, boasting of itself, but failing to live up to the standard of the law of love, the law of the Christ. (1Co 13:1; 1:31)

When Can I Next Serve as an Auxiliary Pioneer?

This article and its associated video is part of the relentless pressure put upon Witnesses to do more field service as if that is what defines a Christian. Engrossing themselves in Organizational activities keeps Witnesses too busy to have time to really study the bible in any depth and find out for themselves the full breadth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge. (Romans 11:33)

The scripture cited, Hebrews 13:15,16, when read without an Organization-biased slant, says “do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others, for God is well-pleased with such sacrifices.” Doing good to others is usually considered to be helping others, treating them kindly, and sharing what you have with others speaks for itself. It means share your money, clothing, time and other possessions. Only by extension of the principle, can this scripture be applied to preaching the good news. However, if you ask most Witnesses what do these verses mean for us, they will answer that they means sharing the good news with people, because this scripture is used to apply to giving sacrifices of praise to Jehovah and specifically preaching in over 75% of the citations. The 25% where the publications refer to actually doing good deeds to others is usually glossed over and then emphasis is given back to preaching, or contributing to the Organization so that God can be praised more.

Then in the next paragraph an interesting claim is made. ‘The 2018 service year contains several months that have five Saturdays or five Sundays’. Now it is written in such a way as to get the average reader to think: there are more months this service year with an extra weekend day than usual, therefore I should take the opportunity to pioneer. However, is that really the case? There are 11 months in a year when this can happen. There are 7 months when it is highly likely as they contain 31 days, which have 3 days extra over 4 complete weeks. The actual likelihood is 3/7 or 42.8% for these months and for 4 months the probability is 2/7 or 28.5%. So in any typical year there will be at least 1 x 30 day month and 3 x 31 day months, a total of 4 months with at least 5 Saturdays or 5 Sundays, and the likelihood of at least one having 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. So, when the paragraph says ‘several’ it is nothing out of the ordinary. The year 2019 will have several and the year of 2017 has several. Suddenly 2018 is not so special after all. It is just a cleverly worded sentence to push the reader to do something extra, thinking you may not get the opportunity again; when in fact you will have virtually the same opportunity next year and the year after that and so on.

To show what an artificial construct this is, they have extended the 30-hours-requirement carrot to cover potentially four months: March, April and the months of the two visits of the circuit overseer. Is Jehovah being generous, or is this merely a man-made campaign incentive to rally the troops?

Video – With Jehovah, I can do almost anything.

The video is mainly a wonderful example of how someone physically handicapped can, with determination, do many things others would deem impossible.

Without taking away anything from Sabina, there are a few things about this video we should note.

The first thing is that Sabina lives in a Latin American country. In these countries, brothers and sisters (and the public at large) are much more friendly and helpful to one another than in the Western world. If she were in the USA or Europe while she may have more technically superior transportation devices, etc., she would find less willingness for assistance on a regular basis. This would limit more what she would be able to do.

Secondly the whole thrust of the video is shown at the 5:40 mark, where a sister says “if Sabina can do it (referring to auxiliary pioneering), then the rest of us can do it”. The subliminal message behind this statement is: Why are you not pioneering? You are not disabled are you?  This guilt-trip motivation technique is not based in the love of God.[1]

Therefore, here are some reasons as to why the average witness may not be able to auxiliary pioneer.

  • There is no indication that Sabina works secularly to care for or support a family, which would occupy most of her daylight hours, potentially 6 days a week. Rather, she is lovingly cared for and supported by her family.
  • She does not lack for companions to assist her in the field service. Again, this is different in other congregations and other countries. You may say, the caring, helpful attitude should be the same all around the world, but it is most definitely not.
  • While her health condition is a tragedy that only the Messianic kingdom can fix, others have other health conditions that may be hidden or debilitating, but in a different way.

Congregation Book Study (kr chap. 17 para 1-9)

This week, the first five paragraphs are about how Jehovah taught Jesus while in heaven, and then in paragraph six what instruction Jesus gave his disciples. After establishing that Jesus gave training and clear instructions to his disciples for the specific mission they were given, the unsupported claim is made that Jesus has made sure his followers today have received training [from the Organization]. There is no scriptural basis cited for this claim.

Going further, the implication is made that the assemblies, conventions and congregation meetings, as they are arranged by ‘Jehovah’s Organization’ for ‘training Gods people’, have Jehovah’s backing and guidance. What evidence is there of this. As discussed in previous weeks, the meetings currently provided came about after suggestions by prominent brothers. There was no direction from the Scriptures as to the quantity, format or content. Nor did they claim verifiable inspiration. It is interesting to note that it took ‘God’s people’ more than 70 years to realise that training was needed for public preaching. If public preaching is so vital (as opposed to private preaching) why did it take that long?

Perhaps the clue is in Matthew 10:19, 20 cited in paragraph 6. Admittedly it was concerning being hauled before courts but there Jesus told the disciples ‘do not be anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to be speak in that hour; for the ones speaking are not just you, but it is the spirit of your father that speaks by you’. In other words, Holy Spirit would assist them, rather than anything taught by other men.

Perhaps the real key to witnessing to others is not a man-made Organization’s training program, but heartfelt desire to share the truth. For as Jesus said in Luke 6:45 “a good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks”. If we cultivate a love of God’s word, principles, and the good news, then we will be motivated to speak to others about what we learn. It will not necessarily mean knocking on a door, but person to person with people we know, or work with or relatives, and also by backing up our speech by our actions that show we truly love God and our fellow man.

___________________________________________________

[1] Incidentally, ‘Auxiliary pioneering’ is an Organization-made construct with no scriptural basis. There was no concept of ‘pioneering’ among early Christians. Each did what they were able. Would Roman slaves who became Christians have been able to auxiliary or regular pioneer, had such a thing existed?