Treasures from Gods Word – Pure Worship Restored

 Ezekiel 45:16 – The people would support those whom Jehovah had appointed to take the lead (w99 3/1 10 para 10)

Please take a moment to read Ezekiel 45:16,17.

The context of Ezekiel 45—for example vs 1—shows it was referring to a time when the Jews would be restored back to the land of Israel from captivity in Babylon and the surrounding nations.  It says ‘ When you allot the land as an inheritance, you should offer as a contribution to Jehovah a holy portion out of the land’. With this in mind, who would be the chieftain mentioned in vs 16? It would be Zerubbabel in the first instance, and later Nehemiah, as the Governors. Ezra 1:9 talks of ‘Sheshbazzar, the chieftain of Judah.’ Nehemiah 8:9 talks of Nehemiah being the Tirshatha, a Persian word for Governor. Both Zerubbabel and Nehemiah were appointed by the then ruling Persian King.

Does this verse have an anti-type. There is no evidence that it does, but if a parallel can be drawn, it would surely be with Jesus Christ as the Chieftain.

Now look at the reference and spot the differences. It says in part: “So in the restored land, the people were to contribute to the work of those whom Jehovah appointed to take the lead, supporting them by cooperating with their direction. In all, this land was a picture of Organization, cooperation, and security.”

What is the Governing Body implying here?  Seemingly , that we rank-and-file Witnesses should contribute money and free labour to the Organization. Why? Among other things, to keep them in luxurious dwellings the like of which most Witnesses can only dream about.  Even if we accept that there is some antitypical correspondence—something for which there is no evidence—we are still left with a context that does not support it.

To begin with, the Chieftains were appointed by the ruling secular authority of the Persian empire, not by Jehovah.  Additionally, in Ezekiel 45:9, Jehovah strongly counselled the Chieftains of Israel, saying ‘Remove the violence and the despoiling and do justice and righteousness themselves’. So maybe if the Governing Body wants to apply vs16 to themselves, they need to also apply this verse. How about displaying righteousness and giving justice to those who have suffered abuse from so-called brothers, or those who have suffered other injustices at the hands of wolves in sheep’s clothing?

The context, as shown in this whole chapter of Ezekiel, is Jehovah putting in place a framework whereby the chieftain would have a source of income, which he was to use for the sacrifices at the temple; and it was only to be used for that purpose. This was to stop abuse by the chieftains of their position. Confirmation of this arrangement is found in Nehemiah 5:14,15, where Nehemiah states that he did not take his due as chieftain and governor, but that some chieftains in the time following Zerubbabel had abused the position despite Ezekiel’s warning.

Finally, Chieftains are rulers, like Jesus Christ, not slaves, whether faithful and discreet or evil. Jesus reminded his disciples in Matthew 20:25-27 ‘You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them…this is not the way among you…whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave [Note: not Chieftain!]’

Digging for Spiritual Gems – Ezekiel 45:9,10: Jehovah has always required what of those desiring to gain his approval? (it-2 140)

This passage of Scripture shows Jehovah telling those in authority in Israel to bring an end to their own violence and oppression and to start showing justice and righteousness, and stop seizing the property of Jehovah’s people. Let us discuss each of these points:

  1. Those in authority bringing an end to their own violence and oppression.
    • The Governing Body claim to have been given authority by Jesus. As they wield authority over the brothers and sisters they should listen and apply this scripture to themselves.
    • As brothers and sisters are we oppressed? The immediate response by many may be No. But, stop and think for a moment. What would be the consequence(s) if I did any of the following?
      • For instance: What would happen to me if I questioned one of the current teachings of the Governing Body, such as the latest understanding on the meaning of the generation of Matthew 24? What would happen if I start to miss meetings regularly, or start to miss field service regularly? What if I stopped handing in a field service report, or failed to give a signed copy of my Medical Alert card to the secretary? What if I grew a beard? What if one of my children went to University? If you have not tried doing any of these and wonder what we mean, humour us and try one. Especially try asking one of the Elders to explain the current generation teaching, or to explain why the Organization could publish the Revelation Climax book in 1988 and only 3 or 4 years later become affiliated with the UN Organization as a non-governmental Organization (NGO)?[1] Or ask them if the Australian Royal High Commission on Child Abuse is an apostate website? Ask them whether Governing Body member, Geoffrey Jackson, lied under oath to the ARC when stating that it would be presumptuous to say that the Governing Body is the only spokesman God is using on earth.
  2. Those in authority to start exercising justice.
    • Though the victims of physical and sexual abuse (amongst others) by other witnesses (often appointed men) have been crying out for justice, this has fallen on deaf ears. There have been no apologies; virtually no change in policy; denial that a problem even exists; and no effort to report these crimes unless explicitly compelled to do so by law. Is that a Christ-like attitude? Would you want such ones to rule over you in Paradise, ones that brush such a serious problem under the carpet instead of endeavouring to ensure justice prevails?
    • The need to totally rethink the whole concept of a judicial committee, because it clearly is not working, and more importantly has no scriptural basis.
    • What scriptural basis is there to remove a spiritual man’s congregation privileges because he chooses to allow or encourage one of his children to have a university education as say a medical doctor, or a civil or mechanical engineer? What is really behind the ban on higher education?
  3. Stop seizing the property of those under their authority.
    • What about those congregations who have been disbanded or moved to share another hall because their existing hall has been sold out from under them, with all the proceeds going to the Organization.  Congregations are not even consulted before a sale, even when they have been completely built and paid for by the local brothers and sisters.

Why do you value Pure Worship?

A better question would be: Do you value pure worship?

We cannot have any blessings, if we do not have pure worship. How pure is the worship as practiced by Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The following claims are made in the article:

  1. Abundant spiritual food that provides answers to life’s big questions, practical values to live by, and a sure hope.
    • Do you find the spiritual food is abundant? What are the facts? In the last decade, the Awake magazine has been cut from semi-monthly 32 pages to bi-monthly 16 pages, a 7/8ths reduction (16/128). The Watchtower has been cut from semi-monthly 32 pages to monthly 32 pages and bi-monthly 16 pages, nearly a 2/3rds reduction (48/128). New booklets have dried up. Books which were often published 1 or 2 times a year, have also become 1 every 2 years or so. The only ‘additional food’ in this time has been the monthly web broadcast, and the occasional Caleb and Sophia 5 minute cartoon for kids. Not only that, the actual content is thin on real spiritual meat.  At best, it is milk of the word. Just look through The Watchtower article reviews on this website to see the common repetitive themes: the most common one being loyalty to the Organization. In-depth articles on true Christian qualities are rarities. Pick one of the fruits of the spirit at random and search for a comprehensive Watchtower study article on that subject alone, and compare with the articles you will find if you search for “loyalty” or “Organization”.
    • A sure hope? No, a removal of hope. As discussed in the recent topic on this site (See I’m not Worthy) the real meaning of John 6:53-58 is hidden from us. We are also taught that we can only now become friends of God, not God’s adopted children.
    • Practical values to live by? There is a scarcity of well-considered articles detailing how we can put the fruits of the spirit into practice. Yet there are so many articles on preaching, loyalty to men, and the “do-nots”, that is, abstaining from ‘harmful practices’.  The focus is either on works or on abstinance, but not real spirituality.
  2. A loving worldwide brotherhood.
    • The love we are to have is that of John 13:34.  Not just love for those who we call our own, but the self-sacrificing love of Jesus, who loved his disciples, even after they abandoned him.  Stop going to meetings, or stop turning in a field service report and see if the love you expect as a Christian continues to come your way.  Challenge a single teaching and see if you are not mindlessly prejudged as an apostate.
  3. The privilege of being God’s fellow workers is a satisfying work.
    • Acts 20:35 is quoted where we are reminded that Jesus said “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving”. However, this scripture is usually used in the context of preaching to people, not physically giving of our time and resources to help people live and live better lives.
  4. The peace of God that strengthens us during adversity.
    • Pure worship would not bring us unnecessarily into conflict with others and governments, because Jehovah is a God of peace. Yet as discussed in the CLAM review in recent weeks, many trials have been brought upon brothers in the Organization, because of Organization rules which have unnecessarily brought them into conflict with authorities and others.
  5. A clean conscience.
    • With the constant push to do ever more, how many witnesses truthfully go to bed at night with a clean conscience, knowing that they have done everything asked of them by the Organization, and hence in their view, Jehovah. Yet a clean conscience is possible by God’s grace, rather than on fulfilling a myriad of arbitrary man-made requirements.
  6. Close friendship with Jehovah.
    • Many translations of Psalm 25:14 talk about ‘intimacy with Jehovah’ rather than ‘friendship’. Jesus’ ransom sacrifice was to give mankind the opportunity to once again become sons of God as Adam was a son of God. It was so that Jehovah could be our Father, and we could be intimate with him as sons and daughters, far better than the intimacy of friends.

So when the question is asked, “In what ways can I demonstrate that I value pure worship?” the answer should be: By finding out for myself from God’s Word what pure worship really is, and then endeavouring to practice it in my life. As we have an accounting with God, we individually have the responsibility to practice pure worship.  We cannot and should not abdicate those decisions to an Organization. If we do, then we will have to answer to God for that decision and accept the consequences.

Congregation Book Study (kr chap. 17 para 10-18)

This week’s portion is all about the various schools arranged by the Organization. There is the Gilead School for missionaries, the Pioneer Service School, the Bible School for Christian Couples and the Bible school for Single Brothers—all designed to help those who attend to ‘develop spiritually and to take a zealous lead in the evangelizing work’. However, there is a vital part missing: Learning to be a Christian.

James 1:26,27 warns us that if one is ‘a formal worshiper, and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man’s form of worship is futile. The form of worship that is clean and undefiled 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’. Did you spot training for zealous ministry in those verses? No. Did you spot training to look after widows and orphans as a vital part of the courses? No.

The final few paragraphs deal with the Kingdom Ministry School for Elders and Ministerial Servants. As paragraph 18 says “when elders and ministerial servants apply what they have learned at the school…they are a source of refreshment to their fellow believers”.  The big key word is “when”. In my experience, the elders or ministerial servants generally applied very little if any of what they were taught in this regard. In fact, sometimes they seemed to purposely ignore or go against the sensible things they were taught. There was only a small minority that ever really made the effort to improve the way they dealt with the brothers. Also, the actual material covered contributes to this attitude, as large parts are dealing with judicial matters instead of shepherding and truly assisting the brothers.

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[1] For the curious, go to this site: UN official website page; or type ‘Watchtower UN’ into google and choose the first result.  The actual letter can be downloaded here.