[Total Count in References: Jehovah: 40, Jesus: 4, Organization: 1]

Treasures from Gods Word – Loyalty to Jehovah brings Rewards

Daniel 2:44 Why will God’s Kingdom have to crush the earthly rulerships depicted in the image. (w01 10/15 6 para4)

This reference starts by quoting Daniel 2:44 “In the days of those kings [ruling at the end of the present system] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin.  ….”.

Whoa! Just a minute did you spot the subtle insert of organizational interpretation [in brackets]?

Let us examine the context. Daniel 2:38-40 mentions Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold and 1st Kingdom. Then the breasts and arms of silver [which is accepted by all as the Persian Empire] as the 2nd Kingdom, the belly and thighs were of copper, [accepted as the Greek Empire ‘that will rule over the whole earth’] as the 3rd Kingdom and the legs and feet of iron with the feet having clay mixed in with iron as the 4th Kingdom.

Why do we say the 4th Kingdom is also the feet with clay? Because v41 talks about ‘the kingdom’ which in the context is a reference to the 4th kingdom. The 4th Kingdom is accepted and understood as the Roman Empire. So when according to the scripture does ‘the God of heaven set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin’? ‘In the days of those kings’ already spoken about, not a new set of kings. There is no scriptural basis to split the feet from the legs and turn them into a 5th kingdom. Each kingdom in the dream is numbered after the first relating to Nebuchadnezzar which Daniel states. There is a second, third and fourth. If there were a fifth or a derivation of a fifth from the fourth why is that not stated?  It is simply a description of how the iron-like fourth kingdom would lose its strength towards its end. Does that match the record of history? Yes, the Roman Empire degenerated into pieces due to internal strife and weakness, rather than being conquered by another empire. All the previous 3 empires were overthrown by the next empire.

Ezekiel 21:26,27 stated about the rulership of God’s nation of Israel: “it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him”. Luke 1:26-33 records the birth of Jesus where the angel said “Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.

So when did Jehovah give Jesus the throne of David his father?

There were 5 significant events during the time of the 4th Empire when this could have occurred:

  • Jesus birth.
  • Jesus baptism by John and anointing with Holy Spirit by God.
  • Jesus being hailed as King of the Jews during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem days before his death,
  • Immediately after he died and was resurrected.
  • When he ascended to heaven 40 days later to offer his ransom sacrifice to God.

In the normal practice of hereditary Kingship, the legal right is inherited at birth, provided the offspring is born to parents who can pass on that legal right. This would indicate that Jesus was given the legal right at birth. However that is a different event to actually taking office as King or having a kingdom to rule over. With a child\youth a protector is usually appointed until the youth comes of age as an adult. Through the ages this time has varied between ages and cultures, however in Roman times it seems men had to be at least 25 years old before they got complete control of their lives in a legal sense.

With this background it would make sense that Jehovah would appoint Jesus as King of his Kingdom when he was an adult. The first important event to take place in Jesus adult life was when he got baptised and was anointed by God.

Amongst other scriptures in Colossians 1:13 Paul wrote that “He rescued us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son”. The implication here in Colossians is that the kingdom was already setup, during the days of the 4th kingdom otherwise it would have been impossible to be transferred into that kingdom. We should also note that the text and tense of Daniel 2:44b allows for the crushing of all these kingdoms by Christs’ Kingdom to take place at a later date. That the kingdom would be setup in the days of the Roman Empire is indicated in Daniel 2:28 ‘.. what is to occur in the final part of the days. …’ and Daniel 10:14 indicates that these days would be at the end of the Jewish system of things when it says ‘and I have come to cause you to discern what will befall your (Daniel’s) people in the final part of the days’. As a nation the Jews ceased to exist in 70CE with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and Judea. The days between Jesus starting to preach and 70CE were the last or final part of the days of the Jewish system of things. Additionally no one could claim the legal right mentioned in Ezekiel after 70 CE because the genealogical records were destroyed at that time.

Talk (w17.02 29-30) Does Jehovah assess in advance how much pressure we can bear and then choose the trials we will face?

It seems that this is a genuine question as it quotes the sad situation of a brother and sister whose son committed suicide, and this is question that the brother asked in trying to deal with the distressing aftermath.

The simple answer would be no, simply because God is love and therefore as this would not be loving, God would not do it.

What is puzzling is that the key scripture that would answer this question is absent from what is quite a lengthy article. That key scripture is James 1:12,13. In part, it says ‘when under trial, let no one say I am being tried by God, for with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.’

If Jehovah our Father were to choose which trials we face and which we don’t, he would be responsible for those trials which fell upon us, yet James 1 clearly says he does not try anyone with evil. James encourages us in the verse prior (v12) saying ‘happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who continue loving him.’

How could we continue loving someone who decided that we should bear some terrible trial such as that stated at the beginning of the article, rather than saving us from it?

For instance, does it make sense that God would look at the current extreme weather systems hitting parts of the globe and decide: this Caribbean island can bear the record breaking Hurricane Irma, but that Caribbean island cannot; or that Houston can bear being severely flooded by a year’s rainfall in a week, but Mexico and its neighbours have to suffer an earthquake? Of course not. Rather, we know these are natural events, perhaps caused in part by man’s ongoing destruction of the planet, and some purely by a particular random set of trigger events combining.

Also, to imply that our Father looks into the future and chooses what trials we face would mean we have no option but to face them. That attitude is similar to the Calvinistic teaching of pre-destination, where Calvinists believe that God “freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass.”[1]

These teachings are contrary to the fact that we have been given free will, that time and unforeseen events befall us all, that while God can foresee the future, he only chooses to do so for events that affect the outworking of his purpose. We are not helpless puppets, but what we sow we do reap. (Galatians 6:7) So, how we choose to deal with events that befall us is up to us. If we ignore the support of God and Christ Jesus, we could fail to bear up under trial; if we follow the encouragement of Psalm 55:22 then we can bear up. Why? Because we will be able to receive their support. Yes, ‘throw your burden on Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.’ (Ps 55:22)

Be Loyal when Tempted – Video

“Renounce your religion” was the demand of the prison commander in this video. If any of us are ever in such a position, we would want to be sure that our religion is worth forgoing the benefits of rejecting it.

What is “to renounce”? It is defined as ‘formally to declare one’s abandonment of something’.

What is a religion? It is defined as ‘a particular system of faith and worship’.

What is faith? It is defined as a ‘complete trust or confidence in someone or something e.g. Jehovah God and Jesus Christ’ or as a ‘strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.’

From the above, we can therefore conclude that religion is a man-made construct, and consequently we could renounce it, especially if we find it to be teaching falsehoods. However, to renounce our faith in God and Christ Jesus which is our personally held belief and trust would be a far more serious matter. More importantly, we would want to ensure that at all times we have a ‘complete trust or confidence in Jehovah God and Jesus Christ’ by making certain that we study God’s word regularly and are very familiar with it.

On the other hand, having a strong belief in the doctrines of an organized religion—which is prone to error, being man-made—based on spiritual conviction rather than proof, could lead us to make a potentially perilous decision. Yes, we need to prove what we believe to ourselves and build up our own faith, rather than meekly accepting what other men teach. As Romans 3:4 says “But let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.”

(As a side point, the contributing writers would always encourage readers of articles on this site to check the scriptures for themselves and be convinced in their own mind that what has been written is in accord with God’s Word. We always endeavour to write in accord with the Scriptures, but being imperfect men, we make mistakes.  So these articles should be treated as essays wherein we invite commentary.)

Be Loyal when a Relative is Disfellowshipped – Video.

The key issue portrayed is that Sonja didn’t have a hatred for what is bad. This is a problem that all Christians can face. Sonja was disfellowshipped for being unrepentant. The video implies fornication. As a result, the parents did not allow Sonja to remain in house as she was continuing in the wrong lifestyle and being a bad influence on her siblings.

In the example given of Aaron having to forego mourning for his two sons that God had put to death, Jehovah himself gave the clear command through Moses. Mourning also only lasts for a short time, not an indefinite period. Finally, as the sons had been put to death by Jehovah, not being spoken to or shunned was the least of their problems.

Sadly, many Witness parents extend this treatment to their children who are disfellowshipped while unrepentant at the committee hearing, but are no longer continuing in that lifestyle. The situation in Corinth recorded in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 only lasted until the wrongdoer stopped practicing the sin. There was no requirement spelt out that such a wrongdoer required a minimum period of shunning. Indeed the opposite, 2 Corinthians 2:7 records: “On the contrary now, you should kindly forgive and comfort him, that somehow such a man may not be swallowed up by his being overly sad.” However, the video shows Sonja trying to contact the parents by phone, who just ignored the call and made no attempt to call back. This goes contrary to the scriptural admonition just cited from 2 Corinthians. The parents had no way of knowing if Sonja was still committing the wrongdoing that led to her disfellowshipping, but they ignored the call regardless. There is no scriptural backing for not talking to a family member, especially one who is not trying to promote and practice wrongdoing. This is a total misapplication of the scripture in 2 John 9-11.

In context, the scripture is referring to those who teach contrary to the teachings of Christ: ‘Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ’.  It is not referring to those who may be sinning in other ways; nor is it referring to one organization’s definition of the teachings of Christ.

To receive someone into your home is to show hospitality and seek out the company of such a person. Clearly, that would not be advisable if they are promoting wrongdoing, but does it preclude acknowledging their presence, or trying to encourage them to return to serving God and Jesus and giving up their wrong course? Does it preclude accepting a simple phone call from them?  No. Of course not. Speaking to someone is not the same as seeking out their intimate company nor showing hospitality.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, even though Samaritans and Jews avoided social interaction in the first century, shunning each other, Jesus showed that human decency was still required when the Samaritan stopped and rendered aid to the injured and dying Jew.

What if Sonja had been involved in a serious accident and had called her parents for help?

The ‘silent treatment’ meted out by a parent to a child doing wrong, or a spouse to their mate when displeased with them, is universally denounced, because it does far more harm than good. Indeed, it is deemed cruel. In the U.K., it is termed ‘sending someone to Coventry’. What is the meaning of this saying? It is ‘to deliberately ostracise someone. Typically, this is done by not talking to them, avoiding their company, and generally pretending that they no longer exist. Victims are treated as though they are completely invisible and inaudible.’

Did Jesus ever ostracise anyone? Criticise, yes; ostracise, no. He always showed love and tried to help even his enemies.  Indeed the scriptural advice is to sort out the matter before sunset, that same day. (Ephesians 4:26) So should we treat our Christian brothers and sisters any differently?

What does shunning in this manner lead to:

“Shunning is usually approved of (if sometimes with regret) by the group engaging in the shunning, and usually highly disapproved of by the target of the shunning, resulting in a polarization of views. Those subject to the practice respond differently, usually depending both on the circumstances of the event, and the nature of the practices being applied. Extreme forms of shunning have damaged some individuals’ psychological and relational health.

A key detrimental effect of some of the practices associated with shunning relate to their effect on relationships, especially family relationships. At its extremes, the practices may destroy marriages, break up families, and separate children and their parents. The effect of shunning can be very dramatic or even devastating on the shunned, as it can damage or destroy the shunned member’s closest familial, spousal, social, emotional, and economic bonds.

Extreme shunning may cause traumas to the shunned (and to their dependents) similar to what is studied in the psychology of torture.”[2] (Bold ours)

Those tempted to practice shunning a disfellowshipped person should ask themselves these searching questions:

  • Does shunning always achieve its purpose? It seems it rarely does, at least in a non-harmful way.
  • What effects does shunning have? It damages some individuals’ psychological state and relationships. It can cause traumas, similar to that experienced in torture. It may destroy marriages, and break up families.
  • Are all these tortures and traumas and damages, the kind of practices that sound Christ-like to you?

The video unknowingly gives away the real reason. Emotional blackmail!  Sonja confesses that her parents didn’t contact her ‘because one small dose of association may have satisfied me’ and ‘stopped me from returning to Jehovah’.

The result of such treatment is counterproductive: ‘Sociologist Andrew Holden’s research indicates that many Witnesses who would otherwise defect because of disillusionment with the organization and its teachings retain affiliation out of fear of being shunned and losing contact with friends and family members.[3]

In conclusion, were Sonja’s parents loyal to Jehovah? No, they were loyal to man-made rules from a man-made organization. The rules enforced are not Christ-like in any shape or form.

Congregation Book Study (kr chap. 18 para 1-8)

Section 6 Intro

This section starts with an imaginary scenario. Why do we say imaginary? It says ‘in a way you are even prouder now, for the Kingdom Hall has been transformed temporarily into a relief center. After a recent storm brought floods and devastation to your region, the Branch Committee quickly organized a way for the victims of the disaster to get food, clothing, clean water and other help’.

Is this your experience? At the time of preparation (8th September 2017) there was nothing on the JW.Org newsroom about what, if anything is being done to relieve the victims of the Houston, Texas, USA, floods which occurred during the last few days of August 2017. 30,000 had been made homeless by 29 August. There is a news item about the random stabbing of a sister in Finland 10 days before (18 August) which was posted on the 4th September, so maybe we have to wait and see. Perhaps someone can inform us. By the 13th of September, there were two items on Hurricane Irma, but still nothing about Houston.

Any dictionary will show that the following words are all synonyms:

  • Beg – ask earnestly.
  • Petition – formal written request. (entreaty, plea
  • Appeal – verbal (potentially televised) request.
  • Solicit
  • Exhort
  • Call on
  • Ask
  • Request
  • Look for
  • Press for
  • Entreat
  • Plea
  • Prayer
  • Implore

Paragraphs 1-8

It’s very interesting to see the original attitude of Br. Russell as quoted in paragraph 1 from the July 15, 1915, Watchtower pp. 218-219. There he said “When one gets a blessing and has any means, he wants to use it for the Lord. If he has no means, why should we prod him for it.” So, the common sense rule was ‘why should we prod for it’.

Then at the end of paragraph 2 it says ‘As we consider how Kingdom [read JW organization] activities are being financed today, each of us would do well to ask, ‘How can I show my support for the Kingdom?’ Is that not a prod or a nudge?

In paragraph 6 we are reminded that neither Moses nor David had to pressure God’s people to give. Then ‘We are well aware that the work God’s Kingdom [read JW.org] is doing requires money.’

Let us examine paragraph 7’s claim that ‘Zion’s Watch Tower has, we believe, JEHOVAH for its backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: ’All the gold and the silver of the mountains are mine’ fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication’.

Remember the synonyms of ‘beg’ and ‘petition’ mentioned above and the promise of no ‘prods’?

What was the Watchtower Study article for the week August 28 – September 3, 2017, entitled ‘Seeking Riches that are True’ if not a prod; asking or petitioning for funds?

Does not this sentence sound like a prod, request, entreaty, exhortation, petition, to you? ‘An obvious way to prove ourselves faithful with our material things is by contributing financially to the worldwide preaching work’. [4]

Many may not realize, but such an article is published at least once a year, and then usually a summary talk in the service meeting (Now CLAM meeing) is given based on that article, usually at the end of the year when people get their work bonuses.

Paragraph 8 makes the bold claim: ‘Jehovah’s people do not beg for money. They do not pass collection plates or send out letters of solicitation. Neither do they use bingo, bazaars, or raffles to raise money’. All that is true, but the organization does make web broadcasts requesting money for projects they would like to do, and publish Watchtower study articles prodding the audience to remember contributions, read out financial reports at Circuit assemblies always showing a deficit, ‘which we can confidently leave with you’.  The organization does call on, entreat, implore, suggest, and appeal for contributions, using excuses such as ‘it is a reminder’, ‘making aware of a need’.

One final question. If the organization is resorting to begging, prodding, asking, etc., for contributions then we surely have to come to the conclusion that the organization should (in the words of paragraph 7) ‘understand it to be time to suspend the publication’ of the Watchtower and its other literature.

______________________________________________________________

[1] Westminster Confession of Faith III,1

[2] Excerpts from Wikipedia: Shunning

[3] Holden, Andrew (2002). Jehovah’s Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement. Routledge. pp. 250–270. ISBN 0-415-26609-2.

[4] Para 8, page 9, July 2017 Study Watchtower