[From ws9/17 p. 8 – October 30-November 5]
“Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and compassionate.”—Ex 34:6
(Occurrences: Jehovah=34; Jesus=4)
This article asks us in paragraph 3: “Why should the topic of compassion interest you? Because the Bible urges you to imitate Jehovah. (Eph. 5:1)”. True, but we’re leaving something vital out of the consideration.
“. . .Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children,” (Eph 5:1)
The problem which 99.9% of Jehovah’s Witnesses face is that they are told they are not God’s children, but only his friends. A child naturally wants to imitate his or her parents. Every child with a decent father to look up to wants to make him proud. But do humans naturally feel the desire to imitate a friend? Sure, they enjoy hanging out with him, but they don’t necessarily want to imitate him. You possibly have many good friends, but do you feel the same desire to imitate them, please them, and make them proud as you feel toward your own father or mother?
This is yet more proof that the doctrine of the Other Sheep as friends of God is a fabrication that attempts to undermine the force of the Bible narrative.
Jehovah—The Perfect Model of Compassion
Regarding the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day, Jesus said:
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore all the things they tell YOU, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but do not perform.” (Mt 23:2, 3)
In paragraph 5, they tell us to do the following:
Would we want to leave our brothers out in the cold, so to speak, if there is something that we can do to relieve their suffering?—Col. 3:12; Jas. 2:15, 16; read 1 John 3:17. – par. 5
In what way does the Organization practice this? For what compassionate works is the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses noted?
Another example of this dichotomy between what is said and what is done can be found in the next paragraph.
Should we not feel similar compassion for people who could potentially repent over a sinful life course and gain God’s favor? Jehovah does not want any to be destroyed in the coming judgment. – par. 6
What about those who have been disfellowshipped for immorality as was depicted in a drama in the 2016 Regional Convention? That drama depicted a reality repeated thousands of times through the congregations worldwide. A disfellowshipped one cleans up their life, stops sinning, seeks a meeting with the body of elders to express repentance, is usually put off for months, then meets, expresses repentance, and is told to wait. Usually a year (though often more) passes before the repentant sinner is forgiven. This is really a punishment period, a form of discipline determined to keep sinners in line with organizational requirements and respectful of the authority of the elders. It has nothing—NOTHING—to do with compassion!
Does the writer of this article truly understand the compassion of God?
So until God acts to destroy the wicked, let us continue to proclaim his compassionate warning message. – par. 6
What is this “compassionate warning message”? Essentially, the wicked one must repent, make a vow of dedication, and join the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The time is coming when he will execute judgment on all those who refuse to obey him. (2 Thess. 1:6-10) That will not be the time for him to show compassion for those whom he has judged to be wicked. Rather, executing them will be an appropriate expression of God’s compassion for the righteous, whom he will preserve. – par. 10
This time refers to Armageddon which we’ve just been told at the 2017 Regional Convention is imminent, just around the corner. Yet there are billions who have not been contacted by Witnesses with this “compassionate warning”. These will evidently die in ignorance. How is God’s compassion evident in any of that?
Armageddon will come. It will be a war between the kingdom of God and the kings of the earth. (Dan 2:44; Re 16:14, 16) Nothing is said about destroying every unrighteous man, woman and child on the planet. And yet there will be unrighteous people in the Kingdom. Who? The resurrected? Yes, but why only them? Why should they get a break just because they had the good fortune to die before Armageddon? Not only does it not make sense, not only does it fly in the face of the love and compassion of God, but it is also a doctrine that has no support in Scripture.
The article cites 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 as tacit proof of this doctrine of universal destruction, but those verses have a very specific application. They refer to repaying tribulation upon those who make tribulation for God’s children. This is payback for willful opposition and persecution. Additionally, there is nothing there that conclusively ties that event to Armageddon.
In short, there is just too little definitive information in the Bible for us to go about pronouncing eternal damnation on everyone who doesn’t join the Organization. However, without such a doctrine, how can the leadership of the Organization scare everyone into compliance? (De 18:20-22)
Going back to paragraphs 8 and 9, we come across an account designed to promote the belief that Jehovah is watching over all members of the Organization. The brother involved is quoted as saying, “It seemed to me that the angels blinded the soldiers and that Jehovah rescued us.” – par. 8
Perhaps these brothers were saved by divine intervention. Perhaps not. Who can say? Apparently, the Organization can say, because there can be no other reason for including this account other than to get its readers to believe that this was an act of God. The problem with this is that every religion does exactly the same thing. Every religion has similar accounts indicating that God acted to protect some individuals because they were members of that religious faith.
Let is be clear. We are not denying the possibility that this occurs. In fact, there are a number of Bible accounts showing God’s hand in protecting his servants. So if you want to believe Jehovah or Jesus acted in this case, go right ahead. If you prefer to doubt this was an act of God, that too is your prerogative. However—and this is a big “however”—if it was an act of God, it does not imply divine approval beyond the individual. God might protect a faithful servant who happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness, but that doesn’t mean he is protecting him because of his religious affiliation. Indeed, he might protect him in spite of that affiliation. A faithful servant may also be a member of a sporting club, but God’s protection is not an endorsement of that sporting club, is it?
We know that wheat grows among the weeds, so it follows that the Father knows all the stalks of wheat that are His, and protects them when it fits His purpose. But in doing so, He is protecting individual stalks of wheat, not the entire crop, most of which consists of weeds. – Mt 13:24-30; 2Ti 2:19
One technique that cults use is called Mystical Manipulation. Accounts, like this one, are used to engender a mystique that is quite alluring. The idea is that membership has its privileges, one of which is God’s special protection and blessing. So when we read or hear stories like this that are intended to inspire confidence, not in God’s protection of faithful individuals, but of His favor upon the Organization, we should bear in mind that Jehovah’s blessing doesn’t come by association, His spirit isn’t poured out on an Organization. Like the tongues of fire that appeared over each head at Pentecost, his spirit and blessing is granted on a person-by-person basis,