Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – ‘Search for Jehovah and Keep Living’
Amos 5:4-6 – We must come to know Jehovah and do his will. (w04 11/15 24 par. 20)
As the reference says, “it must not have been easy for anyone living in Israel in those days to remain faithful to Jehovah. It is difficult to swim against the current…Yet love for God and a desire to please him did motivate some Israelites to practice true worship”. Likewise, it is not easy for anyone who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses today to swim against the current when they have realised that what we loved as ‘the truth’ has serious flaws in important doctrinal areas.
What if one also comes to the realisation that despite ‘waiting for Jehovah to correct’ as we are exhorted to do, no such correction is coming? It is not because Jehovah and Jesus Christ do not want us “to worship with spirit and truth”, but if we take away the flawed doctrine that the last days and Jesus’ Kingdom rule started in 1914, then on what basis can the “guardians of the doctrine”[i] maintain their claimed authority? (John 4:23,24)
For those that have a love for God and a love for what is upright, just and good, and desire to worship him in truth (as far as any human can discern it) many are finding it increasingly difficult to accept the dictates of the Organization. Indeed, as we search for Jehovah, obeying the exhortation in Amos 5, to “search for me [Jehovah] and keep living”, it becomes increasingly difficult to deal with the contradiction between the Scriptures and what we are taught through the Organization. In addition, to search for Jehovah means we need to get used to studying the Bible itself—for ourselves, not just reading and accepting the prepared material we are spoon-fed. We need accurate knowledge which we will only get by examining God’s Word directly for ourselves. (John 17:3)
In Israelite times, the Israelites had to individually stand for what is right (1 Kings 19:18). At one time, 7,000 had not bent their knee to Baal, when all around them including the King and most of the princes and people had turned to Baal worship. We also, if we love God and justice, have to individually stand for what is right. How we do that, each must determine for himself, as each has different circumstances. What is vital is that we in our hearts continue to hate what is bad, hate injustice, and do not allow ourselves to compromise so that we teach falsehoods, or support the administering of injustice, whether by unlawful shunning, or by other means.
Amos 5:14, 15 – We must accept Jehovah’s standards of good and bad and learn to love them (jd90-91 par. 16-17)
This reference asks the valid question, “Are we willing to accept Jehovah’s standards of good and bad?” It continues correctly with “Those high standards are revealed to us in the Bible”; and surely, that is where it should stop. Why do these high standards need further explanation “by mature, experience Christians who make up the faithful and discreet slave”? Are they suggesting the rest of us are immature, inexperienced Christians? Alternatively, are they suggesting that Jehovah and Jesus Christ failed to ensure that these standards were explained clearly enough in the Bible for us to read and understand for ourselves?
Amos 2:12 – How can we apply the lesson found in this verse? (w07 10/1 14 par. 6)
Nazirites were usually appointed by Jehovah, as were the prophets. There was an opportunity for Israelites to make a Nazirite vow, but they had to follow the laws Jehovah had given for those Nazirites appointed by him. As a result “giving the Nazirites wine to drink” was deliberately trying to get the Nazirites to go against Jehovah’s regulations for them. The same was true with the prophets. Commanding the prophets (like Jeremiah) “you must not prophesy”, was countermanding the instructions they had received from Jehovah God. It was therefore a very serious action to do either of these things, as the Israelite would effectively be acting like Nimrod “in opposition to Jehovah”. (Genesis 10:9)
Given the foregoing, is applying this verse to a demand “not to discourage hardworking pioneers, travelling overseers, missionaries or members of the Bethel family by urging them to give up their full-time service for a so-called normal way of life”, a reasonable comparative application? Are pioneers, travelling overseers, missionaries and Bethel family members chosen by Jehovah God and personally directed by him as to what they should do? Would encouraging a pioneer in bad health to become a good publisher instead, so maybe their health could improve or at least be managed better, equate to countermanding a command of God? Does the Bible speak of Pioneers? Does Jehovah require a quota of hours? Self-sacrificing service in behalf of one’s brothers and sisters is laudable, but is it not a bridge too far to claim that Jehovah has appointed you as a pioneer, or a Bethelite?
Also, why is the claim that Jehovah has done the appointing? All the apostles including Paul were appointed by Jesus.[ii]
Improving Our Skills in the Ministry – Making a Return Visit
Once again, “Living as Christians” only appears to relate to preaching rather than improving our Christ-like behaviour.
Questions left unanswered by the article are:
- How can we be friendly and respectful?
- How can we relax?
- What warm greetings could we use?
- Why is a Bible Study in 4th place, following our previous question (which may or may not have involved a scripture), a Watchtower publication and a Watchtower video?
- How do we build a rapport with someone?
Kingdom Rules (chapter 21 para 1-7)
Have you been faith-strengthened by reviewing the God’s Kingdom Rules book with its claims, or is the opposite the case?
Exactly how willing are the army of preachers that go from door to door on behalf of the Organization? How many witnesses do you know, if given the choice, would prefer to stop going from door to door and instead use other forms of preaching and witnessing? Is it not likely to be the majority?
How cleansed of false teachings is the Organization? Consider just a few:
- The 1914 invisible presence doctrine based on an antitype not found in Scripture.
- The 1919 appointment of the faithful slave, also based on an antitype not found in Scripture.
- The teaching that there was no faithful slave appointed until 1919.
- The Vow of Dedication that violates Mt 5:33-37.
- The fabricated overlapping-generations teaching?
- The teaching of the other sheep are not God’s children.
How cleansed morally is the Organization…
- When divorce is as or more common than in the world at large?
- When paedophiles are effectively protected while their victims are shunned?
- When a member is shunned for joining a political group, while the Organization carries on a secret 10-year membership in the United Nations?
Christ is indeed powerful enough to rule “in the midst of his enemies” should he choose to do so, but are the so-called “Kingdom accomplishments” (par. 1) any proof that he has been ruling since 1914 over Jehovah’s Witnesses? Many groups have seen even greater growth in numbers during that same time period. Of interest is the latest service year report which shows that across the first and second world, the numbers are shrinking. How can this be considered a fulfillment of Isaiah 60:22, a verse the Governing Body has continually applied to the results of the preaching work of JWs.
“Jehovah’s Day” (actually, “the day of the Lord”) mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:2,3 closely resembles what is known about the destruction of the Jewish Nation between 67-70 CE. (see also Zechariah 14:1-3, Malachi 4:1,2,5) It is interesting to note that coins were struck by the Jews celebrating the defeat of Cestius Gallas and his retreat from Judea, with such inscriptions as ‘Freedom of Zion’ and ‘Jerusalem the Holy’. They believed they were finally free of the Roman yoke. However, this newfound freedom did not last long. Destruction came rapidly for the rebellious Jews as Vespasian and Titus came back and desolated first Galilee, then Judea and finally Jerusalem in the following three and a half years. However, “Jehovah’s Day”, the foretold destruction of the wayward Jewish nation by the Romans was not the same as the future “day of the Lord” when Jesus presence would be. (2 Thessalonians 2:1,2,3-12) (See also Matthew 7:21,22; Matthew 24:42; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 1:10).
Paragraph 5-7 discusses the attack on false religion. Once again, we have a first-century-only fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy minimized to imply an additional secondary fulfillment. There is no obvious scriptural requirement for a double fulfillment. (This is yet another example of the Organization’s double standard. They condemn antitypes not found in Scripture, while continuing to utilize them when it suits the doctrinal agenda.) When false religion is attacked by the political elements of this world, there is no scriptural support for the statement that “the one true religion will survive”. Indeed the cited scripture in support of this—Psalm 96:5—implies nothing of the sort.
In fact, more seriously, they directly contradict Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:21,22 where Jesus says, “for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (bold added). The prior verses (Matthew 24:15-20) making clear this would be at the time of the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, after the disgusting thing was seen standing in the holy place. In the first century, this was understood by the early Christians to be the pagan Roman Standards in the Temple area. Josephus writes that 1,100,000 Jews were killed during the siege of Jerusalem and its immediate aftermath. The 97,000 remaining alive were enslaved, many of these dying with the following five years. Modern scholars cast doubt on that figure as they have an interest in minimizing it, but even if we halve it to 550,000, we are still left with the biggest massacre in the shortest period of time in history. The only other larger massacre (Hitler’s extermination of the Jews during World War II) took place over a much longer time period (years as opposed to months). Jesus’ words go beyond the numbers, however. The Jews, as a nation and a temple with a form of worship that had survived for 1,500 years, ceased to be. The statement should therefore read “Jesus words were fulfilled” and not continue as they do “on a small scale.”
Rather than the survival of one true religious denomination, the parables of Jesus all speak about harvesting individuals out from a group—of “collecting the weeds…then go to gathering the wheat” (Matthew 13:30), of collecting “the fine ones (fish)…but” throwing away “the unsuitable (fish)” (Matthew 13:48), of separating “the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32).
[i] Geoffrey Jackson: testimony before the Australian Royal High Commission. Transcript Day 155 (14/08/2015) page 5.
[ii] Another instance of very questionable replacement of “Lord”, by “Jehovah”. The Greek text says they were “ministering” (leitourgounton)[serving the state or King \ Kingdom] “to the Lord” (Kyrio). As they were preaching and teaching the good news about the Christ, the context indicates that the Lord referred to here was Jesus, not Jehovah God.