Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “What does Jehovah Require of Us?”
Micah 6:6,7 & Micah 6:8 – Sacrifices are meaningless to Jehovah if we fail to treat our fellow man properly (w08 5/15 p6 par. 20)
With this theme, Jesus’ words come to mind when he said in Matthew 23:3 ”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.” When the reference states, “the relationship with our brothers is an important part of true worship”, they are correct; but is not our relationship with those who are not our brothers also of similar importance, otherwise those ones would have little reason to become our brother.
The cross references shown against Micah 6:6,7 include Jeremiah 22:3 which says: ”This is what Jehovah has said: “Render justice and righteousness, and deliver the one that is being robbed out of the hand of the defrauder, and do not maltreat the alien resident, fatherless boy or widow. Do them no violence, and do not shed any innocent blood in this place.”
- Where is “justice and righteousness”? In a recently reported case in New Moston, Manchester, England, the following findings were made : “A Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Manchester has been criticised by the Charity Commission over its handling of allegations of child sex abuse by a senior member. Victims of a convicted paedophile, Jonathan Rose, were forced to confront him face to face and answer questions about their abuse, including from him, at a three-hour meeting, the charity watchdog found. One alleged victim was criticised in correspondence as a troublemaker who was “economical with the truth”. The charity’s trustees failed to provide “accurate and complete answers” to the investigation, the commission wrote, identifying “misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity”.”
- What is to act as a “defrauder”? To obtain money by deception, or hoodwink, dupe, fool. Where is the money to settle the child sexual abuse cases coming from? The organization says absolutely nothing about having to pay out these large sums, nor does it mention them when asking for donations. According to the broadcast and the publications, the donations are required and used to ‘support the Kingdom work’ which all witnesses equate to supporting Bethel workers, printing costs for literature, JW Broadcasting and travelling overseers. Is it not being less than economical with the truth to avoid accounting for these payments and fail to mention that a good portion of your contributions are used for settling these cases? Yet every penny in the local congregations has to be accounted for, publicly reported on and audited—and quite rightly so. Is not this dichotomy tantamount to fraud being perpetrated on the unsuspecting brothers and sisters by obtaining donations under false pretenses?
Another cross reference is Luke 18:13, 14 where the sinner showed modestly and humility. He “was not willing to even raise his eyes heavenward, but kept beating his breast, saying ‘O God, be gracious to me a sinner”.
- Is it modest for seven sinners (all humans are sinners and imperfect) to announce their self-appointment as the “Faithful and Discreet slave”? Especially when the appointment mentioned in Matthew 24:45-51 is done by the master Jesus Christ on his return, in front of all the other slaves? This would mean there would be no need for the faithful slave to announce it to their fellow slaves.
- Is it humble to proclaim that all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses will be killed at Armageddon and only the Witnesses will survive? Matthew 7:1-5, 20-23 shows that actions (Matthew 7:12) are more important than powerful works or words (e.g. preaching). Why not leave the judging to Jesus Christ? (Acts 10:42)
The Watchtower article reference also refers to Matthew 5:25: “be about settling matters quickly”. Yet, they leave off the part, “with the one complaining against you at law”. The Organization certainly didn’t apply this in the Candace Conti case which was dragged out over at least 3 years between 2012 and 2015, using stalling tactics, appeals and non-cooperation tactics on behalf of the organization. (See also a similar long running case in San Diego.) They have also yet to send a letter of apology to all the Australian victims revealed in the ARC hearing report, held to be over a 1,000 cases since 1953. Just a letter of apology would probably provide closure for many victims, but even this has been lacking. Almost without exception, any victims seeking redress face a long, arduous fight to get any sort of compensation or redress or even explanation for their treatment.
(wt12 11/1 22 par. 4-7)
Leviticus 19:15 instructs us “not to do injustice in the judgement…not to treat the lowly with partiality”.
Organizationally, how do we match up to this instruction?
In worldly courts, jurors and judges have to declare if they have a personal interest in the case, whether by being related in any way to the accused, or a friend of the accused. The same is true in the case that they may have a bias against the accused because of hearing about the case before it starts, or as to whether they know and like or dislike the accused due to his race, social status, etc.
So how does the Organization claiming to be chosen by God and therefore with superior laws and principles match up to this standard?
Does the Shepherd the Flock of God handbook for elders contain instructions for any elder chosen for a judicial committee to stand aside for any of these reasons? No.
Does an elder have to leave the room when discussion of a brother for an appointment in the congregation takes place and he has any of the personal interests or views as expressed above? No. Does an elder in a judicial committee have to disqualify himself if similar reasons exist? He should, but how rarely this happens in practice. And if it is found out after the fact, the verdict of the judicial committee is almost never overturned.
So whose justice is superior? If it is the ‘world’s’ justice, then how can this be God’s organization?
How can justice in judgement be carried out when the testimony of minors is invariably dismissed as unreliable without good reason? Often the reason given is ‘because they are a minor’[i], yet experience in the so-called worldly justice systems shows that usually if a minor is brave enough and willing to testify, he is usually more reliable than adults. Similarly, why is the testimony of sisters (women) and ‘worldly people’ treated as carrying less weight than that of a brother (man). There is absolutely no scriptural precedent for these views.
Does the Governing Body not remember the case of Deborah, who judged Israel? Yes, that’s right, she judged Israel, (Judges 4:4) and gave the army chief of Israel, Barak, commands which he obeyed. (Judges 4:14) Her testimony was valued above the testimony of everyone else.
Hebrews 13:18 reminds us to “conduct ourselves honestly in all things”. To the brotherhood and the world they claim to have no clergy, ‘we are all brothers’, ‘we are all equal’, yet in court they claim clergy privilege. Both positions cannot be true, they must be lying, either to us or to the courts.[ii] The organization promised the ARC in 2015 to see what they could do about the two-witness rule. The latest monthly broadcast (November 2017) gives the answer. Absolutely nothing: “We will never change our scriptural position on that subject.”.
“To be Modest in Walking with Your God”
This “means to have a realistic view of what he requires.”
What does God require of us? He states clearly in Micah 6 “to exercise justice”, not to stubbornly cling to one principle turned into a law by taking scriptures totally out of context. Justice is more important than Pharisaic adherence to law especially when that law is based on scripture taken out of context. See here for a scriptural evaluation of the two-witness rule.
Micah 2:12 – How was this prophecy fulfilled? (w07 11/1 p15 par. 6)
The opening statement of the reference is “Its first fulfillment was in 537 BCE … In modern times, the prophecy finds its fulfillment in the ‘Israel of God’ (Galatians 6:16)”. As the book of Micah was written before 717 BC, and had a fulfillment in the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon we need to once again ask the question why is an anti-type assumed? What is the scriptural basis for this assumption? Jehovah through Micah says he “will surely collect the remaining ones of Israel together”. It does not say ‘all the nation of Israel’ which would be needed to fit the organization’s description of the “Israel of God.” The January 1st, 1997, Watchtower p10 para 16 claims “the total number of these anointed Christians is limited to 144,000, many of whom were gathered in during the first century before the great apostasy set in. From the end of the 19th century and on into the 20th, Jehovah has been completing the gathering of this group”. And according to 15 March 2006 Watchtower p6 “When does the heavenly resurrection take place? “During [Christ’s] presence,” answers 1 Corinthians 15:23. World events since 1914 clearly show that both Christ’s presence and “the conclusion of the system of things” began in that year. (Matthew 24:3-7) So there is reason to conclude that the resurrection of faithful Christians to heaven has already begun, though, of course, unseen by humans. That would mean that the apostles and the early Christians have been raised to heavenly life”. W86 10/1 10-14 says “The Watchtower has long presented the view that this resurrection of anointed Christians from death commenced in the year 1918.” So, why the choice of 1919 here?
The only place where the “Israel of God” is mentioned is in Galatians 6:16. What do we find when we carefully examine this scripture? The Greek actually says “those who walk orderly by rule of conduct” – which relates to “that neither is circumcision anything nor is uncircumcision”, “that upon them be peace and mercy” “and [NWT incorrectly translates ‘and’ as ‘even’] upon the Israel of God” indicating the Israel of God is to be understood as literal Israel as distinct from the early Christians who were one flock, neither Jew nor Greek, neither circumcised nor uncircumcised.
Micah 7:7 – Why should we show a waiting attitude for Jehovah? (w03 8/15 p24 para 20)
The reference quotes Proverbs 13:12 about “expectation postponed is making the heart sick”.
Who raised our expectations much higher than they should be?
Who predicted Jesus return would be in 1874, then in 1914, then in 1925, then in 1975, then within the lifetime of those born around 1900, then within the lifetime of the overlapping generation?
Who postponed these expectations?
Was it Jehovah? Can we blame Jehovah? No, his word has not changed. So, who is to blame?
Surely we are left with no option but to blame the so-called ‘faithful and discreet slave’ collectively as the controllers of the Organization claiming to be God directed. Should they have been continually revising their predictions and causing a repeat of the same problems as each deadline came and went? Jeremiah 23:21 relates what caused a similar situation in ancient Israel. “I did not send the prophets, yet they themselves ran. I did not speak to them, yet they themselves prophesied.”
Jehovah wants us to be Generous (Video) (Proverbs 3:27)
Indeed, why would a person hold back? Growing up in most witness households would almost guarantee having very little materially due to the Organization’s policy on further education. Therefore, many are not in a position to help others materially. However, Proverbs 11:24,25 was discussed which indicates that if we give, we receive back. This is true, for our fellow humans and for Jehovah, but as the video points out, it is not just materially we can give, but emotionally as well. It is commendable that they encourage us to help our fellow brothers and sisters, especially “not to be emotionally stingy”. This is a rare, positive, encouraging video with no hidden agenda.
Kingdom Rules (chapter 21 par. 15-20)
Paragraph 15 claims that Mark 13:27 and Matthew 24:31 is not referring to the final sealing just before Armageddon begins? Please let us know if you can find one scripture where it clearly says that the chosen ones will be raised to heaven (as in Jehovah’s presence), as opposed to going up into the sky (heavens). Surely if this teaching is true then why cannot even one scripture be found that clearly teaches such an important point? The hope of a resurrection of righteous and unrighteous is clearly taught; as is the fact that exercising faith in Jesus ransom is vital for salvation. (Acts 24:15, 2 Timothy 3:15)
Paragraph 16 cites Ezekiel 38:15 in support of conjecture. See the CLAM for last week for a discussion of Gog of Magog.
Paragraph 17 cites Matthew 25:46. As discussed last week (and in Acts 24:15) the indication is that the unrighteous will be disciplined, rather than executed. Rather, it seems that only the wicked and outright unrepentant opposers of Jehovah and Jesus Christ will be destroyed.
Paragraph 20 makes the true statement that in the past Jehovah gave instructions to those who were faithful among the Israelites to enable them to survive the various times of destruction that came upon the nation of Israel. However, they go on to claim that today “Such instructions come to us through the congregation arrangement” and cite 1 John 5:3 in support of this. Yes, if we love God, “we will observe his commandments”, but the only place we find God’s commandments is in his word, the Bible. Today, there are no additional inspired words from God. He clearly shows in his Word that there is sufficient for us already recorded. Also, by their own admission, (w17 February pp 23-28 par. 12) “The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible”.
We are also counselled by God’s word: “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world” (1 John 4:1). So we exhort all our readers to test the uninspired expressions from the Organization and Governing Body. If they agree with God’s Word, then we can obey. If not, then just as Peter said to the Pharisees of his day, we will be required to say to them “We must obey God as ruler rather than men”. (Acts 5:29)
“What the Near Future Holds”
- Beginning of a period of unknown length – True
- Precursor of the Great Tribulation – False – Fulfilled in 1st Century
- Pronouncement of peace and security (1 Thess 5:2,3) – False –Already fulfilled in the 1st
- Final sealing of the remnant of anointed Christians. – False – no remnant, no separate anointed and great crowd. Final sealing takes place at Armageddon’s start.
- The Great Tribulation begins. – False – Fulfilled in 1st
- Attack on All Religion – True
- Attack cut short – False – Fulfilled in 1st
- Events Leading up to Armageddon
- Celestial Phenomena – Likely True
- Judgment of Sheep and Goats – False – (time of fulfillment to be determined)
- Attack of Gog of Magog – False – Likely already fulfilled or could apply to end of 1,000 years.
- Gathering to heaven of remaining anointed ones. – False – All chosen ones gathered together. Not resurrected to heaven (Jehovah’s presence), only to sky to meet the returning Jesus in glory, and takes place at Armageddon.
- Finale of Great Tribulation – False – fulfilled in 1st
- Armageddon – The destruction of all non Jehovah’s Witnesses – False. Only wicked opposers removed, the unrighteous receive discipline.
[i] Shepherd the Flock of God (elders handbook) p72 “The testimony of youths may be considered; it is up to the elders to determine whether the testimony has the ring of truth. • The testimony of unbelievers and disfellowshipped or disassociated ones may also be considered, but it must be weighed carefully.”
[ii] See court transcripts of Menlo Park Congregation former COBE, against WTBS, as an example.