Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems
Does your Marriage Please Jehovah?
Malachi 2:13,14 – Jehovah despises marital treachery (jd 125-126 par. 4-5)
The reference is correct in its summation of how Jehovah despises marital treachery.
Sadly, many brothers and sisters are ignoring the Bible-based counsel. As is often the case because pronouncements are made in the literature about things for which there is no scriptural rule or support, these then get picked up and twisted for people’s own ends.
Take the case of “Absolute endangerment of spiritual life”. Now of course, neither this phrase or its underlying idea appears in the Scriptures. However, the God’s Love book (lv p. 219-221) makes the following comment.
“A spouse may constantly try to make it impossible for the mate to pursue true worship or may even try to force that mate to break God’s commands in some way. In such a case, the threatened mate would have to decide whether the only way to “obey God as ruler rather than men” is to obtain a legal separation – Acts 5:29.” (bold ours)
This comment has been taken by many as a carte blanche to divorce their spouse when their spouse (formerly a practising JW) decides that the organization no longer teaches the truth and stops going to meetings, or engaging in other organizational activities. When they share the truth with their “still-in” mate, they get labelled incorrectly as an “apostate” and the mate triggers this clause of “Absolute endangerment of spiritual life”. Additionally, in many cases, they do this with the full support and even encouragement of the local elders
Even if we accept the unscriptural allowance for separation made in the God’s Love book, both the elders and the divorcing spouse ignore those parts in bold. They substitute ‘impossible’ with ‘slightly difficult’, and substitute ‘try to force’ with ‘reason with’. The elders often actively encourage the JW spouse to leave the ‘unbelieving’ mate rather than leaving that one to decide based on conscience.
We have firsthand knowledge of several current situations that are being dealt with in this manner.
Scant attention is usually paid to the rest of the God’s Love book which says:
“In all cases involving such extreme situations as those just discussed, no one should put pressure on the innocent mate either to separate or to stay with the other. “ “Of course, a Christian wife would not be honouring God or the marriage arrangement if she exaggerated the seriousness of her domestic problems just to live separately from her husband or vice-versa. Jehovah is aware of any scheming behind a separation, no matter how one may try to hide it.”
Malachi 1:10 – Why must our acts of worship be motivated by unselfish love for God and neighbour? (w07 12/15 p. 27 par. 1)
It is very true that our worship should be motivated by unselfish love for God and neighbour. Many of our fellow brothers and sisters are unselfish in what they do. Sadly, the environment makes it difficult to be unselfish on all occasions. As discussed in an earlier CLAM review, the organisation has a pyramid-like scheme, whereby certain actions result in extra ‘privileges’ which give the recipient greater acknowledgement and status within the congregation as a ‘spiritual person’. This encourages selfish acts of worship and creates the wrong environment where compliance with the artificial goals of the organisation replace true scriptural goals.
Malachi 3:1 – How was this verse fulfilled in the 1st century and in modern times? (w13 7/15 p10-11 par. 5-6)
As the cited scripture (Matthew 11:10, 11) shows, John the Baptist was the one who fulfilled the role of the “messenger who cleared up the way.” Yet, once again we have to ask where is the scriptural evidence that this passage has a second or antitypical fulfillment?
The last sentence of paragraph 6 also has a footnote reference to a change of understanding, yet it only makes the statement “this is an adjustment in understanding. Previously we thought [taught] that Jesus inspection took place in 1918.” The paragraph states 1919 as the date of this supposed event. So there is no explanation of any kind for the change in understanding, let alone a scriptural underpinning.
Talk (w07 12/15 p28 para 1) How do we bring the Entire Tithe into the Storehouse today?
The reference when discussing tithing makes this statement:
“While the tenth part was brought year after year, we bring our all to Jehovah only once—when we dedicate ourselves to him and symbolize our dedication by undergoing water baptism. From that time on, everything we have belongs to Jehovah. Still, he allows us to choose a portion of what we have—a symbolic tithe—to use in his service.”
(The thought expressed that “we dedicate ourselves to him and symbolize our dedication by undergoing water baptism” is unscriptural. Baptism does not symbolize one’s dedication to anything. Peter says it represents something else – 1 Peter 3:21)
If the organisation wants to make a parallel then at least they should make it a sensible match. The nation of Israel was dedicated to “Jehovah only once” as well. Everything the Israelites had, belonged to Jehovah, but they were still expected to give a tithe from their income. They were not allowed to choose what portion, it was mandated in the Mosaic Law.
We are no longer under the Mosaic Law, so where is the scriptural support for the notion that God gives us back a tithe, for us to then give most of it back to him. Does it not sound nonsensical?
It is true that God does not demand a tithe today. Rather we are encouraged to help one another. Indeed the entire Christian Greek Scriptures do not contain one verse to support giving money to Jehovah (by which they mean the organization). He does not need it, as he has no Temple and Priest arrangement that requires support. That was destroyed in the first century and was not replaced.
The reference then says:
“The offerings we bring to Jehovah include the time, energy, and resources used in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. Also included are attending Christian meetings, visiting sick and elderly fellow believers, and rendering financial support to true worship.”
Do you notice the complete lack of assistance to anyone other than the organisation and its adherents? Did Jesus insist on the Jews becoming his followers before he would perform a miracle on them? Of course not. What about caring for elderly and sick relatives who are not believers? Jesus never suggested for a moment that true Christians would be exempt from such duties. In fact Jesus condemned this attitude when he strongly counselled against the practice of “corban” in Mark 7:9-13.
What is True Love? (Video)
As with most videos produced by the organization, it contains a number of good biblical and practical points but is unfortunately tainted by plugging the goals of the organization as the way that brings happiness, rather than sticking to God’s Word and its principles.
At the 5:30 minute mark, we find Zach having problems because he told the football coach he could not play anymore, because his mother, a witness didn’t want him too continue playing football, something he was good at and enjoyed. Now while it is right to show respect for one’s mother, was the attitude of the mother correct? Liz implied that giving up football was the right decision to make so Zach could serve Jehovah. But where does the Bible even hint that playing football (or some other sport) would bar one from serving Jehovah? True, it could make it difficult, but then so can any job, especially one that does not pay enough to support one’s family.
At the 13:30 minute mark we find Liz explaining how her goals are different to Zach’s—pioneering, School for Evangelisers. These are put forward as obstacles to the relationship. Now these different goals could cause future problems (and in the video, do cause problems for Megan) admittedly, but nothing is said as to how compatible their Christian traits are. If either has a bad temper and lack of self-control that will lead to far greater discord and problems in a marriage than whether either party will be able to pursue their goal or desires.
At the 21:00 minute mark Megan’s father asks the right question: What about Zach makes her happy. But she can’t properly answer. That should raise danger flags. Megan’s father is rightly concerned about the general principle that actions are more important than words. “Give it some time. You get one shot to make the right choice” are wise words indeed. But sadly ‘foolishness is tied up in the hearts of youths’ to paraphrase Proverbs 22:15.
At the 27:15 minute mark “It takes time to reveal the secret person of the heart”. This is very true. Many young witnesses don’t get the opportunity to be in the chaperoned company of others of the opposite sex so as to get to know them better, before getting emotionally involved. A lot of pressure is often put on such ones to either start courting or stay away from each other. Neither of these attitudes are conducive to stable marriages and moral courtships.
At the 37:10 minute mark, the organization could not resist plugging their divisive, unscriptural and inhuman disfellowshipping rules, by having a brother (John) say to Liz:
“A couple of years ago, my little brother was disfellowshipped. So I stopped associating with him. It was the right thing to do.”
This goes against the human right to have a family relationship. The right to family life is the right of all individuals to have their established family life respected, and to have and maintain family relationships. What the God’s Love book (lv p 207-208 par. 3) says regarding disfellowshipped ones is totally contrary to this basic human right. Regarding a disfellowshipped family member living at home:
“Since his being disfellowshipped does not sever the family ties, normal day to day family activities and dealings may continue….So loyal family members can no longer have spiritual fellowship with him.”
With regard to those family members living away it is much harsher:
“Although there might be a need for limited contact on some rare occasion to care for a necessary family matter, any contact should be kept to a minimum.”
At the 42:00 minute, Megan says to Zach “I want a spiritual man.”
Within the context of this video, it is clear that her definition of what makes a man spiritual is in line with that of the Organization.
Those wishing to marry need to evaluate their potential mate’s attitudes and actions long before agreeing to marry. People cannot change such habits easily.
At the 48:00 mark, Megan says “I used to be idealistic, now I am just realistic”.
hits the nail on the head. That was in great part her problem. ‘I thought I could change him\her’ is a common idealistic view. Whether it is contemplating marriage, living in a marriage, deciding what is required to make a living and support oneself, etc., realism is what is needed, not idealism.
At the 49:00 mark the video has Liz and John meet up again this time on a Kingdom Hall build. With the subtext of a growing romance being nurtured by these ‘spiritual pursuits’ as opposed to Christian qualities, no wonder so many sisters volunteer for the KH build teams, with an additional motive of finding a husband.
At the 51:50 mark, the row about being there for companionship and family between Megan and Zach suddenly turns to “what happened to reaching out and getting baptized?” as if that is the cause of their marriage problems. If anything, certainly ‘reaching out’ would put even more strain on a marriage especially where they clearly have always had different goals and values.
In the next scene the blame is put on Zach (“she is going through another rough patch with Zach”), no sympathy for Zach trying to do everything to please his demanding wife, Megan. The video is tough on him, cast as the villain because he doesn’t strive to follow the organization’s goals, of pioneering, becoming an appointed man and so forth. At least the comments by Liz’s friends the elderly couple, are true and accurate when they say “it’s really up to them (Zach and Megan) to apply Bible principles”.
We need to ask ourselves, why until this moment have application of Bible principles to any relationship not been mentioned? Surely this is the most important part of any relationship as the partners have a consistent base on which to make decisions and settle disputes.
The scene where Megan asks Zach not to leave is a bit forced and scripted. If Megan really wants to solve/stop the inevitable she needs to say “I’m sorry, I love you, I want you to stay”; not “We need to talk”—exactly the opening phrase that turned off Zach from listening.
Finally, at the 1:12 mark, Liz and her husband John visit Paul and Priscilla (the elderly couple) to tell them they are going to the Christian Couples school and Liz comments “true love can be found if we put God and his principles first” thereby subtly equating Christian Couples school with Jehovah’s principles and true love. The idea conveyed is that ‘true love can be found if we do things the Organization’s way.’
Speaking from personal experience, fulfilling the organization’s goals has not brought me any happiness nor increased my love for my spouse. Instead, fulfilling those goals has only brought problems and unhappiness (a striving after the wind). However, through it all, my spouse has always been at my side, and we still love each other deeply after many years of marriage. It is our mutual love for Jehovah and his Bible principles that is responsible, and the qualities resulting therefrom that have contributed greatly to this happy state, rather than pioneering, congregation appointments and the like.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 1) – Two messages from God.
A refreshingly accurate summary of the communications of the angel Gabriel to faithful Elizabeth and Zechariah.