There have been quite a few excellent comments made under Apollos’ post, “An Illustration” about the situation many are facing in the congregation as they make their newfound knowledge known to others. An innocent , newly converted Jehovah’s Witness might not think that the free exchange of Bible truth among the brothers could be hazardous, but that turns out to be very much the case.
This brought to mind Jesus’ words in a way I had never thought to apply them before.
(Matthew 10:16, 17) . . .“Look! I am sending YOU forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves. 17 Be on YOUR guard against men; for they will deliver YOU up to local courts, and they will scourge YOU in their synagogues.
The parallel between the persecuting Jewish leaders and the persecuting clergy of Christendom is enticingly obvious. All we have to do is change “local courts” to “Court of the Inquisition” and “synagogues” to “churches” to make the application fit.
But should we stop there? What if we changed “local courts” to “judicial committees” and “synagogues” to “congregations”? Or would that be going too far?
Officially, our publications have limited the application of Jesus’ words at Matthew 10:16,17 to Christendom, which is the name we give to all false Christianity—we being, of course, true Christianity and therefore not in Christendom.[i]
Are we right to exclude ourselves from the application of these words? The apostle Paul did not think so.
“I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among YOU and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30 and from among YOU yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:29, 30)
“From among YOU yourselves men will rise…” The application is clear. Additionally, when applying these word to the Christian congregation, he gave us no time limit. There is no implication that all this would change a hundred years before the end, when a true Christian congregation would spring into existence completely free from ‘oppressive wolves speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves’.
Both from this site and within our personal sphere of knowledge, we are aware of congregation after congregation where sheep-like Christians are being treated harshly by those acting either in the modern-day capacity of wolves, or if not then acting in ignorance based on a misdirected zeal and faith in men.
As we have come to learn Bible truths that had been hidden from us for many years, we are anxious to share them with family and friends. However, just like the Jewish Christians in the first century, it has resulted in persecution and even being expelled from the synagogue (congregation).
Jesus said that we were being sent forth as sheep among wolves. Sheep are harmless creatures. They are incapable of tearing the flesh from their victims. That is how wolves act. Knowing this, Jesus gave us some valuable counsel. By telling us that we should be as innocent as doves, he was not speaking about the quality of innocence which should be the status quo for all Christians. He was being specific to the topic of sheep dwelling among wolves. A dove is never seen as a threat. A dove is nothing to be worried about. The wolves will attack those who they see as a threat to their authority. So within the congregation we must appear innocent and non-threatening.
At the same time, Jesus told us to proceed cautiously like a serpent. Any illustration employing a serpent to a modern Western mentality is going to have to deal with negative connotations, but we have to put those aside to understand what Jesus was saying. Jesus was using the metaphor of a serpent to show how his disciples would have to act when there were such wolfish men about. A serpent has to sneak up on its prey cautiously, always wary of other predators, as well as wary not to spook the prey. Christians have been likened to fisherman. The fish they catch are their prey. However, in this case the prey benefits from being caught. Likewise by comparing the situation of a Christian as a sheep among wolves proceeding cautiously like a serpent, Jesus was doing a good job of mixing metaphors. Like the fisherman, we are seeking to catch prey for the Christ. Like the serpent, we are operating in a hostile environment, so we have to proceed with great caution feeling our way so as not to fall into a trap. There are those who will respond to the new truths we have found. They will perceive the pearls of truth we share as items of great value. On the other hand, if I may continue in a mixed metaphor vein, if we are not cautious we may actually be giving our pearls to swine, who will step all over them and then turn on us and tear us to bits.
It would shock many a Jehovah’s Witness to think that Jesus’s words about being “on your guard against such men” could actually apply within the Organization today. However, the facts speak for themselves—and do so over and over again.
I looked at the anointed.org site, and after reading what has been written here, I don’t want to read their writings. WBTS gives me enough headaches as it is. 🙂 Seriously though, I appreciate the knowledge and obvious wisdom here on this site. The Scriptures cited are helping to make a reasonable, intelligent and difficult decision. Jesus is INDEED the Truth, the Way and the Life, not a man-made organization. Salvation is through him, not the WBTS. I admit to having a bit of uneasiness at saying this, but I no longer believe that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society… Read more »
We are all at various stages of where you are now, my brother.
Actually, brother, I’m a sister. 🙂
My apologies. 🙂
Just reading about your sister silvertop. Here’s some interesting scriptures that may help in the future. Proverbs 16 v23. Proverbs 15 v 28 a. Proverbs 25. V 11. Proverbs 21 v 5. Proverbs 17 v 27. Gods blessing
I noticed that this verses were missing last week and came up with the same conclusion as Apollos. I’ve decided personally not use This Bible because of the inconsistent translation rules by the WTS. The insight book reads: The Spurious Passage at John 7:53–8:11. These 12 verses have obviously been added to the original text of John’s Gospel. They are not found in the Sinaitic Manuscript or the Vatican Manuscript No. 1209, though they do appear in the sixth-century Codex Bezae and later Greek manuscripts. They are omitted, however, by most of the early versions. It is evident that they… Read more »
Oh no not the use of different bibles. The flack we took for that. Are you not happy with jehovahs provisions. Is gods name in that bible then. Big brother is watching all of us
Thank you all very much. You’re right of course, on reading that particular Scripture, it DOES say. “…to whom…” and not to what. Well, I’m going to jw.org and look up the “spurious verses” and see what that says. This site is such a blessing and I do thank you for it. Agape
The so-called missing verses are explained under “spurious verses.” Try a search of that on the jw.org site.
Yes I have been in the same quandary as to where to go after leaving the JW organization behind because we all need association for encouragement and being up-built, but I do not know whether the following scripture can be applied this way but I am reminded that the farsighted ones actually go where the food is an gather together to feast on it. However I am not quite sure whether this is what Jesus had in mind. I will quote it here, Matthew 24 27 For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines as far as… Read more »
It is worth of note that the events depicted at Mt. 24:27, 28 follow the great tribulation. When organized religion is destroyed, Christendom will be one whopping big carcass.
Yes searcher for truth it is important to meet toghether. The purpose. Is to encourage one another. And icite one another to love and fine works. It must be remembered though its jesus christ that has the sayings of everlasting life. So if we are talking about the spiritual content of the meetings they must revolve primarily around attaining a sure and truthful understanding of his teachings and they are found in the bible. At this point we must ask ourselves a question. Where do I find associates who are actually doing that. And we need to flock there. I… Read more »
Hi searcher for truth, Just to let you know I too got pretty excited when I first encountered the “Anointed Witnesses/ Ambassadors Substituting For Christ” site at https://anointedjw.org/ and almost began communicating with them until a sister alerted me to the meaning behind their website signature, “Elaia Luchnia:” Apparently Elaia is represented by the two olive trees and Luchnia the two lampstands “before the Lord of the earth” in Rev. 11:4. Cross-referencing to include Zechariah’s vision of one luchnia and two elaia on either side of the lampstand (Zech. 4. All I can say is that a legit as it… Read more »
Thank you so much for this clarifying comment. I had wondered about the anointedjw.org site, but it takes time to fully investigate these things and that is in short supply right now, so the contributions that you and others are making to our collective fund of knowledge is most beneficial.
I am coming to realize the danger to spirituality presented by all organized religion, because each sect, group, cult or major religion must have men heading it up and controlling it. It is yet another form of human government and all such governments stand in opposition to Jehovah.
I had also previously highlighted some dishonesty on the anointedjw website, when the issue first came up here some time ago. As far as I’m concerned I only need to see one blatant lie and my interest in a site is permanently over. I’m not talking about differences of opinion or honest mistakes. I’m talking about when someone unwittingly gives a clue that they are being knowingly deceptive. No Christian site will do this.
That what worries me about dec 13 awake. Apollos
Hi Apollos, Is the ‘dishonesty’ you are referring to a reference to your comment on another article that they claim their local elders and circuit servant know who they are, yet they are still in good standing? If so, would you not agree that the fact that something is unlikely does not necessarily make it a lie? I believe the term ‘good standing’ is open to interpretation in any case. Some may think of it in terms of qualifying for an assignment, others may view it as not being disfellowshipped. The organisation’s definition seems to fluctuate depending on the context.… Read more »
It is a strong thing to accuse someone of a lie, so I do not do so lightly. I take your point that “the fact that something is unlikely does not necessarily make it a lie”. But just as ‘good standing’ can vary in its usage, so can the definition of a ‘lie’. Whilst there may be an unusual circumstance that enables them to write what they did about their standing and for it to be somehow ‘technically true’, the impression that they clearly wanted to give to their readership is that the organization is okay with their published writings… Read more »
I have several questions, matter of fact, my husband and I are BOTH scratching our heads trying to figure this out. I’m not super-smart, I don’t know and so I ask questions. Why are there Scriptures missing in the new silver Bible. Luke 16:9 – 20; and John 7:53; and finally John 8: 1 – 11? I’ve read about the Manuscripts Codex Sinaiticus,, Codex Vaticanus and the Sinaitic Syriac codex that omits verses. I really don’t understand all this. Is the Bible I’ve been given by the WTBTS a real Bible? Is it a valid Bible? We have read Revelation… Read more »
I’ll leave the question of the missing texts to Apollos as he’s more up on things like that than I. However, as to the point about Jehovah cleaning house, I’ve come to believe that the house is much larger than the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We think of ourselves as Jehovah’s organization, so if follows that if there are bad elements, he’ll clean house. But if Christianity is the true religion, than all the organized sects that make up Christendom and cause disciples to follow men rather than God deserved to be cleaned up. Once he removes human rule, there… Read more »
Hi SilverTop, When you quote “To where shall we go away…” I assume you’re referring to John 6:68. If so, I wonder if it’s our conditioning that causes us to think ‘To where’ when Peter actually said ‘To whom’. In dealing with my own ‘disquieting thoughts’ I would often misquote this verse to myself. Now, as I cautiously reveal some of my concerns to others, I often hear it misquoted back to me. I guess ‘To where’ fits in much better with the idea of going to a place or an organisation for truth. However, ‘To whom’ focuses us on… Read more »
Dear silvertop I studied john 8 in detail last week with regard to john 8 v 1(o 11 I read 1 commentry which claimed that the verses do belong in the bible. But scholars are not sure where in johns gospel. It also claimed that it was removed and declared spurious because some felt that jesus was condoning adultery. Could be. But it could also be just speculation I don’t recall them offering any proof. As for john 6 whom shall we go away to. The brothers regularly miss the context. It says YOU have the sayings of everlasting life.… Read more »
Hi SilverTop There’s a pretty good explanation on the John 7:53 – 8:11 passage here: http://www.bible-researcher.com/adult.html It appears that these passages cannot be traced to manuscripts any earlier than 4th or 5th centuries, so the earlier manuscripts that do not contain them should naturally take precedence, especially considering that those earliest entries that do contain them often included marginal notes that indicated doubtful authority. It would seem to be wise to omit them altogether rather than include them as “optional” passages as was done with the previous NWT. To do so could cause some to doubt whether we can trust… Read more »
That was in the Awake! July 2009, page 29
The Dec 2013 Awake! provides some fine advice on judging the Watchtower study articlesand news item provided by the faithful slave as “food at the proper time: Quoting directly: The Bible says: “Does not the ear itself test out words as the palate tastes food?” (Job 12:11) Here, then, are some tips that will help us to test out the words we hear and read: PROVIDER: Does the report come from a credible, authoritative person or organization? Does the program or publication have a reputation for seriousness or for sensationalism? Who provide the funds for the news source? SOURCES: Is… Read more »
That’s is unbelievable just read it on line now. I think they must be laughing when they write these articles. Good counsel though this time. Fair does. Makes me wonder if they are trying to show people the door. Its so obvious.
Yes, very good. What is good for the gander is good for the goose, as the saying goes if I remember it correctly. In other-words, what the Watchtower Society prints in it’s information, can be also applied to them as well as to what they have printed. There have been many examples over the years of what they have printed that can be directed at them as well. For instance I remember reading this article years ago and recently been reminded again on one of the JW forums of this Awake article that made the statement of :”No one should… Read more »
I believe it goes, “What’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.”
Actually it’s “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”.
Seems my dyslexia extends to sayings and verse.
It’s a thorn in the side to keep us all humble
Hi Meleti, You mentioned above: “There have been quite a few excellent comments made under Apollos’ post, ‘An Illustration’ about the situation many are facing in the congregation as they make their NEWFOUND KNOWLEDGE known to others. An innocent , newly converted Jehovah’s Witness might not think that the free exchange of Bible truth among the brothers could be hazardous, but that turns out to be very much the case…” Continuing that thought, the “cognitive dissonance” being experienced in and among the family of Jehovah’s Witnesses today, because of certain “newfound knowledge” that is spreading, is quite simply amazing to… Read more »
Dear meleti its incredible to think that in the congregation we’ve always applied those verses in matthew 10. With regard to the persecution we expected from people in the so called world when we carried out our ministry. While this I suppose is partly true. The point that jesus was trying to get across. Was to be aware of the persecution. That was and still is much closer to home. He was warning them about the attidude of people who claimed to be in a religion which worshipped god. Even taking it as far as members of our own individual… Read more »
What I find incredible is that everything Jesus addressed with his disciples had to do with things shared within his own congregation of “the only true religion,” those who shared his Jewish heritage, even as he sent his disciples out, not to a delinquent nation of pagan worshipers but one starving under a hierarchy of self-empowered rulers. Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand, are being sent out mostly to those who look upon us as a mere curiosity, those who may not even have a clue what heritage might even exist let alone what would necessitate being cautious as serpents… Read more »