Congregation Book Study:
Chapter 6, par. 16-21
“The account of this victory was likely the first entry in “the book of the Wars of Jehovah,” evidently a book that also documented some military encounters that are not recorded in the Bible.” (cl chap. 6 p. 64 par. 16)
We have no way of knowing this, so why say that something is “likely”? Why speculate?
“In Ezekiel’s vision of the celestial chariot, Jehovah is pictured as being prepared to fight against his enemies.” (cl chap. 6 p. 66 par. 21)
More speculation, passed off as fact. One assumes that the writer of a book that is going to be published in millions of copies and dozens, if not hundreds, of languages would do his homework before making a statement about something the Bible allegedly says. If you read the first two chapters of Ezekiel, you’ll find no mention of a “celestial chariot”. What Ezekiel describes is like no chariot ever made. Additionally, he makes no mention of Jehovah being prepared to wage war.
Theocratic Ministry School
Bible Reading: Exodus 23-26
”You must not follow after the crowd to do evil, and you must not pervert justice by giving testimony to go along with the crowd.” (Exodus 23:2)
They should frame this and hang it on the wall of every Kingdom hall conference room. How often I’ve seen elders follow an unscriptural course of action because they didn’t want to disagree with the majority. We say that we are not ruled democratically, but theocratically. The fact is, elders are expected to bend to the will of the majority for the sake of unity (read: “uniformity”) even if doing so violates their conscience or goes contrary to what they see as a clear Scriptural principle.
“Three times a year all your men are to appear before the true Lord, Jehovah.” (Exodus 23:17)
This is the justification for our annual two circuit assemblies and one district convention (now called a regional convention). There is nothing in the Christian Scriptures justifying this policy—further proof that we are a Judeo-Christian denomination with heavy emphasis on the “Judeo”.
The reason that Jehovah required the Israelites make this thrice-annual trek was to preserve their unity as a nation. We use the assemblies and conventions in much the same way. If they were also used to give meaningful instruction into the deep things of God, that would be wonderful. At one time they were that way. Now they have become routine and filled with the same “reminder” year after year. One has only to examine the past ten years’ worth of assembly/convention programs to see that the repetitive nature of the information, leading to the conclusion that we are not being taught, but trained. Training doesn’t require independent thought. It is, however, boring and uninspiring, and beyond a certain point, unnourishing.
“I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you on the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him, and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, because my name is in him. “(Exodus 23:20, 21)
Again, not content to leave things as expressed in Scripture, we have to speculate on who this angel is. Jehovah didn’t reveal his name, so we’ll pick up the ball and run with it.
“Since Michael is also a champion of God’s people, we have reason to identify him with the unnamed angel that God sent ahead of the Israelites hundreds of years before: “Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.” (w84 12/15 p. 27 ‘Michael the Great Prince’—Who Is He?)
We speculate that Michael the Archangel is Jesus Christ prior to his coming to earth. We can’t prove this, but no worries—we’re pretty sure our speculation is true. With that firmly established, it’s no problem to build on that speculation and assume that the angel of Exodus 23:20 is this selfsame Michael. Speculation upon speculation! Yet the Bible indicates that the law was transmitted through angels, not God’s firstborn Son. It also indicates that there is a distinction between the angels and Jesus. Why should human speculation trump Scripture? (Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 1:5,6)
Exodus 24:9-11 shows the 70 elders of Israel receiving a vision of Jehovah. Aaron was there as well. This is the same Aaron who just a few weeks later would give in to the Israelites and make a golden calf. This highlights the danger for all of us to keep our faith. If those who saw the 10 plagues, the salvation at the Red Sea, and the awesome displays of power at Mt. Sinai could—in the shadow of that very quaking mountain—give in to idolatry, what about us who have seen nothing to match that? We may not make a golden calf, but do we idolize men? Do we give our devotion to men, bending the knee as it were?
Theocratic Ministry School
No 1: Exodus 25:1-22
No. 2: There Is No Bible Record of Adam’s Keeping a Sabbath Day—rs p. 346 par. 4—p. 347 par. 2
No. 3: Abraham—Abraham’s Early History Is an Example of Faith—IT-1 pp. 28-29 par. 3
10 min: Offer the Magazines During May
10 min: Local Needs
10 min: How Did We Do?
Point taken, Meleti. 🙂 I agree and feel deep down that all people will be judged at the end individually, irrespective of what organisation they belong to, and that we don’t have a ‘golden ticket’. That belief, though, is highly controversial in my circle of family and friends and so I didn’t express it here as that was my first ever comment on the site, although I have been an avid reader for months. I’m the anonymous comment, not Been Mislead. I’m not comfortable enough to create a name yet. Thanks for this site, I really appreciate your comments and… Read more »
“If they were also used to give meaningful instruction into the deep things of God, that would be wonderful. At one time they were that way.” One has to be so careful what one says or writes. Often a remark has unintended consequences. I just got an email challenging me on this statement, leading me to conclude that perhaps others feel similarly. I wasn’t implying that everything we learned at the conventions in the pre-Governing Body era was true nor accurate. However, it was not banal and pedestrian as it is now. There were many good thought-provoking talks and a… Read more »
Why would we expect Jesus to sort things out? He hasn’t done so with the Catholic Church, the Adventist Church, or any of the other churches of Christendom. Why do we think we are special that way? I’m not being critical, BeenMislead, for others have expressed this same view, including myself not so very long ago.
The Bible does say that he will sort things out, but he only does that once at the very end–the sorting of the sheep and goats, the wheat and weeds, the vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath.
The problem is that once you finally realize that this is not God’s true earthly organization any more than any other religion (we’ve got some things right, and some things wrong just like other religions), and you see through the guilt (do more, do more, you’re not doing enough) and the fear (you’re going to die at Armageddon if you are not a JW) used to basically control people, and that you no longer want to be known as a Jehovah’s Witness, you still can’t leave without being cut off from family and friends. They will use your family and… Read more »
Thats right meleti expecting jesus to sort things out early. The elders go to extreme lengths to keep the congregation what they think is clean yet when we look at the illustration of the wheat and the weeds matthew 13 v 28 the slaves of the householder said to him do you want us to go out and collect them the weeds jesus said no that by no chance while collecting the weeds you uproot the wheat with them. Did he say that likely because an ordinary person cant really tell the difference because they cant read hearts and have… Read more »
It was not until 1952 that Jehovah’s Witnesses started disfellowshiping”. See the following quote from the 2006 Watchtower. “Individuals wanting to become part of the Christian congregation must meet certain requirements. Logically, modern-day ridiculers are kept out, even as such ones found no place in Noah’s ark. (2 Peter 3:3-7) Particularly since 1952, Jehovah’s Witnesses have given increased support to an arrangement that helps to protect the congregation—that is, the disfellowshipping of unrepentant sinners. Of course, truly repentant wrongdoers are lovingly helped to ‘make straight paths for their feet.’—Hebrews 12:12, 13; Proverbs 28:13; Galatians 6:1.” – (w06 5/15, Pg. 24,… Read more »
A family member who has ‘faded’ after prolonged discouragement, moved away, has no contact with any congregation members, has recently been contacted online by an elder asking to “meet with you to assist” and asking for their new address. After repeatedly stating that this was not wanted and that they wished to be left in peace, the elder wrote, ” Are you saying that you no longer wish to be known as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?”. Thankfully the person recognised the phraseology used and replied, ” No, I am not disassociating myself, I simply wish to left alone.” I despair… Read more »
It’s sad that it has been 33 years since this oppressive change took place, and Jesus has not sorted things out yet. And in fact within the last couple of years the Jehovah’s Witness shunning policy has been tightened up even further so that believing Witnesses are banned from even emailing disfellowshipped family members. See the following quote from the 2013 Watchtower. “Really, what your beloved family member needs to see is your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else—including the family bond. So to cope with the situation, be sure to maintain your own spirituality. Do not isolate… Read more »
Very, very similar experience as Anonymous (posted 5/8 10:13 a.m.) except they actually hit their long distance / decades removed target, resulting in the loss of my only child (and only grandchild, “by extension”.)
Final straw for this long standing, well known publisher.
I wonder who the next target might be??
*** w81 9/15 p. 23 par. 15 Disfellowshiping—How to View It *** “Or, a person might renounce his place in the Christian congregation by his actions, such as by becoming part of an organization whose objective is contrary to the Bible, and, hence, is under judgment by Jehovah God. (Compare Revelation 19:17-21; Isaiah 2:4.) So if one who was a Christian chose to join those who are disapproved of God, it would be fitting for the congregation to acknowledge by a brief announcement that he had disassociated himself and is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Now I’m wondering how… Read more »
Excellent Point !!
It’s OK for them to becoming part of an organization whose objective is contrary to the Bible, but not us.
Once again thoroughly enjoyed the comments, Meleti. I too have tired of the repetitive programs at our assemblies, which tend to focus more on what one is not doing and comparing them to those that are. IN the last few years I have come away from the assemblies feeling depressed and unworthy instead of encouraged and happy. Interestingly, of note is the three gatherings in our Bible state “festivals” — the word we use as festival in Hebrew is actually “celebration” — so this does not denote the people sitting and listening to elders speaking about things. Also I noticed… Read more »
Just thinking about your comment about the judeo christian religion .despite the fact that christ freed us from the law they seem to quote it to enforce rules and yet this matter was settled if we want to believe it by the so called governing body of the first century Acts 15 v1 and 28 and 29 . Its the same old battle raging on galatians 1 v 8 what was this other good news that paul described .Galatians 3 shows that they were starting to become judeo christians . Beware for it is for freedom that christ has set… Read more »
I wish the watchtower would simply discuss the bible verse by verse starting at matthew 1 after all we are supposed to be christians .We would see some new light shining then . Kev
Unforunately,whatever good intentions the writer(s) might’ve had when they were writing this article would soon be overshadowed by higher education & “apostate” articles in June & July editions(check out jwsurvey).In the meantime,I guess we’ll just enjoy the present article.
Perhaps a good motive. Perhaps a true Christian is writing the article this time. I’m convinced there are opposing forces at work at Bethel.
I felt that as well meleti not everyone even on the GB will have the same outlook in jesus day not all even on the sanhedrin had the same attitude .Luke 23 v 50 and 51 . I ve seen the same thing my self first hand while serving as an elder .If that is the case may god bless that brother or brothers .kev
Exodus 25:2 – “Tell the people of Israel to take up a contribution for me; from every person whose heart moves him, you are to take up my contribution.”
Interesting that this is within the weekly Bible reading on the very night our new donation arrangement letter is scheduled to be read.
Thanks,KeepOnSeeking,for the enlightenment.Any idea why the sudden lack of indoctrination in this weekend’s study article?Perhaps,a connection to the donation thing?Upcoming court cases?Surely there’s a motive?