[A Review of the December 15, 2014 Watchtower article on page 27]
“We received…the spirit that is from God, so that we might know
the things that have been kindly given us by God.”—1 Cor. 2:12
This article is a follow-up of sorts to last week’s Watchtower study. It is a call to the young ones “who have been raised by Christian parents” to value what they “have received in the form of a spiritual inheritance.” After saying this, paragraph 2 refers to Matthew 5:3 which reads:
“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” (Mt 5:3)
It is clear from the article itself that the inheritance being spoken of is “our rich spiritual heritage”; i.e., all the doctrines comprising the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (w13 2/15 p.8) A casual reader would then naturally conclude that the single scriptural reference of Matthew 5:3 somehow supports this idea. But we are not casual readers. We like to read the context, and in doing so, we find that verse 3 is one of a series of verses referred to as the “beatitudes” or “happinesses”. In this part of the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is telling his listeners that if they exhibit this list of qualities, they will be considered God’s sons, and as sons will inherit that which the Father wills for them: The Kingdom of the Heavens.
This is not what the article is publicizing. If I may presume to address the young ones myself, part of “our rich spiritual heritage” is the belief that the window of opportunity to become one of God’s sons and “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world” was shut in the mid-1930s. (Mt 25:34 NWT) True, it was re-opened a crack in 2007, but the extreme negative peer pressure any young baptized JW Christian would experience should he or she exhibit the courage to partake of the emblems at the memorial of Christ’s death all but ensures that the old injunction will remain in force. (w07 5/1 p. 30)
The article’s point that Satan’s world has nothing of value to offer is valid. Serving God in spirit and truth is the only thing of real and lasting value, and young ones—indeed, all of us—should strive for that. The article’s conclusion is that to achieve this one must remain in the Organization, or as Jehovah’s Witnesses put it, “in the truth”. This conclusion will prove correct if its premise is valid. Let us examine the premise in more detail before jumping to the conclusion.
Paragraph 12 gives us the premise:
“It was from your parents that “you learned” about the true God and how to please him. Your parents may well have started teaching you from your infancy. This certainly has done much to make you “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” and to help you to be “completely equipped” for God’s service. A key question now is, Will you show appreciation for what you have received? That may call on you to do some self-examination. Consider such questions as: ‘How do I feel about being part of the long line of faithful witnesses? How do I feel about being among the relatively few on earth today who are known by God? Do I appreciate what a unique and grand privilege it is to know the truth?’”
Young Mormons would also attest to being “raised by Christian parents”. Why wouldn’t the foregoing line of reasoning work for them? Based on the article’s premise, non-JWs are disqualified because they are not “faithful witnesses” of Jehovah. They are not “known by God”. They do not “know the truth”.
For the sake of argument, let us accept this line of reasoning. The validity of the article’s premise is that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have the truth, and thus only Jehovah’s Witnesses are known by God. A Mormon, as an example, may also keep himself free from the debauchery of the world, but to no avail. His belief in false doctrines negates any good accrued to him from his Christian lifestyle.
I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. As a young adult, I came to appreciate my ‘rich spiritual heritage’ and my entire life course has been affected by the belief that what my parents taught me was the truth. I valued being “in the truth” and when asked would gladly tell others I had been “raised in the truth”. This usage of the phrase “in the truth” as a synonym for our religion is unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses in my experience. When asked, a Catholic will say he was raised a Catholic; a Baptist, Mormon, Adventist—you name it—will respond similarly. None of these will say “I was raised in the truth” to denote their religious belief. It is not hubris on the part of many JWs to respond this way. It certainly wasn’t in my case. Rather it was an admission of faith. I truly believed we were the one religion on earth that understood and taught all the really important issues of the Bible. The only ones doing Jehovah’s will. The only ones preaching the good news. Sure we were wrong about some prophetic interpretations involving dates, but that was just human error—the result of too much exuberance. It was the core issues like God’s sovereignty; the teaching that we were living in the last days; that Armageddon was just around the corner; that Christ had been ruling since 1914; that were the bedrock of my faith.
I recall that often when standing in a crowded place, like a busy shopping mall, I’d look at the scurrying masses with a kind of morbid fascination. I would muse sadly on the thought that everyone I was seeing would be gone in just a few short years. When the article says, “Only about 1 in every 1,000 people alive today has an accurate knowledge of the truth”, what it is really saying is that soon those 999 people will be dead, but you, young one, will survive—if, of course, you stay in the Organization. Heady stuff for a young man to contemplate.
Again, all this makes sense if the article’s premise is valid; if we have the truth. But if we do not, if we have false doctrines intertwined with the truth like every other Christian religion, then the premise is sand and everything we’ve built on it will not withstand the storm on its way. (Mt 7:26, 27)
Other Christian denominations do good and charitable works. They preach the good news. (Few preach from door to door, but that is hardly the only way Jesus allowed for the making of disciples. — Mt 28:19, 20) They praise God and Jesus. Most still teach chastity, love and tolerance. Yet, we dismiss them all as false and deserving of destruction because of their bad works, foremost of which is the teaching of such false doctrines as the Trinity, Hellfire, and the immortality of the human soul.
Well, while the paint is still on the brush, let’s give ourselves a swipe to see if it sticks.
In my own case, I believed I was in the truth with absolute certainty because I had received this inheritance—this learning—from the two people I trusted most in the world never to hurt me nor deceive me. That they themselves might have been deceived never entered my mind. At least, not until a few years ago when the Governing Body introduced its latest reworking of “this generation”. The article introducing this radical re-interpretation provided no scriptural proof whatsoever for what was obviously a desperate attempt to rekindle the fires of urgency that the previous interpretations had lit under the 20th Century rank and file.
For the first time in my life I suspected that the Governing Body was capable of more than simply making a mistake or committing an error in judgment. It appeared to me that this was evidence of intentionally fabricating a doctrine for their own purposes. I did not at that point question their motivation. I could see who they might feel motivated with the best of intentions to make stuff up, but good motivation is no excuse for a wrongful action as Uzzah learned. (2Sa 6:6, 7)
This was a very rude awakening for me. I started to realize that I had been accepting as truth what the magazines were teaching without making a careful and questioning study. Thus began a steady and progressive re-examination of everything I had been taught. I resolved not to believe any teaching if it couldn’t be clearly proven using the Bible. I was no longer willing to give the Governing Body the benefit of the doubt. I viewed the re-interpretation of Mt 24:34 as a blatant deceit. Trust is built up over an extended period of time, but it only takes a single betrayal to bring it all crashing down. The betrayer must then apologize before any basis for rebuilding trust can be established. Even after such an apology, it will be a long road before trust can be fully restored, if ever.
Yet when I wrote in, I got no apology. Instead, I encountered self-justification, then intimidation and repression.
At this point, I realized everything was on the table. With the help of Apollos I began to examine our doctrine of 1914. I found I couldn’t prove it from Scripture. I looked at the teaching of the other sheep. Again, I couldn’t prove it from Scripture. The dominoes began to fall more quickly then: Our judicial system, apostasy, the role of Jesus Christ, the Governing Body as the Faithful Slave, our no-blood policy…each one crumbled as I found no basis in Scripture.
I do not ask you to believe me. That would be following in the footsteps of the Governing Body which now demands our utter compliance. No, I will not do that. Rather, I urge you—if you have not already done so—to engage in an investigation of your own. Use the Bible. It is the only book you need. I can put it no better than Paul who said, “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.” And John who added, “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1Th 5:21; 1Jo 4:1 NWT)
I love my parents. (I speak of them in the present tense because though asleep, they live in God’s memory.) I look forward to the day when they will awaken and, Jehovah willing, I will be there to greet them. I am convinced that given the same information I now have, they will respond as I have, because the love I have for truth was instilled in me by both of them. That is the spiritual heritage I treasure the most. Additionally, the foundation of Bible knowledge I got from them—and yes, from the publications of the WTB&TS—has made it possible for me to re-examine the teachings of men. I feel like the early Jewish disciples must have felt when Jesus first opened up the Scriptures to them. They too had a spiritual heritage in the Jewish system of things and there was much good in it, despite the corrupting influence of the Jewish leaders with their many amendments to Scripture intended to enslave men under their leadership. Jesus came and set those disciples free. And now he has opened my eyes and set me free. All praise goes to him and our loving Father who sent him so that all might learn the truth of God.
The title: do you value your spiritual inheritance?
The theme text: “We received . . . the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.”—1 COR. 2:12.
The question: What does the spirit teach us? Romans 8:16 (NKJV) “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
The answer: most JW reject their inheritance.
Having run the gauntlet already from my former life well over 4 decades ago, I can only say, hang in there! My initial experience still sits in stark contrast to those raised in the faith. Am I about to run away? By no means! I raised my kids in it and they are raising their kids in it. So what am I to run away from……or to? We are in a melting pot being refined. Can you see it happening? Christ is exposing our sectarian building, our denial, our flagrant disregard for the modesty we left behind as we arrogantly… Read more »
A nice encouraging summation SW 🙂 I remember the catch cry, and also the song, ” Make the Truth your own” (which I always found quite moving at assemblies) Yet I have seen so many examples where this has been transformed into “we own the truth”, either through spiritual bullying or class distinctions, especially by large families with inter-generational legacy “in the truth”. I am sure we all have? As a people JW have become like the modern day Jews of Jesus day! So comfortable in their heritage and tradition and use of God’s name that they miss the point… Read more »
The expression spiritual inheritance does not exist in the bible, at least, I could not find it. Also a bit strange expression An inheritance is in principle given or is made available when someone or something dies and in principle to the relatives. The meek will inherit the earth when all that exists today that prevents that, has died (or removed).In order to inherit the kingdom of heaven, one must die (in the flesh) and be re-born or resurrected (1Cor. 15:50.). The examples provided, like sons of Noah and 4 Hebrews did not actually inherit but received. They received information… Read more »
donotforgetus, the congregation is where ones meet and incite other to love and fine works, for fellowship, and also to be instructed the gathering is also included outside the congregation for fellowship, I don’t deny that, the point of the post was what the WT themselves say that belonging to an org will not save you and that is what I agree with it can’t, the emphasis on the WT of late is all about the organization and being part of that organization to be saved, that was the point. The organization and the GB take preference over Christ, it… Read more »
As far as what I have received from them: There is one thing I must give them credit for.
I used to be a staunch atheist some decades ago. They did convince me that there was a God and that Christ was a true historical person and to be sure the Messiah.
Whether other religions would have been successful in doing that for me or not, I am not sure but the witnesses did and for that, I will be forever grateful,but that is it.
Just a note on 1 corinthians 2 v 12 what we have recieved is not the spirit of the world but the spirit from god that we may understand what god has freely given us . What paul is saying here is that spiritual truth is revealed by gods spirit .and cannot be fully comprehended by relying on the human mind alone .also at verse 14 and 15 notice that people without gods spirit are contrasted to those with the spirit . At verse 7 paul speaks of a mystery that has been hidden and that god destined for our… Read more »
Excellent post thank you. Just to quote this ” The article’s conclusion is that to achieve this one must remain in the Organization, or as Jehovah’s Witnesses put it, “in the truth”. 12 We must seek to be genuine Christians in every sense of the word. Does that mean we have to join a church organization in Christendom? Ask yourself now, Did Christ Jesus, who set our example and told us to follow his example to gain life, join any church organization in his day? No, God does not require us to do that; but he requires us to worship… Read more »
Katrina, Jesus was raised a Jew and lived as a Jew all his life. He attended the Temple and Synagogue. He lived within an organized religion, the Jewish religion. The Bible reveals the true God and how to worship him- true religion organized by Jehovah God himself. Ancient Israel’s way of worship was highly organized. Later the Christian congregations received instructions on conducting orderly meetings, how to celebrate the Lord’s supper, how to dress, who merited financial help, standards for the appointment of elders and many other instructions that would only have application within an organized congregational way of worship.… Read more »
I guess the difference is between a congregation and globally organized and ruled religion. I agree that i is good to gather as believers (where 2 or more a gathered together in my name [Jesus], I will be among them). Yes. But that does not provide any support to setup a religious organisation that controls and mandates congregations how and what to worship.If you read the letters to the congregations in Revelations, these letters were sent directly to the congregation, not via GB or whatsoever and the letters came directly from Jesus, not from a GB or whatsoever.
It’s very sad. The rubber band has been stretched so far it’s snapped around their fingers. If there was a simple, ” Well, do you know what, we seem to have made a colossal boo boo “… I could have sympathy enough to retain some trust. Your comments, Meleti, are moving, honest, and echo right through my heart.
Do i appreciate what i have recieved .. NO .!! i do not appreciate being indoctrinated with distorted views of scripture or mens rules or false predictions . I do not appreciate elders trying to control my life .being bullied and living in fear .or being emotionally blackmailed . I did not appreciate the extreme pressure put on me as an elder which made me ill . I do not appreciate being slandered now because i stood up for what is right .i hope they understand that . Kev
They don’t, but we do.
It’s nauseating, Meleti, to hear the comments the friends make about obedience to the Elders, even if what they tell us to do doesn’t make sense!
You were taken advantage of Kev. But look at what you have achieved, you are happier now and free. You have the love and respect of your family and support from your friends on here and at home meetings. You’ve done really well. I understand what you went through. It made me ill too. It’s likely that at some point in the near future I will have to walk away from my jw family. The hold it (the GB) has on them is too strong. I wish I could take them with me as we’ve been through so much together!… Read more »
I am a born in 50 year old ex elder. I have a 15 year old daughter. I have no heritage to pass on to her. When I was 15, I was convinced that “this generation” will by no means pass away until all these things occur. I based my life’s decisions on this very clear scriptural teaching. How can I pass that on to my daughter?
Same here anonymous. I’ve got two teenagers myself and I too have no heritage to pass on them. They are still attending meetings because of my wife insistence, knowing that most of it is a false. I personally do work hard to lead them to Christ.
Ime the same as you anonymous,I don’t have anything to pass on either.
Hang on yes I do,face the challenges of this life not knowing if you make the cut for the new system,then if I do make it face another round of judgement and testing,during the1000 yrs,if I get through that then face another round of judgement and testing when Satan is released.
It takes a long time to get saved if your a JW,not much of an inheritance!
Thanks for the reply , but still I can’t help but wonder if this is not supposed to happen.
Thanks Meleti !! I can relate to your story. It was the “overlapping generation” teaching of Matt. 24:34 that was the turning point for me also. As you said it has no scriptural backing, so it is presumptuous speculation. —————————————————- 1969 Version: (All Persons old enough to remember) “After drawing attention to the many things that mark the period from 1914 onward as the “time of the end,” Jesus said: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Matt. 24:34) Which generation did he mean? Jesus had just referred to persons who would “see all… Read more »
What does that proverb say when they fool you over and over?
1 + 1 = 1, and from this follows: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1, and so forth. That is the math lecture the GB has given us and expects us all to agree on. When they keep redefining the one (!) “generation”, they will of course be “right” at one time. Even a broken clock is right twice a day… What a cynical game they are playing! Only this is not a game. This is about real humans, with real lives. This is about truth, and righteousness, and faithfulness and all beautiful things we hold dear. How can… Read more »
This geners been a bad lad fancy playing billiards and comin home late. Im sorry i just cant take it seriously anymore. Next thing they will be singing songs about a cart with wheels and tracts and stuff.
What spiritual heritage, Meleti? If one is of the “other sheep”, as defined by the FDS, there is none. No covenant was made with them and no advantage is offered, other than the materialistic benefits of surviving Armageddon. It’s still going to take them 1,000 years to reach perfection along with all the resurrected ones who didn’t have to “turn in time” to gain a reward. 1 out of 999 surviving the GT really cheapens the value of Christs’ ransom sacrifice, in my humble opinion.
I agree with you. I remember when I was having my initial bible study which prompted me to leave worldly ways and put on the new personality and dedicate my life to Jehovah. The sister that conducted my bible study was horrified when another sister ‘sitting in’ on the study expressed a similar thought. She explained that she didn’t think it was fair that members of the great crowd have to struggle and fight the good fight to remain in ‘the truth’ when people who have lived a life of sin and debauchery can get a resurrection and be on… Read more »
A good point, imgonaburn. I cannot find the Scriptural support for the JW idea that everyone who dies at Armageddon will never be resurrected, nor can I find the support for the idea that everyone who is not a JW will die. It is inconsistent with the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ to believe that billions will die because they never had a chance to know and accept Jesus. Yet, if we were to teach that, it would kill the idea of JWs as being engaged in a life-saving work, another idea for which there is no… Read more »
That’s interesting! When I ask my jw family members what will happen at Armageddon to my 19 year old Aspergers son who is homosexual, their response is usually ‘nobody knows who will survive Armageddon ( they even say that they dk if they themselves will survive!) or its up to jehovah to read hearts and decide who survives’ if that’s the case then why are they regular pioneering?? I asked my daughter if she ever thinks about how it will affect her when/ if I am destroyed at Armageddon. She told me that she’s decided that come the great tribulation… Read more »
Wonderful expressions, Meleti. I feel your betrayal and I feel your pain. I am a third generation Witness although some in my family ceased being Witnesses during the Rutherford “age.” Although I had doubts about certain things for years, it has only been in the past few years that I too, have been shaken to the core. It pains me more than I can say to have some in my family fully indoctrinated only because they have chosen to accept every word printed and every word spoken by the organization above the very plain teachings of the Scriptures. Thanks to… Read more »
I simply can’t agree with your article , but I wonder if someone asked Mary or Joseph one had to be a Jew to be saved in front of young Jesus what their answer would be ? Also you make the claim that other Christians groups preach, and worship god and jesus i find that you are stretching the facts a lot , not in my entire life has any christian teach me that the kingdom of god is in the heavens , where I live they believe in is in your heart and most would say that all go… Read more »
Hi Bornalive, I too believed the WT propaganda that Christendom teaches the Kingdom of God is a quality of the heart, not a real Kingdom. I was told and I believed that only Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that God’s kingdom is an actual government over the earth. All that was before the internet made it possible to check the truthfulness of anyone’s statement in mere seconds. Try this for yourself. Google: what is the good news of the kingdom of god? The first link I found was from the United Church of God. “One of the great misunderstandings about the Kingdom,… Read more »
Fully agree that there are far more religious churches / organisations / institutions that understand that the kingdom of God means a government over the people. And in all fairness the definition provided by the JW’s regarding the kingdom of God is rather limited. If you look up all the comparisons Jesus makes regarding the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God, it means a bit more than just a government in heaven It is true that various churches do some type of creature worship but to generalize that all do, is absolutely wrong. In live in an area which… Read more »
“If I may presume to address the young ones myself, part of “our rich spiritual heritage” is the belief that the window of opportunity to become one of God’s sons and “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world” was shut in the mid-1930s. (Mt 25:34 NWT) True, it was re-opened a crack in 2007, but the extreme negative peer pressure any young baptized JW Christian would experience should he or she exhibit the courage to partake of the emblems at the memorial of Christ’s death all but ensures that the old injunction will remain in… Read more »
Actually, the most recent “refinement” to the understanding limits the time left significantly. The second part, the generation that will see the end, must overlap with the first part, the 1914 generation, based on the anointed overlap. It’s not enough that their lives overlap. The time when they were anointed must also overlap. So if we start with Bible Students who were baptized (i.e., anointed) in or before 1914, we should consider that the generation was in their early 20s at the most. Give them 80 years as a term and we end up in 1974. Now the second part… Read more »
You can stretch it further to about 2060 as I have calculated before. Fred Franz was first generation. He died in 1992. Someone who is born in 1972 could conceivably be anointed before his passing. Such persons (outer limit) would now be in their mid fifties. In other words, Sanderson and Morris are the second group of this generation who will not pass away. If these guys grow to 90 we have a good 35 year to go 😉
Other than your comment “I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.”, I could have written this article of yours. I feel your sentiments right down to the “dominoes” analogy.