This Watchtower review was written by Andere Stimme
[From ws15/06 p. 20 for August 17-23]
“Let you name be sanctified.” – Matthew 6:9
No Christian can find fault with the counsel to “live in harmony with the model prayer”. The lessons to be learned from any portion of scripture, however, will have the greatest value if the passage in question is understood as its Author intended. In the following review, we will attempt to separate the wheat of inspired instruction from the chaff of the speculative reasoning of men.
After the introductory paragraphs, the first subheading seeks to answer the first of the three review questions: What can we learn from the expression “our Father”? And this is where the article first runs into problems. While Jesus’ model prayer makes it clear that his followers were to view God as their Father, the article imports the concept of two groups of Christians that have two very different types of relationship with their heavenly father. Paragraph 4 says:
The expression “our Father,” not “my Father,” reminds us that we belong to an “association of brothers” who truly love one another. (1 Peter 2:17) What a precious privilege that is! Anointed Christians, who have been begotten as God’s sons with heavenly life in view, rightly address Jehovah as “Father” in the fullest sense. (Romans 8:15-17) Christians whose hope is to live forever on earth can also address Jehovah as “Father.” He is their Life-Giver, and he lovingly provides for the needs of all true worshippers. Those with this earthly hope will in the fullest sense become God’s children after they have reached perfection and have proved their loyalty in the final test.—Romans 8:21; Revelation 20:7, 8..
The scriptures cited do nothing to back up this convoluted notion of dual sonship, unless taken within a larger theological framework that is based on human interpretation. The contradictions continue in the next paragraph where a brother speaks of how his children, now grown, “recall the atmosphere, the sacredness of communicating with our Father, Jehovah”. Apparently, there is some ‘sanctity headroom’ left for the long-awaited day when the atmosphere of communication with our heavenly Father will be sacred “in the fullest sense”.
Let Your Name Be Sanctified
The lead-up to the this subheading mentions the need to ‘learn to love God’s name’. The following paragraphs use the term “name” in the sense of “a distinguished, famous, or great reputation”. We wholeheartedly agree that the name to be loved and sanctified is not just a proper noun, however lofty, but rather a description of the superlative qualities of the Most High. Asking for God’s name to be sanctified, paragraph 7 tells us, “may move [us] to ask Jehovah to help [us] to avoid doing or saying anything that would dishonor his holy name”. This is excellent counsel, and the timing – right after the sessions of the Australian Royal Commission – is as poignant as it is ironic. We are reminded of Jesus’ admonition to “practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example”. (Matthew 23:3.)
Let Your Kingdom Come
By far the most tendentious material of this article is found under this subheading. We will focus on three problems:
1. Acts 1:6, 7, where Jesus plainly stated that it did not belong to his disciples to know ‘times and seasons’, does not apply to us, and it hasn’t for about 140 years
The August 15, 2012 Watchtower says that “We can now grasp the meaning of prophecies that remained a “secret” for ages but are now being fulfilled in this time of the end. (Dan. 12:9) These include….the enthronement of Jesus.” The angel’s words to Daniel that “the words are to be kept secret and sealed up until the time of the end” are taken to mean that special knowledge would be available in the time of the end. The logic here, however, is circular: We have special knowledge because we’re in the time of the end; we know we’re in the time of the end, because we have special knowledge.
2. Prayers for the kingdom to come were partially answered in 1914, but we should still pray for it to come in a complete sense.
Nowhere in the scriptures do we find the idea of two “comings”. Once again, doctrines of men are imported to muddy up a clear scriptural truth, namely, that the benefits to be reaped under God’s kingdom begin when it comes, and it only comes once.
3. 19th Century Christians received a revelation (“were helped to understand”) that the end of the Gentile Times had drawn near.
The publications have often admitted that they are not inspired (see g93 3/22 p. 4). But what practical difference is there between being “helped to understand” something that is not explicit in scripture, and receiving a revelation from God? However, not only is the premise false, the statement itself is deceptive. Paragraph 12 says:
When the time approached for God’s Kingdom in the hands of Jesus to start ruling from heaven, Jehovah helped his people to understand the timing of events. In 1876, an article written by Charles Taze Russell was published in the magazine Bible Examiner. That article, “Gentile Times: When Do They End?,” pointed to 1914 as a significant year.
‘God’s people’, until the late 1920s, thought that Jesus’ invisible presence had begun in 1874, and that he had been enthroned as king in 1878. The passage above, however, gives the impression that in 1876 Jehovah helped his people to understand that Jesus would “start ruling from heaven” in 1914. The authors seem to endorse the philosophy that “A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.” (See Awake! 2/8/00 p. 20 Lying—Is It Ever Justified?)
Let Your Will Take Place…on Earth
The final subheading encourages us not only to make that request in prayer, but also to live in harmony with it. That is, indeed, excellent counsel. However, we are left scratching our head at the example they give: “In line with this part of the model prayer”, a sister is quoted as saying, “I often pray that all sheeplike people will be contacted and helped to come to know Jehovah before it is too late.” Without questioning our sister’s sincere intentions, one wonders what she is afraid of. That the God of Justice will destroy “sheeplike” ones because they didn’t meet the deadline? We are then encouraged to imitate her example and ‘pour ourselves out in doing God’s will’ in spite of our limitations.
It is certainly good advice to do our utmost to preach the true gospel. It’s a shame that this article, devoted as it is to Christ’s model prayer, so often deviates from it.
Hi Andere – sorry, I’ll try to clarify 🙂 At the end of your section of ‘Let your Kingdom come’ where it’s discussing the WT view of Russell and 1914, which appears an incorrect impression, you add “The authors seem to endorse the philosophy that ‘A little inaccuracy saves tons of explanation’ and quote the Awake! 2/8/00 article to support your view Reading on, the whole article shows JWs advice to readers actually against lying, Their quotation of “A little accuracy saves tons of explanation” was just quoting a popular expression, and not recommended for us, I’ll paste here the… Read more »
I think Andere was using this reference not to misrepresent the organization’s official position on truth and accuracy in reporting, but to show that they do not always honor their own words, especially when it comes to anything that might require a lot of embarrassing explaining or give rise to many additional and awkward questions.
Meleti is correct. I was being a little sarcastic, I guess, so my mistake.
Andere – re Let your kingdom come section – Taking words out of context makes the pot calling the kettle black
eg your comment …The authors seem to endorse the philosophy that “A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.” (See Awake! 2/8/00 p. 20 Lying—Is It Ever Justified?)…is quite incorrect if you read the article.
I would really love to address your concerns, but I’m not sure what they are. Do you feel I misapplied the quote about inaccuracy, or that the quote was taken from an article that doesn’t deal with this kind of situation, or is it something else? I’d be happy to make a clarification or retraction if necessary.
So today at the meeting, when it came to the whole 1876 prediction and of 1914 was pinpoint, there were a number of elders saying oh Russell knew while nobody else knew , and every other religion was in darkness, I laughed outloud at the meeting, and was thinking man we don’t know a thing about our history, maybe they should check out the proclaimers book , right. Man this meeting was rough, I had to just read the bible oh else I would have walked out.
I felt the same way. Rough meeting. I’ll have a hard time getting my meeting clothes on next week.
Regarding being a brother of Christ: Matthew 12:50: “For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Jesus said nothing of being a co-ruler, being anointed, being destined to live as a spirit person in heaven as being prerequisites in this matter. If we do the will of the Father, we are the brothers and sisters of Christ, meaning that this alone determines if we are children of God. Not the determination of some men (men who are “guardians of the doctrine” in the latest GB-speak). Each person… Read more »
The 1876 article says, in part, “Jesus does not foretell its treading under foot of the Gentiles”. Yes, he did. The Greek word “estai” in the phrase “Jerusalem *will be* trodden down” is in the FUTURE tense.
Interestingly, the implication of the statement “Jehovah helped his people to understand the timing of events” is that Jehovah gave a revelation to N.H. Barbour, who “belittled” the ransom. And why “Jehovah helped…” instead of “Jesus helped…”? The more I think about it, the more I find wrong with this article. *** jv chap. 10 p. 134 Growing in Accurate Knowledge of the Truth *** Then, in the August, September, and October 1875 issues of Herald of the Morning, N. H. Barbour helped to harmonize details that had been pointed out by others. Using chronology compiled by Christopher Bowen, a clergyman in… Read more »
After the RC exposure, fresh in its probing tenderization, of course these articles only add insult to injury. Everyday the WT apostasy joke gets worse and worse, when they write one thing, but do another.
Well written Andere, yes, regarding paragraph 4, surely the writting committee, must see how strange the point is regarding one group of Christians can call God father, and the other can, but not in the fullest sense!! So the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. In His answer Jesus first of all sought to instruct His disciples about Who it was to whom they prayed. Said Jesus: “When you pray, say: our Father….” If the disciples have difficulty praying, they need to have fixed in their minds to whom they are praying. After all: to whom we speak… Read more »
If Biblical names represent the meaning behind the name, we are not focusing on how to “say” the name, but rather on its meaning – the character, qualities and purpose of God. Jesus Christ then revealed his Father’s name to us through his ministry, the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
The problem is Jehovah is not really even Gods Name. If you have a copy of the book Aid to Bible Understanding, take a look at pages 884 and 885. ———————————– “The pronunciations “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” By combining the vowel signs of ‘Adho•nay’ and ‘Elo•him’ with the four consonants of the Tetragrammaton the pronunciations Yeho•wah’ and Yehowih’ were formed. The first of these provided the basis for the Latinized form “Jehova(h).” The first recorded use of this form dates from the thirteenth century C.E. Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book Pugeo Fidei… Read more »
There is some controversy about whether the original pronunciation was two or three syllables. (You can google “divine name three syllables” for more information.) In point of fact, JWs do not assert that the form “Jehovah” is the correct pronunciation, but rather the best known form in English. *** w08 6/1 p. 22 An “Ineffable Name”? *** “Although we cannot be certain exactly how God’s name was pronounced, the important thing is that using his name draws us closer to him….In English, the pronunciation “Jehovah” is commonly known. Would it not be appropriate for all who love God to address… Read more »
I agree with that statement andere i think it means the person how can a mere name be sanctified .
John 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.”
Although the greek wordfor name does appear in the text at john 17 v6 . Ive a feeling it denotes the character of god . We remember that god has been slandered called a liar by the devil . It can happen to humans and when it does we very often fight to (clear our name ) dont we . That people can see that we are innocent and nothing like the person we have been presented to be .
So the meaning of the Biblical name would include the character and the whole agenda of a person, I think. Therefore in revealing God’s name, Jesus would make known his Father’s plans through the work that he had been assigned – Luke 4:43 “But he said, I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” In John 17:4 Jesus said that he had completed this work. So he had given his Father’s Gospel-word to the disciples who were then assigned to preserve it and pass it… Read more »
William, in Spanish, is Guillermo. Yet, the phonetic Spanish alphabet is quite capable of rendering William very close to the English pronunciation. Nevertheless, there are many British “Williams” living in Spain who have no problem responding to the Spanish equivalent, Guillermo. As Shakespeare put it, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.”. It is not the accurate pronunciation of the name as it was first spoken that is important, but the person it represents.
This is what that article says of 1876 he Bible Examiner October 1876 GENTILE TIMES: WHEN DO THEY END? By Chas. T. Russell “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” -Luke 21:24. Doubtless our Lord intended to communicate to His disciples some knowledge, and possibly it was addressed more to the disciples in our day, than to the early church. Let us then search what times the prophecy, which was in Christ, did signify. Of course, if it be one of the secret things of God, we cannot find out; but… Read more »
Jesus is pretty plain and clear when he says, You must pray this way, Our Father, … But hear comes the GB to say, Never mind what Jesus says, WE say that God is not your father “in the fullest sense”. In doing so, they are not only acting as “substitutes for Christ” (wording that appears in no other translation) but they are countermanding his direction. For men to subsume a spiritual role they are not entitled to is more than arrogant and presumptuous; it is blasphemy.
Thanks for the review. You said in the beginning: “No Christian can find fault with the counsel to “live in harmony with the model prayer”. Well, maybe I am the only Christian that can find fault with this counsel because it is not a scriptural counsel. Jesus never indicated that believes or HIs followers should live in harmony with the so-called “model prayer”.
You address some fine points. Of course there is more to discuss if one wants to but happy to see your review.
sorry, should read BELIEVERS…
I’m just curious: Is there some part of the “model prayer” with which you feel we should not live in harmony?
I would think by definition that is not possible that we should not live contrary to it. That is, if the model prayer was originated by Jesus, than it surely was in harmony with the will of God. And, it should be obvious that it is in fact the will of God for us to LIVE within His will. Therefore, there is no part of the model prayer that we should live contrary to. If someone can find fault with this reasoning, please let me know.
Hi, as indicated above, the prayer is not given as a model to follow. The express the feelings / longings / desired of a true believer. ANd yes, all believers should have these same longings. But to ask or say that anyone SHOULD live in harmony with it, is in my view not a scriptural view as it would imply that the model prayer contains a standard against which anyone is measured. For certain things I understand of course that you should consider your own actions i.e. when asking for forgiveness, to what extent did you forgive others. Anyway, just… Read more »
Cant say i disagree with menrov that the lord’s prayer to me is simply a prayer expressing faith in god . Particulary that he will bring about his promises ie his own sanctification by his kingdom that god’s will be done on earth . The hope he will keep his promise to us about our food and the promise of forgiveness for our wrongdoing . Its seems all about expressing our trust in god for this day we live and for our future . I think that is the message of the lords prayer
I understand what you’re saying Menrov, that the model prayer was not meant as a set of guidelines for Christian living, but I’m not sure the article is saying that it is. We must live in harmony with – or in a manner not in conflict with – the things for which we pray, or we will be hypocrites, whether or not our prayers can be considered a template for a godly life.
I didn’t really understand at first what Menrov was getting at, but I am now leaning to his point of view. Jesus provided the model prayer, and surely the things Jesus spoke were in harmony with God’s will. I don’t believe anyone questions that part of it. The part that is in question is the notion that “we must live in harmony with this prayer”. With a more clear-eyed view of such a sentiment, it does seem to me now that this innocent-sounding expression is a way to exercise control over people, when the WT uses it in this way.… Read more »
So it would appear the problem isn’t so much ‘living in harmony with the model prayer’ as ‘living in harmony with someone’s self-serving interpretation of the model prayer’. I too think the model prayer is “a sincere expression of faith in God”, and when I express the same things in my own prayers, I try not to do anything that belies that expression of faith.
Yes, exactly. By comparison, the story of the good samaritan ends with, “Go your way and be doing the same yourself.” If Jesus really wanted us to “live in harmony” with the model prayer, why didn’t he say so in plain language, when he had a chance and had a listening audience? The very fact that he didn’t do that indicates that this “living in harmony” concept is a manmade doctrine.
HI Andere, sorry for late reply but I did not receive a mail that there were new comments. Not sure if that notification system still works. Anyway, I of course understand the principle but I believe the “model prayer” was not given to His followers as a standard in organizing our lives or as something people should live in harmony with. The prayer is not a command nor does it contain actions or principles. The prayer reflects the longings of a believer. A believer might ask him/herself if they have the same longings. Yes, but that is not the same… Read more »
Matthew 24:29,30 “Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the people of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.”
If we are to study the Bible intelligently, then we will see that Jesus did not return in 1914.
If the so called great crowd can address god as their father then how is it they are not classed as his sons? What’s all that about ( in the fullest sense ) this reasoning doesnt make an sense at all to me ! They seem to be saying he is but he isnt . I might give my dad a ring later in the fullest sense of course but my younger brother no he cant . What ?
Good point, Kev. Perhaps they could provide us with the Scripture where Jesus says that the great crowd are not sons in the fullest sense. After all, I’m sure such an important distinction would not have slipped his mind.
Have faith…wait for Jehovah to explain……:-) just kidding. You are right. Another example of the JW dictionary. They invent their own definitions. Reading their wording: “Christians whose hope is to live forever on earth can also address Jehovah as “Father.” He is their Life-Giver, and he lovingly provides for the needs of all true worshippers.” So because it is said that Jehovah is the live-giver and provide of need to all true worshiper (in contrast to fake worshippers I guess)., H can be called our Father. Well, what about Jesus? He is in heaven. He is or judge for eternal… Read more »
Thank Andere, good article! So if we are to take what paragraph 12 says at face value, “Jehovah helped his people to understand the timing of events.” That means that Jehovah helped us to understand that Jesus was–as you point out–present in 1874 and enthroned in 1878. Also, he helped us to see that the great tribulation began in 1914. Then around 1930 he helped us to see that what he’d previously helped us to see was wrong and that 1914 marked the presence and enthronement. It was still the start of the great tribulation, though. Then in 1969 he… Read more »