WT Study: Maintain Your Loyalty to God’s Kingdom

– posted by meleti

[From ws15/07 p. 22 for Sep. 14-20]

The very first thing that should strike us with this week’s study is the title. Using the Watchtower Library[i] with “loyal* kingdom” as the search parameters (sans quotes, of course), one finds not a single match in the entire Bible.
Loyalty to God is a common theme, but nothing is said about loyalty to his kingdom. A kingdom is the realm of a king. It is, as the name implies, the KING’s DOMain, his KINGDOM. So we are being asked to be loyal to the domain of the King. We are taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the earthly part of Jehovah’s Universal Organization. Therefore, the article is asking us to be loyal to the Organization. Since the Organization is run by the Governing Body, it follows that the article is really asking us to be loyal to the Governing Body.
Paragraph 1 starts with the statement, “… All who are dedicated to Jehovah have promised him their love, loyalty, and obedience.” The actual word “dedicate” appears very rarely in Scripture. Three times to be exact. When it does, it is always in a negative context.

“. . .They themselves went in to Baʹal of Peʹor, and they proceeded to dedicate themselves to the shameful thing, and they came to be disgusting like [the thing of] their love.” (Ho 9:10)

“. . .But YOU say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother: “Whatever I have by which you might get benefit from me is a gift dedicated to God,” 6 he must not honor his father at all.’ And so YOU have made the word of God invalid because of YOUR tradition.” (Mt 15:5, 6) – See also Mr 7:11-13)

“. . .Later, as certain ones were speaking concerning the temple, how it was adorned with fine stones and dedicated things, 6 he said: “As for these things that YOU are beholding, the days will come in which not a stone upon a stone will be left here and not be thrown down.”” (Lu 21:5, 6)

Why, therefore, do we not rephrase this sentence using the more scriptural term “baptized in the Lord” as found that Acts 8:16 and 19:5? Would that not be more accurate, biblically?

“All who are baptized in the Lord have promised him their love, loyalty, and obedience.”

Yes, that seems better. Perhaps the reason we prefer dedication over baptism is that the latter is a “request made to God for a good conscience.” In other words, it involves getting something from God, specifically, the assurance of his forgiveness. On the other hand, dedication implies sacrifice, giving something to God. We are all about sacrifice in the organization. We are constantly asked to sacrifice our time, money, and skills for the benefit of the Organization.
Still, there is something very odd here.
For example, any Jehovah’s Witness will tell you that one of the main reasons we do not celebrate birthdays is that the only two mentioned in the Bible are presented in a negative light. So, it is not curious that we do not apply the same reasoning to the use of “dedication” given that the three occurrences of the word are all negatively associated with false worship? Why is it that we so embrace the word? If you think I’m overstating the case, just consider that Jesus only used the word twice and even then, only in a negative context. In contrast the Governing Body makes it a prerequisite for baptism. Jesus began preaching in 29 C.E. The final Bible book was written around 96 C.E. In all the writing covering that time period, “dedication” is mentioned twice in a negative context. Over a similar time period, the writings of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has used the word 12,000 times! That speaks to its agenda.
(For a well written and well researched treatise on the JW teaching of dedication, see this article.)
And now, back to the article.
There is a problem in paragraph 9. Most Christians within the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses will not see it right away. They will focus only on the main thought expressed at the end of the paragraph:

“Neither should there be divisions of any kind in the Christian congregation today.”

The important thing for Jehovah’s Witnesses is that we speak with one mind. This thought was conveyed in a talk from the 2012 circuit assembly program.

To “think in agreement,” we cannot harbor ideas contrary to God’s Word or our publications. (CA-tk13-E No. 8  1/12)

Do you think this statement is consistent with Paul’s words as quoted in the paragraph 9?

"Individuals in Corinth were saying: “‘I belong to Paul,’ ‘But I to Apollos,’ ‘But I to Cephas,’ ‘But I to Christ.’” Whatever the underlying issue, the apostle Paul was indignant about its effect. “Is the Christ divided?” he asked."

If you think the circuit assembly talk outline is consistent with Paul’s thought, why not try a little experiment. Let’s reword the statement from the 2012 circuit assembly like this:

“To “think in agreement,” we cannot harbor ideas contrary to Christ’s Word or Paul’s words.”

Paul, even though an inspired Bible writer, knew that he was not infallible. Every word out of his mouth and every word he put on paper was not from God. Therefore, he was indignant even with those in Corinth who claimed him as their leader. Therefore, had everyone in the Corinthian congregation resolved to think in agreement by choosing to follow only Paul, would he have been happy? Of course not. True, there would no longer have been any division, but at what cost? The congregation, in following Paul, would have become divided from Christ. Is unity of thought worth separation from the Christ?
Paragraph 9 concludes by requiring the study conductor to have Romans 16:17, 18 read.

“Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them. 18 For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones.” (Ro 16:17, 18)

This text is surely intended to elicit anti-apostate comments from the audience.
What an interesting turn of phrase Paul uses by saying, “they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones.” One might think of a betrothed or married woman who is seduced by smooth talk and flattery to give herself to another man. Christians are the bride of Christ, they must be loyal to their husbandly head and not become the property of another. (Re 21:2; Eph 5:23-27)
A man who would tempt a women to be unfaithful does so by making her feel special and beautiful, one of a kind. He wants her to believe he can offer her something she cannot get elsewhere. If seduced by smooth speech, she will want more of it. She will follow the man; cling to him; do whatever he wants.
In like manner, the men Paul refers to would have us follow their commandments rather than Christ’s; believe they alone have the truth; that we have special knowledge denied the world because of what they teach us; that only by sticking with them will we be saved; that by following them, we can enter into a spiritual paradise.
And now we have come to paragraph 10. My first impression is that in their desire to have us be loyal to God’s kingdom, the writers have taken away two of the primary motivations for us to do just that.

  1. Paul urged anointed Christians to focus on their heavenly citizenship rather than on earthly things.

  2. They were to act as ambassadors substituting for Christ. Ambassadors do not meddle in the affairs of the nations to which they are assigned. Their loyalties lie elsewhere.

These are indeed powerful motivations for us to maintain neutrality, but these motivations have been stripped away from 99.9% of all Jehovah’s Witnesses by virtue of the erroneous teaching that the other sheep form an earthly class. Hence, they have invalidated God’s word by their teaching. (Mt 15:6)
Overall, this article teaches us to remain neutral politically and to avoid prejudice. To that extent it is beneficial. No country would expect the ambassador of another country to become involved in its conflicts. Additionally, for ambassadors to do their job they must be diplomatic. Any display of prejudice would hinder their work. Christ’s call was for all Christians to become workers with him in the kingdom of the heavens. All Christians were to serve as ambassadors while he was absent. There is absolutely no provision in the Bible for a class of Christian that would become subservient or inferior to another ruling class. While telling us to remain neutral to the affairs of the kingdoms of this earth, the Governing Body has set up a kingdom of its own in which they rule and we serve. They instruct us. We do not instruct them. They have divided us away from the Christ, minimizing his role while aggrandizing their own. Those who would take exception to this analysis have only to listen to the teachings of the Governing Body sounded down in the Caleb and Sofia videos – teachings aimed at the most vulnerable of the flock. Count, if you will, the number of times Jesus is mentioned in those children’s videos. Now compare that with the number of times the Governing Body is referred to. Who are these little hearts being seduced to serve?
[i] Active Jehovah's Witnesses can acquire the Watchtower Library of publications on CD-ROM, which includes Watchtower Volumes going back to the 50s and awakes back to the 70s as well as many books, brochures, and pamphlets.

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-14 17:50:34

    Amabassadors for Christ, not ambassadors substituting for Christ. How can you substitute for Christ? Check other Bible translations. Bit of an eye opener

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-14 20:51:30

      NWT is the one and only translation that says "substituting". There is utterly no support for this word in the original Greek text. They don't even put brackets in. They just supply this word by their own choice and will, because it serves their purposes. Eye opener? Yes, and a disgraceful one at that.

  • Comment by Deborah on 2015-09-14 19:16:05

    Appreciate the review, Meleti.
    The Society being an international religion speaks to publishers around the world. I found this article to be timely considering the national and racial upheavals occurring in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the U.S. Good advice.
    "The nation in which Jesus lived was made up of people from various regions—Judea, Galilee, Samaria, and others. Bible accounts reveal that there were tensions between people of these different areas. (John 4:9) Tensions also existed between Pharisees and Sadducees (Acts23:6-9), between the people and the tax collectors (Matt. 9:11), and between those who had received a Rabbinic education and those who had not. (John 7:49) In the first century, Israel was ruled by the Romans, whose presence was deeply resented by the local people. While Jesus championed religious truth and acknowledged that salvation originated with the Jews, he never encouraged his disciples to foster rivalries. (John 4:22) On the contrary, he urged them to love all men as their neighbor."
    —Luke 10:27.
    "Why did Jesus not endorse common Jewish prejudices? Because neither he nor his Father takes sides in this world’s controversies. When Jehovah through his Son created man and woman, his intent was that they fill the whole earth. (Gen. 1:27, 28) God designed humans in such a way that they could produce different races. Neither Jehovah nor Jesus exalts one race, nationality, or language above another. (Acts 10:34, 35; Rev. 7:9,13, 14) We must follow their perfect example."— Matt. 5:43-48.

  • Comment by Anonymous on 2015-09-14 21:07:10

    A few thoughts ...
    1. The idea of "dedicated" only used three times in a negative way is interesting. That goes along with the two references to birthdays which are negative. However, we must reason carefully on such inferences. After all, there are some 50 references to "dogs" in the Bible, and THEY are all negative, too. Should we conclude that dog ownership is disapproved by and God and to be avoided? A careful reading shows that nearly all references to "dog" in the Bible are not literal, but refer to bad and immoral persons, not the four-legged creatures we like to keep as pets.
    2. Re. counting the number of times Jesus is mentioned in publications. As an exercise, take one year's worth of Watchtower study issues, and take out a piece of paper. In one column, write "God" and "Jehovah". In the other column write "Jesus" and "Christ". Now, go through each issue, and tally all the references to each one. References to "being a Christian" or "Christ-like personality" don't count. At the end, you should see a 20-to-1 ratio of God vs. Jesus. Sheer numbers alone are enough to make one question whether JWs are even a Christian religion. Jesus himself said, "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". Out of the vast abundance of words spoken and written by the WT, what does their heart speak? Are they really a Christian religion, if they hardly mention Christ except to relegate him to a second-fiddle bit part?
    3. I have observed something hypocritical about the WT which you allude to in the verse you cited, "by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones" and then mentioning apostates. WT seems to be of two irreconcilable minds on this matter. On one hand, they will say "apostates only criticize, and have nothing good to offer". But, if apostates DO have something to offer, they jump in and say, "SEE! We told you! They are drawing off disciples for themselves!" This is a classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. This should be held up for what it is, namely, propaganda. They will do whatever they can do discredit those who disagree with them, and if one smear tactic doesn't work, give them a minute and they will come up with something else.

  • Comment by Buster on 2015-09-14 22:24:29

    If you go www.discussthetruth.com. I did a little survey, or more like a list of how many times Jesus is mentionest in the Jw broadcast, I did it from September of last year to January, yeah I need to get on the ball, but the use of Jesus names and compared to the Governing Body or the Organization it is shocking and really sad.
    And I agree 2 Corinthians 5:20 should not be the world substitute at all, it ain't in any interlinear of Greek I have seen, and over 25 bibles I have see not one with that added word, why add it, well i will leave it up to you, Amazing, great review again my Brother. :)

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-17 11:07:54

      The verse at 2 Corinthians 5:20 says we are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador is the representative of a king or president. Would anyone going an embassy conclude that any ambassador they might meet there was "substituting" for that king or president? Ever?
      If a person were really substituting for Christ, they ought to be able to perform miracles, raise the dead, have wisdom greater than anyone on earth, have total confidence that God always hears them, be the final authority on all spiritual matters with unerring accuracy, and be willing to be put to death via torture in order to fulfill Bible prophecy.
      Given that standard, no one who ever lived, before or after, EVER acted or served as a substitute for Christ.
      "Christ Jesus. Accept no substitutes." How's that for a slogan?

  • Comment by Chris on 2015-09-15 11:48:22

    So what is our hope for the future ? Is it not earthly ?

    • Reply by Walter Finlay on 2015-09-15 12:04:27

      The "earthly hope" is a fiction as to two religious classes (notwithstanding location) because Jesus never divided his "followers" into such different hopes. There is but one "hope" - salvation as a faith-begotten spirit son of God - and brother of Christ. This hope will open the Christian scriptures for your insight and understanding.
      There will be ample information here detailing what Jesus actually said, much of which involved fulfillments that are clearly physical and earth-centered under the Kingdom of the Heavens.

      • Reply by Khaleesi O on 2015-09-16 14:52:51

        to Chris comment, so is it a resurrection of righteous and unrighteous on paradise earth or heaven? Not sure your I got your response correctly.

        • Reply by Walter Finlay on 2015-09-16 17:53:29

          Where the resurrection of the unrighteous will take place was made clear by Jesus (they will come out of their memorial tombs.)
          My comment was directed at the lack of a "two hope" or two-tiered system within the Christian framework for "believers." There will be more published here shortly on that.

  • Comment by father jack on 2015-09-15 12:49:38

    Love romans 16 v 16 to 17 the basic advice is to avoid those men who cause division by teaching things contrary to the teaching of jesus christ.. Those who do it do it for personal gain .Who really are these people ? The best way to find out is to undertake a deep personal study of the four gospels and then compare it honestly to any religious instruction we have been told to follow . Notice they will only be able to seduce the naive . How ironic to use this verse in the WT and what does it tell us about the congregation of JW s . We very often get upset with the shunning but who should be avoiding who here .?

  • Comment by Hamilton Grey on 2015-09-16 03:07:47

    A thought provoking essay on dedication can be found at:

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2015-09-16 08:45:21

      Thanks Hamilton, I've added that link to the article. I'd never thought of it as "our Trinity", but he makes a very good case.

  • Comment by Leaving Quietly on 2015-09-16 14:25:36

    While "dedicate" or "dedicated" is used only three times, "dedication" is also used, and not always in a negative light. (Ex 29:6, Ex 39:30, Lev 21:12) Of course, dedication is not a biblical requirement for baptism as the organization would have us believe. There is no scripture that supports such as doctrine.

    • Reply by Skye on 2015-09-18 16:36:02

      We have already made our commitment prior to our baptism. That commitment is our faith in Jesus Christ and the Gospel. "I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." Luke 4:43. And that same task becomes ours, that is to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. Our baptism is our public demonstration of that intended commitment.

  • Comment by Skye on 2015-09-16 15:10:11

    We see from the article that the GB wants it's members to be loyal to the Organisation. They have been able to achieve this because the objective of the GB is not for its members to be guided by the Spirit, but to be guided by the GB. If JWs are not born again .........

    • Reply by Anonymous on 2015-09-16 15:59:31

      And if there was any doubt about the demand for loyalty, look at Micah 6:8 in the rNWT.
      In the past, it used to have a reasonable translation of "He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?"
      Not any more. Now, it says this: "He has told you, O man, what is good. And what is Jehovah requiring of you? Only to exercise justice, to cherish loyalty, And to walk in modesty with your God."
      For the phrase "cherish loyalty", their footnote reads, "Or, to be kind and loyal in your love." Lit. "love loyal love". They would have been better off using the footnote version.
      No other Bible words it this way.
      By comparison, see http://www.biblestudytools.com/micah/6-8-compare.html
      What is the net effect of this change? It makes it appear that Jehovah is demanding our loyalty, and that it's a good thing. And of course, by implication, that Jehovah Himself is demanding loyalty to "His" organization.
      That WT would word their Bible in such a way is more than poor translation and poor scholarship. It's downright scary.

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