[From ws1/16 p. 28 for March 28 April 3]
Please read the following passage carefully, then answer the question that follows.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. As substitutes for Christ, we beg: “Become reconciled to God.” 21 The one who did not know sin, he made to be sin for us, so that by means of him we might become God’s righteousness. 6 Working together with him, we also urge you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.” (2Co 5:20-6:1)
Who is the “him” being referred to here?
If you answered: Jesus, you answered correctly in accordance with the semantics of that passage.
Nevertheless, if you only read the theme text for this study (2Co 6:1) then you are likely going to arrive at the conclusion which the Governing Body wants you to accept—that Jehovah is being referred to.
The last verse of this passage is actually the first verse of a new chapter, but we have to remember that chapter and verse designations were added to the text long after the Bible was completed and are there only as a means to quickly reference a particular passage, not to clarify the meaning of the text. Similarly, paragraph breaks and modern punctuation are added by the translator to help us better get the meaning, but are also subject to the same human bias that can skew the meaning of any translation.
It is for this reason that we should always read the context.
Let us examine where else in this study, the publishers are relying on us not to read the context.
“Yet, Jehovah allows us to be his “fellow workers.” (1 Cor. 3:9) The apostle Paul wrote: ‘Working together with him, we also urge you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.’ (2 Cor. 6:1) Working along with God is an undeserved honor, causing us great rejoicing. Let us consider some reasons why.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses reading this are going to think that they are God’s fellow workers. After all, it says so right there in the Bible. However, the rest of 1Co 3:9 says that the “us” Paul is referring to are “God’s building”. Now in the same context we read:
“Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you?” (1Co 3:16)
Does the Governing Body not teach us that God’s temple refers to the anointed? And is it not in the anointed that “the spirit of God dwells”? So then it is the anointed who are God’s fellow workers, not the JW Other Sheep.
This paragraph reinforces the erroneous idea that 2Co 6:1 is referring to Jehovah, but we’ve seen that is not true. Either the writer is inept, woefully misinformed, has failed to do even a modicum of research, or is willfully misleading us. Since each article is vetted repeatedly before getting to print, the same must be concluded about all those involved in the process. Remember, this is the so-called “food at the proper time.”
“We realize that the work of sharing the good news is vitally important. It opens the way to everlasting life for those who become reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20)”
This is yet another misapplication. The cited verse speaks of Christians being “ambassadors substituting for Christ”. Without getting into the questionable NWT rendering of that passage, are we not taught that the Other Sheep are not ambassadors? That only the anointed are? (it-1 p. 89 Ambassador)
“Though we find happiness when people respond to the message we preach, we also delight in knowing that we are pleasing to Jehovah and that he appreciates our efforts to serve him. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:58.)”
1 Corinthians 15:58 doesn’t speak of pleasing Jehovah. It speaks of pleasing the Lord. Of course, when we please the Lord Jesus, we please Jehovah. However, the Governing Body doesn’t want us to focus on Jesus which is why the texts we’ve seen so far are skewed to point to Jehovah and bypass Jesus. Since Jehovah put Jesus where he is and invested all authority in him, we bypass him at our peril. (Mt 28:18)
“As we conform to God’s standards and share in the work of preaching, we come to understand his appealing qualities. We learn why it is wise to trust in him and to follow his direction. As we draw close to God, he draws close to us. (Read James 4:8.)”
Do you see any hint in this—or the rest of the study for that matter—that the way to “understand [God’s] appealing qualities” is through Jesus? From this excerpt, one gets the idea that to draw close to God we must draw close to the organization. After all, the preaching work referred to here is directed by the organization, and one is expected to share in it in accordance with the standards laid down by the Organization. Through that work, we will get to know God’s appealing qualities, and he will draw close to us. Jesus still isn’t in the picture.
“The bonds of love that we enjoy with God and with fellow humans may be strong now, but they will be even stronger in the righteous new world. Think of the work that lies ahead! There will be resurrected ones to be welcomed back and to be educated in the ways of Jehovah. The earth will need to be transformed into a paradise. These are no small tasks, but how joyful it will be to work shoulder to shoulder and to grow to perfection under the Messianic Kingdom!”
It would have been so easy to have written, “The bonds of love that we enjoy with God and with Jesus and with fellow humans….” We reveal much of what is in our heart by what comes out of our mouth or our pen. (Lu 6:45)
What we see in this paragraph is a further reinforcing of the idea from the past two WT studies as well as the Memorial talk that the hope that Jehovah’s Witnesses have and which they preach is to live in the New World as the righteous who survive Armageddon. If this were true, why would they need to “grow to perfection”? The anointed are granted perfection upon their resurrection because they are “declared righteous by faith.” (Ro 5:1) So why are the Other Sheep not declared righteous by faith? If they are not righteous, then they are unrighteous. There is no third state in which a human exists before God. So in this the Jehovah’s Witnesses who put faith in the teachings of the Governing Body and refuse to accept the good news which Jesus and the apostles preached are right. They will indeed work shoulder to shoulder with the other unrighteous resurrected ones who come back. However, this is not a hope. This is the eventual and inevitable outcome for all, whether they believe in Jesus or not. The Bible speaks of only two resurrections. The resurrection of the righteous is reserved for the children of God. (John 5:28-29; Re 20:4-6)
“Yet, many of us have persevered in the ministry year after year at our own expense and despite the scorn and ridicule of thankless ones. Does that not give evidence that God’s spirit is at work in us?”
Most Witnesses will accept this as proof of God’s spirit. I imagine that most Mormon’s would accept this same line of reasoning, as would faithful members of the Salvation Army. The Iglesia Ni Cristo, founded over a century ago, also are active preachers. So does this give evidence that God’s spirit is at work in them as well?
“Just think about how the preaching of the good news fits in with Jehovah’s loving purpose for humankind. He purposed that humans would inhabit the earth without ever dying; though Adam sinned, Jehovah did not change His mind. (Isa. 55:11) Instead, he arranged for humans to be delivered from condemnation to sin and death. Working along with that purpose, Jesus came to earth and sacrificed his life for obedient humans. In order to become obedient, however, they had to understand what God required of them. So Jesus also taught people what God’s requirements are, and he commanded his disciples to do the same. By helping others to become reconciled to God, we share directly in his loving arrangement to rescue mankind from sin and death.”
I’m sorry, but this is just so wrong—so very wrong! Jesus came to earth to gather an administration. That administration is the means by which Mankind will be rescued from sin and death, but that takes place under the Messianic Kingdom, not before. (Eph 1:8-14) The sole purpose of the preaching work that Jesus began was to gather to himself those chosen ones who would form the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem. People cannot be saved before that government is in place. Again, the Governing Body has us running ahead of God, imagining that we are already gathering the citizenry for that government; that we are saving people!
This is all based on false reasoning going back to Rutherford’s day and founded on a fanciful interpretation that the ancient cities of refuge of Israel have some antitypical representation in the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.[i]
“By sharing in the preaching work, we demonstrate our obedience to these commandments.—Read Acts 10:42.”
This and the preceding paragraphs are all about getting busy in the preaching work. There is nothing wrong with preaching the good news. In fact, it is a requirement. But what if our preaching work is equivalent to striking the air? (1Co 9:26)
Consider the very next verse after Acts 10:42 –
“To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone putting faith in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Ac 10:43)
If everyone putting faith in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins, how is it that we are preaching a message that results in the “faithful” still being considered as unrighteous even after their resurrection? The unrighteous have not been forgiven their sins, because that forgiveness results in being declared righteous. We are essentially saying: “Put faith in Christ and your sins will be forgiven, but only at the end of the thousand years, just like everyone else.” How then is this the “better resurrection” that Hebrews 11:35 speaks of?
“Likely, you will agree with Chantel, who lives in France. She says: ‘The most powerful Person in the universe, the Creator of all things, the happy God, says to me: “Go! Speak! Speak for me, speak from your heart. I give you my strength, my Word the Bible, heavenly support, earthly companions, progressive training, and precise instructions at the appropriate time.” What an immense privilege it is to do what Jehovah asks of us and to work together with our God!’”
The article closes with this thought quoted from a Witness living in France. The message here is clear. Working with Jehovah—not Jesus—involves working with his Organization. We have to stay close, because Jehovah—not Jesus—tells us what to do through “precise instructions” which we will get ‘progressively’ “at the appropriate time” through his earthly Organization. We cannot take God out of the picture, but we can and have usurped the authority of Jesus, by inserting the Governing Body between us and God.
But remember, they have no authority other than the authority we grant them. If we return to Christ, he will welcome us back and will use the Holy Spirit to guide us as to what we must do. We do not need men to tell us what to do. In fact, it will be very bad if we depend on men rather than Jesus for precise instructions, because “man has dominated man to his injury.” (Ex 8:9)