[From ws2/16 p. 8 for April 4-10]
“You, O Israel, are my servant, you, O Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham my friend.” – Isa. 41:8
For the next two weeks, the Governing Body is using the Watchtower study to convince eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses round the world that they can be Jehovah’s friends. Not his children…his friends.
Most will accept this premise without question, but will you be counted among them?
“What’s wrong with being Jehovah’s friend,” you may ask? Rather than answer that directly, allow me to raise a similar question: What’s wrong with being Jehovah’s son or daughter?
I don’t know if my biological father every considered me as his friend, but I do know he considered me as his son, his only son. That was a very special relationship which I alone possessed with him. (My sister, as his only daughter, had a similar unique relationship with our father.) I’d like to think that he also viewed me as a friend, but if it ever came down to a choice—an either-or situation—I’d choose son over friend every time. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with Jehovah viewing us as friends, in addition to sons and daughters, but that isn’t the message of these two Watchtower studies. The message here is either-or: either we are part of the elite “little flock” of anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses and are therefore adopted children, or we are part of the vast group of “other sheep” who can only aspire to call Jehovah their friend.
Here’s another pertinent question: Given that the issue is, “What kind of relationship should a Christian have with God?”, why is the Governing Body focusing on the non-Christian, pre-Israelite Abraham rather than someone like Paul, Peter, or best of all, Jesus?
The answer is that they are starting with a premise and then looking for a way to make it work. The premise is that we cannot be God’s children, only his friends. The problem this creates for them is that no Christian is called God’s friend. However, there are many instances where we are called his children. In fact, in the entire Bible, no human with the exception of Abraham is called God’s friend.
Let’s just restate that for clarity. No Christian is called God’s friend. All Christians are called his children. Only one human in the entire Bible is called his friend, Abraham. From this would you conclude that Christians are to be God’s friends or his children? Perhaps you reason: “Well, anointed Christians are his children but the rest are his friends.” Okay, so there are (according to JW theology) only 144,000 anointed, but since 1935, there have been possibly 10 million “other sheep”. So let’s ask the question again: Would you conclude from the boldfaced text above that 69 out of 70 Christians are not God’s children, but only his friends? Seriously, would you? If so, what’s the basis for that conclusion? Are we to deduce that the 69 Christians have more in common with a non-Christian, pre-Israelite nomad than they do with Peter, John, or even Jesus himself?
This is the task which the Governing Body has set for itself. They must convince eight million Christians that they cannot be Jehovah’s children. So to keep them motivated, they offer them the next best thing: friendship with God. In doing this, they hope the flock will overlook the dozen or so Scriptures directed to Christians calling them the children of God and instead focus on a single Scripture about a non-Christian who is called God’s friend. They hope that these millions will say, “Yes, I want to be a friend of God like Abraham, not a child of God like Peter or Paul.”
You may be reading this and thinking, but if we are to be children of God, why wasn’t Abraham, “the Father of all those having faith,” also called a son of God?
Simple! It was not yet the time. For that to happen, Jesus had to come.
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.” (Joh 1:12)
When Jesus came, he gave his followers the “authority to become God’s children.” It follows that prior to Jesus’ arrival, such authority did not exist. Therefore, Abraham who existed 2,000 years before Christ could not have the authority to become one of God’s adopted children; but we, who come after Christ, most certainly can and do have that authority, as long as we continue to exercise faith in the name of Jesus Christ.
There is no recorded prayer in the Hebrew Scriptures where a man or woman of faith is seen addressing Jehovah as Father. It was not yet the time, but that all changed with Jesus who taught us to pray by saying, “Our Father in the heavens….” He did not tell us to pray, “Our Friend in the heavens…” The Governing Body thinks we can have it both ways. We can be God’s friend, but not his adopted children just like Abraham was, but still pray to God not as Abraham did, but as Christians ought, addressing him as Father.
Let’s call a spade a spade. Jesus Christ opened the way for us to be called children of God. Our Father is now calling us out of the nations to be his children. The Governing Body is telling us: “No, you cannot be God’s children. You can only aspire to be his friends.” Whose side are they on anyways?
Fighters Against God
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike him in the heel.”” (Ge 3:15)
Since before the founding of the world, the battle lines have been drawn between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. Satan has sought to crush the seed at every chance he’s gotten. He does whatever he can to stifle the ingathering of those making up the seed of the woman. This seed or offspring are the children of God, the ones through whom all creation is set free. (Ro 8:21)
Any effort made against the gathering of these ones will fail. By encouraging millions to reject the call to become children of God, the Governing Body is serving Satan’s purpose, not Jehovah’s. This makes them into fighters against God. Given that they have had ample opportunity to correct this abominable Rutherford doctrine over the past 80 years and have failed to do so, can any other conclusion be possible?
You may still have doubts, so strong is the power of decades of indoctrination. Therefore, I invite you to read the scriptures that speak to the children of God:
“You well know that we kept exhorting and consoling you and bearing witness to each one of you, just as a father does his children, 12 so that you would go on walking worthily of God, who is calling you to his Kingdom and glory.” (1Th 2:11, 12)
“As obedient children, stop being molded by the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all your conduct, 16 for it is written: “You must be holy, because I am holy.”” (1Pe 1:14-16)
“See what sort of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. That is why the world does not know us, because it has not come to know him.” (1Jo 3:1)
“Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’” (Mt 5:9)
“Caʹia·phas, who was high priest that year, said to them: “YOU do not know anything at all, 50 and YOU do not reason out that it is to YOUR benefit for one man to die in behalf of the people and not for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 This, though, he did not say of his own originality; but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was destined to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that the children of God who are scattered about he might also gather together in one.” (Joh 11:49-52)
“For the eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Ro 8:19-21)
“That is, the children in the flesh are not really the children of God, but the children by the promise are counted as the seed.” (Ro 9:8)
“YOU are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus.” (Ga 3:26)
“Keep doing all things free from murmurings and arguments, 15 that YOU may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without a blemish in among a crooked and twisted generation, among whom YOU are shining as illuminators in the world, 16 keeping a tight grip on the word of life, that I may have cause for exultation in Christ’s day. . .” (Php 2:14-16)
“See what sort of love the Father has given us, so that we should be called children of God; and such we are. That is why the world does not have a knowledge of us, because it has not come to know him. 2 Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be.” (1Jo 3:1, 2)
“The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother.” (1Jo 3:10)
“By this we gain the knowledge that we are loving the children of God, when we are loving God and doing his commandments.” (1Jo 5:2)
The words of men—the words written in this week’s study—may seem convincing on their own. However, the verses you’ve just read are the words of God. They have power and are backed up by the assurance that God, who cannot lie, has made you a promise. (Titus 1:2) The question is, Who are you going to believe?
At some point for each of us, it stops being about the Governing Body and starts to be about our personal determination.