[From ws6/16 p. 18 for August 15-21]
“Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah”—De 6:4
“Because Jehovah is unchanging and constant regarding his will and purpose, it is clear that his fundamental requirements for true worshippers remain the same today. For our worship to be acceptable to him, we too must give him exclusive devotion and love him with our complete heart, mind, and strength.” – Par. 9
This statement seems logical and truthful, but in fact, it is misleading and presumptuous.
“Presumptuous”, because while Jehovah’s will and purpose are unchanging, who are we to imagine that we understand the full width, breadth and depth of that will? The Jews understood his will and purpose for them as expressed in the law, but could they have envisioned how that purpose would unfold? Even the angels in heaven didn’t understand it all. (1Pe 1:12)
“Misleading”, because it will cause Witnesses to focus on the Jewish requirements and not on the updated aspects of God’s will and purpose as revealed through his Son.
How can we understand giving Jehovah exclusive devotion in the light of these Scriptures?
“Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Joh 14:6)
How can I give God exclusive devotion if I must go through Jesus to get to God?
“For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ;” (2Co 10:5)
How can I give exclusive devotion to Jehovah if I am supposed to obey someone else, Jesus Christ?
All things you subjected under his feet.” By subjecting all things to him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, so that by God’s undeserved kindness he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb 2:8-9)
Exclusive devotion means that I am totally subject to God, yet here it says that I’m subject to Jesus. How can I make sense of that?
“Who will separate us from the love of the Christ? . . .” (Ro 8:35)
How can I love Jehovah with my whole being if I’m also required to love the Christ?
These are questions that need answers, but sadly the article ignores such complexity, seemingly content to leave us with the Jewish model to go by.
Counsel from Hypocrites
Imagine this scenario: You are part of a very large, multi-generational family. Recently you learned that the matriarch of the family had kept a lover for a period of ten years, but had ended the affair some years back when her husband found out about it. Being a strong-willed, controlling woman, she was not disposed to apologizing for her misdeed, but chose instead to insult the intelligence of her extended family by making silly, and as it turned out, false excuses.
Now comes the day when her great grandson is about to be married. An engagement party is held. The matriarch takes the floor and proceeds to offer counsel on marital fidelity to the betrothed couple. The counsel is sound, but the knowledge of her long period of infidelity and the fact she never really expressed any regret nor repentance screams so loud in the mind of all that her words fall on deaf ears.
All anyone can think is: “What a hypocrite!”
With that in mind, consider this counsel from the article:
”To have Jehovah as our one and only God, we should give him our exclusive devotion. Our worship of him cannot be divided or shared with any other gods nor tinged with ideas or practices from other forms of worship.” – Par 10
“In the book of Daniel, we read about the Hebrew youths Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They demonstrated their exclusive devotion…by refusing to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. Their priorities were clear; there was no room in their worship for compromise. – Par. 11
“To give Jehovah exclusive devotion, we must be careful not to allow anything…even to share, the place in our life that Jehovah alone should occupy….Jehovah made clear that his people must not practice any form of idolatry….Today, idolatry can take many forms. – Par. 12
Good, sound scriptural counsel from the Mother Organization, is it not?[i]
Here’s some more counsel from her.
“Others fall victim to the idolatry of trusting in human theories, philosophies, and governments rather than in God…” (g85 1/22 p. 20)
“Idolatrous worshipers of the symbolic “wild beast” are not God’s choice for the associates of the Lamb.” (it-2 p. 881)
“Today, there exists the Republic of Israel in the Middle East. In self-interest, it is a member of the United Nations. The UN represents the rejection of the Kingdom of Jehovah God through the promised “seed” of Abraham and so will be destroyed in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” Armageddon. Every member of the UN, including the Republic of Israel, will be blotted out of existence.”
(Worldwide Security Under the Prince of Peace, 1986 – chap. 10 pp. 85-86 par. 11)
Only six years after that very condemnatory last quote, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society became a member of the UN as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) which is the highest form of membership in the United Nations outside of that reserved for actual nation-states. This persisted for 10 years until she was found out by a newspaper reporter who wrote a story for the UK Guardian. (For the full account, see here.)
To explain her membership in an organization she herself describes as the idolatrous wild beast of Revelation, she explained that she only did it for a library card, that is to gain access to the UN library. This silly reason for compromising her neutrality and thus her exclusive devotion to God turned out to be false as non-members were also granted—and are still granted—library access. She also said that no signature was required, when in fact the forms have to be resubmitted yearly and always require a signature. If the UN granted any organization membership status without requiring the signature of an authorized official, what would there be to keep anyone from applying in someone else’s name as a joke?
To date, the Organization has never apologized, or for that matter, openly acknowledged this 10-year transgression to its members.
Yet they continually counsel the flock not to cover up sin, but to make open confession to the elders and to repent from the heart.
Maintain Christian Oneness
“The prophet Isaiah foretold that “in the final part of the days,” people of all nations would flock to Jehovah’s elevated place of true worship. They would say: “[Jehovah] will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (Isa. 2:2, 3) How happy we are to see this prophecy undergoing fulfillment before our eyes!” – Par. 16
For purposes of clarification, this prophecy began its fulfillment not since 1914, but since 33 CE when the last days began. (See Acts 2:16-21)
As we explained at the opening of the WT review, this article, like the two before it, makes scant mention of Jesus and focuses all our attention on Jehovah. Yet it is Jehovah himself who tells us to look to Jesus for all things and it is for this reason we are called Christians and not Jehovists. We follow the Christ. Sadly, the organization continues to hide the fullness of the Christ from us, yet only by understanding that can we hope to understand our Father.
“because [God] saw good for all fullness to dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile again to himself all [other] things by making peace through the blood [he shed] on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Col 1:19, 20)