[From ws7/16 p. 7 for August 29-September 4]
“Keep seeking [God’s] Kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”
This article is a verse-by-verse commentary on Matthew 6:25 thru 34. No great depth here, but sound counsel from our Lord Jesus, with the usual Watchtower coating.
Paragraph 17 cites Matthew 6:31, 32 which says:
“So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to wear?’ 32 For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Mt 6:31-32)
One thing we want to be mindful of is the context. Jesus was speaking to Jewish disciples in a Jewish context, so “the nations” he is referring to are the gentile or pagan nations. Today, Witnesses will read this and consider the nations to be other Christians who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. With that in mind, the idea they will carry away is that Jehovah provides only for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but that is not what Jesus said.
Another thing that doesn’t jibe is that this counsel is being given to God’s children. Otherwise, the words, “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things”, would have no meaning. Since this article is directed principally to the millions of Witnesses around the world who are told to consider themselves as God’s good friends, Jesus counsel doesn’t quite fit, does it?
Having said all that, the main thrust of Jesus’ words in this passage is that we should seek first the kingdom of God and let the Father worry about keeping us fed and clothed. Of course, the so-called JW friends of God do not inherit the kingdom any more than the billions of resurrected unrighteous will. They will live under it, but like the unrighteous, will not inherit it. That was Jesus’ point to Peter when he reprimanded him for speaking out of turn regarding the temple tax.
“After they arrived in Ca·perʹna·um, the men collecting the two drachmas tax approached Peter and said: “Does your teacher not pay the two drachmas tax?” 25 He said: “Yes.” However, when he entered the house, Jesus spoke to him first and said: “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive duties or head tax? From their sons or from the strangers?” 26 When he said: “From the strangers,” Jesus said to him: “Really, then, the sons are tax-free.” (Mt 17:24-26)
Those who own the kingdom are tax-free. The sons inherit the kingdom from their father, but the subjects of the kingdom are not the inheritors, so they must pay the tax. Jesus’ words about seeking first the Kingdom apply only to the sons.
That being said, as children of God we do want to apply Jesus’ words and avoid materialism, seeking first the Kingdom instead. How to do this? At this point, the Watchtower presumes to tell us how.
“Instead, we should pursue spiritual goals. For example, can you transfer to a congregation where the need for Kingdom publishers is greater? Are you able to pioneer? If you are pioneering, have you thought about applying for the School for Kingdom Evangelizers? Could you serve as a part-time commuter, helping out at a Bethel facility or a remote translation office? Could you become a Local Design/Construction volunteer, working part-time on Kingdom Hall projects? Think about what you might be able to do to simplify your lifestyle so that you can get more involved in Kingdom activities.” – par. 20
All of the spiritual goals that are listed here relate to expanding the Organization. As a Jehovah’s Witness, we would not accept this list if it were applied to another organization. To illustrate, let’s make some minor adjustments:
“Instead, we should pursue spiritual goals. For example, can you transfer to a church where the need for more church ministers and deacons is greater? Are you able to be a missionary? If you are in the ministry, have you thought about applying for our special advanced theological training courses? Could you serve as a part-time commuter, helping out at the church’s head office or branch offices, or perhaps work in translating their literature? Could you become a Local Design/Construction volunteer, working part-time on church construction projects? Think about what you might be able to do to simplify your lifestyle so that you can get more involved in church charities.”
Of course, this is all unacceptable to a Witness because it would mean promoting false religion. And what is false religion? Religion which teaches false doctrine as the word of God—doctrines like the Trinity, Hellfire, the immortal soul, the 1914 presence of Christ, the earthly hope of the other sheep, etc.
If you disagree with this, then the question becomes, “Where do you draw the line between acceptable teaching of falsehoods and unacceptable?”
Will Jehovah condemn Christendom for teaching their particular brand of falsehoods while excusing Jehovah’s Witnesses for teaching theirs?
So many great comments and another good breakdown on a wt study article The org encourages a false sense of spirituality – the people are artificial and been programmed into thinking if you count certain amounts of time knocking on empty doors you are spiritual – but you can’t help a b or s in need because you can’t count the time – it’s ridiculous By the way I had an encouraging phone chat with ” wild olive” today – he wanted me to pass on that the articles and comments on this site are very encouraging an enjoyable and… Read more »
Why is it that taking care of orphans and widows are not part of our noble spiritual goals that seek the Kingdom? How about going out with the family or friends in the congregation to destinations that make one closer to nature which God has created? Wouldn’t that activity make a person appreciate the wonderful creation of God? Are we to confine and equate our spiritual goals to organizational goals only?
>> Are we to confine and equate our spiritual goals to organizational goals only?
Of course. Try to get with the program Mailman. The celestial chariot is speeding along. Do try to keep up. 🙂
Ha, it’s speeding so fast I think I’ve been thrown off and left behind. I was getting a bit nauseous with all the twisting and turning, backtracking and u turns anyway. ?
Oh that celestial chariot that we imagine speeding up. But hey, the growth of the organization is not that convincing, it is lagging on the contrary. Earthly part has a lot of catching up. 🙂
In identifying Christians, the Scriptures say that “by their fruits you shall know them.” And Love is the greatest. Our salvation is not dependant on keeping “Law” and man made rules with its burdens, alluding to the Mosaic Law, that this org puts on JWs. The GB of JWs seek to maintain “uniformity” in their ranks, at the cost of Love and Truth. Members are terrorised as they believe they can never fully comply. It keeps them in line and under foot. Its never enough. Men seeking to dominate other men. This is not of Christ. Jesus is the Word.… Read more »
“We should pursue spiritual goals, for example…” I’ve always found the lack of differentiation between Organizational goals and true Spiritual goals in JW literature to be disturbing. True spiritual goals are in the bible e.g. making sure of bible questions with more research, reading the bible every day, meditating on the Christ. There are scriptures to back this up. Calling organizational goals ‘spiritual goals’ how hijacks the thought. I’ve been at many a JW gathering where the hosts idea of fun is to go around in a circle asking people what their spiritual goals are (in order to impress a… Read more »
Having ‘great’ doctrines doesn’t mean a thing if the love is missing as it is in the Big O.
My issue with this type of study articles is with their translations of Matt. 6:33. In about all translations it reads: Seek [first] the kingdom. In RNWT it reads: Keep on, then, seeking first…. First: The latter means a never ending activity. Like it is very hard to find. In contrast, to me at least, the first rendering gives the impression that it can be found. Second: you’d expect a [baptized] believer has found the kingdom and should not seek anymore. Therefore, why is this article for 8 million baptized relevant? Are they all still seeking the kingdom? I guess… Read more »
Menrov: Good point. There are several words/phrases the NWT uses that I have found to be like that: constant action/never ending, as you say, etc. Like ‘exercising faith’ when the KJV and some others just say ‘believe’ or some form of that, and there are a couple others I can’t think of off the top of my head. But I’d never checked nor suspected the ‘keep’ seeking first phrase. One son of mine told me ages ago to stop reading the NWT, but all of my memories of scriptures and phrases were from there. I could do a search and… Read more »
The reason the King James Bible reads differently from all modern bibles is because the underlying Greek text used is the Textus Receptus, which is radically different from the Westcott and Hort, Nestle-Åland, and UBS Greek Text. Westcott and Hort managed to get their text used in the first revision of the KJV in 1881. It was meant to be just that, a revision, not a whole new Bible. Some passages had even been removed. Why was this? Did God get it wrong with the KJV? Two old Alexandrian manuscripts had been found, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, and Westcott and Horts… Read more »
For those who can read it:
TR(i) (Textus Receptus) for Matth. 6;33
G2212 (G5720)V-PAM-2Pζητειτε G1161CONJδε G4412ADVπρωτον G3588T-ASFτην G932N-ASFβασιλειαν G3588T-GSMτου G2316N-GSMθεου G2532CONJκαι G3588T-ASFτην G1343N-ASFδικαιοσυνην G846P-GSMαυτου G2532CONJκαι G5023D-NPNταυτα G3956A-NPNπαντα G4369 (G5701)V-FPI-3Sπροστεθησετα ιG5213P-2DPυμιν
G2212 [G5720]V-PAM-2Pζητειτε G1161CONJδε G4412ADVπρωτον G3588T-ASFτην G932N-ASFβασιλειαν G3588T-GSM| | ” του G2316N-GSMθεου ” G2532CONJ| και G3588T-ASFτηνG1343N-ASFδικαιοσυνην G846P-GSMαυτου G2532CONJκα ιG5023D-NPNταυτα G3956A-NPNπαντα G4369 [G5701]V-FPI-3Sπροστεθησεται G5213P-2DPυμιν
Not sure if I see a difference between the two. In my view, in this case, it is just the (r)NWT that has a specific translation compared to all others.
Menrov, the 1984 NWT reads the same as the RNWT: Keep on, then, seeking first…. The footnote on the passage in the 1984 large print reads: Mt 6:33 Or, “Be you seeking.” Gr.., ze.tei’te; the verb form indicates continuous action. The Introduction to the 1884 Large-Print NWT says, under the heading The Translation Into English: “… imperfect verbs have been kept in the imperfect state denoting progressive action …” By the word imperfect, the NWT means uncompleted. Spanish and Latin also have imperfect verbs. In an effort to be accurate with verbs, the NWT does not sound like fluent English.… Read more »
My reply originally was to bjfox1 who stated that he only just realised that the last part of the Lord’s Prayer was missing, but it is found in the KJV. I simply stated the reason why, which is that a totally different Greek text is used. Obviously if there words are missing in Greek in the first place then there is no need to translate them fluently, because you don’t have the words to translate. So it has everything to do with it. Which Greek text is the correct one? Which translation of that Greek text is the most accurate?… Read more »
Sorry if I misunderstood your comment. I don’t read carefully enough sometimes. But bjfox1 had said just before your comment, among other things: ‘exercising faith’ when the KJV and some others just say ‘believe’. Then I read your comment about Greeks texts. The translation “exercising faith” has nothing to do with the Greek text used, but with whether the verb is translated in an imperfect (unfinished, or continuative sense). The Textus Receptus uses ζητειτε as the verb in question according to http://textus-receptus.com/wiki/Matthew_6:33. If I am missing a point on that, let me know. If you believe in the teachings of… Read more »
No problem William. I am merely seeking truth like everybody else here. Finding straight answers to questions is the difficult thing sometimes. I am not a KJV Onlyist, and will use an MEV Bible for a modern translation, simply because I enjoy the way it reads. It does use the Textus Receptus for the Greek text. I find it difficult to believe that God hid his word in 2 old manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, for 1800 years, so that his word need restoring. This implies it was not preserved in the first place, and the text that Erasmus collated, and… Read more »
I sometimes find your reasoning not on my wavelength Anonymous, but I would just like to concur with your point about ‘authority over others,,,,,,’ etc. Everyone likes to believe they’re Right, don’t they? For me, the only really important thing is having a deep loving relationship with God and Christ. I recall Christ being far more critical about wrong attitudes than over wrong belief concepts, unless of course, particular beliefs created unloving attitudes towards others or grossly misrepresented his Father, Jehovah God. So, whilst I find the continued search for Truth agreeable, I am also aware that any one of… Read more »
Ha! Touché mon brave!
It’s great to have all these articles popping into my inbox. Thanks very much.