A Letter from the Christian Congregation
This week “Our Christian Life and Ministry” (CLAM) meeting begins the study of a new book titled God’s Kingdom Rules! The first thing that congregation members are expected to comment on in the opening study of this series is a letter from the Governing Body to all kingdom publishers. Given that the many inaccuracies in that letter which will be taken by most as gospel, we feel it necessary to direct a letter of our own to the kingdom publishers.
Here at Beroean Pickets we are also a congregation. Since the Greek word for “congregation” refers to those who are “called out”, that surely applies to us. We are currently getting over 5,000 unique visitors every month on the sites, and while some are casual or incidental, there are many who regularly comment and contribute to the spiritual upbuilding of all.
The reason that Christians gather together is to incite one another to love and to the doing of fine works. (He 10:24-25) Though we are separated by many thousands of miles, with members in South, Central, and North America as well as many parts of Europe, and as far away as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, we are one in spirit. Collectively, our purpose is the same as any congregation of true Christians: the preaching of the good news.
This online community has come into being very much on its own – for it was never our intention to have anything more than a place for doing Bible research. We are not affiliated with any organized religion, though many of us have come from the denomination of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, we eschew religious affiliation. We realize that organized religion requires submission to the will of men, something which is not for us, for we will submit only to the Christ. Therefore, we will not identify ourselves by a unique name other than that given in Scripture. We are Christians.
In every organized Christian church there are individuals in whom the seed planted by our Lord Jesus has grown. These are like wheat. Such ones, even though continuing to associate with a particular Christian denomination, submit only to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Our letter is written to the wheat in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Dear Fellow Christian:
In view of the letter from the Governing Body which you will be studying this week, we’d like to offer a viewpoint which is not based on revised history, but rather established historical facts.
Let us look back on that fateful Friday morning of October 2, 1914. C.T. Russell, the man whom all the Bible students then considered to be the personification of the faithful and discreet slave on earth, made the following announcement:
“The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day!”
Russell did not say that because he believed Christ had been enthroned invisibly in the heavens on that day. In fact, he and his followers believed that the invisible presence of Jesus as the enthroned king had begun in 1874. They also believed they had come to the end of the 40-year preaching campaign corresponding to the “harvest period.” It was not until 1931 that the date of the start of Christ’s invisible presence was moved to October 1914.
The excitement they felt at that announcement surely turned to disillusionment as the years went by. Two years later, Russell died. The directors that he designated in his will to replace him were subsequently ousted by Rutherford (a man not on Russell’s short list of appointees) in a corporate coup.
Given that Russell was wrong about all those things, is it not also conceivable that he was wrong about the date in which the Gentile Times ended?
Indeed, it would seem reasonable to ask if the Gentile Times have ended at all. What evidence is there that “their kings have had their day”? What evidence is there in world events to support such a claim? What evidence is there in Scripture? The simple answer to these three questions is: None! The fact of the matter is that the kings of the earth are more powerful than they have ever been. Some of them are so powerful that they could obliterate all life on earth in the question of hours should they choose to do so. And where is the evidence that Christ’s kingdom has begun ruling; has been ruling for over 100 years?
In the letter from the Governing Body you will be told that “Jehovah’s celestial chariot is on the move!”, and is moving at “an extremely brisk pace”. This is highly doubtful since Jehovah is never depicted in Scripture as riding in a chariot of any kind. The origin of such a doctrine is pagan.[i] Next, the letter will lead you to believe that there is evidence of rapid expansion worldwide and that this is proof of Jehovah’s blessing. It is noteworthy that this letter was written two years ago. A lot has happened in the past two years. The letter says:
“Self-sacrificing volunteers assist in the construction of Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and branch facilities, both in prosperous lands and in lands with limited resources.” – par. 4
This is something of an embarrassment given the current state of affairs. With the exception of the Warwick headquarters, almost all the Society’s construction projects worldwide have been cancelled indefinitely. A year and half ago, we were asked for additional funds for the construction of thousands of Kingdom Halls. Great excitement was generated as new plans were revealed for a new and streamlined standardized Kingdom Hall design. One would expect that thousands of new halls would be under construction by now, and that the Internet as well as the JW.org site would be abuzz with photos and accounts of these construction projects. Instead, we are hearing of kingdom hall after kingdom hall being sold, and congregations being forced to travel long distances to make use of the remaining halls in their area. We also see a decline in the growth of new publishers with many countries reporting negative figures.
We are being told that the so-called earthly part of Jehovah’s organization has been moving at an extremely brisk pace, but we are not told the direction in which it is moving. The facts would seem to indicate that it is going backwards. This is hardly evidence of God’s blessing upon the organization.
As a study of this book progresses from week to week, we shall do our best to provide Christians who associate with the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses the truest picture possible of their “spiritual heritage”.
With every good wish, we are
Your brothers in Christ.
[i] See Origins of the Celestial Chariot and Merkabah Mysticism.
Good morning dear brothers, this message coming from the Philippines (added our country to let you know that this site has reached South East Asia). What’s the difference between God’s Kingdom Rules book and the book Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom? The latter which also details JWs history was published in the 1990’s but was never used as study material for the CBS. It was just used for reference in Theocratic Ministry School parts.
Can we not just do the same to GKR book now?
Good point mailman, attended last night, (the next meeting from this one being discussed) and there were around 80 to 90 present. The duration of the “study” was laborious and drawn out – mainly due to a lack of comments. Most were wondering why they were there and the comments were like pulling teeth. You could feel it in the air. Bible Study? No! History scrubbed – Yes. Tension in the air with pictures on the screen of wheat and the generation thing – most silent on that and the time kept overlapping … … … meeting finished 10 minutes… Read more »
I can also share the same observation you did Dajo, getting comments for this part was like pulling teeth. The brother conducting asked the question if according to this definition, parents and children would be the same generation. I was so tempted to raise my hand and offer up that even children and their grandparents – or even great grandparents would be considered the same generation if they had been alive at the same time- according to this definition. But the other part of me caused me to bite my tongue, as I was enjoying the awkwardness of so few… Read more »
When this was covered in our cong, the conductor built a lot of hype around what it would have been like to be in the room when Russell made his ‘famous’ announcement. Some commented on the thrill!… and some even mentioned the hope ones had at that time of rapture…but the actual context of that announcement was completely lost on the audience in the haze of the hype. The point to be made was “isn’t this exciting?!” but the contextual events showed, no it wasn’t. It was man-made hype that led to dissatisfaction and later schisms. What made me mad… Read more »
What a great quote! So beautifully put in such few words, and how appropriate for JWs (and others) today.
Since there are so many Africans visiting this web page, I have an off-topic question for them. But I don’t expect an answer since so many years have elapsed. In 1974 or 1975 I overheard a conversation between a Nigerian and two American Bethelites, in Brooklyn. I was not part of the conversation, but I lived in the room where it took place, so I got to listen. The Nigerian said that there were miracles during the Nigerian civil war, but that the stories were stopped by the Branch Office. He said that the Branch Overseer said that the stories… Read more »
The Nigerian civil war ended in 1970. I find your question quite odd. What is it really you are trying to prove – or insinuate? Of what link is your question to the presence of “Africans” on this site?
Wanderer, I am sorry if I offended you by my odd comment. My comment was “odd” in that it was COMPLETELY OFF-TOPIC. I didn’t count them, but there were several comments by Africans on this web page reminding Mileti that the people who visit this site are not just from “South, Central, and North America as well as many parts of Europe, and as far away as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.” I thought I would die without knowing the real story about whether there were indeed miracles involving Witnesses’s lives being saved during the Nigerian civil war, or whether… Read more »
William, Thank you for fleshing this out. Were there miracles during the civil war? There may have been. I was five years old when full hostilities began. My dad was to have been shot at some point but out of ruse, escaped. The way he told it, it was no miracle. The soldiers were drunk. My dad and his hapless companions were marched to a spot and asked to dig their grave. They started. Midway, he thought he could make a dash for it because in the end he’d be shot anyway. It was getting dark, so he took a… Read more »
This is really sad to read. I met someone whose relative was killed by a witchcraft. Belief in sorcery etc in parts of Africa is so strong that it seems as if people can literally die if the witchdoctor says they will, without any physical intervention. The sad part is that as a result of this sort of belief, people could turn away from belief in miracles altogether. At our one assembly there was an interview with a brother from Malawi whose head was deformed as he had been hit in the head with an ax during their persecution. Nothing… Read more »
I really disliked these so-called “proof of JHWH blessing” experiences on the platform during conventions. As Colette also says, why one and not the other. I do believe that divine intervention can happen. But if one believes it happened to him/her, I recommend to keep that to yourself. Do not say when you are cured from cancer that it is with the help of YHWH as at the same time, equally devoted JW’s die of cancer, often young, leaving children behind.
Thank you Colette, Menrov, and Wanderer for your replies. At the time, I suspected the Nigerian who told the story over 40 years ago was probably right and the Branch Servant wrong. The Nigerian was intelligent and sincere and very impressive in his knowledge of the Bible. But that does not prove he was correct about the miracles. I live half a world away from Africa and never had a chance to try to verify his story. I carefully read all your answers. Thanks for taking the time to respond.
There is no reason now to even call it a congregation bible study. Though the last book often promoted a narrow speculative view, and it at times really reached for a ‘lesson’, at least it promoted reflection of the scriptures. This book is just straight up propaganda and historical revisionism. Thank you Meleti for your hard work, and I look forward to your articles on this, as well as other Beroean comments from everyone here. I agree that there will be some interesting commenting opportunities at the hall. (Luke 12:1-2)
“Though the last book often promoted a narrow speculative view, and it at times really reached for a ‘lesson’, …”
Remember when we presented the idea that Cains murderous personality may have been the result of the way his mom, Eve, treated him while growing up?
After the meeting I approached the conductor and asked him if I could offer speculation in my comments.
His look, … priceless!
…and from Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa too!
Please dont neglect the African folk on this Forum ! Í live in the Western Cape – But Africa starts on the other side of the Cape border …………………………………………………….lol !
On Africa, yes we are here, the “Ethiopian eunuchs”-lol.
This community, our congregation is based on Love, Meleti have proved love and humility. The omission is unintentional. Am in Nigeria and mails fellow Nigerian on this forum too .
Keep the fire of the Spirit burning .
The consideration of the book will provide opportunities to discuss failed prophecies and changed “Truth” discreetly with others, especially new ones
Love u all
Oh, just wanted to say hi, from Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa. Keep up the good work!!
Spiritual food at the proper time… *cough* By the way C.T.Russell, I don’t think that beard is either faithful or discreet. You are hereby stripped of all privileges. Come back when you can start being being submissive to the faithful and discreet slave. What’s that? You are the faithful slave? My apologies, brother. All those professing to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is ruling must now do compulsory math classes. 606+2520=1914. What’s that you say up in the back there? No zero year? Why you impudent young whipppersnapper…Wait…you might be right actually. Whoops…ok, we can fix this…607+2520=1914. Praise the… Read more »
Studying this book, at this time, may be the best thing that could ever happen to help promote vigorous discussion within the United States Congregation (and possibly others acquainted with the facts of our history) as to the egregious nature of this self appointed Organization.
Seems to me to be just another straw on the ole’ proverbial, (sometimes a camel is just a camel’s), back.
Holy Spirit in action?
Should make for some fun commenting opportunities at the very least.
I honestly have to say, …I struggle with the fun part.
There are plenty of ‘fun’ facts that can pop up in a study of witness history.
Did you know that Revelation 14:20 provides us with the precise distance between Scranton, Pennsylvania (where The Finished Mystery was written) and Bethel in Brooklyn (where it was printed)… 137.9 miles (p.230 The Finished Mystery)
Yeah, I hear you Nick_O!
Now, for the record, …it’s not that I don’t have fun doing it, I do, especially since the “fun facts” are from our own archaic past.
Can’t pin the tail on apostates for that.
Just wish I didn’t relish it that much is all.
Amazing stuff! Nick, I haven’t been to a CLAM for several weeks now. However, you’ve just given me encouragement to go along and make a comment or two. (maybe my last perhaps – might not call on my hand again). Yes that’s the key I will go come to think of it and treat it as we are TOLD to do at a memorial. I will observe and look for the “fun” (ridiculous) stuff. Seriously though, they call this 30 minute part of going through a big purple twisted history book the “Bible Study” part of the Christian Life and… Read more »
Dajo, this might inspire you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ac6UaA5mJQ&feature=share
Makes me wish I had been an elderine :-).
Wow, talk about exiting with class and dignity! Incredible.
Collette, big thanks for the link. That was beautiful!
Thanks Colette for that – very inspiring, thanks
Not to mention the irrefutable correlation between intellect and nose length mentioned on page 228: Many of the clergy are today followers of Darwin and Socrates instead of Moses and Christ. And both Darwin and Socrates were mentally unsound. The following is from Dr. Dorland’s The Age of Mental Virility: “It is like wise exceptional to find an unusually short nose, such as that possessed by Darwin and Socrates, among men of intellect. Nasal abbreviation is one of the well-known signs of degeneracy, as is also the sessile or otherwise misshapen ear, the sugar-loaf skull, the close-set eyes, and other… Read more »
Wait…. No shout out to Africa? We are here too!!!
Oops! How could I have overlooked our dear brothers in Africa. 🙂 Bad Meleti, Bad! 🙂
Yes bad, bad, bad. I very politely didn’t say anything, but now that it has been brought up……
Hi Zugzwang We are in South Africa. Will love to get together if you are nearby. In Gauteng at the moment but relocating to a country town in Western Cape soon since Armageddon is not just around the corner any more.
Thanks Meleti, once again for bringing out some home truths. A book I read just after my baptism was ‘ Faith on the March ‘ and Russels words and the feelings in Bethel, were nicely captured and expressed in that book. Our Spiritual Heritage,has its own ‘skeletons in the closet.’ For Some newly associated they may not understand, How, the 1914 doctrine was born. And many of us may have forgotten , and so here’s a refresher. So, the question we can ask, is What influenced bro Russell that 1914 was a marked year. What arguments or proof was presented?… Read more »
Great quote. Do you have a page number? I really don’t want to read the whole book!
Sure, page 342. But start from page 311, from the Beginning, interesting! Bear in mind this is an updated to his previous calculations .in 1864 Charles piazza Smyth a scientist measured these pyramids and put some prophet significance to them. He then published a book. In 1876, Smyth ran an article, in the Bible Examiner. Which George Storrs ran , an Adventist. Then George Storrs ran articles on this, then Russell picks up the cause. third volume, studies in the scriptures -Page 313 Study X – the testimony of Gods Stone Witness and Prophet, the great pyramid in Egypt, subheading-He… Read more »
AndereStimme, I think you would like Google Advanced Book Search. I copied the following passage from Lazarus:
So, then, if we measure backward down the “First Ascending Passage”.
I then pasted in the topmost text box on the page, which says “with all of the words” and did a search.
Within a few seconds I found the passage lazarus referred to from page 342.
Lazarus mentioned George Storrs. Some of his literature is also available as a Google Book. Anybody can download all those books for free since the copyrights have expired.
It is incredible to think that an organization that believes the end of the world is about to come will make everyone study a book of its own history instead of encouraging people to draw closer to God and Jesus Christ as that is where salvation will come from. I believe that there will be a new book released at the upcoming annual meeting on how to survive the great tribulation. I expect it will be about obeying the gov body and elders. Yet again our survival does not depend on dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s, but rather… Read more »
The reason they want us studying the new book is because “The other sheep should never forget that their salvation depends on their active support of Christ’s anointed “brothers” still on earth.” (w12 3/15 p. 20 par. 2 Rejoicing in Our Hope)
This is what got me in trouble with my C.O. I felt my salvation depended on God and Christ, not men. How very presumptuous of me!
Wow. That books intro really is lie upon lie!
P.S.- When the gb says “we love you”, I just want to hurl.. I think, “So what?”
What does that mean to anybody? Why are they saying that? Stop speaking to me like a child!
Sorry Morris, Lett, and your fellow gangsters. You’re not my daddy!
I agree, it really is nauseatingly Orwellian. But it has the purpose you alluded to, namely, of reinforcing their “daddy” status. The subliminal message is, they are a separate group from the rest of us, and we need them to feed us or we’ll lose out on everlasting life.