This week’s CLAM introduces section 1 of the book God’s Kingdom Rules. The section title is “Kingdom Truth—Dispensing Spiritual Food” and the second paragraph of the section description speaks of “the precious gift we have been given—the knowledge of the truth!” It then goes on to say “Stop and think: How did that gift come to you? In this section we will examine that question. The way that God’s people have progressively received spiritual enlightenment is a vivid proof that God’s Kingdom is real. For a century, its King, Jesus Christ, has been actively ensuring that God’s people are taught the truth.”
As you can already see, the purpose of this section is to show that the hundred-something-year history of Jehovah’s witnesses and their Bible Student forebears is part of the progressive revelation of God’s purpose to reconcile humanity to himself as recorded in the Scriptures.
The study then begins chapter 3, “Jehovah Reveals His Purpose”. Paragraph 2 invites us to “consider a brief overview of how Jehovah has revealed truths about the Kingdom throughout history.”
Aside from some quibbles, there’s not much to take issue with for the rest of this week’s study. The prophecy at Genesis 3:15 is rightly taken as the initial installment, then God’s promises to Abraham, Jacob, Judah and David are briefly discussed, and then the focus shifts to Daniel.
Daniel’s prophecy, recorded in chapter 9 of the Bible book bearing his name is certainly relevant to the progressive revelation of information about the Messiah, but Daniel receives more emphasis than others in this section. Why? Because something he said has enormous significance to the way Jehovah’s Witnesses view themselves. Paragraph 12, the last paragraph to be considered this week, ends by telling us that “after being given a vision involving the establishment of God’s Kingdom, Daniel was told to seal up the prophecy until the time appointed by Jehovah. At that future time, true knowledge would “become abundant.”—Dan. 12:4”
The foundation has been laid for the concept of true knowledge being hidden until the beginning of the last days – a little over a century ago, from the book’s standpoint – and then a renewal of progressive revelation in our time. Does this concept hold water? Future CLAM reviews will analyze that question as the organization’s argument is, er, progressively revealed over the next few weeks.
“For a century, its King, Jesus Christ, has been actively ensuring that God’s people are taught the truth.” – Really? Can the truth be manipulated? Can it be bended, corrected or adjusted over time?
Can we cite at least one in Christ teachings that need to be rectified by himself or by God himself?
Jesus said, “. . .YOU received free, give free.” (Mt 10:8) However, the Governing Body want us to feel like we owe them something. True, I did learn many Bible truths from them. I also learned many lies, which I unwittingly taught others.
I do owe Jesus something. In fact, I owe him everything. But then, he never lied to me. He never taught me anything that caused me regret.
Perhaps a more accurate statement that all Witnesses should ponder is, ‘Stop and think: How did that false teaching come to you?’
“He never taught me anything that caused me regret.”
Truly a lovely sentiment, Meleti.
It is worth remembering Romans 14:8 – If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Did we just read we belong to an organization?
From the way the material was presented in the meeting, I was reminded of ingratiating tactics a.k.a. ‘being made to feel indebted to someone’. Even though the wording states correctly that Jesus gives us truth, the message actually is: You’re indebted to the organization through whom you learned basic bible truths. This has always made me deeply uncomfortable. At its most simple, the chain of learning could perhaps be illustrated: Jesus -> Bible -> individual teacher(s) -> me understanding biblical truth (In this scenario, I’m happy I met the individual teacher or teachers who guiding my understanding. I feel an… Read more »
I too sense an attempt to make us feel indebted by this week’s text. Matt 10:8 tells us “You received free, give free”. With no strings attached. Isn’t preaching the good news a privilege? The GB tends to forget that they are just slaves of God, who got it free, too.
Well put cx_516 (interesting handle by the way). Somewhat related to that was another feature of last night’s CLAM which was the talk “Are you making good use of the JW.ORG Contact cards?” We had the usual spiel about how much these cards would help us in our ever-important preaching work, but then the brother giving the talk made a very telling remark (that I’m sure most everyone else missed) – he noted how the card made it so easy to lead people to (get ready for it) – The Watchtower. No, not lead them to the Bible. Lead them… Read more »
Can you imagine telling someone, “I taught you about God, so remember now, no matter what I do, you have to be loyal to me”? Or, “You must never question anything I say or do”? Emotional blackmail is right.
Another CLAM meeting, another count of “zero” on the mentions of Jesus (sigh). Yes, there were a few allusions to the Messiah towards the end of the Gods Kingdom Rules, study, but other than that, a big, fat doughnut. So disappointing. Interestingly, what was emphasized repeatedly through the meeting was that it was Halloween Night. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly promoting celebrating it, but the way it was presented was almost paranoid. First, we got an email prior to the meeting about how the Ministerial Servants would be on high alert and extra vigilant, and that if anyone… Read more »
It would be interesting to know if those instructions came down from on high or were just your local elders running slightly amok. But if you want to market yourself as the Great Protector to someone who isn’t actually in danger, you do need to fabricate a menace. It sounds like paternalistic instincts on hallucinogenic steroids to me, but if it came from higher up it might be something a little more sinister. Obviously, I’m not a very good source of non-cynical feedback.
AndereStimme: I actually told the guys in the parking lot that I thought it was a bit ludicrous to think that all Hades was going to break out just because it was Halloween. The response was “we’re just following direction” (there’s a surprise, huh?). I can only speculate as well, but knowing how incredibly centralized this religion is, I would bet that this is coming down from on-high, and not just a local thing. Perhaps someone else on the forum who had a meeting that night can let us know if they saw any of this. Upon further reflection, I… Read more »
” I would imagine that there were at least some kids in the audience, of a certain age, that wondered if they’d even make it home safe or not. Don’t they think about that?”
Of course they do, in *fact, …they rely on it!
Point taken Drifty. What the heck was I thinking, anyway?!! In all seriousness, though, I find it just this side of disgusting to frighten little kids like that….
Well, I don’t know how frightened the kids were. When I was a kid sitting through those long, boring meetings, it would have been the highlight of my night to hear that we’d have to run over mutant zombies by the score just to get home. I’d be more worried about the teenagers. Surrounded by a world that tantalizingly treats the idea of moral accountability to a Higher Power as hokum, hearing one of your spiritual leaders mouth such utter nonsense will probably seem like confirmation. I know when I was a rowdy teenager looking for an excuse to throw… Read more »
Lest we forget the *fireballs!
*See Revelation, the Grand Climax and You Can Live Forever on a Paradise Earth.
One of the characteristics of a cult mentality is the consensus among the group that everyone in the outside world is trying to get you.
Actually, Halloween this year is extra spooky, since Charles Taze Russell entered his zombie phase exactly 100 years ago, on Oct 31, 2016. Rutherford transmogrified the Pastor’s soul from “the faithful and wise slave” back to the Laodicean Messenger.
By driving this wooden stake into his heart and building a tall pyramid next to his grave in Pittsburgh, Rutherford set himself up to be the avenging angel, assuring himself of sole and unchallenged owner of the Word. The “faith and discreet slave” was thus set in rulership position, communicating with spirit powers to guide his organization.