2017, March 27-April 2 – Our Christian Life and Ministry

– posted by meleti

Treasures from God’s Word

Week’s theme: “Israel Forgot Jehovah”  (Jeremiah Chapters 12 - 16)

Jeremiah 13:1-11

The first two portions of this consideration of Jeremiah, together with references, quote from the Gods Word for Us through Jeremiah (jr) book to relate Jeremiah’s trip to and from the Euphrates with a linen belt, and how he obeyed Jehovah’s instructions. This is a fine example for us, providing of course that the instructions are from Jehovah and clearly in his word, rather than springing from man’s own interpretation.

The third portion (Jer 13:8-11) refers to jr p. 52 pars. 19-20, and the organizational slant on these verses comes in paragraph 20 when it says regarding neighbors being puzzled or even criticizing you: “It may involve your dress and grooming, your choice as to education, what you prefer as a career, or even your view of alcoholic beverages. Will you be as determined to comply with God’s guidance as Jeremiah was?”

Firstly let us state up front, we should all be determined to comply with God’s guidance even as Jeremiah was. Indeed it is unlikely we would be on this site if we were not concerned in discerning exactly what God’s guidance really is.

So what guidance is there in God’s word as to dress and grooming?

1 Timothy 2:9, 10 provides this: “…well-arranged dress, with modesty, and soundness of mind.. not with ..very expensive garb.. but in the way that befits women professing to reverence God”.

The key principle is that by our dress we show our reverence to God and our personal choice of clothing, hairstyles and adornment would point to that reverence by proving acceptable to God and to the general community rather than ourselves or our narrow community of associates, whoever they may be.

Deuteronomy 22:5, 1 Corinthians 10:31 & 13:4, 5 and Philippians 2:4 also contain fine principles.

To go beyond these principles and lay down restrictions such as those on beards is to go beyond what is written. Just pause and think for a moment, if Jesus materialized today as he did to the first century disciples and walked into a circuit assembly or regional convention, he would be barred from giving a talk from the platform. (As an aside, the US Military currently has a general prohibition on beards and have done so since World War I with the exception of a break between 1970-1984. Also the Mormons strongly encourage all members to shave and it is mandated for its missionaries and those who work or attend the Mormon University. Should we be emulating these organizations?).

What guidance is there in God’s word as to choice of education and career?

The short answer is no specific guidance at all. Of course there are some general principles that can be applied, such as Luke 14:28, to calculate the expense, but it is up to our conscience, remembering Romans 14:10, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of God”.

Yes, we all are responsible before God for our choices in life, including our education and career. So why are we not encouraged to exercise our conscience in these matters?  Why are we expected to adhere to directions that go beyond what is written under the threat of sanctions?

Then comes the claim for authority as paragraph 20 in the Jeremiah book continues: “In any case, being obedient to Jehovah’s direction found in his Word and accepting the guidance given through the faithful slave class is for your lasting good.”  Of course, since 2012, we have been taught that there never was a “slave class” consisting of all the anointed on earth.  Now we are told that the faithful slave is the Governing Body.  So why are we quoting an understanding that has now been disavowed?  If these men claiming to be the faithful slave cannot even discern the incongruity of telling us to obey a class that no longer exists, how can we believe that it is for our ‘lasting good to accept and obey their guidance’?

Digging for Spiritual Gems

Jeremiah 15:17

“What was Jeremiah’s view of associations, and how can we imitate him? (w04 5/1 12 para 16)”

 The Watchtower reference says in part, “Jeremiah would rather be alone than be corrupted by bad companions. We today view matters the same way.”

That is missing the point. Being merrymakers did not make those Israelite contemporaries of Jeremiah bad associations per se. Reading the context of this verse shows that Jehovah had been giving Jeremiah a strongly worded warning to deliver to the Israelites of his day; one they needed to heed urgently. It potentially meant their very lives. In verses 13and 14, addressing Israel, Jehovah said:

“Your resources and your treasures I will give as plunder… 14I will give them to your enemies.” (Jer 15:13, 14)

Therefore this was a very serious situation. Having been given this commission to transmit the impending destruction, how could Jeremiah sit with merrymakers and rejoice? It would have totally undermined the seriousness of his message by implying that he did not take the words he was prophesying seriously when in reality he took them very seriously. While the nation as a whole was wicked, there were individuals who were not, but were still taking no note of Jeremiah’s message. It is therefore a misapplication to state that “Jeremiah would rather be alone than be corrupted by bad companions.”


Digging Even Deeper for Spiritual Gems

Summary of Jeremiah 16

Time Period: Probably late in reign of Josiah

Main Points:

  • (1-8) Jeremiah told not to take a wife. Calamities to befall mothers and babies. Jehovah will take away peace from the people.

  • (9) ‘Here I am causing you to cease out of this place (Jerusalem)… I will put an end to the sounds of exultation and rejoicing, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.’

  • (10-13) When questioned as to why these calamities the reply was to be because they and their fathers kept going after other gods. They would be hurled into the land they had not known without Jehovah’s favor.

  • (14-15) The Jews would return because of Jehovah taking action in a way exceeding the notoriety of the Exodus from Egypt.

  • (16-21) Before that though they would be rooted out without exception to pay off their sins in polluting the land Jehovah had given them.

Apply Yourself to the Field Ministry

Talk: (6 min.) w16.03 29-31—Theme: When Were God’s People Held Captive by Babylon the Great?

Question: What do you do if you change the understanding on a teaching and most Witnesses do not understand it? How about raise an unattributed “Questions from Readers” and repeat the same information to emphasize it is right. Well, is the answer any clearer now? Let’s investigate.

First, the question, “Why is this adjusted view warranted?” Notice the word “view”. Teachings from the Governing Body are views, which allows them to change their view without repercussion. However, if you or I were to question said view, it would instantly change into a teaching because it comes from the GB and should therefore not be challenged.

Paragraph 2 makes the claim “God’s people were tested and refined during the years following the establishment of Gods Kingdom in the heavens in 1914” citing Malachi 3:1-4 and a footnote reference to The Watchtower of July 15, 2013 pp. 10-12, pars. 5-8, 12—the watershed Watchtower for many fading or ex-Witnesses.

For a discussion of the messenger of the covenant, the proper application of Malachi 3 and a review of the Watchtower application, see the CLAM review of Oct 3-9, 2016.

Paragraph 8 (pp. 10-12) of the July 15, 2013 Watchtower deserves a detailed analysis:

In late 1914, some Bible Students were disheartened because they had not gone to heaven.”

Why? Because of unfulfilled prognostications that Armageddon would come in 1914 and that they would be taken to heaven to be with Christ at that time.

During 1915 and 1916, opposition from outside the organization slowed down the preaching work. Worse, after Brother Russell’s death in October 1916, opposition arose from inside the organization. Four of the seven directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society rebelled against the decision to have Brother Rutherford take the lead.”

What are the facts, as opposed to claims? (1) January 1917 Rutherford was unanimously voted in as President at a special convention. (2) Within a few months four Directors had a change of heart because they came to see autocratic behavior from the then President of the Organization.  They tried to limit his powers, but Rutherford got rid of them using a legal technicality in the Society’s bylaws.  After that, he remained in power with four Directors who were loyal to him.  (For a review of whether Rutherford met the qualifications to even be considered the faithful and discreet slave, see Qualifications to Become God’s Channel of Communication.)

They tried to cause division among the brothers, but in August 1917, they left Bethel—a cleansing indeed! “

"History is written by the victors." - Walter Benjamin.

Fortunately, the history is recent enough and printed material durable enough that serious historians can learn what really happened.  Both the ousted Directors and Rutherford published arguments and accusations against each other to try to win over the early Bible Students. Both sides caused divisions which led to hundreds leaving the Watchtower organization to join three different Bible Students groups.  Hundreds more left disenchanted with all the upheaval caused by the leadership during the 1917-1919 period.  There was no cleansing. What there was can best be called a coup.

Also, some Bible Students gave in to the fear of man. Still, as a whole they willingly responded to Jesus’ cleansing work and made the needed changes.

"As a whole"? In a court case in 1947 one of the breakaway Bible Students associations gave evidence that during the 1920’s to early 1940’s over 56,000 of the 75,000 that broke off affiliation with The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society had joined their movement. As of 1942 the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses had not yet reached 100,000, so to claim that "as a whole" they willingly responded is clearly to engage in "alternative facts".  And precisely what changes did Jesus get them to make?  Rutherford was, by this time, deep into his "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" campaign. This was the campaign that predicted the end would come in 1925 when the ancient worthies would be resurrected and the physical nation of Israel would be restored.  Are we now to blame Jesus for this fiasco?  Apparently Yes, if we are to accept that he was responsible for this so-called "cleansing work".

Hence, Jesus judged them to be true Christian wheat, but he rejected all imitation Christians, including all of those found within the churches of Christendom. (Mal. 3:5; 2 Tim. 2:19)

Unfortunately, we don't have Jesus' written nor spoken words to verify this astonishing fact, but we can take it as a given that he actually performed this judgment because those who have set themselves up in the seat of Moses as God's appointed channel of communication have assured us that Jesus actually did this.

Notice that it is not the individuals that Jesus is judging as wheat, but the organization itself.  True, Jesus says that the seed he sowed were the "sons of the Kingdom", but he didn't really mean that. He meant that the seeds were the Organization, and the weeds were the other bad organizations.  So we cannot be saved individually as wheat.  We have to be in the wheat-like Organization to be saved.  This we also have on good authority by those who have proclaimed themselves to be the "faithful and discreet slave".

Paragraph 8 of the "Questions from Readers", referring to the period of spiritual captivity from the 2nd Century onward, states in part:

“Any who expressed an opinion contrary to what the clergy taught were dealt with harshly, thus stifling any attempts to spread the light of the truth”.

Of course, that is no longer the case in the churches of Christendom with one notable exception.  The Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses continues to practice this technique to quell dissent.  If one expresses, not an opinion, but a Bible truth that is contrary to what the clergy of the Organization teaches, he will be dealt with most harshly.  Most are in fear to express any idea that might conflict with "established truth".

As the final paragraph concludes it could be accurate to say "that God’s people went into captivity…in the 2nd century C.E."  However, it is sad to say that, with regard to Jehovah's Witnesses, that captivity continues to exist.

Living as Christians

Congregation Bible Study

God’s Kingdom Rules (Chapter 10 para 8-11 pp.101-103)

Theme: "The King Refines his People Spiritually"

This week’s portion deals with how the organization treated the celebration of Christmas. As paragraph 8 notes, the Watchtower of December 1881 stated “the pagan holidays came to be called by Christian names – Christmas being one of these holidays”. Despite supposedly being cleansed by Christ in 1919, the pagan celebration of Christmas continued to be practiced by the Bible Students until 1927.  Strange that! Especially when we know that the Plymouth colony of Puritan settlers of New England in the USA outlawed Christmas in Boston between 1659 and 1681 and it took another 200 years for it to become popular in the Boston area. Other Protestant churches of the time also disapproved of Christmas.

Paragraph 11 may give us a clue as to why nothing was done. Perhaps some of the early Bible Students knew it was wrong but did nothing because there was no direction from Headquarters. The Governing Body uses the opportunity to ask us to ask ourselves "How do I view the direction [or lack of direction!] we receive from headquarters? Do I gratefully accept it and apply what I learn?"

It concludes by stating "Our willing obedience shows our support for the Messianic King, who is using the faithful slave to dispense timely spiritual food."  Of course we should obey Christ, but as for those claiming to be the faithful and discreet slave, should not the measure of their claim be based on whether they have acted in faith and exercised discretion?  On the issue of Christmas, those claiming to be the slave were some 268 years late! Hardly timely by any definition of the word. Such a slave would be sacked for delivering food so late. We also have to ask, if the Puritans and others knew it centuries before, then why would Jesus select a group who were still steeped in this pagan practice?







Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Dajo on 2017-03-27 20:31:25

    Thanks Meleti,
    appreciate your work and the efforts you go to to help us "discern" another viewpoint of the stuff that is served up.
    I hope your health is improving and you are feeling better.

  • Comment by Jerome on 2017-03-28 15:54:42

    There is so much here to think about. I just wanted to convey my heartfelt appreciation for all of your research. I am learning so much on this site. Please continue!

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2017-03-29 09:45:24

      Thank you Jerome,

      The Lord willing, I will do my best. I'm just recovering from major surgery so my output will be diminished for a little while.

  • Comment by lazarus on 2017-03-28 19:14:09

    Thanks Meleti, for your perspective, I appreciate your point on this hotly debated topic of dress and grooming.

    A point from the Book Study , under birthdays, the conductor said, Nowhere in the Bible Does it forbid the celebration of birthdays, so how do we explain why we don't celebrate or observe birthdays.

    A brother answered, he made the comment, that his brother left the 'truth' because he wanted to celebrate his children's birthday's. The brother concluded that it comes down to loyalty to God!

    I wonder About his answer, does he conclude himself that Gods word forbids it in principle or is it the Organisation's take on it.

    He never gave a scriptural reason for his statement. One can assume the 2 accts he was referring to, John the Baptist, and Pharoahs Cupbearer, but even so, those accounts don't give you the answer either. What's interesting is the bad light on birthdays came in about 1950 or 1951, that's at least 30 years of the GB's appointment in 1919.
    I'm not saying one should celebrate birthdays but at least you could argue that it should or could be a conscience matter.

    • Reply by Menrov on 2017-03-29 04:14:15

      Funny, that point came up in a discussion with my wife. The reference or events used to show birthdays are bad, is taking the story out of context in my view. It says this in Matt. 14:6 But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
      So, was the birthday celebration a bad thing or was the fact that Herod got more or less seduced by his daughter the issue here?
      In Genesis 40:20 On the third day it was Pharaoh’s birthday, so he gave a feast for all his servants. He “lifted up” the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker in the midst of his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his former position so that he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand, 22 but the chief baker he impaled, just as Joseph had predicted.
      Again, what was wrong here? The celebration or the killing and showing the heads, though it was as predicted.
      Now, in John 2:10 "and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk"
      This is about the wedding celebration where people get drunk. So, should we no longer celebrate weddings?
      I respect if one choses to celebrate or not. In my view, a birthday event has no impact on how Jesus would Judge someone. The bible gives no indication at all.
      It does not make one a better Christian by following a man-made rule to not celebrate. If it would be a real personal choice, it is a different story.
      It is therefore a personal decision. The enforce all JW's not to participate in any birthday event, is going beyond what is written.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2017-03-30 21:38:49

      Yet again another example of the mindset the brothers have that whatever the organization teaches is what Jehovah teaches. Therefore loyalty to the organization is the same as loyalty to Jehovah. Amazing that they cannot see the implicit contradiction since no man deserves our loyalty at anything approaching a level of loyalty we owe to Jehovah

  • Comment by Candace on 2017-03-29 11:56:07

    Referring to the faithful and discreet slave 'class' confused me so much, so thanks for clearing that up! After all the (almost weekly) long discussions with older ones in the congregation, they kind of convinced me that I have been 'presumptuous' by taking matters into my own hands without allowing Jehovah to refine me spiritually. When I said I wanted to resign from pioneeing they refused and said I should continue at least to the end of the theocratic year because I might change my mind by then. My mum has also arranged for me to visit Warwick HQ which we will soon be going.
    I think the organisation is needed by a lot of people crave the structure and the social aspect in their lives. If this organisation was to suddenly close they will just find another control group to join. At the same time, I wonder a lot just how the 'get out of babylon the great' command ties in with this quirky aspect of human nature - the desire to belong and enjoying the support of a very loving group of sincere worshipers of God! Will Jehovah take this into account for those who cannot leave and therefore share in her sins and plagues??

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2017-03-29 22:55:51

      The tendency is to "remain in the boat", Candace. Peter saw Jesus walking on water and asked to join him, and even though he gave way to doubt, he made the attempt. What we forget is that the other 11 "remained in the boat".

      • Reply by Dajo on 2017-03-29 23:05:47

        I'm working on self control, I have a tendency to keep rocking the boat...

        • Reply by MarthaMartha on 2017-03-30 05:13:18

          I'm with you on that Dajo. My sighing in the CLAM is getting more noticeable, and I have great difficulty holding my tongue as directed when I'm with family who don't want to know.
          I'm so ready to jump...... I'm standing on the edge trying to gather the nerve. I'm just so worried about the damage it would do to the few family members we have still putting faith in this organisation.
          Also, to be honest, after 6 decades of attending meetings it's almost in my DNA to go. I'm in a deep quandary about the memorial as I truly feel that it's disrespectful to the command from our Lord Jesus. If I refuse to attend though, that will be a real watershed moment after 57 years.
          Sorry to ramble.... I'm having a difficult time at the moment feeling torn between my conscience and fear of hurting those close to me. I wish prayers had more discernible answers!

          Love to you all. Thanks for the support and deep spiritual thoughts that keep me going. It helps just knowing you're all there.
          Meleti, take care, I wish you a speedy recovery.

          • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2017-03-30 16:25:23

            Thank you, MarthaMartha. Using an expression my father frequented, the first week I felt like “death warmed over”. I have truly never felt so weak in my life. However, I am recovering nicely and believe this will give me a new lease on life. Perhaps providing a few additional years that I can use in the service of our Lord.

            I understand the quandary you’re in for I have gone through it myself. If you go, and do not partake, your giving tacit support to a doctrine that dishonors the commandment of our Lord. (“Silence grants consent.”) On the other hand, if you go and do partake, your partaking will be seen by those with good hearts as confirmation of an erroneous ideology that God chooses select ones from within the congregation. Some will even admire you and look up to you as someone special. Of course, those who are more prone to judge might just think you’ve lost it. In short, not much good comes from it.

            One thing you must not do is fail to partake at all. Therefore, if you would like we have a meeting scheduled online with different brothers and sisters around the world so that we can partake together. It is not necessary to partake together, especially in cases where one is truly alone, but given modern technology we can be both alone and accompanied as we commemorate the death of our Lord. If you are interested, please send me an email privately.

            • Reply by MarthaMartha on 2017-03-30 18:30:26

              Thank you Meleti for taking the time to reply.
              You said,
              "If you go, and do not partake, your giving tacit support to a doctrine that dishonors the commandment of our Lord. (“Silence grants consent.”) On the other hand, if you go and do partake, your partaking will be seen by those with good hearts as confirmation of an erroneous ideology that God chooses select ones from within the congregation. Some will even admire you and look up to you as someone special. Of course, those who are more prone to judge might just think you’ve lost it. In short, not much good comes from it."
              I just had this very conversation with my lovely husband, who is with me in most thoughts but is willing to stay for the sake of his close family that are dependent on him.
              I have come to the conclusion that I cannot attend, for the very reasons you gave. My husband accepts how I feel and is happy to support me in this decision. I'm hoping to come down with some dreaded lurgy to give me a real excuse but whatever... I'm not going.
              What the consequences are.... Well I'll deal with that if and when it happens.
              Last year I partook alone, in private, at home, before the jw memorial. I felt that since I'm on the other side of the world and different time zones anyway Jesus and our Father would accept my little remembrance somewhere around that day. It was after sundown in Jerusalem. It felt a bit weird but also very special. This year I feel it will be much more meaningful because I won't be mixing it with the pseudo- memorial that I now believe is no more Christian than the Catholic mass.
              I'll message you privately when I have time later.
              Thank you.
              It's funny that I said I needed more specific answers to my recent prayers and the very next time I signed in to Beroeans there was the latest article on the Other Sheep.
              Which I've been having deep discussions and ponderings about. ?
              Hmm. Everything is becoming much clearer.
              It's still scary though.

              Feeling like death warmed up is a saying that I'm very familiar with. We use it a lot up here in't North. ? We use it for anything from a heavy cold to pneumonia though so maybe it's a bit overused. ? Im glad to hear you've warmed up some more and are back in the land of the living.

      • Reply by Candace on 2017-03-30 21:18:33

        Hi Meleti, I absolute love that account about Peter's attempt at bravery. To be perfectly honest if I had no family and friends in the organisation I would have left LONG time ago. But here I am still in service and doing the assignments they give me. How Jesus didn't reject the other 11 even though they stayed in the boat comforts me. I know things don't stay the same forever and I can make the move when I can, if there is still time. I can't stand the thought of being shunned by everyone while at uni. Of course I enjoy discussing the truth online but I think of it like long distance relationship.. it doesn't work very well in the long term because everyone needs human contact and friends to share a hug with whether in difficult or happy times.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2017-03-30 21:27:44

          I do feel for you. The world of JW.org does put tremendous restrictions upon the flock.

    • Reply by John S on 2017-03-30 17:44:10

      Personally, Candace, the more I ponder what Babylon the Great is, the more I think it is the Catholic church, as it stands alone as filthy rich, blood guilty, evil, and haughty. (history books will tell the story of how evil she is) It will be plundered by the one-world government. The churches today, 100's of thousands of them ;non-Catholic, do not really have the history of this scope of evil by and large, only the oldest Christian church of Rome, which still stands world-wide and I believe has 600 million members, roundabouts. This is the harlot, I'm thinking. But Christianity will be under Satan's thumb at the end; all of it.

      Now, there is merit to staying in, many of our relatives, and spouses are Witnesses. This is personal, I believe now, after having checked out years ago. And there one may witness to these about the truth you learn.

      But that is a real conflict of conscience that many cannot live with; turning a blind eye to the instructions of Jesus, and most will not live a lie, and go out to propagandize for the JW gospel , filled with untruths. The anointing, too, is not a gift given to a mere few; but is universal, and required of all Christians, actually.(John 3)

      Your biggest fan, should be Jesus Christ, and God Jehovah, the 'God of Truth'.

      And the spiritual life-giving water, is the teachings of Jesus Christ, which WT has totally distorted; intentionally, actually.

      But, you decide . It's your life. Make it a daily matter of prayer, and be happy and confident God will give you answer!

  • Comment by caasi notwen on 2017-04-04 17:08:15

    I'm new to the commenting part of the site so bear with me. A little background. Forty plus years as a Witness, twenty plus as an elder. Just starting to wake up. My wife not so much.
    On beards, we had a controversy among our BOE. Can brothers be used with well groomed beards based on latest info in study article considered in October? Once the CO became involved the answer became NO. Mentioned it to my wife. This did upset her. She wrote the branch. We're waiting for a response. Will keep you all posted. You have a great site Meleti. Hope you're feeling better.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2017-04-04 21:07:18

      Welcome, Caasi Notwen.

      I look forward to hearing what the branch has to say to your wife's letter.


  • Comment by Overturn Every Reasoning That is Against the Knowledge of God! - Beroean Pickets - JW.org Reviewer on 2019-08-11 11:04:00

    […] Comment: For a review of the history of Christmas in the Organization please see the CLAM God’s Kingdom Rules portion review here. […]

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