[From ws4/17 p. 9 June 5-11]
“The world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.” – 1 John 2:17
The Greek word translated here as “world” is kosmos from which we get English words like “cosmopolitan” and “cosmetic”. The word literally means “something ordered” or an “ordered system”. So when the Bible says “the world is passing away”, it means the ordered system that exists on earth in opposition to the will of God will pass away. It doesn’t mean that all humans will pass away, but that their organization or “ordered system”—their way of doing things—will cease to exist.
From this we can see that any “ordered system” or organization can be called a kosmos, a world. We have for instance the world of sports, or the world of religion. Even within these subgroups, there are subgroups. The “ordered system” or Organization, or World of Jehovah’s Witnesses for example.
What qualifies any world, like that of JW.org, as part of the larger world John says is passing away is whether or not it obeys the will of God. With that in mind, let us begin our review of this week’s Watchtower study article.
Paragraph 4 quotes 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13 to make its point that in the world of mankind, wicked people and imposters are advancing from bad to worse. However, this is a misapplication of Paul’s words. The publications frequently quote the first five verses of 2 Timothy chapter 3, but ignore the remaining ones which clearly indicate that Paul isn’t talking about the world in general, but about the Christian congregation. Why are these words not applied properly?
One reason is that Witnesses try to maintain an artificial sense of urgency by continually telling themselves that things are getting progressively worse. They believe worsening world conditions to be a sign that the end is close. There is no basis for this belief in Scripture. Additionally, the world is better now than it was one hundred years ago, or even eighty years ago. We now have the fewest wars we’ve seen in the past 200 years. Additionally, human rights are now being enforced by law as never before. This is not to sing the praises of this system of things—this “ordered system” which is passing away—but only to have a balanced view of reality as it relates to Bible prophecy.
Perhaps another reason for the continual misapplication of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is that it fosters the “Us vs. Them” mentality which is ubiquitous among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Of course, accepting that it applies to the Christian congregation might cause some thoughtful Witnesses to look around in their local congregation to see if Paul’s words apply. That is not something the publishers of The Watchtower would want to happen.
Paragraph 5 says that wicked people now have an opportunity to change, but that their final judgment comes at Armageddon. The leadership of JW.org has frequently got itself in trouble when it tries to impose a time frame on God’s activities. While there will be a time for final judgment and there will be a time when there will be no more wickedness on the earth, what is the basis for saying the final judgment is Armageddon and wickedness will cease after Armageddon is over? The Bible says that at the end of the thousand years, the wicked will surround the righteous in an attack that will end in their fiery extinction at the hands of God. (Re 20:7-9) So to say that Armageddon will end wickedness is to ignore Bible prophecy.
This paragraph also supports the idea Witnesses have that only they will survive Armageddon. However, for this to be true—again, according to the paragraph—first, everyone on earth will have to get an opportunity to change. (“Jehovah is giving wicked people an opportunity to change.” – par. 5)
How can this be true given that Witnesses are not preaching to huge populations of this world? Hundreds of millions have never even heard a Witness preach, so how can they be said to have had the opportunity to change?[i]
Paragraph 6 makes a statement that contradicts the Organization’s own teaching:
In today’s world, righteous people are greatly outnumbered by the wicked. But in the new world to come, the meek and the righteous will be neither a minority nor a majority; they will be the only people alive. Truly, a population of such people will make the earth a paradise! – par. 6
The Bible (and Witnesses) teach that there will be a resurrection of the unrighteous, so the foregoing statement cannot be true. The Witnesses teach that the unrighteous will be taught righteousness, but that some will not respond, so there will be unrighteous on earth during the 1,000 years who will die because of not abandoning their wicked course. This is what JWs teach. They also teach that the only ones to survive Armageddon will be Jehovah’s Witnesses, but that these will continue as sinners until they reach perfection at the end of the thousand years. So sinners survive Armageddon and sinners will be resurrected, yet despite this, the earth will be a paradise. Eventually, yes, but what we are being taught in paragraph 6, and elsewhere in the publications, is that ideal conditions will exist from the very start.
Under this subtitle we are taught that corrupt organizations will be gone. This must be true, because Daniel 2:44 speaks of the Kingdom of God annihilating all the kings of the earth. That means rulers and today many are ruled by corrupt organizations, which are just another form of human government. What makes an organization corrupt in God’s eyes? To put it succinctly, by not doing the will of God.
The first such organizations to go will be religious, because they have set up a rival rulership to that of Christ. Rather than let Christ govern the congregation, they have set up groups of men to govern and make rules. As a result, they teach false doctrines, affiliate themselves with the governments of the world—like the United Nations—and end up stained by the world, tolerating all manner of lawlessness, even to the extent of protecting child sexual abusers for the sake of guarding their reputation. (Mt 7:21-23)
Paragraph 9 speaks of a new organization on earth following Armageddon. It misapplies 1 Corinthians 14:33 to support this: “This Kingdom under Jesus Christ will perfectly reflect the personality of Jehovah God, who is a God of order. (1 Cor. 14:33) So the “new earth” will be organized.” That is quite a leap of logic, especially when the verse being quoted says nothing about Jehovah being a God of order. What it does say is that He is a God of peace.
We might reason that the opposite of disorder is order, but that is not the point Paul is making. He is showing that the disorderly way the Christians are conducting their meetings results in disrupting the peaceful spirit that should characterize Christian gatherings. He is not saying that they need an organization. He is certainly not laying the foundation for a doctrine that supports some New World earth-wide organization run by men.
Content that they have proven that Christ will need some earthly organization to govern the entire planet, the article continues this theme saying: “There will be good men to care for matters. (Ps. 45:16) They will be directed by Christ and his 144,000 corulers. Imagine a time when all corrupt organizations will be replaced by a single, unified, and incorruptible organization!”
Presumably, this single, unified, and incorruptible organization will be JW.org 2.0. You will notice that no Bible proof is given. Psalm 45:16 is yet another example of a misapplied Scripture:
“Your sons will take the place of your forefathers. You will appoint them as princes in all the earth.” (Ps 45:16)
There is a cross reference in the NWT to Isaiah 32:1 which reads:
“Look! A king will reign for righteousness, And princes will rule for justice.” (Isa 32:1)
Both Scriptures are talking about Jesus. Whom did Jesus appoint as princes to rule with him? (Luke 22:29) Are these not the Children of God that Revelation 20:4-6 says will be kings and priests? According to Revelation 5:10, these ones rule “on the earth.”[ii] There is nothing in the Bible supporting the idea that Jesus will use unrighteous sinners to rule over some worldwide earthly organization.[iii]
Paragraph 11 compares the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to the destruction that will come at Armageddon. However, we know that those of Sodom and Gomorrah were redeemable. In fact, they will be resurrected. (Mt 10:15; 11:23, 24) Witnesses do not believe that those killed at Armageddon will be resurrected. As demonstrated in paragraph 11 and in other publications of JW.org, they believe that just as Jehovah destroyed everyone in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah and eradicated an ancient world by the Flood of Noah’s day, so he will destroy almost the entire population of earth, leaving only a few million Jehovah’s Witnesses as survivors.
This ignores one major difference between those events and Armageddon: Armageddon opens the way for the Kingdom of God to rule. The fact that a divinely constituted government will be in place to take over changes everything.[iv]
Paragraph 12 gets into the Witness vision of a fairy-tale New World where everyone lives happily ever after. If the world is first populated with millions of sinners, albeit JW sinners, then how can there be no problems? Are there problems in the congregations now due to sin? Why would these abruptly cease after Armageddon? Yet Witnesses ignore this reality and seem gleefully oblivious to the fact that billions of sinners will be added to the mix when the resurrection of the unrighteous starts. Somehow, that won’t change the balance of things. “Wrong activities” will magically vanish, and sinners will be sinners in name only.
Paragraph 14 sums up Organization’s position on this subject:
What will Jehovah do about distressful conditions? Consider warfare. Jehovah promises to put an end to it for all time. (Read Psalm 46:8, 9.) What about sickness? He will wipe it out. (Isa. 33:24) And death? Jehovah will swallow it up forever! (Isa. 25:8) He will end poverty. (Ps. 72:12-16) He will do the same for all the other distressful conditions that make life miserable today. He will even drive away the bad “air” of this world system, for the bad spirit of Satan and his demons will be gone at last.—Eph. 2:2. – par. 14
As is often the case, the problem is one of timing. The Watchtower would have us believe that all these things will end when Armageddon is over. They will end eventually, yes, but returning again to the prophetic account at Re 20:7-10, there is global war in our future. True, that comes only after the thousand year Messianic reign has ended. During Christ’s reign, we’ll know a time of peace such as has never existed, but will it be completely free from “wrong activities” and “distressful condition”? That’s hard to imagine given that Jesus will allow everyone the free will choice to accept or reject God’s Kingdom.
We all want an end to suffering of Mankind. We want to be freed from sickness, sin, and death. We want to live in ideal conditions where love governs our lives. We want this and we want it now, or at least very soon. However, selling such a vision means turning the attention away from the true reward being offered today. Jesus is calling us to be part of the solution. We are being called to be Children of God. That is the message that should be preached. It is the Children of God under the leadership of Jesus Christ who will eventually produce the paradise Witnesses expect to pop up at any moment. It will take time and hard work, but by the end of the thousand years, it will be achieved.
Unfortunately, that is not the message that the world, or “ordered system”, of Jehovah’s Witnesses is willing to preach.
[i] Witnesses believe that only they are preaching the good news of the Kingdom, so only if a person responds to the message Witnesses preach can he be saved.
[ii] The NWT renders this, “over the earth”. However, the majority of translations render it either as “on” or “upon” in line with the meaning of the Greek word, epi.
[iii] Witnesses teach that faithful Other Sheep will either survive Armageddon, or be resurrected first as the earthly part of the resurrection of the righteous. Yet, these ones will continue to be sinners, therefore still unrighteous.
[iv] This will be one of the themes we will explore in the sixth article in the Our Salvation series on Beroean Pickets Bible Study Forum
The way the WT presented the article using the word “soon” (e.g. world ending or passing soon) is like as if we are about to get into Armageddon very soon, as if the end is just around the corner. But how many times in the past 100 years have they used this word ans similar phrases to sound the alarm bells of panic, urgency? Wouldn’t that be classified as deception? Are Christians like grade 1 or 2 students, seriously?
Paragraph 6 makes a statement that contradicts the Organization’s own teaching: Just got back from the KH wt study. Normally my answers are just under the radar but today I must have flown too high and gotten detected by radar of this self-righteous RP sister. My answer for par 6 was: “In the new world “the meek and the righteous” may not be “the only people alive” because countless “unrighteous” ones will be resurrected. These “unrighteous” ones will be taught righteousness but some will not respond. They may be numerous but not in enough numbers to threaten paradise and eventually… Read more »
🙂 Fighting the good fight. I’m sure there are good hearts listening to the exchange and recognizing the ring of truth.
Huang to Meleti, I read you loud and clear. Thanks a heap for the AWAC surveillance and the heads-up. Pretty handy for weekly raids on the tower. Roger, over and out. <>
Did the conductor validate, refute or adjust the sisters comment regarding the quoted portion of the paragraph?
Drifter, no, he just said “thank you for this point too” and no comment on the sister’s answer. The conductor is rather young, the nice guy type and delivers convention symposium talks. I guess he was in a bind, faced with two conflicting answers and best course probably to let the audience have their say and move on.
I pointed the inconsistency and conflict out to one brother who’s handling the mic but I guess he didn’t get the point. 🙂
Thanks for the quick reply!
Convention speaker eh?
Take him to task, in private of course.
MarthaMartha, Menrov and everyone. Your comments are of great help. It is strange after so many years to have to think of simply fading away, but there are so many things that irk. Thanks to this site, and some others, it is not hard to see how the GB seem to be putting a slant on everything that just does not match up with what the scriptures say. They seem to be fighting to justify 1914 and that we are still in the last days at every corner. What we are being taught is just a re-write of history. But… Read more »
I also came to similar conclusions as Meleti. One of the things in this article where 1Cor 14:33 is used as a support scripture to justify “an organisation”, the other verse in the same chapter is :40 both used to hammer the need for “an organisation”. What I find utterly laughable is the context of those verses,Paul is advising the Corinthian Cong on how gifts of the spirit are to be dispensed and managed , in a way that brought peace and harmony,nothing to do with an organisation,what makes it extra funny is that gifts of the spirit are believed… Read more »
The Greek word used for disorder , means confusion , tumult , commotion, we get the idea , the meeting was ending up like a party , with everyone talking over everyone else ,Paul was encouraging a more orderly peaceful way of doing things one that would more conducive to learning . That’s all ,and I’m sure the writers of the article know that as well ! I don’t think they are blind I think they know exactly what they are doing !
To be fair it doesn’t take much intellect to realise what the real meaning of the verse is and how the article has misapplied it , 2 timothy 4:3 and 4
Sorry to hog this post , but I honestly think that the vast majority of JWS are extremely comfortable with the concept of belonging to an earthly organisation , I’ve blamed the watchtower up to now, but I do feel that they are only telling the R and F just what they want to hear , I suppose it’s human nature to seek safety in numbers and have a sense of belonging to a much larger crowd , and the comfort that it brings , perhaps many fear to be isolated, fear to make thier own way in life ,… Read more »
From personal experience over the past couple of years in particular I must agree with you. One can heap evidence upon evidence and fact upon fact, and the only result is that they turn against you. They do not wish to see. Those who truly love truth are rare, which is as Jesus foretold it would be.
Indeed, if an entire nation could turn on Jesus after the powerful works he performed over a three-and-a-half-year period, how can we expect change when all we have are facts. 🙂
Meleti, you said “Those who truly love truth are rare, which is as Jesus foretold it would be.” Someone used the narrow gate v the broad and spacious road with me to argue that the true religion would only be small in comparison to the majority of mankind that will not be saved. I’ve spent the last few days pondering that statement from Jesus. Is that what you meant? Do you think Jesus meant that few would see the truth that he is the way, the truth and the life? I’m seeing for myself the truth of both your comment… Read more »
Hello Martha Martha I feel exactly what you say as well,the conflict of wanting to do what Holy Spirit has revealed to you as righteous,verses the need to associate with those who should embrace your revelation,but won’t. What was said by ifionlyhadabrain,how the brotherhood is actually comfortable with the sense of belonging,wether it’s right or wrong,doesn’t enter the picture because it answers their emotional need,this answers something that I have been pondering for quite a while,and that is that the Org plays to people’s fear and insecuritys,rather than to their strengths,it has been in a previous article that Meleti posted… Read more »
Thank you all for your replies. It seems we’re all seeing the truth of the organisations hold on people. Once we have broken the mental shackles it’s impossible to not see the truth. The frustration and sadness of people close to you not seeing it gets me down sometimes. Your comments have helped me again. If Jesus’ words about the narrow door apply to him and the way to truth, it’s almost as if the other door is so wide and comfortable and easy to go through that you don’t even see the narrow door. I’m well aware of ones… Read more »
I too am trying to do a graceful and quiet fade away. I know how you feel I find it hard to go out in field service and recommend something I know longer believe in. During the campaign I found myself just going to the door and standing there and not ringing the doorbell. Since we worked alone it was easy to do. As regards to the meetings, when I go I will dim my tablet and read Beroean Pickets articles I’m sure I am classified as weak, but better weak than blinded.
MarthaMartha and eve04
I too am in the same position and empathize totally. My prayers are with you both to endure as I hope I can.
That’s good to know caasi notwen and eve04, I’ll think of you when I’m enduring the next meeting. ?
Caasi notwen I love your name; I use the same language with my grandson. I told him I had seen someone who knew our language and wrote your name down for him, he translated it immediately ?
Thank you eve04, I’ve done the same although the sound guys at my hall have started prowling during meetings, and I’ve heard them say that they can track the internet users and can block those who use the KH wifi for anything other than JWorg sites during the meeting. I’ve actually had one stand behind me and say ” it’s coming from around here” during a meeting. I think I got away with it since I’m a 60 year old grandmother. ?
You may be on to something. When I tried to log on to the site last Sunday at the meeting it was blocked. Hmmmmm
Hi Marthamartha this made me laugh because one time we had to live stream in a public talk but it kept stuttering/cutting out, so eventually a brother asked if anyone is connected to the hall’s wifi to log off. When I checked my phone I noticed it was trying to download all the iOS updates using the hall’s network.. As soon as I stopped it, streaming fixed. Haha.
I will be mad if the attendants snooped around trying to block non JW.org sites. Privacy please?
I use my cell phone Hotspot.
Same. password to KH system in limited to a “Privileged few”
you have pretty much summed up the exact same situation I have been in and experienced over the past 18 months.
I’m going steady… steady.. I go through periods of anxiety and loneliness, however my confidence is building and I find it helpful to talk to some people I can trust who have never been witnesses.
Yes, that is what I meant. Weeds, by their nature, grow rampantly and take over. The illustration of the wheat and weeds also supports the idea of a small number of precious ones taking out from the vast majority. This isn’t to say that the rest are not saved eventually, but first the wheat must be harvested, the children of God, because by means of them the creation is saved.
Hi MarthaMartha, I do not experience that pressure to go to the meetings. I am completely inactive / faded, and I have not been in contact with most of them (their initiative). I do experience and see the same: JW’s in general feel very comfortable with their JW life. Because that is what it is in my view, a way of life. Many might have started their JW life in search of “truth” but eventually got consumed by the way of life the organisation promotes. As a result, any influence on that life is considered a threat, something to avoid.… Read more »
Very well said Menrov. I have to say it is still hard to let go of those life long friends. I still want to help them but I know I can’t until they reach out and I don’t know if that will happen. I keep hoping….
Hi Menrov, thank you for another balanced review of this weeks watchtower! I agree so much with your comment above how “JW’s in general feel very comfortable with their JW life. Because that is what it is in my view, a way of life. Many might have started their JW life in search of “truth” but eventually got consumed by the way of life the organisation promotes”. Most JW’s I know would actually openly agree with that by using Hebrews 10:24,25 as the ‘supporting’ scriptural. Its funny in my congregation some pioneers have LOTS of studies with uni students because… Read more »
I was just thinking of the societies use of hebrews 10 v 24 to 25 , about not abandoning the meetings , while good counsel it’s application has to be questioned , it’s clear here that Paul certainly was not speaking of just any religion 2 corinthians 6 v 14 to 18 , it’s clear that he was speaking of meeting with others who are true anointed Christians hebrews 10 v 15 to 25 , of which even by thier own admission the vast majority of JWS are not , in fact there are very many serious warnings in the… Read more »
What 1 Corinthians 14:33 does mention though is that God is not a God of disorder. That is the point they were making.
Jesus said would he really find the faith on the earth when he returned Luke 18:8 could that be in line with the narrow road, and few would find it? I have been attending meetings less and less because I do not want to hear things that are just not true. This is the first RC this summer I am not attending. To see them write something that Jesus said he didn’t say about making vows in this past WT lesson was so blatant to me it was horrible. They don’t really want to acknowledge Jesus and when they do,… Read more »
In this case it seems they were simply highlighting that God is not a God of disorder.
I think some are reading to much into it.
They are using 1 corinthians 14 v33 in tandem with 2 peter 3 v 13 to try and lead the reader to the conclusion stated at the end of the paragraph “imagine a time when all corrupt organisations will be replaced by a single unified and incorruptible organisation , look at the subheading of the section from paragraphs 7 to 9 “corrupt organisations ” also the question posed at beginning of paragraph 9 “what will replace corrupt organisations ” I personally don’t think that the scripture is included just to show that God is not disorderly , sorry to disagree… Read more »
Thanks for the reply, it’s perfectly okay to disagree. Thank you for expressing your thoughts. I do see that they’re teaching that they’re organization will be in full control in this promised new world too.
Thanks thaddeus, that’s a warm christian response , it’s that type of logic that got me panned and shunned, hahaha ,
The point being made by refering to 1 Corinthians 14:33 is simply that Jehovah is not a God of disorder but of peace. It’s only reasonable that things will be orderly.
I just love paragraphs 7 to 9 in the article , denouncing corrupt organisations , including religious ones that deceive millions of people , greedy ones that bring untold wealth to a few while millions are in poverty , this type of confidence really does convince the masses that they are the true congregation , I ask do the writers really believe in jehovah and what the bible says about the judgement ?
Totally agree with your evaluation of 2nd timothy 3 applying to religious people meleti and have done for a long time , chapter 2 is all about false teachers , and 3 distinguishes the results of thier teaching compared to that of the bible , I think I did say a few weeks ago that in fact verses 1 to 9 is looking more like the jw religion every day
Hi Meliti. Usual incisive article. Basically we have one picture and we are sticking to it, even when we have the timing and other connected matters wrong. The Kingdom will come when it comes and it will achieve Jehovah’s purpose. That we can be sure of. Much of the rest are ideas which might be true, but are not as well supported by scripture as we used to think. Or, not well supported, full stop. May we be patient and wait on our God of Love to act justly in his time.
So true, Leonardo.
Under the heading “Wicked People” you state “but ignore the remaining ones which clearly indicate that Paul isn’t talking about the world in general, but about the Christian congregation.” What verses are you referring to as ignoring the “remaining ones” that clearly indicated that Paul is talking about the Congregation in verses 1-7 ?
Hi Thaddeus, Good question. That Paul is referring not to the word separated from God, but to those professing faith, we can start with vs. 5, “…and from these turn away.” That only fits as advise to Timothy and other readers if “these” from whom we must turn away are associates. Verses 6 and 7 speak of “weak women…always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” In Quebec–a Catholic province of Canada–it has been noted that the priests control the flock through the women. They work their way into the household via the female… Read more »
Very Good, Meleti… I am not a Witness anymore, and have been out for around 9-10 years. But I still know what they preach and why. What you are doing here, is trying to show realistically what can be expected at Armageddon, and after , during the 1000 years. You also are letting people know, WT has ‘turned turtle’, and is doing just what they accused the ‘wicked churches’ of doing since the 1880’s….”accumulating teachers for themselves, to have their ears tickled”….instead of just seeing the scriptural prophecies as they were given to John via the angel, via Jesus from… Read more »
Hey Meleti, I might be able to add a little bit to 2 Tim. 3:6. He could very well be talking about literally weak women who are easily misled but there are some interesting points about this word “gunaikarion” (Strongs 1133). This is the only time it is used in the Greek Scriptures and interestingly it is neuter. They call it a contemptuous diminutive. The Latin Vulgate uses the word “mulierculas” here and The Expositor’s Greek Testament commentary on this verse says about this word “Mulierculas acutely applies that the victims of the crafty heretics were “silly women” of both… Read more »
Thanks for the reply and pointing to the verses that show that Paul was clearly talking to the Congregation. I must say, I never noticed that. I’ve been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since 2003 and I don’t recall any part of chapter 3 ever being applied to the Congregation. It’s ALWAYS been applied only to “worldy” people. In your experience have you ever seen it applied to the Congregation or is it just me?
I think it was on one occasion many years ago. That is my recollection, but it would be back in the days when we got into some deep study, and not the superficial stuff that has been our weekly fare for decades now. I recall the shift in the 80s. How circuit assembly parts and the Watchtower changed tone from being about scripture to more of–what I then thought–was personal development. I now see who that change in direction coincided with the rise of the Governing Body, which really didn’t exist prior to the 80s.
Yes,I read of the rise of the Governing Body a year or 3 before Knorr’s death in ’77. I’m going to have to search back and see if I can find that one occasion. I will need it as I discuss this new to me scriptural tidbit. No doubt it’ll draw attention of certain brothers.
Thanks for the reply.