[From ws9/17 p. 8 – October 30-November 5]
“Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and compassionate.”—Ex 34:6
(Occurrences: Jehovah=34; Jesus=4)
This article asks us in paragraph 3: “Why should the topic of compassion interest you? Because the Bible urges you to imitate Jehovah. (Eph. 5:1)”. True, but we’re leaving something vital out of the consideration.
“. . .Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children,” (Eph 5:1)
The problem which 99.9% of Jehovah’s Witnesses face is that they are told they are not God’s children, but only his friends. A child naturally wants to imitate his or her parents. Every child with a decent father to look up to wants to make him proud. But do humans naturally feel the desire to imitate a friend? Sure, they enjoy hanging out with him, but they don’t necessarily want to imitate him. You possibly have many good friends, but do you feel the same desire to imitate them, please them, and make them proud as you feel toward your own father or mother?
This is yet more proof that the doctrine of the Other Sheep as friends of God is a fabrication that attempts to undermine the force of the Bible narrative.
Jehovah—The Perfect Model of Compassion
Regarding the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day, Jesus said:
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore all the things they tell YOU, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but do not perform.” (Mt 23:2, 3)
In paragraph 5, they tell us to do the following:
Would we want to leave our brothers out in the cold, so to speak, if there is something that we can do to relieve their suffering?—Col. 3:12; Jas. 2:15, 16; read 1 John 3:17. – par. 5
In what way does the Organization practice this? For what compassionate works is the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses noted?
Another example of this dichotomy between what is said and what is done can be found in the next paragraph.
Should we not feel similar compassion for people who could potentially repent over a sinful life course and gain God’s favor? Jehovah does not want any to be destroyed in the coming judgment. – par. 6
What about those who have been disfellowshipped for immorality as was depicted in a drama in the 2016 Regional Convention? That drama depicted a reality repeated thousands of times through the congregations worldwide. A disfellowshipped one cleans up their life, stops sinning, seeks a meeting with the body of elders to express repentance, is usually put off for months, then meets, expresses repentance, and is told to wait. Usually a year (though often more) passes before the repentant sinner is forgiven. This is really a punishment period, a form of discipline determined to keep sinners in line with organizational requirements and respectful of the authority of the elders. It has nothing—NOTHING—to do with compassion!
Does the writer of this article truly understand the compassion of God?
So until God acts to destroy the wicked, let us continue to proclaim his compassionate warning message. – par. 6
What is this “compassionate warning message”? Essentially, the wicked one must repent, make a vow of dedication, and join the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The time is coming when he will execute judgment on all those who refuse to obey him. (2 Thess. 1:6-10) That will not be the time for him to show compassion for those whom he has judged to be wicked. Rather, executing them will be an appropriate expression of God’s compassion for the righteous, whom he will preserve. – par. 10
This time refers to Armageddon which we’ve just been told at the 2017 Regional Convention is imminent, just around the corner. Yet there are billions who have not been contacted by Witnesses with this “compassionate warning”. These will evidently die in ignorance. How is God’s compassion evident in any of that?
Armageddon will come. It will be a war between the kingdom of God and the kings of the earth. (Dan 2:44; Re 16:14, 16) Nothing is said about destroying every unrighteous man, woman and child on the planet. And yet there will be unrighteous people in the Kingdom. Who? The resurrected? Yes, but why only them? Why should they get a break just because they had the good fortune to die before Armageddon? Not only does it not make sense, not only does it fly in the face of the love and compassion of God, but it is also a doctrine that has no support in Scripture.
The article cites 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 as tacit proof of this doctrine of universal destruction, but those verses have a very specific application. They refer to repaying tribulation upon those who make tribulation for God’s children. This is payback for willful opposition and persecution. Additionally, there is nothing there that conclusively ties that event to Armageddon.
In short, there is just too little definitive information in the Bible for us to go about pronouncing eternal damnation on everyone who doesn’t join the Organization. However, without such a doctrine, how can the leadership of the Organization scare everyone into compliance? (De 18:20-22)
Going back to paragraphs 8 and 9, we come across an account designed to promote the belief that Jehovah is watching over all members of the Organization. The brother involved is quoted as saying, “It seemed to me that the angels blinded the soldiers and that Jehovah rescued us.” – par. 8
Perhaps these brothers were saved by divine intervention. Perhaps not. Who can say? Apparently, the Organization can say, because there can be no other reason for including this account other than to get its readers to believe that this was an act of God. The problem with this is that every religion does exactly the same thing. Every religion has similar accounts indicating that God acted to protect some individuals because they were members of that religious faith.
Let is be clear. We are not denying the possibility that this occurs. In fact, there are a number of Bible accounts showing God’s hand in protecting his servants. So if you want to believe Jehovah or Jesus acted in this case, go right ahead. If you prefer to doubt this was an act of God, that too is your prerogative. However—and this is a big “however”—if it was an act of God, it does not imply divine approval beyond the individual. God might protect a faithful servant who happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness, but that doesn’t mean he is protecting him because of his religious affiliation. Indeed, he might protect him in spite of that affiliation. A faithful servant may also be a member of a sporting club, but God’s protection is not an endorsement of that sporting club, is it?
We know that wheat grows among the weeds, so it follows that the Father knows all the stalks of wheat that are His, and protects them when it fits His purpose. But in doing so, He is protecting individual stalks of wheat, not the entire crop, most of which consists of weeds. – Mt 13:24-30; 2Ti 2:19
One technique that cults use is called Mystical Manipulation. Accounts, like this one, are used to engender a mystique that is quite alluring. The idea is that membership has its privileges, one of which is God’s special protection and blessing. So when we read or hear stories like this that are intended to inspire confidence, not in God’s protection of faithful individuals, but of His favor upon the Organization, we should bear in mind that Jehovah’s blessing doesn’t come by association, His spirit isn’t poured out on an Organization. Like the tongues of fire that appeared over each head at Pentecost, his spirit and blessing is granted on a person-by-person basis,
Late note Meliti. The title scripture from Exodus 34:6 says, a God merciful and compassionate. The footnote against compassionate reads “Gracious”, and Strongs indicates that gracious is the correct understanding of the word, which is derived from the Hebrew “Chen”, meaning grace or favour. On the other hand the root of word translated “Merciful”, comes from the Hebrew “Rechem”, which means “Womb”, indicating God’s compassion is as a mother has for her unborn child. This word should, according to most authorities, then be translated as merciful or compassionate. So Exodus 34:6 should really read Jehovah, a God compassionate (or merciful)… Read more »
Who did not feel God’s compassion when he allowed non-Israelites (e.g. Egyptians) to leave Egypt, join the Jews, and cross the Red Sea? Exodus 12:37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. If God were such a racist, He could have just said NO and prevented non-Jews from joining his favored nation. If He was just looking at their affiliation as Egyptians who have not proven their loyalty to… Read more »
Thank you Meleti for the overview. Regardless of whether it was the action of God or voluntary “blindness” of Serbian border guards that let Milan and his parents go, the story strikes me. Suddenly appear two witnesses, who propose they will take kids and cross the border while parents should just walk around the back of the border post to cross the border. And all that for what? To get to the convention?!? Wouldn’t it been much safer to recommend the family to just try walk back to Bosnia territory? What a powerful story to assure Milan’s family and all… Read more »
Yes these pseudo miracles that are so popular in the WT articles, I’ve even had discussions with Muslims who have told me of similar “interventions ” by god , of course it’s Allah not Jehovah . I have also know a bloke who was involved in a resurrection , both this guy and the guy who he ressurected are firm friends to this day and the wife of the ressurected guy can’t stop talking about it, I’ve met them all and they are a joy to be around, of course I can’t put my hand up in a WT study… Read more »
Paragraph 8 said “times when Jehovah did NOT directly intervene”.Perhaps Milan and family were saved by divine intervention. Then again perhaps not – Milan said, “it seemed […] that Jehovah rescued us”.
And again perhaps not with Kusserows
Thanks for the article and for opening my eyes to 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. How many times have we used verse 8 to show that God will destroy everyone at Armageddon, whereas the implication is that Jesus will be taking revenge on those who made trouble fur him. Paragraph 9 was also interesting. Jesus felt compassion and “started to teach people many things…. Do you not feel a yearning similar to what Jesus had, to feed spiritually famished people”. We certainly do ! That is why I am sure many of us are here on this site, because we love the… Read more »
True. Honestly, i got teary eyed when I came across what you said: “That is why I am sure many of us are here on this site, because we love the truth of God’s word, and we do not like to see the truth undermined.”
I have often meditated on Romans chapter 2 on this subject, especially vs 1-3 compared with vs11 & vs 13-16. These are key points I see, the first & last being routinely ignored by many in cong. 1. Don’t judge others! Anytime you do you are condemning yourself. 2. Just “hearing” the word doesn’t cut it. Only practicing Divine principles in daily life (James 1:26,27 & ch 2) impresses God & Christ. 3. Those WITHOUT law are blessed for those same actions in harmony with HS. 4. These ones may actually be MORE appreciated because they are acting from their… Read more »
“And yet there will be unrighteous people in the Kingdom. Who? The resurrected? Yes, but why only them? “. I appreciated this comment . In several places in Revelation it mentions “nations” being on the earth after Armageddon. Such as Rev 2:26 where Jesus spoke of giving his faithful followers “authority over the nations”; also Rev 20:3 where Satan is abyssed so he can’t deceive the “nations “. That idea is fascinating to me. Could it be that some of the nations will be left after Armageddon and in need of a new administration?
Thanks, Meleti, for one of the few expositions I have read going against the destructions of all people not belonging to the Organization. I addressed the question when studying prior to baptizing. The elder to whom I raised the issue could not answer, and I left the issue “in Jehovah’s hands”. This lengthy essay is quite interesting and illustrates why an educated person don’t believe “the Truth” primarily due to this particular doctrine: https://www.quora.com/Will-Helge-K%C3%A5re-Fauskanger-ever-become-a-Jehovahs-Witness-since-he-is-so-profoundly-obsessed-by-this-religion/answer/Helge-K%C3%A5re-Fauskanger Ps: my first comment on this forum, and I appreciate your adherence to the Bible, cutting through thoughts of man. I hope it’s not just me… Read more »
Hi JOA No your not alone, we are all here to get our ears “untickled” if there is such a word. It’s refreshing when a person lets go of the idea that Jehovah is a relentless executioner , but rather an appealing father wanting the best for his children, including the ones who still have to get to know him. I know personally that since my awakenening I have met many people that are better Christians than me, most of them make it clear they don’t belong to any particular denomination, all of a sudden everyone is on a level… Read more »
The level playing field sounds like the right way, when you do this though, what Bible translation or versions do you use? Does the group adhere to a paticular one? If multiples are used differences in views and understanding will be unavoidable, so how is this handled?
Sincere questions & thank you in advance for your reply.
I use these translations, theRKJV, theNLT, the NWT mainly for its cross references which Ime starting to find bias in , the NEB, the RASV, the Jerusalem bible, an eight translation nt only, a McLintock and Strongs and a Vines concordance, is that too much ?
I use Bible Gateway, plus Vines and E Sword,
plus NWT . Bible Gateway is so much quicker.
Plus a NWT concordance which goes with the Reference Bible, plus a Kingdom Interlinear.
In our online meetings, we announce which version we are reading from when we start, and the differences actually enhance the discussion, because they cause us to delve more deeply into the true meaning of the text.
Luke 23;42, 43: 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This is compassion. Not many religious organisations would accept a criminal like Jesus did.
I noticed where you chose to put the comma. Of course we know that there were no commas. That being the case, was this man with Jesus that very day in paradise?
Hi, I did not put the comma, it was in the translation. Below some verses where Jesus uses the same expression: Luk 12:44 I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions. Mat 23:36 I tell you the truth, this generation will be held responsible for all these things! Mat 25:12 But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you!’ Joh 8:51 I tell you the solemn truth, if anyone obeys my teaching, he will never see death.” Joh 6:47 I tell you the solemn truth, the one who… Read more »
Here are two articles that might help to answer that question:
You Will Be With Me in Paradise
A Comma Here; A Comma There
Thanks Meliti. I consider these articles the main spiritual food of the week. And I am still going to the meetings ! Your illustration of a child wanting to imitate his father is very clear and useful. I have friends I get on well with, but I am certainly not sure I wish to imitate them. I also appreciate your thoughts on 2 Thess 6 1-10. It is good to link verses 6 and 9 together, it also help the understanding. I wonder how many times I have used these to show people that they risk being destroyed at Armageddon.… Read more »
Leonardo, I too am still attending meetings and still a “regular pioneer”. This is a very well written WT Review and reasonably put forth.
Thanks again Meleti.
Phil 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things.
A little OT. I was at a convention and listening to a talk about principles vs laws. It seems the Society is hooked on the idea that principels is not a law, and I wandered why. Maybe I found the answer. The Society hates the idea that they become a religion of laws. They also uses the saying, Jehovas norm. Norm is after all also a law or a rule. To pinpoint, a princip is a fundamental law, typical used to reason for other laws. The Society uses different words for laws to spin humans into a web of their… Read more »
Hi River I would say that the org has actually turned principles into laws, a good example of this would be the previous teaching that blood fractions and organ transplants were regarded as cannabalism and therefore wrong and a disfellowshipping offense, no one knows how many people have died having that view forced on them, since neither blood fractions nor organ transplants existed at the time of the birth of the Christian congregation , then it has to be a matter of conscience, and is a principle,not a law enforced by the threat of DF, the same goes for other… Read more »
Excellent review Meleti! As with so many other articles about Christain qualities the Org has once again missed the point. Thank you for the reminder about what true compassion is all about.
It is vital that we acknowledge that we are God’s children, not just his “friends”. A wonderful blessing indeed! I believe that all of us here sincerely want to imitate our loving Heavenly Father and show true godly compassion.
a funny thing happened at KH – closing prayer said “Our heavenly Father, our Friend Jehovah… ” This is first I heard “friend” in prayer…it’s sinkin in and spillin out
This has perplexed me for years now. Why do the “other sheep” address Jehovah as “Father” in public prayer, yet only refer to Him as “friend” at all other times? It has never made sense to me….
Warp Speed, I concur. It’s a quandary. To me, it demonstrates the ability the mind had to carry two conflicting thoughts while unaware of the conflict.
Good to hear from you Meleti,
This is textbook Cognitive Dissonance. The Org is still sticking to the “other sheep” doctrine. When they stated that type/anti-type was a thing of the past, they forgot about that one. If that one falls, it could really be a mind-blower for many still in.
As it is, the only scripture referenced is James 2:23, as far as I can see. (To back “friendship” with God)
Is it not? Maybe I’m mistaken…