Talk (w15 9/15 17-17 para 14-17) “Focus on Jesus to Strengthen Your Faith”
If only the organization regularly gave proper focus to Jesus and what he taught and the example he gave. Instead, as the Watchtower Reviews on this site show, Jesus is largely omitted, with all the emphasis on Jehovah; in line with this, examples from the Hebrew Scriptures seem to dominate instead of examining Jesus’ teachings. Thus, we only occasionally get articles such as this one which discuss Jesus’ example, but even then, it is done at a very superficial level.
Paragraph 16 says: “Following Jesus’ example, we must read the Bible daily, study it, and meditate on what we learn. Along with general Bible study, dig into topics about which you may have questions. To illustrate, you might increase your conviction that the end of this system of things really is near by studying in detail the Scriptural proof that we live in the last days.”
We would wholeheartedly agree with the encouragement to make reading, studying and meditating on the Bible a daily occurrence. Likewise to “dig into topics about which you have questions”. However, before starting we always need to pray for Holy Spirit to help us. Then there are the many aids available today (free of charge on the internet) to help us get our answers. We can use the Scripture cross references, other translations, interlinear Bibles, Hebrew or Greek Bible dictionaries (lexicons). Most important, we need to always read the context of the scripture in question. Sometimes this may mean a chapter before and after the text. It is better to ignore organization literature, and indeed most other literature—at least initially—because most of it contains interpretations which may cloud our judgement.
For instance, we wouldn’t recommend trying to increase your conviction that the end of the system of things is near because of Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:23, 24 that “Then if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.” (bold ours)
In simple terms, the Scriptures clearly teach that we cannot know when Jesus is coming and hence we cannot know when the end of the system of things is near. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 reminds us that “for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”(KJV). Jesus also warned about false ‘anointed ones’ or “false Christs and false prophets” that would give misleading signs about when he is coming.
As for strengthening “your trust in the Bible’s promises for the future by investigating its many prophecies that have already come true” the same words of caution apply. To avoid losing one’s faith it is good to start from the basis that the Bible is true, and if we find facts that contradict our current understanding, then it is best to assume that our understanding is wrong and start from scratch. Taking the Bible’s facts and prophecies, and attempting to match events in history with them will help us ascertain whether the prophecies have been fulfilled yet.
For example, if we examine the Bible books of Jeremiah, Daniel and some of the minor prophets, we find we can match all the time periods mentioned with secular history, but if we start with assumptions which we then try to prove, such as the current teachings of the organization on any subject, we are going to be left with many questions and end up doubting the Bible, unable to reconcile it with secular history.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 8) – They escape from a Wicked Ruler
Nothing of note.