Imitating Jehovah – A God who gives Encouragement

– posted by Tadua

[From ws4/18 p. 15 — June 18-24]

“Praised be the God … who encourages us in all our trials.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 ftn


For the first nine paragraphs, this article actually does try to imitate Jehovah by highlighting scriptural examples of where Jehovah encouraged his servants. This includes Noah, Joshua, Job and Jesus and where Jesus encouraged his disciples.

However, there are still subtle statements that are designed to reinforce the Organization’s teachings.

For example:

  • 2 – “Jehovah told Noah that He was going to put an end to that wicked world and instructed him about what he must do to ensure his family’s safety. (Genesis 6:13-18).” This looks innocent at first but readers will immediately think of the Organization’s erroneous teaching that today God gives instructions for survival through the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ or Governing Body.


  • 6 – “The master honored each of the faithful slaves with the words: “Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21, 23)”.
    Again they hope most readers will not bother to read the scripture’s context, and will take it to be a reference to the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ or Governing Body. (Here in Jesus parable there were 2 faithful slave and one wicked one).

  • 7 – “Rather than reject Peter, Jesus encouraged him and even commissioned him to strengthen his brothers.​—John 21:16”.
    This is to try and set the precedent that Jesus could appoint some over his modern day flock, and readers’ minds would then be disinclined to question the claim by the Governing Body that they are the ones that have been appointed.


The example of Jesus both receiving and giving encouragement gets the sum total of two short paragraphs! Yet paragraphs 10 & 11 are both longer and are all about Jephthah’s daughter. So why the difference? It seems that Jesus' fine example cannot easily be twisted to another use by the Organization unlike the treatment of Jepthath’s daughter. This sad incident is where an Israelite rashly swore an oath without considering the consequences, which later caused his daughter to pay the consequences for the rest of her life, giving up the opportunity to have children and be potentially be an ancestress of the Messiah.  She was encouraged every year by the daughters of Israel going to worship at the Tabernacle. The Organization uses this passage to highlight that “unmarried Christians who use their singleness to give greater attention to “the things of the Lord” also deserve commendation and encouragement? 1 Corinthians 7:32-35”. (Par. 11)

The main problem with this is that long time readers of Watchtower literature know that when the Organization is quoting “the things of the Lord” what they really mean is ‘the things of the Organization’ which they view as synonymous, but are in fact for the most part as different as chalk and cheese. If these unmarried Christians spend their time helping others and working on their Christian qualities so much the better.  Then they would deserve commendation and encouragement. As it is, however, those that heed the Organization’s call spend so much of their time in the Organization’s pursuits that they have little or no time or energy to display the real “works of the Lord”. (James 1:27)

Additionally, there is a big difference between the enforced singleness that was the case of Jepthath’s daughter or that of those who remain unmarried due to the scarcity of eligible spouses within the Organization, and the situation of voluntary singleness as per 1 Corinthians.


The next six paragraphs are split between the fine examples of the apostles Peter, John and Paul.

Paragraph 14 reminds us: “His Gospel alone preserves Jesus’ statement that love is the identifying mark of his true disciples.​—Read John 13:34, 35.”

However, it misses the opportunity to discuss how showing love (and thereby encouragement) can be practiced.


The only other real point of note in these paragraphs is the attempt to reinforce the existence of a first century governing body when the article states “most of the apostles remained in Jerusalem, which continued to be the location of the governing body. (Acts 8:14; 15:2)” (Par. 16). As highlighted many times on this site, there is no direct support for the existence of a first century governing body. Even if such did exist, it does not justify the existence of a modern day Governing Body.

It is also interesting to note that paragraph 17 correctly states “the apostle Paul was sent by the holy spirit to preach to the people of the nations of the Greco-Roman world, who worshipped many gods.​—Gal. 2:7-9; 1 Tim. 2:7”.

So how does this fact reconcile with the current day stance of the Governing Body. If today someone in the Organization claimed he had been sent by Holy Spirit on a new mission, such as say mass emailing people lists with digital Watchtower literature or setting up an online chatline for witnessing, unless the Governing Body thought it was a good idea and adopted it, he would be strongly discouraged and even reproved for his actions, which would be deemed as "running ahead" and "displaying pride".

However, this statement is required to provide the basis for highlighting how the so-called first century Governing Body was encouraging to the early Christians. (This text could still have been used, but rather to highlight the fine example of the apostles as models to copy when encouraging our brothers and sisters.)

This erroneous statement is then used as the basis for plugging the Governing Body in New York State when the paragraph (20) says “Today, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses gives encouragement to Bethel family members, to special full-time field workers, and indeed, to the entire international brotherhood of true Christians. And the result is the same as in the first century​—rejoicing over the encouragement.”. The Oxford Living Dictionary defines ‘encouragement’ as “The action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” Therefore the claim made by the article raises a lot of questions such as:

Do they mean they give encouragement by :

  • initiating an unprecedented closure of Branch facilities?

  • the layoff of large numbers of Bethel personnel without compensation or at least assistance to get jobs in the real world to support themselves and any family?

  • the almost complete shutdown of all the special pioneer assignments?

  • selling Kingdom Halls and forcing brothers and sisters to travel much further for a meeting?

  • declaring only the Governing Body to be the faithful and discreet slave class in a blatant power grab?

  • reducing the Watchtower and Awake production and printing, and the publications of literature, so that the quantity of so-called spiritual food has been decimated?

  • keeping the flock on constant tenterhooks by forever keeping Armageddon imminent, but moving the goal posts?

  • continuing to enforce the unscriptural and inhuman practice of completely shunning disfellowshipped ones, specifically close family members.

  • continuing the past failed policies and doctrines on things such as handling of child sexual abuse victims.

If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", then clearly the Organization’s definition of ‘encouragement’ is opposite to what people would commonly understand the meaning of the word to be.

Let us go back to the theme of this article. It was “Imitating Jehovah – A God who gives encouragement”.

In summary, there have been a number of biblical examples where Jehovah’s servants of old have been encouraged by Jehovah. Also a number where they encouraged others, and of course the self praising reference to the Governing Body. Sadly, however it was all very superficial—the skim milk of the word. So to claim that “the entire international brotherhood of true Christians” are “rejoicing over the encouragement” (par. 20) is stretching incredulity. It seems the “banquet of well oiled dishes” has gone missing and has been replaced by fare better suited to a Victorian orphanage or workhouse, where we are expected to work hard and subsist on gruel.

The final irony is the claim that “in 2015 the Governing Body published the brochure Return to Jehovah, which has proved to be a rich source of encouragement to many throughout the world” (Par.20). It would be just as true, if not more accurate to say it upset many and discouraged them from attempting to ‘return to Jehovah’. This is because so many were pushed away by the Organization for having questions about certain teachings rather than actually or intentionally leaving Jehovah. This brochure should really be entitled ‘Return to the Organization’ and without answers to those questions and a change in teachings, that will not happen.

In conclusion, the warning given by Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:20-21 seems apt. Dear readers “guard what is laid up in trust with you, turning away from the empty speeches that violate what is holy and from the contradictions of the falsely called “knowledge.” 21 For making a show of such [knowledge] some have deviated from the faith. May the undeserved kindness be with YOU people.”

Archived Comments

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  • Comment by Robert-6512 on 2018-06-17 13:05:24

    Tadua, your commentary is about the WT article, Imitating Jehovah – A God who gives Encouragement. If only you followed your own advice.

    You say "there are there are still subtle statements that are designed to reinforce the Organization’s teachings." For the most part, I saw no such subtle statements from them. I saw plenty of non-subtle statements from you which you have not substantiated.

    So, you are going to criticize the Organization for making statements that are designed to reinforce the Organization’s teachings? Seriously? I am shocked, shocked - by both of you.

    For example:

    (2) "This looks innocent at first but readers will immediately think of the Organization’s erroneous teaching ..." How do YOU know what readers will immediately think? Tadua the mind-reader, now? You are condemning WT for a statement they didn't even make here?

    (6) "Again they hope most readers will not bother to read the scripture’s context, and will take it to be a reference to the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ or Governing Body." You now know what WT and its readers hope? You can provide PROOF that readers "will not bother" to read the Bible? Did WT *say* anything about FDS? But, they must surely MEAN that, because you said so, right? The only proof we need is that Tadua said it.

    (7) "This is to try and set the precedent that Jesus could appoint some over his modern day flock, and readers’ minds would then be disinclined to question the claim by the Governing Body that they are the ones that have been appointed." If WT had fabricated such a totally unsubstantiated claim, you'd be all over them. You get all this from Jesus encouraging Peter, eh? You have quite an imagination. You should write fiction for a living, instead of doing it here as a hobby.

    You said, "It seems that Jesus’ fine example cannot easily be twisted to another use by the Organization unlike the treatment of Jepthath’s daughter." So, as I understand it, WT gets your condemnation because they did NOT twist the scriptures? I am just checking - did I get that right?

    You noted, "The Organization uses this passage to highlight that “unmarried Christians who use their singleness to give greater attention to “the things of the Lord” also deserve commendation and encouragement? 1 Corinthians 7:32-35”. However, what you didn't note is that, taking WT's words at face value, it seems 1 Corinthians is being correctly applied in this case. But, this article is not about taking WT at face value, but implying bad motives. And when you can't find any explicit bad motives to slur them with, you just make some up.

    Next, "Additionally, there is a big difference between the enforced singleness that was the case of Jepthath’s daughter or that of those who remain unmarried due to the scarcity of eligible spouses within the Organization, and the situation of voluntary singleness as per 1 Corinthians." I am not sure when I last read such an utterly meaningless truism. I'd say there is a big difference between Jepthath’s daughter and every other person and event in the entire Bible, and anywhere else, too. So what? What's the point, if you have one?

    You tell us, "Paragraph 14 ... misses the opportunity to discuss how showing love (and thereby encouragement) can be practiced." Again, so what? If you look hard enough, any piece of writing in existence that is trying to stay on one topic will miss an opportunity to discuss something else which they so happened to choose not to include.

    That is just like you, as your incessant attacks on WT miss the opportunity to provide real encouragement, even in an article that is nominally devoted to that very topic. So, Tadua, why did YOU miss YOUR opportunity? Justify your own failings FIRST, before attacking someone else for the same shortcomings. Hypocrite.

    In discussing the GB, you stated, "As highlighted many times on this site, there is no direct support for the existence of a first century governing body. Even if such did exist, it does not justify the existence of a modern day Governing Body."

    Utter and complete nonsense.

    I totally agree that there was no first century GB. The problem with your statement is that if one DID exist, it would provide an extremely strong argument to "justify the existence of a modern day Governing Body." The very fact that there WAS no GB in the first century is the whole problem. Tadua, you are so obsessed with condemning WT that you can't even see through your own words and your own sloppy reasoning, and recognize that this logic is fatally flawed. You aren't even interested in logic any more, as long as WT gets a dig, are you?

    You end your commentary by touching on 1 Timothy, which talks about making a show of knowledge.

    Tadua, regrettably, in far too many of your articles, all you do is make a show of animosity.

    Maybe you are compelled to write this way because you have a personal vendetta; I don't know. All I know is that I actually DO need to be encouraged, but when I read articles like yours, they don't help me one damn bit.

    • Reply by Psalmbee on 2018-06-17 17:44:21

      Hi Robert,

      That was a scolding to a very high degree. We must remember that this site is focused on the awakening JW's and those that are slumbering. Tadua is doing what he thinks is best for that targeted group, and I think you owe him an apology even if you are right. There is plenty of places to get spiritual food if you're hungry. Your advanced state needs a little nourishing in my opinion, let the flock eat the morsels in this field, if they don't like it, they will find another field.

    • Reply by wild olive on 2018-06-18 01:18:06

      It sounded like your having a bad day Robert, hope your ok .
      I guess it is worth remembering these articles are a critique, and that may not be encouraging on this particular day, I would say that I actually know a sister who is facing the very situation of not been able to find a decent partner, as Tadua stated in the article. She said straight to me that all the "qualified " men are robots , you could have knocked me over with a feather.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-18 09:13:50

      Robert, you have complained (separately) that Tadua's articles are too negative, too condemnatory of the Watchtower. That is a matter of opinion and I respect that you have a right to yours. The irony is that you now engage in a tirade of such negativity so as to surpass any of the articles you complain of.

      We are quite content to allow commentors to point out flaws in any articles we write. In fact, we encourage it as "iron sharpens iron". None of us is above criticism. That is the position the Governing Body has taken, but we will have none of it. Nevertheless, we have to keep the emotions out of it as far as possible. Make your points, but do so in a constructive and kind way. From this and past comments, we perceive a great deal of anger within you, which every once in a while erupts. I get that. Anger is one of the stages we go through in the awakening process, but we have to keep it out of our writing.

    • Reply by eve04 on 2018-06-18 11:35:06

      That was not very nice,or encouraging.

      Titus 3:2
      to speak injuriously of no one, not to be quarrelsome, but to be reasonable, displaying all mildness toward all men.
      Ephesians 4:29
      Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
      Join the discussion...

  • Comment by Tadua on 2018-06-17 15:14:48

    Hi Robert
    I am deeply sorry I have not encouraged you. All I can do is repeat Peters words in 1 Peter 3:8-9 and say I will always try to be "showing fellow feeling, having brotherly affection, tenderly compassionate, humble in mind, not paying back injury for injury, or reviling for reviling, but, to the contrary, bestowing a blessing."

    Shalom, Brother Robert.

  • Comment by LaRhonda T. on 2018-06-17 16:49:23

    Jehovah does indeed offer encouragement to His servants and it is such a blessing to receive such from our loving Heavenly Father. Many times when I've felt I couldn't go on, I have felt that encouragement, it's interesting how a particular Scripture I've read countless times may suddenly stand out, or how a long forgotten conversation may come to mind, or somebody says something that I need to hear, just at the time I need to hear it. You can't help but love our Abba, because of how much He loves us. The Organization, on the other hand, seems to be intent on manipulating and twisting Scripture to enforce its dominance and control over its members, in effect as Jesus said, "Lord it over..." Thank you for a well-thought out article.

  • Comment by huang on 2018-06-18 03:04:13

    Robert, I am shocked by your lack of common courtesy. Surely we can disagree without being disagreeable. The subtle statements are all there hiding in plain sight. Of course Tadua is not a mind reader not even Satan but he is correct to say jdubs will let pull wool over their eyes. And of course wt must surely mean fds - that is at the forefront of their propaganda.
    Don't knock Tadua- he is exposing wt fiction and don't twist his words. We know given half a chance wt will twist scriptures into pretzels.
    Big difference between enforced and voluntary singleness - a truism worth pointing out. You contradict yourself when you say it's nonsense but you agree.
    The animosity is all yours, Robert. With attitude like yours the articles here won't help you one damn bit.

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2018-06-18 07:32:28

    There is always a danger when Watchtower articles are analysed that the result is not encouraging. They may not all be encouraging, but they are exposing the truth, which is why we are here. Keep up the items, Tadua. I do not always see the inconsistencies in the articles without you, but you help expose them. I would much sooner this than be kept in the dark, which applies to most of my years as a JW.

    • Reply by samisaac on 2018-06-18 12:22:50

      Thanks Leonardo, I see this in the same light that, even when we were fully convicted to Jw doctrine, we used to examine false doctrines to see why they are wrong. It wasn’t the most interesting parts of studying, but eventually we got to the part ”but if this is wrong, what is then true and right?” This is when it starts to get interesting. It should of course never be an exercise in looking down on other religions but rather, if we know why others believe what they believe, we can feel compassion with them and maybe help them see the truth of the Bible.

  • Comment by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-18 07:36:12

    The story of Jephthah and his oath to God was a real eye opener to me when I heard an Orthodox Jew discuss it a few years ago - and not in a good light. There's a very legitimate argument to be made that not only did Jephthah promise to burn alive the first person/animal that ran out to greet him, but he did that very thing to his beloved daughter. Of course I'm skeptical that Jehovah allowed this girl to be immolated per the terms of agreement, but the original agreement was for her to be offered up as a burnt offering. Which is a huge departure from how this story is told in My Book Of Bible Stories and in any reference to it in Watchtower literature since.

    Jephthah's history is interesting - if not checkered. The son of a prostitute. A gifted warrior and tactician more so than a king or a priest. As such he was cast out of Israel till they found themselves at the end of the spear of many nations and militaries, and in that desperate state went and made a deal with a ruthless outcast. His story is much more nuanced and fascinating than it has been told from the platform, where it's been used as spin for encouraging members to give up their children in service to the organization. Obviously Jehovah wasn't asking for a burnt offering, it was Jephthah's own lack of conviction in his skill as a soldier considering the scope of the opposition and his - more than likely - heady blend of pagan and Hebrew rituals and beliefs he would have embraced in a warrior's culture as an outlier of ancient Israel.

    He's not thought of in high regard by modern Jews - our organization utilizes his story to reinforce its insatiable need for a cheap employee base. I think there's a lesson in his story, but definitely not the one we're used to hearing.

    • Reply by eve04 on 2018-06-18 11:33:57

      Thank you Anton.
      I had heard this about Jephthah somewhere before. Very interesting the different spin the WT puts on it. Which begs the question, how much research do they really put into the articles they write or is it a deliberate hiding of truth? Things that make you go…uhhhhmmm!Join the discussion...

      • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-18 12:09:49

        I think it's one of the most frustrating aspects of the organization. Their desire to water everything down as if we're infants who can't handle the actual facts as presented by the scriptures. My Book Of Bible Stories has been their biggest tool indoctrinating their members (me included) as children using deliberately abridged/altered versions of Bible stories to fit their current narrative. Donald Trump coined this 'fake news' - where you build from the narrative backward - in this case dogma backward - and warp the original material to fit current policy. In reading Jephthah's story again without influence from the Society, I found it much more interesting. It's exactly these morally complicated stories that make me more attracted to the scriptures. Jephthah's daughter ends up mourning her virginity - it's that tiny little detail that has biblical scholars thinking she was sent to the temple for service instead of being sacrificed on a pyre. But still, the scriptures say that her fate exactly met the contract parameters of Jephthah's oath to God. It's not a comforting thought.

        • Reply by tyhik on 2018-06-22 15:16:02

          Hi Joseph Anton. You have definitely made a lot of research on the story. Regarding scholars, virginity is not the only thing making them thinking of the non-sacrifice as a possibility. It is claimed, for example here that the language ambiguity specifically allows for human not to be sacrificed. Here's the relevant piece:

          "The vow consists of two parts: firstly, that the:

          * One who comes out shall belong to the Lord,
          * Jephthah would offer him/her/it up as a burnt offering.

          The flexibility of the vav conjunctive linking the two statements would allow it to be read here as ‘and’, so that ‘belonging to the Lord’ meant the burnt offering mentioned immediately after. But the ‘vav’ could also be read as ‘or’, so that whatever or whoever came out would be dedicated to God, and, only should it prove appropriate, would be sacrificed. This latter suggestion runs the risk of sounding like apologetics, designed to give Jephthah a certain amount of leeway, but the ambiguity is present in the text."

          Sure, I'm not a Hebrew scholar so I have no way to verify the language ambiguity claims myself. But I don't remember having seen scholarly claims that the language ambiguity is not present.

          From the believer's point of view (not every scholar is a believer), the sacrifice variant would shine bad light to God. God must have understood Jephthah's intent regarding his vow, verses 30,31. Verse 32 says explicitly that God delivered the sons of Ammon to Jephthah's hand. If the intent was the sacrifice, which was in direct contradiction with God's prohibition (Deu 18:10), why would God Himself pave the way to it? What would it teach us about God? As the text is ambiguous, I tend to believe the non-sacrifice version.

          Thank you for bringing this story up. Researching and resolving for myself the complicated stories like this helps me to "make the Bible truth my own", as the Org likes to say.

          • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-24 23:26:48

            It's certainly interesting to investigate. I love going deep with these stories - they're complicated. I mentioned above that even Josephus told the story where the daughter is offered up as a sacrifice, so even back then during the time of Christ some didn't seem to have too big a problem with this rendition. If a man swears something to God - and we're definitely cautioned not to swear oaths later in the NT - what if God allows the man to walk into the folly of his oath without interfering? Jehovah didn't interfere between Saul and the execution of his son Jonathan over an oath he made to Him. (the people did however) Maybe he allowed Jephthah to fulfill his promise as a warning to others? Be careful what you wish for etc. I don't have the answer obviously, though I enjoyed reading theories for and against this past week Still, no matter what actually happened, I don't like that the new Bible altered the story to make it 21st century friendly.

    • Reply by wild olive on 2018-06-18 18:42:53

      Hi JA
      I came to similar conclusions about Jephthah myself quite a while ago, without the assistance of an Orthodox Jew, when Jephthah made his vow in Jud 12:30&31, he intended to do exactly as he said,offer up a human,he was no example of truth, if he was he would have known human sacrifice was forbidden by the law covenant Deut 18:10. Also as the son of a prostitute and outcast , he would have had a massive chip on his shoulder, in fact his circumstances and attitude bear remarkable similarity to Shaka, the ruthless blood thirsty outcast that forged the Zulu nation, of course your not going to find all that in the bible stories book?

      • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-19 08:08:46

        This person described Jephthah as Maximus Decimus from the movie 'Gladiator.' A powerful general and expat.

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-21 11:24:08

      Joseph, I find it interesting that you now reject the Watchtower's explanation of this passage but readily accept the understanding of an Orthodox Jew? Are you not trading one spiritual leader for another.

      We seem to be making assumptions all over the place and then accepting them as fact. Isn't that what we find fault with in the Organization?

      Judges 11:29 says, "Then the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah..." Jehovah would not bless a man who was capable of intending to offer a human being up as a literal burnt offering. Why would we assume that is what he meant? Where do we get the idea that Jephthah acted out of a "heady blend of pagan and Hebrew rituals and beliefs". In our own language there are many terms which are used metaphorically. When someone gets a scathing retort we say, "Man, he really burned you with that comment." No one thinks there was a literal burning. Why must we assume that Hebrew is any different. The context of Judges makes it clear what Jephthah meant.

      • Reply by wild olive on 2018-06-21 18:59:09

        I would disagree with you Eric.
        Out of all of the men of Israel why was Jephthah approached for assistance? Because he knew how to use a sword and had military know how. And anyone who has spent time in the military knows that innocents get killed, it's what happens.
        As Paul stated in Gal 6:7, a man will reap what he sows, this is a divine law that stood since Adams creation, we humans are often clouded by sentimentality, Jehovah doesn't have that limitation,it's comfortable to think that Jehovah let Jephthah off the hook, but if we start thinking that where does it end?
        Are we mocking God as Paul warned ? Are we going to start indulging the idea that no matter what rash mistakes we made , Jehovah will just let us off the hook , because we "feel" he should? And as far as blessing someone who would offer up another human, how about Abraham and Isaac? How about the many brothers and sisters in the organisation who have in fact offered up members of their family's through the blood transfusion issue? Is he still blessing them? Many would say yes . There is a lot to think about if you read Jephthahs story without eisegesis, the idea that there was something metaphorical , as you suggest , can water down direct statements in the bible, and then render it invalid because of what we "feel" it says. That is part of what has gone on with the changes to the RNWT, as mentioned above.

        • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-21 23:52:59

          In the interest of an interesting discussion it should be noted that Flavius Josephus also told the story of Jephthah and his daughter this way. That her father swore an oath to God, and that he was then compelled to burn his child as a sacrifice. I only bring this up not because I believe this is how the story played out - though I do kind of believe Jephthah did make the deal as written - but because I want to illustrate that many people through history read the story this way, so it's not so crazy a concept. King Saul also made an oath to God, cursing anyone who ate while hunting down and killing the Philistines. His son, Jonathan, ends up being the unfortunate Hebrew who snacked on some honey that day, and Saul nearly goes trough with the execution of his son when the people of Israel - not Jehovah - intervene and stay his hand. Also, did the ancient Jews take a vow of chastity upon entering service at the temple? (I'm actually asking this - I don't honestly know) Just thinking out loud tonight.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-22 07:59:08

          My point, wild olive, was that we must bear in mind that words are symbols and not the reality they describe. As symbols they can be turned to other uses. There are those who thrive on a hyper literal understanding of verses. For instance, Jesus said he would raise up his body. That means that Jesus resurrected himself. It also means that he came back as a human. Further, it means that he came back in the exact same body and continues to this day with holes in his hands and feet and a huge gash in his side. It also means he is not a spirit anymore. I've heard these arguments presented by those who insist on taking a hyper literal interpretation to a single phrase.

          Granted, Jephthah could have meant that he was going to murder and burn the first person that came out of the gate to meet him if only Jehovah would grant him victory, but can we say for sure that olah (whole burnt-offering) was only ever used that way?

          Whatever Jephthah meant, the lesson we can learn from the account--for all things are written for us--is that our Lord is very wise in instructing us at Mt 5:33-37 that such vows are from the wicked one. They do not result in good, and we should not try to bargain with God. His grace is not something to be bargained for.

          • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-22 13:46:37

            So when Jehovah sent an angel down to kill 70,00 Israelites for David's census blunder should that be taken literally? Because it reads literal. It's stories like that one that make Jephthah's oath at least a possibility. Please don't think I'm nitpicking. Or arguing. I'm really not. I'm an extremely open minded individual, and I completely agree with everything you just said above.

            Recently I've been studying the book of Job, especially Jehovah's responses to Job, and I've been mulling over the philosophical question "Do we always have to agree with God?" I believe ultimately we have to. But it's an interesting philosophical experiment getting to that conclusion studying these, admittedly troubling, events in the Old Testament.

            • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-22 15:34:37

              We must always look to the context to determine the meaning of a verse. In the case of Jehovah's punishment upon Israel for David's blunder, I see nothing in the context to indicate a metaphorical application, nor is there any ambiguity possible in the phrasing. Jehovah warned the Israelites that there would be consequences to their choice of a human king. They would suffer as a result of the King's decisions.

      • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-21 19:23:13

        I explained below that his daughter mourning her virginity could be an explanation toward her being sent to the temple and not being sacrificed in a fire. There seems to be no reason to mourn your virginity as opposed to the more pressing matter of mourning your own upcoming immolation in a fire. This Jewish person's opinion merely caused me to see the story in a different light than I had been taught. In the orthodox community Jephthah isn't a hero. If I've learned anything from being in this religion it's that I no longer take anything anyone says as pure truth - just a different perspective. I mean, if we're going to translate Hebrew concerning Baal worshippers and their burnt offerings differently then when Jephthah here uses it, it doesn't seem completely honest. If Jephthah made a deal for a burnt offering, which would be offensive to Jehovah, maybe Jehovah accepted it and was intent on teaching him another lesson entirely by then sending his daughter out? Before possibly allowing an escape clause from the contract? The fact is Eric lots of scholars have looked at this passage and studied it and have tried to ascertain what exactly happened. It's not a completely clean picture. And no, I haven't decided what exactly happened. Have you?

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-22 07:43:44

          I'm glad to see you haven't decided what happened. I can understand a women of Israel mourning her virginity as the worth of a women in those days was tied to her bearing children. It is also natural for a woman of any era to want to marry, as it is for a man to want to find a mate. We're made that way. So to have that option taken away by the ill-conceived oath of one's father would be a blow, to say the least. The fact that many believe an account in one way versus another means little to me. Most Christians believe in the Trinity. Even today, many people believe in Hellfire. Then there are the numerous scientists that believe in evolution. I try to find the truth in the evidence, and when there is insufficient to make a determination, I'm content to accept that I do not know.

  • Comment by Psalmbee on 2018-06-18 10:22:10

    Some folks I know just got back from the district convention and they said it was great. They also said that the ending (grand finale) was spectacular. It was a portrayal of people (Witnesses) in a large field and the military was coming after them and then a light flashed from heaven and it was Jesus on his white horse and crowned with Kingly authority with his bow drawn on the military.

    That does seem very encouraging, after all isn't that the grand climax at hand? Anyway I think I'm having a change of heart for the true believers of the organization. That's what they live and die for, is it not?

    The resurrection hope is like an insurance policy for those with firm faith, and their claim will not be denied or settled, it will be granted. (Acts 24:15)

    • Reply by Warp Speed on 2018-06-23 14:52:24

      Reverse psychology?

      • Reply by Psalmbee on 2018-06-23 20:55:08

        Hi Warp speed,

        No, I'm just taking a good look around. Being an outsider like myself has it's downfalls to. I'm kinda just keeping all channels open and as free of "bleed over" as possible.

  • Comment by jamesbrown on 2018-06-20 22:38:43

    Matthew 7 “Stop judging that you may not be judged; 2 for with the judgment you are judging, you will be judged, and with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you. 3 Why, then, do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye but do not notice the rafter in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Allow me to remove the straw from your eye,’ when look! a rafter is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the rafter from your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to remove the straw from your brother’s eye.

    I don’t understand one thing, why is everyone picking or judging WT, I have been reading everyone’s comments for a while…… Stop and ask yourselves, if Jesus was to comment on what Robert or what everyone is saying, would he "might" have said “Why are YOU hanging on every article that comes from the WT do you not have any spirituality in yourselves”.

    I yearn for JUST the bible to be discussed maybe one or two chapters a week and get some thoughts on them, after all Gods word is alive and it is a source of encouragement.

    What do you think?

    • Reply by Alithia on 2018-06-21 02:11:07

      There is some merit with what you say, after all if one is made aware of poor argumentation such as logical fallacies, false reasonings, poor evidence or invalid premise etc, then you can spot these quickly and dismiss the material immediately.

      Therefore not requiring a lengthy drawn out explanation of the how and why. A bit like give a man a fish and he has fish for a day, teach a man to fish and he has fish for life!

      So I suppose in one way it is not good to be forever dependant on others for exposing or laying bare error in its every place and form! We should all advance to the point of being able to do so personally as well, like the scriptures say at Ephesians 4:13, we should all advance to maturity and at Hebrews 5:14 adds that "solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil."

      So I get the point of some who have reached this stage of spiritual maturity that this reliance may need to shift from centre and the new centre be more focused on the preaching of Jesus and the apostles about the Kingdom.

      • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-21 10:42:19

        If the Watchtower is an imperfect organization, not to be judged by imperfect men, then it has no business distributing corporal punishment. If it eased off on disfellowshipping members and breaking up families, then I would whole-heartedly agree with you. Jesus called out the Pharisees for casting Jews from the temple - among other things. Also, judging is a central tenet to any congregational power structure. They are called JUDICIAL COMMITTEES after all. You can's have it both ways. I can't beat the hell out of my kid and claim ultimate responsibility as adjudicator, but no responsibility for the pain I caused.

    • Reply by wild olive on 2018-06-21 07:01:36

      Hi James
      I feel much the same as you , basically for me the watchtower is a redundant publication, it's no more than a self help advice with a few scriptures thrown in to make it appear "spiritual food" .
      I read the book of Acts and find myself yearning for what I read there, to be involved in real progressive Christianity, and I don't mean progressive in today's understanding , I mean to be part of the body of Christ and see and experience what the bible indicates I should be able to experience.
      What do you suggest ?

      • Reply by Alithia on 2018-06-23 21:56:05

        Hello Wild Olive could I suggest you may like to email me at
        I think you live in Aus and so do Im, perhaps we can start a more personal dialogue and see were it goes, there are a few skype things going around were peeps do just that and it certainly has a more personal effect . I am fully on board with what you refer to as the body of Christ. And anyone else is welcome too of course!

    • Reply by Psalmbee on 2018-06-21 08:50:54

      Hi JB,
      Nice to hear from you, like I told Robert, there are plenty of places to get spiritual nourishment. This is a JW reviewer site and in keeping up with the name they focus on awakening and slumbering JW's. Your spiritual logistics may require a different kind of site. So with that being said, I for one do not appreciate you or anyone else calling these guys hypocrites, they are doing exactly what they say they are doing, and that does not fit under the definition of hypocrite!

    • Reply by huang on 2018-06-21 11:02:17

      Hi Jamesbrown
      I see GB and elders as modern-day Pharisees. So to your question what would Jesus say and do, look at what he did to Pharisees - exposed and condemned them (Matthew 23:1-33) We are not judging or condemning watchtower but pointing out its deceit. This is a vital first step to exposing them as purveyors of untruths and waking up more jdubs. Thanks to BP doing an amazing job of taking down the tower one brick at a time

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-21 11:05:24

      We are working on it, James Brown. I ask for a little patience. There is a place for criticism just as Jesus took the time to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Jewish religious leaders. There is also a place for upbuilding Bible discussion. We can only do what we can do with the time available.

      • Reply by jamesbrown on 2018-06-22 02:52:42

        Thanks, Meleti you have a calming effect I really like that in a minister of God, you are kind & above all spiritual, I have been a witness for the last 30 years, and something has always bothered me, maybe you and the rest of the group can help me with this question…. Why didn’t Jesus use the name of his father in prayers or anywhere else in his ministry.

        • Reply by Alithia on 2018-06-22 04:11:53

          Jesus had such a close and endearing relationship with his Father, that is why he referred to him as Father and not by any proper noun, much the same as anyone even an adult today will refer to their loving parent as Father and not as Mr so and so or by their first name.

          Jesus demonstrated the close and personal relationship of a son who loves his Father and of a Father who loves his son. Jehovah on more than one occasion boomed from heaven, "This is my son the beloved, listen to him". He did not say listen to Jesus or Emmanuel etc.

          I am 60 somewhat years old and I refer to my mother as mum and not by her proper noun name. It is similar with Jesus and Jehovah while informal it is still respectful and proper for Jesus to address his Father in this way.

          We too should develop similar feelings with our heavenly Father, unfortunately this is detracted by the suggestions that we in most cases are not children of God and so would require to refer to God in a more formal manner.

          In addition name in the scriptures has so much more meaning than names have today in general, today names are usually no more than to distinguish one person from another. In the scriptures a name was synonymous with the person's reputation, personality, accomplishments,their actions, intentions,past present and future including their plans methods etc.

          We should not fixate like some organisations do on a personal name rather we should think more along the lines of how Jesus made his Father's name known,(All of the above and much much more ) by his actions and the things he taught.

        • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-22 07:34:58

          Hi James,

          Thank you for your comments. I would answer your question but I see that Alithia has done such a good job that anything I write would be redundant. :)

        • Reply by Alithia on 2018-06-22 22:01:08

          Just a little more on my last point, there are numerous "names" in the bible referring to God see the following.

          Yahweh (Jehovah) meaning I am who I am.
          EL, the sovereign God.
          Melech, The King.
          Adonai, LORD Master.
          Elohim, God the greater
          Abba, Daddy.
          Hashem, The name.
          Elah, The awesome God.
          Aviu, The Father.

          Not a trick question James, but if Jesus had the closest possible loving relationship with his father, which he did ,how do you think it might be most appropriate for him to refer to him from the list above, or to teach his disciples of the kind of feelings God has for his earthly children who presently are suffering and need tender loving care a hope and the knowledge that their Father really cares for them?.

          Looking at it from another angle think of Jesus words to the Pharisees, at John 8:19 So they were saying to Him, "Where is Your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also."

          Also at John 16:3 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do these things because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their hour comes, you will remember that I told you about them. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.…

          In both of these situations it was not a case of not knowing the proper noun "Name" of God rather they were essentially clueless about God's personality and mind on matters.

        • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2018-06-23 04:26:39

          I can understand why no other Christian writer refers to Jehovah’s name. Years of being influenced by the superstition not to pronounce the unpronounceable must be part of the cause. The name is important, but we still do not know how it was pronounced. If Jesus followers were to be sons of God, then does Jehovah or Father serve that hope best ?
          The important thing is what is important to Jehovah. JWs make a lot of this, and, of course, many others have hidden this truth. But is it the most important truth, or is it his personality and purposes which are more important.

          Besides, how vital was it that the Apostles explain something to Jews which they would only take issue over, and was not the main message.

  • Comment by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-21 10:27:34

    On the Jephthah tip. I just discovered this this very morning. The new New World Translation - the fabled 'silver sword' - translates Judges 11: 35 like this: 'You have broken my heart, for you have BECOME THE ONE I HAVE BANISHED.' Thus changing the story from Jephthah's daughter becoming a burnt offering, to merely banished to the temple. I urge you to read every other translation of this scripture. No other translation uses the word 'banished.' How much of this new Bible has been altered so grievously? How is this not an egregious sin? These men are quite deliberately building God in their own image.

    • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2018-06-21 17:43:28

      Unbelievable. Agree totally with your comment, Joseph. But you are right. Nothing like the expression about being banished is in any other translation.

      The idea of Jepthah’s daughter being a burnt offering - which I still feel is unlikely to be what happened - is not in verse 35 anyway, but what the change does is simply supporting the idea that his daughter spent the rest of her life wherever she was sent to.

      But why change the thought to “banished” when it isn’t there ? It’s a mystery to me too.

    • Reply by wild olive on 2018-06-24 04:21:56

      A bit more from the Jephthah saga.
      The RNWT also uses the expression "to give commendation " describing the women of Israel commemorating Jephthahs daughter, every other translation I've looked at either uses the word lament or mourn . That list includes the AMP, RSV,NEB,NRSV,ASV,NASV,NLT,NIV. It seems that all the other translations give the impression that Jephthahs daughter was dead , not alive , again imposing the narrative at the end of the story and reversing back through the account the translators of the RNWT have it seems, substituted a word to support the narrative that they "feel" is right .

      • Reply by Joseph Anton on 2018-06-24 23:40:18

        I noticed this at the Regional Convention today. I caught a few minor alterations in talks concerning the Bible. On the subject of the 'horse' (second day symposium on animals) the brother gave 'Job's' amazing speech concerning horses and warfare in the book of Job - it's actually Jehovah's amazing speech concerning the horse. I don't know if it was slipup, it could very well have been. There was another talk earlier where the brother said the twelve spies LIED about the sons of Anak being descendants of the Nephilim. He just dismissed it in a single statement because having Nephilim existing after the flood is problematic to the story as they sold it to us all these years. Forget Goliath and Og...

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2018-06-21 17:28:27

    To be honest, I am not bothered if the GB refer to themselves as the Governing body. There were no directors in the Bible, but I would have no problem if they called themselves directors. What is not right is that they take a parable about the F & DS and turn it into a prophecy which they claim is fulfilled in them alone, and then deny any similar claim such as Bro Jackson did before the Australian Royal Commission.

  • Comment by Gogetter on 2018-06-22 07:54:11

    I always feel compelled to comment when I read others who regularly visit this site complain
    That you should not be spending time on Watchtower issues etc. and should be only focused on pure Bible discussions.
    I must point out that you are discussing the Bible with every article you have ever published and most importantly in comparison with the false teachings most of us here have been taught a great deal of our lives.
    I implore you to not be swayed from your mission in this regard by any of these comments that to tend to come up from time to time!
    I respect the fact that some here want to move on to just Bible discussions and understand from your reply here that you are working on that, but I point out that there are plenty of those sites already in existence for them to fulfill that desire.
    I want to just highlight the importance of what you and others who write articles do here on Beroean’s
    I dare say many if not most who come here are still in the organization to one degree or another and mainly because of family and friends.
    This is the easiest and safest place to send those who are waking up or those who we are trying to wake up for a couple of reasons.
    1- the name Beroean, every witness knows what that stands for.
    2-the home page very inviting, other sites even JW-facts home page is in your JW face scary and screams Apostate. Don’t get me wrong great site but not for those curious and not far along in their questioning of WT teachings.
    3- The topics you cover and have covered are or have been on the mind of most of the Bible based thinkers in the Org. And this is a safe, non-judgemental, scripture based site that encourages open discussion with by and large the fruitages of the spirit being displayed most of these things many of us have not experienced since our initial Bible study and consequently our baptism as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I could go on but let me just sum it up, Eric stay on course with this site calling out the scriptural falsehoods and the wayward course of the GB who claim to be the only channel of communication between Jehovah and men ( except in Australia) as the scene is rapidly changing within the organization and many are looking for answers, and although there are many websites that can help with that IMHO this is the best one I have found that can provide that.,


    • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2018-06-22 12:33:35

      Well put, Gogetter. You speak for many of us. This is one place where serious Bible students can have their say without being hauled over the coals, while feeling e are getting to know others in the same boat and being able to view them as friends we are yet to meet.
      PS Anyone at Brighton ?

      • Reply by lazarus on 2018-06-22 16:54:54

        On the West side of town ?

    • Reply by Meleti Vivlon on 2018-06-22 15:37:21

      Thank you for that insight and encouragement, GoGetter. Interesting facts about Australia as well.

    • Reply by Alithia on 2018-06-22 18:46:10

      Good and valid point Gogetter, I feel the same way and on that point of having a safe place where questioning ones can have confidence in is critical. The old question where will we go to is of primary importance for these questioning ones, they need to come to a site which is familiar calm and populated by calm satisfied happy people who demonstrate qualities that are desirable. Nevertheless also able in a robust manner to voice their opinion or disagreement if they have one. Something they would not be able to do in the Org.

  • Comment by kyaecker on 2018-06-23 16:06:59

    Thank you for insight. Time and again, over and over the WT always referred to Jesus as “imitating” his father Jehovah. Well, as Christians we are supposed to follow the Christ, not imitate God. The WT always has us imitating someone wether it be men or God. According to WT teaching, the Christ imitates his father. I don’t believe Jesus imitates his father in the sense that WT is asking us to believe. Jesus is the exact representation of Jehovah and thus is not some imitation of him. Does this WT teaching actually diminish Jesus to a mere imitation of God? It seems so given how his role is always down played.

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