[From ws 7/18 p. 17 – September 17 – September 23]
“Jehovah your God you should fear, him you should serve, to him you should cling.” —Deuteronomy 10:20.
A far better question for the theme of the article would be ‘Whose side is Jehovah on?’ Without answering that question truthfully and accurately how can we attempt to see if we are on Jehovah’s side?
The problem is that the article assumes the Organization is on God’s side. Hence being on their ‘side’ is synonymous with being on God’s side which is far from the truth of the matter.
Of course, all God-fearing people desire to be on God’s side. That is why all of us are here on this website, striving to find what God truly requires of us. The problem is that most of us found or are finding that the Organization claiming to be God’s Organization is not what it claims to be.
Jehovah searches the Heart (Par.3-7)
This section highlights the example of Cain saying “He did not profess to worship any other god but Jehovah. Cain’s worship, however, was not acceptable to God. There were seeds of wickedness growing deep within his heart. (1 John 3:12)” This truly is a warning to all.
However, the Organization should be examining how it can ensure that this does not apply to themselves instead of applying it to others. To the Organization itself we repeat the quoted scripture from Genesis 4:6-7 “If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor? But if you do not turn to doing good, sin is crouching at the door, and its craving is to dominate you; but will you get the mastery over it?” (Genesis 4:6, 7)”
What good do they need to turn to?
- An immediate stop to the unscriptural, inhuman and unGodly practice of shunning.
- Compliance with Caesar’s laws by reporting allegations of child sexual abuse when required. Also positively encouraging the accuser to do so. It is a criminal offence, not a sin and should be handled as such.
- An apology to all those abused because of following misguided interpretation of scripture.
- Return the ownership of all the Kingdom Halls to the local trustees of local congregations from whom they were taken.
- Scrap the secret 3-man judicial committee. They should return to the original Biblical arrangement where such matters were dealt with in front of the whole congregation. (Matthew 18:15-17)
- Apologise publicly and clearly for all the Organization’s false predictions.
- Change the emphasis on the requirements of a Witness from being almost exclusively preaching focussed. Instead the focus should be ensuring love is shown to each other and to the world in general. Hebrews 10:23-25 shows that inciting to love and fine works, not solely preaching, should be the reason for meetings. Hence inciting to fine works would be the correct material for consideration at arranged meetings.
- Allow the return of an individual’s own conscience on many matters and a return to Bible principles. Bring a halt to the creation of ever more pharisaical laws that govern Witnesses lives in fine detail.
- Keep clear of participating in Political bodies such as the UN, whether as an N.G.O.[i] or as a G.O.D.[ii].
As paragraph 5 highlights “Like Cain, a Christian today could be following the wrong path even while professing to worship Jehovah. (Jude 11) For instance, one could nurture immoral fantasies, greedy thoughts, or hateful feelings toward a fellow Christian. (1 John 2:15-17; 3:15) This thinking can lead to sinful actions. All the while, one could be active in the ministry and regular at congregation meetings.”
The question this raises is: Why would a Christian be having this type of thinking? Two obvious answers come to mind. The first is that we are all imperfect and hence sin wilfully and unwilfully all the time. The second and perhaps more worryingly is that because of the pressure to conform, Witnesses will continue active in the ministry and regular at meetings, being so busy with these things and the preparation for them that they ignore, or forget or have no time, to work on their Christian qualities and conquer the wrong thinking.
As an aside, there are far more serious types of thoughts some Witnesses have, yet should not have. (For example, those who decide to sexually abuse children and those who think this is a sin rather than the criminal offence that it is and do not report it to the authorities). However these escape mention so as not to draw attention to the problem and generate the ensuing questions and embarrassment whether it be doubts or other things.
As paragraph 6 highlights “Jehovah wants us to take a stand against badness. (Isaiah 55:7)”. This is necessary both on an individual level and collectively. It takes courage to take a stand, especially when we find that what we once believed is fatally flawed. A stance that would likely require Jehovah’s holy spirit to assist us.
Do not be Misled (Par.7-11)
This section is about Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines. Such an extreme example is used to warn us against associating with anyone who is not as spiritual as or more spiritual than us. Paragraph 10 says “As in Solomon’s case, one of the greatest threats to spirituality is friendship with those who do not understand or respect Jehovah’s standards. Some may be associated with the congregation but may be spiritually weak. Others could be relatives, neighbors, coworkers, or schoolmates who are not worshippers of Jehovah”. This paragraph is implying that anyone not a worshipper of Jehovah, and by that they mean one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, should not be associated with on the grounds that they will damage your spirituality.
Was this the Apostle Paul’s view? Not according to 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 which in part says “But now I am writing you to quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.”
Note that the types of practices of a brother whose company we would not seek out. However, the apostle Paul did not call for a total shunning, even for those clearly condemned by God’s word. To the Thessalonians, he instructs: “and yet do not consider him an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother.” (1 Th 3:15) The practices covered by this recommendation do not include those who may not be living up to the expectations of an Organization which labels those who miss some meetings or are not regular in preaching as ‘spiritually weak’ or who may have doubts about the Organization’s teachings.
This paragraph (10) further minimises the effect of our spiritual suit of armour and our own Bible trained conscience, both of which are crucial. Avoiding exposure to those so categorised leaves one naïve and unprepared when such association is unavoidable, as in the workplace or at school. There is growing evidence in the medical world, including the very reason vaccinations are usually so helpful, that controlled exposure to bugs and germs and dirt is actually far more beneficial than living in a totally sterile environment. Why? Because it allows the body to build up its immune system to resist stronger threats. It is likewise so with spiritual dangers. Continual controlled exposure to minor spiritual dangers will enable us to build up the strength of our faith, conscience, and will, as well as our courage to resist serious threats, “Otherwise, YOU would actually have to get out of the world”. (1 Corinthians 5:10b)
The misguided teaching in this paragraph (10) leads to regular pioneers or elders and their families only having association with other fellow elders and their families or other pioneers, a form of hurtful elitism, far from the mind of Christ. This actually contributes to disunity within the congregations.
Perhaps anticipating some would realise it is not so dangerous after all, the paragraph concludes by saying, “In any case, if our close associates do not show a high regard for Jehovah’s standards, they can in time destroy our good standing with God.”
Talk about scare-mongering! Of course, that is true! But by the same token you can also trip over a needle or drown in an inch of water. However, what are the chances of these things happening if you take reasonable and sensible precautions? Paranoia will lead to a miserable life of isolation. It is our choice and we will judged on the decisions we made. We should not delegate that decision to others (which is a decision in itself).
Paragraph 11 starts with “Read 1 Corinthians 15:33”. It then proceeds to give a very negative view about people outside the congregation saying “Most people have some good qualities, and many outside the congregation do not engage in blatant misconduct. If that is true of your acquaintances, can you assume that they are good associations? Ask yourself what effect their companionship will have on your relationship with Jehovah. Will they improve it? What is in their heart? For example, are their conversations almost exclusively about fashion, money, gadgets, entertainment, or other material pursuits? Does their speech often include disparaging comments about others or obscene jesting? Jesus aptly warned: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) If you realize that your associates pose a threat to your good standing with Jehovah, act decisively by limiting and if necessary ending such friendships.—Proverbs 13:20.”
What about your experience in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses? There are many good brothers and sisters doing their best, but also (at least in my experience), many to whom the description in paragraph 11 applies. Try sharing a Bible highlight with members of the congregation after a meeting and find out how many have little interest in discussing and sharing and learning from God’s word. Yet, all the negative focus of the paragraph is on non-Witnesses. At least most non-Witnesses make no pretence of Godliness. In fact, it could be argued that many non-Witnesses would make better acquaintances because they do not make a pretence.
Yes, “do not be misled” by the excessive negative slant about who to associate with. However, do take sensible, reasonable precautions.
Jehovah requires exclusive devotion (Par.12-19)
Paragraph 13 highlights an important series of events that we can learn from. It says “Moses was on the mountaintop for a long time. Were the Israelites now stranded in the wilderness without their trustworthy leader? Apparently, the people’s faith was too dependent on Moses’ visible presence. They became anxious and told Aaron: “Make for us a god who will go ahead of us, because we do not know what has happened to this Moses, the man who led us up out of the land of Egypt.”—Exodus 32:1-2.”
The Watchtower article does not apply this to anything, but perhaps they hope the brothers and sisters will apply it in their minds to showing obedience to the Governing Body which claims to be God’s spirit directed faithful slave, representing his interests on earth. We should however, think more carefully about drawing any such parallels.
Who is the Greater Moses who we should not forget?
To whom we should obey and give our allegiance to?
Hebrews 3:1-6 indicates it is Jesus when it says in part “And Moses as an attendant was faithful in all the house of that One as a testimony of the things that were to be spoken afterwards, 6 but Christ [was faithful] as a Son over the house of that One. We are the house of that One, if we make fast our hold on our freeness of speech and our boasting over the hope firm to the end.”
Has Jesus been on the figurative ‘mountaintop for a long time’?
Yes. He warned this would be the case. He gave a parable in Luke 19:11-27 because his disciples “were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. 12 Therefore he said: “A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return.” “15 Eventually, when he got back after having secured the kingly power … ”.
Jesus also said his return would be clear for all to see. Luke 21:27 says “And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” and Matthew 24:27 says “For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”
In Moses day because of a seeming delay the Israelites said “Make for us a god who will go ahead of us, because we do not know what has happened to this Moses”.
What has happened because of the time passing with Jesus?
Effectively the same. Not content to heed Jesus warning given in Mark 10:42-44, Matthew 20:25-28 and Luke 22:24-27 not to rule over others, members of religions have effectively said “give us a God”. They have then accepted men as God’s representative(s) on earth, and instead those meant to slave for others (serve others), lord it over them. The very terms used Governing Body and Guardians of Doctrine (G.O.D.) and a Slave that gives instructions (instead of taking instructions) as to what we should do, shows we are in a similar situation today. For example dictating what level of secular education we should have, if we wish to be considered spiritual.
Paragraph 14 mentions “The people knew that idolatry was a serious offense against Jehovah. (Exodus 20:3-5) But soon they were worshipping a golden calf!” We today also need to be aware that following other god’s whether they be G.O.D’s or Governing Body, or Supreme Pontiffs, or any claiming to be God’s representative(s) on earth, will also likely constitute idolatry. Even as the nation of Israel later demanded that a King be appointed over them like other nations around them, let us not be one who is called to account when Jesus says “it is I whom they have rejected from being king over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7-9)
When all others around us are following a wrong course it is easy to follow the crowd. But there will come a time when Christ comes and will say as did Moses in Exodus 32:26 “Who is on Jehovah’s side? Come to me!”. In the time of Moses the chosen ones rallied to his side. “And all the Levites gathered around him”. (See Paragraph 15)
Do we rally to or gather around the only leader we should accept, the Greater Moses, our Lord Jesus Christ? Have we rejected all other god’s, or usurping slaves, both invisible and visible? Food for thought indeed.
The warning in paragraph 17 is very valid in the context discussed above. “The apostle Paul drew attention to the golden calf episode and warned: ”These things became examples for us, in order for us not to … become idolaters, as some of them did. [The examples] were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:6-7, 11-12)”
Paragraph 17 goes on to say “But merely wanting to be Jehovah’s friend or claiming to be loyal to him does not always mean that one is actually approved by Jehovah. —1 Corinthians 10:1-5”. As with all statements like this we have to keep on pointing out the position of Jehovah’s friend is not on offer, in the scriptures at least. John 15:14-15 and Luke 12:4 show Jesus called his disciples his friends. (See also Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 5:34). However, nowhere does Jehovah make the offer for us to be his friend. He does make a far better offer, but an offer that is rarely discussed in the Organization’s literature these days and not scripturally accurately at that. Why is this? Because it teaches only a limited number can be chosen and become children of God in contradiction to the scriptures, such as Matthew 5:9, Romans 8:19, 1 John 3:1-2,9-10, John 11:52, 1 John 5:1-2 and Galatians 3:26. A quick search on this site for ‘chosen ones’ will reveal a number of articles discussing this false teaching of the Organization.
Paragraph 18 suggests that “Just as the Israelites became anxious over Moses’ delay in coming down from Sinai, Christians today may feel anxious over the seeming delay of Jehovah’s day of judgment and the coming of the new world.”
However, this statement is a travesty of truth. Exodus 32:1 and its context give no indication that Moses told the nation of Israel how long he would be. Exodus 24:16-18 show that Jehovah had a clear presence there at Mount Sinai which the Israelites could see. The account says “And Jehovah’s glory continued to reside upon Mount Siʹnai, and the cloud continued to cover it for six days. At length on the seventh day he called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. 17 And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the sight of Jehovah’s glory was like a devouring fire on the mountaintop. 18 Then Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went on up the mountain. And Moses continued in the mountain forty days and forty nights.”
So, while Moses was there for forty days, it was not for a period of over a hundred years, with no visible presence of God or Christ to indicate God’s hand in the matter, which is the background to the situation today they are highlighting. Additionally, the account does not suggest that there were numerous predictions by Aaron as to when Moses would return. Rather the Israelites became unreasonably impatient.
Habakkuk 2:3 clearly indicates that when Jehovah appoints a time “It will not be late.” As Mark 13:32 reminds us “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father. 33 Keep looking, keep awake, for YOU do not know when the appointed time is.” We can therefore be confident that the appointed time of Armageddon will not come late.
How this differs from the Organization. Christ was originally deemed to be coming in 1874. That was amended to having come invisibly in 1874, and again later moved to 1914, 1925, 1975, by the end of the 20th century. The position taught today is that it is imminent, as it is meant to come while there are members of a make believe overlapping generation still alive.
Is it any wonder some “Christians today may feel anxious over the seeming delay of Jehovah’s day of judgment and the coming of the new world”? Proverbs 13:12 states what has happened when it says “Expectation postponed is making the heart sick”. Who raised the expectations of people many times and made it seemingly delay? The Organization did on numerous occasions by it crying wolf when there was no wolf. But do you see any apology? No, rather the tone of the quote from the article attempts to make it the individual Christian’s fault that they cannot deal with the result of others interference with the real message of Jesus warnings and prophecies. Yes, the “day of judgement” is coming, but when Jehovah decides, not when men predict it will come. It will not be late!
Cling to Jehovah (Par.20-21)
We are reminded in paragraph 20 that Cain, Solomon, and the Israelites at Mount Sinai “had the opportunity to ‘repent … and turn around.’ (Acts 3:19)”. Also that “Today, warnings from Jehovah may come in the form of a Bible account, Bible-based publications, or kind advice from a fellow Christian. When we heed the warnings, we are assured of Jehovah’s mercy.”.
To all our readers we implore you, if you have not already done so, to investigate these things for yourself. Please consider this, and all the other articles on this site as “kind advice from a fellow Christian”.
Finally as Jude 1:20 encourages us “But you, beloved ones, by building up yourselves on your most holy faith, and praying with holy spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love, while you are waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with everlasting life in view.”
[i] Non Government Organization
[ii] Guardian of Doctrine