“This is my Son . . . Listen to him.”—Matthew 17:5.
[From ws 3/19 p.8 Study Article 11: May 13-19, 2019]
There in the title of the study article and the theme scripture we already have the contradictory message given by the Organization. We are told to listen to Jehovah’s voice, whose voice asks us to listen to Jesus voice. Yet most of the article is only about listening to Jehovah.
We are reminded “In the past, he used prophets, angels, and his Son, Christ Jesus, to convey his thoughts to us” (Par.1) and “Today, he communicates with us through his Word, the Bible.” These statements are accurate and show how we can listen to both Jehovah and Jesus. There are no inspired prophets today, nor do angels visit us. We have everything we need in his inspired word.
All whom Jehovah has chosen to represent him in the past have had clear proof of appointment. The prophets had their prophecy come true. Some were given power to perform miracles. Moses and Aaron were clearly appointed, as was Jesus. Those not clearly appointed were not appointed by God or Jesus.
At Jesus baptism, there was a clear appointment as Luke 3:22 records “and the holy spirit in bodily shape like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: “You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.””
A while later at Jesus’ transfiguration (Luke 9:35) the disciples were told to “Listen to him”. These clear evidences of Jesus appointment were not easily forgotten or overlooked or questioned. The Apostle Peter still remembered the transfiguration some 30 years later as recorded 2 Peter 1:16-18.
In like manner if a slave were to be appointed over someone’s belongings would we not also expect such a clear and unquestionable appointment. (Matthew 24:25-27) A self appointed slave would (and should) never be taken seriously.
What did Jesus voice ask his disciples to do (who incidentally were also clearly appointed)?
Paragraph 9 reminds us of the following:
“he lovingly taught his followers how to preach the good news, and he repeatedly reminded them to keep on the watch. (Matthew 24:42; 28:19, 20)
“He also urged them to exert themselves vigorously, and he encouraged them not to give up. (Luke 13:24)”
And perhaps the most important points “Jesus stressed the need for his followers to love one another, to remain united, and to observe his commandments. (John 15:10, 12, 13)”
John 18:37 holds an important reminder from Jesus. “Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” Clearly, the opposite is also true. Those who do not listen to Jesus voice are not on the side of truth.
In this we are reminded that Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice.” (John 10:27) , and “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. In turn, whoever loves me will be loved by my Father.”(John 14:21).
Paragraph 12 marks where the scripturally based discussion is interrupted for the self advertising of the Organization and its demands.
In this paragraph we are asked to cooperate with the elders based on Hebrews 13:7,13 even though those taking the lead in the first century were clearly appointed by Holy Spirit, unlike today. We are also asked to accept without question that the Organization is “God’s Organization”, the format of the meetings, and the type of new tools and methods we are expected to use in our ministry and “the way we build, renovate, and maintain our Kingdom Halls”. Yes, you understand it correctly, you are expected to pay to build, renovate and maintain your Kingdom Hall, just so that if the Organization decides your Hall is not fully utilised then they can send you to a different hall miles away, and sell your Hall and keep the money for themselves.
Paragraph 13 reminds us “Jesus assured his disciples that his teachings would refresh them. “You will find refreshment for yourselves,” he said. “For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)”
For those reading this review who are still fully practicing JW’s, please be honest with yourselves. Do you honestly find refreshment from the teachings of the Organization or is it a heavy load?
The requirement to be at meetings twice a week, to prepare for them, to answer up multiple times, to attend meetings for field service before preaching, and that is before we get to the unwritten rules such as no non-Witness friends, no after school activities, no further education and hence no well paying job, spending at least 10 hours per month preaching, cleaning and maintaining the Kingdom Hall and more!
The amount of Witnesses on anti-depressants is shocking. It is hidden, like many things, but is actually rampant as you will find when you start asking. A large contributory factor has to be the treadmill of work, physically and mentally, to remain considered “a spiritual person” within the Organization.
Paragraph 16 states “Or we may be disturbed by false stories that opposers spread about us. We may think about the reproach these reports bring on Jehovah’s name and his organization.” This is an open and shut case of shooting the messenger and ignoring the problem. The Organization is likely referring to so called false stories that they don’t care about sexually abused children when they claim they do, but their hands are tied by the Bible requirement for two witnesses. (See past JW.Org broadcasts)
As highlighted many times on this site, this is a whitewash. Their main support for the two witnesses stance is the Mosaic Law. Jesus released Christians from the Mosaic Law, and the Law for two witnesses primarily related to offences which carried capital punishment (death penalty). Today we acknowledge the secular law of the countries in which we live, and this is a Bible command. Child sexual abuse is a crime and therefore any (all) allegations should therefore be reported to the relevant secular authorities before any congregation action is taken.
Opposers of the Organization do not need to spread false stories, there are too many shockingly true stories to be told. The real problem is not only the failure on the part of the Organization to change its own pharisaical procedures but also the false claim that they are God’s Organization on earth. That claim is what brings reproach on Jehovah’s name. As mentioned earlier, there is no evidence that God ever chose the current Organization to represent him. The whole basis on which they claim this appointment is mired in the mess of 1914 which arose from a very questionable interpretation of a dream given to a pagan King of Babylon which was fulfilled on him 2,550 or so years ago. That Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE can be disproved from the scriptures without resorting to secular history which holds 587 BCE as Jerusalem’s destruction by Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar.[i]
Paragraph 17 makes the claim that “Additionally, Jehovah’s spirit moves “the faithful steward” to keep giving His servants their food supply. (Luke 12:42)”.
So, the teachings of “the generation that will not pass away”, or “the overlapping generations”. Are they from Jehovah’s spirit or from men’s? If from Jehovah, then why is his spirit telling us lies? As the scriptures remind us that “God” is someone “who cannot lie” (Titus 1:2), it stands to reason that these lies must be from men, they cannot be from God. Additionally, by extension these men cannot be God’s faithful steward. Any steward that lies about what his master says is removed from service straight away.
Yes, those of us still affected by the tentacles of the Organization do well to take encouragement from Hebrews 10:36 where “The Bible reminds us: “You need endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the fulfillment of the promise.”.
Indeed, let us follow the example of the faithful Apostles who when told to be silent about what they had learnt gave this well known reply to the Pharisees of their day “We must obey God as ruler rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Then we will truly be listening to Jehovah’s voice and not men’s voice.
[i] Please see the forthcoming series “A Journey through Time” on this site for scriptural proof.