“All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial.” – 2 Timothy 3:16
[From ws 11/19 p.20 Study Article 47: January 20 – January 26, 2020]
Initially, the title of the article leads the reader to hope that this will be an article worth reading. We could learn so many things from the book of Leviticus. So, what is the main point of this article do you think?
Give a reply in your mind, quickly before the answer is supplied direct from the Watchtower article.
And the answer is …. Drum roll ….. you would not have guessed it …..
“Am I grateful to be associated with the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization? Jehovah has given us evidence that is as convincing as the literal fire from heaven back in the days of Moses and Aaron”. ??????
“How can we show our support for the organization that Jehovah is using? By following the Bible-based direction we are given in our publications and at our meetings, assemblies, and conventions. In addition, we can show our support by sharing as fully as possible in the preaching and teaching work” . (Both quotes Paragraph 17)
What an absolutely, astounding revelation. Of all the things we could learn, I am sure that was not top of your list. What a breath taking conclusion!
Now as a result I am sure you are on tender hooks, itching to know what evidence as convincing as the literal fire from heaven was in the time of Moses, Jehovah has given us today.
Patience, … the evidence is …
” Think of the abundance of spiritual food available today, free of charge, in more than 900 languages! It is undeniable evidence of divine backing”. “Consider further proof of Jehovah’s blessing: the preaching work. The good news truly is being preached “in all the inhabited earth” (Par.16).
Yes, that is the sum total of the alleged evidence meant to be as convincing as literal fire from heaven!
Pause to think about that for a moment.
It goes without saying it is well known that the unscrupulous can manipulate statistics to try and prove the opposite to reality.
Never mind that for example the Bible Gateway has numerous Bible translations in many languages available on line, or that various Bible societies make Bibles available in hundreds of languages, such as the British and Foreign Bible Society or the International Bible Society, not to be confused with IBSA, a JW legal entity!.
Is it not interesting that obviously the primary focus of these two societies is the Bible? These are just two examples among many picked at random. Contrast the names of these two societies with the main legal corporation used by the Organization, which is the Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society. Yes, the Watchtower first, then the Bible. Is that not exactly the priority we find in reality at the Congregation meetings?
As for the so-called “further proof”, the Catholic Church and many other Protestant groups could claim not only to have done that, but also done that many years, even centuries earlier. Over the centuries they have sent out thousands of missionaries. (This does not prove that the Catholic Church or any Protestant group are God’s Organization on earth either. It just serves to highlight that if the Organization wants to claim numbers as “further proof” then it needs to have far better numbers than any other religious organization and that clearly is not the case.)
Additionally, the “good news”, is hardly good news if it consists of “all who are not part of the great crowd (defined by the Organization as meaning Jehovah’s Witnesses with an earthly hope) will die at Armageddon”.
There are 4 lessons highlighted in this Watchtower article so we will look at all four.
“First lesson: We need to have Jehovah’s approval for our sacrifices to be accepted.” (Par.3)
The study article is actually accurate in this statement. Sadly, the paragraph expanding on this statement is not so accurate.
For example, it claims “He accepts us as his friends! (Psalm 25:14)”. The NWT Translation committee has also seen fit to change the more usual rendering of this verse which in the Reference edition was “The intimacy with Jehovah belongs to those fearful of him, Also his covenant, to cause them to know it.” This is also translated as “secret” by 13 Translations on Biblehub, “intimate” by 1 and “confides” by 2. Now, by the wording of the latest NWT translation it implies we can be friends rather than intimate like sons and daughters.
This appears to be another case of translation bias to draw attention away from Jesus’ promise in Galatians 3:26 “You are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus”.
“Second lesson: We serve Jehovah because we are grateful to him.”
There is a very important qualifying word missing here. It is “should”. Yes, it should read “We should serve Jehovah because we are grateful to him”.
There are many reasons we can serve Jehovah, many of them wrong, and many of them selfish. Rather than just gratitude, it should be because we love God and desire to serve him.
“Third lesson: Out of love, we give Jehovah our best.”
“Be assured, then, that Jehovah is pleased with your willing, whole-souled service. (Col. 3:23) Imagine his smile of approval. He views your loving efforts in his service, large and small, as treasures that he will remember and value forever” (Par.12).
The caveat we would add to this is the warning Jesus gave in Matthew 7:21-23 when he said “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness”.
In this passage Jesus made it clear that we could serve God, but in vain, because we are not serving him in the way that he wants.
“Fourth lesson: Jehovah is blessing the earthly part of his organization”
Paragraph 14 makes the claim that “Christ, the greater High Priest, has a royal priesthood of 144,000, who will serve alongside him in heaven. Hebrews 4:14; 8:3-5; 10:1.”. As usual, no proof is offered to support the claim that the 144,000 will serve with Christ in heaven.
The other preposterous claims not already discussed at the beginning of our review are “In 1919, Jesus appointed a small group of anointed brothers as “the faithful and discreet slave.” That slave takes the lead in the preaching work and gives Christ’s followers “food at the proper time.” (Matt. 24:45)” (par.15).
Of course, as we all know this claimed appointment was made so clear that the modern-day Governing Body did not realize it until the July 2013 Study Watchtower was released. Given the delay of 94 years in realization, a modern-day batch of fire from heaven may have come in rather handy to help them realize it a bit sooner!
Also, a point of interest is, does “That slave take[s] the lead in the preaching work”? Do the Governing body go from door to door or stand emotionless behind a cart as everyone else is expected too?
In answer to the review question “What lessons can we learn from … the fire seen when the priesthood was installed? (Leviticus 9:23, 24)”, surely the correct and obvious answer is: Do not believe any modern claims unless you see the fire from heaven!