“You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father’” —Matthew 6:9
[From ws 02/20 p.2 April 6 – April 12]
Paragraphs 1 and 2 start the article nicely, contrasting the potentially death dealing way to approach a King, but that by comparison, Jehovah invites us tor all to him using the phrase “Our Father”.
“For example, although Jehovah bears such lofty titles as Grand Creator, Almighty, and Sovereign Lord, we are invited to call on him using the familiar term “Father.” (Matthew 6:9)” (para.2)
Why can we call Almighty God, Father? In Galatians 4:4-7 the Apostle Paul explained that Jesus was sent as a ransom for all.
“But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, 5 that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Now because YOU are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” 7 So, then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, also an heir through God.”
But that was not all the ransom was for. It was also for more than that, as verse 5 states, it was “that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons”.
This raises a serious question, because the Organization teaches that only a limited number are chosen as sons of God and also that these have a different destination (allegedly heaven) to the rest of mankind. Yet, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that Jesus death was to repurchase all under law and that once a person accepts that purchase, they become adopted as sons. That is why we are invited “to pray this way, ‘Our Father’”. Only sons or adopted sons are invited and given the privilege to call someone ‘Father’. Friends are not.
Likewise, when paragraph 3 rightly says “Because he is our Father, we have a responsibility to obey him. When we do what he asks of us, we will enjoy marvelous blessings. (Hebrews 12:9)”, the context is that Apostle Paul is talking to those who are adopted as sons.
Hebrews 12:7-8 states “It is for discipline YOU are enduring. God is dealing with YOU as with sons. For what son is he that a father does not discipline? 8 But if YOU are without the discipline of which all have become partakers, YOU are really illegitimate children, and not sons”. (Note: ‘discipline’ in these verses is better replaced by ‘instruction’ based on the meaning of the Greek word translated discipline, because of the connotation discipline has today as punishment and restriction, instead of instruction).
Therefore, when the Watchtower article slips in “Those blessings include everlasting life, whether in heaven or on earth”, it is disingenuous, as no heavenly destination was suggested in those verses, nor is any scripture cited supporting this claim.
Jehovah is a living and caring father (para. 4-9)
Paragraph 4 says “Jesus so perfectly reflected his Father’s personality that he could say: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) Jesus often spoke about the role that Jehovah fulfills as a Father. In the four Gospels alone, Jesus used the term “Father” some 165 times in reference to Jehovah”. This is true. But, also, in complete contrast to what the Organization and other religions teach about humans going to heaven, Jesus, just a few verses later in John 14:23 taught that “In answer Jesus said to him: “If anyone loves me, he will observe my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our abode with him”. It was not the other way around, I.e. that some would go and make their abode in heaven with God. (See also, Revelation 21:3)
How our living Father cares for us (para. 10-15)
Paragraph 13 indulges in speculation based on the premise (shown to be false in many previous articles and reviews on this site) that the Organization is Jehovah’s earthly Organization. Not only does it claim to be so, but further than that, suggests that everything provided by the Organization is said to come from Jehovah.
The Watchtower article then claims: “He showed us personal attention when we first learned the truth, using our parents or another teacher to help us come to know him”.
There is no scriptural evidence that God specifically pays personal attention and specifically helps our parents or Bible study teacher to help anyone learn ”the truth”, regardless of the fact as to whether the Organization teaches really is “the truth”. This is just a “feel good soundbite” without any substance to back up the claim.
“In addition, Jehovah instructs us through our congregation meetings”. It is dangerous to make such claims, as would Jehovah arrange for us to be taught untruth or lies? Of course not. It would be blasphemous to suggest that God would do that. Yet, for example the claim that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE and that hence 1914 marked the start of Jesus invisible rule can be disproved in so many ways. Despite this, still the Organization teaches this claim as “revealed truth” and that any who dare question it are apostates.
The claim in paragraph 14 is disingenuous when it claims: “as part of our training, our loving Father disciplines us when necessary. His Word reminds us: “Those whom Jehovah loves he disciplines.” (Hebrews 12:6, 7) Jehovah disciplines us in many ways. For instance, something we read in his Word or hear at our meetings may correct us. Or perhaps the help we need comes from the elders”.
The implication here is that Jehovah is watching us and decides when we need correction and arranges it through the meetings or the elders, pointing us to the Organization and teaching us thereby to be dependent on them. However, the Greek word for discipline means “instruction that trains someone to reach full development”.
As the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining [instructing] in righteousness”. Jehovah has already given us all the instructions we need in his Word. It is up to us to read his Word the Bible and apply them. He has not arranged the meetings, nor the elders, they are merely the arrangements of a man-made Organization.
Paragraph 19 repeats the Organization mantra that there is a limited number of 144,000 who will rule in heaven to whom they usually restrict the term “sons and daughters of God” as referring to.
” Jehovah purposed to adopt 144,000 individuals from among mankind who will serve as kings and priests in heaven with his Son. Jesus and those associate rulers will help obedient humans to come to perfection in the new world”.
The latter sentence about helping humans to come to perfection is just pure speculation without any scriptural support. On the other hand we find in the scriptures a passage like 1 Corinthians 15:52 tell us “and the dead will be raised up incorruptible”, and it will be “in the twinkling of an eye”, not protracted over a thousand years.
Revelation 20:5 on which the statement of the Organization is based is an interpretation that does not really make sense. If the verses in Revelation 20 are chronological it makes more sense that the resurrection in verse 5 is being explained in verses 11-15, rather than it meaning a gradual growing to perfection.
A typical mix of good and poor unsubstantiated claims. But we can turn to the scriptures for a positive conclusion to this review.
Revelation 2:2-3 encourages us to be like the Ephesians to whom Christ said: “I know your deeds, and your labor and endurance, and that you cannot bear bad men, and that you put those to the test who say they are apostles, but they are not, and you found them liars. 3 You are also showing endurance, and you have borne up for my name’s sake and have not grown weary”.
We are here because we “cannot bear bad men”. We have found each other because we “put those to the test who say they are apostles” or God’s chosen faithful slave “and you found them liars.” We “also are showing endurance” because we still want to serve God and Christ. Let us help one another according to our circumstances so we do not grow weary.