How Do You View the Fields?

– posted by Tadua

“Lift up your eyes and view the fields, that they are white for harvesting.”​—John 4:35

 [From ws 04/20 p.8 June 8 – June 14]

What a strange theme for the scripture provided.

Does it matter how we view the fields?

No, we can view the fields, and regardless of what we think they are like, if they are not ready for harvesting, they are not ready, regardless of how we may want to interpret the color of the fields. Likewise, if they are ready, they are ready even if we think they are not.

Additionally, today we are not in the position that Jesus has told us to harvest, as he told the first-century disciples. The context of this scripture was that many had been looking for the Messiah, they were oppressed by the religious leaders of the day and the occupying Romans. The Jews of the first century were therefore ripe for the good news about Jesus as the Messiah and the hope for the future.

That is not the situation today. So, to infer that the fields are white for harvesting today is dishonest and misleading without any proof that the harvest is ripe.

Therefore, this whole article is based on a false premise. In fact, paragraph 2 quotes (from a non-verifiable source, which could even be a Watchtower publication for all we know) One Bible commentary says about this account: “The eagerness of the people . . . showed that they were like grain ready for harvesting”. Rather than eagerness, most people show apathy or even outright opposition. A field white for harvesting is the whole field full of ripe grain, gone whiteish with ripeness. This is clearly not the case today.

Why does the Organization want us to view people as ripe for harvesting? It tells us why in paragraph 3. First, you will preach with more urgency. A harvest period is limited; there is no time to waste. Second, you will be happy as you see people respond to the good news. The Bible says: “People rejoice in the harvesttime.” (Isa. 9:3) And third, you will see each person as a potential disciple, so you will adapt your approach to appeal to his or her interests.

Taking the first point, the Organization has been banging the drum about the urgency for the past 140 years. This is not a short time like all harvests usually are. The Organization’s harvest time by contrast to a literal harvest appears unlimited!

The second point is about being happy as we see people respond to the good news. Has there been any notable increase in the numbers getting baptized as a percentage of existing Witnesses or the world population? The answer is NO. There has not been any notable increase in either of these means, in fact, if anything it is a drop in both these areas. In fact, the only reason the baptism rate has not dropped dramatically is because of the push to get children of Witness baptized, by having frequent study articles on baptism. However, the benefits from this only last so long. The pool is limited and shrinking far faster than the number of Witness children being born.

Thirdly, what about seeing a potential disciple in every person? That is just an illusion. The reality is that the ratio of hours spent preaching to baptize one individual is going up, i.e. there are fewer potential disciples being found. Also, when you harvest a field white for harvesting, you harvest almost the whole field. You do not go round deciding how differently to cut each stalk of wheat or barley, which is the equivalent of what is suggested here – adapting our approach to the individual. Jesus’ disciples had one simple message.

Instead of providing proof that the field is indeed white for harvesting, we are treated to instructions as to how to try and harvest people, by finding common ground in what they believe (paragraphs 5-10) and in their interests (paragraph 11-14), and then refusing to accept reality and assume they will become disciples if we preach to them often enough (paragraphs 15-19).

Paragraph 19 then admits At first glance, it may appear that there are not many in the territory who are like grain that is ripe for harvesting. But remember what Jesus said to his disciples. The fields are white, that is, they are ready to be harvested. People can change and become disciples of Christ”. Here the Organization finally admits that it appears there are not many ripe for harvesting, but then they want us to ignore that reality and instead accept the Organization’s modern application of something Jesus said to his first-century disciples and therefore in their view must apply today.

Finally, how many non-Christians are becoming Witnesses? The vast majority of those getting baptized as Witnesses are poached from other Christian religions. That is not making someone a disciple of Christ, it is just changing some of the beliefs of someone who is already a disciple of Christ. The real test would be how many Chinese, Moslems, Buddhists, and atheists are changing and becoming disciples of Christ according to the Organization. In reality, very few are coming from these groups of people. Most baptized were previously Christians or brought up as Witnesses from birth.

One cannot make a field ripe that is not ripe, which appears to be the aim here. Also, we should ask how many ripe stalks have spoiled and not been harvested because of the scandal of child sexual abuse which is rumbling on and gaining momentum. Would it not be better to ensure that the Organization’s image is, in reality, squeaky clean, instead of the cleanness being an illusion, before attempting to harvest anything? Get the equipment sharp and fit for the purpose is a pre-requisite for any harvesting. The Organization’s equipment is rusty, sullied, and unfit for purpose.

How do you view the fields? Reality tells us that the fields are not white for harvesting, at least not for harvesting by the Organization. Reality is what counts, not an illusion.

Does that mean we should not try and help others to build up or keep faith in God and Jesus? Of course not. But neither does that mean living in denial, and supporting such a corrupt Organization that still has not got its act together to stamp out as much child sexual abuse as possible and instead continues to allow an environment where it can fester undiscovered.


Archived Comments

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  • Comment by marielle on 2020-06-09 11:17:57

    C’est en effet au premier siècle que Jésus a dit à ses disciples que les champs SONT BLANCS POUR LA MOISSON.
    Pourquoi donc parler d’urgence sur ces paroles du Christ ?

    Si les champs sont DÉJÀ blancs pour la moisson au premier siècle, n’est-ce pas parce que Jésus a commencé à parler à cette samaritaine du « don gratuit de Dieu » ?

    Jean 4 : 14
    « CELUI qui boira de l’eau que je lui donnerai n’aura plus du tout soif, jamais+, mais l’eau que je lui donnerai deviendra en lui une source d’eau jaillissant pour communiquer la vie éternelle+. »

    Verset 21-23 :
    Jésus lui dit : « Crois-moi, femme, le moment viendra où ce n’est ni sur cette montagne ni à Jérusalem que vous adorerez le Père. 22 Vous adorez, vous, ce que vous ne connaissez pas+ ; nous adorons, nous, ce que nous connaissons, parce que le salut* commence* par les Juifs+. 23 Mais l’heure vient, ET C’EST MAINTENANT, où les vrais adorateurs adoreront le Père avec l’esprit et la vérité ; le Père, en effet, cherche ce genre de personnes pour l’adorer ».

    Si le salut commence par les juifs, Jésus en parlant à cette samaritaine, ne commence t-il pas à rassembler les autres brebis qui ne sont pas de cet enclos ?
    Versets 40,41 :
    « Quand donc les Samaritains vinrent vers lui, ils lui demandèrent de rester avec eux ; et il resta là deux jours. 41 Ainsi, IL Y EN EUT BEAUCOUP QUI CRÛRENT EN RAISON DE CE QU’IL DISAIT ».

  • Comment by Beroeans Creed on 2020-06-09 11:54:51

    Great review as always Tadu
    just to add to this portion, “The vast majority of those getting baptized as Witnesses are poached from other Christian religions. That is not making someone a disciple of Christ, it is just changing some of the beliefs of someone who is already a disciple of Christ.“
    True but remember all other Professed Christians are not considered
    “True Christians” so they are fair game, as only Jehovah’s Witnesses are Considered “Real” Christians! Of course those awake now know that is not how Jesus views them and his view trumps JW’s.
    Thank you for tying in the Child Abuse situation, by just reading The court transcripts containing the documented lies and the “worldly” hired legal guns tactics,one would conclude that anything Christian about the organization has long ago left the scene.

  • Comment by Chet on 2020-06-09 15:42:03

    Their insistence that matter are urgent seems to be an unending line that they feed their followers. Yes, things are bad in the world and I would be pleased to see deliverance happen, but the timing of this is not ours to know. The Adventist roots of the JW Organization are never left behind, and the debacles of the past seem doomed to be repeated.
    Building excitement and a sense of urgency is a well known tactic for sales training. Convince a room full of salespeople that there is a short window of opportunity and at least some of them will work harder, for a while, until the excitement wears off. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have operated much as a sales organization for many years now, drumming up excitement and a false sense of urgency. They cannot possibly know anything about the timing of Christ’s return.
    As I write this, the times are not good. The COVID 19 pandemic has taken a toll on many activities and civil unrest is happening in many places. I have heard that many Witnesses are in a near panic state, convinced that this is it; Armageddon is about to start. Even if they happened to be right about that, it still doesn’t indicate that the Organization is possessed of some special insight in the matter. They’ve predicted every notable event for the last 140 years as being a sign of Armageddon. If someone predicted it would rain tomorrow every day, you could claim to be correct, but that says nothing about your abilities as a prognosticator.

    • Reply by new englander on 2020-06-11 20:40:05

      Hi Chet, Not only are the witnesses very good at building excitement and creating a sense of urgency but they are also very good at convincing their membership that their salvation depends upon their support of the organization. I think that the number of times that they have revised the "generation" doctrine proves that they know nothing about the timing of the Lord's return.

  • Comment by Christian on 2020-06-10 03:23:00

    I'm going to throw something in here that will be seen by many as an antithesis to our expectations. Given that to live forever in God's Kingdom all citizens will need to both acknowledge the true God and to love him and worship him. Similarly with Jesus Christ who'll be ruling God's Kingdom as a King, his role in our salvation and our love and devotion to him must also have priority in all permanent residents. Following on then, there will be millions possibly billions of people that God will choose to resurrect right down to the beginning of the World. So,many will be teaching and assisting all these dear ones to understand God's will and purpose so they can make an everlasting contract in order to remain living in that righteous New System. Those that don't want to serve God, it appears, will simply grow old and die; Isa.65:20 seems to indicate things along this line.

    Now having set the scene I finally come to the antithesis I referred to. As harvesting all those worthy to be called by God is never going to happening under this present system I suspect that many of those living when Jesus arrives it will begin to be harvested. God's Army, led by Jesus will then need to destroy all opposition to this perceived alien invasion, thus clearing the field of any organized impediments to the peace and harmony that will begin. Then that field of huge numbers of people ready for harvesting may be gathered, meaning enormous amounts of work for all chosen, to preach and teach all this Good News of the Kingdom. Hopefully a majority will come to make a dedication to God and Christ. Jehovah's attitude towards people, in sending his Son to save Mankind is well illustrated in Jonah chapter 4.

    • Reply by Menrov on 2020-06-18 03:24:12

      You state: "Given that to live forever in God’s Kingdom all citizens will need to both acknowledge the true God and to love him and worship him"
      Really? Believing in Jesus would be sufficient (John 3:16, John 6:47, Matt. 19:17,18 --> interesting as in this summary, nothing about worshiping, preaching or whatsoever, John 5:39,40 shows that approaching Jesus would be sufficient, not studying scriptures etc). My point: life is a gift, not something that can be earned. WT keeps its member suppressed by teaching that works might generate approval from YHWH and may be you earn eternal life.

      • Reply by Fani on 2020-06-20 23:21:59

        Croire et avoir foi au Christ est indispensable mais peut-être pas suffisant.

        Marc 3:11
        [11]Les esprits impurs, quand ils le voyaient, se prosternaient devant lui, et sécriaient: Tu es le Fils de Dieu.

        Jacques 2:19,26
        [19]Tu crois qu
        il y a un seul Dieu, tu fais bien; les démons le croient aussi, et ils tremblent...
        [26]Comme le corps sans âme est mort, de même la foi sans les oeuvres est morte.

        Les œuvres ne nous font pas gagner la vie. Seul Christ nous sauve mais cela n'exclut pas que Dieu nous demande de demontrer notre foi.

        La bible ne présente pas d'une façon positive les chefs religieux qui ONT CRU AU CHRIST mais qui n'ont pas pris position pour lui : Jean 12:42-43
        [42]Cependant, même parmi les chefs, plusieurs crurent en lui; mais, à cause des pharisiens, ils nen faisaient pas laveu, dans la crainte dêtre exclus de la synagogue.
        [43]Car ils aimèrent la gloire des hommes plus que la gloire de Dieu.

        1 Jean 3:18
        [18]Petits enfants, n
        aimons pas en paroles et avec la langue, mais en actions et avec vérité.

        On ne peut pas exclure les œuvres de notre foi même si ce ne sont pas elles qui nous sauvent. Elles sont l'expression naturelle de notre foi.
        Elles sont la pratique de notre culte, les fruits naturels de notre croyance, la fructification de nos talents.

  • Comment by Leonardo Josephus on 2020-06-10 04:50:15

    Hi Tadua,
    Thank you for your plain speaking.
    This is not about fields being white for harvesting, but is more about tips on making converts. I wonder how many of those in the US Bethel have applied these suggestions and are reaping ?
    I note in paragraph 18 "The people I think will make progress often stop studying. But the people I think won't go far progress very well, So I have learned that it is better to let Jehovah's spirit lead us"
    Things have changed over the years. There were intelligent people who became Witnesses in the 1960s and 1970s, but the more time has gone on, the more I observe that those who can grasp the essentials quickly do not progress, and why is this ?   Because they are prepared to ask questions, will not accept simple answers, and also do some research.   Where, then , is Jehovah's spirit leading such ones ?
    Paragraph 9 asks "What subjects might you discuss with a religious person ? ". Most WItnesses could not discuss any of the tougher subjects such as the basis for 1914, disfellowshipping, blood, even the trinity, except in a very simplistic way.  Indeed they will reject such ones as "unsuitable" eventually.
    White for harvesting ?   If there is a harvest at this time, it is probably for those scattered ones who are now coming to know the real truth, and are trying to get out .

    • Reply by new englander on 2020-06-11 20:25:25

      Hi Leonardo, It was before my time but it appears to me that the 1960's and 1970's must have been a real time of growth within the organization. Maybe this was because of the 1975 expectations. My mom and dad became witnesses in the late 1970's and they had a lot of contemporaries. The pattern that I see in the local congregations around here is that a large percentage of the members belong to just a few families. Two or three sets of grandparents came in in the time period that you mentioned and their kids and grandkids are all married to each other and they make up 3/4 of the congregation. I feel bad for the people that became witnesses in the 1960's and 1970's because they were all but guaranteed to never get old and now they are. Many of these people never prepared for old age or retirement. What you wrote about those who are prepared to ask questions, not accepting simple answers, and doing research just about perfectly sums up my actions during my study with the witnesses and of course my study was terminated. I also agree with you about the majority of witnesses not being able to have a discussion about some of the tougher topics that you mentioned. Paragraph 9 asks “What subjects might you discuss with a religious person ? “ In my experience witness will not discuss bible matters. If they perceive you to be ignorant then they will attempt to teach you; but an actual back and forth discussion with someone that possesses even a little bible knowledge, forget it.

      • Reply by Leonardo Josephus on 2020-06-12 03:38:46

        Spot on, New Englander, especially the point about the larger families. That is an important factor in preventing people leaving. I guess that must be a bigger factor in countries where they have larger families. I have also noticed that those who leave, or seem to think more independently, often are not part of those large family groups. Interesting point.

  • Comment by Alithia on 2020-06-13 05:03:35

    How about this take on what Jesus meant by the fields being white for harvesting.
    The disciples were seemingly perplexed at the fact that Jesus was talking to a Samaritan let alone the fact that she was also a woman! However Jesus shared the good news about the kingdom with her and she put faith in him and also many from the nearby village. Also Jesus and his disciples stayed there for two days the account relates, and many more put faith in Jesus and in his message. Certainly the fields were white for harvesting in this situation. The disciples seemed unaware of the potential and Jesus emphasised this with his analogy. And the subsequent events bore this out after the woman and many in her village or town put faith in Jesus. Even though Jesus main mission was firstly to the Jews he did not waste an opportunity to share the kingdom message with anyone who was receptive. Jehovah does not discriminate neither did Jesus.
    Is there any need to attach any more significance to Jesus words? Is there a compulsion to want to attributed some prophetic or future significance to Jesus words? Is this because of an indoctrination? Is this because of years of having to attributed typical or anti-typical understanding to anything that may have been narrated in the Bible?
    Love to all from Alithia.
    Love your work Tadua.

  • Comment by Tadua on 2020-06-13 11:18:26

    Dear Just Asking

    Being able to verify something requires that you have a Specific reference to the quote being used. As there is no reference it is a unverifiable quote.
    The fact you claim to have found it in 5 minutes on the internet, is neither here nor there. You cannot prove that was the commentary they were using because there is no reference given with which to back up your claim. True, The wording may be identical, but In court they would throw out your objection.
    I also find it very sad that you impugn my motives by accusing me of not even trying to tell the truth.
    I can assure you I would never knowingly mislead anyone in my reviews.
    If you have read any of my non-review articles you will see that they are fully referenced. Even when I find a quote in another book or internet article that I wish to use I will not use it unless that is referenced, and normally I will use that original reference if I can obtain it.
    I can only raise the question, why, why, why does the Organization not give the reference so you and I can verify the quotation and check the context in which it is given?
    If they did the research why not give us the benefit of that? Instead we have to take their word for it.
    If that Watchtower article was being submitted for a university dissertation or professional paper they would insist on the reference or insist that quotation be struck out.
    Perhaps the Watchtower writer(s) had no university education, so they do not know that this is a standard requirement of good research, but I cannot prove or disprove that as I do not know the writer. I cannot verify that.

    • Reply by Psalmbee on 2020-06-13 22:15:50

      I would say the main reason they (WT) do not disclose many of their resources is because they (WT) do not want the flock to know which path of destruction they (the flock) are being led down. No.2 would be they (WT) doesn't want them (the flock) to be able to verify the route coordinates. It's the same techniques they (WT) have been using on them (the flock) decades upon decades.
      One other little trick they take advantage of is the use of ellipsis's just like just asking did in his post above with his quote from the "Enduring word Bible commentary".
      With all mildness,

    • Reply by Capetonian1971 on 2020-06-17 05:12:15

      I fully agree with the insertions of references. Maybe the reason they don't use references, is because they are very quick to tell their followers not to read or study publications from "worldly" sources. What would followers think if they realised that the thoughts were not original, and even worse, they themselves were studying publications from "worldly" sources...

  • Comment by new englander on 2020-06-13 21:35:29

    Hi Just Asking, I second Tua's reply. The onus is upon the author to list his source otherwise it is non verifiable and non credible. Listing your sources is one of the foundations of good journalism. Listing sources protects honesty, integrity, credibility, and truth. It gives proper credit to the author of the material that you are quoting from and protects you from accusations of plagiarism. Like Tua, I too wonder why watchtower chose not to name their source? Was this "bible commentator" speaking on condition of anonymity? Does this "bible commentator" lack sufficient education and experience to be credible? Was this "bible commentator" someone they met on the street or the checkout line at the grocery store and maybe they never got the person's name? Was this "bible commentator" a Baptist? or a Methodist? Was this "bible commentator" the author's roommate at bethel? My god! What if this "bible commentator" was an apostate? Maybe donations are down and they have to cut costs on ink and paper and therefore chose not to add a few words? I do not know. What I do know is that an author that wishes to be taken seriously can not and should not expect the reader to try and verify his or her sources. Unfortunately watchtower publications nowadays are designed to take advantage of ignorance and to appeal to a fanbase, much like cable news nowadays.
    Watchtower has a problem with transparency and this should be alarming to their membership. "Trust us", does not cut it.

  • Comment by Menrov on 2020-06-18 03:15:07

    Unless the WT provides its source for the so-called quotes they use, it remains a bit of guessing. In this particular case, Tadua could have added a link to the page with a note that like it was taken from there.
    I am not sure if the WT uses quotes from webpages. Anyway, the link you provided shows a reference to Tenney, which is likely this person:
    As the WT is very much negative on non-WT professors they will not say who the real source of the quote is. In addition, the removed a few words from the quote. this shows their dishonesty because these missing words would make it clear that the phrase was used in relation to first century situation. Full quote:
    “As he was speaking, the Samaritans were leaving the town and coming across the fields toward him. The eagerness of the people the Jews regarded as alien and rejected showed that they were like grain ready for harvesting.” Bold is mine.

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