“Keep [your] eyes . . . on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
[Study 22 from ws 05/20 p.26 July 27 – August 2, 2020]
“While we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting” – 2 COR 4:18
The previous article discussed three gifts that Jehovah has given us. The earth, our brain, and His Word the Bible. This article attempts to discuss four unseen treasures:
- Friendship with God
- The gift of prayer
- The help of God’s holy spirit
- Heavenly support we have in our ministry
FRIENDSHIP WITH JEHOVAH
Paragraph 3 starts by saying that “The greatest unseen treasure is friendship with Jehovah God”.
Psalm 25:14 says: “Close friendship with Jehovah belongs to those who fear him, and he makes his covenant known to them.” This was the theme scripture for the article in the February 2016 Watchtower entitled: “Imitate Jehovah’s Close Friends”.
Paragraph 3 then says “How is it possible for God to make friends with sinful humans and remain completely holy? He can do so because the ransom sacrifice of Jesus “takes away the sin of the world” of mankind.”
This statement highlights the problem with the JW doctrine that Christians gain friendship with God through the Ransom. James 2:23 says “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.” – New International Version. This is the only direct scriptural reference to someone as God’s friend irrespective of what we are told in paragraphs 4 and 5.
If the ransom sacrifice is necessary for us to gain friendship with Jehovah as paragraph 3 mentions, how would Abraham have been called Jehovah’s friend?
Without us laboring too much on the topic as it has been discussed many times on this forum, it is important to note that there is nothing wrong with alluding to friendship with God in reference to a close bond we may form with Him. As a relationship grows, one would naturally develop a friendship with someone they admire and are close to.
However, as discussed in other reviews on this forum, the problem with the JW doctrine is that it reduces the significance of the ransom sacrifice in relation to all Christians today and robs them of what is rightly theirs.
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only a select 144,000 “Anointed” Christians are adopted as God’s sons. The rest of the Witnesses will only become God’s sons after 1000 years in God’s new world. Please refer to the articles below for a more detailed discussion on this topic.
Notice what Galatians 3:23-29 says:
23Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ [Bold ours]. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” – New International Version https://biblehub.com/niv/galatians/3.htm
What do we learn from this scripture?
Firstly, we are no longer under guard in custody. Why is that important to note? As stated in verse 24 we are “justified by faith”. Why would we need to be under the guard or guardianship of an anointed class in addition to the ransom? If the ransom was not enough for us to be called God’s children, this first part would not make any sense.
Secondly, notice the words highlighted in bold. All those baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ and therefore are all children of God through faith. Not through a proven track record of obedience at some time in the future. In fact, verse 29 clearly says that if you belong to Christ, you are heirs. Can a friend be the rightful heir to the throne? Possibly, but not likely. Normally, where there are no children born to a king another family member would take the throne.
This topic requires more than a review of a few paragraphs. For other thoughts on the topic please refer to the links above.
THE GIFT OF PRAYER
Paragraphs 7 – 9 have some noteworthy points on the gift of prayer.
THE GIFT OF HOLY SPIRIT
Paragraph 11 says “Holy spirit can help us handle our assignments in God’s service. God’s spirit can enhance our talents and abilities.”
This would likely be true if the assignments were given to us by Jehovah. But what assignments do we find in the Organisation? Do we really need Jehovah’s spirit to regurgitate information given to us on Watchtowers and Meeting workbooks week after week without any room for us to apply our minds and hearts to what we read? Do elders need the holy spirit to repeat the same outlines year after year as talks to the congregation? If the Holy Spirit really leads us in our assignments surely there would be no fear of us saying things that are contrary to what the Organization teaches.
Paragraph 13 then says “With the backing of holy spirit, some eight and a half million worshippers of Jehovah have been gathered from every corner of the earth. Also, we enjoy a spiritual paradise because God’s spirit helps us to cultivate beautiful qualities, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. These qualities make up “the fruitage of the spirit.” What proof does the writer provide for this audacious claim? Nothing. Only a hunch that out of a world population of 7.8 billion people, 8.5 million people are overwhelming evidence of the fulfillment of the words in Acts 1:8.
HEAVENLY SUPPORT IN OUR MINISTRY
Paragraph 16 states “We have the unseen treasure of “working together” with Jehovah and the heavenly part of his organization.” 2 Corinthians 6:1 is cited as support for this assertion.
“As God’s fellow workers, then, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain” – Berean Bible
Did you notice any reference to a heavenly part of Jehovah’s organization in Paul’s words? No. Why then is it important for the writer to mention that here. Is it not to give some validity to the notion that the Governing Body is running the earthly part of the organization? There is no reference at all in the Bible to an organization. Jehovah has never used an organization in the past when dealing with his faithful servants. Yes, he may have used certain groups such as the Levites to render certain duties to their fellow Israelites in the past. Yes, he used the first-century apostles to spread the Goods news but none of them were an organization.
An organization is a very circular concept that usually involves an incorporated entity.
The Cambridge Dictionary says an organization “is a group of people who work together in an organized way for a shared purpose.”
The examples it provides to illustrate the point are all incorporated entities. Previously Jehovah’s Witnesses referred to the organization the “society” which carries a similar connotation.
Paragraph 17 as is the custom again seeks to encourage Witnesses to be zealous in the “house to house” work. Paragraph 18 is an encouragement to follow up on any interest shown by doing return visits. If the organization really believed the words quoted in paragraph 16 from 1 Corinthians 3:6,7 would they need to persist in reminding Witnesses to keep preaching in the same unproductive territory in meeting parts weekly? What about the constant reminders to publishers that they should try and meet the “congregation average” and avoid irregularity?
1 Corinthians 3:6,7 says: “I planted, A·polʹlos watered, but God kept making it grow, so that neither is the one who plants anything nor is the one who waters, but God who makes it grow.”
Where is the Organization’s confidence that God will make it grow?
This article is another attempt to make Witnesses “feel good” about belonging to the organization. A large part of the article is built on the misapplication of scripture as well as regurgitation of the existing Watchtower doctrine. The “unseen treasures” referred to in the article do very little to build an appreciation for Jehovah. Except for a few good paragraphs on prayer, there is nothing praiseworthy about this article.