“He was awaiting the city having real foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:10
[Study 32 From ws 08/20 p.8 October 05 – October 11, 2020]
In paragraph 3 it says “Jehovah proves that he is humble by how he deals with imperfect human worshippers. Not only does he accept our worship but he also views us as his friends. (Psalm 25:14)”. We need to be reminded that here once again the Organization is subtly pushing its agenda that there are “sons of God” and that there are “friends of God” as two separate classes.
The NWT 1989 Reference Bible reads “The intimacy with Jehovah belongs to those fearful of him, Also his covenant, to cause them to know it”. However, in the 2013 Edition, it was changed to “Close friendship with Jehovah belongs to those who fear him”. A son or daughter can have intimacy with a father. The Hebrew word translated as “intimacy” and “friendship” is actually “sod”[i] pronounced “sode” whose primary meaning is “council, counsel”, hence closest companions. With a Father that would be his wife and children, while for a King that would likely be his inner council of most closest, trusted advisors. However, they may not necessarily be his friends. Just because you trust someone, does not mean he is your friend. We therefore once again have the situation where the Organization has chosen wording to support their teachings, rather than an accurate conveyance of the real meaning of the scripture passage.
The Organization shows this is its intent as the very next sentence in paragraph 3 states “In order to make friendship with him possible, Jehovah took the initiative by providing his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”
Yet Hosea 1:10 states ”It must occur that in the place in which it sued to be said to them “You men are not my people”, it will be said to them “The sons of the living God””. It does not say “friends of the living God”. This verse was also quoted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:25-26. Does not Galatians 3:26-27 say “YOU are all, in fact, sons of God through YOUR faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of YOU who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”.
The next reason for this line of reasoning being pursued by the Organization is shown in paragraph 6 as it suggests “If our heavenly Father—who does not need help from anyone—delegates authority to others, how much more so should we do the same! For instance, are you a family head or an elder in the congregation? Follow Jehovah’s example by delegating tasks to others and then resisting the urge to micromanage them. When you imitate Jehovah, not only will you get the work done but you will also train others and boost their confidence. (Isaiah 41:10)”.
The implication being made here is that Jehovah delegates authority to the elders in the congregation, via the Governing Body. However, the head of the Christian congregation, God’s Son, Jesus is left out and quietly ignored. Furthermore, the assumption is being made that God actually appointed the Governing Body and delegated authority to them and hence by extension the elders and of course, there is no proof at all that this is the case. That is without a discussion as to whether the authority that has been assumed or taken by the Governing Body or elders is actually warranted by scripture.
A good point is made in paragraph 7 that “The Bible indicates that Jehovah is interested in the opinions of his angelic sons. (1 Kings 22:19-22) Parents, how can you imitate Jehovah’s example? When appropriate, ask your children for their opinions on how a task should be done. And when fitting, follow their suggestions”.
Paragraph 15 gives the principle that it is good for all of us to follow, stating, “We imitate Jesus’ example of modesty by applying the Bible’s counsel found at 1 Corinthians 4:6. There we are told: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” So when asked for advice, we never want to promote our own opinion or simply say the first thing that comes to our mind. Rather, we should direct attention to the counsel found in the Bible and in our Bible-based publications [when they agree with the Bible]. In this way, we acknowledge our limitations. With modesty, we give credit to the “righteous decrees” of the Almighty. Revelation 15:3, 4.”. This is a good point to remember, provided we heed the clarification added by us [in bold]. Sadly, all too often the Bible-based publications of the Organization go well beyond what is written, and do not agree with the context or facts of the scriptures, and make matters of conscience into laws to the detriment of those obeying them.
How we benefit from being humble and modest
Under this heading, paragraph 17 makes the reasonable point that “When we are humble and modest, we are more likely to be joyful. Why so? When we are aware of our limitations, we will be grateful and happy for any help that we receive from others”.
It continues “For example, think of the occasion when Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one of them returned to thank Jesus for curing him of his dreadful disease—something the man could never have done on his own. This humble and modest man was thankful for the help he received, and he glorified God for it. Luke 17:11-19”.
This is a good reminder for us all, not only to be thankful to Jehovah and Jesus for the blessings we do have, but for making arrangements for us to be able to have a better future. Also, we need to be thankful to others, instead of expecting things free of charge from others, just because they are our fellow brothers and sisters. They too, have to make a living as well.
Indeed, we should endeavor to walk in a humble and modest way, but we should not confuse these attributes with, turning a blind eye to wrongdoing and false teachings. That is false modesty and false humility. We need to remember that the Bible teaches we can be God’s sons and daughters, not just friends. Yes, real intimacy with Jehovah and Jesus is being accepted as one of God’s sons or daughters, just as Adam and Eve were originally a son and daughter of God.