10/28/13  Can We Know How Long a "Time of the End" Amounts to?

Jehovah never brings destruction upon any people unless he first sounds the warning and clearly explains the reason for his coming judgment, thereby providing ample opportunity for the wicked to repent. (Ezek. 3:17-21) The period of time from when his exposure of the wicked begins, to the actual execution of them, is their "time of the end." The time of the end has a definite beginning and expiration. (Dan. 8:16-19; 12:9,10) According to past scriptural examples, that period of time is relatively short, especially when compared to the length of time during which the wicked seemingly prospered. (Eccl. 8:11-13; Mal. 3:15) Besides exposing the sins and errors of the wicked during the time of the end, God also includes specific instructions on what he requires in order for a person to preserve his life. Whatever sort of individual a person may have been prior to this, his present obedience becomes now a matter of life and death. (Ezek. 33:11-16; Acts 17:30,31; Rom. 2:4-6; Heb. 10:26-31)

For the inhabitants of the Assyrian city Nineveh the time of the end amounted to a mere forty days. It began when the prophet Jonah sounded God’s warning: “Only forty days more, and Nineveh will be overthrown.” As a result, the entire city including the king was moved to action and repented, so that “the true God felt regret over the calamity that he had spoken of causing to them; and he did not cause it.” (Jonah 3:3-10) Since the king of the mighty Assyrian Empire along with all his subjects humbled themselves by repenting, how much more so should God’s own anointed kings and his covenant people have heeded the warning of God's prophets. Fittingly, Jehovah used the Assyrian armies to overthrow the ten-tribe kingdom in 740 BCE. Their "last days" began when the prophets Hosea, Isaiah, Amos, and Micah were raised up to proclaim God's judgment; and they ended about forty years later (sixty years in Hosea's case) with the desolation of Samaria and the deportation of the ten tribe kingdom into exile. (Isaiah 8:4; 9:9; Hosea 7:1; 8:5, 6; 10:5, 7; 13:16; Amos 3:9; 8:14; Micah 1:1, 5, 6)

It turned out to be no different for the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, with its capital city Jerusalem where God's temple was located. Again and again Jehovah sent his prophets to his people, "because he felt compassion for his people and for his dwelling. But they were continually making jest at the messengers of the true God and despising his words and mocking at his prophets, until the rage of Jehovah came up against his people, until there was no healing." (2 Chr. 36:15,16) Their "last days" began when God raised up his prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel (along with some lesser known prophets), who sounded the warning, preached repentance, and provided instructions on how to survive. This period of time likewise amounted to forty years, ending with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in the twelfth year of when their exile began. (Jer. 1:1-3; 26:20; 39:1,2; 40:2-4; Ezek. 2:3-5, 7; 33:10,11, 21; Hab. 1:5,6) Obedience during this time of the end became crucial for their survival, a matter of life and death. Unlike in Jonah's case, Jehovah did not reveal to his prophets how many days or years they had until the end, but he did tell them the reason it was coming.

After the foretold seventy years of exile in Babylon were completed, the Jews returned and rebuilt the temple and the city. In 70 C.E. it was destroyed once more for a final time, this time by the Romans, in fulfillment of Jesus' words that all these things would come upon that wicked generation. (Luke 11:29,30, 49-51) Their "time of the end" was also relatively short, yet again amounting to about forty years, which began with the preaching and baptism in symbol of forgiveness of sins by John the Baptist in 29 CE. (Matt. 3:1-6) Jesus too added to the warning, telling the Jews: "The days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.” "Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation." And it did! (Luke 19:42-44; 21:32; Matt. 23:36)

The Scriptures point to yet another final “time of the end,” which leads up to Jesus' return and the judgment of God's people; and culminates in the destruction of this entire system of things at Armageddon. (Matt. 24:1-3, 21,22, 32-34; Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:11-21; ) Again, this "time of the end" does not involve a long extended period of time, such as a hundred years or more. It is similar in duration as in the past, "one generation," which has amounted to about forty years in each case. (Mark 13:30) Since "the judgment starts with the house of God," the time of the end begins when Jehovah draws the sins and errors of his people to their attention, giving them ample time to repent. This includes the revealing of the "man of lawlessness" within his temple, whose presence is "according to the operation of Satan." (2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 Peter 4:17,18) From the evidence that we are now observing taking place within God's household in response to the revealing of the errors and sins of God's people, along with the signs that are being fulfilled on a global scale, we know that we are well along in our "time of the end." What a person does during this short time period is a matter of life and death, not only for us, but also for the whole world because this is also their time of the end. (Matt. 24:14, 36-39; 1 Thess. 5:2-5; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; Zeph. 1:17,18)

10/14/13  The Wisdom of God's "Limits"

"How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions." (Psalms 104:24) Jehovah has created everything in wisdom and for a purpose, from the vast universe to the seemingly insignificant things that are invisible to our naked eye; and there are always unavoidable consequences when we fail to listen to him by acting contrary to his purpose. (Psalms 19:7-11; Deut. 32:3-6) Today, three thousand years removed from when David composed his words of praise to Jehovah, there is little that reflects the glory and wisdom of God in the way that is due him. Not only has man ruined the earth by polluting the soil, the oceans, and the air; but the earth is also full of violence. Conditions are even worse today than they were in Noah's day. (Gen. 6:5-8; Rev. 11:18) This is not God's fault!

All of God's creation is designed for a purpose, Nothing exists by the random joining of atoms, or accidental combination of deoxyribonucleic acid molecules (DNA) that "encodes the genetic instructions in all known living organisms," including the incredible human body. Everything that God has made operates within certain bounds, or limits; just like every star or planet in all the galaxies revolve in their designated orbits. The Creator knows the purpose and its functions for everything that he designed; and we are blessed and protected when we live within those limits. For example, consider the human body. Although at present it is imperfect due to inherited sin, still, our bodies are a marvel of creation when we don't abuse it by introducing things for which it was not designed. When we are in good health it is easy to take for granted its many parts and functions. Medical science and modern technology cannot replace a missing limb, or an eye, that is anywhere close to what God has given us. Should that not inspire in us confidence in him?

Consider yet another example! After Jehovah had prepared a small portion of the earth as a beautiful home for Adam, whom he then created "in his image," and soon thereafter presented with a wife, as a "helper and a complement of him," God blessed them and told them to "be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it." (Gen. 1:27,28; 2:7,8, 20-24) Does this amazing family arrangement not reflect God's wisdom and love? It was designed to be a source of great and lasting happiness! Having created us, Jehovah also understands exactly how our hearts and minds respond when we fall in love, and the immense pleasure that it produces. In time, the physical love expressed within this holy union, and within the boundary that God has set for it, results in the miracle of creating another life, an offspring born in the likeness of the parents, a product of true love. How marvellous beyond words everything is when we listen to Jehovah, and we obey him, and acknowledge the limits that he has set for us.

Consider the consequence when we ignore God's standards, and his clearly stated laws. Instead of lasting happiness and blessings there is instead terrible pain and anguish; sleepless nights; divorce and broken families, and children who are raised outside the loving family unit that God intended; domestic violence; abortions or illegitimate children; possible diseases; and perhaps even worse, rape; murder, or suicide. Something that is designed to be a source of lasting happiness, making our lives meaningful, can also become the very opposite and be destructive. When that is the case, it is never God's fault. He tells us:

"O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments. Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea." (Isaiah 48:18)

10/02/13  Do You "Test Out" the Inspired Expressions? How?

The apostle Paul warned that definitely, in "later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies." (1 Tim. 4:1,2) Among the signs Jesus gave regarding the nearness of his presence, he included the appearance of "false Christs (Greek, "anointed ones") and false prophets." Jesus was not talking about the false prophets of this world, but the ones within God's own house, who pose the danger of misleading "even the chosen ones." (Matt. 24:24, 32,33; Acts 20:29,30; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 2:2) Therefore, for our protection, the apostle John admonishes us not to be gullible and "believe every inspired expression," but to "test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God." (1 John 4:1)

Suppose you have read the latest Watchtower (whichever one that might be), and have tested the "inspired expressions" by comparing them with God's Word; and you discover that the magazine clearly contains discrepancies, "inspired expressions of error."
Then what? (1 John 4:5,6; John 4:24) Do you believe that you must now wait for the Society to correct their untruth(s), however long that might take, otherwise you would be "running ahead of Jehovah?" The Watchtower, of February 15, 2004, in the article, Guard Against Deception, said: "We love the organization that has taught us the precious truths that so plainly separate us from Babylon the Great. At the same time, we recognize that our knowledge of God’s purpose is not perfect; our understanding has undergone adjustments over the years. Loyal Christians are content to wait on Jehovah for all such refinements." (w04 2/15 p. 17 pars. 9-10)

If we are indeed taught by the holy spirit to know "even the deep things of God," and we are therefore qualified to distinguish between the inspired expressions of truth and those of error, then why would we have to "wait on Jehovah" until the Society makes "adjustments" to their teachings? (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:10; 2 Cor. 3:4,5) The writing of God's holy Scriptures were completed by the end of the first century, and Jehovah is not going to make any changes to his Word of truth, as if we must wait for him to bring it in line with the teachings of the Society. We can trust everything contained within the pages of God's word! In fact, by it we measure all other teachings. (John 17:17; Rev. 22:18,19) Years ago, one Watchtower warned: "Do not run ahead of Jehovah and his organization and decide for yourself how to render acceptable, sacred service, for you will be in danger of acting ultra vires, as the lawyers say, that is, overstepping your legal rights." (w54 3/15 pp. 188-189 par. 13) Are we overstepping our legal rights when we test any "inspired expressions" that are taught in God's name? Isn't that what the apostle John says protects us against falling prey to the foretold false prophets? Who would deny us that right, except someone who has something to hide, and is in fear of being discovered? (Ezek. 13:2,3, 10; compare Gal. 1:8,9; 2:11-13; 2 Thess. 2:9-12)

We must have a genuine love for the truth, That includes rejecting all lies and falsehood. Jehovah accepts nothing less from his people! (Matt. 15:8,9) The book, God's Kingdom Has Approached (1973), printed by the Watchtower Society, said: "By means of the inspired Word of God a person can protect himself against an 'operation of error' during the presence of the 'lawless one.' But by letting Satan carry on an 'operation of error' and by thus letting this operation go to the professed Christians, Jehovah God puts them to the proof as to whether they 'accept the love of the truth' or love the lie." (ka chap. 18 p. 393 par. 62) The Beroeans were commended for their diligence in examining the Scriptures in search of confirmation of the things that Paul was teaching them. Paul did not complain that they did not have the legal right to do so. We must have the same zeal and love for the truth as those in Beroea who became believers. (Acts 17:10-12; John 4:24)

9/23/13  Do the Meek "Inherit the Earth," or do They Go to Heaven?

Jesus said that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5) He was quoting Psalms 37:11; and verse 29 adds: “And they will reside forever upon it.”

Adam was created to live, not in heaven, but on earth. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15-17) His continued life depended on obedience to his Creator. Having lost the right to life on account of his sin, he could not pass it on to his offspring. It was for that reason that Jesus came, in order to buy back for us what Adam lost. God holds out the hope for "the meek," all righteous mankind who exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom, to inherit his original purpose, namely, to live forever in peace on earth. (Psalms 37:9, 29, 34; Isaiah 11:6-9; 45:18; 1 Cor. 15:21,22)

Jesus did not come to cancel God’s original promises, as guaranteed in the Law he gave through Moses, but rather to fulfill them. By Jesus’ death we have the guarantee that all of God’s promises will become “Yes.” (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 5:8-10, 19-21; 10:4,5; 2 Cor. 1:20; Gal. 3:23,24)

In the Revelation, John saw in vision the “new heaven” and the “new earth”
the new heaven being the heavenly kingdom in which Jesus and the holy ones will rule over the “new earth” of righteous mankind. (Matt. 4:17; 19:27,28; Isa. 65:17-25; Dan. 7:13,14, 17, 27) The apostle John writes: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’” (Rev. 21:1-4, 7,8; 20:6; 3:21, ESV; 2 Peter 3:13)

Please note that the “voice from the throne” says that God will dwell with man,
not man with God. This refers to the new earth! God’s dwelling place will be with his people in the same way that he dwelled with his people Israel. (Lev. 26:11,12; Zech. 2:10,11) In fact, Jehovah already dwells with the righteous among his people today, for they are his temple. (1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:19-22)

9/12/13  Did The Watchtower really say that: Must the "great crowd" partake at the Memorial?

The Watchtower of June 15, 1987, noted that the previous year, in 1986, "It was appreciated that both the remnant and the “great crowd” must figuratively partake of Jesus’ flesh and blood by accepting his sacrifice in order to be in harmony with him.—John 6:53-56." (w87 6/15 p. 19 par. 13) (Bold mine) How do both, the remnant and the great crowd, "figuratively partake of Jesus' flesh and blood"?

The newly released book in 1986, Worldwide Security Under the “Prince of Peace,” explained how those who are in the new covenant partake at the Lord's evening meal merely in a figurative way, saying: "The sacrificial death of the Mediator of the new covenant, Jesus Christ, is remembered every year by Jehovah’s Witnesses on the anniversary of 'the Lord’s evening meal.' The unleavened bread partaken of by those in the new covenant during that 'evening meal' symbolizes the perfect flesh of the Mediator, and the wine symbolizes the pure, uncontaminated blood that, according to the Scriptures, contained the very life value of the Mediator. (1 Corinthians 11:20-26; Leviticus 17:11) When those in the new covenant partake of the Memorial cup of wine at 'the Lord’s evening meal,' it is only in a figurative way that they are drinking blood, that of the Mediator of the new covenant. It is also in a symbolic way that they eat his flesh when they partake of the Memorial loaf of unleavened bread. By doing this, symbolically speaking, they demonstrate their faith in the ransom sacrifice of the Son of God, the Redeemer of all mankind."Worldwide Security [ws] chap. 12 p. 104, pars. 13-14) (Bold added)

Since it was acknowledged back in 1986 that the remnant and the great crowd "must figuratively partake of Jesus' flesh and blood" (symbolized by the bread and the wine) it clearly indicates that the Society has understood for the past 27 years that everyone, the remnant and the great crowd, should partake at the Memorial. (Matt. 26:26-28; Rev. 7:9, 13-15) Then why is the great crowd, until the present time, still waiting to be encouraged to "demonstrate their faith in the ransom sacrifice of the Son of God" by "figuratively partaking of Jesus' symbolic flesh and blood each year at the Lord's evening meal," thereby showing that they too are "accepting his sacrifice in order to be in harmony with him"? (Gal. 3:26) Jesus commanded his followers to "keep doing this in remembrance of me"! (Luke 22:19,20; Acts 5:29) As the apostle Paul explains, the Memorial is not about who has what hopewhether in heaven or on earthbut about "proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives." (1 Cor. 11:23-26; Eph. 4:4-6)

9/7/13  Was the Year 1919 Special for God's People?

The year 1919 continues to be pivotal in the history of the Watchtower Society, as demonstrated in recent Watchtower articles. Indeed, the entire foundation of the Society's claim of having been appointed over God's household is built upon the year 1919. For example, the Watchtower of July 15, 2013 (which is being studied during this month of September) states that "In 1919, Jesus selected capable anointed brothers to be his faithful and discreet slave." What really happened back in 1919? Did Jesus return, identify, and appoint "his faithful and discreet slave" at that time?

Many today are not aware that in 1919 there was no governing body as is the case today. Back then, the Society with all its assets was controlled by the president, J. F. Rutherford, and to a lesser extent his board members, all of whom had been voted into office at the annual meeting the previous year, on January 5, 1918. The following month, Rutherford gave his (now infamous) discourse, "The World Has Ended
—Millions Now Living Will Never Die." That bold proclamation turned into an embarrassment—for the world did not end; and the millions who were then living have since died. In June of 1918, J. F. Rutherford and his seven associates were sentenced and imprisoned to long terms in a federal penitentiary; but they were released in March of 1919 after serving only nine months. (See the Proclaimers book [jv], p. 68, 719, for details.) That was the situation in 1919! So, what exactly happened after their release that might be of special interest to us today? Did Jesus "select" this group of men at that time as his "faithful and discreet slave"?

The apostle Paul prophesied regarding the "day of the Lord," that "it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He is set in opposition and lifts himself up over everyone who is called 'god' or an object of reverence, so that he sits down in the temple of The God, publicly showing himself to be a god." This man of lawlessness is not appointed by Jesus over the domestics within God's temple, but rather his presence is "according to the operation of Satan with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing." (2 Thess. 2:3,4, 8-12) In fulfillment of Paul's words, something highly significant and unusual took place within God's temple in the year 1919; something that would not be understood, or revealed, until shortly before Jesus' return.  

Today Jehovah is still allowing the wicked people to mingle among the righteous ones within his household. (Matt. 13:41-43, 49; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; 1 Peter 4:17-19) That was certainly also true of the congregations in the first century. At that time the congregations existed autonomously, and although Jesus was their head and Leader, there were always some "super fine apostles" who set themselves up as rulers within their own congregations, as was the situation in Corinth. (Matt.  23:10; Luke 22:24-26; Acts 13:1-5; 1 Cor. 4:7,8; 2 Cor. 11:5, 26; 3 John 9,10) By the end of the first century Jesus deemed it necessary to strongly admonish the elders of five of the Seven Congregations in Asia Minor, with the intent of moving them to repentance, for they were in danger of being dismissed, His counsel is especially applicable to the elders who are living "in the Lord's day." (Rev. 1:10; 2:1-3:16; 1 Thess. 4:15) In those days there was no group of men, such as a governing body, that exercised authority over all the congregations, as in the case of the Jews and their Sanhedrin. (John 11:47; Acts 5:27) When Jesus wrote to the Seven Congregations he did not acknowledge any governing body, for he addressed his letters directly to the elders in their respective and distinct congregations; according to their own particular situation. Every congregation was accountable only to Jesus himself. (Compare Gal. 1:15-20, 2:4-6; Rev. 2:23)

This continued to be the situation throughout the centuries—until the year 1919. In that momentous year, and for the first time since the founding of the Christian congregation at Pentecost, all the congregations everywhere, of which Jesus is the head, were brought under the control and rulership of the leader of a secular corporation (which in the 1970's was enlarged to include the Society's board of directors as a "governing body"). This, according to the Society, is what happened in 1919: "Each congregation that desired to share in this [preaching] activity was invited to ask the Society to register it as a 'service organization.' Then a director, or service director as he came to be known, not subject to yearly election, was appointed by the Society. As the local representative of the Society, he was to organize the work, assign territory, and encourage participation by the congregation in the field service. Thus, alongside the democratically elected elders and deacons, another type of organizational arrangement began to function, one that recognized appointive authority outside the local congregation and that gave greater emphasis to the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom." (Proclaimers book [jv], p. 212) (Bold added)

Here now was the foretold apostasy, with the "man of lawlessness" sitting in God's temple, having lifted himself up over everyone and "publicly showing himself to be a god." All the congregations world-wide were now in subjection to this "lawless one," who also replaced the holy spirit in appointing elders, basing their qualifications on loyalty to the organization and zeal in the preaching work, both of which are not scriptural requirements. (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5-9) Thus, the man of lawlessness has since 1919 come to preside over every aspect of our worship, which belongs only to Jehovah.

8/17/13  Jesus Returns Only Once! Has That Already Happened? (Heb. 9:28)

Jesus returns only once, and that is when he comes in kingdom glory; at which time he will accomplish everything in connection with his presence. (Matt. 25:31-33; Heb. 9:28) Jesus told his disciples: “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour and a moment when you do not anticipate it.” (Luke 12:40; AB) Why would his own disciples not anticipate the hour of his return, and be caught off guard, although having been given ample signs to help them stay awake? (Matt. 24:44; 25:13)

One way in which Jesus might come upon his disciples "at an hour that you do not think likely," could well be on account of them having false expectations and being "dead," that is, having neither his nor his Father's approval. That was the case of the congregation in Sardis, to whom Jesus wrote: "I know your deeds, that you have the name that you are alive, but you are dead. Become watchful, and strengthen the things remaining that were ready to die, for I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God. Therefore, continue mindful of how you have received and how you heard, and go on keeping it, and repent. Certainly unless you wake up, I shall come as a thief, and you will not know at all what hour I shall come upon you." (Rev. 3:1-3)

Clearly, any congregation that resembles anything like the one in Sardis, will not anticipate Jesus' unexpected return. Take our organization as a whole for example: We have been taught for over a hundred years that Jesus returned back in 1914, and has been "present" [his parousia] ever since; pointing to the signs since then as evidence. But according to Jesus' own words, the signs he gave regarding his future presence would be prove, not that he is now here, already presentbut of the nearness of his presence. (Matt. 24:32,33; Luke 21:29-31) Being mistaken about 1914 means that we are also mistaken in our expectations about Christ's return; for we are not in expectation of things that we believe have already occurred. Can you see how Jesus will come "at a time you do not think to be it," or "not likely," upon the majority of us?

However, all of God's people who are taught by holy spirit, and who have refused to trust in the shifting teachings of men, will not be caught unawares. That is why Paul wrote: "But you, brothers, you are not in darkness, so that that day should overtake you as it would thieves, for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We belong neither to night nor to darkness." (1 Thess. 5:4,5; Psalms 146:3,5; 1 Cor. 2:10) Not just Jesus, but also other Bible writers foretold many events in connection with the time leading up to Jesus' presence that would have drastic consequences on God's people within his temple, his household. These prophecies we are now seeing undergoing fulfillment, and they should help keep us awake. (1 Cor. 3:16,17; 1 Tim. 3:15)

8/12/13  How Do We Know That We Are God's Household? (1 Tim. 3:15)

Could you imagine a Jew back in Jesus' day not being able to explain to a Gentile why the Jews were God's people? It was not simply because of any claim on their part, but on account of the covenant that Jehovah had made with them at Mt. Sinai. (Deut. 4:33-37; John 4:22; Rom. 3:1,2; 9:3-5; Eph. 2:11-18) Even after fifteen hundred years, every Jew was familiar with the covenant that Moses mediated which established them as God's people. The Jews today still cling to that covenant, although it became history when the new covenant rendered it obsolete with the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost, with Jesus as the mediator; as foretold by Jeremiah, and explained by Paul. (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6-13) Does Jehovah have a people today who are in the new covenant? If it is usJehovah's witnesses—then why, unlike the Jews, are so few able to explain from the Scriptures the new covenant, and what it is that determines whether we are God's people?

Ask any Witness how we know that we are God's people, and he will most likely answer by saying it is because "we have the truth;" "we have love among ourselves;" and "we preach the good news of the kingdom." Although these are necessary things that God requires of his people, yet they are not what makes us his people. (And no, it's not because Jesus chose us in 1914.) The Scriptures are very clear on this subject, and all of God's people ought to understand it, and be able to explain it to others. (1 Peter 3:15) After all, how can we endure the foretold persecution within God's house if we are not even sure as to why, or if, we are God's sons and daughters.

The apostle Paul explains in simple terms who God's people are, and the basis for it. First of all, he points out that under the new covenant God is no longer worshiped in a physical temple, as was the case under the old covenant, because now his people are his temple, and there is where his spirit dwells. (John 4:19-24; 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Heb. 9:1-10, 24) His people are not scattered throughout other religions, for they are all built upon the one "real" and "solid" foundation, the builder and maker of which is God. (2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Tim. 2:19; Heb. 11:10) Jesus is the foundation cornerstone of God's temple, and with him are 144,000 "holy ones" who make up the foundation. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains this as God's arrangement: "Certainly, therefore, you are no longer strangers and alien residents, but you are fellow citizens of the holy ones and are members of the household of God, and you have been built up upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, while Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone. In union with him the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah. In union with him you, too, are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit." (Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-9; Isa. 28:16) All of God's people constitute his templeeither as part of the foundation, or built upon that foundation. Thus they are all harmoniously joined together and built into a "holy temple" for God to inhabit by spirit.

How exactly is a worshiper of Jehovah built upon the foundation? By accepting and acknowledging that this arrangement is from Jehovah; and that it includes not only Jesus, but also the "holy ones." (Dan. 7:13,14, 27) Any person who desires to worship God must accept not only the foundation cornerstone, but the entire foundation upon which God's temple is built. That is what Jesus meant in his parable of the sheep and the goats, for the sheep did good to Christ's "brothers," and he views it as having been done to him personally. The "sheep" are built upon the foundation of his brothers. (Matt. 25:31-46) There is no other people on earth who accept the 144,000 brothers of Christ as an essential part of worshiping God in his temple. To all others these foundation stones remain God's mystery, his sacred secret. (Eph. 3:8-11, 17,18; Rev. 7:14,15)

We do not need to know the individual members of the foundation in order to exercise faith in their position within God's temple arrangement. God never purposed to give them glory while serving him on earth. The only names that we have been given are those of the twelve apostles, and a few others including Paul. (1 Cor. 4:8-13) God's temple has continued to grow in size throughout the many centuries since Pentecost, as Jehovah has kept expanding the foundation, all the while building upon it, until it will finally be completed just prior to the great tribulation. (Acts 13:48,49; 12:24; 19:20; Rev. 7:1-4) Soon thereafter, Jesus will be glorified in connection with his holy ones, which will be witnessed by all who exercised faith and survived the great tribulation. (2 Thess. 1:7-10) On account of your faith you too belong to God's holy temple, having been built upon the solid foundation; and therefore Jesus is truly your Lord. You have his assurance that where there are two or three gathered together in his name, he is in your midst! (Matt. 18:19,20)

God's holy temple came into existence at Pentecost; and it should not be confused with the Watchtower Society that has imposed itself upon God's people for the past hundred years. That secular corporation, along with its leaders, the foretold "man of lawlessness," have set themselves up over us as our "masters," and acting as if they were also our "owners." But the yoke they have imposed on God's people will soon be broken at Jesus' presence, for our great relief. (See 2 Thess. 2:3-12; Isa. 26:13; Jer. 30:8,9)

8/4/13  Guard Against "Loose Use of Words"

In the early years of the Watchtower Society a person who wanted to get baptized needed to “consecrate [himself] to God through Jesus Christ” before he was accepted as a footstep follower of Jesus. Similar to the baptism questions of today, the person would be asked the following: “God’s word is, that whosoever [consecrates] cometh unto God by Jesus is accepted. (Heb. 7:25) Then, the first question to ask yourself is, Did I ever fully consecrate myself to God—my life, my time, talents, influence, all? If you can candidly answer before God—Yes, I gave myself wholly to him; then I assure you on the authority, not of your feelings, but of God’s Word, which, unlike your feelings, is unchangeable, that you then and there instantly became a child of God—a member, a branch of the true vine. (John 15:1) This is an evidence that you have joined the true church, which is Christ’s body.”Zion’s Watch Tower of July, 1882, page 6, par 3, 4.

The term "consecration," in connection with a person giving himself wholly to God, continued to be used until 1952 at which time The Watchtower explained that there is no such thing as “self-consecration”, but rather it is God who does any consecrating, as in the case of the priesthood in Israel. After all, as was pointed out, Aaron and his sons did not consecrate themselves as priests; and neither did “Jesus make himself God’s High Priest.” The conclusion was that the term “consecration” was incorrect and was therefore substituted with “dedication,” which is still in use today. Interestingly, one subheading referred to the term "consecration" as a “former loose use of words.”w52 5/15 pp. 304-314 Dedication to God and Consecration. (See "God's View On Dedication")

“Loose use of words” are still present in the Society's vocabulary when explaining certain teachings; and we may not even be aware to what extent it has affected our understanding on some doctrines. They are much like the Interpolations that have found their way into the Scriptures, but which distort the truth. “Loose use of words” also can misrepresent the truth, and rejecting them is not a quibbling over semantics, which some may view as petty stuff. Consider the phrases "spiritually alive," or "spiritually dead," or even "spiritual Israel" and "spiritual paradise." These are "loose use of words" which do not appear in the Bible, yet we make regular use of them. For example, The Watchtower of Nov. 15, 2008 (page 21) answered the question: "Who were 'the dead' to whom 'the good news was declared'?" by saying: "These were ones who were ‘dead in their trespasses and sins,’ or who were spiritually dead, before they heard the good news. (Eph. 2:1) After putting faith in the good news, though, they began to 'live' spiritually." (Bold mine)

What did Paul mean by saying, "you were dead in your trespasses and sins," but "God made [you] alive?" Was he saying that they had been "spiritually" dead, but were now made alive "spiritually"? Paul adds that they were "dead" when they "had no hope and were without God in the world." (Eph. 2:1-5, 11-13) When someone is "without God" in the world, is he merely spiritually dead? Adam did not die merely a spiritual death upon eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, as Satan might have suggested to Eve, but he became "dead in his trespass," and "without God"although he lived on for another nine hundred some years. God said that Adam died in the day he ate from the tree, when he lost his relationship with his Creator. From that day on Adam would live in sin and suffering, and eventually die (not spiritually) and return to the ground from which he had been taken, as God said, "for dust you are and to dust you will return." (Gen. 2:17; 3:4, 17-19)

It's not a "spiritual death" that we have inherited from Adam! People are not dying simply in a spiritual sense, are they? According to the Scriptures, those who are without God are dead! They are Adam's children, having no inherited right to life. (Rom. 5:12, 18,19; 1 Cor. 15:22) On the other hand, those who belong to Jehovah are alive, and have their names written in the "book of life," (Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16; Rev. 3:1, 5; 20:15) They are alive because Jehovah knows them, not merely spiritually but in actualityeven if they should die, for they will return in the resurrection. Jesus said: "He is a God, not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all living to him." (Luke 20:37,38; John 11:25,26) He was not speaking in mere spiritual terms. Jehovah is a God of the "real life," the life everlasting. (1 Tim. 6:19) A person becomes "alive" when he turns to God in obedience; exercises faith in Jesus; and then receives the holy spirit "which is from God, that he might know the things that have been kindly given us by God." "But a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually." (1 Cor. 2:10-14) A "physical" man is "dead in his trespasses," for he rejects God and the ransom provided by Christ Jesus, the only means by which he can have life. He lives without hope, for apart from Jehovah there is no life!

The “loose use of words” that reduces our precious relationship with Jehovah to a spiritual one is dangerous. This already took place in Paul's day when some began teaching a "spiritual" resurrection which they claimed was happening when a spiritually dead person came to life spiritually upon accepting Jesus; and like the Sadducees they came to deny the physical resurrection of the dead. Paul said that these false brothers became a danger to the congregations for they "deviated from the truth" and were "subverting the faith of some." Their false teaching is still with us today. (2 Tim. 2:18,19; John 5:25-29; 1 John 4:5,6) 

7/21/13  "Don’t Get Involved in Foolish, Ignorant Arguments that only Start Fights"

Suppose someone offers you for very little cost what he claims to be a fortune in gold, pearls, and precious stones—but then becomes upset when you refuse it. Wouldn't that make you suspicious of the true nature of the supposed treasure, and question the integrity of the person? If the treasure is truly what he claims, and his motive genuine, then he would not take it personal if you were not interested. After all, it would be your loss, not his. There are many fraudsters and deceivers to whom we may fall victim if we don't "keep on the watch." (Prov. 14:15; Matt. 7:15-20; 1 John 4:1) 

Do you value what you have received from Jehovah? You have in your possession what Paul calls "the riches of assured understanding," and the wealth of "the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him." (Col. 2:1-3; HCSB; Matt. 6:20,21) After having spent much time studying and evaluating this treasure, and getting to appreciate its true worth, you cannot help but be motivated to enthusiastically share it with others, even at no cost to them. But how do you respond when someone starts to argue with you, even daring to question the worth of your presentation and your integrity? If you were to get offended, become argumentative, and even vilify the individual, wouldn't that person conclude that your supposed treasure is not what you say it is? He may judge your message by your response to his attitude, for he may have fallen victim to other impostors in the past and judge you as being just another one of them. But remember, it's his loss, not yours! Don't get upset if they don't listen!

Often the other person becomes agitated and argumentative when being presented with the treasure of the truth, because they need to defend their personal stand on something; either because their conscience is pricked, or they are afraid of the consequences if they were to accept your scriptural evidence. After all, it's not a trivial matter to be shunned by family and friends for abandoning what they hold in common. Wasn't that also the case of the Jews in Jesus' day who refused his message, although accompanied by miracles? It wasn't Jesus who became belligerent, but rather his opposers, who wanted to silence him. They even stoned Stephen to death for the same reason. (Matt. 13:13-16; John 10:31-39; 16:1-4; Acts 6:8-15; 7:54-60) Things haven't changed when it comes to intolerance of the truth.

Keep this in mind also when you deal with Witnesses who are intensely loyal to the Society and its governing body, having an attitude resembling that of the Jews in the First Century. Back then, they too followed the teachings and direction of their governing body, the Sanhedrin, in whom they trusted. (Matt. 15:1-9) In the end it cost them their lives, when the Romans came and destroyed them and their city; while the ones in whom they had put their trust were unable to deliver them, since they too perished. When we have the truth we do not need to fight, or even debate it. The truth speaks for itself, and passes the test of time. Truth is unassailable; it originates with Jehovah "the God of truth," and those who reject it reject Himnot you. (Psalms 31:5; 86:11; John 8:42-47; 2 Thess. 2:9-12) Jesus tells us not to "give what is holy to dogs," for can a dog appreciate its value? In fact, if you were to push the truth on someone who has little or no appreciation for it, you would actually be demonstrating little value for it yourself. Don't argue or debate with them, for "a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually." (Matt. 7:6; 1 Cor. 2:14)

Take Paul's timely counsel to heart: "Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants." (2 Tim.2:23-26, NLT) Rejoice in the truth! Don't let it become a source of frustration to you simply because others have no appreciation for it. (Phil. 4:4,5)

7/17/13  Jehovah is Refining You

Jehovah takes a keen and personal interest in each and every one of his people! (Psalms 32:8) Perhaps due to suffering you may have come to question whether that is really true in your own case, especially since your prayers have seemingly gone unanswered. But please consider the apostle John's assurance: "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us. Further, if we know he hears us respecting whatever we are asking, we know we are to have the things asked since we have asked them of him." This echoes Jesus' own words: "If you remain in union with me and my sayings remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will take place for you. My Father is glorified in this, that you keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples." (1 John 5:14,15; John 15:7,8) Jehovah listens to your prayers because it brings glory to him when you reflect his qualities in your life, in the same way that children honor their parents when they are like their parents. (Psalms 106:8) What does that mean in practical terms?

Simply put, we must display God's personality in our own personality. That does not come natural due to our inherited sinful tendencies. All of us fall short of reflecting the glorythe loving and perfect personalityof our heavenly Father. (Rom. 7:18-20, 24) Jesus on the other hand was so alike his Father in everything that he could say, "He that has seen me has seen the Father also." (John 8:29; 14:9; 12:45; 5:37) To a great extent, we too can prove ourselves to be more like our heavenly Father. In fact, as his sons and daughters, Jehovah requires us to make adjustments in our personality, and "put away the old personality which conforms to our former course of conduct," and "be made new in the force actuating our mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God's will in true righteousness and loyalty." (Eph. 4:20-24; 2 Cor. 3:18; 6:18) We glorify Jehovah, as Jesus said, when we "keep bearing much fruit." (Gal. 5:22,23)

Most of us may not see ourselves the way others see usor more importantly, how Jehovah views us. He can see right through us, observing the inner person we truly are, even our motives! (1 Sam. 16:7; Jer. 17:9,10) When we fail to see the need to make certain adjustments in our personality, Jehovah will draw that to our attention in a way that we cannot ignore. For example, have a look at the things that Paul lists as being "works of the flesh," in his letter to the Galatians. (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:31,32) You may feel comfortable in knowing that none of the things he lists applies to you; but you can certainly see them in others, such as "jealousy" (being resentful, suspicious, intolerant), or having "fits of anger" ("screaming and abusive speech," cursing), or "contentions" (being argumentative, belligerent, opinionated, self-centered).

The "works of the flesh" are not compatible with God's personality. If Jehovah sees any of these traits in you he will most definitely make you aware of it! How? By subjecting you to situations that will test your character, which will clearly expose the real person you are by your reaction. For example, under test will it be shown that you become easily offended? Are you prone to retaliate when someone wrongs you? Do you get upset when things don't go your way, even becoming argumentative and confrontational? Perhaps you are "righteous overmuch," being judgmental? (Eccl. 7:16) All of us need to have the mind of Christ Jesus, which takes effort and the willingness to change. (See 1 Peter 2:19-23; James 1:22-24)

Jehovah sees the good in you, and helps you make changes where necessary. That is called discipline! Godly discipline involves instruction, education, correction, and sometimes even chastisement. (Prov. 3:11,12; Heb. 12:5,6; 2 Cor. 6:18) One effective means by which he has successfully softened the hearts of his people has been through suffering. That's why he says: "I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." (Isaiah 48:10, NLT; Psalms 119:71; compare Heb. 5:8) Jehovah refines you because he wants you to more closely reflect his qualities, his personality, the way that Jesus did. (Eph. 4:17-20) Cain refused to change his course when God brought it to his attention. You certainly don't want to be like him! (Gen. 4:6-8) I am sure that you can remember some recent occasion when Jehovah drew your attention to a matter that needed adjustment, and which helped you grow spiritually!

7/13/13  Gleaning Words of Wisdom From the Modern Baalam's Ass

By the time Jehovah delivered his people out of Egypt they had grown into a great and numerous nation, mighty enough to cause the king of Moab extreme anxiety. Realizing that he could not defeat them in battle, Balak, the king of Moab, hired the prophet Balaam to curse God's people, hoping thereby to somehow gain the advantage over them. But Jehovah did not permit it! Every curse that Balaam spoke against his people, Jehovah turned into a blessing. Yet, Balaam was determined to collect the reward offered by the king of Moab and continued in his mad course of opposition. This resulted in Jehovah using the ass upon which Balaam was riding to rebuke him. In the end, Balaam did succeed in causing the death of 24,000 men of Israel, having induced them to sin against Jehovah; but it also cost Balaam his life. (Num. 22:1-24:25; 31:8)

We are facing a similar situation today! The "man of lawlessness," who is sitting prominently within God's temple and whose "presence is according to the operation of Satan," is actively opposing God's faithful servants and denouncing them as apostates. (2 Thess. 2:3,4, 8-12; 1 Peter 5:8,9) By means of the publications and sermons, this "son of destruction" attempts to curse all who put their trust exclusively in Jehovah; but Jehovah turns the curses into blessings. If you have attended the
2013 District Convention, 'God's Word Is Truth!', you may already have come to that realization, and been encouraged by the information presented to the extent that it is based on God's Word. Like in the case with Balaam, Jehovah is using an "ass" (or several of them, upon which the modern day Balaam is riding) to deliver his word of truth, and expose today's opposers. (Num. 22:22-31) For example, the symposium on Friday, entitled, "The Truth Sets Us Free," includes the talks: From Alienation from God; ...False Beliefs (2 Thess. 2:9-12); ...Hopelessness; ...Bad Associates. These talks encourage us to listen only to Jehovah. That is certainly Jehovah talking!

Other talks, as well, help us to understand that Jehovah is protecting his faithful servants today:
“I Shall . . . Deliver You From Their Slavery”; “I Will Really Help You”; The Drama: Prepare Your Heart for the Trials Ahead (Esther); Remain 'Firmly Set in the Truth'! (2 Peter 1:12) Believe Inspired Truth, Not Inspired Error; Walk 'Straight According to the Truth' (Galatians 2:14)"; Rejoice With the Truth’ (1 Corinthians 13:4,6)"; and the talk, The Truth Brings 'Not Peace, But a Sword' (Matthew 10:32-38)", which asks the question: “How should we view our family members who strongly oppose us? For whom will we have greater affection? If we put any human before Christ, we will not be worthy of him.” This particular talk will be especially encouraging to you if you are at present suffering on account of your loyalty to Jehovah, and you have been ostracized by your family, relatives, and former friends who now consider you to be apostate. Recognize such talks as coming from Jehovah, and let them be a source of encouragement. We are not in danger from this world in the way that we are of the false prophets and false Christs within God's own temple. (Matt. 24: 24,25; 2 Peter 2:1-3) Jehovah has not abandoned us! He will deliver us from the man of lawlessness who is still operating within God's temple in opposition to anyone who remains loyal to Jehovah and his word of truth!

In our above scenario think of Satan as being like the king of Moab; who hires Balaam to curse God's people
Balaam picturing our governing body [the man of lawlessness]; and the speakers at the convention as represented by Balaam's ass, that Jehovah uses to rebuke the insane course that the governing body has embarked upon in opposing Jehovah's loyal worshippers. (2 Peter 2:15,16; Rev. 2:14) The 2013 District Convention program is certainly accomplishing that. (Interestingly, Balaam was not an Israelite, yet he called Jehovah "my God."—Numbers 22:5, 18)

If you are unable to attend the 2013 District Convention, you may want to listen to some of the more encouraging talks, as made available on the following website:
2013 District Convention 'God's Word Is Truth!' - Audio

6/20/13  Did the Watchtower really say that: Lies Cannot Stand the Test of Time

At times we receive information in the Watchtower that may cause us to pause and wonder: Did the Watchtower really say that? We may be surprised when an article explains that the things that Jehovah condemns is actually being fulfilled among God's people today, especially in connection with the foretold "man of lawlessness." (2 Thess. 2:3,4) The article, "Why Be Truthful?" (February 1, 2007) said the following under the subheading, "What Is a Lie?":
"Every lie is an untruth, but not every untruth is a lie. Why not? A dictionary defines a lie as 'an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive.' Yes, lying includes the intention to deceive someone. Hence, to speak an untruth unwittingly—such as giving someone incorrect facts or figures by mistake—is not the same as to tell a lie."

Although a dictionary may define a lie and an untruth as being different, yet to Jehovah they are the same.
Any untruth is a lie! Among God's people, any prophet who spoke an untruth was a false prophet. Jehovah condemned such false prophets, telling them: “‘For the reason that you men have spoken untruth and you have visioned a lie, therefore here I am against you,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. And my hand has come to be against the prophets that are visioning untruth and that are divining a lie. In the intimate group of my people they will not continue on. . . for the reason, yes, for the reason that they have led my people astray.” (Ezek. 13:6-10) A true prophet, on the other hand―one who was sent forth by Jehovah, such as Ezekiel and Jeremiahalways spoke the truth. Their sayings stood the test of time! Note what the same Watchtower article further says in this regard:

“It is the lip of truth that will be firmly established forever, but the tongue of falsehood will be only as long as a moment,” explains Proverbs 12:19. Yes, truthful speech is marked by durability and permanence. And human relationships are more stable and satisfying when people are committed to speaking the truth and acting in harmony with it. Indeed, truthfulness brings immediate rewards. These include a clean conscience, a good reputation, and strong relationships in marriage, in the family, among friends, and even in business. Lies, on the other hand, cannot stand the test of time. A tongue that utters falsehood may deceive for a while, but untruth does not prevail in the long term. Furthermore, Jehovah, the God of truth, has set a time limit for the toleration of untruth and of those who promote lies. The Bible promises that Jehovah will wipe out the influence of Satan the Devil, the father of the lie, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth. Jehovah will soon put an end to all lies and liars.—Revelation 21:8."w07 2/1 p. 6,7 Why Be Truthful? (Bold mine)

Why would the Watchtower dare mention "truthful speech" being "marked by durability and permanence"? Surely they are aware that their "truthful speech" has not stood "the test of time." Instead, time has proved to be their enemy! When yesterday's "truth" becomes obsolete in today's Watchtower, is that not proof of it having been an "inspired expression of error," as the apostle John calls it? And no inspired expression of untruth ever originates with Jehovah! They originate with the false prophets that God warns us against. (1 John 4:1, 6; 1 Tim. 4:1,2) Incredibly, the constant changes and adjustments made to our doctrines over the past decades have actually been viewed by many as a good thingas evidence of God's guidance upon the Society and its leadership; when in fact it proves the very opposite. The apostle Paul emphatically warns us against the "influence of Satan the Devil, the father of the lie," who is using the "man of lawlessness" as his tool to dispense his untruthlies, for his "presence is according to the operation of Satan." He has lifted himself up over everyone within God's temple, including God's "chosen ones." (2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Matt. 24:24,25; Gal. 2:4,5) We should not be surprised by this, after all, the same situation existed among God's people in Jesus' day. (John 8:44-47; Matt. 23:1-7) Can you see why it is important for us to "test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God"? God's holy spirit teaches us to distinguish between "the inspired expression of truth and the inspired expression of error." And sometimes even a Watchtower article may help in doing that. Jehovah is the God of truth! His sayings, his teachings, and his commandments have stood the test of time! They endure forever! But not so the false prophets! "Jehovah will soon put an end to all lies and liars." (Psalms 25:4,5; 1 Cor. 2:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:25)

6/10/13  "For With You is the Source of Life"

We all know that our life depends on air, water, and food, in that order! How long can you hold your breath? The present underwater breath-holding (
static apnea) world record is an amazing 22 minutes and 22 seconds; while most of us would perish in only a fraction of that time. We can live without water for a few days; and survive without food for several weeks. There is yet, though, a fourth essential for life; and because we have come to view as normal the short life expectancy of seventy or eighty years without it, very few give it any thought. (Psalms 90:10) 

The New World Translation says regarding Jehovah: "For with you is the source of life. By light from you we can see light." (Psalms 36:9) But Jehovah is more than just the source of life. He is also the sustainer of it; for not only has all life originated with him, but its continued existence depends on him. The Hebrew word translated as "source" [מְק֣וֹר mə·qō·wr ] in the NWT, really means "fountain." That is why other Bibles translate the Psalm to read: "For with you is the fountain of life." Yes, Jehovah is "the fountain [mə·qō·wr] of living water," providing us with a continuous supply that never runs dry. (Jer. 17:13; Prov. 1:23) If you have ever stopped on a scorching summer day to refresh yourself at a fountain bubbling forth cold clear water, you may well appreciate the sentiment of another Psalmist who wrote: "My soul indeed thirsts for God, for the living God." (Psalms 42:2) You may similarly thirst for God because of living in a world alienated from him.

While Jesus was resting at Jacob's fountain, which was in the Samaritan city called Sychar, a woman came to draw water. Jesus requested a drink from her, and then used the opportunity to tell her about the fountain of "living water." He said to her: “If you had known the free gift of God and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” She said to him: “Sir, you have not even a bucket for drawing water, and the well is deep. From what source, therefore, do you have this living water? You are not greater than our forefather Jacob, who gave us the well and who himself together with his sons and his cattle drank out of it, are you?” In answer Jesus said to her: "Everyone drinking from this water will get thirsty again. Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” The woman said to him: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may neither thirst nor keep coming over to this place to draw water.” (John 4:7-15)

The symbolic living water that Jesus spoke of is God's holy spirit ("active force," NWT). There is only one holy spirit! It is the same spirit by which God created the universe, including our earth, and everything in it [Heb: וְר֣וּחַ ru′ach;  Greek: πνεύμα pneu′ma]. (Gen. 1:1,2; Isa. 40:26; John 7:37-39, ESV) We cannot see God's spirit any more than we can see God, but we can see the result of its power. His spirit not only gives life but also sustains it; imparting everlasting life to those who obey him. Upon death, "all are returning to the dust," and "the spirit itself returns to the true God who gave it." (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 12:7; 3:19-21; Psalms 104:29,30, NASB) God is appropriately spoken of as "the fountain of life" for he gives his faithful servants his spirit as abundantly as he provides air, water, and food. (Acts 5:32) Furthermore, it is God's holy spirit that makes life worth living by providing us with its fruitage in our lives and personality. (Gal. 5:22,23) It is only by God's spirit that we have the power to endure these foretold "critical times hard to deal with," which we are coping with on a daily basis. (2 Tim. 3:1-7; Jude 21) The Psalmist well illustrates how we are blessed when we are being watered by God's streams of living water, his spirit, which the wicked cannot receive: 

"Happy is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked ones, And in the way of sinners has not stood, And in the seat of ridiculers has not sat.
2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah, And in his law he reads in an undertone day and night.
3 And he will certainly become like a tree planted by streams of water, That gives its own fruit in its season And the foliage of which does not wither, And everything he does will succeed.
4 The wicked are not like that, But are like the chaff that the wind drives away.
 5 That is why the wicked ones will not stand up in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of righteous ones.
6 For Jehovah is taking knowledge of the way of righteous ones, But the very way of wicked ones will perish." (Psalms 1:1-6; Compare Revelation 22:1,2)

The worship of Jehovah is not merely a religion. And it is more than a way of life. It is life itself, for without Jehovah and his holy spirit there can be no life!

6/5/13  Did the Watchtower really say that? Do God's Warnings Apply to His People and not "Exclusively to Worldly Clergymen"?

Has a Watchtower article ever caused you to pause and ask:
Did the Watchtower really say that? One such article, "To Whom Does It Apply?" (back in 1979) may have surprised you by its candor because of applying words of denunciation addressed to God's people, actually to God's people, instead of to the worldparticularly the clergy of Christendomas is usually the case. As is acknowledged in that article, of what benefit are God's warnings when we fail to apply them to ourselves? (Jer. 7:23,24) Consider how the Watchtower answered the question, To Whom Does It Apply?

   "The Christian apostle Paul referred to certain enemies and wrote: 'Such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works.'—2 Cor. 11:13-15. ‘What an indictment of the false religious clergy of Christendom!’ someone may exclaim. But, in reading Paul’s scathing statement, ask yourself, To whom did it apply?
    "The apostle was writing to the Christian congregation in Corinth. His inspired letter was directed to believers—to God’s people. Some prominent men among them showed animosity toward Paul, were ‘false apostles, deceitful workers, ministers of Satan.’ And those unscrupulous men professed to be spirit-begotten followers of Jesus Christ. They evidently entertained the hope of one day ruling with Christ in heaven. In fact, those arrogant men apparently had already sought such prominence among fellow believers that it was as though they had already 'begun ruling as kings'—of course, without the apostle Paul, whom they despised. (1 Cor. 4:8-14) Men with such attitudes would never be accepted as heavenly associate rulers with Christ, no matter how great and righteous they considered themselves to be. 'God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.'—Jas. 4:6.
    "By reflecting upon Paul’s words at 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, and by not applying them exclusively to worldly clergymen, Christians will be alerted to the personal danger of becoming haughty and deceitful. Moreover, we will be moved to accept and trust our proved and faithful fellow worshipers of Jehovah. Yes, we can be helped to avoid wrong attitudes when we thoughtfully ask, To whom did it apply then, and how can it benefit me now?"
(w79 8/15 p. 3-4)

What about Paul's second letter to the Christian congregation in Thessalonica? We may likewise ask, To whom does the foretold "man of lawlessness" apply, who has lifted himself up above everyone within God's temple while publicly showing himself to be a god? The Watchtower of July 15, 2013, in setting out to prove that the Governing Body alone is the "faithful and discreet slave," is inadvertently also providing ample evidence that the description of the "lawless one," also called "the son of destruction," applies to them, and not the "false religious clergy of Christendom." Yes, just as was true in the Corinth congregation, today again the "unscrupulous men" among God's people, who "profess to be spirit-begotten followers of Jesus Christ" and "entertain the hope of one day ruling with Christ in heaven," are seeking "prominence among fellow believers" as though they [have] already 'begun ruling as kings'." Don't the members of the Governing Body understand that "with such attitudes [they] would never be accepted as heavenly associate rulers with Christ, no matter how great and righteous they consider themselves to be"? (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

6/1/13  "Do Not Put Your Trust in the Son of Earthling Man, to Whom No Salvation Belongs" (Psalms 146:3)

Does Jehovah direct his people to put their trust in those who take the lead among them, specifically the Governing Body? (Heb. 13:17) Not only are we told by the Society that Jehovah requires us to trust them, but incredibly, they claim that even Jehovah and Jesus trust them. This is what a recent Watchtower said:
"There are many reasons why the slave class deserves our trust. Two outstanding reasons are: (1) Jehovah trusts the slave class. (2) Jesus also trusts the slave. Let us examine the evidence that both Jehovah God and Jesus Christ have complete confidence in the faithful and discreet slave." (w09 2/15 p. 24 par. 3) Compare their statement with that of Jeremiah's: "This is what Jehovah has said: 'Cursed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in earthling man and actually makes flesh his arm [strength, ESV]. Blessed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah has become." (Jer. 17:5, 7) Rather than telling us to put our trust in men, Jehovah says that such ones are "cursed," in the same way someone is cursed who tells us to trust in him. (Psalms 146:3, 5; Ezek. 14:10; Gal. 1:8,9) And to claim that Jehovah and Jesus have complete confidence in the yet to be identified "faithful and discreet slave" is blasphemous. Even the apostle Peter "stood condemned" when he was "not walking straight according to the truth of the good news." (Gal. 2:11-14; Matt. 24:48-51; 25:26-30)

Satan wants us to trust him! He persuaded Eve to trust him when he promised her: "You positively will not die" by eating from the forbidden tree. She trusted his promise and fell victim to his lie, although she was aware that it contradicted God's clearly stated command. Both, she and her husband, perished for their disobedience and for not putting their trust in Jehovah alone. (Gen. 3:1-6) In Jesus' day, the Governing Body of the Jews [their Sanhedrin], who had "seated themselves in the seat of Moses," demanded the same trust and obedience that God had required of his people in connection with his servant Moses. Of course, Jesus is the greater Moses. Those who had misplaced their trust perished along with the ones in whom they had trusted, when the Romans came and destroyed them with their city and its temple. (Num. 12:6-8; Matt. 23:1-7; Acts 5:27-32) 

Since we know that Jehovah tells us not to put our trust in men, and we have the many examples of those in the past who failed to heed God's warning, then why do we still have the same problem today of falling victim to the same lies? (1 Cor. 10:11) Jehovah wants to protect us! He knows how Satan operates, that he "himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light," and "his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness." (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 1:8,9) Satan is "the god of this world," and he has succeeded in "misleading the entire inhabited earth" into putting their trust in him and his ministers. Isn't that the reason why so many differing religions exist in this world? (Rev. 12:9; John 5:19, NLT) Sad to say, Jehovah's own people have never been the exception to this! They too have, for the most part, put their trust in men who spoke lies in God's name. (Ezek. 13:8-10; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 17-21)

At the present time we are witnessing the foretold revealing of the "man of lawlessness" within God's temple. He has lifted himself up over all of God's people and is "publicly showing himself to be a god." He tells us to trust him. After all, doesn't he claim that Jehovah and Jesus have complete confidence in him? Incredibly, Jehovah has caused this "lawless one" to actually reveal himself, effectively doing so in The Watchtower of July 15, 2013. Anyone within God's temple, who has put his trust in Jehovah alone, will recognize the presumptuousness of this "son of destruction," as he is exposed within those pages. Since his "presence is according to the operation of Satan," Paul warns that all who misplace their trust in him will perish, "as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved." Why not read for yourself the apostle Paul's description of this prominent apostasy within God's temple
which is part of the sign of Christ's returnand see for yourself how it finds its fulfillment in our Governing Body. (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Luke 12:45,46)

"You people have plowed wickedness. Unrighteousness is what you have reaped. You have eaten the fruitage of deception, for you have trusted in your way, in the multitude of your mighty ones." (Hosea 10:13)

5/24/13  The End of Babylon the Great

When will the great tribulation begin? The July 15th Watchtower answers: “When the United Nations attacks Christendom and the rest of Babylon the Great. That event will be the beginning of the great tribulation.” (WT 2013 7/15 p. 4,5) Is the destruction of “Babylon the Great” the beginning of the “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now”? (Matt. 24:21) The annihilation of all religions of which Satan is the god, will be a tribulation only for its members who had placed their trust in it. That is why the warning is sounded for anyone who wants to worship the true God, to "get out of her" before her destruction, "if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” This is not a tribulation for those outside of Babylon the Great. In fact, such ones will breath a sigh of relief when this “mother of the harlots” will cease exercising her Satanic influence over the entire earth. (Rev. 17:1,2, 5, 15; 18:4,5, 8)

Since the mid nineteenth century, Babylon the Great has come to be viewed as “the opium of the people” by some philosophers who visualized a world without religion, as noted in one Watchtower article, which said:
“IS RELIGION important to you? Are you, perhaps, a member of a religious group or church? If so, you have much in common with people who lived back in 1844, the year when the German philosopher Karl Marx wrote: ‘Religion ... is the opium of the people.’ In those days almost everyone went to church and religion had a strong influence on every level of society. Today, that has changed drastically, and religion plays little or no part in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. If you go to church, you are likely in a minority in your community.” (w91 12/1 p. 3 Is Religion Really Necessary?)

The concept of a world without any religion, and without God, resulted in Communism sweeping over one third of the earth during the twentieth century. The 1996 Awake! article, entitled, Are the World’s Religions Near Their End?” made this observation: “For over 70 years, totalitarian, atheistic Communism branded religion as superstition and ‘the opium of the people,’ removed religious leaders from office and banned their activities, destroyed or looted churches and temples, and brainwashed and murdered worshipers. Yet, such actions did not eliminate religious sentiment. As soon as those governments toppled, religion rose out of the dust with seemingly renewed vigor.”
(g96 11/8 p. 3) The hatred expressed by those governments was directed against religions and its members. That was merely a fore glimpse of what will soon befall Babylon the Great on a world wide scale! But that will not be the beginning of the great tribulation.

God’s judgment upon Babylon the Great will not mean the end of all worship rendered to Satan, for the book of Revelation tells us that in its place there will be set up “an image to the wild beast," so that "the image of the wild beast should both speak and cause to be killed all those who would not in any way worship the image of the wild beast. And it puts under compulsion all persons, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, that they should give these a mark in their right hand or upon their forehead, and that nobody might be able to buy or sell except a person having the mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name.” (Rev. 13:14-17) Accordingly, the great tribulation will begin and end with the destruction of the wild beast and its image, and everyone who received its mark. This will be followed by the abyssing of Satan the Devil himself. (Rev. 14:9-11; 19:17-21; 20:1-3) "Here is where it means endurance for the holy ones, those who observe the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:12; 20:4)

5/19/13  The Man of Lawlessness Sits Within God's Temple

The July 15th Watchtower (2013) makes this application of Daniel's prophecy, as quoted by Jesus:
“What will signal the start of the great tribulation? Jesus foretold: “When you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.” (Matt. 24:15, 16) In the first fulfillment, the “standing in a holy place” occurred in 66 C.E. when the Roman army (“the disgusting thing”) attacked Jerusalem and its temple (a place holy in the eyes of the Jews). In the larger fulfillment, the “standing” will occur when the United Nations (the modern-day “disgusting thing”) attacks Christendom (which is holy in the eyes of nominal Christians) and the rest of Babylon the Great. The same attack is described at Revelation 17:16-18. That event will be the beginning of the great tribulation.” (w13 7/15, p. 4,5) Bold mine.

Reflect for a moment: Do you know of any Scripture where Jehovah has ever referred to false religion
of which Satan is the godas “holy,” simply because its members viewed themselves as holy? Would he call Christendom “holy” when at the same time it is claimed to be a prominent part of Babylon the Great? (1 Cor. 10:20,21; 2 Cor. 4:4) If we want to apply to Daniel’s prophecy, regarding the “disgusting thing that causes desolation standing in a holy place”, a modern day fulfillment, then it must of necessity apply to God’s own holy temple, as the apostle Paul explains: “Do you not know that you people are God’s temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you people are.” (1 Cor. 3:16,17; Psalms 79:1) No, God does not destroy those who destroy Christendom because Christendom "is holy in the eyes of nominal Christians." (Rev. 18:4-8, 20; 19:20)

On the other hand, the apostle Paul explains that there will exist an apostasy inside “the temple of The God,” which temple is God's people. That is where the “man of lawlessness” lifts himself up over everyone, and “publicly showing himself to be a god.” (2 Thess. 2:1-4) The Watchtower limits God’s temple as applying solely to the anointed, saying: “Paul further wrote to anointed Christians: ‘Do you not know that you people are God’s temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? . . . The temple of God is holy, which temple you people are.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17) By means of his spirit, Jehovah ‘resides’ among the anointed and ‘walks among them.’ (2 Corinthians 6:16) He continually guides his faithful ‘slave.’ (Matthew 24:45-47) The ‘other sheep’ cherish their privilege of being associated with the ‘temple’ class.” (w06 11/1 p. 24 par. 11)

Logically, if God’s temple is the anointed “faithful slave,” then, according to Paul, that is where the “man of lawlessness” is sitting, whose "presence is according to the operation of Satan." And since it is argued in this issue of the Watchtower that the “faithful slave” refers exclusively to the Governing Body, then we have a clear identification of this "lawless one,” whom "the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence." (2 Thess. 2:7-12) We should not be surprised by this, not only because it was prophesied, but also because this has always been true of God's people, as it was in Jesus' day where a Governing Body (known as the Sanhedrin) ruled over God's people and vehemently opposed Jesus and the truth. (Matt. 26:59; John 8:42-47; Acts 5:27-29; 1 Cor. 10:11,12) Paul also warns that anyone putting his trust in the man of lawlessness will perish.

5/16/13  Did the "Great Tribulation" Occur in the First Century?

According to the July 15, 2013 Watchtower (pages 4,5), the Witnesses had believed for many decades that the "great tribulation" (of Matthew 24:21,22) began in 1914 with World War I. It was "cut short" by Jehovah in 1918 with the end of the war, and was expected to resume at Armageddon. Then in 1995 "a significantly adjusted explanation was offered" when it was realized that "there was an initial fulfillment in Judea in the first century C.E." Regarding Jerusalem, it was now explained that the tribulation began in 66 CE, but was cut short (in order for the chosen ones to escape), and resumed in 70 CE with her destruction. These historical developments would now be used to explain the greater fulfillment for our day. (w81 11/15 p. 18 par. 8; w95 2/15 pp. 13-14 pars. 4-5; w99 5/1 pp. 16-18 pars. 11-17)

But what really is the importance of 66 CE? Did Jesus indicate anywhere that the great tribulation would occur in two separated stages? Did it begin in 66 CE, then was cut short, only to resume with greater fury a few years later? Is this what we can expect will happen in our day? Jesus himself foretold the sequence of events, so we don't need to guess. He told his disciples: “Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; because these are days for meting out justice, that all the things written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-22) In 66 CE the Roman armies came against Jerusalem and encamped against the city, surrounding it. The disciples recognized this as the warning Jesus had spoken of. And when the siege was unexpectedly lifted, and the soldiers withdrew, the disciples seized the opportunity to flee to the mountains. This was not the beginning of the great tribulation, nor a cutting short of its days; but it was clear evidence that her desolation had now "drawn near." The tribulation began when the Roman legions returned in 70 CE, and this time build "a fortification with pointed stakes," trapping everyone within, with no hope of escape. (Luke 19:43,44) And God, upon whom they called, did not come to their rescue. The slaughter, as recorded by the eyewitness Josephus, was horrific: 1,100,000 Jews died, whereas 97,000 survived and were taken into captivity. That was clearly their foretold tribulation upon Jerusalem!

Jesus had said that "unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short." The tribulation on the Jews was limited in scope! The Romans could have continued their annihilation of the Jews beyond Jerusalem with its temple, and the district of Judea—in fact, throughout the whole of the Roman Empire, and thus minimize the threat of any future Jewish revolt (as it happened later on). An extended campaign of destruction against them, though, would most certainly have included the apostles and all of the other Jewish disciples of Jesus. (Compare Acts 18:2) Jehovah did not allow this to happen "on account of the chosen ones," who had heeded the warning to flee. But is this really what Jesus meant?

As reasonable as that may seem, there is yet something else we need to consider. Jesus spoke of the "great tribulation" as occurring on a global scale, "such as has not occurred since the world's beginning until now, no, nor will occur again." (Matt. 24:21) The tribulation that came upon the Jews and Jerusalem was not the greatest "since the world's beginning." We can safely say that the flood of Noah's day was greater. (2 Peter 2:5) And neither was it greater than the still future global "war of the great day of God the Almighty," Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14,16) Therefore, the great tribulation that is cut short "on account of the chosen ones" may refer entirely to the future great tribulation. It will mean destruction not just for Jerusalem, but for the whole earth, from which there will be no escape. By his prophet Zephaniah, God foretold: "And I will cause distress to mankind, and they will certainly walk like blind men; because it is against Jehovah that they have sinned. And their blood will actually be poured out like dust, and their bowels like the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury; but by the fire of his zeal the whole earth will be devoured, because he will make an extermination, indeed a terrible one, of all the inhabitants of the earth.” (Zeph. 1:14-18; compare Rev. 19:17-21) God's global war of Armageddon will be so total, so terrible, that unless he cuts short its duration even his own people will be in danger of perishing.

In order for us to escape, we clearly need to seek Jehovah before "the day of his anger" comes upon us. (Zeph. 2:2,3; Psalm 110:5,6) Jehovah's day will not come in two stages, thereby affording escape for anyone who had failed to heed the advance warning. (Matt. 24:37-39, 42) The "great crowd" that "comes out of the great tribulation" had already "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." They were already obediently rendering "sacred service" to God in "his temple" prior to the great tribulation. (Matt. 13:49,50; 25:46; Rev. 7:9, 14,15; 1 Cor. 3:16,17)

5/9/13  The Watchtower, July 15, 2013 ― New Truth?

Consider some obvious questions that may rightly be raised by the new teachings as presented in the July 15, 2013 Watchtower:

If "Jesus’ arrival to appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings did not occur in 1919,"  but his coming as Judge is still future (page 8), does that not obviously mean that the "faithful and discreet slave" has not yet been identified by Jesus, since that is the first thing that he will do upon his arrival? Clearly, any claim to the title of "faithful and discreet slave" is not only premature but also highly presumptuous.

The Watchtower says that in "1919, a time of spiritual revival, Jesus selected capable anointed brothers...to be the faithful and discreet slave and appointed them over his domestics." (page 23) Did Jesus select at that time the President and Board of Directors of the secular Watch Tower Society as his "faithful and discreet slave," men who were voted into office by paying members of the Society; and that to the exclusion of all other anointed ones? Do the constant changing teachings and failed prophecies since 1919 give evidence that the Governing Body is indeed the "faithful slave," the only one qualified to provide the domestics "their food at the proper time"? Or do we not rather see a fulfillment of the foretold "man of lawlessness" who has elevated himself within God's temple? (2 Thess. 2:3,4, 8-12)

• If none of the twelve apostles were succeeded by other "apostles" upon their death (except for Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot), why do the present Governing Body members believe that they individually are chosen to succeed the ones who are said to have been appointed by Jesus in 1919, but who have since died? According to one recent Watchtower, the "claim of apostolic succession has no historical or Scriptural basis." (w03 9/1 p. 6) Does the claim of a Governing Body succession have any "historical or Scriptural basis"? (Acts 1:15-26; Rev. 2:2)

If all of the anointed ones are the "domestics" together with "the great crowd of other sheep who make up the vast majority of the 'one flock' under Christ’s leadership," does that now also mean that the "great crowd of other sheep" is likewise included in the new covenant, the same as anointed ones; and Jesus is their mediator as well? (Previously the "domestics" referred only to the anointed.) What's next? Everyone partaking at the Memorial, as Jesus commanded? (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

• Another point: According to Jesus, the "faithful slave" is pronounced "happy" only because his master, upon his arrival, finds him feeding his domestics. Any slave who fails to do that will not be rewarded with being appointed "over all [the master's] belongings." (Matt. 24:45-47; 25:24-30) Therefore, how will the master judge the slave who claims that he was "afraid" of "the faithful slave" because this one prevented him from taking care of his master's business? The Watchtower answers that such slaves need not worry:
"Does the faithful slave receive a greater reward in heaven than the rest of the anointed? No. A reward promised to a small group in one setting may ultimately be shared by others." (page 25) Too bad for any slave who failed to obey his master, but instead had put his trust in such deceptive promises! (compare Matt. 24:24,25; 25:24-30)

These are just a few of the many questions that come to mind when we consider the contents of the July 15th Watchtower. Can you distinguish between the "inspired expression of truth" and of "error"?

5/7/13  Our Ever Changing Teachings Comparable to a Square Dance

The Watchtower of July 15, 2013 (which will be studied during the month of September), asserts in four articles that the Governing Body alone has the right to call itself "the faithful and discreet slave." The new arguments presented will have far-reaching consequence to our present understanding, and render many of them obsolete. That in itself is not unusual for we have come to expect our understanding of the truth to change periodically. Why, though, is there the constant need for updating present teachings? A recent Watchtower, with the article entitled, Keep in Step With Jehovah’s Organization, said:
"Kingdom interests on the earth have been entrusted to 'the faithful and discreet slave,' which is represented by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Governing Body is primarily concerned with providing spiritual instruction and direction for the Christian congregation. . . No matter what comes upon his people, Jehovah constantly provides spiritual food and needed direction." (w01 1/15 p. 21)

Keeping in step with the organization requires that we accept all new "truths" as presented by the Governing Body, even though it exposes the previous one it replaces as having been an "inspired expression of error." (1 John 4:1, 6) The majority of God's people do not stop and think that the truth of God's word does not change; it does not need adjusting or updating. Did the apostle Paul ever have to write a lengthy letter to the congregations for the purpose of discarding a previous teaching of his in favor of a new updated and more correct version? (Gal. 1:8)

Our worship of Jehovah has come to resemble the American Square Dance, with everyone required to "keep in step" as the Governing Body calls out the latest "truths": "Honor your partner! Honor your corner! All the men right! All the men left! Now do-si-do! . . ." (Matt. 11:16,17) God's word, on the other hand, directs us to move straight forward, with no turning "to the right or to the left." (Deut. 5:32,33; Prov. 4:25-27; Isa. 30:9,10; 1 Cor. 4:6) The latest interpretations, as presented in the July 15th Watchtower, raise more questions than they provide answers, for much of it is in conflict with present teachings that are as yet not explained. Perhaps that means we can expect more to come in the way of other "thrilling new light"or, then again, it could be that someone failed to adequately research the latest "spiritual food" and the "needed direction." If a teaching is built on a known errorwhich then becomes a lie, and it requires other lies to support it, then when the lie is exposed all the other supporting lies will get exposed along with it. Eventually the whole foundation, upon which the lie has been built, will crumble. (Matt. 7:26,27) Doesn't Jehovah have an amazing way of getting the "man of lawlessness" to reveal himself?! (2 Thess. 2:3-12)

5/5/13  Did Jesus Tell His disciples WHEN He Would Return?

"Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world." (1 John 4:1, 6) We can differentiate between "the inspired expression of truth and the inspired expression of error" by testing them against God's Holy Word, the Bible. Never does an inspired expression of error originate with Jehovah, "the God of truth." (Psalms 31:5; John 4:24; 17:17; 1 Tim. 4:1,2) And why is it important that we test the inspired expressions? Because, as the apostle John tells us, our everlasting salvation depends on us not falling victim to false prophets, who, as Jesus also warned, would "mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones." (Matt. 24:10,11, 24,25) With that in mind, let us test some of the "inspired expressions" as found in The Watchtower, July 15, 2013, which many of you have received by now. Judge for yourself whether the latest information, as presented in its pages, is "new truth" or "inspired expressions of error." In the next little while I will be presenting certain quotes from this issue of the Watchtower (in Blue), which differ from previous issues, and encourage you to test them against the holy Scriptures.

The Watchtower (page 3)
"Tell Us, When Will These Things Be?” says:  
JESUS’ ministry on earth was coming to an end, and his disciples were eager to find out what the future held for them. So just a few days before his death, four of his apostles asked him: “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matt. 24:3; Mark 13:3) Jesus answered by means of an extensive prophecy, recorded in Matthew chapters 24 and 25. In that prophecy, Jesus foretold many noteworthy events. His words have profound meaning for us because we too are keenly interested in knowing what the future holds.
   Through the years, Jehovah’s servants have prayerfully studied Jesus’ prophecy about the last days. They have sought to get a clearer understanding of the timing of the fulfillment of Jesus’ words. To illustrate how our understanding has been clarified, let us consider three “when” questions. When does the “great tribulation” begin? When does Jesus judge “the sheep” and “the goats”? When does Jesus ‘arrive,’ or come?—Matt. 24:21; 25:31-33.

What the Scriptures say:
Just prior to Jesus’ ascension to heaven, his apostles asked him a further “when” question: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” What did Jesus say in reply? “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.” (Acts 1:6,7) It simply did not belong to them, nor anyone else, to speculate by human calculation as to “when” these things would occur, for God did not reveal that information. Even Jesus himself did not have the answer as to when. (Matt. 24:36; Dan. 12:9) That information would become available only when the signs that Jesus gave could be observed by the disciples—making it necessary for them to stay alert. Time and again, Jesus told them to "keep on the watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." (Matt. 24:42, 44; 25:13; Rev. 3:3) Anyone who disregards the fact that Jehovah has placed the when factor "in his own jurisdiction," becomes guilty of reaching out for something that does not belong to him, in the same way that Adam and Eve disregarded God's clearly stated command regarding the forbidden tree, which God also had "placed in his own jurisdiction." (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:2-5, 11, 17)

If all this seems trivial, then please bear in mind that the many predictions made by the Society in the past, but which failed to come true (such as the promise that "the generation that observed the beginning of the 'last days' in 1914" will by no means pass away before the end of this present system of things) proved to be "inspired expressions of error," that had to be abandoned; but which caused tremendous hardship and disappointment for those who had trusted in them. (Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15) Are the "inspired expressions of error" merely such, errors that can easily be corrected on a whim? Or is it more serious than that? The four study articles of The Watchtower July 15, 2013, renders as obsolete some previously strongly held teachings, for which a person at one time could have been disfellowshipped for questioning them. Do the many changes made to our teachings and organizational structure prove that God is guiding the organization, or does it prove the opposite? Please consider further Watchtower examples in upcoming (above) Food for Thought sections, and turn to Paul's words regarding the "man of lawlessness" ruling within God's temple, in anticipation of Christ's return. —2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

(5/5/13 - 10/28/13)

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