The One Isolating Himself: Examining Proverbs 18:1-2 (Part 2)

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Earthbound, Apr 29, 2018.

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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Up to this point, I've wanted to keep the discussion to two things I glean from Proverbs 18:2:

    1. That an organization is capable of developing selfish inclinations and longings which leads to a "holier-than-thou" culture in religious organizations. "There's us... and then there's everyone else." This is, I feel, an attempt on the part of men, well-intentioned or not, to raise the very curtain that Jehovah God rent in two, opening the way for all to enter the Holy of Holies— the presence of Jehovah God.

    Shepherds are to mind their master's sheep, not pen them up for themselves.

    2. That even with a well-intentioned effort, there comes an indiscernible moment when what had started out as good begins to go bad. There isn't a single human effort that hasn't failed, or what they founded not becoming something very different as others take things over. Along with that, when the governed no longer personally know those whom they have authority over, it's over. Their accountability before Jehovah doesn't change— just their wisdom and empathy— as everyone else becomes seen as "under" them, organizationally speaking. Man isn't designed to govern over others. We're designed to have all the flora and fauna of this planet under our authority, not other men and women.

    This does not preclude the importance of congregating as believers and followers of our Exemplar back to Jehovah. Or in coming together in large numbers for a common need, let's say in cases of natural disasters. But on a permanent basis, with the addition of a centralized authority over others— it simply doesn't go well after that. Good intentions or not.

    In the first century, who had the most authority?

    “If your brother sins against you, go and confront him while the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with you so that ‘every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If, however, he ignores them, tell it to the congregation. If he also ignores the congregation, regard him as an unbeliever and a tax collector. —Matthew 18:15-17 International Standard Version
    From what I can discern, the congregation is the last word on a matter. There was no reporting the situation to "higher ups." Sometimes, word spread of a congregation's mishandling a moral or unjust situation, and that led to chastisement in various apostolic epistles, and even the stern prophetic warnings to the congregations at the outset of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    But the apostolic time was rapidly ending as the apostles were martyred. The wolves were coming. At some point after that, the congregation's authority became the "church's" authority, with the wolves in charge. Today, every major Christian religion follows this methodology of governance. That's how well Gentiles have done since getting the baton from the Jewish followers of Jesus in the first century. It's probably in our DNA, actually, since Nimrod's day. No wonder when I see men who, like Nimrod, one day say "let us build a great city and tower... lest we be scattered."

    Building it to Jehovah doesn't make it acceptable. Jehovah destroyed Jerusalem and if you get enough followers of Jesus together to build an even greater Jerusalem in praise to Jehovah God— you have idolatry all over again. It's no different from when the Israelites built the golden calf. The Watchtower's just doing it on a global scale instead of only at the foot of a mountain. As are other religious groups and organizations.

    Still, the Watchtower organization does serve a purpose. Several, in fact. It isn't entirely corrupt, although the system that drives it surely is. It's core Bible teachings are solid, especially where the relationship between Jesus and Jehovah is concerned in contrast to the Trinitarian doctrine. Christadelphians share a great many of these same understandings, so these understandings aren't exclusive to the Watchtower organization by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is emphasis on the moral cleanliness of the congregation exclusive to Jehovah's Witnesses, although there is also no denying there are Christian groups out there who should buy a mop to clean things up.

    The structure and asserted certainty provide the brothers and sisters with confidence directly proportional to the certainty asserted. They remain obedient and submissive to the organization, unlike you or me.

    But enough about all that, right? Let's get to Part 2 of this discussion...

    --Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother...

    Please excuse my matter of fact response in this post, at times it is necessary in order to accomplish a response, but in no way is indicative of my love for you, or not. Rather, a response to an understanding.

    Let me stop you here. What do you mean by "opening the way for all to enter the Holy of Holies"? If you have studied the significance of the Sanctuary emblems you would know the Most Holy represented heaven, do you believe all mankind have that possible future? If you only mean prayer, did not the Isralites have access to prayer in speaking to Jehovah already? What do you believe the significance of the curtain being ripped was?

    The unfortunate outcome of the first sin, was man ruling man to his own injury. Our Father separated out a people from himself in the form of the Israelites, by promise to Abraham. Jehovah set up judges in order to direct his people, however the they demanded a human king.

    1 Sam 8:3,5 "In time all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Raʹmah. They said to him: “Look! You have grown old, but your sons are not walking in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the other nations.”

    Still, this nation was policed, and governed by laws. A group isolated and separate from the world.

    Yet I may point out once again that this is in fact the way Jehovah handled the Israelite's. Despite all of their sin, he still gathered them into a governed group, and nation, as a whole.

    Our Father is one of nations and kingdoms. After all it is his kingdom that will come to replace this old way, once he separates out his people from all nations in the end. He is a God of us and them, as it pertains to his will. We either obey his will, or decided to direct our own steps. This is the very theme of the entire Bible itself.

    Zech 14:2 "I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for the war; and the city will be captured and the houses plundered and the women raped. And half of the city will go into exile, but the remaining ones of the people will not be cut off from the city."

    Jehovah has always had a nation separate for himself, a group that were gathered together with humans governing them, and guiding them under a single location. From Jerusalem, to the seven churches in Asia Minor, Jehovah has always had a group governed by a few.

    I will have to disagree with you there brother, I could quote dozens of Scriptures indicating that the apostles had to write letters to those other congregations in order to correct them.

    "Reports" were getting back to these apostles somehow, were they not?

    So, does this not show us precedence of a governing from a far by a few men, over many congregations? From what I read, that's exactly what was going on. You had many congregations around the known world, and the apostles were correcting and governing them as need be. In fact they were even instructing them on what to do, what to prepare, what to collect and how to disperse, on many occasions. If this isn't governing many congregations by a few, from a far, what is?

    As well, it would be my observation that this is exactly how the Watchtower is run, by example of those first apostles who saw and spoke to our Lord directly.

    Acts 20:29,30 "I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves."

    No, I exclaim that the result of these men coming after the apostles was the doing away of the "apostolic time" (as you say), and were the forerunners of the Catholic church. In defiance of the processes that were being put into place, these men instead set up their own structure of rule, in order to gather people unto themselves, instead of to God. Again, it's not the gathering that is the issue, it's the intent.

    It should seem obvious that the form of governess that was utilized by the very men who saw and spoke to our Lord was the original intent of Christs church to follow. Just as in the Revelation of John, many churches around the world governed by a few men. However, men took it upon themselves to gather in defiance of God, in like manner of the tower at Babel, instead of to Gods glory. This is an ongoing theme that permeates all Scripture. The intent is what matters, not the gathering.

    It's what these men do with that responsibility is the factor that will dictate our Lords response. That's the way it has always been. Our Father does not change, and I see handling of his own people for 1500 years no different then the way he handles his people today.

    I'm going to have to stop you again here brother. Can you please explain why the Sanctuary was built, and two temples in Jerusalem? Each building took every man women and child, as well as every resource from the entire nation.

    Jehovah didn't destroy Jerusalem because they had come together to build in Jehovah's name, he commanded them to do gather and build. He destroyed Jerusalem for their lack of faith.

    There is only one Way.

    I see no difference in the Watchtower today, and Jerusalem (the center of Israelite rule) in the first century.

    I would argue that Jehovah's Witnesses corner the market on mural purity, in comparison to other churches. Anyone can be a member and remain a member of any other churches (generally) and yet live any kind of life style they wish. When you go to other churches, the odds are good you are sitting next to all kinds of immoral individuals of varying degree. Sure there are some true believers in other churches, but if we are going to compare moral standards, it's not really a competition in my summation.

    I believe the Watchtower is the constant feature of Dan 12:11, and represents the modern people of God. It's common to attempt to believe that everyone is saved, and everyone will be welcome into the kingdom, this is a liberal sort of view, but I would suggest this belief be tempered a bit by history. Many before the flood would have had faith. Many in the end will have faith and believe they had been doing many works in the name of our Lord however, accurate knowledge is important.

    Rom 10:2-4 "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to accurate knowledge. For because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness."

    1Tim 2:3-6 "This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all."

    We may argue that the Trinity is not necessarily a salvational matter, however we do not know what our Lord will do if these ones were given accurate knowledge of our Father's nature, but yet refused to believe. There is a line in the sand somewhere between believing in Christ, having accurate knowledge, and works proving our faith, and most likely will be judged on a case by case basis. Hence the brothers of Christ as rulers...

    It is not the gathering that is the issue, it's the intent. This is the precedence from the tower of Babel to the Watchtower, according to my observation. Again, Jehovah did not confuse the langues in Shinar because they were gathering together.

    As well, the simple fact that Israel came together in the intent to build the temple to God, meant they were doing his will, yet it was the those that creeped in, in order to draw men after themselves, like Nimrods mentality, in defiance to God, that was the catalyst for destruction.

    In my humble opinion brother...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Without taking us off-topic (isolationism), I would refer back to the personal, intimate relationship Adam and Eve enjoyed before they became disobedient, sinning— and the Bible's assurance that those who have faith will experience that personal, intimate relationship once again.

    And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden.—Genesis 3:8 American Standard Version

    But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone. —1 Corinthians 15:28 New World Translation

    Until then,

    So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.— Hebrews 4:14-16 New Living Translation

    There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. —1 Timothy 2:5 Contemporary English Version
    I guess I would ask you this question: how would you scripturally support that before sin, Jehovah intended humans to rule over other humans? I only ask because you express the view that the outcome of the first sin was "man ruling man to his own injury," so I am seeking clarification as to whether you believe that in a "perfect" world, man will rule man without the "to his own injury" aspect brought on, you said, by sin.

    In addition, Israel was not content with Jehovah raising up judges. They wanted a human king over them, just like all the other nations:

    And Jehovah said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not be king over them.—1 Samuel 8:7 American Standard Version
    I'm not sure how the human kingship was "policed" or "governed by laws," since there is nothing in the Law of Moses that accounts for human rulership and its responsibilities (and penance). And there is quite a history of ungodly kings in Israel, so Israel suffered under their governance. There is also the matter of the split of Israel into two separate kingdoms, each with their own human king: the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. No amount of scriptural precedence or policy prevents this division among Jehovah's people.

    Finally, there is the matter of how you account for Jehovah's people being isolated from the world when they, in their yearning and bleating for a human king, wanted one to be like all the surrounding nations. That sounds like emulation, not isolationism. If anything, I feel this only further amplifies the thinning wall of distinction between Jehovah's people and the rest of Humankind with its nations and empires.

    For much of its history, the Watchtower organization's doctrines and practices were established by the president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. To wit, a human king. While this changed following Fred Franz's tenure, the human king only shifted from a single human to a body of humans while exercising all the power and authority imbued formerly in the organizational presidency.

    It was a means to an end: the entire Purpose was to produce the Messiah. After that, the barrier between Jew and Gentile was abolished by Jehovah. The "isolation" you refer to was ended.

    There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.—Galatians 3:28 New Living Translation

    You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? ... God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.—Romans 2:1-3, 7-11 New International Version

    And Peter, having opened the mouth, said, “Of a truth I understand that God is not One who shows partiality, but in every nation, the one fearing Him and working righteousness is acceptable to Him... —Acts 10:34-35 Berean Literal Bible
    I'd have to refer you back to what I cited from 1 Samuel: human rulership came about because of two reasons I can discern scripturally: 1) Man was not content to rule over the dominion Jehovah God provided him (the flora and fauna of the planet) and sought to rule over (dominate) and subjugate other humans, to injury; 2) in the case of the nation of Israel, they turned to human governance as an act of rejection of Jehovah God— and not to better serve Jehovah (through organization and corporatization). Jehovah allowed it because of the hardness of the heart of His people, since it did not alter His Purpose to produce a second Adam in due course.

    I believe I mentioned the same, and that this would've been during the period while the followers of Jesus had the apostles there to plant seed and water the same.

    However, after the "going away" the apostle Paul mentions— after the apostles were put to death as martyrs, the Bible offers no direction on what a congregation is to do with the wolves both in their midst and coming in the future. That is, other than to be watchful and wary. These ones, in contrast to the apostles, establish themselves as masters over the faith of other followers of Jesus— making themselves kings with their own subjects, even as Nimrod of old did.

    But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.—2 Corinthians 1:24 New Living Translation

    You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You're nothing but show-offs. You travel over land and sea to win one follower. And when you have done so, you make that person twice as fit for hell as you are. —Matthew 23:15 Contemporary English Version

    Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them.— Galatians 4:17 New Living Translation
    Case in point, which congregations of the Watchtower organization are presently making a stand against the unrighteousness and injustices perpetrated by the corporate will of the leadership of the organization?

    And are we to make a stand as a congregation? As individuals? Or, as the Watchtower's leadership asserts, are we defying the authority Jehovah has granted them? I'm not talking about taking their place upon the "seat of Moses," mind you; I'm talking about dispensing with those who insist that we only pay attention to them, and subject ourselves to the organization as an act of faithfulness and loyalty.

    See above.

    As I pointed out in Part 1's series of posts, we cannot, being humans, determine the intent of others, so to assert that what is being done is with good intent is presumption, not established fact. I do find it curious that if the goings-on within the Watchtower organization are with good intent, then why do the injustices and gross abuse of authority declare otherwise. Such things do not originate with the holiness one would associate with a holy God, do they?

    See above.

    I will add that when Jehovah brought Babylon against His people, Nebuchadnezzar did not have good intentions toward Israel. Even so, Jehovah utilized Babylon to chastise His people. Intention had nothing to do with it on the part of a human ruler; Jehovah's Will was carried out, regardless of human intent.

    On this basis, am I to conclude that your position is that we remain compliant and obedient and submissive to "these men" and leave correction and/or replacement to Jehovah God?

    My quote you refer to here didn't carry through the Reply, and for brevity's sake I'll refer you to what I wrote above regarding the Sanctuary.

    The physical Temple was never intended as a forever fixture, insofar as I understand scriptures-- faithlessness and faithfulness aside, so I guess I would disagree that if the Jews had remained faithful, that Jehovah would have preserved the Temple, in the absence of scriptural evidence to that assertion.

    [Continued next post...]
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    [Continued from previous post...]

    Okay.

    How much assurance does the typical person have that while they are congregating in a Kingdom Hall, Assembly Hall, or District Assembly, that there will be no child molesters, alcoholics, physical abusers, and other duplicitous individuals sitting with them? Worse still, there is verifiable evidence that there are congregations within the organization who knowingly harbor such ones. Sure, some remain undiscovered, but in other cases, they are elders in the congregation!

    I also see you revealing your prejudice here. You use the word "generally" while also saying "odds are good" that immorality abounds without restraint among other Christians. "Sure," you write, "there are some true believers" in other groups of Christians, but on a moral level, they don't hold a candle to the Watchtower organization. Bluntly speaking, this is no different from the generalization people in general make that "black" people are lazy, criminals, and so on... and "white" people are a "superior race."

    You are utilizing a logical fallacy to establish your belief. Are there congregations that tolerate what is bad in Jehovah's eyes? Absolutely! We even read of them in the scoldings written in the Revelation of Jesus Christ as he judges the various congregations. Again, establishing the autonomy of the congregations— to wit, Jesus does not chastise the other congregations for not asserting a collective authority over the wayward congregations (which we would see through a centralization of authority) to end the wickedness. The whole body composed of the various congregations is not punished for the sins of a few bad ones among them.

    But the presence of some or any bad congregations and/or individuals is hardly a sufficient basis to declare the whole of them as wicked or bad. Should every member of the Watchtower be punished because some among them are wicked, or sheltered by their congregation or congregational elders?

    If we say that because there are some in a given denomination who practice badness and continue to associate with others in their respective congregations is proof that the entire group or congregation is bad, we must apply the same standard to the Watchtower's own membership.

    Okay.

    The importance of knowledge is not so salvation-oriented as you suggest by appealing to these two statements from the apostle Paul, and here is why I believe such:

    But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.—1 Corinthians 8:1 New Living Translation

    That servant who knows his master’s will but does not get ready or follow his instructions will be beaten with many blows. But the one who unknowingly does things worthy of punishment will be beaten with few blows. — Luke 12:47-48a Berean Study Bible
    That's not to even go into how "accurate" is not a part of the original text, making it an insertion by the translators of the New World Translation, or a paraphrase, if you will.

    Surely the angels which sinned had what you would describe as accurate knowledge. Didn't stop them from sinning, and they knew a great deal more about Jehovah and His Will than you or I do, given that they worshipped in the heavenly realm for who knows how many millennia before what we call the Creation, or calling into existence those things part and partial to our physical realm as humans and corporeal beings.

    Accurate knowledge is not the deterrent any more than the Law of Moses which governed the lives of the sons and daughters of Abraham and his wife was a deterrent. Human laws do not deter from those crimes which it speaks against.

    But that doesn't mean ignorance is going to slide you through. "I had no idea" will not be a defense, and they'll be chastened, albeit on a more merciful scale to that of one who knew right about something but went ahead and acted in contradiction to it.

    Would you agree that the Watchtower organization accurately understands Jehovah's view on the matter of molestation?

    Would you agree that this is not evidenced in their mismanagement of justice in said cases involving child sexual abuse?

    I would say, too, that a religious organization that makes the Trinitarian doctrine a creed common to all believers, are in line for varying levels of beatings. Those who insisted and compelled fellow believers to include the doctrine in their faith getting the worst, and those who took those men's word for it will get it, albeit it less so because of their ignorance.

    In both groups—those who knew better, but did anyway, and those who didn't know better but did— they are considered believers in God and in Jesus' death and resurrection, because in the preceding verse, we read:

    “The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he does not expect and in an hour when he does not know; he shall cut him off and he shall appoint his portion with those who are unbelievers.” —Luke 12:46 Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    Even if we establish that the Watchtower organization itself has "accurate knowledge," we're left with the obvious: then other groups (claiming to be followers of Jesus back to Jehovah God) fall into the second servant heading, those not understanding rightly on something, and in their ignorance sinning against God for, let's say, adopting Athanasius' creed to define the relationship between Jehovah, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as the Comforter Jesus foretold would come after his own departure from the midst of his followers.

    It also would mean that unless the Watchtower organization pulls itself together and starts acting like it does have "accurate knowledge," it will find its portion with unbelievers, those who say and believe there is no Almighty God.

    Of course we know what Jesus will do with those who were understood but did not act as evidence that they did: he will beat them, and cut them off to be counted among unbelievers.

    If by that you mean they turned down an issue of the Watchtower magazine, or to let you engage them in discussion, that doesn't constitute a willingness to ignorance any more than if someone showed up at your door and you saw they were Mormons, let's say, and you trying to proselytize them there on your doorstep, setting them straight about this or that. Prejudice in both cases.

    But I'm inclined to believe that the vast majority of believers who shape their faith with the influence of Athanasius' reasonings have never had it cross their mind to look into it themselves and make an educated decision. For centuries, the common man or woman never lived to see a Bible. It was the property of the "church," which was to say, the property of the men governing the followers of Jesus up until Protestantism. The average person believed that their "church" was telling them truth about the Bible and about God— for why would men of God do otherwise?

    Today, even though the Bible is widely available, along with ready access to the original language of the Bible and a bevy of historical and scholastic findings, archaeological findings, and the list goes on... there are people who don't go much beyond the matters of every day life and trusting in God. I guarantee you that my wife has no inclination into Bible prophecies, chronologies, end-time speculations, or how this foreshadowed that, or any of the other things which have captured my interest during my walk as a believer and a follower of Jesus back to Jehovah God.

    Does that make her willfully ignorant since the information's readily available? I mean, it certainly isn't from lack of me trying to share all of it with her. LOL!

    Does her feeling no particular compulsion into the "deeper things" of our God make her less of a follower of Jesus— after all, what's wrong with her that she doesn't want to know or seem interested in all this? It's GREAT stuff!! Does it raise me to some higher tier of approval because I get to see these things? That I'm somehow more approved?

    See above RE: intent

    I have already agreed with you that Jehovah did not confuse the language at Shinar because Nimrod and his subjects were gathering together— but because of what they could accomplish by gathering together in sufficient numbers to bring to fruition every concept a man can dream up in his sinful nature. One man cannot build a tower, but many, many men certainly can. One congregation cannot build a worldwide organization, but many, many congregations can. And there's always someone willing to sit in the driver's seat, so to speak, and rule over others.

    If there were but seven believers on the planet, surely it can be said that collectively they are the "whole association of brothers," and "worldwide organization" is unnecessary.

    Let's say there are 1,000,000 believers on the planet— living in diverse areas around the world. They've never met one another, except maybe a thousand or so whose lives are interconnected because they're living in a higher population area. Can these believers be collectively referred to as the "whole association of brothers," without there being a centralized authority and worldwide organization established?

    Now, shift gears...

    There are 15 congregations around the planet, congregations of followers of Jesus. They're far enough apart and technology hasn't progressed to the point where they might make contact with each other. Where is the necessity to be found here for centralized organizational authority?

    Let's bump the number of to 30,000— increasing the likelihood of a certain number of congregations aware of and in regular contact with some of the other congregations. In our example, let's say that 2,000 of these congregations are in regular contact with 3-5 other congregations that others counted in that 2,000 do not themselves have any contact with. Where do we find the centralized authority, or governing body? Where is the need for such?

    At what point of grouping do those within the group say "We want a king, just like everyone else has! and a name for ourselves." Being a follower of Jesus back to Jehovah God is suddenly no longer satisfying. Being a Christian isn't enough, because who wants to be a mere Christian— there are plenty of mere Christians out there, believing their simpleton beliefs. We fear being scattered, of being mistaken by other humans as a Baptist, Catholic, Adventist, Lutheran, or whatever names previous believers have taken for themselves.

    And we set out to build our city and build a tower, justifying ourselves that it's okay because we're doing it for Jehovah God.

    He never asked us to build a worldwide organization that would ignore the plight of the abused and disenfranchised, or cast off those who reach out to plea with the leadership for justice and a return to Jehovah God. He never asked us to build a worldwide organization that made itself a condition to a believer having a personal relationship with Jehovah through Jesus as our Exemplar back to Jehovah.

    But that is what has been built. And that is what is allowed by those convinced that they have "accurate" knowledge when it comes to the Bible and God's Purpose!

    What serious reproach this brings upon Jehovah's Name, I shudder to entertain much beyond Luke 12:47, which is tragic enough. Being cut-off forever from Jehovah and His holy spirit because of a refusal to carry out what is just for the legal protection of the organization— and going to the same place prepared for unbelievers, on top of that!

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Okay.

    It's taking me a long time to work past it, but I can still recognize judgmentalism and a critical spirit when I see one, brother. I was a master of it, if you go back and read what I used to back in the time of my excommunication, and even for some time afterwards.

    "Claims to be a Christian..."? you write, to which the Bible responds:

    Who are you to criticize another's household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.— Romans 14:4 Holman Christian Standard Bible

    I am the good shepherd; and I know those that are mine, and am known of those that are mine...—John 10:14 Darby Bible Translation

    Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the harvesters, "First gather the weeds, and bind them into bundles in order to burn them; then gather together the wheat into my barn."— Matthew 13:30 Berean Literal Bible
    I gather, from the evidence that "weeds" are still present that the mentioned harvest has not taken place, because the weeds are removed first. There are a lot of weeds out there, yes?

    And the wheat is scattered among all those weeds. They are not found in their very own, isolated field, because the harvest has not yet taken place which will result in the wheat being all that remains. That also means that the Watchtower organization does not constitute an organization built from the wheat gathered from the weeds and wheat. Again: the weeds are removed first at the outset of the harvest, not after the wheat is gathered in.

    That being the case, I see no problem with thinking that there is wheat to be found among every Christian group out there, living among a bunch of weeds and sustained by their faith in a God they may not know is named Jehovah— and I'm going to judge them? That's tantamount to telling Jesus, "Judge me right now. You won't find anything worth condemnation compared with that sad fellow over there who thinks you're part of some Trinity... that you're God Himself. How ridiculous is that, Jesus? But check out all my dark corners, search the heart I keep hidden back there behind everything else."

    I mean, it's fascinating that the Watchtower organization inculcates the mantra, "I am so glad I'm not like that Pharisee who was glad he was more righteous than that humble tax collector," while condemning those out there on the world scene just like that tax collector— full aware that they have no business coming before Jehovah, much less approaching Him, but doing so because they believe Him to be a merciful God.

    There is no mercy in expressions like "claims to be a Christian" or "so-called believers." If they are slaves of Jesus, as they say, then Jesus will see to them. Why aren't we keeping our head down, not even willing to raise our eyes as we approach God? Why do we have to be glad that we're not like the Pharisee who was glad he wasn't like that sinner, the tax collector, when that makes us the Pharisee?


    Who or what is a false prophet, and how is the congregation expected to respond to one?



    There's no denying that there will prove to be those who are absolutely convinced they have been doing everything for God's glory, with good intent, as you reiterated on several occasions, who will be quite surprised in their day of inspection... and even more disappointed.

    Jesus calls them "workers of lawlessness," and we're conditioned to automatically call to mind a "fake" or "hypocritical" Christians who carry on in immoral or ungodly activities unbecoming a person serving God. A "Jim Baker," I guess would be a prominent example of this prejudicial notion of a "worker of lawlessness."

    But notice these scriptures:

    "What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?" says the LORD. "I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.—Isaiah 1:11 New Living Translation

    I'd rather for you to be faithful and to know me than to offer sacrifices. —Hosea 6:6 Contemporary English Version

    The religious service which is pure and stainless in the sight of our God and Father is to visit fatherless children and widowed women in their time of trouble, and to keep one's own self unspotted from the world. —James 1:27 Weymouth New Testament

    We see that people are acceptable to God because they have faith, and not because they obey the Law. —Romans 3:28 Contemporary English Version

    For the Messiah is the culmination of the Law as far as righteousness is concerned for everyone who believes.— Romans 10:4 International Standard Version
    But just as there were Judaizers (Jewish followers of Jesus who insisted that circumcision was required to be Christian) in the first century harassing Gentile followers of Jesus, today, there are those followers of Jesus today who likewise impose Law upon those once and for all time released from it. Lawlessness isn't necessarily some form of anarchy, but the rejection of what the Bible writers refer to thusly:

    You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand. —Galatians 6:2 Contemporary English Version

    Practice carrying each other's burdens. In this way you will fulfill the law of the Messiah.—Galatians 6:2 International Standard Version
    The problem is that some followers of Jesus get it in their head that it can't be that simple, because then everyone could just do that and "get into heaven" or a "paradise earth." So, they set out to come up with lots of other things that people in their group should do to stand apart (isolate) from everyone else. Suddenly, the Law of Christ is superseded, and lawlessness is the result, even though the group only now has the semblance of order and law. They are no longer workers living by the simplicity captured in the Law of Christ, but their own law, or code of conduct and belief.

    Lawlessness. Rendering the Law of Christ insufficient.

    I'll offer how the apostle Paul handled these situations:

    I am a free man, nobody's slave; but I make myself everybody's slave in order to win as many people as possible. While working with the Jews, I live like a Jew in order to win them; and even though I myself am not subject to the Law of Moses, I live as though I were when working with those who are, in order to win them. In the same way, when working with Gentiles, I live like a Gentile, outside the Jewish Law, in order to win Gentiles. —1 Corinthians 9: 19-21a Good News Translation
    Did he see this as an offense to Jehovah or Jesus? Or unfaithfulness?

    Again, I'll let him answer:

    This does not mean that I don't obey God's law; I am really under Christ's law.—1 Corinthians 9:21b Good News Translation
    Paul doesn't appear to view a believer doing this to be an act of lawlessness, appealing to our being "under Christ's law" when it comes to doing so.

    I agree. No good will come of our fellowshipping with a brother in the congregation who is any of those things. Not only as individuals, but also as a congregation.

    Absolutely! So, how well do you know everyone else in the worldwide organization? Well enough to be able to identify those acting shamefully and unrepentantly in the congregations around the world? Well enough to have a personal, vested interest in all of the lives and struggles of those not acting ungodly?

    The entire drive of Part 1 of this discussion is in trying to identify that a point comes when it is impossible for us to know who our "close associates" are, or all of those with whom our worship is associated, because we consider grouping more important than that intimate philia.

    How large do you believe this site could grow in participants before it became impossible for you personally to follow every conversation, or offer the responses you see needed, and make sure your guidelines are being abided? At some point, would you not have to enlist others to help moderate? Still, at some point after, the growth removes you even further from the close association you have and enjoy with a much lower number of people. You lose touch. My point is that this is even more true on the scale of the Watchtower organization, with its millions of members.

    Whew! A very writing-filled weekend for me. I think I'll stop there and see to some other tasks I've been successfully avoiding. ;)

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Ah, I've been busy all day, looks like I have some catching up to do...
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... (Response 1)

    Scripture doesn't indicate men would have ruled men at all before sin.

    Certainly the consequence of sin was man ruling over man.

    Gen 3:16 "To the woman he said: “I will greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in pain you will give birth to children, and your longing will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.”

    There doesn't seem to be a break down of how the new world of mankind will be ruled other then by those in charge of Gods kingdom, however again I assert that there will always be rule, just as there was before sin. God ruled man by giving him an ultimatum. While Gods kingdom will rule forever to come.

    Psm 145:13 "Your kingship is an eternal kingship,And your dominion endures throughout all generations."


    Sure, Gods people rebelled against Jehovah's will that they be isolated. Can you argue that was not his original will for the Israelites? While in so doing, does that itself not invalidate the idea that gathering as a group for the will of God is wrong? Ultimately it would be my opinion that such an approach could never disprove the Watchtower as the constant feature of God.

    I'm not sure I see a connection between there not being any difference between Jew and Gentile, and no more isolationism. We are still commanded to remain separate from the world, are we not?

    2Cor 6:17 "Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah,"

    1Pt 2:9 "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,"

    2Cor 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers."

    Rom 1:1 "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God."

    I don't see your assertion that it is ok to gather as a local congregation, but against Jehovah's will by being governed by a central governess. You gave the example of Babel, and then suggested that it didn't matter if they gather for good or bad, at which point I argued that Babel was confused because of their intent, while Jehovah gathered a people through Abram. How would gathering for good or bad at all be against Jehovah's will? This is the natural order of the universe, from planets forming to social structure, and no doubt will continue for ever.

    Every form of will has a governing structure. If you want to send men to the moon, you have to have a structure governed by a central location. I don't see anything spiritual about this concept, but rather natural and necessary. I see no difference when this is implemented in the worship of God in a congregation, after all that's what every church is, and the very definition of one. How many local churches out there do not identify with a major religion? Very few, if you could find any.

    I see to many hoops to jump through to assert that there is no organization on earth working in behalf of God, when history itself tells us that's exactly what we should be looking for, an organization that has gone rogue just as the Israelites.

    I think some of this has to do with you believing all prophecy was fulfilled in the first century, without any future fulfillment. Since I believe these prophecies are fulfilled multiple times, not only were many fulfilled in the Maccabees Revolt and the Jewish Revolt, but also still yet future. Such as Mth 24, Luk 21 and Mark 13. I Find that much of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel and so on have a final fulfillment in the end, and it is the first fulfillments that help us understand their final.

    However, if one believes all of these prophecies are already fulfilled thousands of years ago, with no further fulfillment, then they wouldn't be looking for a group of Gods people violating his will currently. This subject encumbrances more then what we are discussing here in this thread. I could go off in that direction, and quote many Scriptures discussing future fulfillment of Gods people, but that would get away from the narrow focus you are trying to maintain this thread at, but needless to say, I believe there is overwhelming evidence to that fact.

    I will have to disagree with you here brother, I believe the Bible sets out clear cut laws in order to deal with "wolves" within the congregations.

    1Cor 5:11-14 "But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person+ or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do you not judge those inside, while God judges those outside? “Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.”

    We are directed to judge those inside the congregations, which would Intel governing. I see no difference if this was done on a local scale only, or by a central location, such as the apostles displayed when directing churches all throughout the known world by visits and letters. They set the pattern, and to say that process was done away with after they died, is to assert that they did not want their methods to continue by other men in like manner. At which point one would need to prove such a claim.

    We have a precedence, so would we not have been told to disregard such processes, if that were Gods intent for his people today? I believe we would have found it by now, wouldn't you say?

    In fact, I don't believe I've ever come across anyone who would even argue this case.

    Why did the nation of Israel go from serving God to acting against his will, on any number of occasions?

    The Watchtower has served a purpose of bearing Gods name, and preaching the kingdom. They will also fulfill prophecy by profaning Gods name in all the world.

    Eze 36:22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Not for your sakes am I acting, O house of Israel, but for my holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you have gone."

    Jesus fulfilled the spring festivals, and he will fulfill the fall festivals when he returns, when the events surrounding why they were set up, occur again in the time of the end. Being a Jew changed once Cornelius was baptized, and prophecy will be fulfilled again in like manner as the Maccabees Revolt and the Jewish Revolt.

    I'll say it again, you miss so much beauty in the text when seeing it one dimensionally instead of 2d or 3d.

    In my opinion...

    Currently this seems to be a matter of conscience. One may stay or go, based on their own level of understanding. Most would be advised to stay in my opinion, for many reasons.

    Why would have God destroyed the temple if the priest and people had excepted Jesus. Take Nineveh for example. There is no reason to believe the temple wouldn't still be standing today had the Israelites changed their way. You would be saying he always had planned to allow a million Jews to die in 70CE, regardless of their faith.

    All love in The Way...

    I'll look into your other posts shortly.

    AJ
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... (Response 2)

    I see the Watchtower's very use of disfellowshipping as Scriptural and just, and is the main reason for my comment. Of course they have misused it, but the point being, other churches do not utilize this Scriptural direction. I grew up in Christendom churches and can attest to the fact that gross sin is a normal day to day for members, more so in such churches in comparison to the Watchtower.

    I would push back against the idea that such a statement is on par with racism. If you go to a church that allows their members to live sexually immoral lives as members, a higher percentage of there members will be sexually immoral as compared to the membership of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This was neither racist nor unjustified, but rather simple deduction. It is simply a fact that JW's will by the numbers have less members living an immoral lifestyle.

    I stand by my statement that the Watchtower corners the market on morality. It's a simple matter of math. You kick out wrong doers, you are going to have less of them as members. You allow anyone to continue as members, your going to have a lot more immoral individuals around. It's simply a matter of deduction.

    Why did a million Jews die in 70CE? They worshiped the true God, yet he denounced them, accurate knowledge? Why was Noah and his family saved, accurate knowledge? Why is anyone saved in the time of the end, accurate knowledge? Are you going to tell me that accurate knowledge of our Lord as savior isn't necessary? If we held that accurate knowledge isn't that important then all men would survive Armageddon, however history tells us otherwise.

    We know there will be even those who believe and have faith in Christ that he himself will say get away from him, and these are people who genuinely thought they were doing Christs will and work!

    Mth 7:21-23 "Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’"

    We can have a liberal view of forgiveness, but accurate knowledge is a must in order to survive.

    Rom 3:7,8 "But if by my lie the truth of God has been made more prominent to his glory, why am I also being judged as a sinner? And why not say, just as some men falsely claim that we say, “Let us do bad things that good things may come”? The judgment against those men is in harmony with justice."

    Paul made it clear, these Christians did not have accurate knowledge, and therefore were in line for judgement.

    If in the end, Christians support the kingdoms over the world against the invader Christ, among many other choices, that will disqualify them for survival.

    1Cor 6:9-10 "Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom."

    According to how I read the text, accurate knowledge is a must.

    I don't find such arguments to be a valid approach to determine if the Watchtower is Gods organization or not. Did the elders in the first century know that idolatry was wrong? Then why did they practice such things?

    I will have to disagree with you and say there are only two beatings. One that ends in eternal death, and one that ends in eternal life.

    Agreed, I believe the Watchtower will be cast out, destroyed, brought asunder for not changing their ways, just like the first century. There will no longer be such a thing as Jehovah's Witnesses in the time of the end, therefore when you look at it like that, no Jehovah's Witnesses will survive Armageddon at all. I only see the Watchtower as the constant feature, because Jehovah gathers his true church in the time of the end, years after the Watchtower is long gone.

    But we can't read hearts, can we? We plant, he makes grow. If we did our job of planting the seed, but their hearts don't allow Jehovah to make it grow, then what makes us think they'll survive? History shows us Jehovah is not impartial. When he decides to act by destroying a nation or people, usually everyone goes, and if anyone survives, they are usually a very minute percentage. To be quite frank, I don't see Jehovah as beating around the bush, he reads hearts in a matter of seconds, and it could be simply a matter of one conversation or Watchtower magazine that is brought to someones attention, and they rejected it, in only a single moment. How is this any different then Noah's message before the flood?

    Jehovah could be using the Watchtower magazines to read hearts.

    We are told exactly how Jehovah handles such situations.

    Rom 9:12-14 "For all those who sinned without law will also perish without law; but all those who sinned under law will be judged by law. For the hearers of law are not the ones righteous before God, but the doers of law will be declared righteous. For when people of the nations, who do not have law, do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves."

    You and and your wife would have survived 70CE, but what about those who did not have accurate knowledge? Do you believe that every single one of those million Jews had the opportunity to study exactly how Jesus came down through Davids line, and fulfilled 350 prophecies? That certainly would have been the deeper things in those days.

    Many in the end will be Christians but will not survive because they lack accurate knowledge, by understanding their works in Christs name were not inline with accurate knowledge at all. Jesus made it very clear these ones were Christians who believed they were doing our Lords work, so what was their error? They worked lawlessness in their lack of accurate knowledge in what it took to survive, for they thought they were doing the right things.

    Mth 7:21-23 "“Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’"

    You just outlined the very thing that has occurred over and over throughout history, but does not change the fact that God intended to gather them together to him, governed by a small group. This has been the way it has always been, and they have always failed him by "wanting a king". It happened then, and it's happening now.

    I'll get through your other post tomorrow...

    Good evening brother. All love...

    AJ
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... (Response 3)

    One of the most misunderstood Scriptures in the Bible is:

    Mth 7:1 "Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with the judgment you are judging, you will be judged,"

    Are we not to determine if someone else or group are sinning against God and need adjusted, or appropriate for us to associate with? Are we not directed to judge another's faith?

    How do you exhort or reprove without judging?

    2Tim 4:2 "Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching."

    How do you bare your brothers sins openly to him without judging?

    Mth 18:15 "Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone."

    How about judging others Spirituality specifically, and then comparing it to our own? Yea, we are directed to do that as well.

    Gal 6:1,2 "Brothers, even if a man takes a false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness. But keep an eye on yourself, for fear you too may be tempted."

    So in Mathew 7 what was Jesus speaking about when he said "Stop judging that you may not be judged"? Jesus was further declaring the "hypocrisy" of the Jewish elders by pointing out that you do not judge others by your standard of Spirituality, to determine how others should live, but by righteousness in conjunction with the Way of Christ. The Pharisees were judging others by there level of service, and schooling. If you hadn't been schooled in their synagogues, you were considered unlearned, yet Jesus points out that, that kind of judging reveals ones own "hypocrisy", however all throughout the Bible we are indeed directed to judge our brothers and those around us as to sin, and level of Spirituality, but not as the Pharisees in displaying works, in order to determine our level of faith.

    Mth 5:20 "For I say to you that if your righteousness does not surpass that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter into the Kingdom of the heavens."

    Stop measuring other men according to yourself, and your works, because the standard at Mth 5:48 is, "Be holy because God is holy." We are to determine and judge constantly what is good and bad in ourselves and others as to what is holy, but not to compare our level of service to others as the Jewish elders in the first century to show how others should work in the kingdom of God, but we are to judge as to holiness.

    The Watchtower will be dissolved at the very beginning of the end. The Watchtower will have been gone for many years before our Lord appears in the clouds.

    I do not agree, I read that we are to judge and determine who is a prophet or false prophet, who claim to be followers of Christ and who are not. Jesus clearly demonstrated this when calling out those hypocrites that claimed to be followers of God, but rather showed their worship as public displays. It's a common misunderstanding to believe we are not to judge others of their sin and Spirituality, but I might suggest a broader view of our Lords message. We are exhorted to judge our brothers, sisters, and those in the world as to their hypocrisy and level of holiness according to Christ's standards, and not those of the pharisees by works of public display.

    One day this will be so... Right now the Watchtower serves a purpose to reach hearts to be read. In the future when the end begins there will be no world wide organization of Gods people, at which point Jehovah will gather his people from all nations. Your right, but your missing chronology.

    I happen to agree with your premise, and I understand the problem of centralized governess of an organization. Did the apostles letters and visits fix the various problems in the congregations in their day? Hence why chronology is set in place.

    I believe that Gods people are part of all nations, churches and organizations, and in the end Jehovah will gather them all out into a single organization with Christ as the cornerstone in the time of the end. Currently the Watchtower only serves as the "constant feature", a bit like the "daily news", it's a tool to reach hearts. The level of truth of JW's surrounding the nature of God, and his future kingdom is enough to spark interest in like minded ones, and to be used by God to read hearts.

    The Watchtower is not the "holy place". The disgusting thing that stands in a holy place occurs years after the Watchtower is no more, and stands in the newly rebuilt Spiritual holy place, the true Spiritual kingdom of God here on earth at that time. The newly gathered true gathering of Gods people. Implementing the chronology of events help us to determine what each event is...

    All love in The Way...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Then there is no reason to believe that men will be ruling other men after sin is removed from the equation. Everyone will be answerable directly to Jehovah God, just as it was in the early days of Adam and Eve, following the end of the Messianic kingdom of Christ. Until then, sin will remain a part of the equation, and men will continue to dominate others to their injury and sorrow.

    One of many consequences.

    Just to be clear, this was not what Jehovah willed. The only thing Adam and Eve were given dominion over was the creatures of the air and land and the fish of the sea, and over the environment (tending the garden).

    This wasn't, to my present understanding, an arrangement that Jehovah put into place as divine punishment for them. He had already punished them by appointing them to die— and live long enough to have a family, and then extended families, for some 900 years according to the Bible. But that was all the life Adam would ever know. There is no resurrection awaiting him by a hope.

    But Jehovah did not here appoint Adam over Eve. He is giving them a prophecy here, of what they will discover as one of the consequences of their sin. Without the former intimacy with the holy spirit of Jehovah, and the close personal relationship they lost, they had only their newly-won sense of right and wrong to go by, that day forward. For those of us who have lived lives quite demonstrable to what happens when one does not have a relationship with our Father and follow our Exemplar back to Him.

    They probably blamed each other a long time after that. Maybe worse— it's certainly true in homes around the world, right as I sit here and write these words. I grew up in a pretty violent home. I had no clue how to resolve issues without cutting words and beatings at the hands of a mother so filled with spite as mine was. People can be evil.

    In any case, Adam coming to dominate his wife was part of the fallout from their disobedience, not something Jehovah instituted. Men and women are equal before Jehovah God. The only difference is that a man is better at being a man, and a woman is better at being a woman. And it will be like that long after the Millennial Kingdom achieves its purpose.

    If you agree that Jesus is the highest authority presently in existence—second to Jehovah God, then you surely agree that when he returns all authority back to the Father at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, there will be no authority but Jehovah God's. No governing body, no body of elders or circuit overseers or president over the people of God. Each in a relationship with our Creator which has been lost to us since Adam and Eve disobeyed.

    You've lost me. Did Jehovah choose the Hebrews out of all other peoples? Yes. Did he increase their numbers into a massive people named Israel who came out of Egypt? Yes.

    At which point did Jehovah appoint men to rule over men before Israel ultimately rejected Jehovah God as their King? From the point that Israel rejected Him, things went sideways in a big way for the nation of Israel, and continues even to this day. Even the best of the kings of Israel were bigamists and adulterers, namely Solomon and David. Moses was never a king.

    Mind you, while Jehovah was king of the Israelites, it fell upon the heads of the respective households to see to their families. That was, insofar as I can determine, the peak of authority under this patriarchal culture. Nobody went over the head of their family's patriarch because there was nobody beyond him but Jehovah God. Unless you were planning a revolution, and you usurped authority. That happened on King David's watch. But by that time, Israel had already rejected Jehovah as their king and were now enjoying their second human king.

    But who is saying that people cannot congregate or group together? The only concern I have consistently expressed is that as long as there are humans governing humans, especially large groups of humans, you're asking for disappointments and sorrows. Humans have a deplorable history when it comes to how they exercise authority over other humans. The moment a group of men say "Let us build..." run. Fast!

    That's all I have really been saying to this point. Congregating with others is expected of followers of Jesus on their way back to Jehovah God.

    I agree that when it comes to unbelievers, we would want to guard ourselves and avoid unnecessary association with those who say there is no God, which is what an unbeliever is. Not to be confused with someone who just so happens to be looking at the same precious gem as you, but from another angle and from another shining facet.

    Again, an unbeliever isn't someone who doesn't agree with your Biblical views: an unbeliever says there is no God. Period.

    And yes, we would do well to ask ourselves why we enjoy hanging with someone who says there is no God?

    The ecclesiastical structure exercised by groups of believers in God and Jesus can exist because Jehovah allows them to exist. That should not be taken to mean that He endorses them.

    He allows wickedness to exist but that doesn't mean He endorses wickedness.

    I never ever said there wasn't a group of believers working in behalf of the one whom Jehovah appointed over them.

    You could be right concerning the difference in prophetic views for you and me. But the topic here is on isolationism and the modern-day believer and follower of Jesus back to Jehovah God.

    How do you account, then, for the continued presence of the wolves within the congregation in spite of the passage you cited above?

    Jehovah's allowance for human governance is not endorsement of human governance, as I noted above. The continuance of misery and suffering by humans is not endorsement of misery and suffering by humans on Jehovah's part.

    I was thinking the same about you, LOL! Too funny!

    Whatever you quoted there didn't come through when I clicked Reply, but if you're talking about whether someone should leave the Watchtower organization or stay, I totally recommend they stay if it is agreeable with them. It'll be difficult, but it's pretty ferocious out "in the wilderness," too. If you are able, stay.

    No, I wouldn't be saying such a thing, to be fair here. First, Jehovah had given sufficient warning against Jerusalem and the Temple, and their respective leaderships. Second, the Jews that perished when Rome returned for the final blow against the insurrectionist Zealots in 70CE, were, frankly, collateral damage. Jehovah's target was not all the Jews that had come for the Passover. His target was the city and the Temple. The then-modern-day city and tower after the likeness of Nimrod's ambition. I find evidence for this in how protective the Pharisees are of the Temple in the gospel accounts, and how convinced they are that it would last forever.

    Did Jehovah allow all those Jews to die? Yes. Those that died before hearing the gospel will likely experience a resurrection, and there's no way to know who there in 70CE was ignorant and who was outright rejecting that Jesus was the expected Messiah. But Jesus knows and Jehovah knows, and that's good enough for me.

    For now,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

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    Objectively speaking, I would define their abuse of spiritual authority as symptomatic to legalism— lifted from the the first century as the Pharisees insisted that worship had to be just so, and mercy was pushed to the background in favor of "order" and "procedure."

    Except that once more, you are proving my point: how is it that you are noticing the sins of others while you are surrounded by idolatry, sexual immorality (molestation of children), abuses of spiritual authority, and just plain wicked men... ?!

    How do you continue to the position "I am so glad we aren't like those sinners over there!" when self-righteous offends Jehovah God?

    It's simple to pass judgment on others. We can spend the rest of our lives here picking apart the faults of people not in our particular and acceptable group. But how are you able to do so when there are matters, serious matters, to deal with among those you say are the true worshippers of Jehovah?

    Where are Jehovah's people organized to end the Watchtower's injustice toward the children? Why do you tolerate gross sin within your group by your inaction in the face of its presence? What is the scriptural precedence for financial settlements in exchange for silence of the victim?

    Isn't gross sin even more damning when it's being carried out by those who insist that they're the most righteous and morally clean people alive today?

    I just don't get how you can feel justified in passing condemnation on another body of believers when those whom you worship alongside are those things and worse!

    How does this sound to you? Worshippers of Jehovah molest children.

    The world sees it, and surely Jehovah sees it, too. Has your congregation grouped up with other congregations to restore Jehovah's standards to the organization?

    What difference does it make if a group isolates itself from "the world" when it has the world's "spot" on members within the group already, or in spite of? Isolation from the world has not resolved sexual perversion to the extent that the world sees the Watchtower organization as different from everyone else in that respect. In fact, the organization is viewed and known for its hypocrisy in these matters. Is that the intent?

    None of this is being written in disrespect. It's because I'm trying to respect your strong opinion about exclusivism that I'm bringing the incongruencies out in the discussion. It rings hollow to say that your group of choice is somehow better than another group when both groups contain those who commit gross sins.

    Has the policy of disfellowshipping successfully made the Watchtower organization free of those who commit gross sin? If not, is it because the policy is ineffectual, or because it isn't being enforced? What guarantee do you offer that every known child molester is disfellowshipped? Have families ever been disenfranchised as a result of the miscarriage of godly justice by the organization? Have some fallen away or lost their faith because of how the Watchtower organization handles gross sin? Again: If so, what have you or your congregation done to reach out to them and shore up their faith? What have you done to correct their injustice? Or, is it just easier to keep touting the Watchtower organization's religious superiority over everyone else?

    The "churches" you refer to may or may not know better— it doesn't matter, because it is not your place as a member of a group of believers to judge another slave of the master— but to make absolutely certain that your group is holy before Jehovah God in its service to Jesus. Don't worry: they'll be beaten with a few strokes. I'd be much more concerned with being a part of a group who does know better, but isn't phased by its own wickedness, because the Bible makes clear that such a group will be beaten and then placed with unbelievers, the worst of the human lot!

    Disfellowshipping simply isn't a preventative measure— it's a motivation to improve one's methods of wickedness so they elude discovery, in what I suspect is the majority of cases. Hard to say for sure, beyond that there are perpetrators in any given congregation, even as you and I discuss this. Right now— some brother is molesting a brother's and sister's child. The legal record over the past decade, especially, proves that they are often known to their elders, who do nothing like the apostle Paul or Peter would do with such ones.

    I mean, I get how essential it must be to you for the Watchtower organization to be Jehovah's exclusive group on earth. I suspect that it's a belief that plays a central role to how you read Bible prophecy and apply it all to chronology and so on.

    But your conviction does not address the simple Biblical promise that there are weeds among the members of the Watchtower organization's membership— proving that they are not the results of the foretold harvest from the field of wheat and weeds scripturally defined as the "world."

    The Watchtower organization does not constitute a separate field from the world any more than a Baptist church is a separate field from the world. One does not uproot wheat to plant in another field where it is then expected to grow until the harvest.

    Sects are imaginary boundaries set up by humans much like national boundaries, state boundaries, and city boundaries. They mean nothing to Jesus, who knows the difference between wheat and weeds. Such distinctions are because of the vanity and self-righteous inclinations of Man. Allowed, but not endorsed by Jehovah God.

    I would've liked to have edited that, to be fair, but the edit time had expired, so that was that. I was pretty braindead by that point of my postings. o_O

    Can you provide us with an example of a pastor, minister, bishop, or whatever, standing at the pulpit telling their congregation that they are free to have sex with whom they please, in whatever way they please, drink to their heart's content, smoke any time they want, etc etc...?

    Regarding the allowance of something... Jehovah allows a great deal. I made this argument earlier, but allowing is not to be confused with endorsing.

    It's tempting, I completely get it, to hold up the "yeah, but we disfellowship" card, but you're still left with the continued presence of gross sinners in the group, those who abuse their spouses, those who dishonestly deal with brothers through work arrangements, those who do a great deal of things like "those Baptists."

    Since spiritual authority rests at the top of the Watchtower organization, among the men in charge— and they establish the policies which bring such harm to the membership, what are those within the organization doing to establish righteousness as a group within the organization? Where are the conventions demanding a return to Jehovah by the organization's leaders? Where are the brothers denouncing such things among "God's people" from the platforms in congregations around the world?

    The silence has been absolutely deafening! Even from those who are aware of the wickedness!!

    So it's your opinion that numbers are what is the determining factor in all this? I remind you that the Israelites were far fewer in number than the nations which surrounded them— and yet their sins were far worse than those of any nation! Isolation nor exclusivism helped. Not to mention the extent of their punishment was consistently far worse than the chastening of the nations around them!

    The Pharisees were sticklers for what you call "accurate" knowledge. It didn't go so well for them.

    The Bible's very clear: If someone knows what is the "right" thing to do, and doesn't do it-- it is a sin. It doesn't matter where that person is located, with what group they congregate... none of that appears to be mentioned apart from that person knowing right, but doing wrong.

    Again I ask you: did the angels having "accurate knowledge" prevent them from leaving their proper dwelling so they could take human women for sexual congress and producing hybrid children?

    Did Adam's having "accurate knowledge" prevent him from his disobedience?

    Did David's having "accurate knowledge" prevent him from murdering a fellow Israelite and then marrying the dead man's wife?

    Did Solomon's having "accurate knowledge" prevent him from marrying and marrying and marrying?

    If "accurate knowledge" is as essential as you assert to one's salvation, then we can write off David and Solomon just like we can write off Adam and the angels which sinned. They had such, but they went ahead anyhow.

    The same is true today: the Watchtower organization surely has "accurate knowledge" concerning Jehovah's view of a grown man having sexual intimacy with a child, but they betray that "accurate knowledge" in order to legally protect their organization.

    How exactly does this make the Watchtower organization holier than the Roman Catholic Church?

    And what does this indicate of the believers within the Watchtower organization, who are taking no action to rid the organization of such wickedness? Where are the brothers entering and overturning the money-changers' tables that are used to buy silence and hide the wickedness? Where are the brothers going in to remove the truly wicked in the upper echelons of the organization's leadership?

    As I said before, the assertions and claims ring hollow here.

    I added my thoughts on this in the previous post, so will not repeat myself here.



    So, the question still remains: what is being done in the Watchtower organization to remove those who set and enforce corporate policies which result in disenfranchising the brothers and sisters and their families, even to the point of destroying their faith. How is the organizational protection of gross sin "in harmony with justice"?

    Okay.

    "Could be" is a terrible place to establish doctrine. You might have done better to have simply stayed with "But we can't read hearts, can we?" as I myself explained, too.

    Since we cannot read hearts, we are in no position to judge whether another slave is true to our master or not— it is for the master to handle. Our job is to keep an eye on how WE are walking, and on those with whom we fellowship and count "friends." And based on the goings-on within the organization in matters of miscarriages of divine and godly justice, such is a full-time job.

    But, like I also said above, it's so much easier to point out the sins of other believers in presumptuous ignorance of the factors behind their present understanding, perception, motivation, and cultural inculcation. We thrive on being so glad we're not like that Pharisee who was so glad he wasn't like that miserable wretch of a sinner who wouldn't even look around to find someone he could point to as more sinful than he. And we conveniently overlook the simple fact that that sinner we're all preoccupied with judging went down to his home more justified than the Pharisee... or us!

    Thus the rafter in our own eye remains.

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’


    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
    — Luke 18:9-14 International Standard Version
    You have spent much time already into this now off-topic discussion arguing how the Watchtower organization is not like all those "other people" who, you insist, "claim" to be Christian, yet the parable eludes you that those whom you almost derisively dismiss "went home justified before God."

    It likewise seems to escape your attention that in the parable of the gathering of the wheat, the weeds are removed first, even as you insist that the Watchtower organization is the "constant feature" which, if I understand you correctly, Jehovah is using today to gather His people (wheat) from the fields (the world).

    I'm not convinced that continued back and forth exchanges of facts, observations, and conclusions will benefit. You insist that "Jehovah's Witnesses" are "not like other people," and not like sinners found in any given "church" on any given day. I point out what the Bible says about such a view, and then you more strongly try to reinforce your insistence and I refer you back to the Bible's position on the matter.

    Nothing is gainful from this.

    Your position is, if I understand you correctly, that Jehovah God has a people on earth today, an exclusive group, the only group doing [righteousness]. That group is the believers organized within the Watchtower organization and calling themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses."

    My position is that Jehovah has no regard for sects, and Jesus is head of the body of his followers, whether they are found in this clump of believers or some other clump: all are found somewhere in the fields which the Bible explains to be "the world" at-large. And Jesus knows the difference between wheat and weeds. What does he say?

    "Let both grow together until the harvest..." —Matthew 13:30a International Standard Version
    The presence of weeds, regardless of grouping and intent, demonstrably establishes that both wheat and weeds continue to grow together. That means, for me at least, that one cannot point to a particular field (group or organization) in existence today and say "Look! Here is only wheat! Come replant yourself here in our field."

    Well did Jesus describe such thinking:

    "You judge in the same way that everyone else does." —John 8:15 Contemporary English Version
    And Jehovah, likewise, describes such thinking:

    "Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart." —1 Samuel 16:7b Holman Christian Standard Bible
    Speaking only for myself here, I am confident that there are sincere ones just as grieved over what they see going on within their "church" as there are sincere ones in the Watchtower organization grieved over what they see going on within their "church." To insist that sincere ones must exchange one set of grievous errors for another to prove their sincere heart is human thinking, plain and simple.

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... I must say, this post is a bit more devout then I'm use to reading from you.

    I completely agree. I haven't disagreed with you that when a group of believers gather they start to separate themselves from God. This has been the history of worship for 3500 years.

    Evil exists in all the world around us, those around us at work, at schools, in stores.

    Israel sinned grossly against God for 1500 years, how does that effect the fact they were Jehovah's chosen people? We seem to be arguing two obvious facts. Israel failed many times and harbored sin, yet were still Gods people. Therefore the fact that sin exists in the Watchtower is in no way a proof of them not fulfilling a prophetic role before God. In fact I would expect it, if gross sin was not present within the Watchtower, they could not be a group used by God prophetically according to Scripture.

    I refer you to my post #9 and why I believe we are indeed encouraged to judge others faith.

    The matter of staying or going in the Watchtower is a personal one. I can't end sin in or outside the congregations. Sin is in every part of human life, in churches and out. There is no perfect church on earth, and in no way is an argument to me that the Watchtower is not being used by God. In fact as I said, if there wasn't gross sin in the Watchtower then I would not recognize them as fulfilling prophecy, for 75% of the old testament is talking about their sin and how Jehovah will act upon it.

    I am directed by Christ to judge others as to holiness.

    There is nothing I can do about sin in the congregations. Do I stumble others by causing divisions? Should I be disfellowshipped? What about my family and young ones, should I think of them? Many of our brothers have had their lives ruined for speaking out to the elders, has that benefited anything? I speak openly online to thousands of people about the sins of the Watchtower, can I do more? If I can I would certainly be willing to listen.

    I don't turn in time, I don't go door to door, I don't give talks, I don't answer at the meetings, I don't go to every meeting, I can't do any of these things because I know there is gross sin in the Watchtower. Does that not effect my family? They don't understand any of this, they don't understand what I'm doing online or any of these things we're talking about. Most likely they think I don't take spirituality seriously if I'm only a partial visitor at the Hall, and no more.

    All I can do is what I can do, and if you have a suggestion that I could do more, without stumbling others, I am all ears.

    Are my works not enough?

    Sin has nothing to do with any of this. Has it escaped your attention that the Israelites sin was worth more strokes because they knew better? Even if the Watchtower sins were more gross then any other church on the planet, it still would be inline with Gods people. In fact, they are more culpable for their sin because they know right from wrong.

    Prophecy and history shows us that in the end such things would be as they are.

    I am not the only individual of your close acquaintance that strongly believes the Watchtower is being used by God, despite all of it's sin.

    Disfellowshipping is not a deterrent, it has not cleansed the Watchtower, but that's not the point, it's simply Biblically directed. To me the fact that the Watchtower even practices disfellowshipping is further evidence of being used by God. The first century state of the temple is mirrored today. Everything Jesus said about the elders in the first century applies to those of today within the Watchtower.

    The Watchtower is not the harvest, the Watchtower will be gone years before our Lord arrives.

    The Watchtower is not God's final church, it is not the Spiritual paradise they claim, it is not the culmination of Jehovah plans, or the separating of sheep and goats. As I've said, it has to be destroyed, brought down to ashes, because of all the sin within it, just like in 70CE.

    The true church of God will be gathered in the time of the end. It hasn't even begun to be gathered.

    Again, this is a final fulfilment of the 70 weeks in Dan 9, but if you don't believe that chapter has a fulfillment in our future, then all of this escapes your reasoning on these matters.

    All of that is irrelevant brother, the Watchtower will be destroyed for their sin, years before our Lord returns.

    Accurate knowledge is not a deterrent either. It will not keep people from dying, or being cut off forever. You took my statement and ran with it to an ultimate conclusion that I had not intended.

    You have those with accurate knowledge who act righteously in behalf of that knowledge, and those who have it, but yet still do not act upon it.

    Yet you also have those who believe in Christ, yet (for whatever reason) act in contrary what they really should be doing. The NT makes this clear all throughout, just as Paul said.

    Rom 3:7,8 "But if by my lie the truth of God has been made more prominent to his glory, why am I also being judged as a sinner? And why not say, just as some men falsely claim that we say, “Let us do bad things that good things may come”? The judgment against those men is in harmony with justice."

    Paul made it clear, these (so called) Christians did not have accurate knowledge, and therefore were in line for judgement.

    Jehovah uses sinful organizations in differing ways. Think of it as if both the Catholic church and the Watchtower were nations, and both sinful nations, just as they all (we) are. Yet, the text shows, God may use one to destroy the other. Therefore one was utilized to accomplish his will, even though both acted completely contrary to his will. The presence of sin is not a factor of being used by God, therefore your argument falls flat. Sin is in all people and in all life on this planet, and God uses sinful people and sinful nations to accomplish his will as he sees fit. He used a murderer to bring his people out of Egypt dear brother, and a drunk to save the world from the flood. Brother, sin being present in a group or persons does not disqualify them from being used by God.

    What sets apart the Holy See and the Watchtower is Gods plan, prophecy. If you refuse to except that any prophecy is fulfilled yet in our future then none of this will make any since to you, and you will believe that everything and everyone is on equal footing in Gods future plans.

    We don't have anything to worry about brother, Jehovah and our Lord Jesus will open our eyes in the time to come, and we will have a good smirk at each other over all of these things, and one of us just might raise an eyebrow or two to the other...lol

    If I myself am judging according to the judgement I want to be judged by, then my judging is just. I want to be judged by the measure I am applying to others. I judge others by holiness (even as the sinner I am), whether that be individuals or groups, not as to their works, like the pharisees. I believe I am directed to do just so, from our Lord, and must do so in order to determine who to associate with and who to correct. As I pointed out in post #9, not judging is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Scripture of all time.

    I will continue to judge others as to holiness, and the measure of judging that I would also wish to be judged by, I will also apply to others. If I haven't removed such rafters in my own eyes I would have no right to judge another as living holy, but I care for such things in my own life, before I can point out errors in others. This is not meant to denote some kind of sinless life on my part, or some holier then though attitude, but an attempt to live by our Lords counsel and direction to be perfect, just as he is perfect.

    Mth 5:48 "You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

    If I have sinned in these matters, may it be to the glory of Jehovah, that his forgiveness toward me may show his love, and my dedication to be corrected by him.

    Rom 3:7 "But if by my lie the truth of God has been made more prominent to his glory, why am I also being judged as a sinner?"


    You have not understood me. I believe those in the Watchtower are more to blame then those in the world or other religions. That is far from thinking they are holier. They are more to blame for the sins within, and will be destroyed because of it. I believe you have a preconceived idea of my beliefs, and it doesn't match my own. The Watchtower is more so responsible for the gross sin within, and when you look at it like that they are the most sinful people on earth, meaning the ones most need of judgement, the most accountable.

    You have two nations, Egypt and Babylon, Jehovah can use one to destroy the other. Therefore the one used to destroy had a purpose in Gods plan. Did that change the fact they were sinners? No, it simply means God used them as part of his plan. That is what I believe the Watchtower is fulfilling, and will fulfill. They are deserving of more strokes then anyone else, and will receive judgement.

    In the end Jehovah will gather a true church from the whole world, that gathering has not started. Gods people are in all churches. I'm not sure I can say it much clearer.

    Your isolationism argument does nothing to detract from the fact Jehovah uses isolated groups and nations to accomplish his will. Any argument attempted against that fact will be lost.

    In my humble opinion dear brother...

    Love through Christ.

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I couldn't possibly sum up my entire position better than you do with the above words, JoshuaStone7. :)

    With appreciation,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    But what we disagree upon are the combatants. Where I see a future battle between the Holy See and the Watchtower, you see all religions on level footing.

    We agree on principles, but on chronology and fulfillments we differ. It's probably that, that we should be discussing.
     
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    Before I respond, I would like the opportunity to confess that when it comes to child sexual molestation, I am overly biased and intolerant— which is why I was especially condemnatory in speaking about the mishandling of such a matter among those who proclaim themselves the only Christians who have "accurate knowledge" when it comes to Jehovah, the Bible, and all that goes with it.

    Having been a victim of an entire summer of rapings at the hand of a young man who lived up the street when I was only 7 or 8, and me powerless to do anything, and too shamed to speak of it (although I couldn't process WHY at that age!)— and then molested during my teen years by yet ANOTHER man— I have no tolerance for those who perpetrate such violence upon innocence, and no mercy for those who intentionally or not protect or shield such ones behind organizational policy and Jehovah's name. I still carry the damage of those attacks, and it has impacted every facet of my life, from how I see myself, to my marriages and difficulties with intimacy.

    So yes, I am aware of my bias in the matter of sexual abuse. I can only hope what I demonstrate is a righteous anger in behalf of the abused, and not pettiness.

    Okay, with that being said, back to your thoughts...

    As you admit, we agree on principle.

    That we see things differently as to chronology and fulfillment has already been made clear, I think.

    You feel we should discuss the differences we have as to chronology and fulfillment, but to what end, really, if not to try establishing which of us is right as to application of the principle that we already agree on? As if rightness trumps righteousness?

    But abstain from foolish debates, from tales of genealogies, from contentions and from the contests of The Scribes, for there is no profit in them and such things are worthless.—Titus 3:9 Aramaic Bible in Plain English

    Do not have anything to do with foolish and stupid discussions, because you know they breed arguments. A servants of the Lord must not argue. Instead, he must be kind to everyone, teachable, willing to suffer wrong, and gentle when refuting opponents.—2 Timothy 2:23-25 International Standard Version
    Of what benefit is it for us to expend efforts picking splinters out of one another's eye?

    Putting it another way:

    For me, I consider you a Christian because I know your heart is inclined toward Jehovah. I see no reason to view you as anything less than a brother— especially on the basis that we do not share the same opinions and conclusions, because the scriptures speak differently to each of us and the worldview we've formed during the course of our walk as believers. My responsibility as a follower of Jesus is not to focus so much on the differences but in appreciating our common hope and faith.

    So, when I realized as I read that from you, that you and I were both in agreement in principle, that was enough for me. To add anything further would just start us off again down the path of contention and dispute and quarreling, which I have little interest in as a follower of the one who leads us back to Jehovah God.

    Which is why I ask what would be gained by us pitting our views against each other when we both know we're pretty locked into them at this point?

    Now, if someone following this discussion has a question for the two of us, then it might be fitting for us to both respond to their thoughts— but so far, this has been an exclusive discussion between two people who agree in principle, but not in who it should apply to and who it doesn't.

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Jehovah has preserved us alive in order to serve as examples through his purpose. We just as well could be dead, but through our sufferings he has preserved us to show his love made more perfect in spite of evil.

    He couldn't end evil and still have allowed our existence, so instead he chose the weak things of the world, to bring to shame the wise, so that despite our trials, we would still have the opportunity to live.

    1Cor 1:27 "but God chose the foolish things of the world to put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world to put the strong things to shame;"

    Through our sufferings, and ultimate dedication, we become examples of Gods love, and proof of his power.

    Mrk 10:45 "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Had we not had these memories, perhaps his love would not shine as brightly as it does within us, for through our lives Gods love has had the opportunity to be shown with great strength, long suffering, endurance, in order to prove that he has the right to direct our steps.

    Psm 119:71 "It is good that I have been afflicted, So that I may learn your regulations."

    When the next life comes to be, we will maintain our perseverance that was learned through suffering, but the memories of evil will fade.

    Ish 65:17 "For look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be called to mind, Nor will they come up into the heart."

    Ish 43:18 "Do not remember the former things, And do not dwell on the past."

    We bare each others burdens, and through our brotherhood we carry each others tribulations, building each other up in the law of Christ.

    Gal 6:2 "Go on carrying the burdens of one another, and in this way you will fulfill the law of the Christ."

    So with that, you are quite right, that the most important thing between us is that we come together in brotherhood, not to highlight differences, but in our shared experience of Gods Holy Spirit that resides in us. All the details will be manifested in Jehovah's times and seasons...

    Let us continue to be exemplars of Gods Spirit that resides in us, proving his love through the Christ that bore our sins, in order to make his love more perfect within us through all trials and tribulations. For I would rather have suffered, then to not have had the opportunity of eternal life at all.

    2Cor 4:8-10 "We are hard-pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed. Always we endure in our body the death-dealing treatment that Jesus suffered, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our body."

    All love in The Way...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

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    I can't find a splinter here to try picking out while I beat you in the head from the rafter in my own eye. ;)

    Now where's the fun in that, right?

    But I'm surprised at the silence in this particular room. Not a subject that invites discussion and exchanges of faith?

    —Timothy

    PS. You shine much brighter when you speak in edification, @Joshuastone7 . Just an opinion. :cool:
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    I started playing the guitar at age 10 years old. I practiced 10 hours a day for many years. Now, as I was learning scales, I wanted to know how they all fit together onto the neck. I knew they all had to overlap into a cohesive singleness, and I also knew this was something I was going to have to gradually understand over time. Where once I would play set scales up and down the neck, I wanted to no longer think of scales by rote, but to seamless merge all scales and have the freedom to play from one end of the neck to the other through many different scale structures.

    For many, many years I believed my gifts in Scripture were prophecy, and chronology. Not that I didn't appreciated Jehovah's love, and our Lords, I just didn't understand it in the way I would fully liked to. To understand how the entire Bible fit together, just like those scales on my guitar, was something I didn't even consider was a possibility. Most people have a subject their gravitate toward, and that's the way it is. What I discovered was, as I branched out in interest, and earnestly prayed to understand their love, I started to discover an entire new area of the Bible that was new, and unexplored, and was just as complex as the chronology I had been working on for so many years before.

    This has been a few years ago now, and I consider this step a gift from Jehovah and our Lord. For there to not be a subject in the Bible I don't love just as much as another, and to be able to pick right up in any subject within, is truly amazing, and a miracle. I've understood the entire narrative as a whole, as a single writer, and I couldn't express to you what that means to me.

    I am a lover of the chronology, but by our Lords grace, he has slowly molded me into someone who has started to understand his love, more and more each day. I have a long ways to go of course, but none-the-less, I consider this moment in my life to be the greatest gift I have ever been given, I have another day I get to address Jehovah.

    In fact, that sounds like a pretty good thread to start...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    You think you understand things now? Watch what you'll be able to mean when you say that in, say, 10 or 15 years from now. Or 25!

    A quarter of a century spent at the feet of the Exemplar who has so much to tell us, right!? Because nobody among us knows Jehovah better than Jesus, can we agree? Setting aside our diversity in our grasps of pre-existence and other "details," we hold in common that Jesus knows Jehovah far better than we humans do.

    He knew Jehovah in the same way Adam knew Jehovah, I think we may also agree. Jesus is accepted among his followers as the Second Adam, and now he's leading those following him, back to the Father that walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. From there, we start going into, in my estimation, the details. And the world has a saying about who it is that we find in the details. o_O

    And once he's completed bring his sheep before the Father, then, we'll know Jehovah in the same intimate and everlasting way.

    If we think we understand anything now... well, we know nothing. :cool:

    We're familiar with a grain of sand on a vast beach of grains of sand.

    Thoughtfully,
    —Timothy
     
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    wallflower

    wallflower Moderator

    Joined:
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    Sorry I get "snowballed" with work and family responsibilities so I can't always post when I'd like to.

    As previously mentioned, I wasn't raised as a Witness. As a child, I attended Sunday school. My parents strongly encouraged the family to read books. I have fond memories of sitting at the dinner table and having a family conversation. My parents kept a copy of the Bible and a dictionary within easy reach.

    I was used to reading books that would be considered technical for a young person, so reading the Bible didn't faze me. In terms of the reading and comprehension level, it was on par with other books that I read at that time.

    I was the sort of kid that would ask questions at Sunday school along the lines of: "Where did Noah put the termites on the ark?" "How did God take care of the additional atmospheric pressure of the water canopy above the earth?"

    I was a bit confused by Revelation 21:3,4 where it states that "there will be no mourning." (I had misunderstood and thought that this meant that there would be no more literal mornings, as in sunrises, Huh!!!!)

    When I came across Babylon the Great, the harlot, I wondered what that was. The Sunday school teacher said I should ask my parents. My mother explained that it was a woman who wanted to have a lot of husbands. She said that it was a word that I would understand better when I was a grown-up. (Hmm......must be another one of those awkward words.)

    I started going to the meetings at the Kingdom Hall when I was in my teens and got baptised in my late teens.

    A comment that was made frequently from the platform, was that "your relationship with Jehovah depends on your relationship with the brothers and sisters in the congregation."

    I had trouble getting my head around this one because I didn't see my relationship with God/Jehovah as starting from the time I began to go to the meetings. In my eyes, my personal relationship with God/Jehovah began when I started to read the Bible for myself as a child. I prayed to God and I was interested in knowing what the Bible had to say.

    I love the brothers and sisters and seek out the ones who are "left out in the cold" on a social level - the ones who are "satellites." I enjoy talking with them but I also view the association as "being the icing on the cake,"

    I don't see my own spirituality as being defined by whether I'm associated with the congregation. My spiritual relationship is between me and Jehovah.

    When the Watchtower Society collapses, I will still have a relationship with Jehovah.

    I also get the impression that some brothers and sisters cannot separate the Watchtower Society from Jehovah, in their own minds. In reality, they are 2 separate entities.

    Just my two cents worth.
     

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