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

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Earthbound, Apr 18, 2018.

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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Good morning, Joshuastone7,

    I'll be responding more fully after work today, but I wanted to say a couple things real quick this morning:

    First, the reason for Jehovah ending their efforts by making it so they couldn't communicate (and thus work) with each other was not because they might otherwise have been successful in building a tower to heaven—He ended their efforts because they were acting in defiance of His commandment to spread abroad:

    Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth." —Genesis 11:4 New International Version
    It was this intent to group together which was the act of defiance, not the building of the tower (and city) itself.

    Following the Flood, Jehovah's commandment was made clear:

    "As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” —Genesis 9:7 New International Version
    This would've required a spreading out across the planet, not in their remaining in a concentrated group.

    These ones had two concerns: making a name for themselves and grouping together to avoid being "scattered" across the planet Earth. To this day, there is the common notion that there is "strength in numbers."

    These Babylonian philosophies are still practiced today among the sects of the followers of Jesus who feel a compulsion to group together "so that we make a name for ourselves," resulting in Catholics, Baptists, Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, Christadelphians, Bible Students, and on the list goes. Every time we encounter a group that has taken a name for itself, we are witnessing a modern-day re-enactment of what happened at Babel— in defiance to Jehovah God. Every single group insists that they need to "build" a "city" (organization) and make a name unto themselves.

    As far as the Watchtower organization, historically speaking, this Babylonian philosophy did not infect Bible Students, who were quite content to refer to themselves as Christians (Charles Taze Russell acknowledged in his writings that other Christians had pieces of the Truth-- he was trying to simply collate those pieces into a single body of understanding and teachings) and as Bible Students... until Judge Rutherford declared that henceforth the Bible Students would be known across the world as "Jehovah's Witnesses," making a name for themselves, lest they be "scattered" across the world. Since then, brick has been laid upon brick in the building of this "city" he envisioned being built— and the Watchtower today often speaks about the immense number of members as proof that Jehovah blesses their efforts in building a tower that reaches toward heaven.

    And since then, the corruption has proceeded to develop to the point where we now see more emphasis on organizational loyalty and obedience than mercy, more emphasis on legally protecting the organization than in acting righteously with those who have endured child sexual abuse within the "city," and the "stoning to death" of those who call error where it is found within the organization.

    All of these are done in defiance of Jehovah, surely! So I see no conflict with my earlier observations concerning the "limiter" Jehovah has placed on human ability to group together beyond a certain number (to a congregational level, I suspect). No human organization will act successfully once it hits that divinely-sanctioned threshold of "let us build..."

    Okay, I better get around for work... Jehovah willing, I'll be back late this afternoon to respond to your last two posts and catch up on Tsaphah's post, too!

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother...

    I might bring to your attention that in fact Jehovah did not confuse their language because they were gathering together, but rather because "there was nothing they were not capable of."

    Gen 11:6,7 "Now there is nothing that they may have in mind to do that will be impossible for them. Come! Let us go down there and confuse their language in order that they may not understand one another’s language.”

    Reading and writing comes from Sumeria, mathematics, our clocks and calendars, the brake down of our minutes and hours, astronomy to count the days. If Jehovah had not confused their language, it's likely the world would have been destroyed by now by their own creations. The technology age would have come long ago.

    I see a stark contrast between gathering together in defiance of God, and gathering together to worship God. Babylon's premise was to defy God by believing they could outsmart him, while in contrast Israel was gathered together in reliance of God.

    Gathering together is natural and appropriate, from the family group, to city centers, and religious communities alike. It is however the text we are concerning ourselves with here, and whether Jehovah intends there to be a collection of worshipers for his name sake, separate from the world. I've quoted quite a few Scriptures showing Jehovah collected out of the nations the Israelite's into a group for himself. A nation separate from others, and in fact they were to not marry, not associate, not even eat with people of other nations, while Babylon excepted everyone. The Israelite's were far more isolated then even Babylon.

    I do not see a connection of God's command to multiply on the earth, and the Babylonians wish to not be separated. After all, Gen 11:6,7 says their language was confused because "there was nothing they were not capable of".

    As well, I don't see a connection of man gathering together in defiance of God in the Babylonian idea of working around him, and that of gathering together to do Gods will. It is my observation that these two ideas are wholly separate. No, the text seems to indicate that Babylon is a gathering together in worship of false Gods in opposition to those gathered together to worship the one true God. This has been the ongoing theme throughout all Scripture.

    In my humble opinion brother.

    All love...
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    We could probably quibble here, because my first thought to that is "Ok, but have you ever seen a single man build a skyscraper? What men get in their heads to achieve requires numbers of them working collectively toward that goal. Everyone has to place the concept ahead of their tendency to want to bash and kill each other when they don't have anything better they want to do long enough to achieve the task.

    This, by nature, requires communication between the "cells" (individuals) within this corporate body which forms when humans start to group together in a certain number.

    So yes, you are correct that if Jehovah did not put that "limiter" in place, it wouldn't have taken long for those same men to become emboldened by their success and go for something even more offensive. Next thing, you need more manpower, so you get yourself some slaves to help in the task— until you realized, hey, why should you have to do this labor. All you need are more slaves.

    But this doesn't dismiss the point I raise, does it, that henceforth, humans have only been able to amass to a certain point. Right now, there are followers of Jesus who expect to see a demonic "one world government," right? Just a single ruler of Man with absolute power and authority, and with him the Tribulation that takes us further down the stream of Prophetic Time.

    I'd be surprised if anyone here saw that much power and authority in a mortal human man over every man, woman, and child, as a good thing for any of us. There's the whole "666" field of interpretations, the "mark" of "the beast" that will be required if one is to buy or sell during this period. And more. Plenty to convince anyone who might think it would be a good thing, otherwise.

    Doesn't matter, and that's because other humans have to submit to that authority for him to have any power. How much power do you have over a wayward teenager when they refuse to obey you? It isn't like you can plant them in the corner to think about things for a bit. As a father, I've learned that one— and it taught me a great deal about how it must be with us and our Heavenly Father.

    It was a lesson well-deserved, I'll admit.

    Anyhow, have you ever seen a single man build a skyscraper or city? Oh, but give him enough men to bend their will to what he can conceive, and look out!

    By confusing humans' ability to communicate in large enough numbers, Jehovah put the limiter into action. If we live to see a single human ruling over the earth (by that I mean anyone except Jesus), it will be because Jehovah lifted the limiter for a final offensive act against His Sovereignty and their rejection of the earth's rightful and God-appointed Messiah-King and High Priest, preferring "Barabbas" (the world leader) to their Messiah.

    That will be a sad day, should we live to see it.

    In any case, what good is being able to conceive of anything without the means to do it? There were enough numbers among them who spoke their particular tongue, perhaps at the tribe or family level, but I imagine Jehovah in His Mercy allowed for mothers and fathers to communicate with their children. In a patriarchal society, the father oversaw the responsibilities of his tribe or family. It's certainly possible that each tribe found itself speaking a particular language.

    Abraham took in Lot, and their numbers during their years of living together reached that curious limiter. Men started fighting with each other, as men are wont to do, and it got to the point where Abraham and Lot parted ways.

    At a certain point, corruption sets in, proving again and again:

    I saw all this when I thought about the things that are done in this world, a world where some people have power and others have to suffer under them. —Ecclesiastes 8:9 Good News Translation
    The factualness of this does not have to be limited to the various world governments and empires we've seen down through history. My assertion is that this is equally and demonstrably true of the Watchtower organization and its exercise of authority over those calling themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses." You can trace it back through the history of the movement, to where it seems to have started with Rutherford. Authority over the congregations became centralized with Rutherford, and subsequent leaders have retained that "seat of Moses," determining what faceless masses of believers should believe and do.

    I say faceless because of the inviolate disconnection that takes place when a ruler or governing body or what-have-you has power and authority over enough people. For those who are actively attending meetings, for example: how often has any of the Governing Body come to have dinner with you, and see how your family is doing?

    Yet they are determining doctrine and beliefs and practices for millions of members in the organization. It's impossible, even for them, to personally know and be in fellowship with every person they have authority over. The disconnection is made clear by the controversies surrounding the Watchtower organization, and a growing number of brothers and sisters becoming "satellites" in their congregation, or getting excommunicated because they feel moved to stand against badness where it's been found.

    Some people have power and others have to suffer under them.

    We'd be kidding ourselves, wouldn't we, if we said that the Watchtower organization is flawless. That the men deciding what a member is to practice and believe, shouldn't personally know the ones whom they expect obedience from?

    All of this is my way of explaining that I do not believe that a global authority over believers outside of Jesus' direct rulership (alongside his apostles who were given thrones) should be attempted. I believe it is an affront to Jehovah's capable eye who is a weed and who is wheat to say that it's our responsibility to build a city and make a name for ourselves. A great city!

    On the other hand, I find much evidence that the congregation in any given area was the highest authority in a believer's life. At least until Catholicism found Christianity, and the Papacy sat on the "seat of Moses."

    A congregation is ideal, really. First, because it's large enough that there are the necessary exchanges of faith and closeness that develops as everyone looks after one another not just physically, especially the elderly among them, and the "orphans," or children of divorced parents— but spiritually, as well. Sure, there are the inevitable spats and misunderstandings, but the "older men" bring their wisdom to the handling of such matters, their judgment tempered by their personal relationships with those being admonished, for example. If there is repentance, then forgiveness is in order. Otherwise, it was their responsibility to remove the person(s) actively sinning from the congregation once the case was presented to the congregation for their judgment.

    I find no scriptural requirement in the epistles for those elders to then report to anyone but Jehovah God and or Jesus as the Intercessor of the sinner, and the people who demanded it keep a file of the situation to be kept indefinitely.

    Even the Hebrews, Israelites and Jews didn't do that! Nor did the first-century followers of Jesus.

    Maybe. Not sure I want to know. It'd just be depressing, I'm sure, given what I see presently.

    But most of this goes to what I wrote above, I think.

    But you're making this about intent. If one intends it for good, then that must mean it's okay?

    Should I to take you to suggest that the Watchtower organization presently ruling over its membership is what Charles Taze Russell intended? Or what Judge Rutherford intended? An organization that has grossly mishandled child sex abuse within its own body of believers? Ejected those who question their authority or teachings rather than their accepting the counsel from the Bible? This was all intended by the men who founded the organization?

    And why isn't the membership taking a stand against this perversion of that station's responsibilities and authority by group consent? Putting more capable men in the vacant positions after that's done?

    Is it not true, the saying the world has that the road to the common grave is paved with "good" intentions.

    Wouldn't this scenario be far less likely to come to pass in the intimacy of the congregation's much smaller number of believers?

    Under the assumed authority of the Watchtower organization, a congregation does not have authority either to appoint or remove elders in their congregation autonomously. It is determined, if memory serves, by the body of elders who then make a recommendation to the Watchtower's personnel office.

    But even at this more localized level, there have been accounts of corrupted bodies of elders enjoying their position more than they ought. Such would require additional congregations to get involved in the situation, but they'd only need to "group," I guess I could say, for the duration of the need, and not in an indefinite, perpetual arrangement. Abraham and Lot, remember? And Israel became divided— Israel and Judah. People just can't seem to get along at a certain number together.

    I agree with all of this.

    I hope that some part of my response helps explain better the connection I was trying to make with the "limiter" I see as operational (we'll know the limiter is removed when there's a single world ruler with absolute power in defiance of Jehovah God and Jesus as the Messiah-King) in the attempts of man to group together with either ill or good intentions.

    I still need to look back at the posts I was going to respond to after I got home from work, but it's now almost 3 hours later, LOL!

    For now...

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Addendum to my previous posts, as I didn't want to rely solely on my memory and my speculative comments as to how Jehovah handled the splintering of language at Babel:

    From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.— Genesis 10:5 New American Standard Bible

    These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood. —Genesis 10:32 New American Standard Bible
    Sidenote: It's interesting to me that whereas Jehovah's "Let us make..." led to the creation of Man and Woman, when Nimrod said "Let us build..." it was to show off their self-glory over what they'd made with their own hands-- with no credit to Jehovah.

    Alright, back to work...

    --Tim
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother...

    And that to me is the whole point, it is the intent of the heart that was the catalyst. I just simply don't see any precedence in the text that gathering is in any way contrary to Jehovah's will, in fact the history of Jehovah's interaction with the Jews indicates quite the opposite, and shows us how he collects his people together.

    Ish 11:12 "He will raise up a signal for the nations and gather the dispersed ones of Israel, and he will gather together the scattered ones of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

    In my humble opinion...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I agree with everything you wrote after the first sentence.

    Where I disagree is in you qualifying something it is impossible for any of us to establish. Intent. What's really in the heart of men.

    How do you or I know the intentions of the men in position of leadership in, for example, the Watchtower organization?

    If you believe that there is a reasonable explanation for the organization's mishandling of something as straightforward as child sexual abuse, which even NON-believers know how to handle when it's uncovered, I'll listen. How does the presence of this and other injustices demonstrate the value of the "good intent" you assert is there, setting the Watchtower organization apart from any other organization. . .?

    Personally, I see no basis to believe that the Watchtower organization is a modern-day fulfillment of Isaiah 11:12, which you cited above. I'm not certain if that was your point, of course. And I see plenty of basis for believing they're not. At least insofar as any other religious organization that makes a name for itself and declares itself "Christian."

    But our gathering together? Absolutely! Every chance we get! And yes, Jesus continues to find those seeking to follow him back to the Father Who awaits us. They are scattered among the weeds, some in better soil, some in lesser soil. But scattered, nonetheless.

    Scattered does not necessarily mean isolated, though. And I've been isolated for a long time. Long enough to not miss it like I know I should.

    I'm just not drawn to belonging to a human organization again on a scale like national and international Christian religions like the Watchtower organization and Southern Baptists and others that have grown to such a number that the men "taking the lead" have no connection with those they assert responsibility and authority over. And that isn't Christlike, quite frankly. While Jesus had the 12 disciples, at one point the gospels describe him as having 70 or 72 additional disciples—depending on which original texts you examine.

    At the first Pentecost following Jesus' being raised back to life, there were 120 gathered in an upper room.

    Gathering is perfectly acceptable, and an opportunity for the blessing of Jehovah's holy spirit. I have nowhere in the above, to the best of my recollection, suggested otherwise.

    The problems begin when you get a certain number of humans together. Problems like what were seeing in ginormous religious organization, all claiming to be Christian.

    Didn't Israel have plenty of drama and injustices? Absolutely. Scripturally undeniable.

    Well, then why wouldn't Jehovah's modern-day people have similar issues, right?

    The problem with that approach is that the Watchtower organization asserts that it is more right than every other group of Christians out there. That "we" have "the Truth."

    This possession of God's "Truth" causes and moves them to act unjustly, pridefully, with domineering force?

    All I see the claim doing is making the Watchtower organization like all the other religious organizations. No more, no less. No different.

    There are only two religious organizations I know of that have a standing and verifiable policy to pay donated funds to silence people wronged by the policies of the respective organizations: the Roman Catholic Church and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

    How can I be okay meeting with brothers and sisters who allow this to happen, and worship alongside them? Not to mention their ostracization of me as an apostate by declaration of the organization's leadership!

    We are commanded, I know, to gather with others of like faith?

    While coming to a site such as this and being able to discuss topics such as one finds here are a vague replacement for actual, real fellowship, they are not, I believe, what the epistle writers intended for us.

    As the primary decision-maker for the site, it is your responsibility that the site remain within the guidelines and principles you are aiming for. Now, let's say that you have a large enough body of posters that you'd find yourself having to stay aware of, oh, 100 new topics every day, and dozens of replies to each one. At what point does this effort become unmanageable for you, personally? Now, how well do you personally know each of the people posting those 100 topics every day, or the ones replying. You might know some, of course, but at some point it just so happens that you don't know everyone here like you did when the site was small and familiar.

    Now multiply that by millions of people in the Watchtower organization. There is no way they can make wise decisions without knowing every single member and their unique needs and propensity for understanding. You move to a template or cookie-cutter organization, with policies to match. It's expedient, but it is not reflective of Jesus or Jehovah, who know us as individuals better than we know ourselves. This is the disconnection I refer to in my earlier posts, between the governing and those governed. Without connection, there can be no empathy.

    Anyhow, do I go to the meetings, sit quietly, waiting on Jehovah? After all, the organization is there to worship Jehovah. It's intended for good, so it's okay.

    How would my worshipping alongside those turning a blind eye to badness be any different from me attending a different congregation of believers where they believe the Trinitarian concept of God, but welcome me and converse without offense? Apart from the critical spirit that operates in me, still, I should add.

    In one setting, I will be forbidden to speak. In the other, I am welcome to speak but I will sometimes hear them expressing their faith in the Trinitarian teaching, too.

    If good intentions are the determining factor here, is it your belief that between the rock and the hard place I just described, I'm still better off with the Watchtower organization because it is intended for good and for Jehovah, unlike any Baptist church?

    Thoughtfully,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I just happened to be skimming through The Myth of Certainty, a book I read many years ago and which I recently mentioned in a reply to SimpleBalanced, and found this bit I had highlighted back than as profound:

    "The primary goal of all institutions and subculture is self-preservation. Preserving the faith is central to God's plan for human history; preserving particular religious institutions is not. Do not expect those who run the institutions to be sensitive to the difference. God needs no particular person, church, denomination, creed, or organization to accomplish His purpose. He will make use of those, in all their diversity, who are ready to be used, but will leave to themselves those who labor for their own ends.

    "Nonetheless, questioning the institution is synonymous, for many, with attacking God—something not long to be tolerated. Supposedly they are protecting God, an almost humorous notion if its consequences were not so hurtful. Apparently God is fragile, His feelings easily hurt, sort of like Mr. Snuffleupagus on 'Sesame Street' who feels sad and frustrated when people don't believe he exists. Actually, they are protecting themselves, their view of the world, and their sense of security. The religious institution has given them meaning, a sense of purpose, and, in some cases, careers. Anyone perceived as a threat to these things is a threat indeed.

    "The threat is often met, or suppressed before it even arises, with power. All institutions and subcultures have power. It is granted by its members and is exercised in many ways for various purposes." —The Myth of Certainty, pp 29-30​

    --Tim
     
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    Utuna

    Utuna Member

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    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for suggesting such an interesting subject. Personally, I have never been out "in the wilderness" and as a result, I won't broach this subject from this angle.

    As you may already know, I'm still an active JW and as regards my current means of fellowship, I keep attending the meetings as often as possible although I won't feel contrite if I ever miss a couple of them out of laziness. Another means of fellowship that I enjoy and also misses a lot because of being snowed under is coming here on the db to share encouraging thoughts and spiritual gems.

    I don't attend the meetings because of a certain spiritual hunger and thirst since I expect nothing really new or grounbreaking from the WT's "masterminds". I see no reason to leave the JWs for now despite the stupidity and the falsity of certain teachings because said JWs are in my opinion the less bad religion available for now and I therefore prefer to focus my activity among them on "considering one another so as to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near." - Heb. 10:24-25

    We all have a certain kernel of nonsense in whatever we put faith in and I forgive the JWs, so to speak, in that regard (unless I'm asked to do things that hurt my conscience) because there are higher issues at stakes.

    Interestingly, I like the way this proverb is phrased in the quotation you made above.
     
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    Utuna

    Utuna Member

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    His real name is - because in Morse code, - stands for T, Mister T ! :p
     

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