Sunday, July 23

Give us more faith.Luke 17:5.

What can you do to build and maintain strong faith? Do not be satisfied with only what you learned up to the point of your baptism. Take note of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible because these can provide you with powerful reasons for having faith. You can also use God’s Word as a measuring rod to see if your faith matches the description of what is expected of those who have strong faith. The apostle Paul told fellow Christians that they could “have an interchange of encouragement by one another’s faith.” As we associate with fellow worshippers, we can build up one another’s faith, especially when we are with those who have already demonstrated the “tested quality” of their faith. Bad associations destroy faith, but good associations build it.  That is one reason why we are counseled not to forsake “our meeting together.”

Faith is everything. It is the only means by which we can have a real relationship with God, through Christ.  Certainly, the Watchtower has made it possible to build faith based upon an accurate knowledge of the truth. But therein lies a problem. Because the Watchtower occupies such a dominant place in the spiritual lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses it may actually hamper the development of faith. To be sure, there is more than meets the eye.

To illustrate the point, consider the whole disciple-making process. Typically, the first contact a person has with Jehovah’s Witnesses is when they knock on their door. Nearly always the householder is presented with some type of literature published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Upon each return visit more literature is placed. Eventually the householder agrees to a Bible study. Except the Bible is only referenced. The actual study material is another Watchtower publication. Nevertheless, the householder progresses and begins attending meetings. There they are acquainted with more Watchtower literature and now they are also introduced to Watchtower produced videos.

Eventually they grow to the point of wishing to go out in service. But before that can happen they have to be vetted by the elders to determine if they qualify based upon criteria established by the Watchtower. In time they progress to the point of baptism, but in order to qualify they first must answer a series of questions posed by the Watchtower.

Ultimately, upon their actual baptism “candidates” are required to confess that they recognize that their dedication to God and baptism identifies them as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization. In other words, their faith is made inseparable from the organization —from the Watchtower. And that is just the beginning.

The Watchtower determines virtually every aspect of the expression of faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Therein lies the problem though. How so?

The problem is, Satan the Devil has an issue with God. It goes back to the accusations Satan made in connection with the man Job. The Devil brought up the same issue when Jesus began teaching his disciples. That is why on the night of his arrest and trial Jesus forewarned Peter that Satan had demanded to have them to sift them as wheat. And the sifting commenced moments later when Judas led the mob to the garden of Gethsemane.

It is worth noting that there is one aspect of the spiritual lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the Watchtower cannot control. Obviously men cannot control the spirit. Jesus likened the holy spirit to the wind, in that, the wind blows wherever it will blow and men do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is, God chooses whomever he wishes and there is nothing the Watchtower can do about it. Be that as it may, the Watchtower still exercises authority over all who are called into the Kingdom –at least for now.

In the 12th chapter of Revelation we are informed that at the moment Satan the Devil is hurled down from heaven by the incoming crown prince, Michael the archangel, the Devil is identified as the “accuser of our brothers, who accuses them night and day our God.” That means that at the time when the final members of the seed of the woman are brought forth another period of sifting commences when Satan is hurled down.

Besides our individual faults, there is no doubt that Satan’s primary accusation is that Jehovah’s Witnesses are merely following God’s spirit-directed organization and could not possibly be true to God if made to stand alone. As in the case of Job Jehovah has put up a protective hedge around his people —the organization. Surely, the issues that are at the heart of Satan’s accusations must be settled with finality before the Devil is put away.

Jehovah himself is very much intent on settling the issues Satan has raised, once and for all time. That is why God hid the reality of Jesus’ death from the apostles in order that their faith might be tested. Incidentally, it is interesting that when the apostles asked Jesus to give them more faith they had already seen Jesus perform quite a few miracles, such as casting out demons, healing various diseases and ailments, miraculously transforming water into wine and a few fishes and crumbs of bread into a feast, even calming a tempestuous storm at sea. Still, they asked for more faith.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have never seen Christ. They have not seen miracles. As already stated, their faith is entirely bound up with the Watchtower. Indeed, the Watchtower reinforces that dependency at every opportunity. It is not enough that the Watchtower is at the center of the spiritual lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the present time, but the Governing Body have assured the faithful that when the time comes they will be at the helm of the spirt-directed organization to issue “live-saving direction.”

In that respect the entire association today is in a similar situation as the apostles were before Jesus’ death. They assumed Jesus was going to become king then and there. They simply could not comprehend what Jesus was saying when he plainly spoke about his being handed over and put to death. Just to be clear, the apostles were not simply ignorant. The account at Luke 9:45 makes it plain that the truth was concealed from them by God.

Following that pattern, God has allowed for Jehovah’s Witnesses to be brought under a “deluding influence.” Like the delusion the apostles were under regarding the imminence of the Kingdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been brought under a massive delusion regarding Jesus supposedly having come in his Kingdom in 1914. The delusion is regularly reenforced with persuasive, but specious scriptural support.

It is worth noting that the apostles should have known Christ had to die. The prophets and Psalms spoke very plainly about his death, burial and resurrection. But the account in Luke indicates that they were afraid to question Jesus any more. After all, Jesus once sternly rebuked Peter for trying to dissuade him from his course of self-sacrifice.

Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses are afraid to question the Watchtower; fearful that they may be rebuked or even branded as an apostate and cast out of the synagogue. Indeed, the Watchtower instills such fear.

But, like the apostles, Jehovah’s Witnesses should know better, if they really examined the Scriptures as they ought.

But, obviously God permits the delusion to persist for a reason. The reason, of course, is so that Jehovah’s Witnesses may be put to the test. And that test will commence when Christ comes. That is why Jesus posed the question: “Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find this faith on the earth?”

When Christ arrives then it will become apparent that the deluding influence emanated from God’s spirt-directed organization. Not only that, but just as Judas betrayed Christ at a critical moment, the prophets make plain that there is a Judas class among Christians, known as the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction —which is what Jesus dubbed Judas.

Following his lead Jesus foretold that many brothers will hate one another and betray one another.

The stage is set. The Watchtower is not going to lead you into paradise. In fact, whatever remains of the Watchtower during the Lord’s day will serve as an antichrist in opposition to Christ. By faith Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to leave the spirit directed organization. At the time it will be as though all anointed persons suffer a spiritual death. It will require a miracle, a resurrection to bring them to life.

Regarding that future resurrection the prophet Isaiah wrote about it in the 26th chapter. In veiled reference to the lofty place the Watchtower occupies presently, the prophet wrote: “For he has brought low those inhabiting the height, the lofty city. He brings it down, He brings it down to the earth; He casts it down to the dust. The foot will trample it, the feet of the afflicted, the steps of the lowly.”

As regards the judgment of the man of lawlessness, Isaiah goes on to say: “O Jehovah our God, other masters besides you have ruled over us, but we make mention of your name alone. They are dead; they will not live. Powerless in death, they will not rise up. For you have turned your attention to them to annihilate them and destroy all mention of them.”

Surely, the Watchtower has acted as masters over the anointed sons. It has required them to confess they belong to an organization run by lawyers and accountants and a board of directors. They have ruled over us. But when Christ comes then that is it for them. The spirit-directed organization will become impotent in death. And the agents of Satan who have up until now disguised themselves as ministers of righteousness will be sentenced to permanent death, which will bring about the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But since the faithful have been made dependent upon the organization, its demise will seem to have brought an end to Jehovah’s entire purpose. It will require the demonstration of a faith that transcends that which was made subservient to the Watchtower. That is why, speaking for the true sons of the Kingdom then, Isaiah wrote in advance: “O Jehovah, during distress they turned to you; they poured out their prayer in a whisper when you disciplined them. Just as a pregnant woman about to give birth has labor pains and cries out in pain, so we have been because of you, O Jehovah. We became pregnant, we had labor pains, but it is as if we have given birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the land, and no one is born to inhabit the land.”

To be sure, no life-saving direction will emanate from on high then, from Bethel. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be brought to their knees. Only then will God reveal himself in Christ. That is why Isaiah goes on to say, speaking for Jehovah: “Your dead will live. My corpses will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully, you residents in the dust! For your dew is as the dew of the morning, and the earth will let those powerless in death come to life.”

Here Jehovah is not speaking of the literal resurrection of the dead. That is apparent because the command to awake and rise up from the dust is issued prior to the command to “Go, my people, enter your inner rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a brief moment until the wrath has passed by.”

The reason God speaks of them as “my corpses” is because Jehovah bought them with the sacrifice of his Firstborn. They belong to Jehovah and Christ as their special possession. The revival of Jehovah’s corpses is the same phenomenon as what Ezekiel envisioned regarding the valley of dry bones that rattled and assembled themselves into flesh and boned servants of God. That it comes after the judgment of the evil slaves and before the wrath of God is expressed agains Satan’s world indicates that the “resurrection” is when the chosen ones see Christ in his glorious parousia. They will come to life after they endure God’s discipline and afterwards God will declare them to be righteous, granting them entry into the Kingdom. They will come to life in the fullest sense too, since upon their deaths they will be instantaneously changed in the twinkling of an eye into immortal spirit brothers of Christ. Having seen Christ even before their change they will then shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. It is they who will then lead the faithful to Christ and into the new world. 

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