Friday, July 29

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your spirit is good; may it lead me on level ground.Ps. 143:10.

Although Jehovah makes his counsel freely available, he does not force anyone to follow it. We need to ask for his holy spirit, and he will give it to us generously.  It is essential, though, that we ‘pay attention to how we listen.’ For example, it would be hypocritical to ask Jehovah for help to overcome an inclination toward immorality while continuing to look at pornography or watch immoral movies. We actually need to put ourselves in places or circumstances where Jehovah’s spirit is. We know that his spirit is at the congregation meetings. Many servants of Jehovah have avoided disaster by listening to Jehovah during our meetings. As a result, they have become aware of wrong desires developing in their heart and have corrected their ways.

Commentary

God has a purpose. Jehovah’s Witnesses have always understood that. For example, we know it is Jehovah’s purpose to establish a new world, where peace will always prevail. A world without poverty, sickness or even death. Prior to the end of this present world and the beginning of the new one, God’s purpose is to gather a great crowd of people who will survive the end and populate the new civilization.

It would be a wonderful privilege to be one of those survivors. And to be sure, no one will survive by their own efforts. There is no bunker, no state-of-the-art bomb shelter that can shield one from Jehovah’s superhuman angels when the time comes for them to exterminate this ungodly civilization.

Those who will come out of the tribulation are described in the seventh chapter of Revelation as having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. In other words, they have taken a certain course prior to the tribulation; namely; washing their robes, signifying that their faith in Christ has made them clean in God’s eyes. And yes, God’s spirit will have been instrumental in leading them to that point and beyond.

But there is another aspect of God’s purpose though. And as Jehovah’s Witnesses also know, it has to do with the sanctification of God’s name and the vindication of his sovereignty, made necessary by the rebellion against God instigated by Satan.

In the book of Job it was further revealed that Satan, also known as the Accuser, contended that Job —and by implication me, you and everyone else —will not be loyal to God if made to suffer because of it. To allow the Devil to try and prove his accusation Jehovah permitted him to bring all manner of suffering upon Job.

But, of course, the issue was not settled with finality then. That is why Jehovah also allowed Satan to tempt, test and even torture Jesus, his most beloved Son. But it didn’t end there either. Just moments before he was arrested Jesus told Peter that Satan had demanded to have them, the disciples, in order to sift them as wheat; in other words, to temp, test, torture and even kill.

With the aforementioned in mind, consider where we stand now with respect to the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purpose.

The Watchtower has assured Jehovah’s Witnesses that by following the program provided, by regular meeting attendance, field service along with personal study and prayer, our salvation is assured. That is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with the “program” as such. However, is that all there is to it?

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to expect that the nations will soon destroy false religion and then when the hordes under the authority of the nefarious Gog attack Jehovah’s people, then God will instantaneously respond and annihilate the attackers. All Jehovah’s Witnesses have to do is stick close to the organization and listen to the life-saving instructions that the Governing Body will issue during that critical time.

But what about the issue —the issues Satan has raised? As mentioned, Satan is the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them night and day before God. Should, we suppose, though, that his accusations are totally unfounded?

Consider the setting in which Jesus told Peter that Satan had demanded to have them to shake and rattle them. Prior to Jesus’ arrest the apostles were always at Jesus’ side. When they had doubts Jesus reassured them. When they were perplexed and confused, which was frequently, Jesus patiently explained things to them. However, there was one thing that Jehovah concealed from them —the reality of Jesus’ death.

It was not that Jesus never mentioned it. On the contrary, Jesus plainly spoke of this impending death and resurrection, but they were not allowed to grasp it. God’s spirit did not open their minds. Here is what Luke 9:44-45 says: “‘Listen carefully and remember these words, for the Son of man is going to be betrayed into men’s hands.’ But they did not understand what he was saying. In fact, it was concealed from them so that they might not grasp it, and they were afraid to question him about this saying.”

Although Jesus exhorted them to listen carefully to his words, they could not comprehend what he was saying. Only later, when the resurrected Jesus rebuked them for being senseless and slow in heart to believe the prophets, were they able to understand. But why, why was it concealed from them in the first place? It was so that their faith could be tested in Jesus’ absence. Do you see where I am going with this?

None of Jehovah’s Witnesses can deny that the Organization is all imposing. It absolutely dominates their faith. It would not be too difficult to make the case that the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses is inseparable from the Watchtower. And no doubt the Devil has been the unseen promoter of the Organization as indispensable —even as the virtually infallible mouthpiece of Jehovah. And it is not without precedent that the demons would seemingly, highly recommend Christ’s spokesmen as servants of the Most High. 

Conversely, while cunningly elevating the Organization to an inordinate place of importance in the minds and hearts of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a place reserved exclusively for God and Christ, it does not require a great deal of imagination to envision the Devil accusing Jehovah’s Witnesses of idolatry and of blindly following men.

Just as the apostles were ignorant of the reason Christ’s impending death had been concealed from them, likewise Jehovah’s Witnesses have no concept of their situation with respects to the sanctification of God’s name.

But the prophecies speak very plainly, provided one has ears. The 30th chapter of Isaiah is one aspect of prophecy. Consider the following verses: “For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘By returning to me and resting, you will be saved; Your strength will be in keeping calm and showing trust. But you were unwilling. Instead, you said: ‘No, we will flee on horses!’ So flee you will. ‘And on swift horses we will ride!’ So those pursuing you will be swift. A thousand will tremble at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will flee until what is left of you is like a mast on the top of a mountain, like a signal pole on a hill. But Jehovah is waiting patiently to show you favor, and he will rise up to show you mercy. For Jehovah is a God of justice. Happy are all those keeping in expectation of him.

When the people dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem, you will by no means weep. He will surely show you favor at the sound of your cry for help; he will answer you as soon as he hears it. Though Jehovah will give you bread in the form of distress and water in the form of oppression, your Grand Instructor will no longer hide himself, and you will see your Grand Instructor with your own eyes. And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it,’ in case you should go to the right or in case you should go to the left. And you will defile the silver overlay of your graven images and the golden plating of your metal statues. You will cast them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Be gone!’”

The prophecy foretells a time when God will subject his people to oppression and distress —obviously during the great tribulation. Contrary to the demon-inspired delusion that Jehovah’s Witnesses will be passive bystanders and that God will intervene at the first sign of trouble, that the Watchtower will be in the forefront issuing life-saving direction, the prophecy says that God will feed his people “bread in the form of distress and water in the form of oppression.”

The reason ought to be clear. If not, it will be in the future.

God will require that his people demonstrate their faith in him directly —apart from the Watchtower. It is in fact, in reference to the Organization that God’s redirected people will reject, seeing their former devotion to it for what it is —idolatry.

Given Bethel’s tendency to compromise even in relatively favorable times, no doubt they will seek a human savior then — as if fleeing on swift horses down to Egypt. Perhaps the leadership may then presume that their having been in a partnership with the UN from 1992 through 2002 might afford them some advantage. It will not. Their pathetic, helpless plight will be on full display then, as if a lone “mast on the top of a mountain, like a signal pole on a hill.”

The point at which your Grand Instructor reveals himself so that “you will see your Grand Instructor with your own eyes” will be accomplished by means of the visible, revelation of Christ, who is in fact, Jehovah’s Wonderful Counselor.

Putting the pieces together, those who will ultimately make up the great crowd of survivors will be those who listen to the voice of God as if emanating from behind them, beckoning them to turn around, to repent, and walk in a new course. Then God will teach us to do his will completely and the holy spirit will be poured out in full measure and our eyes will be opened to the whole truth, as verse 26 goes on to foretell: “And the light of the full moon will become like the light of the sun; and the light of the sun will become seven times stronger, like the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah binds up the breakdown of his people and heals the severe wound from the blow he inflicted.”

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