Monday, January 18
Love is patient and kind.
Putting into practice what Paul wrote concerning love can prevent many problems, can result in happiness, and can bring us God’s blessing. Just as God has shown patience and kindness in dealing with imperfect humans, we need to be patient and kind when others make mistakes and are thoughtless, or even rude. “Love is not jealous,” so true love will not allow us to covet another person’s possessions or privileges in the congregation. Moreover, if we have love, we will not brag or get puffed up with pride. After all, “haughty eyes and an arrogant heart—the lamp that guides the wicked is sin.” Love will cause us to behave in a decent way toward our neighbor. We will not lie to him, steal from him, or do anything else that would violate Jehovah’s laws and principles. Love will also prevent us from looking out only for our own interests instead of showing concern for those of others.
The apostle went on to conclude by saying that “love never fails.”
Unfortunately, in his discussion of the conclusion of the system Jesus foretold that “the love of the greater number will grow cold.” The question is, who is “the greater number”? Was Jesus speaking in regards to people in general, as if to say the love of most people in the world will grow cold?
First, consider the cause. That is not unknown. Jesus said it would be “because of the increasing of lawlessness.”
Insight into the Scriptures provides some insight on the topic of lawlessness. It defines it as a revolt against God —treason. And, of course, Paul identified a man of lawlessness as the fomenter of apostasy. Jesus also spoke of religious hypocrites as being workers of lawlessness. So, the increasing of lawlessness has to do with hypocrisy and rebellion against God.
In context Jesus was speaking about a whole range of developments that will directly impact his disciples. Here is what he said as recorded by Matthew: “Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, too, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold. But the one who has endured to the end will be saved. And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
The question really is, have any of the things Jesus foretold occurred?
It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been persecuted in some countries and are a very unpopular sect overall. The tribulation Jehovah’s Witnesses endured during the Nazi reign of terror has been well documented. But even at that, although several thousand were sent to concentration camps only a relatively small number were actually put to death. Overall, Jehovah’s Witnesses are tolerated and most nations, at least in Christendom, have legal protections for religious minorities.
And what about many being stumbled, betraying and hating one another?
Paul foretold that in the last days there will be difficult times because men (and women) will be lovers of themselves, betrayers, etc. But was Jesus speaking of non-believers betraying one another and hating one another? If so —if those whose love grows cold, who betray and hate one another is in reference to unbelievers, why would Christians have need of endurance?
No, the prophecies foretell that Christ’s congregation is going to be directly impacted by apostasy. “The mystery of this lawlessness is already at work” —manifested in various ways. One aspect is the Watchtower’s denial that elders have any responsibility to protect the children under their charge from the depredations of pedophiles. Although most of Jehovah’s Witnesses are unaware that this is the legal stand the Watchtower has taken, many of those who are aware of it have already been stumbled.
One sister whom I have known for many years and who is a paralegal did not at first believe the Watchtower could be so treacherous. However, being a skilled researcher she looked up court documents involving child abuse cases. As a result of what she discovered she never attended another meeting at the kingdom hall.
But to put things in perspective, the reason God allows for an increase of lawlessness is to test our love for him. That is because it is not at all clear whether Jehovah’s Witnesses love God with their whole heart and mind, or whether they are simply followers of men —in this case, the men being the Governing Body.
Obviously, when one of Jehovah’s Witnesses refuses to any longer follow their faith because of the double-dealing hypocrisy on the part of the Governing Body they demonstrate that they are mere followers of men and not really devoted to God and Christ.
Going forward, when Christ arrives and the conclusion begins the Watchtower is going to go into full-blown apostasy. That is because the leadership will absolutely refuse to accept that Christ has come, because doing so will require that they admit their 1914 error. So, the Watchtower will splinter and from them will arise numerous false prophets.
Those who endure and remain true to Jesus will find themselves thrown out of the synagogue, betrayed by their former brothers, and yes, even handed over and put to death by their own family members. This will be made possible by the fact that the democratic system will have been torn down then. Even America, ‘home of the brave and land of the free,’ will become a totalitarian, police state —its Bill of Rights and Constitution scrapped.
And don’t fool yourself thinking it can’t happen. The once-mighty USSR was thought to be nearly invincible. Only a couple of people predicted its collapse. It can happen overnight.