Commentary on the Daily Text of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Wednesday, May 31

Let your brotherly love continue.Heb. 13:1.

We need to develop our brotherly love now, for it will help us during whatever tests and trials we may face in the future. Even now, before the outbreak of the great tribulation, we have a strong need for brotherly love. Many of our brothers have been adversely affected by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, or other natural disasters. Some brothers are suffering because of opposition and persecution. Added to all of this are the economic woes we experience daily as a result of living in this corrupt system of things. As such problems increase, so do our opportunities to demonstrate the depth of our brotherly affection. Even though “the love of the greater number [of people] will grow cold,” we need to prove that our brotherly love continues.

One of the most common accusations leveled at Jehovah’s Witnesses is that we have our own Bible. On the face of it that is certainly true. The Watchtower has published the so-called New World Translation for about a half century.

But the accusation goes further than that. Critics claim that the Watchtower has “changed” the Bible to fit their doctrine. Although the differences in translations are relatively minor, it is true that a few key passages are worded slightly differently in the NWT that impacts the meaning, John 1:1 and John 8:58 coming to mind foremost.

But it is not that Watchtower changed anything. It is more appropriate to say that the publishers of the New World Translation fixed some of the more egregious errors that most translations have embraced.

One device the New World translators have used is brackets. For example, in the NW Reference Bible the bracketed word [other] appears in several places in the first chapter of Colossians, saying of Christ that “all [other] things came through him.” All translators have to insert words into the text that do not appear in the original in order to convey the proper meaning. Most, however, do not use brackets. It is simply a device used by the Watchtower translation committee that lets the reader know that a certain word was inserted by the translator for clarity. There is nothing sinister about that as long as the implied meaning is evident in the original. (Evidently, trinitarians are opposed to added clarity on passages they wish to obscure.)

That being said, now consider the day’s text and the cited passage from the 24th chapter of Matthew, which states: “the love of the greater number [of people] will grow cold…”

The NWT itself does not insert the bracketed phrase [of people]. Why then does the Watchtower in effect re-translate the NWT specifically for this text —giving the casual reader the impression that the verse is quoted whole from the NWT? Is it honest to imply that the context of Matthew warrants the insertion? Bethel’s editing desk could have simply offered a word of explanation, perhaps commenting that the prophecy applies to non-Christians. Instead, inserting the bracketed words appears to be an underhanded trick to slyly convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that this aspect of Jesus’ prophecy is not in reference to the love of Christians growing cold.

But consider the immediate context. Jesus said: “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.”

Mark’s parallel account is worded slightly different. Here is the way it reads: “Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all people on account of my name. But the one who has endured to the end will be saved.”

Mark’s account of Jesus’ prophecy indicates that the people doing the handing over are brothers —spiritual brothers and even family members. Obviously, when brothers, and fathers and children begin betraying one another into death, the love they formally had has grown stone cold. And since Jesus stressed the need for endurance in order to attain salvation, it is evident that this distressing circumstance will directly impact Christians.

Surely, none of Jehovah’s Witnesses are so deluded so as to imagine that this aspect of the sign of Christ’s presence is already evident. Yet, the Watchtower routinely states that all the features of the sign have been on display since 1914.

The truth is, in recent decades hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses have left the organization. The Internet has certainly expedited the exodus. With the world wide web info revolution, it is harder and harder for the Watchtower to keep a lid on all of their lawless misdeeds.

Be that as it may, what will happen when nations and kingdoms go to war and the system crashes? Then it will become apparent that the Watchtower has misled Jehovah’s Witnesses about Christ’s Kingdom having come to power in 1914. In a state of civil war, financial collapse, anarchy and martial law, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see families and friends turning on each other. Indeed, many will be stumbled. 

As it stands now, Jehovah has placed a restraint upon the demons. But what will happen during the hour of the authority of darkness?

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