Beautiful article Nigel! It has long been an internal conflict for many, this balancing act of loving good/ hating bad, loving neighbor and enemy, doing good to all, especially those related in the faith, determining just which spiritual gift(s) one is in possession of, all the while making a decent living for ones family in this paradoxically beautiful and fetid world.
Were we Christ, we would know just how to proceed, but as it is, the knowledge that whatever we do, even if right, will be done so poorly, the fear of causing offense to Jehovah is itself immobilizing for many (me).
I’ve stated before the myriad of occasions I’ve found myself thinking, “Surely, this person is more agreeable to Jehovah’s heart than I”, and this applied primarily to persons not associated with the congregations. If one thing is clear, it is that I should certainly not attempt to place limitations on Jehovah’s mercy. Rather, my sincere desire is for Jehovah to extend His mercy as liberally as His justice may allow Him to.
For ones of such fledgling understanding as I, it is not difficult to fathom Jehovah extending mercy to the misled of Christendom, or of the world’s other “great” religions. The Resurrection is a feature of that mercy, I believe. I have to wonder about those misleading or perpetuating the lies.
If nothing else, (but of course there is so much more) Robert’s work has helped me to view myself as a “hanger-on” one not a party to any covenant, just a hopeful beneficiary of the Kingdom. If all first century Christains were annointed, likely Jesus mention of the “other sheep” went right over their heads as many other articles of faith did not register. The point is, if I remove my expectations from the equation and reckon all scripture to, for and about the annointed heirs of the Kingdom, it is not hard to imagine that there may be a number of the annointed “out there”, as in not recognized by the WTS, but should we imagine they are amongst the Eastern religions or Islam? I want to be as generous as possible, too, but for one to appropriately fear God, must one not first know God? Robert has exhaustively demonstrated the adherents of the Babylonish religions cannot possibly know God, while their leaderships are intentional and ardent avowed enemies of Jehovah. Do we really imagine the true annointed among these leaderships?
I think it clarifies, or at least matriculates, things to remove from the equation all things yet future, like parousia and paradise and evaluate the happenings and conditions of the conclusion of the system of things of the Christains Era in the context of it’s beginning, where it’s all about the annointed and the establishment of the Kingdom. If the type was Israel and the Anti-type the Israel of God can we really see evidence of these true annointed amonst the Babylonish religions? What gifts should we be expecting to seen demonstrated there, what fruitage of the Spirit?
Again, I am not challengeing, just exploring and asking you to expand on your premise specifically where an amateur “researcher” might look for empirical evidence that true annointed remain active in the Babylonish religions. It just doesn’t seem reasonable that such ones would tolerate the filthy idolatry and outright heresy day after day, year after year, decade after decade, does it? We suppose the idolatry and apostasy of the WT can only exist because the true annointed have been marginalized by the MOL, don’t we? Wouldn’t that be true in Christendom too? Would the Holy One’s really stay there and stick it out? And to what end? If we do not now or for the foreseeable future have an identified singular Israel of God complete with apostate MOL, aren’t we then putting off the parousia by another generation?
Lots to consider (thoroughly and repeatedly) in what you have presented, and I sincerely hope you can make time to apply your highly respected intellect to my quandries.
Thanks and Jehovah bless,