Tuesday, September 22
Jehovah knows those who belong to him. —2 Tim. 2:19.
How can we strengthen our resolve to seek Jehovah’s recognition and not that of the world? To do so, we need to remember two important facts. First, Jehovah always gives recognition to those who serve him faithfully. (Heb. 6:10; 11:6) He deeply appreciates every one of his servants, and he views it as “unrighteous” to ignore those who are faithful to him. He is “aware of the way of the righteous” and knows how to rescue them out of trial. (Ps. 1:6; 2 Pet. 2:9) Second, Jehovah may give us recognition in ways we may never expect. Those who do good deeds purely to be seen by men are told that they will have no reward at all from Jehovah. Why? Their reward has already been paid in full. (Matt. 6:1-5) However, Jesus said that his Father “looks on in secret” at those who do not receive due credit for the good they do to others. He notices those acts and repays each person accordingly. w18.07 9 ¶8, 10
What does it mean to belong to Jehovah? Does every Christian belong to God? The Watchtower seems to be implying that that is the case.
In context, the reason Paul informed Timothy that God knows those who belong to him is because there were imposters who presented themselves as anointed Christians. Or, perhaps they actually were at one time and then disowned the owner who bought them. Paul specifically cited two men by name —Hymenaeus and Philetus —who were teaching that the heavenly resurrection had already begun.
Paul warned that their infectious teaching would spread like gangrene and it was already subverting the faith of some. But those two men were not the only ones. There were others who remained in the congregations, which is why the apostle went on to say: “Now in a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for an honorable use but others for a use lacking honor. So if anyone keeps clear of the latter ones, he will be an instrument for an honorable use, sanctified, useful to his owner, prepared for every good work.”
Paul, again, refers to certain persons belonging to and “useful to his owner” in the midst of those who exist for a purpose lacking honor and who do not belong to God.
Going back to Hymenaeus and Philetus, it is interesting that they were teaching that the resurrection had already begun. Jehovah’s Witnesses may not have given this much thought, but that is precisely what the Watchtower teaches too.
Back in 2007 the Watchtower published an article entitled “The First Resurrection” —Now Under Way! When exactly did the earlier resurrection begin? The article makes the following statement in paragraph 12:
At this point, it may be helpful to consider what might be viewed as a Bible parallel. Jesus Christ was anointed as the future King of God’s Kingdom in the fall of 29 C.E. Three and a half years later, in the spring of 33 C.E., he was resurrected as a mighty spirit person. Could it, then, be reasoned that since Jesus was enthroned in the fall of 1914, the resurrection of his faithful anointed followers began three and a half years later, in the spring of 1918? That is an interesting possibility. Although this cannot be directly confirmed in the Bible, it is not out of harmony with other scriptures that indicate that the first resurrection got under way soon after Christ’s presence began.
This is a classic example of the fallacy of logic known as circular reasoning. “Since Jesus was enthroned in the fall of 1914” is stated as an indisputable fact. And everything else must conform to that “fact.” And round and round we go. Basically, then, the teaching that the first resurrection is underway hangs on the demonstrably false notion that the appointed times of the nations to trample Jerusalem began when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem two and a half millennia past! Hymenaeus and Philetus may well have had a more scripturally-grounded argument.
Of course, it is true, the Scriptures indicate that the first resurrection will begin during Christ’s presence. So, the real fraud is the teaching that the parousia has already begun.
Whereas, in the first century the deceivers were kept on the periphery. Now, they sit at the pinnacle and determine what is true and what is false for everyone.
It helps us appreciate all the more that Jehovah knows those who belong to him. It all goes back to Satan’s contention that no one will love God when they are forced to endure hardship or confusion. That is why God allows the sons of the Kingdom to be surrounded by the sons of the wicked one —as Jesus illustrated in his story of the wheat and the weeds. The sons of Satan are allowed to remain for the time being as vessels made for a purpose lacking honor.
When the time comes —or more correctly —when Christ comes, then a definitive separation will take place. Then the presence of the Son of man will be like the lightning that shines from the eastern sky all the way over to the west, so that “wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” In other words, only those who belong to God and Christ will have the spiritual wherewithal to be gathered to him. The sons of the wicked one will be left holding an empty bag. That is where the weeping and gnashing of their teeth will be.
In reading the above-mentioned article, the WT cited the opening of the fifth seal when the resurrected holy ones ask God how long it will be before their blood is avenged and the following passage is quoted: “A white robe was given to each of them; and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number was filled also of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were about to be killed as they also had been.” —Revelation 6:10-11
Commenting on the above verse in paragraph 17 the article states:
Those newly resurrected ones must “rest.” They must wait patiently for God’s day of vengeance. Their “fellow slaves,” anointed Christians still on earth, have yet to prove their integrity under trial.
Instead of pointing out that the scripture specifically refers to the brothers who were about to be killed, the WT glosses over it and merely says that anointed Christians have to prove their integrity under trial. Why downplay what is stated in Revelation? For one thing, very few anointed witnesses have been killed in modern times. The Nazi Holocaust was the only occasion when more than a few anointed Christians were put to death.
Not only that, but it would seem that the Watchtower is trying to minimize what Jesus laid out. For example in the 24th chapter of Matthew Jesus forewarned: “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…”
If you want to get down to it, the scriptures reveal that Jehovah will allow Satan to kill all of those who belong to him during the conclusion. That is what is represented by the death of the two witnesses and the 7,000 persons who are killed in the 11th chapter of Revelation. That is the finale. The execution of those who belong to God is what will bring about the war of the great day of God Almighty at the place known as Armageddon.
MUST HE BE KILLED?
Just as Jehovah spoke to Satan in the garden of Eden as though he were an actual serpent, in a somewhat obscure prophecy in the 27th chapter of Isaiah God speaks to Leviathan, the gliding, twisting serpent. Just as in Eden when God foretold that the serpents head will be crushed, Isaiah 27:1 states that God will kill the monster that is in the sea —the “sea” being a symbol for the world, over which the seven-headed dragon rules. But why does God kill Leviathan? The serpent has been around for centuries, what event triggers his execution?
Verses 6-8 explain. Speaking to the serpent God asks: “In the coming days Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the land with produce. Must he be struck with the stroke of the one striking him? Or must he be killed as with the slaughter of his slain? With a startling cry you will contend with her when sending her away. He will expel her with his fierce blast in the day of the east wind.”
Jacob taking root and producing fruit is a reference to the established Kingdom, when the sons of the Kingdom will shine like the sun and draw many to the Mountain of Jehovah —otherwise known as the great crowd. The stroke upon “Jacob” —or Israel —as he was also known, is what takes place when Gog attacks Israel. Sending her away means that Christ’s bride will not be found on earth. All of the sons of the kingdom will “be killed with the slaughter of the slain.” That is why God kills the sea monster. However, the last verse reveals that their being killed only accomplishes God’s grand purpose. It says: “In that day a great horn will be blown, and those who are perishing in the land of Assyria and those dispersed in the land of Egypt will come and bow down to Jehovah in the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”
The Assyrian represents the eighth king. The holy mountain where those who are perishing are gathered is the same as the heavenly Mount Zion where the 144,000 will stand with the Lamb with the name of Jehovah and Jesus written on their foreheads, signifying they have been bought from the earth and belong to God. The great horn harmonizes with the angel who blows the seventh trumpet in the 11th chapter of Revelation, described this way: “The seventh angel blew his trumpet. And there were loud voices in heaven, saying: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.”‘
Although everyone naturally fears death those who belong to God will follow the Lamb wherever he goes. That means they will follow him into death and become immortal spirits in the twinkling of an eye. What a privilege to die for the truth. To be killed because of belonging to Jehovah.