- disqus_WLkvBH7kBJParticipantJuly 10, 2017 at 5:06 pmPost count: 7
Below is a reply of mine to a comment made by Brother Robert King to me on his most recent article “Why Jehovah’s Witnesses?” (https://e-watchman.com/why-jehovahs-witnesses-2/)
I wrote the comment, but after making an edit to it, it inexplicably went missing!
Anyway, as this “comment” is likely to invoke some discussion, I thought I’d post it here.
For the sake of context, I will quote the earlier comments between Brother King and I, with the “comment that went missing” below them. (To be sure, I’ve since made some changes to said “comment that went missing” so if you happened to read that comment when it was briefly available it will read slightly different now.)
Nigel • 2 days ago
“The foremost identifying factor would be that true Christians would be public preachers.” [Note: this is a quote from Brother King’s article.]
“By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” John 13:35
Robert King • 2 days ago
If done with the right motive teaching someone the truth is an expression of love of neighbor.
Nigel • a day ago
Robert King • 2 days ago
And don’t overlook the fact that Jesus said “love among yourselves.” That would rule out believers being scattered about in various denominations and sects.
My reply (“the comment that went missing”):
I’m sorry Brother King, but that sounds like circular reasoning. You are assuming that “yourselves” applies only to JWs and thus only they could have love amongst themselves.
The Good Samaritan did not personally know the beaten man, yet was capable of showing neighbourly love to him.
Jesus said “Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens” (Matt 5:44,45), showing that the sons of the Father are capable of loving those they do not necessarily know intimately, since enemies would rarely choose to be in close, regular contact with each other.
Furthermore, all of us, regardless of our location, are capable of praying for one another, which surely counts for loving one another.
Additionally, an assembly of believers need only be made up of 2 or 3 individuals in order to have Jesus “in their midst” (Matt 18:20), so even a tiny group of believers has the opportunity of having “love among [themselves]”.
The point is, as important as evangelising is (and I’m not diminishing it’s importance), it is not the hallmark of true Christianity; love is the hallmark.
Evangelising is but one of several functions of the ecclesia:
“And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers” Eph 4:11
If the commands of God were to be summed up concisely, they would not read “go therefore & make disciples”, they would read:
“You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.” Matt 22:37-40
…because “love is the law’s fulfillment” (Rom 13:10) and “love never ends” (1 Cor 13:8 ESV).
Before I continue, I want to make clear that I believe there is a slight difference between “witnessing” (testifying) and “evangelism”. The Psalmist wrote: “Let the redeemed of [Jehovah] say so” (Ps 107:20 KJV) and I think it’s fair to say that most of us who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb – and have since gone on to “taste & see that Jehovah is good” (Ps 34:8) – will likely WANT to witness (testify) to Jehovah’s goodness & share the gospel message to those we come in contact with. Furthermore, our (change in) speech & conduct also gives a witness, a testimony, to Jehovah’s goodness and evidence that obeying His will in our life yields blessings. Evangelising, as I see it, is more pointed: it is what JWs do! They go to people they do not know & become a herald of the gospel.
So, on the subject of Matt 28:19,20, there are three distinct parts to the commandment:
1. Make disciples
2. Baptise them
3. Teach them
(Two parts, if you consider making disciples is accomplished by baptising + teaching.)
But how many JWs have actually baptised anyone? Is not baptising an explicit part of the commandment? If every single Christian must actively engage in evangelism, shouldn’t they also actively engage in baptising?
What about the apostle Paul? He helped establish the church of Corinth (Acts 18:1-11, compare 1 Cor 3:6) yet he wrote:
“I thank God that I baptised none of you except Crispus and Gaius” 1 Cor 1:14
“For Christ sent me, not to baptise, but to declare the good news” 1 Cor 1:17
If Christ’s command at Matt 18:19,20 meant that every one of Christ’s disciples is to actually, literally, “baptise” others why did Paul say Christ commanded him otherwise?
“For just as we have in one body many members, but the members do not all have the same function, so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but individually we are members belonging to one another. Since, then, we have gifts that differ according to the undeserved kindness given to us, if it is of prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or if it is a ministry, let us be at this ministry; or the one who teaches, let him be at his teaching; or the one who encourages, let him give encouragement; the one who distributes, let him do it liberally; the one who presides, let him do it diligently; the one who shows mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Rom 12:4-8
“There are different ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are different activities, and yet it is the same God who performs them all in everyone.” 1 Cor 12:5,6
“For, indeed, the body is made up not of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,” that does not make it no part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,” that does not make it no part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has arranged each of the body members just as he pleased. If they were all the same member, where would the body be? But now they are many members, yet one body.” 1 Cor 12:14-21
Paul knew the role assigned to him by Christ. And baptising was not it. Despite not personally baptising, he was assured that he had a “crown of righteousness” reserved for him (2 Tim 4:8), so obviously God judged that Paul had finished his race faithfully and obediently.
As Paul stressed in the scriptures above, every single Christian has an allocated place in “the body” – there are “different ministries and activities” yet it’s the “same Lord” – and I believe the same principle also applies to various denominations & assemblies, with the JWs being an instrument to evangelise & publicise Jehovah’s name. Their role is important, but it is not the only role in the task of “build[ing] up the body of the Christ, until we all attain to… the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ” (Eph 4:12,13).
Let me put it another way: if a godly man worked hard all day at his place of employment and then, when he returned home, did all of the household chores ’til late in the night in order that his wife could be a pioneer would he be considered unfaithful in the eyes of Jehovah because he did not personally evangelise? The answer is obvious.
The fact is, evangelising is not nearly as emphasised in the New Testament as is developing a Christ-like personality through the Holy Spirit, the characteristic of love being the “greatest” (1 Cor 13:13) and “our aim” (1 Cor 14:1). Indeed, it will only be when the sons of God are finally brought into perfect unity with Christ & Jehovah (and that must include perfect unity in love; compare Amos 3:3) that the world will believe that Jehovah sent Jesus (John 17:21,23); and that is the whole point of the New Covenant: to bring the sons of God to maturity (Eph 4:13) so that they may be in unity with each other, with Christ & with Jehovah. Only then will God’s plan & purpose proceed to the next stage.
Now, on the subject of the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and your teaching that this name is evidence that they, alone, are the “stock” from which the surviving remnant will come. I believe there is a fundamental incongruity in your reasoning, in that Jehovah’s name is not found in the name “Israel”, yet Israel was most assuredly “called by Jehovah’s name” (2 Chron 7:14).
My understanding is that being “called by Jehovah’s name” has nothing to do with taking His name upon oneself but, rather, being chosen by him and entering into a marriage-like covenant relationship with Him. Because of this, I believe that Christians (everyone of age who has heard the gospel message, put their faith in Jesus Christ, confessed with their mouth that He is Lord and chosen by their own freewill to be baptised “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”), both the “fine” and “unsuitable” (Matt 13:48), are the ones “called by my name”. They currently comprise the “dragnet” that has yet to be judged/sorted.
“But,” you might argue, “Jesus isn’t Jehovah so how could one be “called by the name of Jehovah” by merely being called a “Christian”?”
Did you, yourself, not write: “Is not Jesus the exact image and representation of his Almighty Father? And is he not authorized to judge in the name of Jehovah?” (https://e-watchman.com/time-will-come/)
“Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them, I used to watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me; and I have protected them, and not one of them is destroyed except the son of destruction, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:11,12
“It was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians.” Acts 11:26
“”But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but let him keep on glorifying God while bearing this name.” 1 Pet 4:16
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit everlasting life.” Matt 19:29
“Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. Therefore, my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God” Acts 15:14,19 (Does not James here connect those “who are turning to God” as those who are “a people for His name”?)
““The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world [Greek: kosmos]. As for the fine seed, these are the sons of the Kingdom, but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out from his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness” Matt 13:37-41 (Note that “the field” is the “kosmos”. Kosmos means “orderly arrangement”, often referring to arrangements ordered by man. Jesus implied that the “kosmos” is His Kingdom, but since His Kingdom is “no part of this world”, it cannot refer to the world of mankind but, more likely, to the worldwide (Christian) religious arrangement. That is supported by the fact that “an enemy” sows “weeds” among the “kosmos”, something he wouldn’t need to do if it “kosmos”, here, was referring to world of mankind since the “whole world [already] lies in the power of the wicked one”.)
The exodus of the Israelites and the “vast mixed company” from Egypt and their subsequent forty-year wandering in the wilderness is a type of the redemption of Christ’s ransom sacrifice made available to all men (compare Deut 13:5) and the pilgrimage of the believer to the Kingdom of God, with the “vast mixed company” prefiguring Gentile Christians.
Just before the Israelites and the “vast mixed company” were to enter the Promised Land after leaving Egypt, going through the Red Sea, receiving the Law at Mt. Sinai and wandering the wilderness for forty years, Jehovah said to Moses, in relation to the manner of worship they were to perform once they had crossed over the Jordan and settled in the Promised Land:
““You must not do as we are doing here today, with everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes” Deut 12:8
Jehovah was going to establish a specific place where His people were to go to worship Him but until He had established that place, He overlooked the incorrect method of worship the Israelites (and the “vast mixed company”) were engaging in, where “everyone [was] doing whatever is right in his own eyes”.
This, I believe, is a type of the situation we have in Christendom now. Christians of all denominations (and non-denominations) are “doing whatever is right in his own eyes”. That will be rectified when Christ returns to set up His Kingdom here on earth, when He will “collect out from his Kingdom all things that cause stumbling and people who practice lawlessness” (Matt 13:41), when the “the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains” (Isa 2:2) and when Jehovah “will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, To serve him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zeph 3:9)
(It also bears mentioning that Joshua & Caleb are examples of what it will take to enter the Promised Land. Both were faithful, fully believing that Jehovah would carry out His promises (Num 14:6-9), and “followed Jehovah wholeheartedly” (Num 32:12). Joshua clearly loved Jehovah & desired to be in His presence at all times, staying by the Tent of Meeting even when Moses was not there (Ex 33:11).)
Furthermore, here’s some scriptures that seem to indicate that faith/servitude to Christ equates to faith/servitude to Jehovah:
“‘Go back home, and keep on relating what God did for you.’ So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39
“And this is the witness, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has this life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this life.” 1 John 5:11,12
“If anyone would minister to me, let him follow me, and where I am, there my minister will be also. If anyone would minister to me, the Father will honour him.” John 12:26
“This was to demonstrate his own righteousness in this present season, so that he might be righteous even when declaring righteous the man who has faith in Jesus.” Rom 3:26
“Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. But whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:23
So, then, who really are the sons of God, the brothers of Christ?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s some scriptures that came to mind:
“By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” John 13:35
“To all who did receive him [Jesus], he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.” John 1:12
“For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons.” Rom 8:14
“Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of God.” Matt 5:9
“Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens” Matt 5:44,45
“My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21 (compare John 1:1, 2 Tim 3:16)
As I wrote above, I haven’t any doubt whatsoever that the JWs have been used extensively by Jehovah & Christ to spread the gospel message and to
publicise the actual name of Jehovah throughout the earth – but I also firmly believe that others, too, (most likely groups, definitely individuals) have & are being used by Him for other purposes and that to insist that only a remnant from the JWs alone shall survive this system of things is, in my opinion, dangerous, as it may lead one to cultivate a judgemental attitude towards any who aren’t JWs but who may, in fact, actually be counted among the brothers of Christ. Such an attitude may actually debar one from entering the kingdom:
““Then he will say to those on his left: ‘Go away from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I became hungry, but you gave me nothing to eat; and I was thirsty, but you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, but you did not receive me hospitably; naked, but you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but you did not look after me.’ Then they too will answer with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying: ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of these least ones, you did not do it to me.’ These will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.” Matt 25:41-46
Notice, also, that Christ considered the church of Sardis “dead”, yet he singled out some individuals as being “worthy”:
““‘Nevertheless, you do have a few individuals in Sardis who did not defile their garments, and they will walk with me in white ones, because they are worthy.” Rev 3:4
And that’s my point: whilst the churches of Christendom may largely be “dead”, there are “individuals who are worthy”, so JWs should be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water”.
Anyway, that’s all.
Keep up the fine fight of the faith, Brother King; I, and everyone here, appreciates your faithfulness in carrying out Jehovah’s commission.
”rlong9000ParticipantJuly 11, 2017 at 3:23 amPost count: 7
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,
disqus_WLkvBH7kBJParticipantJuly 11, 2017 at 5:19 amPost count: 7
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by rlong9000.
” I have to wonder about those misleading or perpetuating the lies.”
That would be wicked leadership, false prophets and various antichrists that Jehovah targets in His denunciations and the very ones Brother King rails & prophesies against.
“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?”
There may be some good-hearted ones from among the Eastern religions and Islam who may eventually turn to the Truth when presented with it, but ultimately:
“there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” Acts 4:12
“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?”
We can’t examine the doctrine of every denomination & sect of Christianity here & now but I can assure you that there are many groups teaching the basic truths and some that even get quite “meaty”. I don’t want to have to provide an example but if I must I will. For instance, I recently came across a youtube video of a sermon from a church named “Church of YHWH”. And the sermon was brilliant!!!! So there are groups out there; maybe not many, maybe not big, but they exist.
The Pharisees, as a whole, were ardent enemies of Christ, yet Nicodemus was a believer. Acts 15:5 speaks of “some of those of the sect of the Pharisees who had become believers”, so there are believers even in the midst of Christ’s enemies.
It bears quoting:
“Go in through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.” Matt 7:13
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and keep following me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt 16:24,25
Discipleship is very personal and:
“we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, so that each one may be repaid according to the things he has practiced while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10
“What gifts should we be expecting to seen demonstrated there, what fruitage of the Spirit?”
All of it! Note that in Gal 5:22 it is not “fruits”, it is “fruit” or “fruitage” (one type of fruit: the fruit of the Spirit!). The fruit of the Spirit includes ALL of the things Paul wrote in Gal 5:22,23, not just certain qualities without others. (Naturally, we’re all learning to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and we’re going to make mistakes along the way; that’s why the Blood of Jesus is so precious: it provides forgiveness as we’re trying to obey as best we can. Hallellujah! And that’s also why Jesus said we shouldn’t judge one another (Matt 7:1-5).) Love is the overarching quality. It is the hallmark of a true Christian and only a true Christian with the Holy Spirit can truly love since true love is a result of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit cannot be received by the world (John 14:17). (Does that make sense!? lol)
“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?”
Agreed. I can’t speak for others. I think all anointed Christians who wholeheartedly love Jehovah are indeed “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the city.” (Ez 9:4) In my personal experience, once the 1914 thing came to my understanding (that would have been 12 years ago or so now; I came across e-watchman site shortly after questioning 1914 and have never left) I felt like I couldn’t remain with the Witnesses. To be fair, I would like to think that I have grown in spiritual maturity since then (all praise to Jehovah) and maybe I wouldn’t have left knowing what I know now. The reason being is that we all “see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face-to-face.” (1 Cor 13:12.) Thankfully for me, I was led to a tiny group of about 15 anointed Christians where Jehovah has nurtured me ever since. If/when I’m led to leave that group I will, because I was baptised “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and the covenant I am in is with my Heavenly Father Jehovah and not with men.
In this, I agree with Brother King that maybe a JW should remain where he/she is until the angel gives the cry “Get out of her my people” (Rev 18:4).
After all, did not Jesus say:
“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say.” Matt 23:2,3
Nigel.disqus_WLkvBH7kBJParticipantJuly 11, 2017 at 10:50 amPost count: 7
Hello again Richard.
There was something you wrote that I didn’t address…
“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?”
There’s two things you mentioned that I’d like to address:
1. “a singular Israel of God”
2. “apostate MOL”
“a singular Israel of God”
It’s my understanding that the Israel of God will only become truly “singular” (unified) when Jesus returns.
“And then they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.And then he will send out the angels and will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from earth’s extremity to heaven’s extremity.” Mark 13:26,27
“Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” Matt 24:30,31
“For this is what we tell you by Jehovah’s* word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thess 4:15-17
Until then we are somewhat “scattered” (compare James 1:1).
As you likely know, and as Brother King has thoroughly explained, the Man of Lawlessness is also known as The Antichrist.
“Young children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from which fact we know that it is the last hour.”
So, there is the ultimate antichrist (“the antichrist”) and there are other antichrists (“many antichrists”).
The following scriptures plainly prove that Christ has been appointed Head of the ecclesia: Ps 118:22, 1 Pet 2:7, Matt 28:18, Eph 1:22, 5:23, Col 1:18.
Any Christian group (denominational, non-denominational, small, big, whatever) that places man as the head of the church has an antichrist structure. It is “against Christ” because Christ alone is the head of the church, the ecclesia. The Governing Body of The Watchtower Society is a good example of this but it is hardly the only one; I would guess that most organised Christian religions have placed man at the head of the their church.
It’s among such antichrist structures that Satan can enter as he entered Judas and, thus, antichrists appear. Since “the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders” (2 Thess 2:9) it must be assumed that those of the “many antichrists” must also be by the operation of Satan and may also have “powerful work and lying signs and wonders”. As such, there can be multiple antichrists spread throughout all of the Christian groups & denominations throughout the world at any one time.
Thus it’s my understanding that the “evil slave” within the WTS leadership is AN antichrist, but may not necessarily be “THE Antichrist” and thus we may not need wait another generation to see the “ultimate” Antichrist appear.
Interestingly, having “many antichrists” scattered throughout all of Christendom means that each & every parishioner in all of those churches will have to contend with much the same crisis of faith that will occur when their “idols”, their doctrines, their leadership and their organisations suddenly come crashing down. THEN, the decision will have to be made by all professing Christians: Antichrist, or Christ? Will they love the truth or will they cling to falsehood? It will truly be personal then and only those strong & resolute in faith in Jesus & Jehovah will survive.disqus_WLkvBH7kBJParticipantJuly 16, 2017 at 11:38 amPost count: 7
Since first posting this topic I’ve had some further thoughts that I’d like to share.
The first one, as I’ve mentioned in the comments section of the Brother King’s article, seems to be yet another fundamental incongruity in Brother King’s assertion that the surviving remnant shall come exclusively from the ranks of those who are currently Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This incongruity has to do with the “idols” that Jehovah charges His people with worshipping:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will become clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your disgusting idols.” Ezekiel 36:25
Notice that “idols” is plural, i.e. “more than one”, yet it is undeniable that Jehovah’s Witnesses have but one “idol”: “the faithful & discreet slave”.
That Jehovah is speaking about the entire congregation and not merely the leadership is evident from verses 17 & 18 where He speaks of “the house of Israel”:
“Son of man, when the house of Israel was dwelling in their land, they made it unclean by their ways and their dealings. Their ways were like the uncleanness of menstruation to me. So I poured out my rage on them because of the blood that they had shed upon the land and because they made the land unclean with their disgusting idols.”
That leads to the obvious question: How can “one idol” be “many idols”? Clearly it can’t. It is only when one factors in other denominations that the statement “all your disgusting idols” makes sense.
Brother King asserts that only Jehovah’s Witnesses are capable of “profaning” God’s name by reason of the fact that they have named themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
I certainly agree that Jehovah’s Witnesses have, indeed, brought reproach upon the name of Jehovah because of their various iniquities and doing so whilst named “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, yet a closer look at the definition of “profane” brings to light a very interesting fact.
“חָלַל châlal; a primitive root; also denominative properly, to bore, i.e. (by implication) to wound, to dissolve”
When one puts soluble aspirin in water it “dissolves”; it seems to disappear. It’s there, but it doesn’t seem to be there.
Can it not be said that Christendom, as a whole, has “dissolved” the name of Jehovah by removing it from their bibles, their pulpits & their vernacular? Can it not be said that in doing so, they have “wounded” Jehovah’s name?
Can it not also be said that Christendom has also “wounded” Jehovah’s name by melding Him into a triune God, thereby changing His very nature?
Also, Paul, speaking about blaspheming God’s name, writes:
“You [Jews] who take pride in law, do you dishonor God by your transgressing of the Law? For “the name of God is being blasphemed among the nations because of you,” just as it is written.” (Rom 2:23,24)
Paul connects the transgression of the Law by Jews to the blaspheming of God’s name. But, as I mentioned in my initial post, the name “Jehovah” is not found in the name “Israel”. And it’s worth noting, now, that neither is it found in the name “Judah”, from which the name “Jew” is derived.
Additionally, the Jews had stopped speaking & writing the name of Jehovah some 350 years earlier, so it’s debatable that the personal name of Israel’s God was even well-known amongst “the nations” at that time:
“At least as early as the third century B.C. the name seems to have been regarded by the Jews as a ‘nomen ineffabile'”
“After the death of the high priest Simeon the Righteous, forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the priests ceased to pronounce the Name (Yoma39b). From that time the pronunciation of the Name was prohibited. “Whoever pronounces the Name forfeits his portion in the future world” (Sanh. xi. 1)”
(Certainly Jesus may have used God’s personal name, although there is no hard evidence of that, but Jesus did a lot of things that upset the sensibilities of the Jews in disregarding their traditions.)
On the topic of “being called by Jehovah’s Name”, consider, also, the following:
“For too long we have become like those you never ruled over, Like those never called by your name.” Isaiah 63:19
This scripture implies that those who are “ruled over” by Jehovah are those “called by [His] name”.
Since the time of Jesus, Jehovah has appointed Christ to “rule over” His people:
“But I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn, the head of a woman is the man; in turn, the head of the Christ is God.” 1 Cor 11:3
“Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying: “This is my Son, the one who has been chosen. Listen to him.”” Luke 9:35
“Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If anyone loves me, he will observe my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” John 14:6,23
“All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” Matt 28:18
It follows, then, that it is (wholesouled) “Christians” who are “called by Jehovah’s name” since they are “ruled over” by Christ, obeying God’s command that we believe in, listen to & obey His Son. And especially so since:
“He is the image of the invisible God” Col 1:15 (I also highly recommend reading Col 1:9-20)
“I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you on the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared. Pay attention to him, and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, because my name is in him. “ Exodus 23:20,21
Notice, also, Paul, when giving his defense to King Agrippa in Caeserea:
“But A·gripʹpa said to Paul: “In a short time you would persuade me to become a Christian.” At this Paul said: “I wish to God that whether in a short time or in a long time, not only you but also all those who hear me today would become men such as I am, with the exception of these prison bonds.” Acts 26:28,29
I believe this scripture speaks for itself.
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosʹthe·nes our brother, to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” 1 Cor 1:1,2
Notice that the “congregation of God” includes “all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. That would include wholesouled Christians in Christendom who are doing just that.
On the related subject of servitude/faith to Christ equating to servitude/faith to Jehovah, consider:
“As you come to [Jesus], a living stone rejected by men but chosen, precious to God.” 1 Peter 2:4
“For it says in Scripture: “Look! I am laying in Zion a chosen stone, a precious foundation cornerstone, and no one exercising faith in it [Jesus] will ever be disappointed. It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers”” 1 Pet 2:6,7
“For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd [Jesus] and overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:4,25
“As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus, take your part in suffering adversity.” 2 Tim 2:3
“May the undeserved kindness be with all those loving our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptness.” Eph 6:24
The five scriptures above are but a small sample of what is taught time & again throughout the New Testament: that believers have faith in Christ and are to serve/obey Him.
Returning to the subject of evangelism and the WTS’ assertion that all individual Christians must personally be engaged in evangelism, and both their & Brother King’s assertion that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are “God’s people” because all JWs evangelise and in doing so they are emulating the first-century church, consider:
“The next day we left and came to Caes·a·reʹa, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelizer, who was one of the seven men, and we stayed with him.” Acts 21:8
If all first-century Christians were individually, personally engaged in evangelism, why is Philip called “Philip the evangelizer”? As an identifying appellation that term would be as useful as saying “Nigel, the man who breathes air”. It’s clear that not all were evangelists, only “some” (Eph 4:11). Certainly, the charge to evangelise was given, but it appears to be given to the church as a whole, with the expectation that specific ones would be “sent” (Rom 10:15) and others would support them whilst engaging in the other ministries essential to the building up of the church until it attains “the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.” (Eph 4:13)
Like Brother King states in his article: “When you think about it, the truth is very simple.” And I couldn’t agree more.
Adam & Eve were given one simple command in order to live:
“as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen 2:17
Doubtlessly, Jehovah was going to expand on that & add to it because:
“both of them continued to be naked, the man and his wife; yet they were not ashamed.” Gen 2:25
We know that nakedness, figuratively and literally, is shameful (e.g Gen 9:21-25, Ex 20:26, Isa 47:3, Nahum 3:5, Rev 3:18). So we know that, at some point, Jehovah was going to explain that principle to Adam & Eve and command that they be clothed. But like newborn babies who aren’t condemned for their nakedness by their parents, Jehovah did not condemn Adam & Eve because of their ignorance regarding their nakedness; He overlooked it at that time and required nothing from them but that they refrain from eating from the tree of knowledge of good & bad.
In the same way, Jehovah has given mankind a simple command in order to live:
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will get saved” Acts 16:31
“if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Is there more to knowing & pleasing God? Of course! But, if nothing else, obeying this simple command guarantees one will be “saved”.
Take, for example, the thief on the stake next to Jesus. He had nothing but the simplest belief in Jesus, yet Jesus said to him:
“Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43
Since “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Heb 13:8) we may be assured that even those with but the simplest, child-like faith in Jesus will be saved.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom 10:13 KJV
Did not the apostles & elders at Jerusalem write to the Gentile believers, on the subject of adherence to the Mosaic Law & being saved:
“For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you except these necessary things: to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!” Acts 15:28,29
In view of all this, I believe it would be wise to consider the principle Jesus taught at Mark 9:38-42:
“John said to him: “Teacher, we saw someone expelling demons by using your name, and we tried to prevent him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said: “Do not try to prevent him, for there is no one who will do a powerful work on the basis of my name who will quickly be able to say anything bad about me. For whoever is not against us is for us. And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, I tell you truly, he will by no means lose his reward. But whoever stumbles one of these little ones who have faith, it would be better for him if a millstone that is turned by a donkey were put around his neck and he were pitched into the sea.”
Finally, I want to conclude this post by saying – most definitively – that I am not opposed to or against Brother King or his work. Rather, I love & respect Brother King and truly appreciate his work on this site, recognising both that I have learnt a great deal through his writings and that he has been “sent” to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their leadership.
My posts here are done in the spirit of:
“Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God” 1 John 4:1
“these [Jews] were more noble-minded than those in Thes·sa·lo·niʹca, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11
All the very best, brothers & sisters. May our Lord bless you all abundantly.
rlong9000ParticipantJuly 16, 2017 at 12:35 pmPost count: 7
- This reply was modified 4 days, 2 hours ago by disqus_WLkvBH7kBJ.
I also would like to inject that I think far too many of us might be inadvertently placing more pressure than we ought to on Robert to supply to us insight, even to the point of appointing him judge, on all matters scriptural. Clearly he is not seeking such status, and this inclination is likely borne from our pitiable condition of starvation and even desperation. He is one member of a body, the remnant, who individually sees in great detail many things, but not all things, some things maybe not at all. Let us not unlovingly paint him into corners as the masses of Jehovah’s Witnesses have historically done our leadership, looking to men for convenient “packaged” salvation rather than to God directly for the one requiring cultivation by strenuous exertion.disqus_WLkvBH7kBJParticipantJuly 16, 2017 at 12:48 pmPost count: 7rlong9000ParticipantJuly 16, 2017 at 1:06 pmPost count: 7
“I was led to a tiny group of about 15 anointed Christians where Jehovah has nurtured me ever since. If/when I’m led to leave that group I will, because I was baptised [<—Ha! my American English spell checker choked on that, but I’m leaving it!] “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and the covenant I am in is with my Heavenly Father Jehovah and not with men.”
One of the things on my mind a lot lately is not knowing whether Robert is “alone” out there on the wall. I should hate to think he is isolated completely from all other anointed ones in his private life, but imagine or at least hope there is peer association for him, albeit none of my business.disqus_WLkvBH7kBJParticipantJuly 16, 2017 at 1:24 pmPost count: 7
Are we ever truly alone, though?
“Be courageous and strong. Do not be afraid or struck with terror before them, for Jehovah your God is the one marching with you. He will neither desert you nor abandon you.” Deut 31:6
“To this he said: ‘I have been absolutely zealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, and I am the only one left. Now they are seeking to take my life away.’ [Jehovah said to him] ‘I still have left 7,000 in Israel, all whose knees have not bent down to Baʹal and whose mouths have not kissed him.’” 1 Kings 19:14,18
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 KJV
“And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” Matt 28:20
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Ps 46:1 KJV
“The eyes of Jehovah are on the righteous, And his ears listen to their cry for help.” Ps 34:15
rlong9000ParticipantJuly 16, 2017 at 1:47 pmPost count: 7
- This reply was modified 4 days ago by disqus_WLkvBH7kBJ.
One gets the sense that I, like many, run ahead of the word of God as we’ve become prone to emulate the myriad examples in doing so the WT has so prolifically shown us. Perhaps we demand of Jehovah that there be an exclusivity for us to partake in that simply doesn’t exist yet, as you so rightly point out the Israel of God technically does not exist yet, and I know Robert has written his acknowledgement of this fact also.
Conversely, I have great difficulty overlaying any other body into the grave of Jehovah’s denunciations as Robert has explained the prophets to us, where Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to fit on all points. Can it be this is simply prejudicial on my part? Or am I attempting to compare something I see now to a prophetic image more rightly viewed as a future state? Is it right to at least consider the possibility that since the call to get out of BTG has not yet occurred, everything is BTG, we JW’s just another sect of Christendom?
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