Commentary on the daily text of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Monday, April 3
[Timothy] will remind you of my methods in connection with Christ Jesus, just as I am teaching everywhere in every congregation.—1 Cor. 4:17.
Recently, a group of elders who are successful in helping brothers to grow spiritually were asked what approach they use when training others. Though the circumstances of these brothers vary greatly, the advice they gave was strikingly similar. What does this indicate? That Bible-based training is applicable to learners “everywhere in every congregation”—just as it was in the apostle Paul’s day. A teacher needs to create the right conditions for training. Just as a gardener needs to cultivate, or loosen, the soil before sowing seeds, so a teacher needs to prepare, or encourage, the heart of a learner before teaching him new skills. So how do teachers create the right conditions for training others? By following an approach similar to that taken by Samuel when he was preparing Saul to lead Israel.
Amazingly, the Watchtower cites Saul’s leadership over Israel as a positive development and his “training” as something to be emulated. It is true, he was humble in the beginning and under his leadership Israel slew many Philistines, but he became a presumptuous tyrant and revealed that he was really faithless at heart. In that respect he really typifies the evil slave of Christ’s illustration.
When it comes to being good teachers, what are the most important qualities to cultivate? Hint: It actually has nothing to do with speaking ability, or effective use of illustrations or anything like that. Foremost, a teacher must love God. And as a lover of God a teacher must love what is right, as does Jehovah. Someone who loves God can teach others without saying a word. On the other hand, if a person is not true even the most eloquent speaker cannot be a good teacher.
The reason Paul wrote what he did concerning sending Timothy to the Corinthians so as to put them in mind of his teaching methods, was because the Corinthians were under the influence of false teachers, those whom Paul sarcastically dubbed the “superfine apostles.” It was these agents of Satan who merely disguised themselves to be ministers of righteousness, who were puffed up with pride. Doubtless, they were polished public speakers and orators, according to the greek tradition. They slandered Paul as having a weak personal presence and being a contemptible public speaker. That is why, in the very next verse Paul said: “Some are puffed up with pride, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if Jehovah wills, and I will get to know, not the speech of those who are puffed up with pride, but their power. For the Kingdom of God is a matter not of speech but of power.”
When it comes to preparing our hearts, learners must develop a sense of loyalty to God and the truth that transcends all else. But the Watchtower does not really promote loyalty to God above all else. It places itself in the seat of God, making loyalty to the dictates of the organization paramount. Of course, like the superfine apostles were effectively disguised as ministers of righteousness, the Society is cloaked with a veneer of holiness. But it is only an appearance.
The same was true of Saul. He had an imposing appearance, standing head and shoulders above other men —literally. And, as stated already, originally he was lowly and humble. But he couldn’t handle the honors and powers given him. In time he became so haughty he even erected a monument to himself. It seems Saul was greedy too. That is why he disobeyed Jehovah’s directive to devote the Amalekites to destruction and he spared some of the best of the flock under the pretext of doing so to offer them to Jehovah.
As an organization the Watchtower has followed a similar path. From its humble origins the organization has taken on an air of haughtiness. As the Society has prospered it has come to be run by accountants and lawyers. The board of directors have devised all sorts of money-making schemes. Like Saul, the Governing Body have erected a monument to themselves in Warwick, on the appropriately-named One Kings Drive. Like Saul and his attempt to justify his greed by claiming it was to promote the worship of Jehovah, the extravagant new headquarters is hailed as evidence of Jehovah’s blessing upon them.
But on the matter of loving righteousness and being true to God, both the law of Moses and Christian law requires men in authority to protect the most vulnerable from exploitation —the widows and orphans. Of course, it is not solely widows and fatherless boys that elders have a solemn duty to protect and defend. As the Watchtower well knows, children in general are vulnerable to abusers. Above all else those who are overseers must protect the children under their charge from exploitation by cunning predators. In this the Watchtower has failed miserably. It is now exposed for all to see, having been widely publicized in the media.
Not only has the Watchtower’s lawyers tied the hands of elders over the course of the past 50 years, ordering them to conceal sexual predators in the congregations, but when called to account by the superior authorities who function as Jehovah’s secular ministers for the public good, it is obvious that elders have been instructed by the Society’s lawyers to develop amnesia when asked to relate the details of specific cases of abuse —as the video compilation shows. In other words, the Watchtower has specifically instructed these elders to lie under oath and they dutifully complied.
In the case of Saul, after Samuel refused to speak with him any more, Saul became more and more wicked. Not only did he persecute David, Jehovah’s anointed, but eventually Saul resorted to necromancy —the occultic practice of using a medium to contact the dead.
We may expect the Watchtower to also become the persecuter of all who are anointed and who are loyal to God. At the coming of Christ the Watchtower will become an outright opposer of God, an antichirst. That is why Paul wrote: “Let no one lead you astray in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things?”
As with Saul, there were several overt acts of unfaithfulness and presumption that led up to his outright apostasy, evidenced in his consulting with the witch of Endor; likewise, the leadership of the Watchtower has acted presumptuously and been unfaithful to Jehovah.
However, has the apostasy that immediately precedes the presence and manifestation of Jesus taken place? Apparently not. In the past I identified the Watchtower’s duplicitous NGO affiliation with the UN as the foretold apostasy. And to be sure, it was an act of apostasy. However, such acts as their United Nations partnership and their ongoing persecution of abused children and their lying coverups, are merely the telltale signs of a deeply submerged, institutional evil, which is what Paul was referencing when he wrote: “True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work.”
But the apostasy that must come will be an outright refusal to obey Jehovah. For example, if the Watchtower were to instruct Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia to stop preaching, that would be an act of apostasy —an outright rebellion against the order of Christ.
The link to this video was sent to me by a reader in Australia.