One man was there who had been sick for 38 years.—John 5:5.
Just north of the temple at Jerusalem was a pool known as Bethzatha. Large crowds of sick and infirm people would gather there, hoping that they would be miraculously cured. Moved with pity, Jesus approached a man who had been sick longer than Jesus had been alive on earth. Jesus inquired if he wanted to get well. The response was immediate. The man wanted to be healed but he could not see how, for he had no one to help him into the pool. Jesus then commanded the man to do the impossible—to pick up his mat and walk. Taking Jesus at his word, the man picked up his mat and began to walk. What a heartwarming foregleam of what Jesus will do in the new world! In this miracle, we also see Jesus’ compassion. He sought out the needy. Jesus’ example should motivate us to continue to seek out people in our territory who are depressed about the terrible things happening in this world.
How odd that Bethel would exhort Jehovah’s Witnesses to search out people who might be depressed over the horrible things happening in the world, when JW’s are leaving the congregations in droves due to the depressing state of affairs within the organization. How much better it would be if the kings and princes residing at One Kings Drive at Warwick were to humbly address the underlying reason for this exodus. Obviously, that would require a measure of candor and humility that the Bethel leadership simply does not possess.
The sad truth is, the Watchtower Corporation is not really interested in individuals. Like any worldly corporation, the Watchtower views people as expendable and replaceable. So what if hundreds of thousands have fallen by the wayside? Just push the publishers and pioneers to get out there and make some more disciples. Then train the learners to get out there and do the same.
Unfortunately, for them anyway, Jehovah and Christ do not view people like mere cogs in a machine. As the text shows, Christ genuinely cared for individuals. He used his power to help them. He used his time to instruct and guide any and all. Jesus also trained men to carry on his work. His parting words to one of his closest apostles were: “Feed my little sheep.”
While the Governing Body boasts of feeding the many through the hands of a few, do they really appreciate that the sheep belong to the Great Shepherd and not them? It would not appear so. Jesus said the true shepherd will leave the flock in search of the one lost lamb. True, a few years ago the Watchtower published a brochure in a lame attempt to call the lost sheep to Return to Jehovah; but without acknowledging their responsibility in stumbling so many of those who no longer wish to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, their appeal to return is hollow and vain.
It is most telling that back in 2004 I wrote an open letter to the Watchtower imploring them to say they were sorry for betraying Jehovah’s Witnesses. Apparently, it was too much to ask of them. Their response was to call upon my elders to deal with me, which they did. And in the meanwhile over the 13 years since then the Governing Body have presided over an organization that has surely lost over a million of Christ’s sheep. While the losses may not be reflected in the published numbers due to the many children of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are baptized every year and people mostly in less developed countries that become Jehovah’s Witnesses, the numbers who are fading and exiting the congregations in the United States and Europe are swelling. Take Denmark for example. Since 1991, when the eye of Horus congress hall was built, there were 16,000+ JWs in Denmark. As of last year, after thousands of hours preaching and placing tons of literature with the public, there are some 14,000 publishers. And as is typical of the Watchtower, though, they blame the lost sheep for their lack of spirituality. No doubt it has never occurred to them that Jehovah has withdrawn his support.
Ultimately, Christ will call them to account for the utter abandonment of his sheep. This will occur in the future when the world is engulfed in war —a war the princes of Bethel have assured Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot happen. But the scattering of the worldwide flock is a certainty —written in the stone of God’s word. Here is what Jehovah has said: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to the shepherds, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Is it not the flock that the shepherds should feed? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, and you slaughter the fattest animal, but you do not feed the flock.You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bandaged the injured or brought back the strays or looked for the lost; rather, you have ruled them with harshness and tyranny. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; they were scattered and became food for every wild beast of the field. My sheep were straying on all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the surface of the earth, with no one searching for them or seeking to find them.”
When the Warwick project was first announced I did not expect the project to be completed, but now that it has been this past weekend’s dedication extravaganza has merely confirmed that the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses have become feeders of themselves. At the same time they were praising heaven for their glorious new headquarters they announced the suspension of the publication of the YearBook and the diminishment of the public’s already watered-down Watchtower to three times a year. Why even bother publishing it? If the Watchtower is food at the proper time, what is the message sent –other than that they are cutting back on the food rations for the skinned sheep in Satan’s world in order to fatten their bottom line? Too bad for them that they imagine Jehovah is honored by their obscene, gleaming granite temple. It would be much better for them to live in a tent and seek to save the lost and battered sheep who have been sickened by the Watchtower’s grotesque hypocrisy.
As it stands, with the drums of war beating louder and louder everyday, it is evident that Jehovah is marshaling his great military force to administer his punishment. Just as Jehovah used Babylon to execute his judgments against apostate Judah, the nations are aligning against America, which just so happens to be the home of the Watchtower’s world headquarters. Surely, the end result for the Watchtower organization will be the same as befell Judah in the days of his watchman, Ezekiel.
“Look! I will bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars will be demolished, your incense stands will be broken, and I will throw your slain ones down before your disgusting idols. I will throw the carcasses of the people of Israel before their disgusting idols, and I will scatter your bones all around your altars. In all the places where you dwell, the cities will be devastated and the high places will be demolished and will lie devastated. Your altars will be demolished and shattered, your disgusting idols will perish, your incense stands will be cut down, and your works will be wiped out. And those slain will fall in your midst, and you will have to know that I am Jehovah.” —Ezekiel 6