Just a few days ago (as of this writing) a person using the name ‘also anonymous’ responded to a topic here with a long and well-organized comment. Based on the amount of work put into this post, we feel it deserves a response, and will provide it here. We have copied the post below and will intersperse comments every paragraph or so.
DEALING WITH GRIEVOUS SITUATIONS AND INJUSTICES
On his last night, before dying, Jesus said “My soul is deeply grieved even to death. … “My father if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet, not as I will but as you will. …” (Matthew 26:38-42) Jesus was facing a grievous situation, yet he yielded to Jehovah’s will.
God did not take away that grievous matter. He made Jesus deal with it. Today, we may have our own grievous situations. It may not make any sense as to why a thing has happened. Real or perceived injustices, involving imperfect responsible humans, may be going on for longer than we think; seemingly having no end.
This is very true and we agree with it 100%. Jesus was asked to deal with grave injustices, both real injustice, maneuvered by persons with evil intent, and some injustice based on the faulty perception and imperfections of others around him. Yet, Jesus, yielded to Jehovah’s will.
We should add that we never promote the idea that the imperfect humans responsible for promoting imperfect doctrine have done so with evil intent. The intent is usually quite the opposite. It’s with the same honorable intent that we ourselves once promoted such doctrines. We should learn to expect that many will have a zeal for God but not according to accurate knowledge. Our goal should be to yield to Jehovah’s will despite imperfections.
We may be suffering damage and loss due to believing a faulty interpretation, having made serious life decisions because of forcefulness and undue influences that were used. Now we may be suffering financial loss or other problems and we regret those decisions that otherwise would not have been made, if it were not for faulty conclusions and pressure.
It is not common for JWs to admit that other JWs and ex-JWs have truly suffered damage due to believing a faulty interpretation that was promoted by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Words in defense of JWs are usually carefully crafted so that an “imperfect doctrine” is never called a “wrong teaching” or “false doctrine.” There is usually a shift in wording so that the onus, or fault, is on the one who believed the faulty interpretation. In the above paragraph we should applaud the unusual admission that the “one who believed” did so because of “forcefulness and undue influences that were used.” This is not a specific admission that the undue influence was promoted directly by the Governing Body through the pages of the Watch Tower Society’s publications (including convention speech outlines). But we know that average JWs would never have allowed such influence over them if they thought it came from any other source but the Governing Body, also known as “the faithful and discreet slave.”
Perhaps some interpretations seem questionable. You may be grieved the meaning of the word “generation “(Matt. 24:34) has changed so many times, it appears to have no understandable meaning. Jesus assurance, “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away…” will be fulfilled as intended, regardless of interpretations. People make up a generation. People die. Therefore “A generation is going and a generation is coming; …” (Eccl 1:4)
That first sentence is amazing. It is primarily made up of “weasel words,” like: perhaps, some, and seem. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_word ) Even the idea behind the words “interpretations” and “questionable” are used here as “weasel words.” Such words are so ubiquitous in “Watchtower language” that JWs often don’t notice. We never hear: “The teaching about 1925 was a false doctrine.” Or, “Many past teachings were both wrong and indiscreet.” Instead, is seems that some “interpretations” in the past were probably “questionable.” The Watchtower has even said that increasing light has allowed the Watchtower to become “more discreet” over the years. They were never incorrect, but are now “more correct.” They were never indiscreet, but are now “more discreet.”
The current teaching on the “generation” is simply wrong from a Biblical perspective. It is completely untenable according to the Scriptures. Most JWs who wish to defend their belief, but who also wish to “let their reasonableness be known” will actually not try to defend it outright, but instead attempt to muddy the waters with the various uses of the word “generation” in the Bible, to show that the current untenable teaching is still possible. Of course, the current teaching has nothing to do with any of the varied uses of the word in the Bible or in any dictionary. The topic has been discussed on this forum and others:
In addition to muddying the waters, most reasonable defenders of JWs will also revert back to the slightly more sensible teaching that would allow for the original idea to have a fulfillment. They will point out that it’s still possible for this original teaching to be fulfilled as long as we are within say 119 or 120 years of 1914 to allow for those with long lifespans to “not pass away” before they see all these things occur.
There are still a small number who were alive when the gentile times ended. (See internet: List of the verified oldest people – Wikipedia
List of oldest living people – Wikipedia
(Note: other research reports may also exist.)
And here, too, we have an example. It’s an indication that the poster of this comment also does not have a strong belief in the current definition the Governing Body gives to the term “generation” as used by Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.
Of course, the foundational problem is not in the word “generation.” It’s the fact that the Gentile Times could not have ended in 1914. 1914 was a time when worldwide, international warfare first became common, and it was one of the great historical turning points for a large mass of humanity. But that has nothing to do with the end of the Gentile Times. In fact, it is the very type of historical change that Jesus warned us NOT to think of as a sign of the time of the end. Those topics, too, have been discussed elsewhere on this forum and others.
Some may be grieved their personal dignity has been offended and feelings hurt. Perhaps an influential person’s comments caused others to mistreat or act disrespectfully to you, possibly causing depression, anger negative emotions; isolation.
Remember, “If someone, because of conscience toward God, bears up under grievous things and suffers unjustly, this is an agreeable thing.” Almighty God sees all the injustices done to others and their innocence; we must bear up. “Look! We pronounce happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.”(James 5:11)
The above paragraphs contain good advice. They appear to primarily relate to more general issues that have driven good people away from their former active association among JWs. But the advice is good for all people who have suffered such injustices at the hands of their fellow brothers and sisters, including especially those who have done their best to withstand such abuses while remaining inside the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Don’t be infuriated, shaken from good sense or separate from doing God’s will. Realize the tested quality of one’s faith is far more valuable than gold. (1 Pet. 1:7) Wait for God’s reward, don’t fight for vindication. “…endure fully and be long-suffering with joy”. (Col.1:11) Everyone will suffer one way or another. (1 Pet. 5:9-11.)
This is also good advice. I doubt that anyone who recognizes the fact chronology mistakes have plagued the Watch Tower Society for about 140 years, now, will expect any kind of personal vindication. These types of mistakes, errors, and false doctrines, have become ingrained into the traditional end-time teachings and have become “strongly entrenched things” to use a Bible phrase. Even without looking to a specific date (like 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, or 2000) nearing the supposed end of the “generation” continues to tighten up the possible remaining end dates. It makes JWs anxious about the “times and seasons,” makes them see signs in current political maneuverings, and becomes a primary motivation to serve more urgently. Many JWs therefore serve partly because of the supposed significance of the “times and seasons,” and not purely out of love for Jehovah and neighbor.
Consider Joseph’s multiple problems; betrayed by his brothers, enslaved, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned. There’s no telling how many other problems he faced with prisoners and people throughout his long period of testing. (Gen. Chapter 37 to 50.) How do you think he felt? Probably like some of you. Yet he did not resort to retaliatory measures. “… Do not avenge yourselves beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.”(Romans 12: 17-19)
Anointed first century Christians had problems among themselves. That’s why Col.3: 13 advises “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint…. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also.” especially if, “they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke23:34)
This is generally good advice, too, but appears to be used in a single direction only. Remember that God’s word is a “two-edged” sword. When a JW prays, studies, and meditates on Bible questions, the JW may soon realize that the Bible clears up any doubt about various false teachings that the Watchtower has promoted. When Bible Students realized that the early teachings about 1918 and 1925 were false, they were treated as the “evil slave” and had no place among the other Watchtower followers. Long after 1914, if someone were to insist that Jesus began his presence in 1914 or began ruling as king in 1914, he could be branded as an “evil slave.” Even though this is the current belief, he would be “evil” for holding to such a belief prior to the time when the Governing Body (Rutherford) officially changed that belief. In fact, the Watch Tower Society had to wait until after Rutherford died before they were able to officially change the beginning of Christ’s presence from 1874 to 1914. (The change happened in 1943/1944.)
Even the so-called apostasy that became apparent more recently in the early 1980’s and 1990’s was related to increased access to evidence showing that the end of the Gentile Times was not in 1914, if the Bible is to believed. Those who no longer believed in 1914 could no longer be JWs in good standing even though many wanted to remain. They were labeled a “cancer.” They were labeled “poisonous.” The Watch Tower publications labeled them as “wicked” and undeserving of life.
So one wonders why they were sought out and sometimes “viciously” torn from their families and often even their means of livelihood, through disfellowshipping. It appeared that the Watch Tower Society was going through a period when they forgot about forgiveness, and preferred vindictiveness and retaliatory measures.
The idea that people who contribute to a site such as this one are also angry and vindictive doesn’t seem right at all. Speaking personally, I have no vindictiveness or malice toward anyone in the Watch Tower Society leadership, or any Jehovah’s Witnesses personally. I still consider many of them to be among my best friends. There will be some who are also responding to the injustice of having been torn from their loved ones for no other reason than that they wished to uphold God’s Word over the traditions of men. That is easy to understand. But there are very few vocal ones among the hundreds of thousands of former Witnesses. The few who are vocal are found online, and are incorrectly thought to represent the thousands who have resigned themselves to merely live a peaceable, godly life and who have thrown their burden on Jehovah. Only a tiny percentage would ever try to convince JWs that they are wrong about chronology. A majority have no doubt resigned themselves to merely hope for the best over the pitiful reactions of those friends and family who have closed their minds and who appear to have “no natural affection.” But over time, some of these same friends and family will also come to see the error of the Watchtower’s controlling doctrines, and are often rejoined with these friends and family. The joy and love in such reunions is amazing, and shows that it was not the true desire of the Witnesses to have “no natural affection” but just another mistake made under the undue influence of the Watch Tower’s teachings. Jesus, along with the rest of the Bible, teaches love and forgiveness. Just as you have yourself pointed out in the following paragraphs:
Handling grievous problems requires forgiveness. Everyone has limitations and weakness. To demand or expect something from others unable to deliver because of a limited mental capacity or personality flaw lacks understanding, insight and mercy. (Must read: 1 Cor. 1: 26-31)
“If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matt. 6:14 (see Matt. 18:35) Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.” (Matt. 5:7, See also Matt 5:30 & 7: 1-5)
Love “Does not keep account of the injury”. (1 Cor.13: 4, 5) It’s our obligation to forgive even serious injury. Let it go, regardless of continued suffering.
“For there is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) (See Psalm 130:3, Pr. 15:18)
Very true. Even where we see an older man promoting a sect, we are not to quickly bring a charge against him. (Titus 3:10) We expect a measure of false teachings to mix with the true teachings, and we expect that true teachings, at times, can only be understood well when this process is accepted:
(1 Cor 11: 18,19) For first of all, I hear that when you come together in a congregation, divisions exist among you; and to an extent I believe it. 19 For there will certainly also be sects among you, so that those of you who are approved may also become evident.
“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” (Proverbs 9: 11) “The one covering over a transgression is seeking love, and he that keeps talking about a matter is separating those familiar with one another.”(Proverbs 17:9) Stop complaining, talking and thinking about it; don’t victimize yourself!
If you have been the victim of serious wrongs, allowing anger to take root cultivates hatred. “However, I say to you that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; …” (Matt. 5:22, See also James 4:11)
I agree with you. This is also a good reminder for those who feel hurt by being forced out of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many are understandably angry over the injustice. There is no reason to continue complaining about it. In the end it is often only Jehovah who we can count on to provide true justice. Injustice will happen in this world. Organizations are infamous for protecting themselves at the expense of the little ones who can be tossed aside in the interests of protecting their reputation. We see this in colleges and various sports, educational, and religious institutions in the area of child sexual abuse, too. An organization rarely admits it was wrong unless forced to do so.
Those who discover that a true and clear Bible teaching differs from the current view promoted by the Watch Tower organization will sometimes be treated with disdain just as the young person was kicked out of the synagogue for believing in Jesus after his blindness was healed.
One could argue that Jesus parable of the woman who persistently seeks justice from a judge might apply. (Luke 18:1-8) But this is primarily about seeking ultimate justice from Jehovah, not through our own efforts.
I should mention however that the general feeling behind a site such as this one is not at all to try to get back at anyone for hurting them. It is merely to point out an area that still traps many Jehovah’s Witnesses and from which they could easily break free of the bonds of this false part of their religion by openly seeking truth. These are matters that many Jehovah’s Witnesses still struggle with. We recommend prayer, study and meditation upon these things. Our motive is no different from the motive many of us had helping others while we were Witnesses, and the same motive that some of us have who are still Witnesses struggling to keep a clean conscience as we keep an eye on our teaching.
Part of the sign Jesus gave about his presence was “Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10) This would go on during the kingdom preaching work. (Matt. 24:14) That’s exactly what is happening now! It is seen by those who publically point the finger of blame, have a vengeful spirit, try bringing ruin, set up contrary web sites, give away faults, publish contrary literature, slander, gossip, ridicule and publicly protest. This can stumble others, cause divisions and prevent people from accepting the lifesaving kingdom message.
Jesus asserted”…It is unavoidable that causes for stumbling should come. Nevertheless, woe to the one through whom they come. It would be of more advantage to him if a millstone were suspended from his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to stumble one of these little ones.” (Luke 17: 1, 2)
It is a danger, true. We should all take care that the motives behind our various ministries are proper. The Watch Tower Society has a long history of pointing the blame at various religions that they oppose. The Watch Tower Society has proven itself to be a formidable opposer of Catholicism, Communism, Nazi Fascism, the United Nations. The Watch Tower Society has proven itself to be a formidable opposer of most forms of Protestantism by the opposition to Trinity, Hell-fire, Immortality of the Soul, etc. They oppose nationalism, war, political involvement. Jehovah’s Witnesses are opposers who point the finger of blame and give away the faults of other religions, especially. They have set up a web site contrary to the teachings of most religions, they publish contrary literature.
But most of the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses are proper and correct, and Biblical. And the level of opposition that JWs promote should be considered acceptable in most free societies.
When a person can show where the Watch Tower Society has promoted a false teaching, however, the rules appear to change. How can anyone else point out our faults? Must this be considered a good approach when the WTS does it, but a bad approach when anyone else does it? That would be presumptuous and indiscreet and hypocritical, not worthy of a faithful and discreet slave.
But, as mentioned before, the WTS will slander, gossip and ridicule those who have left the organization. They create divisions in families. Thousands of little ones have been stumbled. The WTS even admits that thousands were stumbled over issues they promoted like 1975. Will it be any different over issues like covering up child sexual abuse? Will it be any different, over time, as many persons become disenchanted over the misuse of the “overlapping generation” teaching. It will be a slower process of disappointment, disenchantment, discouragement, depression, yet the result is the same.
Expectation postponed makes the heart sick, But a desire realized is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
Those who at one time took up the kingdom message are now betraying it by fighting against those who are faithfully bringing this message of mercy to the world before the great day of God the almighty. (Acts 20:30 mention those who draw away disciples after themselves.)
Again, it is not accurate at all to say that those who have discovered the problems with “strongly entrenched things” are betraying the kingdom message. Especially when what they have learned actually clears up the kingdom message and allows us to take off the chronology blinders that hide a good portion of the kingdom message.
There is nothing wrong with the fact that the Watchtower has promoted a message that Jesus is now King, he is present, and that he will soon return and bring an end to the present worldly system at any time, and without warning. This is in line with one of the primary themes of the Christian Greek Scriptures. We must be ready at all times, and pay attention to what sort of persons we ought to be, because the end can come at any time, unannounced, like a thief in the night. We are thus forewarned, and the kingdom message is a reminder of the approaching nearness of the end, along with a promise relief from this system and a paradise future. This is all Biblical and no one should be fighting against that. However, any message that also presumptuously claims to know the times and seasons of that return is being indiscreet. It would be trying to attract people to a specific version of that kingdom message based on self-aggrandizing pride in having been given a special insight into the “times and seasons” which is in Jehovah’s jurisdiction. (Acts 1, Matthew 24, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Peter) As stated before, it is often also used as a primary motivator, which is unchristian. It is precisely what Jesus was warning against in Matthew 24, when Jesus showed the impossibility of trying to use wars, famines, earthquakes, etc., as signs of the end. The very idea of presumptuous, supposed knowledge of the times and seasons would create false prophets who would claim to have such knowledge about the parousia. In other words, the current version of the kingdom message promoted by the Watchtower has elements that Jesus warned us against. Jesus did not want people misled or stumbled. This is why he warned us against looking for signs of the parousia. (Matthew 24)
And this brings us to one of the biggest dangers is that the human presumptuousness and indiscreet claims of knowing more about the times and seasons. It will draw off disciples who will follow the prideful idea of having more insight than others on this topic of the times and seasons. It draws disciples away from the true kingdom message that focuses on patience, hope, love, promise, relief — whether it happens in our current lifetime or, in effect, our next conscious moment, the split-second after we die.
Failure to show mercy is a betrayal of the kingdom message, which is mercy in connection with Jesus ransom sacrifice, along with a merciful God, a kindly forgiving king and a heavenly government that restores sinful mankind willing to make changes in their lives.
Proverbs 11:13 “The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter.” (See also Pr. 20:19, James 3: 6 – 8, Proverbs 11:9)
True. Very true.
The portion about a slanderer uncovering confidential talk cannot apply to our preaching about the kingdom, however. There is nothing confidential about the kingdom. We are asked to preach about it from the rooftops. We are not to hide it in the field, or keep it under a measuring basket. There is nothing hidden that will not be uncovered. Our joy in that kingdom promise, and our love for it, will motivate us to become a teacher and bring out things both old and new.
The biblical message that God has established a heavenly government that will eliminate all corrupt earthly governments and bring the earth to paradise conditions is the only hope for mankind. Spending time and efforts to unveil the mistakes and sins of imperfect limited humans because of refusal to forgive, concealing a sin or being afraid to preach, reveals hatred, betrayal and self-deception.
Becoming like those religious leaders who prevented others from accepting Jesus message is evil. They were told, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.” (Matt. 23:13)
Everyone will be judged. “Keep on blessing those who persecute; be blessing and do not be cursing.” (Romans 12: 14 see also vs. 19) “Also, just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them.” (Luke 6:31)
Putting oneself in the position of the“…good-for-nothing man” who “is digging up what is bad, and upon his lips there is as it were, a scorching fire.”, is unwise. (Pr. 16:27.) A person may be partially right but largely wrong. “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterwards,” (Pr. 14:12, see also James 4:11)
There is nothing wrong with the Biblical message you and I seem to share, as you expressed above about the heavenly government for which we pray and which we teach others about. On your point about those religious leaders who prevented others from accepting Jesus message, we don not consider the leaders of the Watch Tower Society to be “evil.” It’s true that they have often prevented others from accepting the true spirit of Jesus’ message, by pointing to signs and dates, against Jesus’ direct counsel. But this is because they knew not what they were doing. It was very common especially in the 19th century, to try to prove that you had more of God’s insight than others by predicting a date. Dates will draw off followers away from Christ’s message and to the people themselves who are most convincing or who have the most charisma. Most people like to follow, and are anxious for something visible to follow.
It is not easy for most followers to see when their leaders are acting like Pharisees. Human pride, and the wish to be right on all matters, and at all costs, will make most people happy to see those leaders kick people out for their Bible beliefs about the parousia. But they will think they are doing it for God. Most JWs feel even more secure in their belief when they see others kicked out for disagreeing. Persecuting others in this way makes them feel like the ones being persecuted over this matter. Therefore they can put it out of their mind. This is how it happens that traditions and ideologies that are completely wrong can seem upright to a man. Mixing what it wrong with what is right allows the wrong to hide, the weeds among the wheat, as it were.
Fighting against Christ’s brothers, the kingdom preaching work and being unmerciful causes one to be “overreached by Satan”. Paul writes, “Anything you kindly forgive anyone, I do too. In fact, as for me, whatever I have kindly forgiven, if I have kindly forgiven anything, it has been for your sakes in Christ’s sight; that we may not be overreached by Satan, …” (2 Cor. 2:10 & 11) Satan overreaches an unmerciful person. He catches them alive! 2 Tim. 2:26 states “and they may come back to their proper senses out from the snare of the Devil, seeing that they have been caught alive by him for the will of that one.” Satan’s will is to fight against the kingdom preaching, its supporters and prevent others from listening and accepting the kingdom message.
As stated before, there is no reason to go so far as to claim that the Watch Tower Society is fighting against Christ’s brothers. I would guess that the vast majority of the opposers in the WTS believe they are doing the right thing, according to their conscience. Some will make this claim, that the WTS has been persecuting Christ’s brothers, but there are no doubt many of Christ’s brothers who are to be found among the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And many more will see through the presumptuousness of this appeal to be motivated by a knowledge of the “times and seasons” and therefore will not likely, at this time at least, see any value in joining the specific ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some will find they are better at a ministry in helping their neighbor, feeding the hungry, doing what they can in hospitals, shelters, helping the elderly, looking after orphans who need attention, and myriad other problems that this godless system has heaped upon the world. As members of a large and impressive teaching ministry, the JWs still have much to be thankful for, and proud of, too. More people should be aware of the upbuilding and encouraging Bible-based teachings of JWs. But this does not mean that the Watchtower leaders should feel they are above allowing themselves to be corrected by direct Bible teachings on such important matters. Satan’s influence, especially, is based on pride. It’s easy to see by a historical study of the Watchtower’s false claims, that it was pride that overreached them. But there is still time to come to one’s proper senses in this area. Speaking on a personal level, I am thankful for the teachings of JWs that helped bring me to my proper senses. It’s a matter of humility.
Forgiveness, frees you from Satan’s grasp and condemnatory judgment.
Avoid extended problems with others. Paul said “Why do you not rather let yourselves be wronged?” (1 Cor. 6:7) Let it go, keep quiet, have peace, serve kingdom interests, give “… a sacred service with your power of reason”. (Romans 12:1)
Regardless of the deep short falling of imperfect individuals keep in mind that judgment has been committed to Christ. “The Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the judging to the Son. (John 5:22)
Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, ’Lord Lord’, did we not prophecy in your name and perform many powerful works in your name?” And yet I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:22, 23) When Jesus denies those individuals the use of his ransom sacrifice, they are doomed!
Jesus brothers are human and imperfect like everyone else. They do not perform miracles, are not infallible and are not inspired like the apostles. This may be why Jesus refers to some of them as “the least of these my brothers.” (Matt 25:40, 41, 1 Co.1: 26-31) Yet, “And in reply the king will say to them,” Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. …he will say, in turn, to those on his left, “Be on your way from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:40)
You probably are implying that “Jesus’ brothers” refer to those who have claimed to be the only channel of truth, the Governing Body, who claim not just to represent the “faithful and discreet slave” but who claim to actually be the only 8 living members of that “slave” on earth today.
This, of course, is at odds with everything Jesus said about that “slave” and is an indication itself that someone has not been faithful and discreet with the words of Jesus. Not that there is anything wrong with having an administrative body. What’s wrong is thinking of them as governors of your faith, or your earthly leaders. They can have a ministry just as other members of the congregation may have various ministries.
Look more closely at Jesus’ own words about these brothers, and you will not have to come up with improbable reasons why Jesus spoke of them as “the least of these, my brothers.” It wasn’t because they were any more or less imperfect than others. These brothers, Jesus said, are the ones who are most in need of someone to help them, teach them, feed them, clothe them, visit them when they are sick. This Governing Body could be included but it would be directly against the teaching of Jesus to say that they are these particular brothers. All of us are responsible for doing good wherever the opportunities for doing good present themselves.
As long as those proclaiming the pure kingdom message do not commit a sin that incurs death, no accusation will stand.
You really shouldn’t judge someone’s eternal prospects, although I can see you are merely defending them, which is good. It’s up to all of us to keep close watch on our conscience, our teaching and other parts of our ministry, and to let our reasonableness be known to all men, and to not hold back in defending our faith and the hope within us. But we can’t really speak for others. If we use the Bible as our constitution and consider the value of a commentary such as the Watch Tower publications, we can appreciate the efforts put forth by those who would lead us. But where we see the Bible takes precedence, we can point this out without concern that we are “accusing” anyone else. We are merely doing the right thing by putting the word of God above the word of men.
Even if the problem continues, causing suffering. “If anyone catches sight of his brother sinning a sin that does not incur death, he will ask, and he will give life to him, yes, to those not sinning so as to incur death. There is a sin that does incur death. It is concerning that sin that I do not tell him to make request. All unrighteousness is sin; and yet there is a sin that does not incur death.” 1 John 5: 16, 17
Being unmerciful is a sin that incurs death. (See Matt. 6:14 & 15)
Regardless of complaints; nothing will stand. “Who will file an accusation against God’s chosen ones? God is the one who declares them righteous. Who is he that will condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, who is on the right hand of God, who also pleads for us.” (Romans 8: 33, 34) “Who are you to judge the house servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand.” “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Romans 14:4. 10)
“Jehovah is redeeming the soul of his servants; And none of those taking refuge in him will be held guilty.” (Psalm 34:22: See also Heb.2:11; 11:16)
This is a fair synopsis about seeing love, mercy and justice as the more important things. We don’t judge one another. We can’t really see the heart motives of others. Sometimes a Watchtower writer or speaker will print or admit their motive, inadvertently sometimes, and this may help us understand them better. But we still don’t judge them. People can be wrong for the right reasons and right for the wrong reasons. People who create web sites like this one, of course, are usually judged as wrong for the wrong reasons. : )
You can’t go wrong showing mercy, obeying Jehovah’s laws, having a repentant attitude and preaching the kingdom!
Repentance and baptism are required first steps to salvation. (See 1 Pet. 3:21, Acts 2:38, Matt. 28:19, 20)
Those wanting Jehovah’s approval must obey his moral standards without exception. When someone commits an error, true repentance is required. “Each of us will render an account for himself to God.” (Romans 14:12 See also 1 John 5:17 & Heb. 10: 26, 27)
SIGN OF THE LAST DAYS
Concerning the sign of his presence and the conclusion of the system of things, Jesus stated “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matt.24: 3 to 14)
You left out the part where Jesus said, concerning this request for a sign of the parousia, that he actually said NOT to be misled by “signs” like wars and nations that will rise against nations. Initially the Watch Tower had this right in claiming that Jesus was saying there would be wars and earthquakes all along the 1800 years of history prior to his parousia. The Watch Tower once claimed that this referred to all the years of wars, famines, earthquakes that had taken place in the first century, the second century, the third century, etc., all the way through the 19th century. If you read the context carefully you will see why this makes more sense. The whole point was how the parousia would sweep upon them as quickly and unexpectedly as a huge flash of lightning, or a thief in the night, or even in the way it came without warning upon Sodom (Luke 21). People would act as if without a clue, continuing to eat and drink and get married as they did in Noah’s day when the flood suddenly swept them away.
When the Great War, which was later renamed World War I by historians, began, that is exactly what happened. Between the years of 1914 to 1918 there were 46 declarations of war making up World War I. Those who argue that World War One was not a world war but a European war are evading the issue if they use it to deny the presence of Christ. (See Matt. 24 and the internet:
Timeline of World War I – Wikipedia
Timeline of Major War Declarations in World War I – Family Tree
World War I: Declarations of War from Around the Globe | Law Library…
1914 was a huge turning point in the history of modern people for many reasons. It wasn’t the only one, but it was definitely a major one. But those who argue that this makes it a sign of the last days are evading the counsel of Jesus in Matthew 24 and that of several other Bible writers.
Today this unified message of Matt.6:10 “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place as in heaven, also upon earth.” in accord with Daniel 2:44 “…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. …” is being preached in 240 lands by imperfect humans. It is the most historical and unified preaching work that has ever taken place on earth since the first century. It is the greatest act of mercy to all mankind before God passes judgment. (Matt 24; 14 & Zeph1:14-18) Billions of pieces of literature have been printed and distributed. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones going door to door with this message and fulfilling the prophecy of the world wide preaching work! (Matt.24:14)
The message of God’s kingdom to replace all human governments would only take place during the presence of the king, Jesus Christ. It could have never been accomplished if Christ were not enthroned. When it’s finished, Christ will say, “Well done, good and faithful slave …” (Matt. 25:21-23)
To argue against the sign of Christ’s presence, is to deny he is in kingdom power and a betrayal of the kingdom message. A lack of faith! (Heb. 3:12-14)
Except for some Biblical inaccuracies that are easy for anyone to catch, there is nothing wrong, in general, with the preaching of the Kingdom message as it is done by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I also agree that it is significant and historical. But this is no reason to include known inaccuracies in that work, is it? From the 1870’s through the 1940’s this preaching work included the teaching that Jesus’ presence had begun in 1874. Would it have been wrong to correct such a point, or would it have been wrong for a JW to avoid this teaching if he or she knew it was wrong? From the mid-1950’s, revived strongly in 1966, through the mid-1970’s, that same preaching work included a focus on what would most likely happen in the mid-1970’s. Then it became the preaching work that would be completed by the end of the 20th century. Up until just 7 years ago, it was the preaching work that would be completed within the maximum lifespan of people born in or before the year 1914. Even if most of the message was correct, would it have been wrong for a JW to avoid or correct this particular point? Would it have been wrong for him or her to present the Biblical evidence against this point to the Watch Tower Society? Currently, the kingdom message includes the idea that this generation that will not pass away, will finally pass away within the lifespan of certain Jehovah’s Witnesses who claimed to be anointed before the end of the lifespan of certain other Jehovah’s Witnesses who had claimed to be anointed prior to 1914. If a JW finds Biblical evidence that this part of the kingdom message is a false doctrine, should he be required to keep that to himself or herself? If a person discovers that the Bible gives overwhelming evidence that the Gentile Times did not end in 1914, should they keep that to themselves?
Should they hide it or keep it under a measuring basket? I suppose it depends on whether truth is important or not. Perhaps it’s dependent on whether we truly have more loyalty to Jehovah than to men.
TEACHINGS / INTERPRETATIONS:
To keep up with current changes see http://www.jw.org , click “Clarifications of Beliefs”.
If you disagree with certain teachings or interpretations don’t be bothered or distracted. The full truth will be made known as hidden information is uncovered. Wrong teachings have and will be dropped.
That may be true that wrong teachings have and will be dropped. But the wrong teaching about 1874 was kept for 70 years. The wrong teaching about when Jesus began his kingdom (1878) was kept for many years beyond 1914. The Watchtower now claims to have been wrong about who the “faithful and discreet slave” is for 130 years.
What’s the point of calling a doctrine “questionable” as you did above, if it cannot be questioned?
Does Jehovah say not to be bothered or distracted about false teachings and false interpretations? The Bible says to pay attention to ourselves and to our teaching. The Bible says to test the teachings, to keep proving to ourselves what is good and acceptable, to see whether these things are so, to overcome strongly entrenched things. So who are you following when you say we should not be bothered or distracted about false teachings? Are we slaves of men or of God? Is it men we are trying to please.
The core teaching about the kingdom of God is a pure message. Prophets of old spoke about it. Today “…Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.” “…those having insight will understand.”(Daniel 12:4, 10)
”For we have partial knowledge and we prophecy partially; but when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with.” (1 Cor. 13:9, 10) Part of what we believe will be right and part will be temporarily wrong.
This has proved to be true, especially what Daniel said about the time when the sealed scrolls would be shut, compared to when Revelation says that it was then time for those sealed scrolls to be opened up. Since then many have roved about, and true knowledge, the very Christian Scriptures themselves, has become abundant. Yet, as you show, none will have perfect knowledge until that perfect day when that which is partial will done away with. You are absolutely right about our level of knowledge being incomplete. But, again, this should not be an excuse to disobey Jehovah when he tells us to pay attention to our teaching and continue testing it.
If you think a person or group are wrong, it’s best to take it up with those individuals. If you’re successful be happy. If not, don’t broadcast it worldwide, causing divisions, stumbling and disharmony; making trouble. Remember, “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 forth his angles, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons that are doing lawlessness, and they will pitch them into the fiery furnace. …” (Matt. 13: 40 – 42) Don’t be one of those!
Those who teach will receive a heavier judgment. (James 3:1)
I have seen and heard plenty of evidence that in the early 1970’s it was common for several brothers who later become members of the Governing Body to express a lack of belief in many matters of chronology. Some of these expressions were regarding the undue pressure that Fred Franz was putting on everyone to get behind his 1975 doctrine. Some of these were with respect to the inconsistencies surrounding our treatment of the 1,260 and 1,335 days, etc., or the focus on prophecy fulfilled 1918 and 1919. After Fred Franz died, all of the 1918 teachings finally dropped, but many of the 1919 teachings still exist. At least 5 members of the Governing Body had been known to speak out against the “generation of 1914” some expressing doubts about the 1914 date itself. I cannot personally verify more than 2 of these. But I have seen good evidence for at least 4. And, of course, it is well known that several brothers were dismissed from the Writing Department and Service Department for admitting during the 1980 inquisition that they did not believe in the 1914 date.
In my own personal case, I have already taken these issues up with the leadership of the Watch Tower Society over a course of several years. Some of those in leadership positions have been understanding of the problem and have admitted that they too are waiting for a time when some of these doctrines will be corrected. Yet, even the most understanding ones, still threatened dire warnings of punishment and disfellowshipping if I were to explain my feelings to fellow JWs. I never personally had the same expertise of some brothers who spent years looking into the matters from the perspective of the original Bible languages, or from the perspective of Bible-related archaeology. But I have seen how these brothers, too, were treated upon presenting the Bible evidence and the historical evidence to the leadership of the WTS.
So we already have a record of what will happen if any of us were to take this topic up with those individuals who continue to promote these traditions. We already have statements in the publications as to what will most likely happen. We will have to recant and repent of such thinking or face being “expelled from the synagogue.” Therefore, the matter has already been taken to the individuals responsible. While some issues that were considered “apostate” in the recent past (see books by Ray Franz) have now been corrected, this particular issue of 1914 has not been. Whether one decides to hide the issue is a matter of personal conscience. The Bible tells us that if the individuals will not listen, we should take it to the congregation. But it was not speaking specifically of doctrinal matters. Matters of dishonesty, and hiding evidence, really are matters for the congregation to be aware of, however.
“Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Repentance means changing your mind to agree with God’s thinking, doing what’s required.
If any have strayed due to faulty interpretations, expectations, or teaching; if some fleshly weakness has overtaken you, or some treatment you received; realize the sacrifice of Christ runs deep and forgiveness is through the open door of repentance. With new information comes a new mind on matters.
It is hoped this information will return all sheep to Christ before final judgment arrives. (Matt. 24:34)
This is all correct of course. As JWs, we are always taught to blend the terms “God’s thinking” with the “organization’s thinking.” We are told that we can’t think of Jehovah separately from his organization. We must use terms like “spirit-directed” organization, but we are not allowed to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) as this would be presumptuous. If we were to find that God’s thinking differed from that of the organization, we would be subject to disfellowshipping unless we repented of that idea. Only the Governing Body have the right to notice when God’s thinking differs from the organization’s thinking. True repentance, however, means exactly what you said above: changing our mind to agree with God’s thinking.
This reminds me of an argument that the Watchtower published in one of the old “Kingdom Ministry” brochures back when it was called the “Bulletin.” Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 1930’s were being asked to continue to sell the 6 volumes of Studies in the Scriptures that were originally published by Charles Taze Russell because there were still so many hundreds of thousands of these books in stock. But the question from the colporteurs who were selling these books was about their conscience. How could they conscientiously sell books (yes, JWs still used the term “sell” back then) when almost everything they taught about 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1915, the resurrection, the influence of the holy spirit, was now considered to be false, in one case (Great Pyramid) even Satanic?
Of course, the answer was that disobeying Judge Rutherford was the same as disobeying the Lord. The methods of blurring the line between God and the organization are just as prevalent, although they are now worded in a more acceptable manner.
I bring this up because you mention repenting and returning to “God’s thinking.” This has a much different meaning to an ex-JW who has thought the matter through. Many persons are forced to leave the organization because this is the only way they can conscientiously return to Jehovah and Christ. Obviously, this would make about as much sense to you as it would have made to me before I thought things through more thoroughly. When a JW reads the “Return to Jehovah” brochure, they are really only thinking of how a person will return to the “Organization.” There is no other possible meaning to a JW in good standing.
When enduring personal injustices, be patient, don’t retaliate. By keeping quiet, the matter will be dead on your side: it may end sooner. Fighting back extends trouble. Jesus’, enemies did what they could to discredit and stop him. Jesus continued with the kingdom preaching work, so did his apostles. Pointing out what we think is wrong isn’t necessarily going to change it. (See Micah 7:1-3) Micah said “I will show a waiting attitude (wait patiently) for the God of my salvation.” (Micah 7:7)
At 1 Peter 2:21-23 “…even Christ suffered for you leaving for you a model for you to follow. …When he was being reviled he did not go reviling in return, When he was suffering he did not go threatening , but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.” The model is in suffering, both inside and outside the Christian congregation. Remember, “… a slave is not greater than his master…” John 13:16) Jesus had trouble with others and so will we. (Luke 4:16-30)
Speaking for myself again, I was never wronged, nor did I endure any personal injustice over which I would ever think of retaliating. I am not an organization that has any vested interest in a specific doctrine. If I discover I’ve made a mistake in my thinking, I’m free to humbly correct my thinking immediately. I did live through the 1975 teachings, but I am no worse off for them. Who knows what I might have done differently? I went to Bethel, left Bethel, stayed in my congregation for several years, continued actively preaching and teaching. Things worked out just fine. I had plenty of Bible studies during the 1975 period and I do feel badly for having misled them by leaving so much Watchtower literature that pushed 1975, and we always studied the old 1968 version of the “Truth” book that pushed 1975. Only a few of my Bible studies were baptized. I learned the truth about 1914 while at Bethel. Many others did, too. Anyone who was serious about using their time at Bethel to do more personal study, and speak with more mature elders in responsible positions could hardly help but meet people who had already thought about the problems of our chronology doctrines. Like me, none of them thought that it would change any time soon, so we were patient. I waited until the early 1990’s before finally saying much of anything publicly, having known of the problems for about 15 years by then.
Yes, I was reviled for bringing up the topic privately with an elder I sought counsel from. I had already spoken privately to persons at Bethel about my options for which talks I could give in good conscience and asked for advice. Again I was threatened with disfellowshipping, and decided to wait on Jehovah a few more years. But now I was always under suspicion, and was being assigned almost every meeting part related to 1914 or the organization. As I was a pioneer, the circuit overseer came to work with me in service to listen to my approach at the door. A person from Brooklyn Bethel came to listen to most of my hour talks. I even conducted a book study that was sometimes audited. I had no trouble with others because I had no trouble keeping these issues to myself.
It was only after much prayer and consideration that I realized that I could no longer conscientiously teach from the platform what I knew to be falsehoods. How could I be a hypocrite in field service and others to change their beliefs, if my own conscience let me know that I was compromising from the platform. I never wanted to leave the Witnesses, but I did ask to be removed from some of my speaking privileges and assignments. Then I asked to be removed from my position.
That’s what resulted in the more serious threats and multiple attempts began to get me on the phone with two elders at once. (That’s the signal of the beginning of a judicial meeting.) I had a chance to “fade” without incident, and took it. If I attempt to come back it’s been made clear that I will face an inquisition to recant, or be disfellowshipped. This allows me at least to take care of my aging parents, and keep many of my best and closest friends among the Witnesses.
The best thing one can do is stop ridiculing, finger pointing, tattle tailing, complaining, and protesting publically. Shut down and stop hosting negative web sites for unmerciful, complainers and fault finders. Benefit with works of repentance
Change to a mental attitude of mercy. Keep quiet over things you don’t agree with. “Be agitated, but do not sin. Have your say in your heart, upon your bed and keep silent. “(Psalm4:4) Join in with the pure unified kingdom preaching work.
Have lowliness of mind and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. (1Pet. 5:5, 6) Its sound advice, you can’t go wrong. Some may have to swallow their pride and apply for reinstatement.
Everyone’s experience is a little different. Through this website, however, I have met several with an experience similar to mine. The love and concern for our fellow brothers and sisters is wonderful. Even though we were thrown out, the love for Jehovah is still there. This is not true of all, of course. Many have had the idea that if the Witnesses are hypocritical, then there is nothing else out there to believe in. Some of these “little ones” have even committed suicide over the harsh treatment of being shunned only for their love of truth. We knew it could happen when we were Witnesses, but we only expected it from outside the Witnesses. We would never expect some of the most hateful and inhumane treatment to come from Witnesses themselves. I’ve known some who had to face disfellowshipping, and some were able to fade without such an incident. Today, it’s easier to “fade” than it was in the 80’s and 90’s. The problem with disfellowshipping is that one is forced to lie about their beliefs in order to gain reinstatement. But if one wishes to honor their mother and father, or sometimes to see their own children and grandchildren, some have resorted to lying in order not to forsake the family bond.
The generation that was alive when the gentile times ended will still be alive when “the end” comes. To those who are unrepentant or unprepared it will come as a snare. (Luke 21:35)
This message is an act of mercy to those who have fallen into a pit of inactivity or opposition to the kingdom work. It’s meant to pull them out of the pit. “…If a certain man comes to have a hundred sheep and one of them gets strayed, will he not leave the ninety-nine upon the mountains and set out on a search for the one that is straying? And if he happens to find it, I certainly tell you, he rejoices more over it than over the nine-nine that have not strayed. Likewise, it is not a desirable thing with my Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish.” (Matt. 18:12-14)
”Pursue peace with all people, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, carefully watching that no one may be deprived of the underserved kindness of God, that no poisonous root may spring up and cause trouble and that many may not be defiled by it.” (Hebrews 12:14, 15)
I am convinced that your motive for warning me is good and sincere. I am just as concerned that end will come as a snare for those who are motivated by the wrong reasons. Jesus went to the trouble to warn us specifically against being motivated by the “times and seasons” because it is a common, human desire to know when something is going to happen. I don’t hold the view that I am saving lives by pointing out what Jesus said about proper motivation. I appreciate what it has done for me and I want to share it. But I don’t think it’s improper for those who have learned something important to share it. It may not seem as important to others, but we should still share what we have learned. If we are humble we will be corrected by those who can to show us where we have erred. And it may be that if others are humble, they might truly appreciate the fact that something good about the kingdom message was shared with them.
Some have been away from this work for so long, those who have caused problems most likely have moved, are incapacitated or dead. Newer ones have taken their place and may not be aware of past issues.
If you, the reader, know anyone who needs this information or help recovering from stumbling, please pass it along.
If you have heard negative reports about imperfect people, don’t let that prevent you from inheriting everlasting life. Keep in mind there were negative things said about the apostles. Even Jesus, who “…committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth” was criticized. (See 1 Pet 21-25) Read the Christian Greek scriptures (New Testament) and see for yourself.
This may be good advice for some. I have kept enough close contacts with JWs to know that it is still not possible to return to the organization (currently) without recanting what I conscientously believe is the Bible’s view of the 1914 doctrine. There are some who have left whom I would encourage to try to rejoin the organization if it is the only way they can fulfill their obligations of love and care for their family and those still related to them in the faith.
But Jehovah knows our hearts, and he knows those who love him. He also knows our conscience, and willfully going against one’s conscience is sinful in itself according to Paul’s letter to the Romans. I would love to associate more closely with the brothers and sisters I care so much about. I would love to be closer with members of my own family. But in difficult times and in difficult circumstances we can be removed from the congregation and people can try to make one feel unloved. But no one can separate us from God’s love which is in Jesus Christ.
I guess the theme of what I hope to convey here is what is found in 1 Timothy 1:5:
5 Really, the objective of this instruction is love out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy.