QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On September 1, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiry. On September 2, 2012, we received the author’s follow up email which is set forth after our response.
“How do those who are not part of "the Organization", or who have been disfellowshipped because of legitimate wrongdoing in the past. Does their anointing need to be validated through baptism in the organization, or reinstated back into the congregation? Thanks, Your Brother ”
Thank you for your email.
The first thing we want to tell you is that our anointing is not validated by either baptism, or reinstatement or good standing in a congregation or a church. Our anointing is only validated by the Spirit of Truth. As Paul wrote:
"The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
– Romans 8:16
The ‘spirit itself’ is the Spirit of Truth; and ‘our spirit’ is the Father’s indwelling spirit as referred to by Paul:
“Do you not know that you people are God’s temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in you?”
– 1 Corinthians 3:16
So our anointing is a personal matter between us and the Father, with the witness provided by the Christ (who sent the Spirit of Truth). No man is authorized to impose on or interfere with that relationship. The Christ stands at the door to the kingdom (John 10:9), not any man. As Paul said:
“He has also put his seal upon us and has given us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit, in our hearts. Now I call upon God as a witness against my own soul that it is to spare you that I have not yet come to Corinth. Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing.”
– 2 Corinthians 1:22-24
However, the Father does authorize individual groups to formulate and enforce their own rules for conduct and behavior, and administer discipline.
“Truly I say to you men, Whatever things you may bind on earth will be things bound in heaven, and whatever things you may loose on earth will be things loosed in heaven. Again I truly say to you, If two of you on earth agree concerning anything of importance that they should request, it will take place for them due to my Father in heaven. For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”
– Matthew 18:18
As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we know what the rules are. When we join the association, we subject ourselves to those rules. And consequently when we break those rules, we are subject to their discipline. You may want to read the Question and Response, dated July 16, 2012 on this subject.
So a Jehovah’s Witness who has been disfellowshipped would need to be reinstated if that person wants to continue in association with Jehovah’s Witnesses. But if such a person chooses another fellowship, he or she would subject themselves to the rules of that other association instead. Either way, their anointing is not at issue.
Keep in mind, brother, that our anointing carries with it a responsibility to conduct ourselves in a way that honors the Father and respects our brothers. We are obligated to keep the laws of the Kingdom which cover every sort of wrong that would be offensive to the spirit within us:
“Jesus answered: ‘The first is, “Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, and you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.” The second is this, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’”
– Mark 12:29-31
So if we are engaged in conduct that grieves the spirit, we need to pray to the Father about it, change our course, and not look back. Of course, we certainly understand that if a disfellowshipped person has not been reinstated, yet partakes at the Memorial, the organization will not count that person. But such a person should not be worried about that. If their spirit bears witness that they are a son, they are obligated to act in accord with their spirit regardless of what man thinks.
We hope we have adequately answered your question. If not, please feel free to write us again.
On September 2, 2012, we received the following response from the author of the above inquiry:
Thank you so much or you response, it has truly been helpful! Although deep down I already knew the answer. I once was associated with a brother in the congregation who was an anointed one from God. He work feverishly for the Lord. And he taught me much as I was his friend and companion in the ministry. Humility and love he showed to all. He recently has passed of natural causes, and I will always remember what he has taught me.
I have been DF'd for 9 or 10 years now, struggling with addictions on and off, while making attempts for reinstatement, so far to no avail. I am tired of trying to prove myself before men. Then it was as a light came upon me. A light that has been there all my life, but would never approach it due to some preconceived understanding about who were Christ’s brothers. The love of Christ has been with me all my life, but the flesh has been weak. Drugs and gambling have been my plight, and a prison term my punishment. Thanks be to Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ who have picked me up every time I have fallen, dust myself and keep trying.
Even now as I write and feel good in the Lord, there is a badness that is crouching at my doors. But recently for the first time in my 49 years of living, it has been a lot easier knowing that I am in no way obliged to be reinstated before men, but look exclusively to my Savior for peace and love and forgiveness, through his precious blood and sacrifice!!
God bless you Brothers and Sisters for helping others to grasp that, that we can be made strong through our weaknesses, and be blessed with "sonship with God", as a brother in Christ. John 3:16 " For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son, in order that every that (everyone ) who believes unto him, might not be destroyed, but have eternal life." Amen Brothers.
On September 1, 2012, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I can agree with the contents of your letter No. 1 and The Assumed Earthly Hope. However, The Reality of the Earthly Hope and The Real Hope for Life on Earth contain some assumptions based on speculation in contradiction of 1 Cor. 4:6.
For example, you refer to Ezekiel 39 without citation, as though these post-Armageddon activities will be literal. However, we do not know the degree of literalness these events will have. Your comments on the few saved vs. the many destroyed at Armageddon are contradicted by 1 Pet.3:20; Mt. 24:37-39; 7;13,14. Your questioning the potential for happiness of some Armageddon survivors is contradicted by Ps. 37:11; 145:16; 2 Pt. 3:13; Rev. 21:4. Please see also Is. 55:8,9; Jer. 10:23; Gen 3:5 in reference to your speculation.”
First, we want to thank you for your email. You could just as easily have clicked away from our site, so we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. We are happy to respond; however, our response is rather lengthy so please bear with us.
We expect the series of articles on the Cherished Earthly Hope to evoke some responses from people who are convinced that everlasting life on earth is the Father’s purpose for obedient mankind. Yet, in the article The Reality of the Earthly Hope, we have been careful to stick closely to what the Society teaches. And we agree that most of what the Society teaches about life on earth under the “new order” is speculative and that they have gone “beyond the things that are written” as Paul stated:
“Now, brothers, these things I have transferred so as to apply to myself and Apollos for your good, that in our case you may learn the [rule]: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” in order that you may not be puffed up individually in favor of the one against the other.”
– 1 Corinthians 4:6
So if your concern is that the Society has gone beyond what is written, then we agree with you. That really is the point we are making in the article series. The earthly hope as the Society teaches is based on assumptions and speculation.
Now, as a rule, we have no problem with speculation. Speculation and assumptions are often the first steps toward finding new information. We publish a few articles speculating about what heavenly life might be like. (See The Glorious Heavenly Hope.) But, we make it clear that we are speculating and not teaching doctrine. Our readers are free to indulge in such speculations with us if they chose, or to formulation their own idea, or dismiss them entirely. Really, we see no other way to apply the scripture to ‘keep our minds fixed on the things above’ (Colossians 3:1-2) unless we use our God-given imaginations and speculate.
The problem arises when speculations and assumptions are taught as doctrine such that those who disagree with the speculations are considered apostates. That is a matter the Society needs to consider and, in our opinion, humbly back away from. They can continue to hold onto their ideas about eternal earthly life, but we believe they should refrain from disfellowshipping those who do not agree with their speculations.
But if your complaint is that we have ‘gone beyond’ the things the Society teaches (that are beyond the things that are written in the Bible), please let us know what that extra information is. We do not want to add to the Society’s assumptions and speculations, and we will promptly correct any information that misrepresents what the Society actually teaches.
You identify one such complaint when you say “For example, you refer to Ezekiel 39 without citation, as though these post-Armageddon activities will be literal. However, we do not know the degree of literalness these events will have.” Please know that these speculations do not originate from us. These are the teachings of the Society where they specifically cite to Ezekiel 39:11, 17-20. I will provide a quote from the book, Revelation Its Grand Climax at Hand!, at page 285, paragraphs 20-21. It is a lengthy quote, but I believe it is necessary in order to show where these ideas originate:
“In Ezekiel’s vision, after the destruction of Gog’s crowd, the birds and the wild animals are invited to a feast! They rid the landscape of carcasses by eating the dead bodies of Jehovah’s enemies. (Ezekiel 39:11, 17-20) John’s next words bring that earlier prophecy vividly to mind: “I saw also an angle standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in midheaven: ‘Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God, that you may eat the fleshy parts of kings and the fleshy parts of military commanders and the fleshy parts of strong men and the fleshy parts of horses and of those seated upon them, and the fleshy parts of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.’” – Revelation 19:17-18
The angel is “standing in the sun,” a commanding position for attracting the attention of the birds. He invites them to be ready to gorge themselves on the flesh of those about to be slain by the Warrior-King and his heavenly armies. The fact that the dead are to be left on the surface of the ground indicates that they will die in public shame. Like Jezebel of old, they will not have an honorable burial. (2 Kings 9:36,37) The list of those whose corpses would be left lying there shows the range of the destruction: kings, military commanders, strong men, freemen, and slaves. No exceptions. Every last trace of the rebellious word in opposition to Jehovah will be eliminated. After this, there will no more be a restless sea of confused humans. (Revelation 21:1) This is “the great evening meal of God” since it is Jehovah who invites the birds to share therein.”
So you can see that the Society views the Ezekiel prophesy as a literal part of the post-Armageddon experience. That is what the article was explaining. We, however, agree with you that we do not know if it is literal. In fact, we are more inclined to believe that it is not literal. But whatever one believes, it is speculation at this point. We hope the Society realizes that those who disagree with it being literal should not be chastised or shunned.
Next, you state: “Your comments on the few saved vs. the many destroyed at Armageddon are contradicted by 1 Pet.3:20; Mt. 24:37-39; 7;13,14.” What we said in the article, The Real Hope for Live on Earth is that “we doubt that a loving Father would destroy 7 billion people in favor of just 7 million.” We stand firmly by that statement. We do not believe that only the 7 million or so Jehovah’s Witness are the only ones that will be saved, as the Society teaches. Neither do the scriptures you cite support that idea. Let’s look at those scriptures:
“[w]ho had once been disobedient when the patience of God was waiting in Noah’s days, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water.”
– 1 Peter 3:20
“For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”
– Matthew 24:37-39 - 37
“Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”
– Matthew 7:13-14
These scriptures tell us that a majority will not find the survival path. But they do not provide a formula for determining percentages or the number of those who would be saved. However, we are not inclined to believe that only Jehovah’s Witnesses will find it – especially since 99.85% of Jehovah’s Witnesses actually reject Jesus as their elder brother and joint heir, reject membership in the body of Christ, and reject God as their personal heavenly Father. While we do believe that the road leading to life is narrow, we also believe it is wide enough for all who choose life, including all Jehovah’s Witnesses who accept their relationship to the Father in the way that Jesus taught. So the article is not at all in conflict with these scriptures.
You also state: Your questioning the potential for happiness of some Armageddon survivors is contradicted by Ps. 37:11; 145:16; 2 Pt. 3:13; Rev. 21:4. Dear brother, we do not question the happiness of some Armageddon survivors. We question the eternal happiness of some Armageddon survivors under the scenario presented by the Society. The scriptures you refer to clearly show that people will be happy on earth.
“But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
– Psalms 37:11
“You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.”
– Psalms 145:16
“But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”
– 2 Peter 3:13
“And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
– Revelation 21:4
As the article The Real Hope for Earth explains, we believe that the earth will someday be a happy paradise-like place. But we do not believe that earth is faithful man’s final destination. As Paul explained, if we are not seeking the heavens as our final destination, we need to have our minds readjusted:
“I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.”
– Philippians 3:14-15
Finally, you state: Please see also Is. 55:8,9; Jer. 10:23; Gen 3:5 in reference to your speculation. These scriptures state:
“For the thoughts of you people are not my thoughts, nor are my ways your ways,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
– Isaiah 55:8-9
“I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”
– Jeremiah 10:23
“For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.”
– Genesis 3:5
These scriptures apply to ALL mankind, in all nations and all walks of life, including the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet neither of these scripture discourage us from using our God-given imagination to bask in eternal possibilities. They are simply reminders that we cannot know all that the Father knows, and we cannot teach as doctrine mere commands and speculations of men. As Jesus stated:
“You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you, when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, yet their heart is far removed from me. It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”
– Matthew 15:7-9
We do not do that. When we speculate, we openly reveal that we are speculating. We encourage the Society to do the same.
Having now addressed your concerns, we wonder whether you believe that the hope for the majority of obedient mankind is eternal life on earth.
As we have shown in numerous articles, each with significant scriptural support, it is the Father’s will that all of his obedient children be gathered to him in the Heavens. (See Who Are Led by Spirit?, Moving Forward in Faith, Hold Fast to the Sacred Secret, Freedom of the Children of God, Being Born of Spirit, and Foreordained From the Founding of the World to name a few.)
The teaching that millions will live forever on earth is a teaching that arose 1900 years after Jesus. No Christian Bible writer taught Christians to pursue life on earth. To the contrary, all the writings tell us to leave the earthly things behind and pursue the upward call. Notice these verses:
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be dissolved, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
“Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on [it]; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead. I am pursuing down toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.”
– Philippians 3:13-15
“For there are many, I used to mention them often but now I mention them also with weeping, who are walking as the enemies of the torture stake of the Christ, and their finish is destruction, and their god is their belly, and their glory consists in their shame, and they have their minds upon things of the earth. As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself.”
– Philippians 3:18-21
“We thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in connection with Christ Jesus and the love you have for all the holy ones because of the hope that is being reserved for you in the heavens. This [hope] you heard of before by telling of the truth of that good news which has presented itself to you, even as it is bearing fruit and increasing in all the world just as [it is doing] also among you, from the day you heard and accurately knew the undeserved kindness of God in truth.”
– Colossians 1:3-6
“If, however, you were raised up with the Christ, go on seeking the things above, where the Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Keep your minds fixed on the things above not on the things upon the earth.”
– Colossians 3:1-2
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for according to his great mercy he gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. It is reserved in the heavens for you, who are being safeguarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last period of time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
Even the writer of the Revelation did not tell us to pursue earthly things. It was only in an effort to interpret the signs of Revelation that such an idea arose. You should also note that the interpretations of the signs and symbols in Revelation have changed from generation to generation. Thus, we do not believe it is wise to base our eternal hopes on signs and symbols, especially when we have the plain and open teachings of Jesus Christ and those who listened to him, as set forth in the pages of the Christian Greek Scriptures.
The most profound scripture we can refer you to on this subject is what Jesus himself said:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way.”
– John 14:1-4
If the majority of his followers were not going to enter the heavenly abodes that he was preparing, Jesus would have told us. In all of the gospel accounts, he never did.
We hope we have addressed all your concerns, and perhaps given you food for thought. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to email us again.