QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
04/30/12 Does having a mental illness disqualify a person from being anointed?
04/28/12-2 If you are unsure about your anointing, doesn't that mean you are not anointed
04/28/12-1 Who are you? Does it matter that I have a learning disability?
04/26/12 What are the anointed sisters' role in the congregation? Is the anointed like elders in the congregation?
04/07/12-3 I've sinned so much. Could I really be a son?
04/07/12-2 Does the spirit bear witness the same way to all sons? And does it make it known to others?
04/07/12-1 Does it take time for the holy spirit to convince us we are sons?
On April 30, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I read that someone who says they are anointed may have mental illness, and therefore not be true anointed. It will mean the anointed can not have mental illness? or any anointed may have mental illness? What do you think?”
To the author, we thank you for your inquiry. We have also read and heard this comment. We hope you are not among those holding this view or one who is subject to this view.
As you no doubt are aware, it has been repeatedly emphasized that whether a person has been anointed is a matter between that person and Jehovah alone.
“The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
– Romans 8:16
“Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: “Abba, Father!”
– Ephesians 4:6
“For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man that is in him?”
– 1 Corinthians 2:11
Thus, it would be inappropriate, unloving, unwise, intrusive, and even judgmental to presume that because someone suffers what would be considered a ‘mental illness,’ that they cannot be anointed.
According to current medical literature, mental illness is a medical condition, often treatable and curable. It is often associated with difficulties in coping with the ordinary demands of human life, and are not related to a person’s character or intelligence. In fact, many otherwise ‘normal’ people suffer from some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives, especially when confronted by stressful conditions such as divorce, death, lengthy unemployment, etc. Imperfections, trials and tribulations are a reality we all must deal with.
“I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:11
It further shows a lack of understanding of what the anointing is. See our Response dated April 28, 2012 about the anointing and learning disabilities. None of these problems affect or diminish the Father’s love for us and the Christ’s welcoming of us into the Kingdom of the Heavens.
Now, mental illness and mental disabilities are different matters. The Father’s spirit works with a normal functioning mind. But when the brain has been affected with a physical abnormality such that a person might be considered mentally handicapped, it might be difficult for such a person to recognize their sonship, to understand the nature of the anointing or even to participate in congregational activities such that their professed anointing even becomes an issue.
Nevertheless, even to such ones, the scriptures still apply. It is a matter between that person and the Father. Period. We should never shortchange the Father’s ability to understand his children and His willingness ‘to show mercy to those to whom he chooses to show mercy.’ (Romans 9:18)
The Christian Greek Scriptures are replete with references to the Father’s love toward the afflicted. And many of them were baptized and received the promised holy spirit. So, why would we today presume on Jehovah’s mercy? Why would we even enter into the arena of judging our brother’s hope or standing before God? What harm is there in allowing persons to serve the Father as their spirit sees fit?
None of God’s people should have any sharing in shutting up the Kingdom of the Heavens. (Matthew 23:13)
To the author, if this is a personal issue for you or if you are subject to this type of judging, please feel free to write us with your return email address. We will be happy to discuss your specific experience in more detail privately and confidentially.
On April 28, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I've heard, if you are unsure then you are not anointed. And as you know you are a man or woman you know if you are anointed. But is this written in the Bible?”
To the author, we thank you for your inquiry. Your question pertains to what you have heard, no doubt from members of the congregation. We, too, have heard such comments and find them distressing because those who say such things demonstrate that they do not understand the purpose of Jesus’ ministry or his message, notwithstanding that such persons have been Bible readers for several years.
As a preliminary matter, anointing is a token in advance as a guarantee of our spiritual inheritance. (Ephesians 1:14) It is a gift given after we recognize and accept our sonship with the God. (See Response February 23, 2012 and Response April 7, 2012.) So the real question is: How do we know whether we are sons of God? And the secondary question is how do we know whether we have been anointed?
Promoters of ‘what you have heard’ base their comments on the following theory: Just as a man knows he is a man and has always known he was a man, and a woman knows she is a woman and has always known she was a woman; so, a son of God knows that they are a son of God and have always known it. This assumption is incorrect as demonstrated by the experience of the Apostles and first century Christians.
I doubt that any among us who hold to that ‘theory’ would deny that the Apostles and first century Christians were anointed sons of God. Yet such theorists would have to admit that before Jesus began his ministry, these early Christians did not know it. Paul emphasizes this point when he wrote:
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a babe he does not differ at all from a slave, lord of all things though he is, but he is under men in charge and under stewards until the day his father appointed beforehand. Likewise we also, when we were babes, continued enslaved by the elementary things belonging to the world. But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” So, then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, also an heir through God.”
– Galatians 4:1-7
Clearly, there was a time when these early Christians did not know they were sons of God or that they were anointed. But at the Father’s appointed time, such ones ‘received the adoption.’ Think about the word “adoption.” Does that not indicate in itself that prior to the adoption, the person did not consider himself a son? Let’s go further. Once they realized they were adopted, they were anointed when ‘God sent forth the spirit into their hearts.’ So, prior to the Father sending the spirit, they had not been anointed. This one series of scripture should put to rest the erroneous ‘theory.’ However, there are many more scriptural examples.
Remember the disciples whom Paul encountered in Ephesus:
“In the course of events, while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the inland parts and came down to Ephesus, and found some disciples; and he said to them: “Did you receive holy spirit when you became believers?” They said to him: “Why, we have never heard whether there is a holy spirit.” And he said: “In what, then, were you baptized?” They said: “In John’s baptism.” Paul said: “John baptized with the baptism [in symbol] of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the holy spirit came upon them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”
– Acts 19:1-6
And what about the conversion of Saul [later named Paul] himself?
“But Saul, still breathing threat and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, in order that he might bring bound to Jerusalem any whom he found who belonged to The Way, both men and women.”
– Acts 9:1-2
At this time, Saul surely did not ‘know’ he was a son of God. But after his vision on the road to Damascus, and his encounter with the disciple Ananias, he accepted his adoption as a son of God and was anointed:
“So Ananias went off and entered into the house, and he laid his hands upon him and said: “Saul, brother, the Lord, the Jesus that appeared to you on the road over which you were coming, has sent me forth, in order that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes what looked like scales, and he recovered sight; and he rose and was baptized, and he took food and gained strength.”
– Acts 9:17-19
Who would question the validity of Paul’s sonship and anointing even though it is undeniable that he did not always know of it? So, the scriptures are quite clear. In answer to your final question, no, the ‘theory’ is not written in the Bible.
Perhaps you can see why we say the ‘theory’ is distressing. We can see no point in asserting the ‘theory’ other than to discourage our brothers from accepting our adoption and the gift of the spirit, and to ‘shut the door to the Kingdom of the Heavens.’ Woe! to those who engage in that thinking, even as Jesus said:
“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.”
– Matthew 23:13
We hope you are not among those who hold to or promulgate this ‘theory.’ But if you are, we pray that you correct that thinking and do what you can to share the truth about our sonship and anointing with those we are treading on dangerous ground.
On April 28, 2012, we received the following inquiries:
“What is your name? Are you male or female? It really doesn’t matter as long as you love Jehovah and keep encouraging your brothers and sister. I think Jehovah would approve even if the society doesn’t think you should if Jehovah feels the need he will provide. I loved reading your sites there really upbuilding and very Biblical. So please keep inciting to fine works and love dear brothers. I will probably still ask questions in the future. I still have much to learn. I have been in the truth for long time but have a learning disability and it takes me a little time to get the sense of things. Thank you so much for your love and patience with me. Agape Much...Jehovah is our helper.”
To the author, as always, thank you for your inquires. Occasionally we receive emails such as yours questioning who we are and the authority for what we do. Please see below, Response March 11, 2012, Response March 13, 2012, Response March 14, 2012 and Response March 17, 2012.
While we are associated with the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, we are not members of the Writing Department or the Bethel family. We are anointed brothers who feel we have a scriptural obligation to provide spiritual assistance to one another to the extent we are able. And since our anointing is what we know best, we chose to engage in this aspect of our ministry by means of an international website. We could tell you our names, but of what value would that be to you? The Society does not tell us the names of the brothers who write the Watchtower articles and publications. Does the fact that we do not know their names detract from the message? No. It simply is not relevant.
As such, we urge you to focus on the message not the messenger. If the message is not scriptural, discard it. But if you discard sound scriptural messages because you do not know the messenger, be careful that you do not miss the undeserved kindness of the Father. We will tell you, however, that our group consists of both male and female. I hope this explanation suffices.
You mentioned that you have a learning disability. Please know that your standing with the Father has nothing to do with your intellectual capacity. Each of us differs in our abilities and talents, but the possibilities for spiritual progress to the Father are equal to all. Our spiritual growth is achieved quite independently of all social, intellectual and material differences.
You might enjoy the article on our site about James and Judas Alpheus, the Alpheus Twins* – the twin brothers who were apostles of Jesus. They were referred to as simple men who did not understand much of what Jesus taught. Yet they were honored to be chosen among the 12. When Jesus referred to “the least of these my brothers,” he was specifically referring to these two men.
In fact, we encourage you to read about all of The Twelve Apostles.* They all had different personalities, yet they were each acceptable to the Christ. Only one of the 12 was lost – Judas Iscariot. But Jesus did not reject Judas. Judas rejected Jesus. These stories demonstrate the great love, patience and mercy the Father has toward all of us, no matter what personal issues we are dealing with.
It is not so much our ability that the Father looks at. It is our intentions, our motives, our desire to love Him and imitate Him in our relations with our brothers. Our spiritual growth is not so much accomplished by what we do, but by what we strive to do. The Father remembers we are dust. (Psalms 103:14) Recall that the good news of the Kingdom is especially for those among us who are aware of our own weaknesses:
“Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.”
– Luke 4:18-19
Having said this, we will also say that we appreciate your kind words and emails you have sent us over these past few weeks. You seem to us to be a loving sister who is striving to be the best you can be. We believe you demonstrate the power of Jesus’ message that we are ALL children of God. Once a person realizes that truth, their life is instantly transformed and they earnestly do all they can to make that calling of sonship sure. (2 Peter 1:10) Thereafter, they truly put forth the effort to become better people – better wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters, employers and employees.
Through your transformation, others will be drawn to the Father. You will be acting as an Ambassador of the Kingdom, Substituting for Christ by revealing the Father in your own life. This type of transformation is the goal of this site for all of our brothers and sisters.
So, keep the faith and “keep proving what you yourselves are.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) We wish you the very best.
*These articles have been removed from the site.
On April 26, 2012, we received the following inquiries:
“What are the anointed sisters’ role in the congregation? Is the anointed like elders in the congregation?”
To the author, thank you for your inquiries. We will assume that when you use the word “congregation,” you are referring to the meetings and meeting places of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the Bible, the word often refers to the anointed sons and daughters of the Kingdom of the Heavens – “the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens” (Hebrews 12:23), the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18, 24). We will, therefore, answer your question based on our assumption that you are referring to the meeting places.
In response to your first question: What are the anointed sisters’ role in the congregation?
We direct your attention to the Society’s publication “Reasoning from the Scriptures,” page 432-433, under the section “Should women be ministers?” Among Jehovah’s Witnesses, this counsel would refer to anointed sisters, as well as sisters who have not yet received their anointing.
One thing we would like to add is that it would be inappropriate for anyone, whether brother or sister, to usurp the authority of the elders during congregation meetings. There is ample time, outside of the congregation arrangement, where appropriate questions and discussions can take place.
In response to your second question: Is the anointed like elders in the congregation?
Anointed means that one has received the promised holy spirit, the token in advance of their inheritance as sons and daughters of the Father. An elder is a servant of the congregation who oversees the conduct of meetings so that all things can take place decently and by arrangement (1 Corinthians 14:40). So the two are quite different – one is a son, one is a servant. While it is clearly preferable that all elders receive the anointing and accept their sonship, unfortunately that is not the case.
We hope we have adequately answered your questions. If not, please feel free to contact us again.
On April 7, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I have had people to tell me I might be of the anointed. I have sinned so much in my life, how can this be possible? To be like our great and wonderful teacher Jesus Christ? Then the holy spirit bring to my heart, “All things are possible with our god Jehovah.”
To the author, we thank you for your candid inquiry. We agree with you that “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) But we suspect many of our brothers share your concerns and allow this issue to be a stumbling block that prevents them from accepting their sonship. By way of our response, we hope to remove this stumbling block and be of comfort to you and to those who share your concerns.
We believe the best way we can answer this question is to point you to the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32) (We discuss this parable in more detail in the article, “Why Are the Older Anointed Reluctant to Recognize the Younger Anointed?”)
Here, the prodigal committed all kinds of debauchery. When he came to his senses, although he knew he was a son, he felt he was no longer worthy of that status. He returned to his father and sought only to be a hired man. But the father would not accept this kind of self-pity and self-denigration from his son. Neither does YOUR Father accept that attitude from you.
Jesus demonstrated the Father’s love and mercy when he encountered the woman who had been caught in adultery and who was about to be stoned. After wisely turning away the aggressors, Jesus asked:
“Did no one condemn you?” She said: “No one, sir.” Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way; from now on practice sin no more.”
– John 8:10-11
And we follow Jesus’ example. We say to ourselves and to all those who hear us, “sin no more.” And that’s the end of that.
We find the problem with mankind in general is that many fail to appreciate the depth of divine forgiveness. We ask you, how often do you think loving and intelligent parents must forgive their erring offspring? We think, not too often. Not because the children do not err. But because there exists an intimate and understanding relationship between the two that prevent estrangements that necessitate repentance by the child and forgiveness by the parent.
The parent is able to view the immaturity of the child in the light of the more advanced parental maturity. The child, being immature and lacking in the fuller understanding of the depth of the child-parent relationship, frequently feels a sense of guilty separation from a parent’s full approval. But a true parent is never conscious of any such separation such that repentance and forgiveness need come into play.
With the earthly child and the heavenly Father, the divine parent possesses infinite and divine sympathy and capacity for loving understanding. Divine forgiveness is inevitable; it is inherent and inalienable in God's infinite understanding, in his perfect knowledge of all that concerns the mistaken judgment and erroneous choosing of the child. Divine justice is so eternally fair that it unfailingly embodies understanding mercy. Thus, sin is an experience of creature consciousness; it is not a part of God's consciousness.
Let’s take this a little further in our dealings with our brothers. When a wise man understands the inner impulses of his brothers, he will love them. And when you love your brother, you have already forgiven him. This capacity to understand man's nature and forgive his apparent wrongdoing is Godlike.
Conversely, our inability or unwillingness to forgive our brothers is the measure of our immaturity, and our failure to attain adult sympathy, understanding, and love. We hold grudges and nurse vengefulness in direct proportion to our ignorance of the inner nature and true longings of our brothers. Love is the outworking of the divine and inner urge of life. It is founded on understanding, nurtured by unselfish service, and perfected in wisdom.
So we need not concern ourselves with the quantity or even the quality of our sins. When we comprehend the Father’s divine mercy and understanding, we can see that it is only us who holds those past sins against us. We can then let them go, set them aside and start anew. That is what being “born again” is all about.
So, never may we allow our past transgressions to prevent us from accepting our true heritage and entering into the Kingdom of the Heavens. Your challenge, our dear brother or sister, is to forgive yourself. The Father’s work is already done.
We pray that the spirit of truth will lead you to this realization.
On April 7, 2012, we received the following inquiries:
“Are the anointed sons of God in unity with how the holy spirit convinces them? Does it do it differently with each individual. I learned it’s a personal thing between Jehovah and his son but does the holy spirit make it known to others around you as well?”
To the author, we thank you for your inquiries and hope we can provide satisfactory answers. Here are our responses.
First, please know that the holy spirit does not convince us of anything. It does not work overtly to reason with us or push us to any particular conclusion. Otherwise, the gift of sonship would not be taken by free will. Every spirit creation in harmony with the Father unreservedly respects man’s free will.
Instead, the realization of sonship is presented openly and laid out before us. We hear the message and we ponder it. Then must each of us “be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Roman 14:5) Yes, we convince ourselves based on what we know and learn about the Father’s purposes! That is the only way we can please the Father well. The spirit supports our decision, but our sonship must be freely and personally accepted.
This answers the other part of the question: are anointed sons united in how this occurs. Yes, we are united in that we must each come to this conclusion on our own, but the methodology may differ from son to son. Some accept this immediately, some need more time.
But perhaps you are asking if all sons receive a similar type of manifestation that convinces them of their sonship. Our response to that question is that when we experience outward manifestations that convince us we are sons, these are generally personal experiences and reactions. The human mind is a very complex organ. It communicates ideas to us through various means and through all of our senses, including what is called “our mind’s eye” – our gift of imagination and internal visions. Please see our response in Question and Response, February 23, 2012.
Finally, to your last question of whether the holy spirit makes it known to others, our answer is yes. But not in the way you might be expecting. The spirit does not bear witness with the spirit of others that you are a son, only with your own spirit. (Romans 8:16) However, others will know of your sonship by the fruitage of the spirit that you manifest. (Galatians 5:22-23) The more you imitate the Christ, the more will people recognize something different about you. And those who love the Father and the Christ will “see you.”
Having said that, we caution you not to be too concerned with whether or not others accept your sonship. It is indeed, as you said, a personal matter between you and the Father. When we seek the approval and recognition of others, we ourselves are involving others in this personal matter. How then can we complain when we are the ones inviting them in? Instead, make your peace with the Father and his Christ and you alone. Then go forward doing the work set our for you as “Ambassadors Substituting for Christ.”
We hope we have answered your questions to your satisfaction. If not, please feel free to write us again.
On April 7, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“If the holy spirit convinces you that you are son of god, does this take time or happens all at once?”
To the author, we thank you for your inquiry and for allowing us to publish this response. We are touched by your words of appreciation and we pray that we can continue to support you as you support others. Here is our response to this question:
The whole purpose of the Christ’s coming to earth was to reveal to mankind the true nature of the Father and to reveal that we are all sons of this Father. Note that this is arevealing, not an appointment.
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a babe he does not differ at all from a slave, lord of all things though he is, but he is under men in charge and under stewards until the day his father appointed beforehand. Likewise we also, when we were babes, continued enslaved by the elementary things belonging to the world. But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons.”
– Galatians 4:1-5
These verses tell us that we have always been sons, even though we did not know it. We acted as babes, needing earthly caretakers (ritual priests) and were enslaved by elementary doctrines belonging to the world (earthly hopes). But God sent his Son to teach us the more weighty and spiritual matters so that we will be able to receive the adoption. Notice it does not that say that we might be offered adoption, but that we might receive it. It has already and always been offered, even during the days of Abraham. But the idea was too lofty for mankind to accept. We lacked self respect, self dignity, viewed ourselves as good for nothing sinners, and could not comprehend the magnitude of the Father’s love for us. We needed to see the Father’s mercy presented on our level, from a “son of man” so that we might understand. And when we understand, we can open up and receive the adoption long since offered.
How long does it take for us to receive it? That all depends on our own spiritual and mental status. Many even now labor under the idea that we are not worthy. But Jesus told us “even the hairs of our head are numbered” and that “we are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31) Many are too humble to receive the adoption. They hide their spiritual light under a basket. Jesus counseled us to ‘lift the basket and set our light on high so that others can see our light and give glory to the Father.’ (Matthew 5:14-16) And of course, there are some who accept their adoption in their hearts, but due to fear of men, chose not to make it known. Jesus said to those of us with this limitation:
“For whoever becomes ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of this one when he arrives in his glory and that of the Father and of the holy angels.”
– Luke 9:26
We must not let fear of men prevent us from letting our lights shine. And who knows, perhaps there are others in your congregation who are wrestling with their sonship. Your boldness might empower them to make their hope sure. (2 Peter 1:10) Then you can support one another. Of course, we are here to support you as well.
In the first century, the disciples who heard the word of truth preached to them immediately recognized and accepted their sonship. (Acts 10:44-48) But today, especially among Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are slow to accept our sonship, not because of lack of faith in God, but because, as a group, we have a lack of faith in the Father. (See our article “Revealing God as a Loving Father” for a further discussion of this distinction.)
But no matter how long it takes, whenever your heart opens up to the Father, whenever your courage overpowers your fear, whenever you accept your sonship, your Father and the Christ will be there for you. Then the spirit of truth will be poured out to you so that you can advance in your knowledge and understanding of the Kingdom and the place to where you are going that was prepared just for you.
“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, if 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
Yes, we know the way – Jesus is the way. Imitate his faith. And may and “the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)