QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
On April 19, 2014, we received the following comment:
“Regarding your email yesterday responding to the questioner about the Kingdom, etc., [Question and Response 4/11/14] just a few scriptural thoughts that do not involve future prophecy. My comments do not attempt to broach the entire scope of the questions raised, only a particular aspect of the "reality" Christians now have in Christ relative to these questions. (Col. 2:17)
“Notice the use of the past tense in the following that clearly indicate Christ's disciples have been already brought into the Kingdom and Priesthood spiritually:
"He...transferred (at Pentecost, Acts 2) us into the Kingdom" -Col.1:13
"He made us to be a kingdom, priests" -Rev. 1:6
"He raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus."
“These verses obviously portray Christians as presently (not future, but now) seated with Jesus ruling as kings, ministering as priests, in a spiritual, not literal sense.
“Notice now the shift from past to present tense in Rev. 5:10 "you made (past) them to the God of us kingdom and priests, and they are reigning (present) upon the earth." (Kingdom Interlinear)
“Christian disciples, all of whom are in the New Covenant, are already a "kingdom of priests" (Ex. 19:6) in a spiritual sense. They are "God's sons ... received (past tense) a spirit of adoption ... that we are (present tense) God's children ... We are (present tense) also heirs-heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ." -Rom.8:14-17
“No, Christians are certainly not presently ruling as literally resurrected kings or priests.-2 Tim.2:18; 1 Cor. 4:8. But why is this now true in a spiritual sense, and not just in the future in heaven with God and Christ? 1 Pet. 2:5-9 tells us again that it is now, on earth "you are his holy priests. (To do what?) Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God ...You are royal priests ... (Why?) As a result, you can show others the goodness of God." (New Living Translation) Thus Christians are given the seriously important responsibility as royal ambassadors to the world of bringing others to him. (2 Cor. 5:18-21) We join with Christ in his priestly work of reconciling God and people.”
To the author, thank you for your enlightening email. We want to share these thoughts with our readers. The series The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation that we referred to in response to the above mentioned email reaches the same conclusion – that we now a kingdom of priests who are reconciling man to God. Although the scriptures use the terms kings and priests, we think of them in modern terms as administrators and ministers – those who organize an arrangement and those who personally help the people. The series Ambassadors Substituting for Christ, which is a part of the same Foundation Articles as The Royal Priesthood, refers to these ‘priests’ as ‘ambassadors,’ as do you. When we bring the terms into a more modern vernacular, their meanings become more clear.
The problem we had with the questioner’s email mentioned above was that it was based on a faulty premise and assumed matters as true which are in fact a distortion of what Jesus actually taught. It appeared to us that the inquirer was interested in a discussion about the earthly hope, in essence asserting that because there are king-priests, then there must be a group who lives on earth forever over whom the king-priests rule. We directed her to The Royal Priesthood series because it helps to resolve the two-hope theory, in spite of the two errors we mentioned in the response. Once the two-hope theory is resolved, we believe her questions will likewise be resolved, especially more so with addition of your comments.
Since we find your development of scriptures enlightening, we have posted it here in full (without revision) for others who have not chosen to read The Royal Priesthood or who want a quick response to the king-priest issue. Your astute Bible study is most appreciated.
On April 13, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Are there people here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that I can meet with who have your insights into the scriptures?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We will post your request here in hopes that others in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada may see it and send us an email. If we hear from anyone, we will let you know privately.
On April 11, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“So am I correct in understanding that the kingdom of the heavens is the spiritual realm where God resides and where a family of humans united in Christ have begun to live after Jesus ascended to heaven? And am I also correct in saying that some of them will sit on thrones and rule with Christ as kings-priests? Over what or whom do they rule? The rest of this family will be priests for what reason? For whom do they officiate?”
To the author, thank you for your email and your patience in receiving a response.
The Kingdom of the Heavens is the entire heavenly realm where the Father, Christ Jesus, and an unnumerable host of celestial beings reside. It includes the stars, planets, galaxies, etc. In fact, Earth itself, as one of the planets, is also a part of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
However, on Earth, there is also the kingdom or realm of mankind that does not recognize that we are a part of the heavenly kingdom or under the authority of the Father and Christ Jesus. They are either under the belief that earth and life on it is an isolated accident, or they are under the authority of the confused and uninformed religious leaders. So although Earth is a part of the heavenly kingdom, most of mankind is under the authority of darkness and do not see themselves as citizens of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
They look at this earthly life as all there is, and do whatever they can to preserve their lives on it. It is not until they individually reach the realization of their true relationship to God and submit to the governance of the heavenly kingdom that they have the opportunity to leave this planet and travel through the heavenly universe where they will ultimately reach the actual presence of the Father. That is the purposed and intended destiny of mankind ‘since the founding of the world.’ (Ephesians 1:3-5) We wrote about this in The Kingdom of the Heavens and Foreordained From the Founding of the World.
However, regarding the king-priest issue, we believe this is an appropriate time to emphasize that we do not hold ourselves out as authorities on the Bible. We are learning and being guided by the Spirit of Truth, along with the rest of our brothers worldwide. Like our brothers among Jehovah’s Witnesses, we, too, are coming out from under the influence of the Governing Body and have been gradually shaking off their erroneous teachings.
When we first began this ministry in January 2012, we wrote about the king-priest issue in the series, The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation. At that time, we held the Watchtower belief that there are two covenants and that there would be 144,000 kings and priests. We have since learned, by our own due diligence and looking at the contexts of the scriptures with our own eyes with the help of the Spirit of Truth, that it is not true. There is only one covenant and the 144,000 are not said to be kings and priests. We corrected ourselves in the article The Great Crowd of Partakers.
By our own actions, we unwittingly demonstrated the error of trying to explain the good news by means of prophesy. However, we have not removed the Royal Priesthood series from the website because it serves as a record of our own journey to the ‘plain and open teachings’ and, aside from these misunderstandings, the material is overall very effective in helping wean Jehovah’s Witnesses off of the old wine and into the fresh new wine Jesus brought. We might say it is a ‘tutor’ of sorts that leads our brothers to the Christ (as it led us), at which time, the ‘tutor’ can be set aside. So a reading of that series might provide you with some answers or directions to answers. We suggest you take what is helpful and what bears witness with your own spirit, and feel free to disregard the rest.
On April 8, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiries concerning a January 15, 2014 Watchtower article:
“I cannot seem to get over last Sunday's study article: "Let your Kingdom Come. But When?"
"We UNDERSTAND that in mentioning 'this generation,' Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed Christians."
“I asked our local elder who is included in the "WE" since obviously I do not consider myself part of the WE who understood it. First of all, never in the stretch of my imagination had I thought that Jesus Christ was referring to 2 anointed Christians. When we were studying the bible back in the mid 80's, there was no mention whatsoever about it. [Watchtower] study articles would always drive the point that the end is near with the remnants of the anointed dwindling in no. (based on decreasing no. of Memorial partakers).
“If WE truly understood the interpretation, why even some of our elders and Ministerial Servants had to digest and re-digest? Even some of the intellectual ones in our congregation were discussing and figuring out after the [Watchtower] study session. The [Watchtower] could have cited examples to clarify the 2 anointed groups - instead of leaving the idea open to confusion, further explanation and re-interpretation by the brothers.
“Instead of We UNDERSTAND, why the [Watchtower] did not use the past tense UNDERSTOOD since they had already cited similar interpretation in April 15, 2010 edition of the [Watchtower]?
“Why only after almost a 100 years since 1914 did the [Faithful and Discreet Slave] understood about the 2 anointed groups' significance on "this generation"?
“As early as 1990s when new [Governing Body] member Mark Sanderson was already considered as anointed, the [Governing Body] could have realized the overlapping thing since substantial facts were already available for their consideration at that time. But it took them another 20 years to finally UNDERSTOOD it. Was the holy spirit not present during the stretch of 20 years to shed light on the [Faithful and Discreet Slave]? Or was the holy spirit really needed for the [Governing Body] to identify the 2 groups and clarify it just this year?
“Somehow, one would think that with the changes in the members of the [Governing Body], teachings like this are just bound to change.
“As always, I would appreciate your kind reply and comments on the matter.”
To the author, thank you for your email. For the record, the subject article identifies 3 groups of anointed Christians, not 2. Don’t forget the modern day group that is not included in the 2 groups!! (Sigh)
Brother, we share your sentiments. But we believe it is a waste of time to try to understand the babel coming out of the Watchtower Society. Their leadership is lost, blind, ignorant and arrogant. This study article unambiguously declares that. They have nothing good to offer anyone in their current state. Rather than being persecuted, they are creating their own tribulation and causing their own destruction.
It is not lost on us that the Governing Body is taking its most outrageous actions during Memorial season. They direct the congregations to study their foolish interpretations and they institute oppressive, and most likely illegal, financial schemes. Those who are not alert to these machinations submit out of fear and confusion. Others are taking the bait and getting distracted from what is most important – uniting with the Christ in worship of the Father, and serving one another. We think this distraction is intentional.
We urge our brothers not to be distracted nor allow the foolishness of the Governing Body to dampen your spirit. You are free sons who have no obligation these men. You have no responsibility to explain their convoluted teachings. And there is no requirement that you assent to their financial schemes.
It appears to us that they are desperate ‘knowing they have a short period of time.’ Therefore, our suggestion to you, and to anyone who asks, is to ‘flee from her,’ ‘shake the dust off your feet’ and ‘let the dead bury the dead.’ Open your eyes, regain your spiritual balance, reclaim your self-dignity, and exercise your God-given freedoms. The solution is always the same – obey God as ruler rather than men, and you will prosper.
On April 6, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“I have recently encountered such disapproval from my congregation elders. What should I do if they try to disfellowship me for partaking this year?”
To the author, it is so good to hear from you again. We were just talking about you last week wondering if you were okay. We are sorry to hear of the attitudes of your elders. It is truly shameful that professed men of God would try to interfere with your relationship with the Father and Christ Jesus. It is simply none of their business! Even past Watchtower articles made this clear, such as this excerpt from the June 15, 2009 Watchtower, page 22-23, paragraph 15:
“On the other hand, how should other Christians view a person who claims to have received this anointing and begins to partake of the emblems at the Memorial? He or she should not be judged. The matter is between this person and Jehovah. (Rom. 14:12)
If these elders will not respect the Bible’s clear direction that we must eat and drink of the Christ if we are to receive life (John 6:53), then they should at least respect the words of their chosen leaders as contained in the pages of The Watchtower magazine.
Dear sister, partaking of the Memorial emblems is not a disfellowshiping offense. If they try to disfellowship you, it would likely be for some other reason like being disrespectful to the elders, or trying to cause divisions. To avoid those charges, you will need let the elders know in a mild and kind way that your relationship with Jehovah is personal and that you mean no disrespect to anyone, but if you did not partake, you feel you would be disrespecting Jehovah and Christ Jesus. You could also show them the above Watchtower article. If you do not yet feel qualified or comfortable enough to make a defense for your hope before these men, then you can let them know that your hope is personal and you no longer want to talk about it. That should end the matter.
But if your efforts to be respectful still result in a judicial hearing or your disfellowshiping, then we would suggest that you appeal the decision. See our article, Publicly Declaring Our Hope for more information on how and why you should appeal. And after you read that article, if you still have questions, please do not hesitate to write us again.
Stories like these reinforce our opinion that the Watchtower leadership is a mirror image of the 1st century Jewish Sanhedrin who viewed the claim of being sons of God as blasphemy and who held in contempt any who dared to follow Jesus. Today, only Jehovah’s Witnesses hold in contempt and try to disfellowship those who claim to be sons of God. No other Christian sect that we know of would dare chastise nor expel a member who believed he was a child of God and was desirous of partaking of the symbolic bread and wine.
And what timing! This is Memorial Season! This is a time of rejoicing and excitement to be able to openly confess union with Christ along with a host of like minded men and women. This is a time for renewing our spirits and igniting our souls to consecrated worship and service. Our remembering the beautiful life of this wonderfully exquisite Son of Man/Son of God and the things that he did to open up the sanctuary of heaven for those who were without hope and alienated from the Father should be the dominate focus and the overriding concern. Let no man take away the love and joy you have for our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, especially at this time. We feel a certain pity for those who are not enveloped with these joyful sentiments.
The Watchtower leadership, including the Governing Body and their ‘under shepherds,’ should be ashamed of their utter ignorance of the teachings of Jesus. They are out of touch with the organization and completely out of harmony with the teachings of Jesus and for their own sake and for the sake of the organization, they should voluntarily relinquish their positions of oversight if they have any hope of being restored to God’s favor. The future is not bright for them:
“Then he said to his disciples: ‘It is unavoidable that causes for stumbling should come. Nevertheless, woe to the one through whom they come! It would be more advantageous for him if a millstone were hung from his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to stumble one of these little ones.’” – Luke 17:1-2
But as for you, dear sister, be courageous. Choose the Christ rather than the Governing Body. And take your place in the kingdom of the heavens by partaking freely of the Christ at this year’s annual Memorial Supper.
On April 1, 2014, we received the following comment regarding Question and Response 3/31/14:
“That was a great answer to the person that called you apostate. I agree with you, like many do, that the governing body are the true apostates. They just keep on making up doctrines as time passes to maintain people blind. I believe that the teachings from our Lord Jesus Christ are simple. The governing body is messing around those teachings. I don't even know how they came up that only 144,000 are going to heaven when in the 1st century there were 1 million only in the roman empire. I googled it and here is what came up (unless the reference is from Satan):
"According to the World Christian Encyclopedia (1982), it is estimated that by A.D. 100 there were 1 million Christians in the Roman Empire out of a population of 181 million. This means that by the end of the first century less than 1 percent of the population (0.6% to be exact) was Christian."
“My question is: Were they all false Christians belonging to Babylon the great? God couldn't pick 144,000 by then? If they were picked by then, what was the hope for the rest? Till 1935 when supposedly the heavenly call ended there was only one hope. Were there all the Christians that were killed, murdered, persecuted... etc, not worthy of the heavenly call? Only a few men from Brooklyn living in nice apartment complex with luxury are worthy to be picked by God himself? I don't see anything on the scriptures that would show me that God picked them from the rest of mankind. These men are frauds and liars. And I believe that they are the real antiChrist because they don't follow Jesus according to His teachings.”
To the author, thank you for your email. We never thought to Google that! Very insightful. We publish it here to show to our brothers how flawed and how unreasonable the Watchtower doctrine is. To assume that the apostles and 1st century disciples could not produce 144,000 sons of God is ridiculous and very demeaning to their ministry. There is not much more that needs to be said.
Thank you again for your email.