QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
05/24/15 How do I show my JW friend that JW’s are not in union with Christ?
05/16/15 In QR 5/12/15, are we promising freedom without moral restraint?
05/12/15c How are people or a person baptized with the Holy Spirit?
05/12/15b Visitor complains that we are trying to invent a new religion.
05/12/15a Visitor disagrees with our view of the Bride of Christ.
05/07/15 Can you what “the spirit of slavery” is? (Romans 8:14)
05/04/15 How do angels communicate today?
05/02/15 Response to several visitors who ask us to respond to other websites.
05/01/15 Didn’t the Jews believe in living forever on earth?
On May 24, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“I am a born again Christian, and I have a friend who is a Jehovah Witness, he says that 8 million witness today are in union with Christ, I told him that in my research the Watchtower and Bible and Tract Society teaches that only the 144000 are in union, the point that I'm making with his is that he is still in the flesh and in sin with no hope if he is not in union with Christ, but he's sure he says that all [Jehovah’s Witnesses] are in union .... how can I provide proof to show him that what I'm saying is the truth ......”
To the author, thank you for your email. You are correct in your assessment. According to the records of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, only 14,212 out of the 8,201,545 Jehovah’s Witness are in union with Christ. That means that 99.998% of Jehovah’s Witnesses are not in union with Christ, likely including your friend. The reason you are having difficulty explaining this to your friend is because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not know what it means to be in union with Christ. They have a blind spot in this area that is difficult to show to them. They are told by their leaders that they all are in union with Christ, and that conclusory statement is all the evidence they have. But if one looks at their actual teachings, it is clear they are not.
We published an article entitled Who Are Jehovah’s Witnesses? Most people are shocked to know what they believe about being in union with Jesus. In fact, even Jehovah’s Witnesses are shocked when you put the information directly before them. We suggest that you read the article for yourself and then ask your friend about the 8 specific points enumerated in the article. Ask him if they apply to most Jehovah’s Witnesses. If he is honest, he will see that most Jehovah’s Witnesses reject each of the factors that put one ‘in union’ with Christ.
Nevertheless, if he is a typical Jehovah’s Witness, he will immediately get defensive. It is a common reaction by people who love their religion more than they love truth. Rather than react in kind, simply ask if you can show him some scriptures. If he allows you to continue, show him these scriptures:
Romans 8:1-17. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses believe this chapter refers to the anointed, of which most of them are not a part. See particularly these verses:
“1. Therefore, those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. 2. For the law of the spirit that gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
“9. However, you are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in you. But if anyone does not have Christ’s spirit, this person does not belong to him.”
“12. So, then, brothers, we are under obligation, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh; 13. for if you live according to the flesh, you are sure to die; but if you put the practices of the body to death by the spirit, you will live.”
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are seeking a fleshly future – everlasting life on earth in the flesh, not in heaven. They set their minds on the things of the flesh. According to Paul, those setting their minds the flesh are sure to die.
“14. For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons. 15. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” 16. The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.
You can ask if he has the spirit of adoption as a son of God. If not, he is not in union with Christ. He’s more like a neighbor’s child.
See also 2 Corinthians 1:21-22:
“But the one who guarantees that you and we belong to Christ and the one who anointed us is God. He has also put his seal on us and has given us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit, in our hearts.”
It is the anointing that guarantees we belong to Christ. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses freely acknowledge that they are not anointed.
And see Galatians 3:26-29:
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s offspring, heirs with reference to a promise.”
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe they are part of Abraham’s seed, nor heirs to the heavenly kingdom, thus they do not belong to Christ.
The facts are clear. The challenge you have is whether your friend will listen to what the Bible clearly says, or whether he will listen to the babbling of the Governing Body. The sad truth is that many people prefer the lies of men over the truth of God.
“That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.”
– 2 Thessalonians 2: 11-12
Of course, the blind will follow the blind and be led into the pit, but among Jehovah’s Witnesses, in many cases, it is the seeing who are willingly following the blind. Sad indeed.
We are trying very diligently to get Jehovah’s Witnesses to open their minds to see that their beliefs do not put them in line for survival. They are being taught by their Governing Body to reject the very things that will save them.
We hope we have given you some ideas and we wish you the very best in your endeavor to reach the heart of your friend. Please let us know how it turns out.
On May 16, 2015, we received the following comment:
[Regarding Question and Response 5/12/15] “Your answer made a lot of good points, except where you say: "The spirit's leading does not require us to exercise self-denial." Notice the "words of Jesus", as you are so fond of saying: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself." -- Mt 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23 (NIV and many others) Based on Jesus' own words, therefore, 'exercising self-denial" is absolutely essential for entrance into, and maintaining Christian discipleship and sonship through Spirit baptism. This is confirmed by Rom 7:21-25 and 1 Cor 9:24-27. Surely you're not "promising them freedom" without moral restraint are you? (2 Pt 2:19 NAS) Agape.”
To the author, thank you for your email and for closely examining the information we publish. We see your point. Perhaps we should have stated our position another way to avoid confusion.
When we wrote that the spirit’s leading does not require us to exercise self-denial, we were referring to self-denial in the sense that Jesus was at Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23. Jesus said we would need to ‘disown ourselves.’ That means that we would let go of self-importance and pride, and humble ourselves to the teachings and ministry of the Christ instead of following our own counsel or the counsel of others on how to gain life.
We do not believe he was encouraging us to withhold bodily pleasures by doing things such as fasting, physically beating ourselves, or purposely living a life of poverty thinking those acts are pleasing or required. Even Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 do not carry that meaning, although there are many people who believe he was, in fact, encouraging Jesus’ followers to inflict some type of bodily harm to themselves in order to be found faithful. There are whole religious orders who practice self-harm thinking it is the way to life. That is not what Jesus or Paul were saying, nor what we were saying.
What we were trying to explain is that we do not need to constantly deprive ourselves in order to please God. We are to rejoice, eat the fruits of our labor, and be shining examples of the kindly and light load. So rather than focusing on what we cannot or should not do, we encourage our brothers and sisters to focus on what they should do, specifically that we should display the fruits of the spirit which we said is was the highest form of self-control. Self-control continues to be important, but the method is proactive, positive and giving, rather than reactive, negative and withholding.
We in no way want to ‘promise freedom without moral restraint.’ We are just explaining that moral restraint should not be our goal. The goal is to do something positive – like producing the fruits of the spirit. When you are positive and proactive, you automatically avoid the works of the flesh. It is similar to our view that the congregations should not focus on sin, but rather on good works and positive actions, and thereby there is no room for sin to take hold.
If some read our response to Question and Response 5/12/15 and concluded that we were encouraging moral abandonment, we apologize and hope this response clears up our message.
On May 12, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
"How are people or a person baptized with the Holy Spirit?"
To the author, thank you for your email. We are responding publicly because we believe others may have the same question.
Jesus made baptism by spirit possible when he poured out his spirit – the Spirit of Truth – at Pentecost shortly after his resurrection. Being baptized with that holy spirit is merely the conscious reception of the Spirit of Truth in our life and a personal acknowledgment of this new spirit power actuating our mind and heart. All one needs to do in order to be ‘baptized’ in the spirit is to pray for it and make a consecration to follow its leading. It’s really that simple.
Spirit baptism signifies our rebirth, or being born again, and being delivered from bondage to the flesh and its desires. The spirit’s leading does not require us to exercise self-denial. The spirit’s leading is always positive in nature. It will move us to spontaneously exhibit the fruits of the spirit which is the highest form of self-control. A spirit born person views their consecration, not as a duty, but as a privilege to clear one’s minds and body from evil thoughts and deeds. And it creates a sublime peace with the Father and an assurance of salvation and personality survival after the death of the mortal body. It is the ultimate destroyer of doubt. Thus, a spirit born person does not need a written law. The law of God is written in our hearts, meaning ‘God’s will is our will.’
Since the Spirit of Truth is, in essence, the spirit of Jesus, following the leading of the spirit will always lead you down a path that imitates Jesus, that honors the Father, and that serves our brothers and our neighbors. A person who is baptized with holy spirit follows Jesus exclusively. He or she is not a follower of men. Additionally, those baptized with the Spirit of Truth are lovers of truth. They will not accept error for the sake of peace, comfort, fear or ease. Like the Apostle Peter, one who is baptized with holy spirit will ‘obey God as ruler rather than men’ at all costs. Being baptized with spirit is the first step toward spiritual understanding and the only ticket into the deeper things of God and the heavenly kingdom.
One knows he has been baptized by the spirit by the way he thinks and behaves. He will attempt the ultimate goal of becoming ‘perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect.’ Not perfection according to man’s standards which are fraught with so much minutia and controlling restrictions. But being perfect according to the Father’s standard – the fulfillment of the two greatest commandments – to love God with your whole being and to love your neighbor as yourself.
On May 12, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
Regarding our recent article, The Bride of Christ, she cites to Hosea 2:1-5, and then writes: So Israel also was not God's "wife"? When you started you were updating a thing or two for Bethel. Now you are inventing your own religion, like a thousand "updates". WHY in their right minds would Bethel even listen now and just scrap EVERYTHING for such endless devolution? Why did you ever even appeal to them as reasonable persons? You guys just deconstruct farther every month we check up on your progress of stumbling into a pit. You are now there. Well done...What’s next?”
To the author, thank you for your email. We are glad to see that more and more Jehovah’s Witnesses are openly disobeying the Governing Body’s unreasonable and insidious prohibition against visiting other websites, and stifling them from obeying Jesus command to ‘keep on seeking, knocking, and asking’ for truth. (Matthew 7:7-8)
Please note that the article you are writing about, The Bride of Christ, makes no mention of God’s wife or Jehovah’s relationship with ancient Israel. That is not a subject we have ever written about. We steer away from the “old wine” that was fulfilled (Matthew 5:17), ended (Romans 10:4), obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), and blinding (2 Corinthians 3:14-15), and we put our focus on the “new wine” as Jesus indicated. (Mark 2:22) Nevertheless, Jehovah’s relationship with an imperfect, rebellious, earthly people is quite a different matter than the Son of God, Jesus Christ, having a perfect, chaste bride who, by all references, is in heaven.
In this ministry, we always keep in mind that Jesus is the truth. (John 14:6) Once a person correctly understands their relationship with Jesus, all other matters become easy to discern. It is our opinion, and continues to be our opinion, that if the Governing Body would humble themselves and recognize that all their brothers are sons of God and brothers of Christ Jesus, as Jesus repeatedly stated, all of the other errors the Governing Body teaches would be easily seen and could be corrected without a great deal of effort and, certainly without the need for others, such as us, to expose them. Truth is the natural outflow from the Spirit of Truth that helps those who put Jesus’ teachings front and center. (John 16:12-15)
It is so unfortunate that the Watchtower Society has gotten so much wrong for so long, as many active, inactive and former Jehovah’s Witnesses well know. Their constant changes and flip-flops in their own teachings demonstrates that they are not being led by spirit. They are being led by the foolishness of physical people who are hopelessly trying to understand the mind of God which is impossible:
“But a physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man. For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
By the Governing Body’s continued refusal to follow the plain teachings of Jesus, which man can understand, they will continue to dig themselves, and those who follow them, deeper and deeper into the pit. (Matthew 15:14) We do not believe they can course correct until they clearly understand and teach Jesus true role in the Christian congregation and the true relationship each of us has with Jesus and the Father, and then subject themselves to that truth. As long as they divide the congregation into two camps – the ‘anointed remnant’ and the ‘other sheep’ – they will continue on a path to confusion and destruction as Jesus explained when he said ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand.’ (Mark 3:24-25)
That is why our efforts were primarily designed to get the Governing Body to acknowledge the absolute need for oneness in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses:
“One body there is, and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
– Ephesians 4:4-6
But since they have not responded to our kind yet direct efforts, we are doing our part in carrying on Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation without them. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) We are doing what they should be doing – directing the entire congregation to follow Christ (Matthew 10:38), to teach the things Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19-20), to be baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3), and to pursue the upward call – the heavenly hope. (Philippians 3:14-15) This is not a new religion. This is a return to the original religion of Jesus. And we are having tremendous success in waking up many thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and millions of non-Witnesses, to their true relationship with the Father so they can receive their spiritual adoption and rightful inheritance. (Matthew 25:34; Romans 8:17)
Many tell us they are happier than they have ever been in their spiritual life — old ones feeling young again, young ones gaining a spiritual maturity far beyond their years. So even though you may not approve of our method, we are clearly doing something right, so we will, of course, continue. Accordingly, without any sarcasm intended, that is what’s next.
On May 12, 2015, we received an email in response to our article, “The Bride of Christ.” The email itself is 3 pages long and basically regurgitates the traditional belief that the Bride of Christ is the Christian Church, referring to Old Testament concepts and symbolism in the book of Revelation. For those who wish to read the brother’s entire email, you can click HERE. And here is our response:
To the author, it is good to know you still visit us and read our articles. Yes, we are aware of the second earthquake in Nepal and we will continue to pray for those in that region, as we do for all who are suffering around the world. And we are certain all faith sons of God will do the same.
As for our recent article The Bride of Christ, we knew this topic would ruffle the feathers of some, but without agitation, there can be no growth. So we appreciate you taking the time to write us which allows us to further our discussion on this topic.
We have reviewed your analysis/critique of our article in detail, and we strongly disagree with your conclusion for the reasons set forth in the article. We note that you provided no instance when Jesus told his followers that they would be his future bride, not even in your references to the book of Revelation. As for Paul’s writings, we believe he is using the husband and wife relationship as a metaphor, not as a fact. Paul wanted the congregation to be chaste and loyal and in submission to Jesus, but that does not mean they will be his wife. Recall that Jesus is obedient and in subjection to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28) and, in fact, belongs to the Father. (1 Corinthians 3:23) But does that make Jesus the Father’s wife? Of course not!
During his ministry, Jesus spoke about marriage, weddings, and the bridegroom often. He had ample opportunity to tell his followers directly or in a parable that they, or some of them, would be his future wife, but he never did. In all of his recorded discourses, he consistently identified himself as a bridegroom, and his followers as his brothers, sons of God, guests and friends of the bridegroom. NEVER did he ever refer to them as his bride. If the truth is that the congregation was to be his composite bride, why would Jesus hide this information from his apostles, most of whom all died before the Revelation was given to John?
We believe Jesus when he said he is ‘the way, the truth and the life.’ (John 14:6) So if any one of his followers, or any other person, writes or says anything that appears to be in conflict with Jesus’ plain and open teachings, then we side with Jesus and we look at all other comments through the lens of Jesus’ plain words. That applies to the writings of Peter, Paul, John and any other Bible writer.
We know the view that the bride is the Christian church is a longstanding view having its origin in the Roman Catholic Church. However, we are not beholding to tradition. (Matthew 15:8-9) We look to what Jesus openly and plainly said. That is why our ministry is so different from other Christian ministries – we dare to rely on the things Jesus taught openly and plainly, and we view all other portions of the Bible through the lens of Christ’s teachings, not the other way around. By this method, we know from Jesus’ plain and unambiguous words that we are his brothers, sons of God, guests and friends of the bridegroom. But the idea that we are also his bride is pure speculation, evidenced by the fact that you rely heavily on your interpretations of the symbolic book of Revelation and the assumption that Paul was correcting or adding to Jesus’ words.
We find it amusing that so many self-proclaimed Bible scholars cannot accept the fact that their interpretations of prophecy are merely opinions, not facts. Where is the humility? Where is the meekness that is supposed to characterize Christ’s brothers? Why can’t those who claim to follow Christ just accept what he said as true? Why do so many paint Jesus as so incompetent as to forget important things like “Oh yeah, most of you won’t be with me in heaven” or “The faithful ones will go to heaven and the unfaithful will go into destruction, but there’s a third class that will live forever on earth!” or even “You’re my brothers, sure, but if you act right, you can also be my wife!”
Additionally, we find it sad that so few Bible readers dare to rely solely on Jesus’ teachings instead of falling back to the elementary doctrines and concepts under the old Hebrew religious system – the things Jesus called “old wine.” He specifically taught that his followers should not mix old wine with the new wine he brought. (Mark 2:22) Yet, too many Bible readers and self-professed scholars refuse to accept his simple instructions and his clear message. Like you, they are determined to scour the old wine seeking to apply ancient meanings to Jesus’ plain unpretentious words, as if God was a great puzzler who hides truth so that it can only be found by scholars and so-called learned men.
A humble reader of Jesus’ words would never suspect that they were part of the bride of Christ. A humble reader would accept Jesus words for just what they are. He said we are brothers, sons, guests and friends of the bridegroom, and so we accept that as true. Any other supposed relationship that is conjectured out of symbolic prophecy might be interesting to consider, but should be not asserted as fact. Especially if, as in this case, it is in direct opposition to what Jesus plainly said.
Prophetic interpretations are not built on solid foundations, only his plain teachings – the sayings of Jesus – are:
“Therefore, everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does them will be like a discreet man who built his house on the rock. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded on the rock. Furthermore, everyone hearing these sayings of mine and not doing them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and struck against that house, and it caved in, and its collapse was great.”
– Matthew 7:24-27
Jesus clearly encouraged his following to rely on his own sayings, not the sayings of the prophets, or even the sayings of Moses. He is greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:3), and one through whom the Father speaks today. (Hebrews 1:1-2) He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Accordingly, when trying to understand what is true, we lay our foundation on the plain and open teachings of Jesus, and examine all other matters as to how they relate to Jesus’ actual words. Thereby, we choose the path of the discreet, not the path of the foolish.
Having said all of that, whether the Christian church is the bride of Christ or not is merely a doctrinal theological matter, not a matter of salvation. Those who make it to heaven will all know who the bride of Christ truly is. Until then, we hope that you can open your mind to Jesus’ plain words and trust that he did not leave behind crumbs and clues, but that he faithfully told us the truth.
On May 7, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“Can you explain what "the spirit of slavery" is?”
To the author, thank you for your email. The easiest way to answer your question is to consider the context of the scripture that refers to the spirit of slavery. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs—heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ—provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together.”
– Romans 8:14-17
Paul was writing to Roman Christians, a people who were very familiar with slavery. Using that practice as an appropriate setting, Paul contrasted the mind and inclination of a slave with the mind and inclination of a son of God. He explained that God’s sons are led by spirit and the spirit leading them – the Spirit of Truth – is not characterized by fear, but by a confident assurance and a strong faith that God is their personal intimate father.
A slave approaches his master with eyes turned down not knowing what to expect. But a son approaches his father looking him straight into his eyes knowing that the father always has his best interests at heart. A slave is always doing and working so as to please his master. But a son is born with the father’s favor. A slave works and works but receives no pay. He may receive a small reward during his lifetime depending on the master, and a hearty "thank you" as he returns to the dust. But a son carries on the family business and gains the inheritance.
Paul was telling the Roman Christians not to cower away from God or view God as an angry potentate who would strike them down for any wrong, as a slave might think – the spirit of slavery. But to see God as their own father, one who loves and welcomes them. Although their actual adoption is for a future time, for now they have a faith-based sonship – the spirit of adoption – knowing in their hearts that their future adoption as spirit sons of God is assured. When one comes to know God and the one he sent, Jesus Christ, then the desire by faith to be adopted comes naturally.
Whether one has a spirit of slavery or a spirit of adoption as sons is a question of life or death – either one accepts sonship and gains the inheritance of everlasting life, or one accepts slavery and returns to the dust.
On May 4, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“How do angels communicate today? I never experienced anything "supernatural", but I believe in the Father and the Lord Jesus either way for many reasons. You know, all I can do is pray for truth and weigh up sources and doctrines with my human mind. If you have access to a more divine way to differentiate between true and wrong - that would be something. May father be with you.”
To the author, thank you for your email. First, we can tell you that angels communicate today in the same way they did in the past. You can find many examples in the Bible of the different ways angels communicated with humans. Nothing has changed from a celestial point of view. It is man who has changed. Their lack of faith in the possibilities of angelic contact is the reason for it being relatively rare. When mankind abandons its disbelief, these events will occur with more frequency.
You mentioned that you have never experienced anything ‘supernatural.’ Brother, faith is supernatural – beyond the normal experience, beyond the experience in the natural world. If you have faith in God, you have experienced the supernatural. The Christian brotherhood is founded on the supernatural since we are the sons of God by means of faith – the faith sons of God. (Galatians 3:26) When we rise above the natural world and begin to walk by faith, not by sight, we can begin to expect the unexpected, including angelic visitation. That being said, angelic beings often engage human in greetings and other forms of interaction, including miraculous saving, without the human knowing it was an angelic intervention. (Hebrews 13:2) They do this not to test them, but in many cases, it is just to allow humans the opportunity to do good to strangers. You may have had such an encounter, but not realized it.
We agree with you that you can use your mind to help discern right from wrong, truth from falsehood, but you also all have the assistance of the Spirit of Truth. We have written about this a few times, see: The Bestowal of the Spirit of Truth and The Reality of the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Truth is the divine God-ordained way to receive truth.
Angelic visitation is always purposeful. It is never done for entertainment or amusement, nor even to give truth. That is the work of the Spirit of Truth bearing witness with your spirit, not the work of the angelic host. Direct interactive communication with celestial beings is authorized for the distinct purpose of directing ministerial work, as was the case with the Hebrew prophets. The angels did not give lessons in truth, they gave directions on what to do or what to say, i.e., ‘go and tell so-and-so a certain thing.’
If you desire such an encounter, the surest way for it to happen is for you to make the will of the Father your will, and to engage whole souled in the ministry Jesus began. Under those circumstances, there may be a reason for your celestial family to reach out to you personally.