TRANSITIONING TO THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVENS
TURNING OF THE TITANIC
July 30, 2012
For the past 16 years, we have been undergoing a baptism into death.
“[D]o you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
– Romans 6:3
It was at that time we began searching deeper and deeper into the scriptures to find truth. As part of the association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we took literally the admonition to “Read the Bible Daily.” We followed Jesus’ counsel:
“Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking it will be opened.”
– Matthew 7:7-8
We put our faith in Jesus’ promise:
“However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things coming.”
– John 16:13
And, as children of God, we followed the spirit’s leading.
“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.”
– Roman 8:14
In time, our prayers were answered. We understood that the primary message of Jesus – the good news of the kingdom – is simply that God is the Father of every man, and that every man is your brother, with heavenly life in view. No more were we to look at ourselves as slaves or servants of God; but as faith sons and daughters on a quest to find our Father. And Jesus’ life showed us the way. (John 14:6) So, in January 2012, we took the leap of faith and began to publish on this website the insight we have been given.
Our first love is for our spiritual family of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. We early realized there were fundamental errors in the Society’s teachings. It was like a huge ship heading in the wrong direction – like the Titanic heading for the iceberg. We could jump ship and save ourselves or we could attempt to move the Society in the direction of the ‘bright light.’ (Proverbs 4:18) We elected to stay and undertake the massive challenge of ‘turning the Titanic.’ And with it, we thought, perhaps we can effect a positive change in Christianity as a whole.
First, we want to say that we have received no divine instruction commanding us to do what we are doing. It is more like an invitation. We saw a need and volunteered . . . like Isaiah:
“And I began to hear the voice of Jehovah saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I proceeded to say: “Here I am! Send me.”
– Isaiah 6:8
And we feel that we are led by the spirit, following its whispers:
“And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: “This is the way. Walk in it, you people,” in case you people should go to the right or in case you should go to the left.”
– Isaiah 30:21
We understand that a return to the high spiritual concept of Jesus and a revival of his actual teachings will undo the work of so many of his followers who went about creating a sociophilosophical system of beliefs centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus, rather than on his life of spiritual and true worship of the Father.
We understand that the many-sided aspects of Jesus’ teachings caused divisions among his followers resulting in the springing up of many cults and sects, that this pitiful subdivision of Christian believers resulted from a failure to discern in the Master’s manifold teachings the divine oneness of his matchless life, and that these divisions are the greatest stumbling block to attracting non-Western people to the kingdom message.
We understand that, someday, the true believers will not be thus spiritually divided in their attitude toward one another. There will always be a diversity of intellectual comprehension and interpretation, even varying degrees of socialization. But the lack of a spiritual brotherhood is both inexcusable and reprehensible.
We understand that if only our churches and religious institutions would dare to espouse the Master’s original teachings, thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.
We understand that there is within the original teachings of Jesus an eternal nature which will not permit them forever to remain unfruitful in the hearts of thinking men and women. And while the kingdom as Jesus conceived it has to a large extent been submerged under so much dogma, we understand that the submergence is only temporary. It is in a larval stage waiting for a more spiritual age where the Master’s teachings may enjoy a fuller opportunity for development.
We understand that our various churches and religious institutions have become the cocoon in which the kingdom of Jesus’ concept now slumbers. But the kingdom of the divine brotherhood of mankind is still alive and will eventually and certainly come forth from this long submergence, just as surely as the butterfly eventually emerges as the beautiful unfolding of its less attractive creature of metamorphic development.
Yet in all this “understanding,” we did not expect to see such favorable results in so short a period of time. (See the articles “The Powerful Message of Sonship” and “What Prevents Me?”) It inspires us to continue in our work feeling confident that the Father, the Christ, and the associated spirit influences will continue to strengthen us where we are weak as a result of our own insecurities and human frailties. Perhaps wecan ‘turn the Titanic.’
The Kingdom Seed
In spite of our apprehension, we learned that turning a huge ship is not as difficult as one might think.
“Look! Even boats, although they are so big and are driven by hard winds, are steered by a very small rudder to where the inclination of the man at the helm wishes.”
– James 3:4
All we needed was a ‘small rudder’ – a simple truth – that could guide the ship in a new direction. How appropriate then that the kingdom message is likened to a tiny seed.
“The kingdom of the heavens is like a mustard grain, which a man took and planted in his field; which is, in fact, the tiniest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the largest of the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and find lodging among its branches.”
– Matthew 13:31-32
In our article “The Mustard Seed,” we discuss the meaning and application of this illustration. Basically, Jesus is telling us that if we plant this tiny ‘mustard grain’ of the kingdom message, it will grow and develop into a massive tree – a spiritual tower – where all can find comfort and refreshment. We believe this tiny seed is the ‘very small rudder’ that can direct our association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, even all Christian faiths, toward the Father.
So this is the first step in Transitioning to the Kingdom – planting the kingdom seed of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man in our hearts, our congregations and our churches.
An unadulterated study of the Christian Greek Scriptures reveals this message. So many of us are trained to only look at Jesus’ death and resurrection and we miss the most thrilling and meaningful part – his life and his worship and revealing of the Father.
“Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you men had known me, you would have known my Father also; from this moment on you know him and have seen him.”
– John 14:6-7
The Life of Jesus
Jesus’ death was important to be sure. It is the passage through which most of mankind will have to traverse in order to reach the Father. And through his death, he put an end to sacrifice and offering.
“And he must keep [the] covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease.”
– Daniel 9:27
Through his death, the Jews were released from their Law Covenant.
“Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of your flesh, [God] made you alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses and blotted out the handwritten document against us, which consisted of decrees and which was in opposition to us; and He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.”
– Colossians 2:13-14
And through his death, the remainder of us have a releasing from our guilty consciences.
“For if the blood of goats and of bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who have been defiled sanctifies to the extent of cleanness of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Christ, who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works that we may render sacred service to [the] living God?”
– Hebrew 9:13-14
We are free – free children of God:
“Therefore those in union with Christ Jesus have no condemnation. For the law of that spirit which gives life in union with Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
– Romans 8:1-2
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
– Romans 8:20-21
The only debt that remains owing is to love one another.
“Do not you people be owing anybody a single thing, except to love one another; for he that loves his fellowman has fulfilled [the] law.”
– Romans 13:8
Nevertheless, Jesus’ death only gives us a clean slate. All mankind shares in that blessing. However, a strong faith comes from what we build upon that foundation and not all will build properly:
“Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass. 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 upon the rock-mass.”
– Matthew 7:24-25
A strong faith has to do with not just knowledge and appreciation of Christ’s death, but how we live our lives since attaining that knowledge. In order to comply with the edict to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), we must we come to know the Father. Jesus showed us how:
“If you men had known me, you would have known my Father also; from this moment on you know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him: “Have I been with you men so long a time, and yet, Philip, you have not come to know me? He that has seen me has seen the Father [also]. How is it you say, ‘Show us the Father’?’”
– John 14:7-9
Knowing God requires more than an intellectual exchange. It requires examining Jesus’ life experience and imitating his relationship with the Father in our prayers, in our conduct, in our faith, in our work, and in our association with one another. Our articles “The Faith and Religion of Jesus” and “Worshiping with Spirit and Truth” provide an in-depth analysis of Jesus’ extraordinary example.
Our Fresh Start
So what shall we do with our new beginning, our new fresh start, our newly tilled soil? We must plant the Kingdom seed by accepting the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man and then by loving God as our personal heavenly Father, and loving our brothers as ourselves, all leading to our heavenly inheritance.
These simple truths can have a profound effect our associations. If all members of the congregations knew and accepted their sonship with the Father, they would each have a higher accountability than with mere men. They would be moved from the heart to honor their Father in all things. Nothing would be done in hiding because, whereas we can conceal our errors from men, we know the Father is aware of all things.
Sonship brings with it the responsibility to imitate the Father – be perfect as He is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) When we work toward that goal, we would not need to try to produce the fruits of the spirit; instead, we become healthy trees that naturally produce spiritual fruit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Accepting the brotherhood of man would lead to better relationships with one another. We would know that the spirit of God dwells in each of them, that we are the temple of God. Thus, we would do no harm:
“Do you not know that you people are God’s temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] you people are.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
That love would extend past our brothers to our neighbors, even our enemies:
“You heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you; that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous."
– Matthew 5:43-46
Just accepting our sonship will have a great affect on our congregations and Christianity as a whole. And by the love we show, we would attract others who either turned away from religion or never knew the Father.
“By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”
– John 13:35
The tiny kingdom seed will prove to be the ‘small rudder’ that can effect big changes and turn our ship of faith in the right direction.
To help our brothers understand more about their sonship, we have published, and will continue to publish, several articles under the section “Building Up the Brotherhood” on our website. These articles can be used to supplement your Bible study and spiritual discussions. They can provide a starting point to help yourselves and others appreciate your relationship with the Father and with each other.
Among Jehovah’s Witnesses, it may be helpful to begin with the “Foundation Articles” in order to bridge the gap from believing themselves to be mere friends of God to the truth that they are, in fact, sons of God. (Galatians 3:26)
Once they individually know the true kingdom message, they can move to the articles in this section “Transitioning to the Kingdom of the Heavens” for practical suggestions on how to live their sonship.
We have accepted the challenge of ‘turning the Titanic’ on the sheer faith in the power of the kingdom message, and on Jesus’ promise that he will be with us until the conclusion of the system of things. (Matthew 28:19-20) We believe other truth loving, honest hearted persons will respond and carry the message forward in their lives. And with more sons of the kingdom, the ship will go faster because there are more hands on deck!
Though the end may be near, it is not here yet. So with the time remaining, we will do our utmost to glorify the Father and His Christ by promoting and teaching the true message of the kingdom – the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man – and move the ‘faith ship’ forward so that all can harbor safely at our heavenly destination.
We welcome your comments.