WHO'S AWAKE AT THE WATCHTOWER?
"WE WANT TO GO WITH YOU" - PART 4
A Watchtower Commentary
Watchtower: January 2016
Study Article: “We Want to Go With You”
Study Date: March 21-27, 2016
“We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.”
– Zechariah 8:23
We continue our commentary on the second study article in the January 2016 Watchtower magazine (“WT”). Click here to read Part 1 (paragraphs 1-4), and Part 2 (paragraphs 5-6). and Part 3 (paragraphs 7-8).
How Should You React?
WT Paragraph 9:
“9 How should you treat someone who partakes of the Memorial emblems? Jesus told his disciples: “All of you are brothers.” He went on to say: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:8-12) Therefore, it would be wrong to exalt individuals, even if they are anointed brothers of Christ. Speaking about Christian elders, the Bible encourages us to imitate the faith of those who take the lead, but it never commands us to elevate any human as our leader. (Heb. 13:7) True, the Scriptures speak of some as being “considered worthy of double honor.” However, such ones are worthy of honor, not because they are anointed, but because they “preside in a fine way” and “work hard in speaking and teaching.” (1 Tim. 5:17) Therefore, it would be embarrassing for those with a heavenly calling if others were to give them undue praise or attention. Worse still, if they received special treatment, anointed Christians might find it difficult to remain humble. (Rom. 12:3) None of us would want to cause one of Christ’s brothers to stumble!—Luke 17:2.
This paragraph acknowledges that “All of you are brothers.” (Matthew 23:8) Yet we wonder how many Jehovah’s Witnesses will read this paragraph and completely miss this point. Yes, ALL OF YOU ARE BROTHERS. All of you. Ponder that statement.
Most will accept that all are brothers in a general sense, but they have been indoctrinated with the belief there is a higher level of brothers who are the special brothers of Christ. But Jesus gave no indication of this. When he made the above statement that all of you are brothers, he explained the very simple hierarchy that should exist among his followers. He said:
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ.”
– Matthew 23:8-10
The hierarchy is the Father, then Christ, then all brothers. There was no other distinction. He even said that those who hold a special role as ‘teachers’ are just brothers. In case this point is still missed, we point out this account:
“So someone said to him: “Look! Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to you.” In reply he said to the one who spoke to him: “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And extending his hand toward his disciples, he said: “Look! My mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, that one is my brother and sister and mother.”
- Matthew 12:47-50
Yes, all who do the will of the Father in heaven are brothers of Christ Jesus! That means every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who is striving to do the will of Jehovah is a true brother to Christ. And if they are brothers to Jesus, they are the children of God, and accordingly:
“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 8:17
Let us not miss this very important point. ALL of you are brothers, thus the spirit in all of us is stirring us all to accept the free gift of holy spirit – the anointing.
The paragraph also acknowledges that “the Bible encourages us to imitate the faith of those who take the lead, but it never commands us to elevate any human as our leader.” This is easy for Jehovah’s Witnesses to understand. As an example, they point to the Catholic Church that has a human leader, the Pope, and conclude that the Catholic religion violates the scriptures. But somehow they miss the point that if it is improper to have one human leader, it is also improper to have seven human leaders, or one ‘composite’ human leader, such as a governing body. Our brothers and sisters need to “have their powers of discernment trained to distinguish both right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:14) so that they are not bamboozled with double talk that leads them away from their own brother, Christ Jesus, and their own God-given hope!
The question for paragraph 9 asks:
“9. Why do you need to be careful about the way you treat those who eat the bread and drink the wine at the Memorial? (See the box “Love ‘Does Not Behave Indecently.’”)
Did you notice that the question does not ask how should you treat ‘the anointed.’ It asks how should you treat “those who eat the bread and drink the wine at the Memorial?” Why this phrasing? We believe it was chosen to suggest that those who eat and drink at the Memorial may be imposters, as intimated in the next subheading. This type of subtle messaging only serves to cause division and unfair judging. If unity is truly desired, this type of foolishness should stop.
Notwithstanding these objections, of course, we should treat all of our brothers with equal respect. If only Jehovah’s Witnesses could realize that they all are children of God who should all partake of the Memorial emblems, the idea of glorifying others would be immediately eliminated. If they could understand that there is ‘one body, one spirit, with one hope and one Lord, undergoing one baptism under one God and Father of all’ (Ephesians 4:4-6), there would be a great deal more normalcy and mutual respect in the Kingdom Halls.
WT Paragraph 10:
“10 How can we show appropriate respect for those whom Jehovah chooses to anoint? We would not ask them personal questions about their anointing. We thus avoid meddling with what does not concern us. (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:11) We should not assume that the parents, spouse, or other relatives of one of the anointed would also be anointed. Genetics or marriage play no part in the process. (1 Thess. 2:12) We should also resist the urge to quiz spouses of anointed ones about how they feel knowing that they will live without their mate in the future earthly Paradise. Rather than raise questions that may cause pain, all of us can have full confidence that Jehovah will open his hand and “satisfy the desire of every living thing.”—Ps. 145:16.
This paragraph also causes division in the congregation by singling out certain brothers as chosen above the others. Their teaching of two classes engenders animal curiosity and unfair judging of others. We know there are honest hearted individuals who are simply confused, and have a genuine desire to understand the anointing. Perhaps they are experiencing the spirit bearing witness with them personally, but are unsure how to respond. Questions from such sincere brothers and sisters are certainly welcome. But there are others who ask probing questions, not for personal edification, but to test these brothers and sisters to see if they pass their personal scrutiny for anointing. That is the type of questioning that should be avoided.
If only the congregation realized that they are all brothers in Christ, questions about one’s anointing could serve as a basis for a mutual exchange of encouragement which would be welcomed by all. Sincere ones who truly want to find out about the anointing would not be fearful of approaching their brothers. But silly questions would be eliminated, such as ‘quizzing spouses of anointed ones about how they feel knowing that they will live without their mate in the future earthly Paradise.’ They would know that all the brothers of Christ will be in heaven so there would be no worry that faithful Christians would be eternally separated from their faithful loved ones. That is NOT the Father’s will! It is the Father’s will that ALL his children be with him in heaven. (Romans 8:17, 20; Ephesians 1:3-5) There is no pain in the heavenly inheritance. And all honest Bible readers will soon learn that, while earth might become as beautiful as the Garden of Eden, Paradise is in heaven. (Luke 23:42 where Jesus is; 2 Corinthians 12:3-4 where Paul was caught away to in spirit; and Revelation 2:7 where God resides.)
Anointed Christians would love to have the same freedom as those with the Synagogue hope of openly speaking about their hope without condemnation. But that is not currently possible in the Watchtower organization. Anointed ones are so naturally suppressed in Kingdom Halls that few Jehovah’s Witnesses realize the extent of it. Have you noticed that:
1. While there are frequent gatherings and celebrations for those who have been baptized in water, there are no celebrations for those who have been baptized with spirit.
2. Witnesses get together to talk about how they found ‘the truth’ (meaning how they became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses), yet anointed ones are not allowed to get together to talk about how they received the witness of the spirit. (See paragraph 7 in Part 3 of this article.)
3. There are meeting parts, assembly parts and magazine articles speculating about living forever on earth, but nothing – and we mean nothing – that begins to speculate about what heavenly life could be like. (For those who would like to consider some Bible-based speculations about heaven, see the series The Glorious Heavenly Hope, especially the Contemplation articles.)
4. There are many articles and publications directed to building faith in an earthly hope, but nothing – and we mean nothing – to build faith in the heavenly hope. Even these two study articles are not about building faith in the heavenly hope. They are about determining who is and who is not anointed and then isolating and silencing those who are.
The continued defiance of the Christian hope of life in heaven while honoring the Synagogue hope of life on earth is the very reason why one of the most frequently asked question about Jehovah’s Witnesses is whether they are Christians. Jehovah’s Witnesses know far more about Judaism than they do about Christianity. Their ‘meals’ consist of types and shadows from Genesis to Malachi, a cup of ‘old wine,’ and just a sprinkling of Matthew to Jude. It is no wonder that there is depression and apathy in the congregations. Their food is stale and has spoiled. Whereas the everlasting good news of Christ is eternally fresh and nourishing.
This disparity is what has restricted the operation of the Spirit of Truth on the Teaching and Writing Committees in the Watchtower organization as evidenced by the lack of truth in these two study articles. It is as Paul said:
“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
And this spiritual drought will continue until the actual, authentic, plain and open teachings of Jesus are respected within the Watchtower organization.
The question for paragraph 10 asks:
“10. How can you show that you respect anointed Christians?
Currently, equal treatment of anointed ones is only wishful thinking. But if, by means of these commentaries, more Jehovah’s Witnesses wake up to the real hope, they will benefit themselves by having an opportunity to experience ‘the real life’ (1 Timothy 6:19), and they will help anointed ones to have a voice and experience real freedom in the Kingdom Halls. This is the best way to respect anointed Christians as well as the entire congregation. But back to reality with the reading of paragraph 11.
WT Paragraph 11:
“11 Those who treat anointed Christians in a proper manner protect themselves from an insidious danger. The Scriptures tell us that “false brothers” can slip into the congregation. (Gal. 2:4, 5; 1 John 2:19) These impostors may even claim to be anointed. In addition, some anointed Christians might fall away from the faith. (Matt. 25:10-12; 2 Pet. 2:20, 21) If we avoid the trap of “admiring personalities,” we will not be drawn away from the truth by such ones; nor will our faith suffer a crippling blow if a prominent or long-serving Christian becomes unfaithful.—Jude 16, ftn.
The question for paragraph 11 asks:
“11. How do we protect ourselves if we avoid “admiring personalities”?
If we avoid admiring personalities, we will not lose our faith when we discover that those we admire are false brothers or false teachers. This is a lesson that Jehovah’s Witnesses need to give special attention to.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are being taught to obey whatever the Governing Body says, “whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.” (Watchtower November 15, 2013, page 20, paragraph 17.) This is an insidious form of ‘admiring personalities.’ And when Jehovah’s Witnesses discover that the Governing Body’s directives are not only unsound, but also erroneous, harmful, misleading, or deceptive, they lose faith in the organization, and also in God. This is as Jesus prophesied about the Pharisees:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you travel over sea and dry land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him a subject for Gehenna twice as much so as yourselves.”
– Matthew 23:15
This happens time and time again. There is a very large contingency of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who are now agnostic or atheists because they gave too much attention to the teachings of men, and not enough to the teachings of Jesus.
Our brothers and sisters among Jehovah’s Witnesses should seriously consider what this paragraph says. The members of the Governing Body can fall away from the faith just as easily as can any other brother. They could become false brothers just as easily as those in the local congregations. These study articles have already demonstrated that their teachings have strayed away from the authentic teachings of Jesus and the apostles, and that they are promoting ‘another sort of good news.’ So even if they are now sincere in their error – i.e, believing their lies – persisting in error after being shown truth will always turn into insincerity and the sad outcome for those who do not love truth, but instead blaspheme against the spirit. If the Governing Body has not yet reached this point, they are surely on the path. Do not marvel at this. As the paragraph points out, “some anointed Christians might fall away from the faith.”
We hope the teachers, leaders and “Guardians of Doctrine” in the Watchtower organization come to their senses and realize the damage they are causing the ‘little ones’ in the organization who admire them and hang on their every teaching. By closing the door to the kingdom of the heavens for nearly 8 million people, encouraging them to pursue the things of the earth, separating them from the ‘one flock’ of God, and grossly disrespecting those who are in union with Christ Jesus, they are earning a level of bloodguilt that will be hard to overcome.
Just as those who listened to Peter at Pentecost were ‘stabbed to the heart’ at how they disrespected and persecuted Jesus (Acts 2:37), we hope the Watchtower leadership will be ‘stabbed to the heart’ at how they disrespect and persecute Christ’s brothers, and then begin to do works befitting repentance. Works such as humbly acknowledging their errors, seeking forgiveness from both the Father and those whom they misled, correcting their teachings and then bending their knees to our Lord and Sovereign as HIS Witnesses. (Acts 1:8) We published a whole series consisting of articles and dramas demonstrating how such a change can be made, Possibilities for the Father’s Acceptable Year. This may be a lot to ask, but it is the least that should be done because a heart that persists in error will eventually be unable to repent.
“For as regards those who were once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly free gift and who have become partakers of holy spirit and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, but have fallen away, it is impossible to revive them again to repentance, because they nail the Son of God to the stake again for themselves and expose him to public shame.”
– Hebrews 6:4-6
Although the paragraphs in this subheading are directed to the so-called (but now defunct) ‘other sheep,’ they are just as appropriate for, and applicable to, the Governing Body, if not more so. They, too, must be careful as to how they react to the children of God, the brothers of Christ. They must stop the suppression and oppression and allow all of Christ’s brothers freedom to express themselves without reprisal. The outcome will certainly be that more Jehovah’s Witnesses will awaken to the true hope and that is a very good and positive outcome that would please the Father and our Sovereign, Christ Jesus.
Jehovah’s Witnesses who truly want to ‘do good to Christ’s brothers’ should allow them to speak of their hope. Inquire about the witness of the spirit. You may be surprised as how simple it is. And of course, stop judging and open your mind to the possibility that Jehovah has more in store for you than living forever as a pampered pet on earth. Appreciate that man has a dynamic mind that will always want to know all of the works of the Father. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
That is how you should react to the anointed children of God. Do not allow the errors of men deprive you of the prize of a future beyond your imagination.
“But just as it is written: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
We will continue our commentary on the next subheading within the next day or so. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the anointing, please write us, as we always welcome comments from potential sons of God. [Go to Part 5]