WHO'S AWAKE AT THE WATCHTOWER?
"WE WANT TO GO WITH YOU" - PART 6
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), Part 3 (paragraph 7-8), Part 4 (paragraphs 9-11)and Part 5 (paragraphs 12-16).
What About the Number of Those Partaking at the Memorial? (Continued)
WT Paragraph 17:
“17 What have we learned from our discussion? Jehovah has chosen to give two separate rewards—heavenly life for spiritual Jews and earthly life for the symbolic ten men. Yet, he requires the same standard of faithfulness from both those with a heavenly calling and those with an earthly hope. Both groups must remain humble. Both groups must be united. Both groups must promote peace in the congregation. As the last days draw to a close, let all of us be determined to serve as one flock under Christ.
The question on paragraph 17 asks:
“17. What have you learned from this article?
If you read the article with your eyes open, using your God-given thinking ability and your Biblically encouraged powers of discernment (Hebrews 5:14), you did not learn what the Watchtower writer hopes you learned. We certainly did not. Let us examine each of the statements asserted in the paragraph to see if they accurately state what you learned – not what the article attempted to convince you of, but what you actually learned!
Did you learn that: “Jehovah has chosen to give two separate rewards—heavenly life for spiritual Jews and earthly life for the symbolic ten men.” What did you see in the article that convinced you that Jehovah has given two separate rewards? We did not see one shred of evidence – not one scripture – showing that there are two rewards.
Instead, we saw that Jesus had two different sheep folds – a little flock and other sheep. But Jesus said the two folds would become ‘one flock under one shepherd.’ (John 10:16) According to the Apostle Paul, the little flock consisted of the small group of Jews that followed Jesus, and the other sheep consisted of Gentiles who would soon follow Jesus. And he explained that these two folds were brought together and united in the 1st century when Jesus ‘removed the wall that separated Jews and Gentiles.’ From that time forward, they would be ‘one new man united in one body with both people having free access to the Father by one spirit.’ (Ephesians 2:11-18) So, the two separate folds are now defunct! There is only one flock, one fold, not two. That is what the Bible says. But what about two rewards?
The two supposed rewards are: (1) the hope to live forever on earth, and (2) the hope to live forever in heaven. But Paul stated that there is one hope, and one baptism under one Lord with God as the Father of all of them.’ (Ephesians 4:1-6) This means that all Christians should have the ‘one hope,’ and should all undergo the ‘one baptism’ into the ‘one Lord’ as the children of the one ‘Father of all of them.’ So which hope is the one true hope – the one true reward? Clearly, it is the heavenly hope – the hope to be in the places Jesus prepared for us (John 14:2-3) – the only hope Jesus or the apostles ever taught! Further, if God is the Father of all, then all are brothers of Christ and heirs to the heavenly kingdom. (Romans 8:17) So, no, the Bible does not say that Jehovah has chosen to give two different rewards. Only the Watchtower organization is teaching a second reward. Which one would you rather have? The one from God or the one from men?
And consider paragraph 16 of the article which states: “As in the first century, Jehovah and Jesus today are feeding many through the hands of a few.” A review of the Christian record does not support the idea that the feeding was done through the hands of a few. (See Feeding the Many.) But for those who accept that idea, ask yourself: What were they feeding Christians in the 1st century? When Jesus told Peter to ‘feed his sheep’ (John 21:15-17), what was he expecting the ‘feeding’ to consist of? What were they supposed to teach? Jesus said that they were to teach ‘the things I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:20), not the things others taught. So, then ask yourself: Did Jesus ever teach his followers that the majority of them would be rewarded with everlasting life on earth? Did Jesus ever teach his followers that the majority of them would not be with him in heaven? Did Jesus ever teach his followers that the majority of them should not remember him by eating and drinking at the Remembrance Supper? No. So which feeding program do you accept? The one promoted by men, or the one Jesus authorized?
We further learned that God is not with the symbolic ‘ten men.’ God is with the spiritual Jews who have the heavenly hope. (Zechariah 8:23) The symbolic ‘ten men’ are alienated from God. They have no relationship with Him. That is why they want to ‘go with the Jew’ – so they can have a relationship with God. Accordingly, all Jehovah’s Witnesses who view themselves as the symbolic ‘ten men’ have no hope and no reward unless they ‘grab firm hold of the robe of a Jew’ and go with them to where they are going – into the heavenly kingdom!
Let’s go on. Did you learn that: “[Jehovah] requires the same standard of faithfulness from both those with a heavenly calling and those with an earthly hope.” Since there is no longer any distinction between ‘Jew and Gentile’ in the Christian congregation (Galatians 3:26-29), then all those who seek to please God, of course, have the same standard of faithfulness. But anyone who does not view him or herself as a son of God and a brother to Christ Jesus is not, and cannot be, led by holy spirit. The spirit of Christ – the Spirit of Truth – only leads the children of God. (Romans 8:14)
So what spirit leads those who are seeking earthly things? Paul called it ‘the spirit of slavery’ (Romans 8:15) and ‘the spirit of the world.’ (1 Corinthians 2:12) He also said:
“For setting the mind on the flesh means death, but setting the mind on the spirit means life and peace; because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity with God, for it is not in subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God. 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.”
– Romans 8:6-9
And finally, did you learn that: “Both groups must remain humble. Both groups must be united. Both groups must promote peace in the congregation.” Again, there is only one group of faithful Christians – those who are a part of ‘the body of Christ, the Christian congregation’ who all have the heavenly hope. (Colossians 1:24; Ephesians 1:22-23; Romans 8:17) Disunity occurs when all are not united in the ‘one faith’ and in that ‘one hope.’ But there is another cause of disunity.
In the Corinthian congregation, some believed they had ‘already begun ruling as kings’ over the others. (1 Corinthians 4:1-8) They thought they were specially appointed by God to govern, or rule over, the congregation. This superior, self-promoting attitude is what was causing division. And this same attitude continues to cause division in the Watchtower organization today. But if all in the Kingdom Halls understood that they are all brothers, with ‘one hope, one faith, and one baptism,’ all being led by the ‘one spirit,’ they would not be ‘admiring personalities’ and giving greater loyalty to the words of men than they give to the words of Jesus.
But we learned many more things beyond what was suggested in paragraph 17. We gained a clearer understanding of the 144,000. The Doctrine of the 144,000 teaches that only 144,000 are in the covenant for a kingdom with Christ Jesus, and thus only the 144,000 who were ‘bought from the earth’ are the sons of God who can partake of the Memorial emblems. But by carefully reading Revelation 7:1-4; 14:1-3 and Revelation 5:8-10, we learned that the 144,000 do not have a future of being kings and priests at all! The future kings and priests are a great unnumbered multinational group who are also ‘bought’ from earth. Accordingly, there is no reason for anyone to hesitate in pursuing the heavenly hope and openly confessing union with Christ Jesus by participating in the Memorial Supper. All who love God and have faith in Christ Jesus must partake of the Memorial emblems as Jesus requires (John 6:53-56; Luke 22:19-20) because there is no limit to the number of people who can be in the ‘covenant for a kingdom.’ This is great news!
More importantly, by carefully, reflectively and seriously considering the information in the two study articles and culling out those things that are supported by scriptures, we have developed a progressive understanding of the anointing. Here is that progressive understanding:
1. Jesus said that, after his resurrection, he would send the Spirit of Truth to guide his followers into all truth. (John 16:12-13) All who would receive the Spirit of Truth would bear witness to Jesus. (John 16:14; Acts 1:8) Jesus fulfilled that promise on Pentecost 33 C.E., when the spirit was poured out on every sort of flesh – not just the priest and not just men, but also women and slaves. (Acts 2:16-18) And the Spirit of Truth guides and teaches his followers about all things (John 16:13; 1 John 2:27)
2. In order to receive the spirit, all one needs to do is repent and get baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2:38) One can receive the spirit immediately after baptism in water (Acts 2:38), some time after baptism in water (Acts 8:16-17), and even some time prior to baptism in water (Acts 10:44-48) One’s baptism in spirit can occur without spectacular manifestations. (Acts 2:2-4; 2:41; 8:17) And if someone has been baptized in water, but has not received the spirit, his fellow anointed brothers can assist them to receive the spirit. (Acts 8:14-17)
3. The anointing is our awakening to the realization that we are sons of God, not slaves. (Galatians 4:1-7) We achieve the awakening/anointing when God’s spirit that dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) draws us to the conclusion that we are His sons, and then the Spirit of Truth confirms that conclusion with certainty. (Romans 8:16)
4. The anointing is a token that seals us and guarantees that we will be adopted as sons of God in heaven. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14) Being adopted as God’s sons in the heavenly kingdom was God’s purpose for mankind before the founding of the world. (Ephesians 1:3-6) Until our adoption, we are sons of God through our faith in Jesus – we are ‘faith sons.’ (Galatians 3:26) All faiths sons of God are ‘spiritual Jews’ (Galatians 3:26-29), brothers to Jesus and brothers to each other. (Matthew 12:47-50; 23:8-10)
5. The anointing is a new birth – being born again by spirit – which enables each faith son to manifest the fruits of the spirit – the qualities of a spirit born person. (John 3:3-8; Galatians 5:22-23) A born again faith son becomes readjusted to earthly life as a temporary resident (1 Peter 2:11), knowing he or she has become a citizen of the heavens. (Philippians 3:20)
6. The number of those who would join to the Christ as faith sons of God will keep on increasing, while those who hold the ‘Synagogue hope’ will keep on decreasing. (John 3:28-30) Thus, only the anointed faith sons of God are truly in the Christian congregation. (Colossians 1:17-18, 21; Ephesians 1:22-23) All those who want a relationship with God and who want to gain everlasting life must join the anointed faith sons of God and pursue the one hope, the one faith and undergo the one baptism. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
7. And finally, all Christians who are not pursuing the heavenly hope need a mental attitude adjustment. (Philippians 3:13-15) And when they become faith sons, they must continue to publicly declare their hope and gather together to encourage one another, and all the more so! (Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 Peter 3:15)
Notice the overwhelming scripture support! Quite different from the assumptions, speculation and unfounded statements in the study article.
While there were many concepts and teachings that were unraveled and untwisted by our commentaries, the above truths remain and are sufficient to nourish the anointed faith sons of God, along with all potential faith sons. By having this information well in advance of the study dates, our brothers and sisters among Jehovah’s Witnesses will have ample time to reflect on the anointing and the ‘one hope’ so that they will not be bamboozled with double talk at the Watchtower Study in March 2016.
We know the Governing Body authorized these two study articles to discourage Jehovah’s Witnesses from accepting the free gift of holy spirit and becoming faith sons of God, and then to separate and silence those who do. Well, their efforts have backfired! Instead of discrediting the new faith sons, they have discredited themselves. These study articles have shown that all who follow Jesus are sons of God and brothers to Christ Jesus, with equal standing before God. None have begun ‘ruling as kings’ over the congregation so our loyalty is due to Jesus Christ, not to men.
These study articles have further revealed a gross lack of knowledge about the anointing in the Watchtower leadership and teaching committees, so much so that it calls into question their own anointing. How can sons of God, brothers to Christ Jesus, approve the publication of articles that counsel their own brothers to remain separate from one another and to remain silent in the congregation? How can they allow such a blatant disrespect of their own hope and their own brothers? How can they be so wrong in so many ways about the anointing? These are good questions to consider, but there are much more important matters.
Now that you have a Biblical understanding of the anointing, how does that effect you? If you see yourself as one of the ‘ten men,’ are you willing to take firm hold of the robe of a Jew? And if you are, will you let go before they reach their destination, or will you go all the way with them into the heavenly kingdom?
It is our hope that these commentary articles will strengthen the resolve of the faith sons to never cease meeting together, and declaring their hope and the excellencies of the heavenly kingdom. (1 Peter 2:9) And we hope these articles are used to encourage all potential faith sons, especially those among Jehovah’s Witnesses, to take their stand firmly in the heavenly kingdom knowing that all who seek everlasting life must eat and drink of the Christ (John 6:53-56) and confess union with him before men. (Matthew 10:32-33) As Peter, filled with holy spirit, said:
“[T]here is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”
– Acts 4:12
Therefore, we urge all who see themselves as the ‘ten men’ to get saved by joining the body of Christ – the Christian congregation – so that all Jehovah’s Witnesses can serve as one united flock with one hope under the one Lord, and the one God and Father of all. Grab firm hold of Jesus and go with him into the heavenly kingdom! We thank you for considering our Watchtower commentaries, and as always, we welcome your comments.