WHO'S AWAKE AT THE WATCHTOWER?
WATCHTOWER MARCH 15, 2015
COMMENTS FROM VISITORS:
Article 4: Loyally Supporting Christ’s Brothers
May 29, 2015 - Rennes, France
[Translated from French] Here is a very important admission, that is very rare to find. In paragraph 5 [of the article] it says:
“In the early 1920’s, Jehovah helped his people refine their understanding of this illustration. The Watch Tower of October 15, 1923, affirmed that “the Son of man” is Jesus. However, it presented sound Scriptural arguments that limited the identity of Christ’s brothers to those who would rule with him in heaven, and it described the sheep as those who hope to live on earth under the rule of Christ’s Kingdom.”
This passage is saying:
1) The Watchtower Society acknowledges that it was they who, on their own initiative, deliberately limited over 8,000,000 Witnesses from entrance into heaven
2) They provided no biblical text to support this claim.
The text of Matt. 23:13 is really appropriate regarding them:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut up the Kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way in to go in.”
Article 3: Learn From the Illustration of the Talents
May 24, 2015 - Mount Shasta, California USA
Dear Brothers, In reading "Learn From the Illustration of Talents," the thought came to me of when I was talking to a former Elder that I have known for many years. As I was talking to him about the [Governing Body] not being Infallible which he agrees with, I asked, what does that really mean then? Does it not mean then what they have told us could very well be wrong! They are saying that this is what we (Man's opinion) are saying about this, and we can very well be wrong in our thinking! The friends some times say the words 'Old Truths' and ' New Truths' and it is most offensive when the GB is changing it's teachings about something. It is not Old Truths but old opinion, and now the New Truths is just a new opinion of man. This came to me as I was reading "Learn From the Illustration of Talents". May we all be a blessing to all as we share in this great work that is once in a eternity. Take care.
May 22, 2015 - Boston, Massachusetts USA
For the past two weeks, an in depth study of Jesus Parables/illustrations have been considered. We have had these teachings of the Master in our possession for nearly two thousand years. These parables are what one might term the “basics” of Christ teachings. They consistently maintain the theme, “keep awake” be "spiritually productive" until either the end of your natural life on earth or until Jesus returns. All of the parables emphasize this solitary theme.
Its application is to all followers of Christ from the time of his ascension down through the ages until his return. When a person sits alone with their Bible in hand and their mind clear from all preconceived opinions, settled ideas and long standing prejudices, what emerges is the beautiful symmetry and the sublime variety of the various ways the Master chose to emphasize this singular message of keeping awake and spiritually productive. One comes away with the desire to want to be either a “faithful and discreet slave,” a “wise virgin” or one who uses their “talents” to make gain for the Master. Of all the Masters sayings, these are among the most clear and understandable of his teachings.
Yet the recent explanations that have been given by the Bethel writers obscure the plain, unambiguous message of the Master. This confusion will continue as long as the researchers, with the approval of the Governing Body, persist in turning these clear, simple illustrations into modern day prophecies that find their singular and restrictive application to the present day Governing Body comprising Samuel Herd, Geoffrey Jackson, Steve Lett, Gerrit Losch, David Splane, Anthony Morris & Mark Sanderson, and the approximately 14,000 persons who partake at the annual memorial of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The box on page 24 makes a poignant admission that should get the attention of all our brothers. For many decades the Governing Body promoted an erroneous understanding of “When the Master Rewards the Slaves.” For many decades, they promoted the erroneous understanding of who “The Wicked and Sluggish Slave” is. They clearly admit the “former explanation” and follow with an “adjusted explanation” in this current year of 2015. With such an admission, we cannot avoid asking, If it took multiple decades to come to this understanding of the Masters simple parables, what assurance do I have that they gotten it right now?
This week’s study of the parable of the “talents” reveals a continuation of attempting to figure out “the times and seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction” (Acts 1:7) by assigning a date or historical time period when the illustration would be “fulfilled.” Turning the illustration in a prophecy has again made it complicated and raises a number of questions regarding the fulfillment of such a proposed prophecy that detracts from Jesus simple message.
How can one determine what the Master meant when he uttered these illustrations? Simply read them as if you were in the audience when he spoke them. What message would you have come away with? If you still feel unsure why not rest your faith and assurance on what Jesus said he would provide for those who keep on seeking, asking, and knocking?
“I still have many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. However, when that one comes, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own initiative, but what he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things to come. That one will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will declare it to you. (John 16:12-14)
“When the helper comes that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth, which comes from the Father, that one will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26)
In both instances Jesus promises to give the “individual” follower the “spirit of truth” to lead them into all truth. This includes the truth of what the parables meant.
Pray for this spirit as you prepare each of these study articles.
Article 2: Will You Keep On The Watch
May 16, 2015 - Florida USA
His article is full of good points and excellent scriptural reasoning, but he makes one minor mistake in his comments on par 9. The Bethel writers do actually quote Mt 25:5 where all 10 virgins fall asleep, and
also imply that some individual faithful "anointed" ones probably got "drowsy", but provide no details of any such fulfillment. He also wonders "why there is an attempt to insert an artificial interval of time?" The answer to both of these is because of their agenda to prop up their unscriptural 1914 date as the start of the "last days", and the simultaneous midnight arrival and cry, "Here's the Bridegroom!"
The brother has definitely by this article and his previous one that God through his word and spirit prove true. (Rm 3:4)
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." (1 Cor 1:19)
May 15, 2015 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Last week’s study article acknowledged how Jesus method of clarity and simplicity was the “hallmark of divine teaching.” This week’s discussion of the parable of the 10 virgins abandon’s that method.
The multiple layers of interpretation imposed on the parable, only serve to make it complicated and obscure. We could have all benefited if the newly discovered objective had been adhered to; “Thus, we find that our literature today focuses more on the simple, practical lessons about faith, endurance, godly devotion, and other vital qualities that we learn from Bible accounts.”
Par. 1 Important to keep in mind that the illustration was related to Peter, Andrew, James & John. (Mark 13:3,4) When Jesus says; What I say to you, I say to all, he means, what he has said to the four he is saying to all subsequent followers throughout all history until the shout “the bridegroom has arrived.”
Par. 3 While the paragraph states that the “faithful slave” has come to explain the scriptures with less emphasis on symbolic prophetic pictures, that procedure is missing when applied to the parable of the ten virgins.
Par. 4 The paragraph states: “Jesus intended the parable…as counsel and warning to his anointed followers.” Since the Watchtower Society believes that Christ anointed followers are only to found among their number then according to their recent statistics this parable is only intended for the approximately 14,000 partakers at last year’s memorial celebration. One is left to ponder, did Jesus intend such a narrowly restricted application?
Par. 5 Here is where the explanations start becoming complicated. Notwithstanding the simple clear message of the illustration, the writers fall into the problem of attempting to assign a specific time in history for the parable even though the Master simply said “Keep looking, keep awake for you do not know when the appointed time is.” (Mark 13:33)
In order to grasp the meaning of the parable the reader has to understand the definition of the original Greek word “coming”. Also the reader has to go back and read a Watchtower article from 2013 that discusses in detail the explanation of Matthew chapters 24 and 25. Then one must correlate all these prophetic events with the start of the great tribulation. This requires quite a bit of work to understand a parable that has such a simple, concise message.
The paragraph further states; “this parable applies to the last days, but it’s climax comes at the great tribulation.”
Since it is believed that the last days began in the year 1914 c.e. any of Christ anointed followers who lived from the time of his ascension in 33 c.e. until 1914 are not included in this parable. According to the Bethel writers, all those faithful men and women over the centuries who died in the Roman arenas, who were burned alive at the stake, who were hunted down like animals for being Christians, who risked their lives and fortunes just so the Bible could be printed and distributed to everyone, well, they are not considered to be part of the wise virgins who kept their lamps burning brightly until their death occurred! How could anyone analyzing this parable completely ignore these faithful ones disregard them as being part of the wise virgins who kept their lamps burning brightly until the end of their lives?
Par. 6 This paragraph states that the “parable” of the “faithful and discreet slave” has a literal fulfillment in the small group of anointed men who would take the lead among Christ followers in the last days.
Paragraph 6 of the previous lesson says those anointed men are the Governing Body. So Jesus previous “parable” finds literal fulfillment in, Herd, Jackson, Lett, Losch, Splane, Morris & Sanderson.
Additionally paragraph in 6, the writers want to make sure you understand that the “parable” in Matthew 24 regarding the “faithful & discreet slave” applies directly to Herd, Jackson, Lett, Losch, Splane, Morris & Sanderson.
Now to make sure the rest of the anointed are not left out of the picture the Bethel writers explain that Jesus “broadened his focus” and gave the “parable” of the 10 Virgins for the benefit of the rest of the anointed to show that they must “keep on the watch.” It is not unreasonable to ask what is the basis for this assumption? Where does Jesus or any other Bible writer draw this conclusion?
Par. 8 States that anointed ones “realize from the outset that their assignment will mean giving up many of the material advantages in Satan’s World.” When one takes a look at the recent videos that are posted at the Societies website it shows that their living conditions are quite state of the art.
When one observes the lifestyle of the “faithful & discreet slave” as identified by the 7 men above, it appears they have not given up any material advantages. They live far better and more lavish lives than 90% of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world.
In comparison to most of our brothers who live in Africa, India, many parts of the United States & Eastern Europe they live like Kings. They enjoy beautiful apartments with finely sculptured surroundings. They have beautifully lighted and decorated offices to work in. Servants prepare their food, wash their clothes, clean their apartments, and wash their automobiles. While I don’t believe anyone begrudges them the nice amenities life has to offer, it is disingenuous to say they have made material sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom, especially when the majority of our brothers scuffle to make a living and hardly enjoy the lifestyle of the Governing body.
Par. 9 The Bethel writers carefully avoid the description that ALL ten virgins “became drowsy and fell asleep.” Instead of providing an explanation on how the faithful virgins fell asleep, we are told that the faithful anointed “have heeded the implied warning and have worked even harder to remain, vigilant, watchful.” So it appears this part of the parable has no relevance to the faithful virgins, in effect the writers are saying they did not fall asleep, whereas the parable said they did. Modesty and humility should prompt them to acknowledge this part of the parable.
I was never able to reconcile this other part of the paragraph! It states; “Throughout the last days, they have responded to strong evidence that, in effect, cries out, Here is the bridegroom—just about to come. How can you BE HERE, and JUST ABOUT TO COME at the same time?
Imagine your friend calls you on his mobile phone, he says I’m here to pick you up. You go outside and don’t see his car anywhere. The first thought that would come to me is, he’s not here. So you call him back and say, you told me you were here, and he responds well, I’m not there yet, BUT, I’M ON MY WAY. My question would be, then why didn’t you just say that!
The paragraph then refers you to a footnote that says, “There is a distinct interval between the shout “Here is the bridegroom, and the actual coming or arrival.” I find it difficult to make sense of the footnote. When I read the parable no such interval appears to me. It says the shout is made the bridegroom has arrived and the only interval appears to be the amount of time it takes for the wise virgins to say to the foolish virgins go off and find someone to buy oil from. After that they go right into the marriage feast. I’m curious why there is an attempt to insert an artificial interval of time?
Par. 14, 15 An attempt is made to offer some solace for those who are not anointed followers of Christ as pictured by the 10 virgins. The parable clearly indicates that the faithful virgins who picture Christ anointed brothers go in to the marriage feast, the unfaithful virgins who are also Christ anointed brothers are locked out! If all the virgins represent those who are of the anointed then not only does that leave the 99.9% of Jehovah’s Witnesses out of this parable, but also the millions of faithful men and women who have died while keeping their lamps burning brightly until the end of their lives. So when Jesus said; “What I say to you, I say to all” the Bethel writers are asking us to believe Jesus is referring to primarily the approximately 14,000 individuals among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
One is left to wonder by what authority do the Bethel writers make such a narrow application of this parable? Would Holy spirit or Christ spirit of Truth influence someone to give an explanation of this parable that ignores centuries of his faithful men and women, which allows no place for them at the marriage feast? This explanation rules out them ever even having a lamp to shine as illuminators of the Christ and having kept awake until the end of their lives during all the past centuries of their faithful service.
The Bethel writers ignore those whom the apostle Paul acknowledges at Hebrews 6:9-12 “But in your case, beloved ones, we are convinced of better things, things related to salvation, even though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name by ministering and continuing to minister to the holy ones. But we desire each one of you to show the same industriousness so as to have the full assurance of the hope down to the end, so that you may not become sluggish, but be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Article 1: This Is the Way You Approved
May 11, 2015 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Dear friends, this past week’s study edition is one in which I hope our brothers were paying more than the usual attention!
Paragraphs 2 & 3 Provides a flash of truth. Paragraph 4 throws a blanket over the truth just revealed!
Par. 2 & 3 correctly reveals how Christ followers are taught. “More importantly Jesus taught his followers to be like children….By means of holy spirit, Jehovah helped them to grasp vital spiritual truths….
Par. 3 “No wonder Jesus was so pleased! It made him happy to see the way Jehovah revealed deep spiritual truths to humble people of all sorts, regardless of their education or intellectual gifts. He was delighted that his Father approved of this way of teaching.
Paragraph 4. Instead of holding to the way that made Jesus so pleased and was the way of the Father, which was to reveal deep spiritual truths to people of all sorts, the paragraph begins with; “In recent years, the spiritual instruction provided by Jehovah’s organization” etc.
It is a undeniable that an individual who arrives at a different understanding of bible truth than the Govening body is frowned upon. When the Father does reveal a deep spiritual truth to a humble member of the congregation he is not allowed to share it. The individual must wait until the Governing Body approves of the Fathers revelation to one of his humble children or they face the threat of censure. It is evident the G.B. does not approve of the way the Master and the Father approved.
Paragraphs 9 & 10 are quite informative. After reading them it caused me to reflect on the frequently used expression “Jehovah’s Spirit directed Organization.” I used to use the expression myself when giving public talks or emphasize it when I was the Watchtower conductor. But pause to consider, these comments; par 9 says; “For many years, God’s people found this approach (type-antitype approach) to Bible accounts faith strengthening. Why, then have things changed.”
Par. 14 Confesses this approach has been going on at least as far back as 1924. Ninety-one years (91 years) has elapsed from 1924 till the publication of this article in 2015. For all these decades types-antitypes “have been unduly difficult for many to grasp.” Par. 12 indicates after giving an example of a simplified approach says; “Such a clear and simple comparison has the hallmark of divine teaching." So what was the hallmark for the previous 91 years when this clear and simple method was not used?
It is only reasonable and fair to ask where was the leading of Christ spirit all those decades? Did it take nine decades for him to, as par. 10 says; “help the faithful and discreet slave to become steadily more discreet.”
To attribute being spirit led by Jehovah is demeaning to our heavenly Father. It is made to appear that he is the sponsor and promoter of puzzling and difficult to understand methods of instruction that were so unlike the instruction delivered by his Son. And it makes Jesus appear to have lost his ability to convey simple, clear and concise methods of leading and teaching his followers since his resurrection to the heavens.
I ask why would he cause his children to suffer through decades of learning through a complicated and convoluted approach that is admitted in this article to be in error in some cases and at the very least obscured? As paragraph 10 says: “the moral and practical lessons of the Bible accounts under examination may be obscured or lost in all the scrutiny of possible antitypical fulfillments.”
Modesty should motivate the Governing body to refrain from claiming they are “God’s spirit directed organization”, and prayerfully seek Christ “Spirit of Truth” while humbly seeking to follow wherever that spirit leads them. By so doing everyone would be spared the spiritual handicap that has existed for all these many decades.
I am hoping the same awakening that has occurred regarding types-antitypes will occur with the opening up the Kingdom of the Heavens to all Christ followers among our Witness brothers. Let us pray it doesn’t take another 91 years for that to happen!
The approach the article championed in paragraphs 2 & 3 would serve the entire brotherhood of Jehovah’s Witnesses if it would be put into actual practice.