WHO'S AWAKE AT THE WATCHTOWER?
"LOYALLY SUPPORTING CHRIST'S BROTHERS"
A Watchtower Commentary
Watchtower: March 15, 2015
Study Article: “Loyally Supporting Christ’s Brothers.”
“To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
– Matthew 25:40
This study article is especially insidious. It opens with a brief overview of how the Watchtower Society has repeatedly misunderstood the identity of Christ’s brothers and the time of fulfillment of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. But the overall message of the article is that whether one will be judged a sheep or a goat “hinges on how they have treated the remaining ones of Christ’s brothers” who, according to thecurrent understanding, are identified as “the spirit anointed men and women who will rule with Christ from heaven.” (Paragraph 7) We, of course, disagree with this identification. We agree with Jesus who said we are all brothers (Matthew 23:8), and with Paul who said all who have faith in Jesus are God’s sons (Galatians 3:26) and with Peter who said God is not partial. (Acts 10:34) But let’s look at what the article is really about.
The Primary Agenda
The article is not really about promoting loyalty to Christ’s brothers. There is another agenda at work. Let’s see if we can identify it. First, please note that the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is not about doing good to Christ’s brothers. It is specifically about doing good to ‘the least of Christ’s brothers.’ (Matthew 25:40, 45) The ones who could easily be ignored or rejected because of their low stature and the unlikelihood that they could repay or offer a benefit to anyone. Keep that in mind as we go through this commentary.
In paragraph 10, the article states “one of the primary ways that those judged to be sheep show kindness to Christ’s brothers is by supporting them in the preaching work.” This is not what Jesus said, and the article acknowledges this in paragraph 8:
“In the illustration of the sheep and the goats, Jesus does not directly mention the preaching work. Why, then, can it be said that it emphasizes the importance of preaching?"
Why indeed? By extension? Doesn’t ‘by extension’ really mean “It does not apply to us, but let’s pretend it does.” The fact is, Jesus did not mention the preaching work directly or indirectly in connection with the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Every reference used in the article to make the connection fails because each of the references are about other matters and different parables. If the preaching work was the primary way to judge the sheep and the goats, wouldn’t Jesus have said so? Would he have forgotten such an important factor in gaining salvation? Would the greatest teacher who ever lived, the greater Moses, the one wiser than Solomon, forget to mention the primary way to do good to his brothers? Of course not! It makes us wonder what the Governing Body really thinks of Jesus’ teaching ability.
Then, after having gone beyond what Jesus actually said, the article does a complete 180. First, it states that the other sheep show kindness by supporting the anointed in the preaching work because the 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses have not received the commission Jesus gave to his anointed slaves. (Paragraph 11) But then in the next few paragraphs, it explains:
“Jesus instructed all his disciples to preach.” (Paragraph 12)
“All those bound by ‘the law of the Christ’ must preach.” (Paragraph 14)
“But all recognize their obligation to exercise faith in Christ and to express that faith by means of the witnessing work.” (Paragraph 15)
What? So the other sheep are commissioned to do the same work the anointed are commissioned to do! Then, by the Watchtower’s reasoning, when the other sheep are engaged in the preaching work, they are not supporting Christ’s brothers. They are simply carrying out their own responsibilities. The preaching work could not be used to show that the other sheep went out of their way or beyond the call of duty to loyally support Christ’s brothers. Accordingly, based on the fact that Jesus did not link the preaching work to the judging of the sheep and goats, and since the Watchtower shows that the other sheep are preaching to fulfill their own obligation, the entire article is a sham! So again, what is the agenda? Paragraph 17 reveals it:
“The growing number of prospective sheep count it a privilege to support Christ’s brothers not only in the preaching work but also in other practical ways. For example, they give financial contributions and help to build Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and branch facilities, and they loyally obey those appointed by “the faithful and discreet slave” to take the lead.” (Paragraph 17)
The article is really just another ploy to extract money from Jehovah’s Witnesses and shamelessly demand our brothers sacrifice time from their employment and their families to work on Watchtower building projects for free. Yet they willingly pay so-called ‘worldly’ contractors top dollar. Doesn’t the Governing Body realize that Jehovah’s Witnesses have needs? Just like the Watchtower organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses need money to meet their expenses. As Jesus said, “the worker is worthy of his wages.” (Luke 10:7) We suppose the Governing Body does not feel Jehovah’s Witnesses are worthy!
Also, most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not know that although they pay for their Kingdom Halls, they don’t belong to the congregations, they belong to the Watchtower corporations. Think about what really happens. The congregation borrows money from the Watchtower corporations to build their Kingdom Halls. The congregation pays on the loan for several years until it is paid off. And after it is paid off in full, who owns the Hall? In any normal transaction, the owner is the one who paid for it. But ask any elder. The Watchtower corporation owns it! And they can take it from the congregation anytime they want to. Does that sound proper? Legal? Christian? Accordingly, the whole illusion of forgiving loans is another insidious plot to separate Jehovah’s Witnesses from their money. Before the loans were forgiven, a congregation knew how many more years they had to pay the monthly payments to the Watchtower corporation. Now, they will pay indefinitely! When will our brothers and sisters awaken from the slumber and the lulling to sleep!
But, more importantly, building projects are not the kind of support Jesus was referring to in the parable. This is made clear by looking at Jesus’ actual words in the parable. What did he directly, clearly, and unambiguously say is the way to do good to his brothers?
“Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you visited me. ... Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” – Matthew 25:34-36, 40
Jesus is saying that our salvation will be linked to how we look after the personal needs of the lowliest ones of his brothers – their food, clothing, shelter, and their personal well being. He did not imply, even indirectly, that anyone is obligated to financially support building projects. Of course, anyone is free to donate their funds to whatever cause they deem important. Jehovah’s Witnesses are likewise free to donate to the Watchtower Society to accomplish any work. But to state that supporting the Governing Body’s building enterprises is the primary way Jesus judges one worthy of salvation is blasphemous! It is tantamount to ‘pimping’ Jesus for their own financial objectives. They are more like shrewd merchants than loving shepherds!
So, out of fairness, let’s see .... What are the personal needs of the Governing Body? Are they lacking in food? Are they lacking sufficient clothing? Are they homeless? Are they imprisoned? Hardly! The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses live better than many corporate executives. They have the finest clothing, the finest jewelry, the finest food and drink, the finest medical care, the finest tailors. They travel by personal jet, often accompanied by personal assistants and body guards. Every need and every want is almost immediately provided for. And now they are in the process of building a beautiful complex beside a lake, appointed with state of the art luxury!
So how can the Governing Body qualify as the least of Christ’s brothers? They simply cannot! So the parable is not about the Governing Body or their building projects. The parable is about the ‘least of Christ’s brothers,’ those who are suffering want. Jesus desires all his followers to look after the interests of one another as if they were looking after Jesus himself. That is the criteria for judging the sheep from the goats.
In 2014, the Watchtower organization published that only 14,121 of Christ’s brothers are living on earth. So in keeping with the parable, we ask: Is the money donated to the Watchtower organization being used to care for the personal needs of the other 14,114? Really, it would be impossible to use the money in that way. Not because there is not enough money to care for them, but because the Governing Body does not even know who they are! Nor do they even care! They openly admit that they make no efforts to identify them, let alone care for their needs! So dear brothers, know that by contributing to the Watchtower organization, you may be helping build Halls and branch facilities, but you are not supporting the least of Christ’s brothers.
For those who want to do good to the least of Christ’s brothers, search out those whom you view as Christ’s brothers who are truly in need and give your financial resources to them – individually, personally. Those are the kinds of acts Jesus was referring to in the parable, and those are the kinds of acts that would go toward a person’s salvation. And better still, since most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not know who are truly Christ’s brothers, they should use their financial resources to meet the personal needs of any who have such needs. Instead of donating money to build structures, contribute your money to build people and families. Think of how much you could do to alleviate the distress of your brothers if you used your money in that way.
In spite of how much we disagree with the Governing Body’s identification of Christ’s brothers, and how they have deceptively presented themselves as ‘the least ones.’ And in spite of how we abhor the idea that the sons of God would choose to take the slave’s position and call themselves ‘other sheep’ instead of sons, we wholeheartedly agree with the need to loyally support the least of Christ’s brothers by assisting them in theirpersonal needs.
The Secondary Agenda
In addition to spiritually and emotionally coercing our brothers into supporting the Governing Body’s building enterprises, this article continues the theme of obedience to men. It is another machination designed to elevate the Governing Body at the expense of all others. We wonder how many congregations who studied this article heard this, or a similar comment: “One of the primary ways we support Christ’s Brothers is how we treat the Governing Body.” The Watchtower identifies as Christ’s brothers “the spirit anointed men and women.” So what efforts are made to care for the needs of the women anointed? It seems our sisters are Christ’s invisible and silent brothers! So it seems, in spite of what is written in Watchtower publications, Jehovah’s Witnesses only view the 7 male members of the Governing Body as Christ’s true brothers to whom they willingly offer their loyal support and unconditional obedience.
But who truly are Christ’s brothers? Let’s let Jesus tell us. Surely he knows who his brothers are:
“While he was yet speaking to the crowds, his mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to him. 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 12:46-50
Did Jesus stutter? Did he beat around the bush? Was he vague or evasive? Did he speak in a “Da Vinci code method” so that someone needs to come behind him to clarify his words? No. And no honest hearted person could conclude otherwise. Jesus NEVER limited his brothers to a small flock of 144,000.
Instead, Jesus views all of his followers as his brothers:
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.” – John 1:12
“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. But the greatest one among you must be your minister. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:8-12
But by singling themselves out as ‘Christ’s brothers’ and daring to teach the 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses that they are not Christ’s brothers, the Governing Body is arrogantly exalting themselves, and true to Jesus’ words, they will be humbled.
“Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7-8
It is difficult to believe in this time in history that men who claim to be spiritually mature could impose on their members such heavy burdens of helping them build Watchtower ‘storehouses’ while counseling the members to forego their own. How can they continue their campaign for money and add to the responsibilities of already struggling men and women, knowing that their love for God would motivate them to continue to give what they truly do not have? How dare they exploit those who truly are ‘the least of Christ’s brothers’ in order to build their castles!
It would be better if the local congregations made resolutions to use their financial resources as a ‘rainy day’ fund to provide for the needs of those in their congregations and local communities. Surely, the local brothers know the needs of the least of Christ’s brothers better than men far removed in their ‘Ivory Towers.’ Since all loans and mortgages have been ‘forgiven’ by the Watchtower Society, the local brothers are free to use their monies as Christ specifically and unequivocally requires – to provide for the personal needs of his brothers.
As for the Governing Body, the continuous mocking of God and His Son will eventually catch up to them. And though most of them are in their twilight years, even death will not save them. We wonder: Do you not recall the Master saying to all his followers “my load is light?” (Matthew 11:30) Shame on you men for burdening, mistreating and stumbling the little ones, for ignoring those who truly are the ‘least of Christ’s brothers, and for serving up expired, poisoned and repackaged food! Rather than being the leaders of this weary band of sheep, you should be their servants.
We hope those who read this commentary see the insidiousness of the Watchtower article. And we hope those who love the Father and the Christ more than they love men will do “the will of the Father in heaven” (Matthew 12:50) by listening to Jesus (Luke 9:35), God’s only spokesman today (Hebrews 1:2), and thereby become Christ’s true brothers who will inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world, as the parable truly says. (Matthew 25:34)
We welcome your comments.