Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Not Possible (So Leave Now or Soon, While You Still Can)

In the Bible we read that with God "all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; 14:36), though this does not have an all-inclusive meaning for we also read that 'God does not lie' (Numbers 23:16), with the implication being God cannot "lie" as men do. Similarly, we also read, "All things are possible for the one who believes" (Mark 9:23). This, too, is not all-inclusive in meaning for in Mark 10:26-27 Jesus' answer to the question, "Who can be saved?" is, "With humans it is not possible," since we cannot save ourselves from death though we can 'believe' and show our faith in God who is then willing and able to save us, or give us life again just as he did in the first place.

Since 'lying as a man does' is not possible for God, what are some 'lies' being told today which could not, then, originate with God? One which does not depend on a subjective opinion or personal judgment of another, but rather on an evaluation of claims made in light of the best available facts, involves a very deceptive use of a prophecy given by Jesus of Nazareth, one he gave about those whom he considers his "brothers."

In Matthew 25:31-40 Jesus foretold the following would someday take place where these "brothers" of his are concerned (with my underlining added):

Matthew 25:31-40 (New International Version [1984])
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
The above prophecy could not be clearer in its meaning, namely, those whom the Lord Jesus blesses with life in his coming kingdom do not know upon his return how it is or why, precisely, they are so blessed, that is to say, the blessed ones do not know those whom they treated well or those whom they took care of so that it was as if they were looking after or taking care of the Lord Jesus himself.

In direct, expressly clear contradiction to Jesus' prophecy we have the following teaching of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the leaders or 'Governors' of which claim to be "these brothers" of Jesus:
What is done to [Jesus'] brothers he counts as being done to him personally. The sheeplike ones deliberately do good to Christ’s brothers because they recognize them to be such. [“Expanded Activities During Christ’s Presence,” The Watchtower, May 1, 1993, page 20, paragraph 21; underlining added.]
Yet, we just previously read Jesus' own recorded words about how those to whom Jesus speaks regarding their treatment of his "brothers" do not "recognize them to be such"! What the Society here writes is the exact opposite of what Jesus of Nazareth taught concerning the same subject.

Three times these "sheep" respond to Jesus with a question showing, clearly, that the "sheep" are not aware of what Jesus means by or who are his "brothers." However, because the Watchtower and its Governing Body openly and without reservation proclaim themselves to be Christ's "brothers" according to Matthew 25:31-40, they also expect those who want life to treat them well now, with a full knowledge and understanding of who they are or, rather, who they claim to be, namely, these very same "brothers" whom the account in Matthew 25 says the "sheep"  do not know represent Jesus in the ways he describes.

Note carefully the language used here (with my underlining added):
Today, almost five million members of the great crowd are living [even though Revelation 7:14 says the "great crowd" does not appear until after the "great tribulation"; so there are no members of the "great crowd" living today, only prospective of potential "members"] under the active leadership of the heavenly King Jesus Christ. They [= the "great crowd"] are in subjection to Christ and in close association with his anointed brothers yet on earth. Concerning the treatment that the great crowd accord these anointed ones, Jesus says: “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 25:40) Because they unselfishly render aid to Christ’s anointed brothers, those of the great crowd are judged to have done good to Jesus himself. This helps them to have a secure relationship with Jesus Christ and Jehovah God. They have been privileged to join the anointed remnant in becoming God’s Witnesses and bearers of his name.—Isaiah 43:10, 11; Joel 2:31, 32. [“Saved Alive Through the Great Tribulation,” The Watchtower, February 15, 1995, page 15, paragraph 8.]
And here:
Have members of the [“faithful and discreet” slave class (= the "brothers" part of the Watchtower organization)] been helped similarly by individuals who are not anointed members of the Israel of God? Yes, they have been supported by the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” who have appeared on the scene during these last days. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Isaiah 61:5) Foretelling the warm, loving support that these “sheep” would offer his anointed brothers, Jesus said to them prophetically: “I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got 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 came to 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 25:35-40. [“When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory,” The Watchtower, May 15, 1997, page 13, paragraph 16.]
The Watchtower Society and its Governing Body are teaching what is not possible and they are using it to gain support from those who are afraid to question who they claim to be (compare Revelation 2:2). They are telling their members and the world through their literature that they are the "brothers" of Jesus whom we must all treat as if they are the Christ, all the while proclaiming continuously, and for well over a 100 years, "The appointed time has drawn near!" Compare Luke 21:8, the first part of which is a warning by Jesus about those who would, in effect, wrongly claim to be him, which the Society also does when it claims to be the "brothers" of Jesus who represent him.

The very prophecy the Watchtower Society and its Governing Body cite (Matthew 25:31-40) to show how Jesus will reward those who support them today and during this past century as his "brothers," proves conclusively that they cannot be Jesus' "brothers." While this conclusion may seem obvious to many based solely on the many false teachings put forth by the Watchtower Society and by its Governing Body over the past 100+ years, because the Watchtower and its Governors have (like many religions) done good things in many ways and because they and their organization have often helped inform  people about some very important truths, it is often very difficult for current and even for some former members of the Society to completely let go of them.

While reflecting on and applying the facts to Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 25 may help make this break easier, it is still not very easy to do. This is true in part because of yet another teaching by the Watchtower Society and its Governing Body which is also inconsistent with the very text they use to support their view that there is no other place to go if a person leaves the Watchtower Society to worship Jah God apart from required traditions of men. Note the following (again with my underlining added):
“Accepting a change when it comes and adapting to it can be difficult,” admits one longtime elder. What has helped him accept the many refinements he has witnessed in the 48 years that he has been a Kingdom proclaimer? He answers: “Having the right attitude is the key. Refusing to accept a refinement is to be left behind as the organization moves ahead. If I find myself in a situation where changes seem hard to accept, I reflect on Peter’s words to Jesus: ‘Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.’ Then I ask myself, ‘Where shall I go away to—out there into the darkness of the world?’ This helps me to hold firmly to God’s organization [= The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and its agencies, including its Governing Body].”—John 6:68 ["Walking in the Path of Increasing Light" The Watchtower, February 15, 2006, page 30, paragraph 21, ].
And, similarly, but about 30 years earlier:
Perhaps something is said in one of the Watch Tower publications that you do not grasp or that adjusts our previous understanding of matters. How do you view this? Will you allow doubts to creep in? Will confidence be replaced with skepticism? Ask yourself: ‘Where did I gain the knowledge of the Scriptures that I already have? Has not the spiritual food provided through the Watch Tower publications helped me to change my life and find contentment and satisfaction? Where else would I go?’ This is the feeling toward Jehovah’s arrangements that the disciples had toward Jesus: “Lord, whom shall we go away to? You [Jesus] have sayings of everlasting life.”—John 6:68. ["Have You Really Come to Know God?" The Watchtower, July 15, 1974, page 438, paragraph 21; underlining added].
Also similar to the above quotations, but from about 56 years ago:
Jehovah’s visible organization can use you, but can get along without you too. But you cannot get along without it. Fruitless ones are eventually pruned off and never missed as new ones are grafted in. Pruned off branches soon wither and die, being cut off from the circulating, life-giving sap. ... So it is with Jehovah’s visible organization. All must associate together, get the life-giving spiritual food that God circulates to his people through the organization, get the new truths that take away old ideas and the admonition that keeps down queer personal ideas … Don’t become a withered branch or a paralyzed foot. Don’t amputate yourself from the organization and commit spiritual suicide.—John 15:1-8. [“Who Will Share in the Final Witness?” The Watchtower, January 15, 1950, page 26, paragraph 22; underlining added.]
Nothing could be farther from the truth than that you can leave this organization of men who teach what is not true on important issues and follow the Christ while praising Jah God!

Further, there is no text anywhere in the New Testament which tells anyone to go to any place for "everlasting life," that is, we are not told to go to a "where" but instead we are expressly told to go to a real living person, to a "whom," that is, to Jesus of Nazareth, whom we can serve and follow "individually" or with just "two or three" others.—Matthew 18:20; Galatians 6:4-5; Revelation 2:2.

Matthew 25:31-40, when put up beside what the Watchtower Society and its Governing Body teach about this prophecy (namely, that it expressly and clearly applies to them), everyone who is afraid of these men for any reason should be afraid no longer. They are not who they think they are, and they certainly are not those whom the "sheep" blessed by Jesus when he returns do not recognize until Jesus himself identifies them at that same time, upon his return, for until he does  return the "sheep" do not know who are these "brothers." Yet, in spite of this the "great crowd" part of the Watchtower Society is taught that they do know who they are today, right now, and that is why they serve them as if they are, in fact, Jesus' "brothers," even though it is in direct contradiction to Jesus' prophecy and teaching that they would not know this at all, at least not until he tells them about it in the future.

The "sheep" who are truly the subject of Matthew 25:31-40 are the same "brothers" who are treated as if they are Jesus himself, since the mark of identity for his followers is that they "might love each other" (John 13:35). Indeed, the identity of Jesus’ “brothers” is not such a mystery after all, for though we are not yet able to identify each one, Jesus stated the matter plainly in one respect, "Whoever does the will of my Father, the one who is in heaven, that same person is my brother and my sister."—Matthew 12:50.

One day we will learn about the identity of the "sheep" and "brothers" of Jesus, but not now, not beyond what we can put together apart from specific identities of such ones, since only Jesus and his Father know their true "sheep."—Matthew 18:9-10; John 4:23; 10:3-4, 14-16, 27.

The "sheep"/"brothers" of the Christ who treat each other they way they would treat the Christ or want to be treated themselves (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27) will upon Jesus' return have fulfilled yet another related teaching and directive which he gave to us all, namely:
Matthew 6:2-4 (New World Translation [1984])
[W]hen you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full. But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, that your gifts of mercy may be in secret; then your Father who is looking on in secret will repay you.
Since it is not possible for the Watchtower Society and for its Governing Body to be who they claim to be, I urge all current members of the Watchtower Society to leave. Leave the organization. Leave its false teachings. Leave its false teachers and irresponsible leaders, but retain those beliefs which are based on the best available reasons whether the Society teaches them or not, and then fulfill your original intent and obligation to keep following the Christ, not men.—Compare Galatians 1:10-12.

I am asking all of you who are in this struggle to not give up, to remain a Christian, and to keep bearing witness to Jesus as the Christ, the one who was foretold to come in Jah's name according to prophetic texts which date to a time before Jesus began his ministry (and so a truly true prophecy), the very thing Jesus also said he did when he taught openly before others (John 5:43; 10:25). That "name" is the one which according to Revelation 19:1-6 all those saved by God will "praise!"

Stand up in and among your congregations, or apart from them, and let everyone know what is going on. Let all know  who these men claim to be and who they cannot be according to the very prophecy they so frequently quote to leverage and maintain their position and authority over others. With an understanding of how difficult this may be for many, I am convinced that in view of what these men have previously taught and, more importantly, what they still teach (since anyone can change if they are "willing" to do so [even "that woman Jezebel" [Revelation 2:20-23]) is so dangerous to your faith in the long-term, that whatever difficulty you may face now will be worth it, that is, if you and your family can break free from their oppressive grip with your faith and with your family's faith in Jesus and in Jah God still intact. If I can help any of you do so, I will.

Leave those who continue to teach what is wrong for their own selfish gain and go to Jesus yourself, with your family and any others who are ready to take this step with you, by praying in his name to Jah God, his Father (John 15:7-10). Keep yourself and your family strong by studying and applying his teachings, by treating others the way you want to be treated, and by praising Jah God in Jesus' name.