The Hope of Israel in the Light of the Prophecies of Moses

mosesSpeaking to the children of Israel, the Lord said unto Moses: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” Deuteronomy 18:18- 19 The message of Moses is full of importance to Israel and he should apply it to his heart. God promised Moses that from among the children of Israel he would raise up a prophet like Moses. This prophet would speak God’s word to Israel. The rejection of this prophet by Israel, Moses stated, would bring very serious consequences. This is the key message to the Jews from the prophecies of Moses. Each Israelite will have to decide for himself whether the disaster which today has befallen Israel is not to a great extent due to his rejection of God’s Prophet.

Moreover Moses further prophesied to Israel: “And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude, because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God.

“And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; So the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land wither thou goest to possess it.

“And the Lord shall scatter thee among all the people, from one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stones.

“And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the soles of thy feet have rest, but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of the eyes, and sorrow of the mind: “And thy life shall hand in doubt before thee: and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurances of life.” Deuteronomy 28:62- 66

Many years have passed since this message was delivered to Israel. As foretold, the GLORY OF ISRAEL IS GONE. Can any thinking Jew, as he meditates upon his lot today, doubt the fulfillment of the words of Moses” If Israel had read the writings of Moses carefully and thoughtfully, and especially the heart searching message to Israel, as found in the book of Deuteronomy, would he, today have been without God and without hope. All that Moses stated as quoted in the above extract has been fully, definitely, and literally, fulfilled in Israel. Could Moses have more fully described the lot of Israel today” Instead of being the most glorious nation of the world as they were under the rule of King Solomon, Israel today is a scattered nation. Today Israel has been scattered from one end of the earth to the other. He has been destroyed, persecuted, his efforts have been brought to nought, and he has been plucked out of every land to which he departed for rest and shelter. He has had no rest, no peace, fearful of the future, and the sorrow in his eyes betrays the anguish of his mind and heart. The messages from Moses are vital and decidedly crucial to Israel. In the, Israel will find the cause of his rejection by God. If the Jewish people will but meditate over their lot, if they will seriously think of the present in the light of their past history, if they will cast off prejudices caused by Godless people who were the instrumentalities of God in carrying out his judgments against Israel, then Israel must conclude that their present fate has come upon them because they “Would not obey the voice of the Lord their God” Deuteronomy 28:6 and because they have rejected Jesus, the anointed, whom the sincere people of God have accepted as the Prophet whom God raised up from among the children of Israel. Well may Israel note the warning: “And it shall come to pass (as Moses stated in Deuteronomy 18:19) that whosoever shall not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Israel must study his present situation. If Jesus, the Anointed is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke then his message should be accepted and he himself should be accepted also as the prophet from God. There is but one way in which the Jews may more fully be led to accept Jesus and to give, in faith, their hearts to God, and that is, to read the accounts of the words, the work and the testimony of Jesus as found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and then to compare what they have read in the New Testament with the message of Moses and the Prophets as found in the Old Testament. Of the Old Testament writings Jesus said and his words are a challenge to every Jew who is searching after God: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

“But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my Words””John 5:39, 45- 47.

Strange as it may seem to the uninitiated Jew, Jesus acknowledge but one God for he taught: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” How dear to the heart of every Jew is the statement of the oneness of God. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Son of God and he announced the privilege of sonship to every Jew who would come to God through him. Even David spoke of Jesus as God”s Son when he stated in Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.

BLESSED ARE ALL THEY THAT PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM.”

Can you join in with David and claim the blessings which he promised to those who would acknowledge the Prophet of God whom he here designates as the Son of God” The writings of David are complete with prophesies which definitely point to Jesus as the hoped- for son of David, the King of the Jews, for David said: “The Lord (Jehovah) said unto my Lord, (Jesus the Anointed). Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Psalms 110:1 Through Moses and the Prophets the coming of the Messiah was definitely foretold. Yet when he first came, they were not able to receive him. Why” Because the glorious reign of Jesus as David”s son will appear in glory at the second coming of Jesus. When he first came, he came as the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb to take away the sin of the world.

“Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

Little did the Jews realize that the first work of the Messiah would be that of the atonement. For hundreds of years God, through the sacrifices of animals, had sought to prepare Israel for the Lamb of God which really could take away sin. If they had read Daniel they would have learned “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself.”Daniel 9:26.

Israel was to some extent able to see the ultimate glorious Messiah, but he failed to see that the future glories were dependent upon the need for present atonement as the Jewish prophet Isaiah has very definitely foretold: “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us All.”Isaiah 53:5- 6

Because Israel has neglected to hear the message of God”s Prophet, the message of salvation has gone to the Gentiles just as the Jewish prophet Hosea had foretold: “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”Hosea 1:10 The privilege of the Kingdom is the birthright of the children of Israel. They were the Holy Nation.

Why should all the blessings of God go to the strange people because God”s chosen people are blinded to their own hopes as foretold by Moses and the prophets” Israel should lift up his eyes and behold the mercies of God. There is a reason for the sad plight of Israel. The reason can not be found in human social neglect.

God has abandoned Israel and Israel is too sorrowful to know the cause thereof. Jesus said that he came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but Israel’s house is desolate and the sad part of this crisis is that Israel does not understand the cause of his bereavement. He seeks to better his condition through worldly education and in commerce, not realizing his neglect of God and the prophet who spoke in God’s name.

Israel does not realize that as the Jewish prophet Daniel had foretold in Daniel, chapter two, that the Jewish Kingdom and power was turned over to the Gentiles and that the Gentile rule would continue until Messiah’s kingdom was set up in glory. The Babylonian King first received the kingdom from God (Daniel 2:37). The time between the overthrow of the old Jewish regime, until the coming of the Messiah for the second time, is called in the Scriptures “THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES.”

During these times the Gentiles are given the opportunity to rule and all realize what a terrible Job the gentiles have made of it. The terrible accounts in our newspapers seem to indicate that the Times of the Gentiles is nearly over. The conflagration in Europe indicates that soon the Gentiles will be dispossessed and the Kingdom of God would be established as the Jewish prophet Daniel foretold in Daniel 2:44. In the meantime Jesus said:

“Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke 21:24 Jesus definitely foretold the desolation of Israel, while Israel still had their glorious Temple. Note also the reason, Jesus assigned for the distress of Israel: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23:37- 39 Can Israel turn from her prejudices and turn to the prophet whom God has raised up” Let Israel remember that no real child of god has ever persecuted Israel. Let Israel realize that these are the times of the Gentiles and that the Gentiles have trodden down Israel, but let not Israel think that these Gentiles are God”s people. Since the coming of the Messiah to become “The Lamb of God That Taketh Away The Sin of the World,” the people of God have been selected from among both the Jews and Gentiles to become part of the Kingdom which will be set up when the Messiah come in glory.

Jesus said: “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.” Matthew 8:11- 12 Darkness will still control most of Israel, but this pamphlet goes out with the hope and the prayer that some of God’s chosen people may still see the light of the glory of god as it was proclaimed in the words of that Prophet, of whom Moses spake, a prophet who was raised up from the Jews, and who was sent to proclaim the message of God. Since his time it should be interesting to note that God has not sent Israel another prophet nor has Israel received another message from God. Can Israel be constrained to say “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” As each Israelite accepts Jesus as the prophet from god, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, he is thus enable to see Jesus. The blessed relationship of divine approval is his lot. Today the glory of Israel is gone! Today the house of Israel is desolate! The hope of Israel still remaineth in the Prophet raised up from among the Jews.

Israel. Can you see” Can you turn from unbelief in prayer to the Living God and in faith accept Moses” prophet and live” Let Israel from his hear say: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

(Christianity came in the fulfillment of the hopes expressed by the Jewish prophets. Jesus confined his message only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Later the privilege went to the Gentiles. Let it still be remembered that Jesus is the King of the Jews.)

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusions

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The Watchtower Society teaches Jehovah’s Witnesses that blood transfusions are unbiblical. An inquiry made to the American Red Cross shows that one hundred people per thousand, or ten percent, need blood in some form every year. With the need for blood transfusions so great and with numerous cases of Jehovah’s Witnesses sacrificing their lives for this Watchtower teaching, we should indeed seriously search the Scriptures for God’s truth in this matter.

The Watchtower uses three main Scripture references in support of its theory. Let’s examine each one. The first verse is Genesis 9:4. Here a command is given that refers to “the eating of blood”, certainly not receiving transfusions. Noah is commanded not to eat flesh that still had the blood in it; in other words, don’t eat living animals, or animals not properly drained of blood. Their second “proof text” is found at Leviticus 17:10-16. Again, we find reference to the actual eating of the blood of animals. These verses are no way connected with transfusions between humans.

The final reference examined is Acts 15:20. Here it says to “abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.” We read in Acts 15:21, “For Moses, from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” It now becomes clear that abstaining from these four items is referred back to the law of Moses in Leviticus 17. Therefore, we can see, beyond dispute, that the abstaining from blood does in no way refer to receiving blood transfusions as the Watchtower’s interpretation wishes it to.

It is important to understand that eating and transfusing are two different bodily processes. Blood which is eaten is digested and destroyed. Blood which is transfused is not eaten, digested, or destroyed. Why? Because eating blood involves the body’s digestive system, and transfusion involves the circulatory system.

A similar Watchtower teaching regarding the rejection of vaccinations, was classified as Biblical truth in the 1930’s. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses today are free to receive vaccinations and even encouraged to do so Will the doctrine on blood be changed also? The saddest fact is that because of its present teaching on blood transfusions, the Watchtower has led many to a pre-mature grave.

Are Christians to be Witnesses for Jehovah or Jesus?

witnesses of Jehovah There is not a single scripture that calls Christians witnesses of Jehovah. On the other hand Christians are commissioned to be “witnesses of Jesus” (Acts 1:8; Rev. 20:4) and “ambassadors of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). The commission given by Jesus was to be his witnesses by preaching the Gospel – Matt. 24:14.

The Jews witnessed for Jehovah not because they preached God’s Word, but because God revealed His glory by the miraculous manner in which he dealt with them.

In Isaiah, God tells Israel, “Ye are my witnesses.” (43 & 44). In these two chapters, Isaiah establishes five historic facts concerning who are “Witnesses” of Jehovah.

The “Witnesses” of Jehovah…

Were delivered from the land of Egypt (43:3)

Offered animal sacrifices to the Lord (43:23)

Transgressed the Law Covenant (43:24,25)

Are forgiven for the Lord’s sake (43:25)

Are being regathered from all over the world to the Holy Land (43:5,6)

These five identifications are true of only the Jews! It is clear that the Jews, the “ancient people,” “my chosen” are the real “Witnesses” of Jehovah. – 44:7; 43:20

Some conclude that the Jews have long forfeited this title, the last scriptural assertion concerning the “Witnesses” of Jehovah was a prophecy that is only now in the process of fulfillment. The Jews are being regathered from all over the world to the Land of Israel. Their regathering has been motivated by more than just religious fervor, the Bible reveals that after the Jews are regathered in their Land, then the Lord will bring them through experiences that will gradually increase their faith and enkindle a true religious vitality that will reach their “inward parts” and fit them for their special role in God’s Kingdom on earth (Isa. 2:1-4).

The Jews are “Witnesses” of Jehovah from two standpoints. First, God has revealed His power and glory by the miraculous manner in which He has dealt with them (Isa. 43:9-12). God delivered them from Egypt, led them through the Red Sea, sustained them in the wilderness, led them through the River Jordan, gave them the land of Canaan and made them a nation. During their chastening and dispersion, the phenomenal preservation of the people of Israel over the centuries as a distinct and homogeneous people among nations is itself a miracle of history. They have left blood-stained footprints of martyrdom in every nation they have trod. Neither persecution, nor famine, nor any other force was able to cause them to be assimilated. However, after 2,000 years—contrary to every pattern of history—they are re-established in their homeland, an independent nation. Surely the Lord’s power and glory has been witnessed through this people!

The second way they are “Witnesses” of Jehovah is how their history proves the validity of God’s Word-the Bible. Every detail of their history has been prophesied and fulfilled, or is in the process of fulfillment. Their original establishment as a nation, their destruction as a nation and dispersion as a people, their regathering, the circumstances of their regathering, their future role—all were prophesied in the Bible. All this detailed fulfillment is an extraordinary witness to the immutability of God’s Word. Therefore, these are the reasons why the Lord has said of the Jew, “YE ARE MY WITNESSES, SAITH JEHOVAH.”

The JWs today, like other replacement theology believing Christians do not see any special future for the Jews. However, “from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Ro. 11:28,29). Since God promised that the Seed of Abraham would inherit the Land and bless all the families of the earth (Gen. 22:18,19; Jer. 32:41; Isa. 2:2,3) what right have Christians to annul this promise? These blessings were never forfeited. These promises are forever. – Amos 9:14,15

If we say God has cancelled his promises to the Jews, what confidence can we have in His promises to Christians?

Are the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organizational Structure like the Early Church?

raised-handsActually, there is no denominational church today that is structured like the Early Church.  The Early Watchtower actually was structured like the Early Church, but Rutherford changed that after Russell’s death.  Bible Students today still structure their congregations in this Biblical manner.

According to the Bible, the election of elders by Holy Spirit anointed congregational members was practiced in the Early Church.  The eventual elimination of this practice gradually led to Elders becoming the Lord’s of the Church, rather than its servants and it opened the way for the development of the Papal system which suppressed Christian liberty.

Paul and Barnabas went around to all the churches and conducted the election of Elders.  Acts 14: 23 (Weymouth) says, ”And in every Church, after prayer and fasting, they selected Elders by show of hands, and commended them to the Lord on whom their faith rested.  Other translations, like Rotherham and Young’s Literal translation say, “appointed to them by vote elders in every assembly.”    RVIC Revised Version Improved and Corrected says, “elected elders.”

Most translators confuse the reader by mis-translating the Greek word (Strong’s 5500) as”ordain.”  Yet the real meaning of the word cannot be hidden in 2 Corinthians  where Paul speaks of a brother who was elected by the churches to travel with him:  2 Cor 8:19 (Weymouth ) “… he is the one who was chosen by the vote of the Churches to travel with us…

In another example, we recall that the Apostles asked the Jerusalem Church to select seven deacons.  Acts 6:3 Weymouth says, “Therefore, brethren, pick out from among yourselves seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and we will appoint them to undertake this duty.”  Certainly, no one would have challenged the Apostles had they exerted their influence to appoint deacons themselves.  Yet instead they humbly asked the Congregation to make this selection.

The Apostles never attempted to assert authoritative rule over the Congregations, even though Freedom and Christian Liberty in the Churches was so strong that it created great problems for the Apostles.

In 3 John 1 (Phillips), the Apostle John said, “9 I did write a letter to the church, but Diotrephes, who wants to be head of everything, does not recognise us!  10  If I do come to you, I shall not forget his actions nor the slanderous things he has said in spite against us. And it doesn’t stop there, for he refuses to welcome the brothers himself, and stops those who would like to do so—he even excommunicates them!

Is the JW Governing Body more like the Apostle John or Diotrephes?

Paul’s humility is very evident in his plea to the Corinthian brethren in 2 Cor10:1 (NKJV) where he says, ”Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — who in presence am lowly among you…“

Paul did not try to force his will upon the Church.  He did not lord it over the Church, but in their presence was humble and lowly.

In 1 Thess 2 (NASV), Paul says, ”6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

Speaking of himself and the other Apostles, Paul says in 1 Cor 4 (NKJV) ”11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world….”  Does the JW Governing Body live like Kings or like the Apostles?

Considering the humble condition and circumstance faced daily by the Apostles, we should feel privileged with even the lowliest of services for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren.

Paul lamented, 2 Tim 1:15 (NIV), ”You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes…”

2 Tim 4:16 (NAS), ”At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me...”

The Apostles suffered much in order to lead the Early Church by example, gentleness and love, even though they could have made things easy for themselves by implementing an iron rule.

The early church was able to resist the encroachments of power hungry leaders.  Rev 2:6 says of the first (Early) Church, “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”    The word Nicolans means “A conqueror or lord of the people.”  These are those who lord it over the Lord’s heritage. (1 Pet. 5:3)

Yet by the third Church period (Approx 311 to 700 AD), this oppressive influence began to take over the Church.  Rev 2:14, 15 (NKJV) “ But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam…  you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”  Yes, “while men [the apostles] slept [in death], the enemy [Satan] sowed tares [imitation Christians] amount the wheat [true Christians].” (Matt 13:25)

You can read more about how the Early Watchtower was structured like the early church from C.T. Russell’s own words here: 

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WHAT DO COMMENTARIES SAY?

Since Ordaining ministers is common practice in denominational churches, it would be amazing to find any of their authorities conceding that Strongs 5500 can be translated to “vote” or ”elect,” yet the historical definition of the word in early literature is so clear that it cannot be ignored.  The following commentators concede the meaning, yet some try to maneuver out of the concession by rationalizing that the meaning of the word was changed by the apostles.

BARNES NOTES
er. 23. And when they had ordained. ceirotonhsantev. The word ordain we now use in an ecclesiastical sense, to denote a setting apart to an office by the imposition of hands.  But it is evident that the word here is not employed in that sense.  That imposition of hands might have occurred in setting apart afterwards to this office is certainly possible, but it is not implied in the word employed here, and did not take place in the transaction to which this word refers. The word occurs but in one other place in the New Testament, {#2Co 8:19} where it is applied to Luke, and translated, “who was also chosen of the church, (i.e. appointed or elected by suffrage by the churches,) to travel with us,” etc. The verb properly denotes to stretch out the hand; and as it was customary to elect to office, or to vote, by stretching out or elevating the hand, so the word simply means to elect, appoint, or designate to any office. The word here refers simply to an election or appointment of the elders.  It is said, indeed, that Paul and Barnabas did this. But probably all that is meant by it is, that they presided in the assembly when the choice was made.  It does not mean that they appointed them without consulting the church; but it evidently means that they appointed them in the usual way of appointing officers, by the suffrages of the people. See Schleusner, and the notes of Doddridge and Calvin.

JFP – JAMIESON, FAUSSET & BROWN
Acts 14:23, 24. when they had ordained them elders—literally, “chosen by showof hands.” But as that would imply that this was done by the apostles’ own hands, many render the word, as in our version, “ordained.” Still, as there is no evidence in the New Testament that the word had then lost its proper meaning, as this is beyond doubt its meaning in #2Co 8:19, and as there is indisputable evidence that the concurrence of the people was required in all elections to sacred office in the earliest ages of the Church, it is perhaps better to understand the words to mean, “when they had made a choice of elders,” that is, superintended such choice on the part of the disciples.

THE PULPIT COMMENTARY
Appointed for them for ordained them, A.V.
(ceirotonhsantev); had believed for believed, A.V. The original meaning of ceirotonew is “to stretch out the hand,” and the substantive ceirotonia is used in the LXX of #Isa 58:9 for “the putting forth of the finger” of the A.V.  But the common meaning of the verb is “to vote by stretching out the hand” and hence “to elect” by a show of hands, {#2Co 8:19} or simply “to appoint,” without any reference to voting.  In the choice of an apostle the election was by lot, {#Ac 1:26} in the appointment of deacons the choice was by the people, how indicated we are not told; {#Ac 6:5} the question here, on which commentators disagree, is whether the use of the word ceirotonew indicates voting by the people, selection by the apostles, or simple creation or appointment. As ceirotonhsantev is predicated of Paul and Barnabas, it cannot possibly refer to voting by the people, who are included in the able, as those on whose behalf the ceirotonia was made. It seems simplest and most in accordance with the classical use of the word and its use (innoiv), #Ac 10:41 (prokeceirotonhme) to take it in the sense of creation or appointment (see Steph., ‘Thesaur.’).  There is no reference to the laying on of hands.  Elders. see #Ac 11:30, note; #Ac 20:17; and especiallyterov #Tit 1:5,7, where we see that presbu was synonymous with ejpiskopov.  From presbuterov is formed prestos, priest, in French prestre, pretre. Comp. #Ac 13:3, for fasting and prayer as accompaniments of ordination.  Hence in the Church ordinations are preceded by the Ember days. They commended them to the Lord. {comp. #Ac 20:32}  In ver. 26 the word used is paradedomenoi.

CALVIN’S COMMENTARIES
Had ordained by election. The Greek word ceirotonein doth signify to decree, or ordain a thing, by lifting up the hands, as they used to do in the assemblies of the people. Notwithstanding, the ecclesiastical writers do often use the word ceirotoneia, in another sense; to wit, for their [the] solemn rite of ordaining, which is called in Scripture laying on of hands. Furthermore, by this manner of speech is very excellently expressed the right way to ordain pastors. Paul and Barnabas are said to choose {2} elders. Do they this alone by their private office? {3} Nay, rather they suffer the matter to be decided by the consent of them all. {4} Therefore, in ordaining pastors the people had their free election, but lest there should any tumult arise, Paul and Barnabas sit as chief moderators. Thus must the decree of the council of Laodicea be understood, which forbiddeth that the people have liberty granted them to elect. {5}

J. A. ALEXANDER COMMENTARY
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed.  Besides these exhortations of instructions, they gave their converts a distinct organization as societies or churches. The meaning of the word ordained has been the subject of protracted and vehement dispute between Presbyterian and Episcopal interpreters. The latter grant that the original etymological import of the Greek word is to vote by stretching out the hand, but they contend that usage had so modified its meaning as to generate the secondary sense of choosing or appointing, without any reference to votes or popular election; and this they insist upon as the unquestionable use of the word here, where the act is predicated, not of the people but of Paul and Barnabas, who cannot be supposed to have voted for these elders with the outstretched hand.  Some go further and adopt the patristical usage of the word to denote imposition of hands, as the ordaining act; but this is commonly agreed to be an ecclesiastical usage of the word long posterior in date to the times of the Apostles. The opposite extreme is that of making the word here denote, directly and exclusively, the act of suffrage or election by the people.  To meet the objection, which has been already stated, that the act described is not that of the people, but of Paul and Barnabas, some modify this explanation of the term, so as to make it mean that Paul and Barnabas appointed or ordained the elders chosen by the people. The philological objection to this modification, that the same verb cannot denote both these processes at once, can only be removed by taking one step further and thus reaching the true mean between the opposite extremes. This middle ground is, that the verb itself, expressing as it clearly does the act of Paul and Barnabas, can only mean that they appointed or ordained these elders, without determining the mode of election or the form of ordination; but that the use of this particular expression, which originally signified the vote of an assembly, does suffice to justify us in supposing that the method of selection was the same as that recorded (not in #Ac 1:26, where the election was by lot and by direct divine authority, but) in #Ac 6:5,6, where it is explicitly recorded that the people chose the seven and the twelve ordained them.

JOHN GILL’S EXPOSITOR
Ver. 23. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, &c.] As soon as ever any number of disciples were made, or souls were converted to Christ in any place, they were at once formed, by the apostles, into a church state; and as the gifts, as well as the grace of the Holy Ghost, attended the ministry of the word, so among those that were converted, there were some that were honoured with ministerial gifts, qualifying them to preach the Gospel, and take upon them the care of the churches: these the apostles directed the churches to look out from among themselves, as in the case of deacons, an inferior office, who by joint suffrages declared their choice of them by the stretching out, or lifting up of their hands, as the word here used signifies, and not the imposition of them; and the apostles presiding in this affair, they were installed into the office of bishops, elders, or pastors over them; which expresses the great regard the apostles had to the order, as well as to the doctrine of the Gospel, and the concern they had for the welfare of souls converted under their ministry, by making a provision for them when they were gone.

CLARK’S COMMENTARY
Anciently, the choice or suffrage was called cheirotonia; for, when it was lawful for the multitude in their cities to choose their priests or bishops, they met together, and some chose one man, some another; but, that it might appear whose suffrage won, they say the electors did use ekteinein tav ceirav, to stretch forth their hands, and by their hands so stretched forth, or up, they were numbered who chose the one, and who the other; and him who was elected by the most suffrages they placed in the high priesthood. And from hence was the name cheirotonia taken, which the fathers of the councils are found to have used, calling their suffrage cheirotonia.’ St. Paul, {#2Co 8:19}, intimates that St. Luke was thus appointed to travel with him ceirotonhyeiv upo twn ekklhsiwn, who was chosen of the Churches.  Ignatius, in his epistle to the Philadelphians, uses the same term, prepon estin umin, wv ekklhsia yeou, ceirotonhsai episkopon, ye ought, as a Church of God, to choose your bishop.” Much more on this subject may be seen in Sir Norton Knatchbull, who contends that cheirotonia implies simply appointment or election, but not what he calls ordination by the imposition of hands. I believe the simple truth to be this, that in ancient times the people chose by the cheirotonia (lifting up of hands) their spiritual pastor; and the rulers of the Church, whether apostles or others, appointed that person to his office by the cheirothesia, or imposition of hands; and perhaps each of these was thought to be equally necessary: the Church agreeing in the election of the person; and the rulers of the Church appointing, by imposition of hands, the person thus elected. See note on “Ac 6:6″.

MATHIEW POOLE’S COMMENTARY
Acts 14:23. Ordained;  the word properly signifies a stretching out of the hand, such as was used when they gave their suffrages in the election of their magistrates, whereby was showed for whom they gave their voice; and afterwards it was commonly used for to constitute or appoint, or, as here, to ordain to any office or place; which might the rather be done by stretching out or laying on of the hands of the apostles, because by that means the Holy Ghost (or a power of working miracles) was frequently bestowed, #Ac 8:17,18, which in those times was necessary to authorize their doctrine to the infidel world.

PNT PEOPLE NEW TESTAMENT NOTES
And when they had ordained them elders. Observe (1) that elders were not appointed as soon as the churches were planted; time must be taken so as to know what men were fitted for the office; (2) that elders were not appointed to preside over a district, but “in every church”; (3) that there was a plurality; (4) that they were set apart with fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands. It is not here stated who selected the men, but from #Ac 6:6 we would infer that they were chosen by the church under the advice of the apostles.

COFFMAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE
Appointed…
Arguments based on this word which would require elders to be voted upon are not valid. As MacGreggor noted: The word ‘appointed’ means literally ‘chose by show of hands’ and, strictly speaking, should imply some form of popular voting.  But it had come to be used of choice in general without reference to the means.

WEYMOUTH:   selected elders by show of hands

Should Family Members Who Leave the Jehovah’s Witnesses be Shunned?

shunning“Although the Bible makes a clear distinction between true and false teachings, God allows each person the freedom to choose how he or she will respond. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family. Does study of the Bible lead to family breakup? No. In fact, the Bible encourages a husband and wife who practice different religions to remain together as a family.”—1 Cor. 7:12,13  (Awake 2007 pg 29)

“According to one estimate, there are more than 10,000 religions and sects in the world. In one country about 16 percent of the adult population have at some point switched from one religion to another. It is no wonder, then, that there are disagreements about religious beliefs among relatives and friends. Thus the question, How should Christians treat loved ones who do not share their faith?”

A Special Relationship

“ Consider, for instance what the Bible says about the special relationship between parents and their children. No time limit is implied in the command at Exodus 20:12 to “honor your father and your mother.”. In fact, in Jesus’ discussion of this command, recorded at Matthew 15:4-6, it is obvious that he was speaking of the honor that Adult children would render to their parents.”

“The Bible book of Proverbs cautions against showing disrespect toward one’s parents. Proverbs 23:22 advises that you should “not despise your mother just because she has grown old.” Pointedly, Proverbs 19:26 warns that one who “is maltreating a father [and] that chases a mother away is a son acting shamefully and disgracefully.”

“It is clear from the scriptures that we should not neglect our parents. The fact that our parents do not accept our religion does not cancel our relationship with them. These Bible principles apply similarly to other blood relationships and to one’s marriage mate. Clearly, Christians remain morally and scripturally obligated to love their relatives” (Awake 11/8/03)

“In most cases, however, Christians do not face severe opposition from their loved ones. Their relatives simply do not share the same understanding of Bible teachings. The Holy Scriptures encourage Christ’s followers to treat unbelievers “with mildness” and “deep respect.” (2 Timothy 2:25; 1 Peter 3:15) The Bible aptly counsels: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all.” (2 Timothy 2;24) The apostle Paul also counseled Christians “to speak injuriously of no one, not to be belligerent, to be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward ALL men.” (bold added)- Titus 3:2.”

“Many who are not true Christians love their parents and other relatives and communicate regularly with them regardless of their religious affliation. Should Christians Witnesses do any less?” Many may live far away from their parents or loved ones. ” It may not be possible to visit as often as desired. But writing letters, calling on the telephone, or keeping in contact regularly in other ways will assure our loved ones of our affection.”

The unedited direct quotes and  references for all of the above are: Awake,  November 8, 2003;  Awake, September, 2007 page 29;   Watchtower, November 1, 2008.

So clearly if this is what is written in the Awake and Watchtower, it comes directly from the Governing Body, and applies to all. It is good sound reasoning from the scriptures.

Many family members have chosen to change their religion from a witness to the Bible Students. I have met  many at the conventions. There is no real conflict in teachings, for there is freedom and liberty in Christ to have differences in thought on scripture. That is why we encourage open discussions of the scripture without retaliation if one thought differs from another.

I recently called the education dept. at Patterson, New york. I explained the severe treatment many are receiving if they stop going to the Kingdom Hall. They sent me the articles by mail. I explained that one Mental Health professional says he has so many patients that are being treated so harshly with this shunning practice that it is creating emotional distress. So much so that one client suggested a class action to deal with this since it might be millions that have exited the organization of Jehovah Witnesses for various reasons.

Each individual has the right to choose not to associate with whomever they please. But, to blame God is wrong. To say this is what Jehovah and Jesus says to do is wrong.  And as you see the organization,  “in writing”, does not encourage it in the Awake or Watchtower. So where is this extreme attitude coming from if not from Jehovah, Jesus or the watchtower or awake magazines that are read by many?  Christians coming to this site are lovers of the Word of God. We are all Brothers in Christ.

As regards judging whether a person will die and go to Gehenna as some are saying; The Bible states “Stop judging and you will not be judged” Luke 6:37

For the judge of all is Jehovah and Jesus the Anointed. “Jesus is destined to judge the living and the dead by his manifestation in his kingdom”  2Tim. 4:1

Melchizedek, Priest and  King of Salem, was worshipping and approved by Jehovah at the same time that Abraham was chosen to produce the seed.( Gen. 14:18-20)

Elijah thought he was the only one worshipping Jehovah but at least 7,000 were approved and their worship was accepted by Jehovah during the same time period. (1 Kings 19:18)

The Acts of the Apostles have numerous instances of Holy Spirit leading different individuals in various ministries.  Paul was especially appointed by Jesus, and the Christians accepted him, although he was their persecutor.

Many of our Jehovah Witnesses relatives are doing what Moses did, he stepped in the place of Jehovah, by judging his people, as rebels. It is God’s place to judge and punish. We are all witnesses of Jesus to the glory of Jehovah.  He will judge all in Millenium, thru Christ.  (Num. 20:9-13)

In Jesus’ day, at Mark 9:38-40 We see a man preaching Jesus, but not traveling with them. Jesus said do not forbid him. If one recognizes Jesus and the value of his death, if one trusts in him for eternal life along with his King-Priest bride  and seek to follow in his steps, we are brothers. Many persons leaving the organization of Jehovah Witnesses do not denounce these teachings. Most object to worship of any but Jehovah and Jesus and wish to refrain from adding extra burdens not mentioned in scripture, ie, blood transfusion, condoning pedophiles etc. They simply have a conscience and must obey it. They don’t, however try to forbid witnesses from voting their conscience. Many like highly organized religion with set dogma. 1Sam. 8:19-22 The nation of Israel wanted a visible King. “No, but a king is what will come to be over us. And we must become, we also, like all the nations” ‘. A relative told me that to speak against the Governing Body is like speaking against the Catholic religion’s Pope. I looked at him  in disbelief, he saw his mistake immediately. But that was the truth. Jehovah still dealt with the nation of Israel when they rejected the freedom they had to deal directly with him. They however suffered under each of those kings. Each decade or so the Governing body changes policies also just like a new king or president. In the case of the blood issue some that died for refusal of certain parts of blood would live today, because now this regime says that taking certain parts of blood is okay. But like Israel, many of our brothers and sisters like having a visible governing body of men. It is between them and Jehovah, no need to shun them.

This is a  direct quote from  Awake mag. about Catholics and the no meat on Friday issue . Sort of like the blood issue  and organ transplants changing doctrine.

Changes that Disturb People.-”One of the reasons is that people are disturbed by what is happening in their churches. Yes, millions of persons have been shocked to learn that things they were taught as being vital for salvation are now considered by their church to be wrong. Have you, too, felt discouragement, or even despair, because of what is happening in your church?” Awake! April 22,1970, p8 Many former witnesses have and have chosen to study exactly what the Bible teaches without indoctrination from so many books, KM etc.

Healing and forgiveness  is needed in some households now.       1Peter 3:10-12 says For,”he that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is bad and his lips from speaking deception, 11  but let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.” Many family members have said a lot of ugly things to each other because someone told them they had to judge their brother. That loyalty to God is equilvalent to loyalty to an organization or to men.

Ephesians 4:32 says ” But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.” This applies to all Christians, whether a Jehovah Witness or Bible Student or just a plain old Christian. (Acts 11:26) It would be better sometimes if some professed Christians didn’t take the name at all:( the way we treat each other.)  R5404:6  Forgiveness by all parties involved will make for a peaceful relationship. Stephen who asked that the sin not be charged against his stoners. (Acts7:60) A result he will see is that the chief stoner, Paul, became a Christian. Not forgiving, a person who shuns you, is unchristian, you should rather pray for them.( Jas.5:16) Paul also has the right attitude  in Philippians 3: 13 “Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on [it]; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, 14 I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. 15 Let us, then as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude, and if YOU ARE MENTALLY INCLINED OTHERWISE IN ANY RESPECT,  God will reveal the above [attitude] to you ” (NWT).  Other Christians may differ on understanding of a scripture at times but that is not a reason to shun them. There is liberty and freedom in Christ, just as in the 1st  century congregations after the ascension of Christ.

Napoleon used the phrase divide and conquer. He divided the enemies against each other and won. It is a control tactic. They have to divide the family, so they shun ones that have left. If you let it determine your life then they have won. Your family can’t be replaced;  but put in some substitutes. A spiritual brother can be closer than a blood brother. There are many here that can act as your fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. Remember, we all die, and go away. Think of your loved one as on a long faraway journey. You can at least send them a card or a letter. Do not treat them as they treat you. You will feel the peace of God in your heart.

No one can claim they are the only one on earth that God is using at any given time. There is no scriptural support for this teaching. While the Bible may mention one group it does not say there are not other worshippers of Jehovah in a different place. Many were not aware of the large group of Romanian brothers, but that didn’t mean Jehovah wasn’t aware and accepting them. We simply can’t tie God’s hands, he is the Creator and his Son has been assigned to Judge. Our loyalty is only to Jehovah, Jesus and the Bible’s counsel.

There are persons that may be dangerous to one’s spiritual well-being. A person might make a decision to protect himself, but wholesale shunning because a person decides to leave the organization of  the watchtower is not scriptural.

We cannot escape our history. Only forgiveness can release us from our Past.