Category Archives: Jehovah’s Witnesses

“A Pastor of Excellence” Others taught fear and fire. He taught Hope and Life!

russell-pdcOne Hundred years ago on October 31, 1916, newspaper headlines shocked the nation.  A world-renowned Christian minister died “in the harness” serving the Lord Jesus on a transcontinental speaking tour. To thousands of congregations around the world he was a beloved Pastor. Tens of thousands of individuals were encouraged by hearing his hope-inspiring lectures. Hundreds of thousands were greeted by his distinguished image as they weekly opened their local newspapers to read his faith-inspiring sermons. In the last three years of his life, “some eight million people” saw and heard this dynamic speaker on film as Pastor Russell introduced his epic multi-media The Photodrama Of Creation, with a color motion picture. It was the crowning feature of his outreach ministry. Of course, it broke all records in attendance and technology. Never before had sound and color been incorporated into motion picture presentations.

Yes, one hundred years have past since October 31, 1916, when Pastor Russell died. An era of excellence in the communication of faith and hope came to an end. He served the LORD as a Pastor of Excellence till his last breath. But some will ask—wasn’t Pastor Russell the founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses? No! Nothing could be further from the truth. He preached an opportunity of life for all—even after the LORD gathers all nations to Armageddon. (Zephaniah 3:8, 9)

What did C.T. Russell accomplish?

Just how popular was Pastor Russell? The Overland Monthly, a noted periodical of his era, reported in 1909 that Studies In The Scriptures, by Charles Taze Russell, was one of the world’s three most widely circulated works, surpassed only by the Bible and The Chinese Almanac.

Significantly, The Continent, a publication whose editor often opposed Pastor Russell, once published the following statement concerning him: “His writings are said to have a greater newspaper circulation every week than those of any other living man—greater, doubtless, than the combined circulation of the writings of all the priests and preachers in North America.”

George Swetnam, the official historian for the Pittsburgh Bicentennial in 1958-1959 wrote, “Pastor Russell traveled constantly, covering more than a million miles, delivering more than 30,000 sermons, lectures and talks, writing books totaling over 50,000 pages which have reached a circulation of more than 20,000,000 copies…his influence has easily been the widest of any man whoever lived in the city [Pittsburgh], not even excepting Andrew Carnegie.” (Swetnam, George, Where Else But Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh: Davis and Warde, Inc., 1958, p. 110)

The London Graphic (April 8,1911) described Pastor Russell as follows: “The advent of Pastor Russell brings to this city and country a man of international reputation, who is known almost as well in Great Britain as he is in America…who is reputed to be the most popular preacher in America….”

And, finally, the Christian Globe (May 5, 1910) of London, stated, “Since the days of Henry Ward Beecher and Dr. Talmage, no preacher has occupied so prominent a position in the United States as Pastor Russell of Brooklyn Tabernacle holds today.”

The full impact of Pastor Russell’s ministry can only be understood against the context of church history.

An Overview of Christian History

Life for the Christian minority in the second century was brutally cruel. The pagan religious leaders and civil leaders demanded allegiance to their multiple gods. By the third century many Christian leaders felt a need to compromise Christian doctrine to make Christianity more acceptable to the rulers of the Roman Empire. For starters, they embraced Plato’s “immortality of the soul,” and also met the urgent need to include multiple gods. The “trinity” soon became a hallmark of Christian doctrine. Then Christianity seemingly succeeded beyond its most extravagant hopes, when in the fourth century, Emperor Constantine declared freedom of religion in the Edict of Milan, A.D. 313. It did not matter that he did this for his own political reasons. Christianity eventually became the official religion of the Roman Empire in A.D. 380 under the Emperor Theodosius. Through the following centuries the church’s “inglorious” reign over the nations was written in blood. Historians called it the “Dark Ages.”

The worldly church persecuted any and all who rejected its claims—with the amazing cooperation of civil governments. Millions who were consigned to eternal damnation were tortured in this life because their heresies supposedly justified that treatment. The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century helped but a little. Luther’s rejection of the doctrine of the “immortality of the soul” was quickly forgotten. Soon the Protestant churches found it expedient to retain much of the “Dark Age” dogmas—especially the trinity and eternal damnation for all who rejected their gospel.

Instead of inspiring greater faith, a tidal wave of infidelity swept over the Christian world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Finally, modernist theology was born. The only response permitted within the precincts of conservatism was to blindly defend the old creeds of the “Dark Ages.” Something had to be done. Where was the “good news” of the “Gospel”? Brighter light, real hope, based on the Scriptures was desperately needed.

Pastor Russell and the Bible Students

In 1870 at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, a Bible class was formed for systematic Bible study. Soon they selected Charles Taze Russell as their Pastor. At that time other earnest Christians were also forming independent Bible classes for in-depth Bible study.

Pastor Russell became a leader of thought and activity among these congregations. In 1879 Zion’s Watch Tower was formed—later (1881) known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (not to be mistaken as “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the 1931 Watchtower organization). But, Pastor Russell’s Watch Tower Society did not become a dictatorial central authority of the Bible Student movement. It could not. Why? Because all cooperating congregations of Bible Students held strictly to the Scriptural, congregational, concept of self-government. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was basically a publishing house.

Pastor Russell never claimed to originate Bible truths, but rather to recover from the Bible key truths held by the First Century church. He succeeded more than any other person, but not without controversy. Wearied with the “Dark Age” theories of Christendom, he inspired hope and faith in the hearts of the masses. Like faithful believers of the past who followed closely the teachings of Jesus, multitudes clamored to hear his truly “Good News” sermons. He taught that the Bible is its own interpreter—that the Scriptures are the basis of our beliefs—not the traditions of men, councils or synods.

Clergy Opposition

Why do some ministers today use the same old worn out vilifications that “doom and gloom” ministers in Russell’s day used in desperation? Was it jealousy? The people clamored to hear Russell and demanded that the newspapers carry his sermons. Clergy opposition lamented that Pastor Russell’s writings had a “greater newspaper circulation every week…than the combined circulation of all the priests and preachers of North America.” Why? Because Pastor Russell’s message gave sound scriptural hope by contrast with the message of those “doomsday preachers.”

Every Jew, Hindu, Moslem—and even Christians who do not accept the self-acclaimed Christian “orthodox” brand of teaching before their death, are all damned to an eternity of torment. These preachers of “doom” (both in Russell’s day and today) hold in contempt the Gospel of love taught by Pastor Russell and the Bible Students he instructed. Calvinists especially cringed under in the sunlight of this love found in God’s Grand Plan of the Ages. No wonder—they taught that the vast majority of humanity was eternally damned to torture even before they were born! Unable to meet Russell’s scriptural logic, many resorted to personal attacks on him. All these attacks have been refuted.

Not the Founder of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”

After the death of Pastor Russell in 1916, Joseph Rutherford,(a man whom Pastor Russell had recently dismissed from his staff} rapidly returned to Brooklyn from California to seize control of the Watch Tower, dismissed the majority of the Board of Directors and established dictatorial control. The writings of Pastor Russell were soon to be discarded. The Watch Tower under Rutherford became the central headquarters, holding authority over all congregations willing to yield their sovereignty. Basic doctrines of the society seriously digressed from the teachings of Pastor Russell. The methods of conducting the evangelistic work were altered. The more sensational digressions such as refusing blood transfusions and refusal to salute the flag quickly caught the public’s eye.

However, many individuals and congregations refused to surrender their Christian liberty or accept the new teachings. As early as 1917 the exodus from the newly declared sovereign headquarters began. By 1931 over three quarters of those associated with the Bible Student movement in Pastor Russell’s day had separated from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and formed independent and autonomous congregations. Today’s Bible Students trace back their roots through these separatists to Pastor Russell and his teachings.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Founded in 1931

In 1931, fifteen years after Pastor Russell’s death, Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded. Its founder, Joseph Rutherford, presented a startling resolution entitled, “A New Name,” that was adopted at its international convention on July 26, 1931. The resolution first observed that neither “Russellites” nor “Bible Students” were any longer appropriate names. (This claim was ironically true, because over 75% of Bible Students from Pastor Russell’s era had already separated.) Henceforth, they would call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Joseph RutherfordNOT Pastor Russell founded Jehovah’s Witnesses. Pastor Russell died in 1916. Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded in 1931.  Rutherford:

  • rejected Russell’s key teachings;
  • purged Russell’s Bible Students;
  • rejected the name Bible Students and
  • created the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Pastor Russell as an early Christian Zionist understood and taught from the Scriptures that the scattering and regathering of Israel were prophesied by Isaiah, Amos, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Ironically, Israel, the Jewish people, are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why? Because God called them His Witnesses. (Isaiah 43:1-15)

Pastor Russell v. the so-called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”

The main teaching of Pastor Russell was that Jesus died a “ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6) Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus died only for some. Pastor Russell taught a future probation because millions have died without hearing the Gospel. Even among many who hear it, uncertainty and confusion exist. (John 5:28-29; Acts 15:14-17; Revelation 22:17) Sadly, Jehovah’s Witnesses, like all fundamentalists, believe that if you reject their brand of the Gospel, you are lost eternally.

Pastor Russell believed Bible prophecy, and zealously taught that the Jewish people would be regathered to the promised land. Reality is that the State of Israel has been reborn. (Jeremiah 31:4-12; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Matthew 24:32) “Jehovah’s Witnesses” teach that the regathering of the Jews and the rebirth of Israel is completely unrelated to Bible prophecy.

Clearly and finally, it should be understood that Pastor Russell did not found “Jehovah’s Witnesses” who reject his basic teachings of the “Ransom for ALL. “Charles Taze Russell is respected by Bible Students as their Pastor. Bible Students today, as in Pastor Russell’s day, affirm those teachings on the Scriptures that portray a Gospel of love, wisdom, justice and power in God’s Plan of the Ages.

Watchtower Contradicts The First Resurrection

first-resurrectionIn April 1986, the Watchtower stated that because certain first century “Christians” taught that the resurrection had already occurred, they were apostates:

Yet, on this one basic point, what they were teaching as to the time of the resurrection, Paul rightly branded them as apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship.

  “Paul wrote about some in his day: “Their word will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of that number. These very men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:17, 18; see also Matthew 18:6.) There is nothing to indicate that these men did not believe in God, in the Bible, in Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, on this one basic point, what they were teaching as to the time of the resurrection, Paul rightly branded them as apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship.” Watchtower 4/1/86, Page 31:

In their lastest history book: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom published in 1993, the book shows that the founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society [now the legal representatives of Jehovah’s Witnessesses] Charles Taze Russell, taught that the resurrection began in 1878:

[The Bible Students] concluded that … the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then.

“Based on the premise that events of the first century might find parallels in related events later, they [the early Bible Students associated with C. T. Russell] also concluded that if Jesus’ baptism and anointing in the autumn of 29 C.E. paralleled the beginning of an invisible presence in 1874, then his riding into Jerusalem as King in the spring of 33 C.E. would point to the spring of 1878 as the time when he would assume his power as heavenly King. They also thought they would be given their heavenly reward at that time. When that did not occur, they concluded that since Jesus’ anointed followers were to share with him in the Kingdom, the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then.” Proclaimers, Page 632

Russell taught this for the remaining years of his life. The Watchtower Society was still teaching this in 1925:

It is the understanding of the consecrated that the sleeping saints were resurrected in 1878. [Watchtower 2/1/25, Page 371]

By 1927, however, the Watchtower Society said:

… the resurrection of the sleeping saints did not take place in 1878. [4]

“It seems impossible to find anything in these parallel events to indicate the resurrection of the sleeping saints in 1878… Again referring to the quotation from Volume III: The conclusion there reached, that the parallels bear upon the resurrection of the saints, results from the assumption that the Lord was supposed to have taken his power and begun his reign in 1878, and that therefore he would resurrect his saints at approximately the same time. But there is nothing to indicate that Jesus Christ took his power and began his reign in 1878. He could not consistently do so until the expiration of the Gentile Times… the Gentile Times ended in 1914, and the nations were angry, and it was the Lord’s due time to take possession and oust Satan. Seeing then that the Scriptures conclusively prove that the Lord Jesus Christ did not take his great power and begin his reign in 1878, but that he did so in 1914, it follows that the resurrection of the sleeping saints did not take place in 1878.”  Watchtower 5/15/27, Page 151

This presents a curious situation: Charles Taze Russell was an apostate according to the 1986 Watchtower, since he declared that the resurrection had already occurred.

Moreover, the Society says that Jehovah selected it as His earthly organization in 1918. At that time, they were still teaching Russell’s “apostate” interpretation.

Note: In the Watchtower (06/01/27), it was stated (on page 165) that the resurrection had in fact taken place in 1918: “The anointed and faithful ones constitute the temple of God… Such of course include both the sleeping saints and the faithful ones who afterwards have their instantaneous change… Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for his saints… it would hardly seem that he would awaken the sleeping saints until this preparatory work was completed… it follows, then that the temple of God was brought together in 1918, and that that marks the time of the resurrection of the sleeping saints.”

Watchtower Contradicts The Ransom

ransomThose who are associated with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society often have misconceptions in regards to the Society’s early years and history. Those who take the lead among the Jehovah’s Witnesses [the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses] have written about the years before 1925 as though there was a governing body in existence in those early years of the Society. While it is believed by many that a governing body did exist in 1918, in reality no governing body existed until recent years.

The Watchtower leaders have often presented distorted and sometimes outright false statements concerning the things taught by Charles Taze Russell and the early Watch Tower movement . The truth is that Charles Taze Russell never advocated such an organization that now exists as “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” After Russell’s death, “Judge” Joseph Franklin Rutherford usurped authority through legal trickery. He began to teach new ideas that took his followers farther and farther away from the Bible.

One of the greatest changes he effected was on the ransom. The teachings of The Watchtower and those of the earlier Zion’s Watch Tower are so different that they have been viewed as two different entities. The reader should note that when we refer to The Watchtower, we mean the modern-day publication produced by the leaders of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” When we refer to Zion’s Watch Tower, we mean the publication that was being produced before “Judge” Rutherford invented a new organization called “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

We will now proceed with examining how the two different doctrines concerning the ransom has led the modern-day Watchtower leaders into self-contradiction.

According to the modern-day Watchtower leaders, Messiah “came to inspect his slaves in 1918.” (The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 13) According to this same Watchtower:

“Well, by then [1918], who had given sincere truth-seekers the correct understanding of the ransom sacrifice….?”

The answer given is:

“The facts show that it was the group of anointed Christians associated with the publishers of the magazine Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald Christ’s Presence…”

(The reader should note that in 1918 there was no “Jehovah’s Witness” organization.) If Zion’s Watch Tower was printing the truth about the ransom-sacrifice in 1918, then what the modern-day Watchtower is teaching cannot possibly be true. Let us show what we mean.

What is the teaching of The Watchtower of today concerning the ransom-sacrifice? The March 15, 1990 Watchtower answers:

“Jesus came ‘to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.’ (Mark 10:45) But who are the many? Adam is evidently excluded because he was a perfect man who deliberately chose to disobey God and died an unrepentant, willful sinner.”

The article goes on to say:

“The course taken by each individual determines whether he will benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice. Like Adam, the willfully wicked do not have the ransom merit and eternal life forced upon them. As Christ said: `He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; he that disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.’ (John 3:36)”

Thus The Watchtower of today would make all who disobey the Watchtower leaders [who supposedly represent Jesus] in this life as willfully wicked, and receiving no benefit from the ransom. (This disregards John 12:46-48, which shows that those who disobey Jesus today will be judged in the resurrection day. In this life, the wrath, inherited from Adam, simply remains upon him.) Likewise, according to the present-day Watchtower leaders, Adam would receive no benefit from the ransom.

Now compare this with Zion’s Watch Tower of 1918 (August 15, 1918):

“When this ransom price shall have been formally delivered over to Justice in the end of this Gospel age, then, it will … have been exchanged for Adam and his posterity, the world of mankind, all of whom will be immediately transferred by the Father to the Son, that the work of the Millennial Kingdom may begin. The ransom price is designed to bring to Adam and his race the earthly life and the earthly life-rights and honors which were lost in Eden through disobedience.” (See Reprints, page 6314)

Again in Zion’s Watch Tower of October 1, 1918 (Reprints, page 6337), we find this statement:

“As in the one man Jesus Christ both Adam and all his children will be justified from the original condemnation, that which came upon the human race because of Adam’s disobedience.”

Please note that in the two quotes above, from the early Zion’s Watch Tower in 1918 that the ransom is presented quite differently from that in 1990. In 1918 Adam and all his posterity are to benefit from the ransom. In 1990, according to present-day Watchtower leaders, Adam will receive no benefit from the ransom, nor will many billions of mankind living today that might be destroyed during the destruction of Satan’s world.

A little reflection on the above should lead one to see that if Zion’s Watch Tower was teaching the truth concerning the ransom in 1918, then what The Watchtower of today is teaching is false, for they do not teach the same thing. Of course, just because the whole world receives benefits from the ransom of Jesus does not mean that “everlasting life” will be “forced” upon them. It only means that they will be given full opportunity to come into harmony with Jehovah and His Son, Jesus. Those of the world who then refuse will eventually be eternally destroyed in the second death at the end of the 1,000-Year Reign of Jesus, when the Kingdom is returned to the Father. (Revelation 20:7-9; Psalm 37:9,10; Matthew 25:41,46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9,10; 1 Corinthians 15:24) With Zion’s Watch Tower of 1918 we are general in agreement on this; therefore we are in disagreement with The Watchtower of modern times which would deny that Jesus gave his life as “a ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:5,6) It is this “ransom for all” teaching that will actually vindicate Jehovah as not only the rightful ruler, but that his ways are best in all things. It is only through the “ransom for all” that all the wicked will come to know Jehovah. Psalm 83:18; Compare Ezekiel 16:62,63.

We must, in all honesty, state that The Watchtower today does believe that millions of the unsaved dead will be awakened in the resurrection day and given opportunity to obey Jesus during the millennial kingdom. (See The Watchtower, March 15, 1990, page 31) In this we see an inconsistency of logic, however. On page 4 of the March 15, 1990 Watchtower we read:

“When Adam sinned, he lost everlasting perfect human life, with all rights and prospects. Hence, the same thing was redeemed by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.”

How anyone could make this statement and then turn around and deny its clear meaning is beyond logic. If Adam’s “everlasting perfect human life” was redeemed by the ransom, then it would clearly mean that Adam would be released from sin’s condemnation of death. To reason otherwise would destroy the entire principle of the ransom.

The claim is made that Adam did not repent. The Scriptures nowhere state this. We are not informed as to whether he did or did not repent. There are some reasons to believe that he did have a change of heart. But Jehovah did not offer to him any deliverance based upon his repentance. Rather, another method of deliverance was vaguely suggested when Jehovah stated to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head, and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:15) How much better are the ways of Jehovah than the reasoning of man!

Alone But Not Lonely

lonely-alone-with-jesusAs Christians, we are a body of believers; therefore, it is quite normal and necessary that we not live in isolation one from another if possible. Many of you desire true fellowship with other believers, but know that God has called you out of the organized, corporation church system. Even while in it, you found little true fellowship if any. Very few people want to “be” the body of Christ unless they were connected to one of those things we call church. So, what are we to do?

Our Bridegroom is very jealous for His bride. He has always been jealous, but He is getting more demonstrative in His jealousy in these latter days. He wants to rid us of any and all idols that steal our affection away from Him.

Idols are those things we depend upon for our sufficiency other than the Lord Jesus. Church and fellowship can certainly be one of those idols. They tend to steal the bride’s affection away from her intended.

Loneliness itself can serve a good purpose. We tend to be lonely for someone or something we miss. That person or thing we miss might very likely be an unwholesome dependency in our lives. Any dependency other than on God is idolatry. So, loneliness may be exposing an idol.

There is a difference between aloneness and loneliness. To be alone with God is wonderful. To be alone without God leads to loneliness, emptiness, and despair.

He alone can see the idolatries in our hearts. He loves us enough to take them from us so that we can turn to Him with a whole heart and abandon everything else in our heart.

Enjoy your time of separation unto Him who is your Bridegroom and do not struggle for “fellowship” or anything else. He is calling you into a new order altogether. Don’t look for anything to be like you used to know it. A new order altogether is coming.

Be content in Him and with Him. When we come to that place in our hearts when we know that He alone is our sufficiency, when we don’t need these idols anymore, then He will give it to us as He chooses. He is quite capable of providing fellowship and Kingdom relationships.

Moreover, when we come out of those things to which we have been addicted, we generally need a time for detoxification from them. As surely as we try to start something in its place, it won’t be long until we have once again another one of those things on our hands. We tend to go back into what we came out of, until what we came out of has been taken out of us.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Let Him be your sufficiency. He places you in His body as He wills.

The Grace of Jehovah

the-grace-of-godJEHOVAH, the name given in the Old Testament Scriptures to the Supreme Being, the great Creator of the universe, is described by the Apostle Peter as the “God of all grace.” (1 Peter 5:10) The grace of God is the favor of God, the favor which he So lovingly manifests toward all his human creatures, favor which is unmerited by them because of their sin. In order that we may be assured of his abundant favor, Jehovah has revealed by the almost innumerable promises of his Word his intention, in his own due time and way, to bestow his blessings upon “all the families of the earth.” This loving purpose is first clearly stated in a promise God made to father Abraham, when he said to him, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) This promise was repeated several times to Abraham and was confirmed by God’s oath. (Genesis 22:16- 18) Later, It was renewed to Abraham’s son Isaac, when God said to him that “all the nations” were to be “blessed.” (Genesis 26:4) To Isaac’s son Jacob it was again renewed. – Genesis 28:14, 15 Certainly Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were Justified in believing that this promise applied to all the “families,” or “nations,” of the earth who lived In their day; However, the Inhabitants of the earth who were contemporary with these patriarchs did not receive the promised blessings, nor were they offered to them. With few exceptions, all the families of the earth who have lived both before and since the days of the patriarchs have fallen asleep in death without having had an opportunity to participate In them.

Two thousand years after Abraham died, the Apostle Paul wrote about the promise God had made to Abraham and showed that it was to be fulfilled through Christ and those of this age who are “baptized into Christ”—the church. (Galatians 3:8,16,27- 29) This means that two thousand years elapsed after the promise was made before God’s chosen channel of blessing began to be developed. Jesus, primarily, is that channel; but as Paul shows, his church will be associated with him as “heirs according to the promise”; and nearly two thousand years more have elapsed in the calling and selection of the church. Meanwhile other millions continue to die without having an opportunity to receive the blessings which Jehovah promised.

However, we are assured in the Scriptures that all the millions who have died are looked upon by God as merely being “asleep” and that in his own “due time” they will be awakened from the sleep of death and be given an opportunity to receive the promised blessings. The stated purpose of God to restore the dead to life Is one of the fundamental teachings of the Word of God. It Is described in the Old Testament in various ways. Isaiah spoke of the “ransomed of the Lord” and said that they would “return.” Ezekiel mentions It as returning to a “former estate,” that Is, the state of life as In contrast with the state of death.

Jeremiah describes the resurrection as a returning from “the land of the enemy,” that Is, the great enemy, Death.—Isa 35:10; Ezekiel 16:55; Jeremiah 31:16n the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote, “As in Adam all die, even So in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) In Romans 8:19- 23 Paul assures us that all creation, as well as the church of this Gospel Age, will be delivered from the corruption of death. He shows that all mankind is now “waiting for the manifestation of the sons 0f God”—waiting, that is, for the “seed” of Abraham to be completed and for the promised blessings of life to begin flowing out to the people.

In John 1:9 we read concerning Jesus that he is “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ The Sodomites and other wicked people of Abraham’s day certainly were not enlightened by Christ; So this means that they too, being among “all the families of the earth,” are to e awakened from the sleep of death in order to receive that enlightenment.

Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) Until the present time, comparatively few of earth’s millions have been drawn to Christ. The vast majority have died without even having heard of him or understanding the great purpose of Jehovah, which Christ came to earth to accomplish. This promise by Jesus would, therefore, go unfulfilled unless the wicked dead Revelation restored to life.

In Isaiah 25:6- 9 we are promised that a time is coming when Jehovah will make unto “all people” a “feast of fat things.” What a beautiful symbol this is to emphasize the abundance f God’s grace toward all mankind! This promise also states hat God, Jehovah, will remove the “veil that is spread over all nations.” Certainly this applies to the nations of the past as well as the present, yet the “veil” of misunderstanding concerning Jehovah was not removed from their “faces” while  they lived and will never be removed unless they are awakened from the sleep of death and enlightened by the glory of God, which will then fill the earth. It will be then that Jehovah will “swallow up death in victory.”

This will be accomplished during the messianic kingdom reign. It will be then that “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and he is the Governor among the nations.”— Ps 22:27, 28

Who are the “other sheep” of John 10:16?

Tjesus-good-shepherdHE Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught to believe that in the resurrection, those who died faithful to God are included in the ‘other sheep’ and will receive the “resurrection of the righteous” (“just” KJV) mentioned in Acts 24:15. (The Watchtower 2/15/95 p. 11 par. 12)  Those of the ‘other sheep’ who are alive today, some of whom survive through Armageddon without needing a resurrection, are referred to as the ‘great crowd’.  (The Watchtower 4/15/95 p. 31 Questions From Readers).  These views are based around the following text.

“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16 NWT)

The Bible speaks of the church as Jehovah’s flock (Acts 20:29; 1 Pet 5:2).  Up until the conversion of Cornelius, the Gospel invitation had NOT been made available to the gentiles.  But that changed suddenly about AD 36.  Of the conversion of Cornelius’ household, we read in Acts 10:45, “And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations.” NWT.

The gentile Christians could not be invited until after the 70 weeks (Dan 9:24) for Israel were completed (AD 36).  Of that final week [a day = a year], we read “And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week” Dan 9:27 NWT).  That covenant was Jehovah’s 70 weeks agreement with Israel.  It was in the last half of the 70th week, three and a half years after the cross, that the great work was done amongst the Jews.

Applying the “other sheep” to the new gentile converts is the evident meaning and it would take strong additional scriptural evidence to convince the honest student otherwise.  There is no direct indication in the Bible that these “other sheep” are referring only to true Christians who will not be part of the Little Flock.  Without further compelling evidence, insisting on a different interpretation is building a doctrine from a scripture taken out of context.  This reminds us of the Catholic Church misapplication of Matt 16:18 which says, “You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha’des will not overpower it.” (NWT)  Based on an unsupportable misapplication of this text, the Catholic Church believes that the papacy represents an “unbroken” line of apostolic succession from Peter to the present day.

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.