Again, a message to the Totchwower spies to be delivered to the Governing Body:
Much of what is said under this heading agrees with what you teach. However, you have never (that I have seen) put the pieces together in a concise presentation that demonstrates continuity throughout, so that the big picture can be easily seen. Rather, you present it in bits and pieces, thereby making it difficult for the "sheep" to connect them in their own minds. This spiritual and mental sloppiness simply screams of phony "leaders" who are not really interested in leading, as much as they are in the perks of the position.
This is what I'm calling you on. There is no reason that you couldn't have done this a long time ago. The reason you didn't was that you were far too busy kissing each other's asses, establishing pecking orders, and stealing the honor and glory that belongs to Jehovah and keeping it for yourselves, to be bothered with feeding the sheep.
Is the following perfect? Of course not. Improve on it, if you can.
What Happens When We Die?
A friend's sister passed away not long ago and she was pretty broken up about it. As this is an occurrence common to all, and in view of the eventual ending of our own lives, it would seem to be an appropriate subject for examination.
This goes double in view of all the confusion, conflicting teachings, misconceptions and superstition that surround this subject, for that which is taught in the churches is vastly different than that which is taught in the Bible.
This is the letter that was sent to her.
I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. It's a difficult time of life, and it's difficult to talk about it too. That's why many don't say much, as they just don't know how.
I can't say that I do either. Plus, if I talk about God and the Bible, it seems like I would be pushing some faith or another. I've seen so much of other people trying to cram their beliefs down other people's throats that I try to avoid even the appearance of such a thing.
Then on the other hand, is there any greater need to look to our Creator than in the face of death? I don't know of any.
I lost my mother a couple of years ago, and there were a few things that helped me a great deal at the time, but that one rarely if ever hears about from the main stream churches, in spite of the fact that they are in the Bible. Forgive me if I mention a few of them. I hope they help, however, only you can decide if they do.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DEATH
Most preachers preach and most people believe that death is God's will. It isn't. Jesus was so sad at Lazarus's death that he wept. (John, the 11 th chapter, especially the 33 rd through the 35 th verses.)
Rather, death is considered as one of God's enemies that will eventually be disposed of. (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26)
Our condition when dead has been exaggerated and exploited throughout history in an attempt to control our lives. To threaten us with hellfire, etc., has made it much easier for the religious leaders to keep their flocks cowed and obedient to their every whim.
As Ecclesiastes 9:10 puts it, "All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going." (The original meaning of the name "Sheol" simply meant the grave.) This thought is re-enforced by Jesus' words about Lazarus in the 11 th chapter of John mentioned above, where he compared death to a deep sleep. (vs. 11-14)
The implications of those two scriptures are simply mind-boggling. "Devising", "knowledge", and "wisdom" are all mental activities, therefore any discussion about whether it applies to the body or soul is moot. Either way, we are unconscious according to those two scriptures.
This makes the two mechanisms used to control mankind for thousands of years, i. e. heaven and hell, highly suspect. If you were bad and your soul was taken to hell and tortured forever, yet the soul itself was unconscious, wouldn't that be much like torturing a fingernail clipping? To what purpose? It seems to me to be a gross waste of effort.
The part about going to heaven if you're good raises questions too. What good would it do to float around on a cloud and play a harp all day when almost no one has learned how to play one? That sounds like cacophony, and it would become boring after a day or two. Plus even if we did like it, we wouldn't be conscious to either enjoy or be bored by it anyway, so what's the point? (There are scriptures that indicate a few select humans may be taken to heaven, apparently to replace the angels who rebelled and followed Satan, but that's another subject.)
This, of course, raises a problem. If there is no reward or punishment, then what's the point of trying to be a good person? Then again, there's that scripture that really sounds weird. Eccl. 7:1 reads, "A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one's being born." Really???
THE BIG PICTURE
On the surface, none of this makes sense. However, when we back off and look at the big picture, it starts making all kinds of sense. Let's illustrate:
Say we want to build a big beautiful house (the Garden of Eden) and we hire a contractor to do the work. He gets most of it built, then decides he doesn't want to do it that way, so he wrecks the joint. What would we do? I would suggest the following course of action:
- Don't change your plans. Jehovah, the God of Abraham doesn't. (Isaiah 55:11)
- Get rid of the varmit that did the damage.
- Repair the components that are salvageable and throw away the worthless stuff.
- Complete the project.
We are towards the end of Step 2 above.
Your sister (and all the rest of us too), is one of the "components" mentioned in step 3. The day of death is better than the day of being born, because at birth we haven't established a name, good or bad. That will come about according to how we live our life. If we die with a good name, we can take pride and satisfaction in a job well done, like the Apostle Paul did. (2 Timothy 4:6 - 8) "For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the due time for my releasing is imminent. I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith. From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not only to me, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation."
Paul had "stored up treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-21) and would be in Jehovah's memory as a desirable "component" to be used when he was ready to finish the project. Sure, this particular "component" (Paul) will need some repair, inasmuch as he is dead, but that's no problem with our Creator. He gave us life in the first place, and he can do it again. Ergo: Paul can now rest and sleep in peace until that time comes around. As his words implied, that's just what he intended to do.
Lee, your sister wasn't perfect (no one is), but she did the best she could given her knowledge and strength, did she not? That is what our Creator, Jehovah, is looking for. As such, she would stay in God's memory and would qualify for inclusion when completing His project. Life is hard, but now she can indeed get some rest and sleep in peace. The bottom line is that she is now in good hands, and those hands are far more gentle and caring than Allstate's ever were.
A FACTOR NOT TAUGHT
There is more though. We are leaving a major factor out of the above. There is a strong theme running through the entire Bible that the churches ignore and/or de-emphasize, and for good reason. It runs contrary to their control mechanisms of promising their followers heaven or threatening them with hell, and interferes with their stealing the authority and glory for themselves that rightfully belong to our Creator. This factor is the resurrection hope.
There are many passages that speak of this. Acts 24:15 is a prime example. "and I have hope toward God which hope these men themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous."
Why? There are two reasons that can be identified immediately; the first being that there have been millions of people who lived and died on this earth who have never had a chance to know anything at all about the God of Abraham. Take Don's ancestors (American Indian - Lakota Sioux) of 300 years ago, for instance. They were good people who never had the chance to read the Bible or listen to one of God's prophets. The only thing they had to speak to them of a living Creator were the creations themselves, and they responded with awe and wonder at what they were seeing, then served that Creator in the best manner they knew how.
Does this mean that they were not as important or "approved" as other peoples? No. In some ways they were blessed, for they didn't have as many "wolves in sheep's clothing" who were trying to subvert them. In many ways nature taught them more accurately than did the fools who set themselves up as religious leaders. An exaggeration perhaps? Here are Jesus' words: "But in reply he said: 'I tell you, If these remained silent, the stones would cry out.'" (Luke 19:40) In the case of these folks, the stones (and everything else) did. (Compare Matthew 7:15-23)
Nevertheless, for justice to be served, they have to have the chance to know what happened and then make an informed decision on these matters themselves. The only way that can happen is for them to be resurrected.
THE SECOND REASON
The second reason is an important one too. It was back in the Garden of Eden that Jehovah first spoke of the purpose he had for the earth, and that has never changed.. (See Isaiah 55:11 again.) It has never been accomplished either, and many of those who should have a part in it are dead. Therefore, they need to be brought back to life so that they can do their part in accomplishing the task.
What was that purpose? "Further, God blessed them and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.'" (Genesis 1:28)
Have we done that? Well - we've filled it after a fashion, but it's spotty and we've made deserts out of vast areas in the process. As to having the animals in "subjection", we've managed to terrorize most of them, but that's about all. Many, like mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, opossums and coyotes seem to thrive no matter what we do to them. Somehow, that doesn't seem to be what our Creator had in mind.
So what did he mean? This: "And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together, and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra, and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea." (Isaiah 11:6-9)
And our living conditions during this time? These: "And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them. And it will actually occur that before they call out I myself shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I myself shall hear." (Isaiah 65:21-24)
Now, perhaps, you can understand why the teaching of the resurrection has been cast aside and suppressed as much as possible. It reflects the true personality of our Creator and his desires for us. What can Satan offer us that can compete with this? He has been sucker enough to challenge Jehovah and claim that we human beings prefer his ways instead of Jehovah's, and he knows full well what our choice would be if we become aware of the complete picture. If that happens, as mentioned before, he dies. Therefore he'll use every trick in the book to keep us bamboozled.
HOW WOULD THIS ARRANGEMENT WORK?
There is another intriguing detail that should be mentioned. There are numerous scriptures in the Bible that say something like Luke 13:30, "And, look! There are those last who will be first, and there are those first who will be last." Most of the time the context leaves one with the impression (and this writer thinks it is accurate) that it is speaking of our attitudes, in that many of us who view ourselves as superior to everyone else will end up being ranked last in God's eyes, while those who are humble will be elevated above anything of which they thought they were worthy. There are a lot of other passages that substantiate this thought.
However, the context here in Luke is a little different and while it could still refer to the same thing, some think there is another way to take it. This could refer to the order in which the resurrection takes place, with those who have died last coming back to life before those who died earlier. Indeed, both could be accurate, and it would be foolishness on our part to reject them out of hand.
Look at the practical aspect of such an arrangement. How would you feel if you were resurrected 100 or even 1,000 years after you died? What kind of a world would it be? Think of all the changes that have occurred just in our lifetime, let alone a millennium! Experiencing something like this cold turkey would scare the living bejabbers out of most normal folks and give them a sense of loneliness that would be utterly overwhelming. Their whole world and everything they knew would be gone.
So who would you like to be there and greet you when you wake up? Most of us would pick our children, for they would have lived beyond our time and would know some of what happened. If they are resurrected first, they would have a chance to acclimatize themselves (with the help of their kids in turn) and figure out how to explain the new phenomena in terms with which we could identify.
This arrangement would do wonders to put the resurrected ones at ease, and it brings up something that would be an utter delight for us, namely, greeting them and figuring out how to teach them the things they need to know. Think of the myriad questions they would have!
Viewing death in this way makes the death of a loved one much easier to take. It's much like they are off on an extended trip and we are looking forward to their return.
So Lee, you be the judge. You knew your sister. If she came back and was assigned a part in making the earth into a paradise and working with the animals, while living under the conditions listed in those scriptures, would she feel put upon? Would you like to be there and help explain how all this came about?
What man or woman could possibly want more than these things mentioned in such a hope?
IS THIS REAL?
There is one way in which our Creator has asked us to test him. "'Bring all the tenth parts into the storehouse, that there may come to be food in my house; and test me out, please, in this respect', Jehovah of armies has said, 'whether I shall not open to you people the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon you a blessing until there is no more want.'" (Malachi 3:10)
Does this sound like the fearsome ogre that the churches have made him out to be? We need to pose a question to all of the clergy: "Why have you refused to teach us these things when they were right there staring you in the face for the past 2,000 years?"
So Lee, keep your chin up (not your nose) and your spirits too. Things aren't anywhere near as bad as they look.