Comments You Will Not Hear at the 7-16-06 WT Study (June 1, 2006 issue date, pages 26-30)(CHOOSE LIFE)
Review comments will be in redWT material from today's WT will be in black
Quotes from other sources will be in quotes boxesw = Watchtower
g = Awake
jv = Proclaimers book
www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible (various Bible translations online)
www.reexamine.org (WT publications online)
www.silentlambs.org (child abuse)
www.ajwrb.org (blood issue)
http://www.randytv.com/secret/unitednations.htm (United Nations issue)
`CHOOSE LIFE TO KEEP ALIVE'
"I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction; and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive." -DEUTERONOMY 30:19.
Did you notice that once again an OT scripture and examples are used? Is that because the focus of the article are JWs that hope to live forever on earth and that the NT focuses on Christians who hope to live forever in heaven with Christ?
Jehovah--14 times by paragraph 7
START OF ARTICLE
Q1, 2) In what ways was man created in God's image?
1) Let us make man in our image, accord ing to our likeness." That divine
statement is recorded in the first chapter of the Bible. Accordingly, "God
proceeded to create the man in his image, in God's image he created him,"
reports Genesis 1:26, 27. Thus the first human differed from all other creations on earth. He resembled his Creator, able to reflect a godlike attitude in reasoning, in demonstrating love, justice, wisdom, and power. He had the faculty of conscience to help him reach decisions that would benefit himself and please his heavenly Parent. (Romans 2:15) In short, Adam had free will. Observing the makeup of his earthly son, Jehovah made this assessment of his handiwork: "Look! it [is] very good."-Genesis 1: 31; Psalm 95:6.
Blurb on page 26: "I have put life and death before you"
man in our image--was woman made in God's image?
*** it-2 p. 782 Respect ***
Man, not woman, was created first, and he is "God's image and glory."
*** w72 7/15 p. 445 Woman's Regard for Headship-How Demonstrated? ***
Unlike the woman, the man does not have an earthly head over him when it comes to matters relating to his wife and children. Hence in this respect he alone is "God's image."
godlike attitude, in reasoning...faculty of conscience...free will
What is free will? What is determinism? Is one true and the other one false? Has it been proven?
Are JWs allowed to exercise "free will" in the congregation?
w94 10/1 p. 20 Shepherding God's Flock With Love/Respect the Use of Free Will
Jehovah created humans with free will to make their own decisions. While elders are to counsel and even to discipline, they are not to take over the life or faith of another. Paul said: "Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing." (2 Corinthians 1:24) Yes, "each one will carry his own load." (Galatians 6:5) Jehovah has given us much freedom within the bounds of his laws and principles. Thus elders should avoid setting rules where Scriptural principles are not violated. And they should resist any tendency to offer their own personal opinions as dogma or to let their ego get in the way if someone disagrees with such views.-2 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Peter 2:16.
Has this been your experience? Have you been able to make your own decisions or have the elders and other "mature" JWs given you their personal opinion couched as "advice"? Have they "let their ego get in the way if someone disagrees with such views"?
*** w05 9/15 p. 23 par. 14 Go On Walking as Jesus Christ Walked ***
Jesus did not abuse the authority entrusted to him by controlling people's lives. He neither set unreachable standards nor laid down countless rules... In imitation of Jesus Christ, the elders refrain from making arbitrary rules or insisting on their personal viewpoints.
Arbitrary rules--no beards, length of skirts, etc. Can you imagine Jesus making such rules?
2) As Adam's descendants, we too are in God's image and likeness. However, do we really have a choice in what we do? Although Jehovah has the ability to know in advance what will happen, he does not predetermine our individual actions and destiny. He never allows his earthly children to be ruled by predestination. To help us grasp the importance of exercising our free will to make right choices, let us first of all learn a lesson from the nation of Israel.-Romans 15:4.
Jehovah has the ability to know in advance what will happen, he does not predetermine our individual actions and destiny.
I wonder if Esau would think that?
(Genesis 25:23) And Jehovah proceeded to say to her: "Two nations are in your belly, and two national groups will be separated from your inward parts; and the one national group will be stronger than the other national group, and the older will serve the younger."
(Judges 13:5) For, look! you will be pregnant, and you will certainly give birth to a son, and no razor should come upon his head, because a Naz´i·rite of God is what the child will become on leaving the belly; and he it is who will take the lead in saving Israel out of the hand of the Phi·lis´tines."
(Isaiah 44:28-45:1) 28 the One saying of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and all that I delight in he will completely carry out'; even in [my] saying of Jerusalem, 'She will be rebuilt,' and of the temple, 'You will have your foundation laid.'" 45 This is what Jehovah has said to his anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue before him nations, so that I may ungird even the hips of kings; to open before him the two-leaved doors, so that even the gates will not be shut:
Freedom of Choice in Israel
Q3) What was the first of the Ten Commandments, and how did faithful Israelites choose to obey it?
3) "I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves," said Jehovah to the Israelites. (Deuteronomy 5:6) In 1513 B.C.E., the nation of Israel experienced a miraculous deliverance from Egyptian bondage and therefore had no reason to doubt those words. In the first of the Ten Commandments, Jehovah through his spokesman Moses declared: "You must not have any other gods against my face." (Exodus 20:1, 3) On that occasion, the nation of Israel chose to obey. They willingly gave Jehovah their exclusive devotion.-Exodus 20:5; Numbers 25:11.
OT example (Israel)
Israel chose to obey...willingly gave...their exclusive devotion
But only after seeing 10 plagues on Egypt and the Red Sea parted...what was the basis of their devotion?
Q4) (a) What choice did Moses place before Israel? (b) What choice do we have today?
4) Some 40 years later, Moses forcefully reminded another generation of
Israelites of the choice before them. "I do take the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you today," he declared, "that I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction; and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive, you and your offspring." (Deuteronomy 30:19) Similarly today, we can choose. Yes, we can make a choice to serve Jehovah faithfully with everlasting life in view, or we can choose to disobey him and suffer the consequences. Consider two examples of people who made contrasting choices.
Choose life...choice to serve Jehovah = Choose the WTS, cannot serve God if not a JW.
*** w81 2/15 p. 19 Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible? ***
We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the "faithful and discreet slave" organization.
CARROT--Everlasting life in view
Disobey him = disobey WTS
*** w88 4/1 p. 31 Is Obedience Always Proper? ***
When our heavenly Father, Jehovah God, speaks, whether through his Word, the Bible, or through his earthly organization, it is all the more important for us to listen and obey,
Q5, 6) What choice did Joshua make, and with what outcome?
5) In 1473 B.C.E., Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. In a
powerful exhortation uttered before his death, Joshua entreated the whole
nation: "Now if it is bad in your eyes to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the gods that your forefathers who were on the other side of the River served or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling." Then, referring to his family, he continued: "As for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah."-Joshua 24:15.
choose for yourselves...as for me and my household
Did Joshua choose for just himself or his household?
6) Earlier, Jehovah had urged Joshua to be courageous and strong, instructing him not to deviate from obedience to God's Law. Rather, by reading the book of the Law in an undertone day and night, Joshua would be able to make his way successful. (Joshua 1:7, 8) And so it proved to be. Joshua's choice led to blessings. "Not a promise failed out of all the good promise that Jehovah had made to the house of Israel," Joshua declared. "It all came true." Joshua 21:45.
reading the book of the Law in an undertone
Do JWs read the Bible or mostly Bible-based WT publications? Did you notice that few scriptures are quoted in this article? How many actually looked up these scriptures or were content with the snippets? How many scriptures did the conductor read and apply to the material or the audience? Notice that the meeting is called "the Watchtower study" and "the congregation book study" not "bible study."
If Joshua had lived today in the time period from 1966 to 1976, would he have said "It all came true"?
Q7) In Isaiah's day, what choice did some Israelites make, and with what consequences?
7) In contrast, consider the situation in Israel some 700 years later. By that
time, many Israelites were following pagan customs. For example, on the last day of the year, people gathered around a table spread with a variety of tasty foods and sweet wine. This was no simple family get-together. It was a religious ceremony that honored two pagan deities. The prophet Isaiah recorded God's view of this unfaithfulness: "You men are those leaving Jehovah, those forgetting my holy mountain, those setting in order a table for the god of Good Luck and those filling up mixed wine for the god of Destiny." They believed that the year's harvest depended, not on having Jehovah's blessing, but on appeasing "the god of Good Luck" and "the god of Destiny." In reality, though, their rebellious course and willful choice sealed their destiny. "I will destine you men to the sword," Jehovah declared, "and you will all of you bow down to being slaughtered; for
the reason that I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not
listen; and you kept doing what was bad in my eyes, and the thing in which I took no delight you chose." (Isaiah 65:11, 12) Their unwise choice brought destruction upon them, and the gods of Destiny and Good Luck were powerless to prevent it.
Another OT example--Isaiah's day
many...following pagan customs...table spread...religious ceremony that honored two pagan deities...god of Good Luck...god of Destiny
rebellious course and willful choice sealed their destiny
Have you seen a JW twist him/herself into knots not to say "good luck" but then turn around and destroy someone's reputation in the congregation with their words?
Did you now that if a parent chooses "wrong" now that they AND their minor children will be destroyed forever? Even if they aren't individually given a chance?
*** w00 1/15 p. 13 par. 17 "Keep on the Watch" ***
Nevertheless, the Bible does not state that Jehovah will wait until every individual on earth has received a personal witness.
Making the Right Choice
Q8) According to Deuteronomy 30:20, what is involved in making the right choice?
8) When Moses exhorted Israel to choose life, he pointed out three steps that they should take: "By loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him." (Deuteronomy 30:20) Let us examine each of these so that we may make the right choice.
loving Jehovah your God--where's Jesus? This is what happens when you go to the OT to teach Christians. I could only find this mention of loving Jesus.
*** w01 1/1 p. 13 Be Built Up by Love ***
On April 19, 2000, a total of 14,872,086 were reminded of our reasons for loving Jesus when they attended the annual Memorial of his death.
Yet in the Bible
(Ephesians 6:24) May the undeserved kindness be with all those loving our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptness.
listening to his voice--where's Jesus?
(John 10:27) My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
sticking to him--where's Jesus?
*** w99 3/15 p. 4 The Last Day of Jesus' Human Life ***
Yes, the 11 apostles have proved that they are true friends by sticking with Jesus during his trials.
Q9) How can we demonstrate our love for Jehovah?
9) By loving Jehovah our God: We choose to serve Jehovah because we love him. Heeding the warning examples from Israel's day, we resist all temptations to commit immorality and we shun lifestyles that may cause us to sink into the world's morass of materialism. (1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Timothy 6:6-10) We cleave to Jehovah and keep his regulations. (Joshua 23:8; Psalm 119:5, 8) Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses exhorted them: "See, I have taught you regulations and judicial decisions, just as Jehovah my God has commanded me, for you to do that way in the midst of the land to which you are going to take possession of it. And you must keep and do them, because this is wisdom on your part and understanding on your part before the eyes of the peoples who will hear of all these regulations." (Deuteronomy 4:5, 6) Now is the time to demonstrate our love for Jehovah by putting Jehovah's will first in our life. We will surely be blessed if we choose to do so.-Matthew 6:33.
Notice that to the WTS that loving God means "not doing bad" (immorality/materialism) but does not mention doing good to others.
How many laws and regulations did Jesus give his disciples?
(John 13:34-35) 34 I am giving YOU a new commandment, that YOU love one another; just as I have loved YOU, that YOU also love one another. 35 By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves."
Q10-12) What lessons do we learn from considering what happened in the days of Noah?
10) By listening to God's voice: Noah was "a preacher of righteousness." (2
Peter 2:5) Virtually all the people of the pre-Flood world were distracted and
"took no note" of Noah's warnings. The consequence? "The flood came and swept them all away." Jesus warned that our day, during "the presence of the Son of man," would be similar. What happened in Noah's day serves as a stark warning for people today who choose not to heed God's message.-Matthew 24:39.
Another OT example to teach Christians--Noah
Virtually all--all but eight
Virtually all today--all but 6.5 million JWs, all 6.5 billion other people will die forever
presence of the Son of man--1874 or 1914?
choose not to heed God's message = choose not to listen to JWs
11) Those who ridicule the divine warnings sounded by God's modern-day servants should realize what failure to heed the warnings will mean. Of such ridiculers, the apostle Peter stated: "According to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men."-2 Peter 3:3-7.
God's modern-day servants--only JWs
Listen to JWs or die!
12) Contrast this with the choice Noah and his household made. "By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark." His heeding the warning brought salvation to his household. (Hebrews 11:7) May we prove to be swift about hearing God's message and then obediently heed it. James 1:19,22-25.
swift about hearing God's message = only WTS message
Q13, 14) (a) Why is `sticking to Jehovah' vital? (b) How should we allow Jehovah, "our Potter," to mold us?
13) By sticking to Jehovah: To `choose life and keep alive,' not only must we love Jehovah and listen to him but we must also `stick to Jehovah,' that is, persist in doing his will. "By endurance on your part you will acquire your
souls," said Jesus. (Luke 21:19) Actually, the choice we make in this regard reveals what is in our heart. "Happy is the man that is feeling dread constantly, but he that is hardening his heart will fall into calamity," observes Proverbs 28:14. Pharaoh of ancient Egypt was an example of this. As each of the Ten Plagues befell Egypt, Pharaoh hardened his heart rather than displayed godly fear. Jehovah did not force Pharaoh into a course of disobedience but allowed that proud ruler to choose. In any case, Jehovah's will was accomplished, as the apostle Paul explained regarding Jehovah's view of Pharaoh: "For this very cause I have let you remain, that in connection with you I may show my power, and that my name may be declared in all the earth."-Romans 9:17.
Blurb on page 29: Listening to God's voice brought salvation to Noah and his family
Another OT example--Pharaoh
Sticking to Jehovah...endurance
JWs have been waiting since 1879 for the end of this system; how much longer?
did not force Pharaoh--did Pharaoh's choice lead to eternal destruction for him and his minor children; did he get an individual witness?
14) Centuries after Israel's deliverance from Pharaoh's control, the prophet
Isaiah declared: "O Jehovah, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are our Potter; and all of us are the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8) As we allow Jehovah to mold us through our personal study and application of his Word, we gradually put on the new personality. We become more meek and malleable, making it easier for us to stick loyally to Jehovah because we sincerely want to please him.-Ephesians 4:23, 24; Colossians 3:8-10.
Allow Jehovah to mold us---where's Jesus?
become more meek and malleable--to the WTS
stick loyally to Jehovah--where's Jesus?
*** w67 10/1 p. 597 par. 22 Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View ***
The Bible sets forth every inducement and encouragement to place the theocratic organization ahead of oneself, to accept it in all its features and stick to it loyally. The theocratic pace of activity is still increasing. What Jehovah will yet require of his faithful servants on earth before Armageddon he will reveal in due time. Staying close to his visible theocratic organization is the only way to find out. Having identified that organization and God's righteous requirements expressed through his channel, never let it go.
"You Must Make Them Known"
Q15) According to Deuteronomy 4:9, Moses reminded Israel of what twofold responsibility?
15) To the assembled nation of Israel poised to enter the Promised Land, Moses said: "Only watch out for yourself and take good care of your soul, that you may not forget the things that your eyes have seen and that they may not depart from your heart all the days of your life; and you must make them known to your sons and to your grandsons." (Deuteronomy 4:9) In order to have Jehovah's blessing and prosper in the land they were about to inherit, the people had to fulfill a twofold responsibility before Jehovah their God. They were not to forget the marvelous things Jehovah had performed before their eyes, and they were to teach them to future generations. As God's people today, we must do the same if we want to 'choose life and keep alive.' What have we seen with our eyes that
Jehovah has performed in our behalf?
Another OT example--Moses
not to forget the marvelous things Jehovah had performed before their eyes--10 plagues on Egypt, parting the Red Sea, the giving of the commandments, manna, water from the rock, quail, etc. Have you seen things like that?
teach them to future generations--how many parents today at the KH teach their children? You would be shocked at how few have "family studies."
Q16, 17) (a) What have Gilead-trained missionaries been able to accomplish in the Kingdom-preaching work? (b) What examples of undiminished zeal do you know?
16) We are thrilled to see how Jehovah has blessed our preaching and
disciple-making work. Since the opening of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in 1943, missionaries have spearheaded the disciple-making work in many lands. To this day, early graduates of this school maintain a zeal for Kingdom preaching, even though they are advanced in years and some are hampered by physical limitations. One fine example is Mary Olson, who graduated from Gilead in 1944. She has served as a missionary first in Uruguay, then in Colombia, and now in Puerto Rico. Although somewhat restricted by physical problems brought on by old age, Sister Olson maintains her enthusiasm for preaching. Putting her knowledge of the Spanish language to use, she schedules time each week to join
local publishers in the field ministry.
blessed our preaching and disciple-making work--magazine and book selling work
missionaries--did you know that the function of missionaries is to teach the local brothers how to follow the WTS administrative rules? That is why there are almost no single sisters invited to Gilead any more. The only sisters are married to the brothers they are really asking to come. Thus it is amazing that they should focus on 2 single missionary sisters.
Do they "retire" missionaries like they do DOs and COs or are they expected to die in their assignment?
restricted by physical problems...schedules time each week--Be ashamed if you are younger and not going out every week.
17) Now widowed, Nancy Porter, who graduated from Gilead School in 1947, still serves in the Bahamas. She is another missionary who keeps busy in the preaching work. "Teaching others Bible truth has been a special source of joy," reports Sister Porter in her life story.* (Footnote: * See "Joyous and Thankful Despite Heartbreaking Loss," published in The Watchtower of June 1, 2001, pages 23-7.) "It provides an orderly spiritual routine that has given structure and stability to my life." When Sister Porter and other faithful servants look back, they do not forget what Jehovah has done. What about us? Do we look appreciatively at the way Jehovah has blessed the Kingdom work in our neighborhood? -Psalm 68:11.
Nancy Porter, now single--orderly spiritual routine
They do not forget what Jehovah has done--where's Jesus?
What did Jehovah do?
Q18) What can we learn from reading the life stories of missionaries?
18) We rejoice in what these old-timers have accomplished and still accomplish. Reading their life stories is a source of encouragement to us because when we see what Jehovah has done for these faithful ones, it strengthens our determination to serve Jehovah. Do you regularly read such thrilling accounts published in The Watchtower and meditate on them?
Blurb on page 30: Mary Olson; Nancy Porter (photos)
What has Jehovah done for this faithful ones?
What has happened to the Bethelites that are being "reassigned"?
Q19) How can Christian parents make good use of the life stories recorded in The Watchtower?
19) Moses reminded the Israelites that they were not to forget all the things
Jehovah had done for them and that these things should not depart from their heart all the days of their life. He then added a further step: "You must make them known to your sons and to your grandsons." (Deuteronomy 4:9) True stories have a special appeal. Youngsters growing up need good examples. Single sisters can learn lessons from the faithful example of older sisters whose life stories are related in The Watchtower. Service in a foreign language territory in their home country offers both brothers and sisters expanded opportunities to be busy in preaching the good news. Christian parents, why not use the experiences of faithful Gilead missionaries and others to provide an incentive for your children to choose a life of full-time service?
Youngsters growing up need good examples--elders that molest children and view pornography; gossipy brothers and sisters that destroy the reputations of their "brothers and sisters" through their lies and unconfidential talk, etc.
Christian parents...use the experiences of faithful Gilead--why don't the parents set the example in their own lives?
Christian parents--only JW parents
full-time service--does that mean anyone who isn't a pioneer, CO, DO, Bethelite is a part-time servant of God and Christ?
Q20) What must we do to "choose life"?
20) How, then, can each of us "choose life"? By using the wonderful gift of free will to show Jehovah that we love him and by continuing to do our best in his service as long as he allows us that privilege. "For," as Moses declared, Jehovah "is your life and the length of your days."-Deuteronomy 30:19, 20.
show Jehovah that we love him--where's Jesus?
continuing to do our best--and who determines what our "best" is, the WTS, the elders, the "mature" JWs? Is the national average "our best"?
Can You Recall?
- What have you learned from the examples of contrasting choices we have considered?
- What steps must we take in order to "choose life"?
- What twofold responsibility are we urged to fulfill?
Not much new...the WTS is letting you know there is no life without them and takes Jesus out of the equation.
by loving Jesus
by listening to Christ's voice
by sticking to Jesus
How else can JWs be "Christian" parents?
We are now eating fresh green beans from our garden and picked the first cucumber to slice into our salad. It's going to be a scorcher this weekend, a good time to see a movie in air-conditioned comfort.