Comments You Will Not Hear at the 08-20-06 WT Study (July 15, 2006, page 14-19)(MURMURING)
Review comments will be in red
WT material from today's WT will be in black
Quotes from other sources will be in quotes boxes
w = 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)
'KEEP FREE FROM MURMURINGS' "Keep doing all things free from murmurings."--Philippians 2:14
Notice that although the WTS uses an NT scripture the picture is of an Israelite family complaining about manna. Can you see where the WTS is taking this?
Also, do you realize that when these NT letters and books were written and read by the Christians, they were not considered part of the inspired scriptures? They were no different than a letter from an elder, a traveling elder, or an apostle. Certainly not everything they wrote became part of the inspired scriptures? Something to think about when you read them from their viewpoint.
START OF ARTICLE
Q1,2) What counsel did the apostle Paul give Christians in Philippi and Corinth, and why?
1) In his divinely inspired letter to the first-century Christian congregation in Philippi, the apostle Paul gave much commendation. He commended his fellow believers in that city for their generous and zealous spirit, and he expressed joy over their good works. Nevertheless, Paul reminded them to "keep doing all things free from murmurings." (Philippians 2:14) Why did the apostle give this admonition?
Notice that this paragraph outlines the one-two approach that elders are told to use. First, commend, then counsel. That might work if the elders actually commended the rank and file without then counseling them. Or if some elders actually said anything to some of the rank and file except when counseling them. Otherwise, many of the rank and file think as they see an elder approaching, "I wonder what I'm getting chewed out for this time" or as they hear an elder say, "Brother Weak, I really appreciate that you get to the meetings on time.....but"
2) Paul knew what murmuring can lead to. A few years earlier, he had reminded the congregation in Corinth that it can be dangerous to murmur. Paul pointed out that while the Israelites were in the wilderness, they had repeatedly aroused Jehovah's anger. How? By desiring injurious things, by practicing idolatry and fornication, by putting Jehovah to the test, and by murmuring. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to learn from these examples. He write: "Neither be murmurers, just as some of them murmured, only to perish by the destroyer."--1 Corinthians 10:6-11.
Note how the WTS segues from Philippians to 1 Corinthians. Why? Because there is no OT application in Philippians.
A careful examination of Paul's life, will find that those who murmured tended to be the elders not the rank and file. Whose murmuring would have a more profound effect on the WTS hold over the organization? The elders or the rank and file?
Is all "murmuring" or complaining wrong?
(1 Corinthians 1:11) 11 For the disclosure was made to me about YOU, my brothers, by those of [the house of] Chlo´e, that dissensions exist among YOU.
Q3) Why is the subject of murmuring of interest today?
3) As Jehovah's present-day servants, we manifest a spirit similar to that of the congregation in Philippi. We are zealous for fine works, and we have love among ourselves. (John 13:34,35) In view of the injury that murmuring caused among God's people in the past, however, we have good reason to take to heart the counsel: "Keep doing all things free from murmurings." Let us first consider examples of murmuring mentioned in the Scriptures. Then we will discuss some things we can do to prevent murmuring from causing injury today.
Is there a problem with murmuring in your congregation now? Is there strife between the elders? between the elders and the CO? between the elders and the rank and file? Between members of the rank and file?
Jehovah's present-day servants--only JWs
Do JWs really the only ones that have Christian love for each other do they love their enemies by providing materially for them or do they only those those loving them just like the 'tax collectors' do?
(Matthew 5:44-47) 44 However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; 45 that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. 46 For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? Are not also the tax collectors doing the same thing? 47 And if YOU greet YOUR brothers only, what extraordinary thing are YOU doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing?
An Evil Assembly Murmurs Against Jehovah
Q4) In what way did the Israelites murmur in the wilderness?
4) The Hebrew word meaning 'to murmur, grumble, complain, or growl' is used in the Bible in connection with events during Israel's 40 years in the wilderness. On occasion, the Israelites were discontented with their lot in life and expressed this by murmuring. For example, just a few weeks after their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, "the entire assembly of the sons of Israel began to murmur against Moses and Aaron." The Israelites complained about food, saying: "If only we had died by Jehovah's hand in the land of Egypt whle we were sitting by the pots of meat, while we were eating bread to satisfaction, because you have brought us out into this wilderness to put this whole congregation to death by famine."--Exodus 16:1-3.
What is that Hebrew word? In days gone by the WTS would cite the word; why the change?
40 years in the wilderness---how long has the WTS been wandering, 127 years?
Another OT setup to counsel Christians?
Q5) When the Israelites complained, against whom was their murmuring really directed?
Moses/Aaron = God
Moses/Aaron = FDS
FDS = God
5) Actually, Jehovah sustained the Israelites with what they needed in the wilderness, lovingly providing them with food and water. There was never a threat that the people of Israel would die of famine in the wilderness. In a spirit of discontent, though, they exaggerated their plight and began to murmur. Although their complaints were directed against Moses and Aaron, in Jehovah's eyes the real target of their discontent was God himself. Moses told the Israelites: "Jehovah has heard your murmuring that you are murmuring against him. And what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against Jehovah."--Exodus 16:4-8.
First, is the WTS comparing the uninspired contents of the WT publications to the miraculous manna? Is the WTS comparing themselves to Moses and Aaron (BTW who failed to get into the Promised Land)? The Israelites has just come through the Red Sea; is the WTS suggesting that any similar event has occurred to JWS in the last 100 years?
Do you see where the WTS is leading this 'discussion'?
Q6,7) As shown at Numbers 14:1-3, how had the attitude of the Israelities changed?
6) Not long thereafter, the Israelites murmured once again. Moses sent 12 men to spy out the Promised Land. Ten of them returned with a bad report. The result? "All the sons of Israel began to murmur against Moses and Aaron, and all the assembly began to say against them: "If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in the wilderness! And why is Jehovah bringing us to this land [Canaan] to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder. Is it not better for us to return to Egypt"?--Numbers 14:1-3.
The WTS teaches that the organization is on the threshold of going into a spiritual Promised Land. Are they suggesting that JWs today are like the Israelites where 10 out of 12 spies hold back and a whole nation dies out in 40 years?
Why not use something from the NT showing that Christians were wondering when the end would come? Oh, the end did come in 70-73 CE with the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, and the death of all but 97,000 Jews who went into slavery. Did the early Christians think they were on the threshold of a spiritual Promised Land? Did it come in 70-73 CE? Well, that can be another discussion, perhaps one the WTS wants to avoid.
7) How Israel's spirit had changed! Initial gratitude for their release from Egypt and deliverance through the Red Sea had moved them to sing praises to Jehovah. (Exodus 15:1-21) Faced with the discomforts of the wilderness and fearful of the Canaanites, however, the gratitude of God's people was replaced by a spirit of discontent. Instead of thanking God for their freedom, they blamed him for what they wrongly viewed as deprivation. Murmuring was thus an expression of lack of proper appreciation for Jehovah's provisions. No wonder he said: "How long will this evil assembly have this murmuring that they are carrying on against me."--Numbers 14:17; 21:5.
And what provisions do you think the WTS feels the rank and file are not appreciating? Why, because donations are dwindling?
Murmuring in the First Century
Q8,9) Cite examples of murmuring recorded in the Christian Greek Scriptures.
8) The foregoing examples of murmuring involved groups of people apparently expressing their discontent out loud. When Jesus Christ was in Jerusalem for the Festival of Booths in 32 C.E., however, "there was a lot of subdued talk about him among the crowds." (John 7:12,13,32) They were whispering about him some saying that he was a good man, others saying he was not.
apparently--a WTS buzzword that means they are now going to add to the Bible.
subdued talk...whispering about him
When attending a congregation, who was most likely to be talked or whispered about? The MS, elders, the CO/DO, the GB? Wasn't it those that did not attend enough meetings, turn in enough field service time, dress according to the "rules" set by the BOE, single-parent families, divided households, those without a nice house, car, or money to donate to the congregation?
9) On another occasion, Jesus and his disciples were guests at the home of Levi, or Matthew, the tax collector. "The Pharisees and their scribes began murmuring to his disciples, saying: 'Why is it you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" (Luke 5:27-30) In Galilee some time later, "the Jews began to murmur at [Jesus] because he said" 'I am the bread that came down from heaven.'" Even some of Jesus' followers took offense at what he said and began to murmur.--John 6:41,60,61.
'Why is it you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?' [If it as all right for Jesus to eat and drink with these people, why can JWs not eat and drink with disfellowshipped and disassociated JWs even family members living under the same roof?]
*** km 8/02 p. 3 par. 6 Display Christian Loyalty When a Relative Is Disfellowshipped ***
Does this mean that Christians living in the same household with a disfellowshipped family member are to avoid talking to, eating with, and associating with that one as they go about their daily activities? The Watchtower of April 15, 1991, in the footnote on page 22, states: "If in a Christian's household there is a disfellowshipped relative, that one would still be part of the normal, day-to-day household dealings and activities." Thus, it would be left up to members of the family to decide on the extent to which the disfellowshipped family member would be included when eating or engaging in other household activities. And yet, they would not want to give brothers with whom they associate the impression that everything is the same as it was before the disfellowshipping occurred.
Even some of Jesus' followers took offense at what he said and began to murmur.
Thus does the WTS/FDS/GB = Jesus? Was it Jesus or his followers that did not understand what he was saying? Did Jesus make later adjustments/clarifications to his words? Did Jesus teach that the 'superior authorities' were the secular governments then switch to God and Jesus then switch back to secular authorities?
Q10,11) Why did the Greek-speaking Jews murmur, and how can Christian elders benefit from the way that the complaint was handled?
10) The outcome was more positive in a case of murmuring that occurred shortly after Pentecost 33 C.E. Many newly converted disciples from outside Israel were then enjoying the hospitality of fellow believers in Judaea, but problems arose in connection with sharing what was available. The account states: "A murmuring arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution."--Acts 6:1.
So was something wrong happening here? We are talking about 2 groups of Jews with only their language separating them? Was this a case of prejudice by the Hebrew-speaking Jews? I think so. So was this murmuring wrong? No.
11) These murmurers were not like the Israelites in the wilderness. The Greek-speaking Jews did not selfishly express discontent about their own lot in life. They drew attention to a failure to meet the needs of some of the widows. Moreover, the murmurers did not act as troublemakers and raise their voices against Jehovah. The directed their complaint to the apostles, who arranged for prompt action to be taken because the complaint was justified. What a good example the apostles set for Christian elders today. These spiritual shepherds are careful not to 'stop up their ears from the complaining cry of the lowly one.'--Proverbs 21:13; Acts 6:2-6.
their own lot in life--So does this mean that the widows could not say anything but had to hunt around for someone to speak for them?
did not act as troublemakers--learned to suffer in silence and "wait on Jehovah"
prompt action--I know of one congregation where the women's restroom has needed remodeling for 10 years. Besides other problems, it was not wheelchair accessible and if a JW or visitor from the territory wanted to attend meetings they had to go way across town or hold their urine for 2 hours or more.
complaints from sisters will not get prompt action; you will have to hunt up a brother to front for you
Beware of the Corrosive Influence of Murmuring
Q12,13) (a) Illustrate the effects of murmuring (b) What might prompt an individual to murmur?
12) Most of the Scriptural examples we have considered show that murmuring caused much damage among God's people in the past. Therefore, we do well to think seriously about the corrosive influence it could have today. An illustration might help. Many types of metal have a natural tendency to rust. If early signs of rust are ignored, metal can rust to the point that it can no longer serve its purpose. Countless automobiles are scrapped, not because of mechanical failure, but because the metal is so rusted that the vehicles are unsafe. How can we apply this illustration to murmuring?
MOST of the Scriptural examples---meaning that not all murmuring is bad.
Notice that the illustration compares people to inanimate, unthinking objects.Scrapped...because...unsafe = disfellowshipped
13) Just as certain metals tend to rust, imperfect humans have a tendency to complain. We should be on guard to detect any sign of this. Even as moisture and salty air accelerate rusting, adversity makes us more inclined to murmur. Stress can turn a minor irritation into a major grievance. As conditions in the last days of this system deteriorate, potential causes of complaint will likely increase. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Hence, one servant of Jehovah might begin to murmur against another. The cause could be a small issue, such as discontent with someone's weaknesses, abilities, or privileges of service.
detect in ourselves or others?
minor irritation...small issue--like your child being molested by a congregation member? Like your JW spouse beating you or verbally abusing your children? Like a brother or sister not repaying a loan or misrepresenting an investment? Watching a pedophile JW be reinstated in 6 months and an adulterous sister being made an example for 8 years before she is allowed to be reinstated.
Being told that the end would come before the last person born in 1914 died.....
Q14,15) Why should we not allow a tendency to complain go unchecked?
14) Whatever the reason for our displeasure, if we were to allow a tendency to complain to go unchecked, it could promote a spirit of discontent and make us habitual murmurers. Yes, the spiritually corrosive effect of murmuring could corrupt us completely. When the Israelites murmured about life in the wilderness, they went so far as to blame Jehovah. (Exodus 16:8) May that never happen to us!
blame WTS = blaming Jehovah/God
15) The tendency of metal to rust can be reduced by coating it with rustproof paint and quickly treating isolated spots of corrosion. In a similar fashion, if we detect in ourselves a tendency to complain, this can be kept under control if we give the matter prompt, prayerful attention. How?
be assured that the elders will be checking the rank and file for rust and no one is allowed to point out their "rust" without being called murmurers.
Look at Things From Jehovah's Point of View
Q16) How can a tendency to complain be overcome?
Murmuring focuses our mind on ourselves and our troubles and pushes into the background the blessings we enjoy as Witnesses of Jehovah. To overcome a tendency to complain, we need to keep these blessings uppermost in our mind. For instance each of us has the wonderful privilege of bearing the name of Jehovah. (Isaiah 43:10) We can cultivate a close relationship with him, and we are able to speak to the "Hearer of prayer" at any time. (Psalm 65:2; James 4:8) Our life has real meaning because we understand the issue of universal sovereignty and remember that it is our privilege to maintain integrity to God. (Proverbs 27:11) We can have a regular share in preaching the good news of the Kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) Faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ enables us to have a clean conscience. (John 3:16) These are blessings we enjoy in matter what we have to endure.
Witnesses of Jehovah--not witnesses of Jesus Christ? (Acts 1:8)Bearing the name of Jehovah--not the name of Christ as Christiansclose relationship with him (Jehovah)--not Jesus?
Where is the kingdom in the issue of universal sovereignty and what happened to the ransom sacrifice--where's Jesus?
Clean conscience--how can JWs have a clean conscience when such matters are decided for you and any other choice will lead to loss of privileges even disfellowshipping--voting, blood transfusions, military service, celebrating holidays, beards, etc.
regular share--buzz phrase letting you know that you will be carefully examined to see if you are doing enough
Q17) Why should we try to view matters from Jehovah's point of view, even if we have a valid reason for complaint?
17) Let us try to see things from Jehovah's point of view, not just our own. "Make me know your own ways, O Jehovah; teach me your own paths," sang the psalmst David. (Psam 25:4) If we have a valid reason for complaint, this has not escaped Jehovah's notice. He could correct the matter immediately. So why does he at times allow adversity to continue? This could be in order to help us develop fine qualities, such as patience, endurance, faith and long-suffering.--James 1:2-4.
Jehovah's POV or WTS POV?
IF WE HAVE A VALID REASON FOR COMPLAINT
He could correct--or the elders could correct the matter immediately?
Does God really test us with adversity?
(James 1:13) When under trial, let no one say: "I am being tried by God." For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.
Q18,19) Illustrate the possible effects of our putting up with inconveniences without complaining.
18) Our putting up with inconveniences without complaining not only helps us to improve our personality but may also impress those observing our conduct. In 2003 a group of Jehovah's Witnesses traveled by bus from Germany to attend a convention in Hungary. The bus driver was not a Witness, and he had reservations about being with the Witnesses for ten days. By the end of the trip, however, he had changed his mind completely. Why?
First, note this is about impressing a non-JW with JW conduct.
19) During the trip, several things went wrong. But the Witnesses never complained. The driver said that this was the best group of passengers he had ever had! In fact, he promised that the next time the Witnesses called at his home, he would invite them in and carefully listen to them. What a fine impression the passengers made by "doing all things free from murmurings"!
Witnesses never complaining!!!! That was only because they had a non-JW audience to play to.
Best group of passengers--this is to imply that all non-JWs are big baby complainers.
Do you think he invited the JWs in the next time they called. Notice there is no followup to this experience to confirm that.
When it comes to their fellow believers, could it be said that JWs never complain? What was your experience?
Forgiveness Promotes Unity
Q20) Why should we forgive one another?
20) What if we have a complaint against a fellow believer? If the matter is serious, we should apply the principles found in what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 18:15-17. This will not always be necessary, though, since most grievances are minor. Why not see the situation as a chance to practice forgiveness? Paul wrote: "Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also. But, besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union." (Colossians 3:13,14) Can we find room in our heart to forgive? Does not Jehovah have reason to complain about us? Yet, he repeatedly shows compassion and forgiveness.
serious--does a abused child have to approach their abuser in this way? an abused wife?
who decides if the grievance is minor...the elders?
How far does forgiveness go? Is a wronged wife/husband obligated to forgive and take back an unfaithful mate? Must an abused child/mate forgive an unrepentant abuser? Is there a limit to God's forgiveness?
Q21) How might those listening to murmuring be affected?
21) Whatever the grievance may be, murmuring will not resolve matters. The Hebrew term meaning "to murmur" can also mean "to growl." Very likely, we feel uncomfortable around a constant murmurer and try to distance ourselves from him. If we were to murmur, or growl, those listening might feel the same way. Why, they may be so uncomfortable that they want to distance themselves from us! Growling might capture someone's attention, but it will certainly not win anyone's heart.
I agree that if there is a problem, it won't be solved by going to the wrong source of a solution. If you have a dented fender, you will take it to a garage not a bakery. But if that is a garage that advertises as being reliable, quick, and concerned about its customers, any alternation in that behavior means the customers will "complain" or take their business elsewhere. So if the WTS and is representatives are not providing as advertised, should they be surprised if people take their business elsewhere and not pay for shoddy work?
distance themselves---another way of saying "personally marking" people as bad association.
Q22) What did one girl say about Jehovah's Witnesses?
22) A forgiving attitude promotes unity--something cherised by Jehovah's people. (Psalm 133:1-3) In one European land, a 17-year-old Catholic girl wrote to the branch of Jehovah's Witnesses to express her admiration for them. She said: "It is the only organization I know where the members are not divided by hatred, greed, intolerance, selfishness or disunity."
17-year-old? A person of many wise years and experience.
Notice that there is no specific reason or experience given for why she feels this way.
Not divided by hatred--obviously has never seen the ugly things that can happen between congregations that share a kingdom hall.
greed--obviously has never read the articles about JW men who have defrauded the elderly, been caught by the government and are now in prison.
intolerance--obviously doesn't know that JWs believe that this Catholic girl and all other Catholics and non-JWs will soon die forever at Armageddon.
Q23) What will we discuss in the next article?
23) Appreciation for all the spiritual blessings we receive as worshippers of the true God, Jehovah will help us to promote unity and avoid murmuring against others in personal matters. The next article will show how godly qualities will prevent us from engaging in an even more dangerous form of murmuring--that is, murmuring against the earthly part of Jehovah's organization.
worshippers of the true God--only JWs
since they have already mentioned about murmuring against God it makes you wonder about why they say "an even more dangerous form of murmuring...against the earthly part of Jehovah's organization."
I do believe the natives are getting restless. It has been 11 years since the 1914 generation doctrine was deconstructed. Someone born in 1914 would be 92 this year. JWs in the 80's and 90's were told they would never see death and would cross over through Armageddon into the earthly paradise. They are seeing illness and death all around them at the KH. They are eagerly and desperately grasping at any statement at the conventions, assemblies, meetings that the end will be here, even by the end of 2006. Events in the Middle East and other places may be fueling that belief. So is the WTS seeing a slowing down in meeting attendance, time recorded on slips, money in the contribution boxes, and now murmuring. Will they be able to stem the tide?
We have another batch of beans from our garden and our tomatoes are booming. We are eating tomatoes every day. Met our new next door neighbors too. He's a VP at a large company here and heavens he has a beard!