Comments You Will Not Hear at the 09-28-08 WT Study (June 15, 2008, pages 17-21 (SUCCESS)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
Bible translations www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible
WT publications www.strictlygenteel.co.uk
WT child abuse www.silentlambs.org
Blood issue www.ajwrb.org
United Nations http://www.randytv.com/secret/unitednations.htm
"In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest; for you are not knowing where this will have success." ---Eccl 11:6.[/b]
A congregation nearby had a part on the service meeting by the PO. He had checked the records and in the last 10 years only one person had been baptized that was not the child of a jw, and that person had been disfellowshipped. It seemed that there was an increase to some because their had been quite a turnover and an infusion of new people from another congregation where they had been dissatisfied. The question was too how many people stay past 10 years or more? What have you seen?
START OF ARTICLE
Q. 1. Why is 'witnessing the growth process oath amazing and humbling?
A FARMER needs to be patient. (Jas. 5:7) After sowing the seed. he needs to wait for it to sprout and grow. Gradually, when conditions are favorable, shoots begin to appear, breaking through the surface of the ground. Then they develop into plants that sprout heads of grain. Eventually, the farmer has a field ready to be harvested. How amazing it is to witness the miracle of growth! How humbling, too, to realize who is the Source of this growth. We can nurture the seed. We can assist with the watering process. But only God can make it grow.-Compare 1 Corinthians 3:6.
What growth is the WTS speaking about? Their massaged numbers ignoring the number who leave each year? 98,000 in 2007. How many "bible" studies are really with minor children or 5 minute discussions on the footsteps of people, called footstep studies, only need to be done 3 times to count on the time slip as a study?
BUZZWORDS: be patient...wait...gradually...eventually
*** km 1/06 p. 3 How to Start Studies in the Bible Teach Book ***
If the householder shows a special interest in one of the scriptures, show him what the Bible teaches on that subject by considering the paragraphs in the book that discuss that text. (See box on this page of insert.) Consider the material just as you would on a Bible study. This can be done in five to ten minutes on the initial call right at the doorstep.
*** km 3/06 p. 1 par. 3 Help Others to Benefit From the Ransom ***
You may be able to consider that information in one or two visits, perhaps as a Bible study at the doorstep.
Q 2. What points did Jesus teach about spiritual growth in the illustrations considered in the proceeding article?
2. As mentioned in the preceding article, Jesus likened the Kingdom-preaching work to a farmer's sowing of seed. In the illustration of the different types of soil, Jesus emphasized that even though the farmer sows good seed, the heart condition of an individual determines whether the seed grows to maturity or not. (Mark 4:3-9) In the illustration of the sower who sleeps, Jesus highlighted that the farmer does not fully
understand the process of growth. This is because growth is due to God's power, not to human efforts. (Mark 4:26-29) Let us now consider three more of Jesus' illustrations-the mustard grain, the leaven, and the dragnet.*
* The following explanations are an adjustment to what was previously explained in the June 15, 1992, issue of The Watchtower pages 17-22,
and the October 1, 1975, issue, pages 589-608.
The 1975 article on the dragnet is conspicuously not mentioned in the WT Index.............?!
1992 teaching: Here is an interesting essay on this WT teaching.
JWD discussion on the dragnet
Notice again that the jw is not responsible for preparing to reach the non-jw with the "message" that they can skip reading the article, preparing or using the "suggested" WTS presentation, or to go out when people are more likely to be home (not weekdays). So if jws go 30 years without ever conducting a study or bringing someone into the organization, they can reassure themselves
The Illustration of the Mustard Grain
Q 3. 4. The illustration of the mustard grain highlights what aspects concerning the Kingdom message?
3. The illustration of the mustard grain, also recorded in Mark chapter 4, highlights two things: first, the amazing growth of the Kingdom message; second, the protection given to those who accept the message. Jesus said: "With what are we to liken the kingdom of God, or in what illustration shall we set it out? Like a mustard grain, which at the time it was sown in the ground was the tiniest of all the seeds that are on the earth -but when it has been sown, it comes up and becomes greater than all other vegetables and produces great branches, so that the birds of the heaven are able to find lodging under its shadow." -Mark 4:30-32.
4. Here we find portrayed the growth of "the kingdom of God" as evidenced by the spread of the Kingdom message and the growth of the Christian congregation from Pentecost 33 C.E. onward. A mustard grain is a tiny seed that can represent something very small. (Compare Luke 17:6.) Eventually, though, a mustard plant may attain a height of from three to five meters and have sturdy branches, thus virtually becoming a
tree.-Matt. 13:31, 32.
PP3: What is the "protection given to those who accept the message"? "as an organiztion" but not as an individual.
*** w07 3/15 p. 24 par. 14 Angels—How They Affect Mankind ***Georgia. Satan has done everything in his power to put an end to the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet, as an organization, they have survived such opposition and have prospered. This is, in part, due to the protective shield that the angels have provided
PP4: "kingdom of God" = WTS, "Kingdom message" as "explained" only by the WTS. Christian congregation--really only anointed and non-anointed are merely "companions".
Q 5. What growth was experienced by the first century Christian congregation?
5. The growth of the Christian congregation started in a small way in 33 C.E. when about 120 disciples were anointed with holy spirit. Within a relatively short period of time, this tiny congregation of disciples came to include thousands of believers. (Read Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:28; 6:7; 12:24; 19:20.) Within three decades, the number of harvest workers had expanded so much that the apostle Paul could say to the congregation in
Colossae that the good news had already been "preached in all creation that is under heaven." (Col. 1:23) What spectacular growth!
PP5: Notice that the bible says "about 120" disciples; they why is the WTS so anal in counting the attendance to such numbers as 17,672,443 (memorial). Do you think that the apostles couldn't count exactly?
Notice this inexact counting continues with approximately 3,000 then 5,000 baptized. Then the counting stops. Why no number to define the
"spectacular growth" in the first century? The WTS denies that there could have been 144,000 "genuine" Christians in the first century...it would undercut there status as anointed now. Can you find the circular reasoning is this QFR?
*** w72 7/1 pp. 415-416 Questions From Readers ***
Large numbers of Christians are said to have been put to death during the Roman persecution in the first few centuries of the Common Era. How, then, is it possible for thousands in this century to have been called to become part of the body of Christ composed of only 144,000 persons?—U.S.A.
There are historical indications that many Christians were bitterly persecuted, even killed, in the first few centuries. However, it should be remembered that, in itself, a martyr’s death did not give a person merit before Jehovah God nor did it guarantee membership in the heavenly kingdom. Many persons, even in recent times, have been willing to die for a cause, religious or otherwise. A person’s claiming to be a Christian
and even dying for his belief does not in itself mean that he is an approved servant of Jehovah God. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “If I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body, that I may boast, but do not have love, I am not profited at all.” (1 Cor. 13:3) It is not death, but faithfulness to the very death, that determines whether an individual will receive “the crown of life.”—Rev. 2:10.
Thus the fact that today there is still a remnant of the 144,000 on earth would show that down to this twentieth century fewer than 144,000 finished their earthly course in faithfulness.
While some persons may be inclined to think that more persons must surely have been involved even as far back as the early centuries of the Common Era, actual proof to this effect is completely lacking. Today it is impossible even to establish how many persons were killed, much less the number of those who proved faithful to death. “We have practically but few facts to go upon,” writes Frederick John Foakes-Jackson in the
book History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge. He further states: “The testimony to the persecution by Nero is recorded by two Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, both of whom were very young when it occurred, and wrote in mature life. There is no contemporary Christian document describing it, though it may be alluded to in the book of Revelation. . . . Tertullian at the end of the second century is our
authority that Nero and Domitian, because they were the two worst emperors in the first centuries, persecuted the Christians.” Early in the third century C.E., Origen (a Christian writer and teacher) observed: “There have been but a few now and again, easily counted, who have died for the Christian religion.”
Much that has been written about Christian martyrs is embellished by tradition and therefore unreliable. For example, the martyrdom of Polycarp of the second century C.E. is described in Fox’s Book of Martyrs as follows: “He was . . . bound to a stake, and the faggots with which he was surrounded set on fire, but when it became so hot that the soldiers were compelled to retire, he continued praying and singing praises to God for
a long time. The flames raged with great violence, but still his body remained nonconsumed, and shone like burnished gold. It is also said, that a grateful odour like that of myrrh, arose from the fire, which so much astonished the spectators, that many of them were by that means converted to Christianity. His executioners finding it impossible to put him to death by fire, thrust a spear into his side, from which the blood flowed in such a quantity, as to extinguish the flame. His body was then consumed to ashes, by order of the proconsul lest his followers should make it an object of adoration.”
Whatever the source of Fox’s information, manifestly little of this account is truly historical. Nevertheless, if the allusion to the adoration of the remains of Polycarp is to be viewed as indicating the existence of relic worship among professed Christians of the second century C.E., this would be additional evidence that many at that time were not faithful worshipers of Jehovah God. Christians were under command to “worship
God,” not relics. (Rev. 19:10) In fact, idolaters are among those specifically named in the Scriptures as unfit to inherit the Kingdom.—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
Q 6, 7. (a) What expansion has taken place since 1914? (b) What further growth will take place?
6. Since the establishment of God's Kingdom in heaven in 1914, the branches of the mustard "tree" have expanded beyond expectations. God's people have seen the literal fulfillment of the prophecy recorded by Isaiah: "The little one himself will become a thousand, and the small one a mighty nation." (Isa. 60: 22) The small group of anointed ones associated with the Kingdom work early in the 20th century had no way of knowing that by the year 2008, about seven million Witnesses would be engaging in this work in over 230 lands. Truly amazing growth, comparable to that of the mustard grain in Jesus' illustration!
Was the kingdom established in 1874, 1878, or 1914? Did you realize that 1878 is mentioned only in the Proclaimers book? Hmmm? jws in
1975 expected to be 33 years into the 1,000 year reign? I wonder how patient they are now, assuming they are still alive?
When the WTS says "God's people" do they mean anyone other than jws?
*** jv chap. 28 p. 632 Testing and Sifting From Within ***
Based on the premise that events of the first century might find parallels in related events later, they 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.
7. But does the growth stop there? No. The subjects of God's Kingdom will eventually encompass the entire earth. All opposers will have been removed. This will not occur as a result of human efforts but because of the intervention of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah in earth's affairs. (Read Daniel 2:34, 35.) We will then see the final fulfillment of another prophecy recorded by Isaiah: "The earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea."-lsa.11:9.
The WTS teaches that only jws are "subjects of God's Kingdom." I wonder if the people at the door realize that? "Opposers" is another buzzword for non-jw.
Does the Bible show Jesus or God intervening? What is Jesus role then? The WTS uses an OT scripture so leaves out Jesus role.
"We will then see the final fulfillment" means that jws "as a group" will see it, there is no individual guarantee. Many jws feel they were promised going through Armageddon and never dying. A much different promise was made to Jesus disciples...they would have to die to get their reward.
The WTS evens ropes people in with this promise.
*** w00 10/15 p. 13 par. 13 God’s Kingdom—Earth’s New Rulership ***
Since God can keep track of all these heavenly bodies, surely it would be no problem for him to keep track of a far smaller number of humans. Even now, millions of his servants pray to him daily. Those prayers reach God instantly. So communicating with all perfect humans would have presented no problem for him. He would not have needed a heavenly Kingdom to keep track of them. What a marvelous arrangement—to have Jehovah as Ruler, to have direct access to him, and to have the prospect of never dying, living forever on a paradise earth!
Q. 8. (a) Whom do the birds in Jesus' illustration represent? (b) From what are we protected even now?
8. Jesus says that the birds of the heaven are able to find lodging under the shadow of this Kingdom. These birds do not represent enemies of the Kingdom who try to eat up the good seeds, as was true of the birds in the illustration of the man who scattered seed on different kinds of soil. (Mark 4:4) Rather, in this illustration the birds represent righthearted ones who seek protection within the confines of the Christian congregation. Even now, these ones are protected from the spiritually defiling habits and unclean practices of this wicked world. (Compare Isaiah 32: 1,2.) Jehovah similarly likened the Messianic Kingdom to a tree and stated prophetically: "On the mountain of the height of Israel I shall transplant it, and it will certainly bear boughs and produce fruit and become a majestic cedar. And under it there will actually reside all the birds of every wing; in the shadow of its foliage they will reside." -Ezek. 17:23.
birds = righthearted ones===only jws or people who come to meetings (protection).
Christian congregation==only WTS
So is every non-jw spiritually defiled and unclean?
The Illustration of the Leaven
9, 10. (a) What point did Jesus emphasize in the illustration of the leaven? (b) In the Bible, what does leaven often represent, and what question about Jesus' reference to leaven will we consider?
9. Growth is not always visible to human eyes. In his next illustration, Jesus emphasizes this point. He says: "The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three large measures of flour, until the whole mass was fermented." (Matt. 13: 33) What does this leaven represent, and how does it relate to the growth of the Kingdom?
Has anyone here ever put yeast in with flour and water? I have never seen the growth not be visible; that was one thing that fascinated me about bread making was watching the dough rise? If the dough doesn't rise or does so slowly, you probably killed the yeast.........
Does the Kingdom = WTS?
10. In the Bible, leaven is often used to represent sin. The apostle Paul referred to leaven in this way when speaking of the corrupting influence of a sinner in the congregation in ancient Corinth. (1 Cor. 5:6-8) Was Jesus now using leaven to represent the growth of something negative?
Better question, does the WTS ever use leaven in a positive way? Oh, that's right, jws can never DO ENOUGH to suit the WTS.
*** km 2/07 pp. 3-4 par. 5 Declare Abroad the Excellencies of Jehovah ***You can be sure that making an effort to do more in Jehovah’s service will bring joy and Jehovah’s blessing.
Q 11. How was leaven used in Israel of old?
11. Before answering that question, we need to take note of three basic facts. first, although Jehovah did not allow leaven during the time of the Passover festival, at other times he did accept sacrifices that contained leaven. Leaven was used in connection with thanksgiving communion offerings, in which the offerer voluntarily made his presentation in a spirit of thankfulness for Jehovah's many blessings. This meal was one of cheerfulness.-Lev. 7:11-15.
So what "sacrifices" the rank and file make that have "leaven" in them?
12. What can we learn from the way the Bible uses word pictures?
12. Second, although an element may on one occasion have a negative connotation in the Scriptures, on another occasion the same element may be used to represent something positive. For example, at 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is likened to a lion, picturing his dangerous, vicious nature. But at Revelation 5:5, Jesus is likened to a lion-"the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah." In the latter case, the lion is used as a symbol of courageous justice.
So what is the WTS conditioning the minds of the rank and file for?
Q 13. What does Jesus' illustration of the leaven show about spiritual growth?
13. Third, in Jesus' illustration, he did not say that the leaven corrupted the whole mass of flour, making it unusable. He simply referred to the normal process of making bread. The housewife deliberately added the leaven, and the results were positive. The leaven was hidden in the mass of flour. Thus, the leavening process was hidden from the view of the housewife. This reminds us of the man who sows seed and sleeps at
night. Jesus said that "the seed sprouts and grows tall, just how [the man] does not know." (Mark 4: 27) What a simple way to illustrate the unseen progression of spiritual growth! We may not see the growth initially, but eventually its results become manifest.
initially...eventually, yes for the last 129 years, the WTS organization has said SOON.
Q 14. What aspect of the preaching work is illustrated by the fact that the leaven ferments the whole mass?
14. Not only is this growth unseen to human eyes but it is also pervasive. This is another aspect emphasized in the illustration of the leaven. The leaven ferments the whole mass, all "three large measures of flour." (Luke 13:21) Like leaven, the Kingdom preaching work that has prompted this spiritual growth has expanded to the point that the Kingdom is now being preached "to the most distant part of the earth." (Acts 1:8; Matt. 24:14) What a wonderful privilege it is to be part of this amazing expansion of the Kingdom work!
Most distant part--China, India, Muslim countries? Does the WTS even teach that individuals have to be reached?
w65 9/15 pp. 575-576 Questions from Readers
Since millions of persons in China and other places have never heard the Kingdom message, will these people be preserved through the destruction of Babylon the Great and the war of Armageddon, or perhaps be resurrected later??H.S., U.S.A.
But some persons, appreciating that millions of people are to be resurrected and given an opportunity to serve God, wonder if the millions of individuals living today who apparently have never heard the Kingdom message preached will be everlastingly destroyed without ever having had a witness about God?s purposes?. So, if it is Jehovah?s will to have this message personally carried to the millions on earth who seemingly have not yet heard it, that will be accomplished. If he chooses, he could see to it that this message is spread in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Jesus did foretell that "this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:14) We can rest assured that God will see that the preaching work is done to his satisfaction. After that "the end" comes.
*** w00 1/15 p. 13 par. 17 “Keep on the Watch” ***
Fifth, we see a global preaching work being accomplished, which Jesus said would take place just before the end of this system. Jesus stated: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Today, that prophecy is in the course of fulfillment on an unprecedented scale. True, untouched territories still exist, and it may be that in
Jehovah’s due time, a large door leading to greater activity will open. (1 Corinthians 16:9) Nevertheless, the Bible does not state that Jehovah will wait until every individual on earth has received a personal witness. Rather, the good news must be preached to Jehovah’s satisfaction. Then the end will come.—Compare Matthew 10:23.
Q 15, 16. (a) Summarize the illustration of the dragnet. (b) What does the dragnet represent, and to what aspect of Kingdom growth does this illustration allude?
15. More important than the number of those who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ is the quality of those disciples. Jesus alludes to this aspect of Kingdom growth when he gives another illustration, one about a dragnet. He said: "Again the kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet let down into the sea and gathering up fish of every kind." -Matt. 13:47.
Have we seen an increase in the "quality" of jws? How many even after 10 years can explain the trinity, 1914, blood transfusions without running to a WT publication or elder? In the 1950's there were 8 scripture presentations and the "written" review was not handed out before the test night. How many would meet to "witness" for about 45 minutes before the book study? How many want to take the time to conduct studies with people, not even their own children?
16. The dragnet, which represents the Kingdom-preaching work, gathers fish of every kind. Jesus goes on to say: "When [the dragnet] got full they hauled it up onto the beach and, sitting down, they collected the fine ones into vessels, but the unsuitable they threw away. That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things: the angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous and will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be." -Matt. 13:48-50.
While the dragnet is said to gather fish of every kind, how many jws avoid certain territories, elders that do "drive bys" having decided the individual would not listen anyway?
Q 17. The separating mentioned in the illustration of the dragnet refers to what time period?
17. Does this separating refer to the final judgment of the sheep and the goats that Jesus said would occur when he arrived in his glory? (Matt. 25:31-33) No. That final judgment will occur at Jesus' coming during the great tribulation. By contrast, the separating referred to in the illustration of the dragnet occurs during "the conclusion of the system of things".* This is the time in which we are now living-the days leading up to the great tribulation. So how is a separating work taking place now?
* Although Matthew 13:39-43 refers to a different aspect of the Kingdom-preaching work, the time of its fulfillment parallels the time of the fulfillment of the dragnet illustration. namely, during "the conclusion of the system of things." The separating of the symbolic fish is an ongoing process, just as the sowing and harvesting work is continual throughout this time period.- The Watchtower October 15, 2000, pages 25-26; Worship the Only True God, pages 178-181, paragraphs 8-11.
Q 18, 19. (a) How is a separating work taking place now? (b) What step must honest hearted ones take? (See also footnote on page 21.)
18. Literally millions of symbolic fish from the sea of humanity have been attracted to Jehovah's congregation in modern times, Some attend the Memorial, others come to our meetings, and still others are happy to study the Bible, But do all of these prove to be genuine Christians? They may be "hauled up onto the beach," but Jesus tells us that only "the fine ones" are gathered into vessels, which represent Christian congregations, The unsuitable are thrown away, eventually to be cast into a symbolic fiery furnace, denoting future destruction.
Jehovah's congregation...vessels--only the WTS and jws--Where's Jesus in this picture?
So attending the memorial, meetings, study the Bible (WT publications really) aren't genuine Christians (only jws)?
19. As with the unsuitable fish, many who once studied the Bible with Jehovah's people have stopped studying. Some born to Christian parents have never really wanted to become footstep followers of Jesus, They have been unwilling to make the decision to serve Jehovah or after serving him for a while have ceased doing so,* (Ezek. 33:32, 33) It is imperative, though, that all honest hearted ones allow themselves to be gathered
into the vessel like congregations before the final day of judgment and to remain in a place of safety.
* Does this mean that everyone who has stopped studying or associating with Jehovah's people has been thrown away as unsuitable by the angels? No! If someone sincerely desires to return to Jehovah, he will find the way open.-Mal 3:7.
Notice the categories:
studied the Bible (WT publications) with Jehovah's people (only jws--Christians???) and stopped,
born to Christian (jw) parents never really wanted to become footstep followers of Jesus (actually footstep followers of the WTS)
Serving for awhile (baptized) have ceased doing so
Unsuitable...No--this indicates to me that inactive jws are not yet viewed as DA material. It does bother me that they talk about returning to
"Jehovah" where is Jesus in this picture.
20, 21. (a) What have we learned from reviewing Jesus' illustrations concerning growth? (b) What are you determined to do?
20. So, 'what have we learned from our brief review of Jesus' illustrations concerning growth? First, like the growth of the mustard grain, there has been a tremendous growth in the Kingdom interests here on earth, Nothing can stop the spread of Jehovah's work! (Isa. 54:17) Additionally, spiritual protection has been provided for those who have sought "lodging under [the tree's] shadow:' Second, it is God who makes it grow, Just as the hidden leaven spread through the whole mass, this growth has not always been readily discernible or understood, but spread it does! Third, not all those who responded have proved themselves suitable. Some have been like the unsuitable fish in Jesus' illustration.
tremendous growth...in comparison to other religions?
So who really are the unsuitable fish....doesn't one have to assume first that only the WTS has God's endorsement?
21. How encouraging, though, it is to see so many suitable ones being drawn by Jehovah! (John 6:44) This has resulted in spectacular increases in country after country, All glory for this growth goes to Jehovah God. Witnessing this, each of us should be motivated to obey the admonition written centuries ago: "In the morning sow your seed.....for you are not knowing where this will have success, either here or there, or whether both of them will alike be good:'-Eccl. 11:6,
The CO did say that if it weren't for the increases in the Spanish-speaking congregations in the US (other languages too), the US would be posting a decrease the last few years. Do any oldtimers remember the Theocratic News in the KM where the increases were posted? They stopped doing that and they stopped posting the "increases" in Japan, their poster child. But no longer.
How Would You Answer?
What does Jesus' illustration about the mustard grain teach us about Kingdom growth and spiritual protection?
What does the leaven in Jesus' illustration represent, and what truth about Kingdom growth does Jesus highlight?
What aspect of Kingdom growth is pointed out in the illustration of the dragnet?
How can we make sure that we remain among those who have been 'collected into vessels'?
The "field ministry" is not what it used to be. How many of us remember the enthusiasm prior to 1975 when jws thought the end was nigh and their survival into the paradise was assured if they were energetic? Remember too that the US was in the midst of the Vietnam Conflict and many young male jws were pioneering and trying to get into Bethel for that golden protection from being drafted or having to go to prison. The 6-month study program with the blue Truth book showed to us that the end was very near. Here it is 33 years later and the WTS is having to drum up interest in "preaching and teaching" constantly changing the primary textbook (not the Bible) to keep the interest in the rank and file. I can remember the days when you had to have a regular bible study to be accepted as a regular pioneer. No more.