Comments You Will Not Hear at the 12-12-10 WT Study (OCTOBER 15, 2010, pages 7-11)(RIGHTEOUSNESS)
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K EEP O N S EEKING F IRST
“ H IS R IGHTEOUSNESS”
“Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these other things will be added to you.” —MATT. 6:33.
WTS = GOD
START OF ARTICLE
1, 2. What is God’s righteousness, and upon what
is it based?
“K EEP ON , then, seeking first the kingdom.”
(Matt. 6:33) This admonition given by Jesus Christ
in his Sermon on the Mount is well-known
by Jehovah’s Witnesses today. In every aspect
of our lives, we endeavor
to show that we love that Kingdom
government and want to be loyal to it. But
we must also keep in mind the second part
of this expression, namely, “and his righteousness.”
What is God’s righteousness, and what does it mean to seek it first?
Well-known by Jehovah’s Witnesses…implies that not well-known by non-jws
The word government is not even in the bible; why does the WTS feel compelled to add that word after “Kingdom”? Do they feel that non-jws don’t understand what a kingdom is?
2 The original-language words for “righteousness”
can also be translated “justice”
or “uprightness.” Hence, God’s righteousness
is uprightness according to his personal
standards and values. As the Creator, Jehovah has
the right to set the standard for what
is good and what is bad, what is right and
what is wrong. (Rev. 4:11) God’s righteousness,
however, is not a cold, rigid set of laws
or an endless list of rules and regulations.
Rather, it is based on Jehovah’s personality
and his cardinal attribute of justice together
with his other cardinal attributes of love,
wisdom, and power. God’s righteousness,
then, is linked with his will and purpose. It
includes what he expects of those who desire
to serve him.
What “original-language words”? Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek? What are those words? What else can they be translated besides justice or uprightness?
If we bake a cake, do we have the right to set all standards for all other cake bakers?
“not a cold, rigid set of laws or an endless list of rules and regulations” but the Pharisees made the so and the WTS does today. Have you ever looked up the requirements for an elder in the WT Index? What is the past and new elder’s manual but a cold, rigid set of laws and an endless list of rules and regulations?
3. (a) What does it mean to seek first God’s righteousness?
(b) Why do we uphold Jehovah’s righteous
3 What does it mean to seek first God’s
righteousness? Simply stated, it means to do
God’s will in order to please him. Seeking his
righteousness includes trying to live according
to his values and perfect standards and
not our own. (Read Romans 12:2.) This way
of life involves our very relationship with Jehovah.
It is not a matter of obeying his laws
out of fear of punishment. Rather, our love
for God motivates us to endeavor to please
him by upholding his standards, not establishing
our own. We realize that this is the
right thing to do, the very thing that we
have been designed to do. Like Jesus Christ,
the King of God’s Kingdom, we must love
righteousness.—Heb. 1:8, 9.
Simple? What is God’s will, what pleases him, where does the bible say that or must we depend on WTS explanations which are rigid rules and regulations?
Does the WTS establish their own standards apart from God’s…once it was wrong to have an organ transplant, then in 1980 is was “right.” It wasn’t until 1947 that the WTS made polygamy “wrong” in Africa.
Notice how the WTS does not comment on Hebrews 1:8?
Hebrews 1:8 (NASB)
But of the Son He says,
"YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER,
AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM
4. Why is it so important to seek God’s righteousness?
4 How important is it to seek Jehovah’s
righteousness? Consider this fact: The original
test in the garden of Eden was based on
whether Adam and Eve would accept Jehovah’s
right to set standards or not. (Gen. 2:
17; 3:5) Their failure to do so has brought
misery and death upon us as their descendants.
(Rom. 5:12) On the other hand, God’s
Word states: “He that is pursuing righteousness
and loving-kindness will find life, righteousness
and glory.” (Prov. 21:21) Yes, seeking
first God’s righteousness results in a
harmonious relationship with Jehovah that,
in turn, leads to our very salvation.—Rom. 3:
Were Adam and Eve being tested or the angel?
God is going to kill eternally minor children and the unborn children of non-jws at Armageddon although they had no chance to make a personal decision. Why was God concerned about the unborn children of Adam and Eve?
Relationship with Jehovah—what about relationship with Christ?
Our salvation—what about the salvation of others?
The Danger of Becoming Self-Righteous
5. What danger do we need to avoid?
5 In writing to the Christians in Rome, the
apostle Paul highlighted a danger we all
need to avoid if we are to be successful in
seeking first God’s righteousness. Speaking
of his fellow Jews, Paul said: “I bear them
witness that they have a zeal for God; but not
according to accurate knowledge; for, because
of not knowing the righteousness of
God but seeking to establish their own, they
did not subject themselves to the righteousness
of God.” (Rom. 10:2, 3) According to
Paul, those worshippers did not understand
the righteousness of God because they were
too busy trying to establish their own righteousness.
*According to one scholar, the original-language
word translated “to establish” can also mean ‘to erect a
monument.’ So those Jews were, in effect, erecting a figurative
monument to their own praise and not God’s.
What were the Christians in Rome specifically doing to “establish their own…righteousness?
Who is this “scholar”? Why does the WTS not name this person? What is the “original-language word” and why does the WTS leave it out? Oldtimers remember the days of agape, storge, philia, porneia.
6. What attitude should we avoid, and why?
6 One way we could fall into this trap is by
viewing our service to God as a competition,
comparing ourselves to others. This attitude
could easily lead us to become overconfident
as to our abilities. But, really, if we were
to act that way, we would be forgetting Jehovah’s
righteousness. (Gal. 6:3, 4) The correct
motive for doing the right thing is our love
for Jehovah. Any attempts to prove our own
righteousness could invalidate our claim to
love him.—Read Luke 16:15.
Do jws compare themselves to others or does the WTS, pointing to someone with a grave illness, a single mother with six children, a person with a disability, then say they can regular pioneer, why not you!
Who become overconfident of their abilities….elders, COs, DOs, Bethelites, etc.?
How many jws do the “right thing” according to the WTS out of fear of being df’d or losing privileges?
How many jws have to prove their worthiness according to WTS standards not God’s?
7. How did Jesus address the problem of self righteousness?
7 Jesus was concerned about those “who
trusted in themselves that they were righteous
and who considered the rest as nothing.”
He addressed the problem of self righteousness
by relating this illustration:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray,
the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood and began to pray
these things to himself, ‘O God, I thank you
I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous,
adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, I give the tenth of
all things I acquire.’ But the tax collector
standing at a distance was not willing even
to raise his eyes heavenward, but kept beating
his breast, saying, ‘O God, be gracious to
me a sinner.’” Jesus concluded by saying: “I
tell you, This man went down to his home
proved more righteous than that man; because
everyone that exalts himself will be
humiliated, but he that humbles himself
will be exalted.”—Luke 18:9-14.
Doesn’t the WTS consider others as so-called or professed Christians?
Doesn’t the WTS consider theirs the only true religion?
Doesn’t the WTS believe that only jws will survive Armaggeddon?
I fast twice a week—I go to the meetings twice a week
I give the tenth of all the things I acquire—tithing equals preaching, so I send 70 hours a month
8, 9. What does it mean to be “righteous overmuch,”
and to what can it lead us?
8 Another danger that we need to avoid is
described at Ecclesiastes 7:16: “Do not become
righteous overmuch, nor show yourself
excessively wise. Why should you cause desolation
to yourself?” The inspired Bible writer
then goes on, as noted in verse 20, to give
us a reason for avoiding such an attitude:
“For there is no man righteous in the earth
that keeps doing good and does not sin.”
The person who becomes “righteous overmuch”
sets his own standards for righteousness
and judges others by them. Yet, he fails
to realize that by doing so, he is elevating his
standards above those of God and thereby
proving himself to be unrighteous in God’s
Doesn’t the WTS judge by its own standards…beards on men not allowed, etc.
Aren’t they elevating their standards above God’s?
9 Being “righteous overmuch,” or as some
Bible translations put it, being “excessively
righteous” or “over righteous,” could
even cause us to question Jehovah’s way of
handling matters. We need to remember,
though, that if we question the fairness or
rightness of Jehovah’s decisions, we are, in
effect, starting to put our standard of
righteousness above Jehovah’s standard. It is as if
we put Jehovah on trial and judged him by
our own standards of right and wrong. But
Jehovah is the one who has the right to
set the standard for righteousness, not us!
Question God’s way of handling matters? Or the WTS way?
If the WTS puts their standard above God’s and the rank and file jw refuses to do so are they questioning God?
10. As in the case of Job, what might cause us to
10 Although none of us would deliberately
want to judge God, our imperfect nature can
lead us down this path. This can easily happen when
we see something that we view as
unfair or if we personally suffer hardship.
Even the faithful man Job made this mistake.
Job was initially described as “blameless
and upright, and fearing God and turning
aside from bad.” (Job 1:1) But then Job
was beset by a series of calamities that to
him, appeared to be unfair. This led Job to
declare “his own soul righteous rather than
God.” (Job 32:1, 2) Job had to have his viewpoint
corrected. So we should not be surprised
if, at times, we might find ourselves in
a similar situation. If that happens, what can
help us to readjust our thinking?
Unfair because of God or because of human standards in the WTS?
But God knew those calamities were from Satan and God allowed it, let Satan target Job but not kill him but let him kill his ten children.
Remember Job was being accused by his 3 so-called friends of having committed and sin that caused God to bring these evil things on Job.
Doesn’t God himself say in the Bible that he does not test his worshippers with evil things?
James 1:13-14 (New International Version, ©2010)
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
We Do Not Always Have All the Facts
11, 12. (a) If we feel that something is unfair, what
do we need to remember? (b) Why might someone
feel that Jesus’ illustration of the workers in the
vineyard depicts something unfair?
11 The first thing to remember is that we
do not always have all the facts. That was
What lesson do we learn from Jesus’ illustration of the
two men who prayed at the temple?
true in Job’s case. He did not know of the
meetings of the angelic sons of God in heaven
where Satan falsely accused him. (Job 1:
7-12; 2:1-6) Job did not realize that his problems
were actually caused by Satan. In fact,
we cannot be certain that Job even knew the
true identity of Satan! So he wrongly assumed
that his problems were caused by
God. Yes, it is easy to come to the wrong
conclusion when we do not know all the facts.
Did Job wrongly assume that his problems were from God or did his “friends”?
Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Does the WTS have all the facts?
12 Consider, for example, Jesus’ illustration
of the workers in the vineyard. (Read
Matthew 20:8-16.) Here Jesus describes a
householder who pays the same amount of
money to all his workers, whether they
worked the whole day or just one hour. How
do you feel about that? Does that seem fair?
Perhaps you immediately identify with the
workers who worked all day in the hot sun.
Surely they deserved to be paid more! Based
on that conclusion, the householder could
be viewed as being unloving and unfair.
Even his answer to those workers who complained
could appear to be an arbitrary
abuse of authority. But do we have all the
But the WTS does feel that those who do more should get more privileges and honor…elders…double honor.
1 Timothy 5:17 (New International Version, ©2010)
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
13. What other viewpoint could we take with regard
to Jesus’ illustration of the workers in the vineyard?
13 Let us analyze this illustration from another
viewpoint. No doubt the householder
in the illustration realized that all these men
needed to feed their families. In Jesus’ day,
field workers were paid on a daily basis.
Their families relied on the wages paid each
day. With this in mind, think about the
position of those whom the householder
found late in the day and who therefore
worked for only one hour. Perhaps they
would not be able to feed their family with
just one hour’s pay; yet, they had been willing
to work and had waited the whole day to
be employed. (Matt. 20:1-7) It was not their
fault that they were not allowed to work the
entire day. There is no indication that they
deliberately tried to avoid work. Imagine if
you had to wait all day, knowing that others
were dependent on what you would earn
that day. How grateful you would be to get
some work—and how surprised you would
be to receive enough payment to feed your
So long-time jws don’t get more honor than “new” jws?
14. What valuable lesson do we learn from the
14 Now let us reevaluate the actions of the
householder. He did not underpay anyone.
Rather, he treated all the workers as those
having a right to a living. Even though the
situation could be viewed as a buyer’s market,
with no shortage of workers, he did not
take advantage of them by offering less than
what was fair. All his workers returned home
with enough to feed their families. Taking
into consideration these extra details may
change our view of his actions. His decision
was a loving one and not an arbitrary abuse
of authority. What lesson can we learn?
Was it unfair to pay the
11th-hour workers the same as those
who worked the whole day?
That considering just some of the facts can
cause us to jump to the wrong conclusion.
Indeed, this parable highlights the superiority
of God’s righteousness, which is not
based on legal regulations and human merit
The WTS adds to the bible…………….
Buzz Words In Their Literature
This Clearly Shows . . .
What Must One Do . . .
We Might Reasonable Assume. . .
The Bible Plainly Says . . .
Most/Many Scholars . . .
Has Clearly Shown . . .
Isn't It Reasonable To Conclude...
Surely Then . . .
We Have Clearly seen . . .
Truly . . .
The Evidence Shows . . .
Thus, We Can See...
The Evidence Should Be Clear . . .
Obviously . . .
Reasonably, Then . . .
Logically . . .
Thus The Facts Make Clear . . .
Justifiably . . .
Surly This Is Reasonable . . .
Our Viewpoint May Be
Distorted or Limited
15. Why might our viewpoint of fairness be distorted
15 The second factor to remember when
we are faced with a situation that appears to
be unfair is that our viewpoint may be distorted
or limited. It can be distorted by imperfection,
prejudice, or cultural background. It is
also limited by our inability to discern motives
and to know what is really in people’s
hearts. In contrast, both Jehovah and Jesus
have no such limitations.—Prov. 24:12;Matt.
9:4; Luke 5:22.
Distorted by imperfection, prejudice, or cultural background—remember the WTS thought that blacks were not as smart as whites.
Inability to discern motives…in people’s hearts….unless you are an elder sitting on a judicial committee
16, 17. Why may Jehovah not have enforced his
Law on adultery at the time of David’s sin with Bathsheba?
16 Let us analyze the account of David’s
adultery with Bath-sheba. (2 Sam. 11:2-5)
According to the Mosaic Law, they deserved
to be executed. (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22) Although
Jehovah punished them, he did not
enforce his own law. Was that unfair on Jehovah’s
part? Did he show favoritism to David
and violate His own righteous standards?
Some Bible readers have felt that way.
So did he show favoritism? Did God judge any other murderers or adulterers in David’s time as repentant and not deserving of execution?
17 However, this law on adultery was given
by Jehovah to imperfect judges, who could
not read hearts. Despite their limitations,
they were enabled by this law to be consistent
in their judgments. On the other
hand, Jehovah can read hearts. (Gen. 18:25;
1 Chron. 29:17) So we should not expect
that Jehovah would have to be restricted by a
law he designed for imperfect judges. If he
were, would that not be like forcing someone
with perfect vision to wear eyeglasses
that are designed to correct the vision of
those with defective sight? Jehovah could
read the hearts of David and Bath-sheba
and see their genuine repentance. Taking
such a factor into consideration, he judged
them accordingly, in a merciful and loving
Adultery and murder were capital offenses…guilty parties were put to death. Why allow imperfect men to judge anyone if they could not read hearts and made mistakes leading to the death of an innocent person? Why didn’t God do all the direct judging to make sure no one died by mistake?
Continue to Seek
18, 19. What will help us never to judge Jehovah
by our own standards of righteousness?
18 So if at times we see something that we
feel is unfair on Jehovah’s part—whether
we read it in a Bible account or experience
it in our personal life—let us never
judge God by our own standards of righteousness.
Remember that we do not always
have all the facts and that our viewpoint
may be distorted or limited. Never
forget that “man’s wrath does not work out
God’s righteousness.” (Jas. 1:19, 20) In this
way, our hearts will never become “enraged
against Jehovah himself.”—Prov.19:3.
19 Like Jesus, let us always acknowledge
that Jehovah alone has the right to set the
standard for what is righteous and good.
(Mark 10:17, 18) Strive to gain an “accurate
knowledge” or “a real knowledge” of his
standards. (Rom. 10:2; 2 Tim. 3:7, The Twentieth
Century New Testament) By accepting
these and conforming our lives to Jehovah’s
will, we show that we are seeking first “his
Unfair on God’s part or the WTS’ part?
Can we judge the WTS according to God’s standards…if it is not in the bible we don’t follow them?
Conform to God’s will or the WTS’ will?
Do You Remember?
? Why is it important to seek Jehovah’s
? What two dangers do we need to
? How can we seek first God’s righ teousness?
WTS = GOD
Next week, DO YOU TAKE THE LEAD IN HONORING FELLOW BELIEVERS?
“we look for opportunities to be the first in expressing honor to all, including lowly ones.”
So who are the lowly in jw congregations? Isn’t this like the Pharisee earlier looking down on the “sinner” praying?