Watchtower April, 2017 Overview
I'll start with the first study article.
This study article deals with vows made to Jehovah. Three main vows are discussed.
1) Your dedication to Jehovah. We are told that it is not possible to claim that our baptism was not valid
There is no way to undo a dedication vow, taking back what we promised God. If a person tires of serving Jehovah or of living a Christian way of life, he cannot claim that he was never really dedicated and that his baptism was invalid. To all intents and purposes, he presented himself as one who was wholly dedicated to God. He will be accountable before Jehovah and the congregation for any serious sins that he may commit. (Rom. 14:12) Considering the steps that the elders take to be sure that a person is qualified for baptism, it would be extremely rare for anyone’s baptism to be invalid.
Naturally Romans 14:12 talks about us being accountable to God. They do not quote any scripture that supports the idea that we are accountable to the congregation for serious sins committed. The text also explains that Elders are able to read minds in the majority of cases.
2)The marriage vow. We are once again told the only grounds for divorce
Jesus taught that the only Scriptural ground for dissolving a marriage vow is when an innocent mate chooses not to forgive an adulterous partner. (Matt 19:9
The Bible mentions nothing about not forgiving an adulterous partner, only that adultery is grounds for divorce.
They then discuss separation. However, they do not set the rules here since the Bible does not set the rules. Instead they tell us what some Christians personally decide are grounds.
The Bible does not set out grounds for marital separation. However, some married Christians have viewed certain situations as a reason for separation, such as the extreme endangerment of one’s life or spirituality by an abusive or apostate spouse.
By all appearances they seemed to have eased up about making rules about when separation could be considered. The Watchtower 1990 4/1 made it clear that there were rules.
And while there are extreme cases where divorce or separation might be allowed, the Bible says that in general the marriage bond is for life.
This may be the first time that they have mentioned that individuals separate due to extreme endangerment of one’s spirituality by an apostate spouse. Given the number of JW that so freely separate due to apostasy, there must be a lot of JWs who are so shaky and vulnerable in regards to their spirituality. This reflects very badly on the organization.
3)The vow of special full time servants. These slaves are reminded of their non biblical vow that they signed.
They are all bound by a “Vow of Obedience and Poverty,” with which they agree to do whatever is assigned to them in the advancement of Kingdom interests, to live a simple lifestyle, and to abstain from secular employment without permission. It is not the people but their assignments that are viewed as special.
Of course these slaves shouldn’t think of themselves as special, it is only their organizational work that is special.
Shockingly they claim that this vow (which clearly lists the legal entity under which the promise is made to) is not to this organization but it is to God.
The failure to keep one’s word to Jehovah and to pay a vow may have serious consequences.
Legal department in full swing!
Yup the "apostate spouse" thing is a nice little addition for the control freaks to let the "innocent" mate dump his/her marriage mate.
The next article is headed “What will go when God’s Kingdom Comes?”
It’s amazing how many times the sheep need to be told what is supposed to happen but here we go again.
They tell us that this wicked world is like a ‘Dead Man Walking’. Nothing like getting a bit theatrical about it all.
We are then told what is included in ‘this world’ that will be passing away. They are wicked people, corrupt organizations, wrong activities, and distressful conditions.
Wicked people include violent bullies, hateful bigots, and vicious criminals, The article states
Some ofthose are openly wicked; others are impostors, hiding what they do under an appearance of righteousness. Even if we ourselves have not been victims, such wicked people still affect us. We are sickened at heart when we learn of their horrible acts. The way the wicked brutalize children, the elderly, and other defenseless ones fills us with horror. Wicked people exhibit a spirit that seems subhuman, animalistic, even demonic.
Lumping hateful bigots into this is strange (violent hateful bigots are another matter) , especially when it could be shown that they themselves have been accused of this for one thing or another. Calling them demonic is pretty nasty.
They make it sound that only the truelly wicked ones, who don’t change their ways will be the ones destroyed but as the article continues on it is clear that they mean all those who do not accept Jehovah’s teachings and guidance.
In the next topic regarding organizations they could easily be talking about themselves in regards to deceiving followers and accruing millions of dollars whilst poor ones struggle.
Regarding organizations, these questions are asked
What will replace corrupt organizations? After Armageddon, will there be any organization on earth?... They will be replaced by what? The expression “new heavens and a new earth” means that there will be a new government and a new earthly society over which that government rules. The Kingdom under Jesus Christ will perfectly reflect the personality of Jehovah God, who is a God of order. (1 Cor. 14:33) So the “new earth” will be organized. There will be good men to care for matters. (Ps. 45: 16) They will be directed by Christ and his 144,000 corulers. Imagine a time when all corrupt organizations will be replaced by a single, unified, and incorruptible organization!
Hold on, is there is going to be a new organization or will his current earthly organization just expand to include all of society? They’ve said in the past that Jesus is leader over this earthly organization. They talk as if this current earthly organization will be replaced by a new society yet the “New World Society” is supposed to already be in existence.
We are told what sort of activities will replace the bad activities of this current world.
The Paradise earth will be bustling with happy activity
The world will be a wonderful paradise but sadly we are informed that it may be that locks and keys will still be required
And with crime gone, there will be no security industry, no alarm systems, no police forces, perhaps no locks or keys!
No doubt the earthly leaders will want to lock those new scrolls away from prying eyes or their organizational manuals.
The study article ends by telling us that salvation can only be assured by staying close to the organization.
do everything in your power to stay close to Jehovah God and his organization during these stressful last days!..... That way, you can be sure that you will not pass away with this condemned old world
The next study article is headed “The Judge of All the Earth” Always Does What Is Right, however it has little to do with God’s judging.
The article discusses injustices occurring within the congregation and how faithful servants are not surprised or stumbled when injustices occur and should wait on Jehovah rather than take matters into their own hands.
This advice is given
prayerful reliance on Jehovah, combined with loyalty, will prevent us from ever becoming “enraged against Jehovah.”—... he should be careful not to engage in harmful gossip. Of course, it is entirely proper to seek assistance from the elders and to inform them if a member of the congregation is guilty of a serious wrong. (Lev. 5:1) However, in many cases that do not involve serious wrongdoing, it may be possible to resolve a difference without involving anyone else, not even the elders. (Read Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:15.)
Note that they use a scripture that only applied to the Israelites in support of their idea that JWs should inform on those who have committed serious sins.
In the closing paragraphs we find that we are likely to blame for percieved injustices.
At the same time, we modestly acknowledge that we likely do not have all the facts. We are keenly aware that the fault may lie in our imperfect view of matters.
The next article deals in the situation where elders are at fault for injustices. These injustices include major problems such as the wrongful disfellowshipping of a husband/wife/son/daughter/close friend. The solution is to demonstrate humility.
First, humility will move us to acknowledge that we do not have all the facts. No matter how much we know of a situation, only Jehovah can read a person’s figurative heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) Our awareness of this undeniable truth will prompt us to be humble, to recognize our limitations, and to adjust our view of the matter. Second, humility will help us to be submissive and patient as we wait on Jehovah to correct any true injustice. It is as the wise man wrote: “It will turn out well for those who fear the true God . . . , but it will not turn out well for the wicked one, nor will he prolong his days.” (Eccl. 8:12, 13) Certainly, a humble response is in the best spiritual interests of all concerned.—Read 1 Peter 5:5.
Also forgiving the Elder is another solution. There is virtually no arrangements for family to discuss with Elders the reasons for their decisions and facts of the case.
If a brother who sins against you continues to serve as an elder or even receives additional privileges, will you rejoice with him? Your willingness to forgive may well reflect Jehovah’s view of justice.—Read Matthew 6:14, 15.Basically servants are told to shut up and accept the abuse no matter how long it lasts.
"Extreme dangerment to ones spirituality" is grounds for separation the Watchtower says.
What a self-serving joke.
In other words, if your spouse is being disloyal to the organisation and this is discouraging you and causing you to become less active or have doubts, ditch them. Separate.
"extreme endangerment of one’s life or spirituality by an abusive or apostate spouse."
In the past, living with an abusive spouse was not a big problem; put up and shut up. But if you couple "abusive" with the word "apostate", then that's a big problem.
"...acknowledge that we do not have all the facts"
no truer words than that
The JWs never have all the facts. And neither does anyone else, including courts, police, the public....nobody has all "the facts"
And that first article means no backing down on our dedication to joke-hova? Suppose you find out that thing is nothing more than scum, that it deceived you to get you to make that dedication only to slam the door on you once you are in. Now, you are working to enslave the whole human race. Anyone spreading that damnation book is in fact doing that. You were never told that when you joined that organization.