COMMENTS YOU WILL NOT HEAR AT THE MAY 4, 2003 WT STUDY
March 15, 2003 Watchtower
WTS quotes will be in
Reviewer comments will be in black or parentheses
THE EARLY CHRISTIANS AND THE MOSAIC LAW
Galatians 3:24 (The WTS only uses a snippet here but the whole verse reads)
Galatians 3 (Amplified Bible)
24 So that the Law served [to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith.
Jehovah gave the Israelites a code of laws…if they obeyed his voice…would enjoy happy, satisfying lives.
The WTS also has unofficial laws and directives. The WTS’ voice must be obeyed or they will make sure the rank and file will not enjoy happy lives. Can you think of some of those? No beards, skirts of a certain length, attending all 5 meetings, turning in field service slips….
Furthermore, they were not to mix with or take wives from among the Gentiles who had not submitted to the Law. (Deuteronomy 7:3,4)
But the WTS leaves out verse 1 where it is clear that this is talking about Canaanite tribes, not all Gentiles.
7"When Jehovah your God at last brings you into the land to which you are going so as to take possession of it, he must also clear away populous nations from before you, the
Hit´tites and the Gir´ga·shites and the Am´or·ites and the Ca´naan·ites and the Per´iz·zites and the Hi´vites and the Jeb´u·sites, seven nations more populous and mighty than you are.
So Deuteronomy is only referring to Canaanite women. That explains why at Deuteronomy 21:10-13 it says that Israelite men could marry Gentile women:
"In case you go out to the battle against your enemies and Jehovah your God has given them into your hand and you have carried them away captive; 11 and you have seen among the captives a woman beautiful in form , and you have got attached to her and taken her for your wife , 12 you must then bring her into the midst of your house. She must now shave her head and attend to her nails, 13 and remove the mantle of her captivity from off her and dwell in your house and weep for her father and her mother a whole lunar month; and after that you should have relations with her, and you must take possession of her as your bride, and she must become your wife .
So with a little verse twisting, the WTS makes it seem like that Israelites could not marry all Gentiles under the Law. Actually, only the Canaanite tribes were mentioned.
Once the Christian congregation was formed, therefore, the "tutor"—the Law’’ served no further purpose…But some Jewish Christians were slow to grasp this vital truth…Others, though, adjusted their thinking (note that this phrase or equivalent is a buzzword for the reader to be wary of)…they set a fine example for us today.
EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS IN CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
When Peter had a vision inviting him to eat animals unclean under the law, he was shocked.
Instead of rigidly clinging to the Law, Peter adjusted his view.
Peter was led to Cornelius, an uncircumcised Gentile. Peter may have "adjusted his view" but the holy spirit had to come down on this uncircumcised Gentile before Peter would accept that Cornelius was acceptable to God. (Sidepoint: Note that baptism was not a requirement to receive holy spirit.)
What enabled Peter to conclude that the Gentiles who had not submitted to the Mosaic Law could not become followers of Jesus Christ. Spiritual discernment.
How spiritually discerning would you have to be to see the holy spirit descend on a person and this one start exhibiting the gifts of the holy spirit? It didn’t take a biblical giant to "discern" God’s hand in the matter!
The WTS again says:
If you had lived back then, would you have been as willing as Peter to adjust your viewpoint?
But did Peter’s viewpoint stay adjusted? At Galatians 2: 11-14 it says:
However, when Ce´phas came to Antioch, I resisted him face to face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before the arrival of certain men from James, he used to eat with people of the nations; but when they arrived, he went withdrawing and separating himself, in fear of those of the circumcised class. 13 The rest of the Jews also joined him in putting on this pretense, so that even Bar´na·bas was led along with them in their pretense. 14 But when I saw they were not walking straight according to the truth of the good news, I said to Ce´phas before them all: "If you, though you are a Jew, live as the nations do, and not as Jews do, how is it that you are compelling people of the nations to live according to Jewish practice?"SOME KEPT FOLLOWING THE "TUTOR"
The issue of circumcision being required for the Gentiles was again discussed in 49 CE. But notice how the WTS uses the phrase "Christian governing body" with some scriptures following as if this phrase occurs anywhere in the Bible.AN HONEST DIFFERENCE OF OPINION—THEN, UNITY! All eyes were now on the governing body (again nothing scriptural about this phrase).These faithful men were determined to follow the Scriptures and the leadings of God’s holy spirit.
What are the leadings of God’s holy spirit. Were these men inspired to have special understanding? The only scriptures they had were the Hebrew Scriptures. The only real evidence of the holy spirit was when Peter met with Cornelius and his family and outward evidence of the holy spirit was seen.
How does the WTS describe it:*** w00 4/1 p. 10 How Does God’s Spirit Operate Today? ***
The modern-day organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses has remained sensitive to the leadings of God’s holy spirit for well over a century now. As Jehovah’s spirit progressively enlightens their spiritual vision, the Witnesses willingly make the needed adjustments to conform to updated understanding.—Proverbs 4:18.Those Christians who submitted to clear theocratic direction were blessed with a solid, scriptural answer. WHAT ABOUT JEWISH CHRISTIANS Some Jewish Christians who were "zealous for the Law" continued circumcising their children and observing certain features of the Law.There is no evidence that this matter was clarified at a meeting of the governing body.
Why not? Wasn’t it already decided?Guidance came, not in the form of a letter from the governing body, but in additional inspired letters written by the apostles.
But then why was the meeting with the "governing body" necessary in the first instance? Why were the words of Paul not valid then?SLOW TO GRASP THE POINT Jewish Christians failed to get the point…lacked spiritual discernment…irregular in attendance at Christian meetings.
Then the WTS says:These men wanted to be viewed as respectable, as members of a mainstream religion…make almost any compromise in order to blend in.
Hasn’t the WTS made such a compromise in Bulgaria:
II. Concerning the position of Jehovah's Witnesses on blood, the petitioner undertakes to draft a statement which will become part of the bylaws of Jehovah's Witnesses of Bulgaria, in view of their registration, stipulating that:
2.1. - les patients Témoins de Jéhovah recourent systématiquement aux soins médicaux pour eux-mêmes et leurs enfants ; il appartient à chacun d'entre eux d'utiliser son libre arbitre, sans aucun contrôle et sanction de la part de la requérante ;
2.1 - Jehovah's Witness patients resort to the use of the medical system for themselves and their children; each member having the right to make use of this [medical system] freely at their own discretion,without any controls or sanctions on the part of the petitioner; (EMPHASIS OURS)
2.2. - s'agissant du respect de la législation sanitaire bulgare, l'association chrétienne les Témoins de Jéhovah de Bulgarie s'engage à respecter son application, y compris :
2.2 - acting according to the Bulgarian health legislation, the Christian Association of Jehovah's Witnesses in Bulgaria undertakes to respect the application of said legislation, which comprises:
2.2.1. - en ne fournissant pas de déclaration préalable de refus de transfusion de sang aux personnes mineures;
2.2.1 - to not furnish an advance medical directive refusing blood transfusions to minor persons; [this means that baptized and unbaptized minors will be prohibited from carrying a no-blood card ]
2.2.2. - en ce qui concerne les personnes majeures, en observant les dispositions de ladite législation et en reconnaissant à chaque individu la liberté de choix.
2.2.2 - concerning persons who have achieved the age of majority, in observing the dispositions of said legislation recognizes that each individual retains the freedom of choice.APPLYING THE LESSON TODAYIf I had lived at that time, how would I have responded as God’s will was progressively revealed (buzz phrase; see Proverbs 4:18)?Would I have rigidly held to traditional views? Or would I have been patient until the proper understanding became clear? And when it did, would I have wholeheartedly supported it?
Is the WTS chastising it some of its members for criticizing it regarding recent changes regarding the 1914 generation, the change in the blood doctrine regarding what is a fraction and can they be taken, the change in the alternative service doctrine? Or is it preparing the rank and file for even more drastic "adjustments" such as dropping 1914 chronology altogether?How do I respond to clarifications in the Bible understanding when they are presented today? (followed by the ominous Matthew 24:45, faithful and discreet slave scripture).
When Scriptural direction is provided (can you name the scriptures used for changing the alternative service doctrine? No peeking), do I try to apply it, observing not only the letter of the law but the spirit of it?Do I patiently wait on Jehovah when answers to lingering questions seem slow in coming?When Jehovah provides direction by means of his Word, his spirit, and his earthly organization (a WTS trinity), let us listen carefully.
And what if the direction from the earthly organization does not agree with his word or his spirit? Should we put imperfect human men on the same plane as God’s word and his spirit?Concluding Comments
It is apparent to me from this article that there is unrest in the ranks. People are not automatically following in lockstep behind the elders, COs and DOs. Perhaps these men themselves are not quickly following the directives of the WTS. Blind obedience is slipping away.
Do not give over your responsibility to make sure of the more important things to anyone.