The organization of the church is clearly set forth in the Bible. Jesus is its Head, and it is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the “chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20) In Ephesians 4:11 Paul informs us that the Lord has also supplied evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These have been valuable helpers, but none of them has been inspired in the sense of never making a mistake in expounding the Word of God.

These lesser servants in the church, given the general title of “elders,” are appointed by the local congregations of the Lord’s people. According to the Bible, these appointments are made by a vote of the congregation and not by a centralized authority, as in Papacy. In Acts 14:23, the word “ordained” is used in this connection, and it is translated from a Greek word which, according to Professor Young, means “to appoint by vote.”

In this end of the age, as in times past, a departure from this method of appointing local servants has led to unscriptural dictatorship among the people of God.

In the messages to the “seven churches,” recorded in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation (Revelation 2- 3), an “angel,” or special messenger, is mentioned in connection with each of the congregations named. In Luke 12:42- 44 a special servant is mentioned by Jesus, one whom the Lord would raise up when he returned for the purpose of dispensing “meat In due season” to the “household” of faith. —Mt 24:45-47 These various servants of the church have, in the Lord’s providence, been a rich blessing to the household of faith, and the proof that they have been the Lord’s choice has been the joy which the truths they taught have brought into the hearts and lives of the Lord’s people. None of them has in any sense been the successor of another like servant, but each has been raised up at the proper time to serve the church according to its needs at the time.

The special servant mentioned by Jesus who would be raised up to serve the household of faith at the end of the age is obviously one individual who would be used by the Lord to serve the entire “household.” This servant is riot a class, or group, neither a society, or organization, for the very simple reason that he is mentioned in conjunction with fellow servants. If “that servant” is an organization, then it would be serving other organizations. If it were a class, then the other servants would also be classes, or groups.

The Greek word translated “ruler” in Jesus’ promise that a faithful steward would be made ruler to serve the “household” with “meat in due season” means to “set down” or to place. It does not imply that the faithful steward would rule his fellow servants or exercise lordship over them in any way. His only assignment was to serve his brethren with the “meat in due season,” which the Lord himself would provide through the written Word at the time of his return.

And what is this spiritual food which was served in “due season”? Throughout the Gospel Age the Lord’s people maintained their hopes of a heavenly reward. Truths pertaining to Christ’s return, the “harvest” which is the “end of the age,” the establishment and work of the kingdom were not vital to their needs. But when our Lord did return, these dispensational truths became essential “meat in due season.” During the age it was not the “due time” to proclaim the glorious kingdom hope of “restitution.” But when Christ returned, it was; and in order that this might be included in the witness work of the household of faith, this fundamental truth was restored, and the Lord’s faithful servants have been proclaiming it for almost a hundred years.

The determining of just whom the Lord has used as one or another of his special servants has not been a matter of interpretation or of saying arbitrarily that this or that one has been the Lord’s choice. Rather, it is a matter of discovering from the Bible the nature of the message that was due at any given time, and then noting whom the Lord used to deliver that message. Thus it is in connection with “that servant.” Pastor Russell was the one used to announce the presence of Christ, the work of harvest, the imminence of the kingdom, and the glorious hope of restitution for the world. For this he was hated by nominal churchianity. He was persecuted because he taught that the love and grace of Jehovah extended to the unrighteous dead and that they would be given an opportunity to obtain life when awakened from the sleep of death during the Millennium.

It was this loving message of the grace of Jehovah, this voice of God spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began, that helped to identify Pastor Russell as the one specially used at this end of the age as “that servant.” Obviously his fellow servants delight to proclaim the same glorious Gospel of love. To the extent that they have cooperated in the work of proclaiming this same message the Lord has blessed them—not by large numbers of followers, nor by establishing an imposing institution—but by giving them rejoicing hearts as they sacrifice their all in proclaiming the good news of the “restitution of all things.”

In view of the fact that Pastor Russell died So many years ago, some might ask if we should not now look for another special servant, either an individual or a society. No, this is not necessary, nor is it indicated in the Word of God. Jesus, the Head of the church, is its chief instructor, and we still depend upon the record of what he said more than nineteen centuries ago. New apostles were not needed for the church when the original twelve died. The writings of Paul and Peter and the others are just as vital to us today as they were to the Early Church.

And we still have the glorious message of present truth which that “faithful and wise servant” had found in the Word of God. This message, which continues to live in the hearts of God’s people, is the important consideration; and Brother Russell is still “that servant” to those who continue to rejoice in the doctrines which he had found in his study of the Bible.

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The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats also applies to the kingdom period. Its introduction shows this—”When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” (Matthew 25:31) The Greek word here translated “angels” means “messengers.” It is variously used in the Bible, referring at times to human beings as servants, and at other times to spirit beings, and at times, even to Inanimate things. Paul referred to his partial blindness as “a messenger of Satan.”—2Co 12:7 The “angels” of this parable, who sit with Jesus In the throne of his glory, are the members of his glorified led church. Paul wrote, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2) In Matthew 19:28 Jesus promised his disciples that they would sit on thrones judging the “twelve tribes of Israel.” But Israel will be only one of the nations to be judged thus by Jesus and his church, when together they sit upon the throne of his glory. (Revelation 3:21) As the parable shows, “all nations” will then be judged by them.

In his sermon on Mars’ Hill, Paul stated that God had appointed a day when he would judge the world in righteousness and had given assurance of this unto “all men” by raising Jesus from the dead to be the righteous judge. (Acts 17:31) This appointed “day” was not in Paul’s time. The people were not then on trial before Christ and will not be until the kingdom is established.

The work of judgment is also referred to in a prophecy recorded by Micah, chapter 4, verses 1 to 4. Micah shows that it will take place after the “mountain of the house of the Lord” is established in the “top of the mountains.” Has this yet occurred? Is the Lord’s kingdom today dominating all the nations of the earth? Surely not! The kingdom class is not controlling world affairs but instead is suffering persecution and must be subservient to worldly governments and depend upon their courts for the administration of justice.

When the kingdom of the Lord is established, the law will not go forth from human governments or from man- made institutions but from “Zion.” And the word of the Lord will go forth from “Jerusalem.” Not until then will the Lord “judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off.” Not until then will the nations “beat their swords into  plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks.” Not until then will they cease to “lift up sword against nation,” and learn war no more. Not until then will it be true that “none shall make them afraid.”

What wonderful changes there will be in human experience when the Lord judges among the nations! Who could possibly presume to say that this work of judgment is now going on? Are the nations now beating their swords into plowshares? Have they ceased to lift up swords against one another? Is the world enjoying the full economic security represented in this prophecy by the symbol of “every man” sitting under vine and fig tree?

And above all, is it true today, as this prophecy declares it will be when the Lord is judging among the nations, that there are none to “make afraid”? Never before has the world been So filled with fear. It is the time foretold by Jesus when men’s hearts would be “failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth.” (Luke 21:26) No, this is not the world’s judgment day! The “sheep” are  not now being separated from the “goats.”

It is true that this parable was given by Jesus as one of the signs of his second presence. But we should remember that his presence lasts for more than a thousand years, and that the ultimate purpose of his return is the restoration of those for whom he died at his first advent. So the judgment- day work, while one of the signs of his presence, is a sign which has not yet appeared. We are witnessing the “distress of nations with perplexity,” but not their enlightenment and blessing. But when that judgment work does begin, it will continue until all who prove worthy during that thousand- year age will hear the Master say to them, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”—the kingdom, or dominion, given to our first parents. —Mt 25:34; Genesis 1:28 The use of the word “blessed” in the Master’s statement, “Come, ye blessed of my Father,” is most significant.

Beginning with Abraham, God continued to promise the future blessing of all the “families,” or “nations,” of the earth. And now, at the close of the final judgment or trial day, the thousand- year kingdom day, we find Jesus saying to those who pass successfully through that trial, “Come, ye blessed of my Father.” These are the ones, in other words, whom the Father promised to bless and who will then be blessed.

Jehovah promised to “bless,” these families, or nations, through the “Seed” of Abraham. Jesus, the Head of that “seed” class, first died to redeem them. Then he comes In the throne of his glory, his church with him, to administer the blessings he provided through his death, the blessings of”restitution,”of “regeneration,”of”resurrection.” God commanded our first parents to multiply and fill the earth and to have dominion over it. He knew that this would be done, and to emphasize the triumph of Jehovah’s loving purpose toward man, the invitation will be extended, “Come, inherit the dominion prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The ones for whom it was originally prepared are the ones who will finally receive it—the “blessed” of the Father.

Jehovah’s love for the sin- cursed and dying race has been made operative through the gift of his Son to be man’s Redeemer. In John 3:16 we read, “God So loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This text limits the receiving of everlasting life to those who “believe.” But, as Paul asks, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) And the same apostle also explains that the “god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) This indicates that as long as Satan continues to rule this “present evil world,” even those who do hear the Gospel imperfectly presented do not have a fair opportunity to believe.

One of the biblical words used to describe the redemptive work of Christ is “ransom,” and Paul explains that a knowledge of the ransom will be testified to all in due time. To Timothy he wrote: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there Is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the ma Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—1Ti 2:3- 6

The sequence stated in this text is most revealing. Paul says that it is God’s will that all shall first be “saved” and then come to a “knowledge of the truth.” So far as eternal salvation is concerned, it must be based upon a knowledge 01 the “ransom for all” and a belief and obedience in harmony therewith. What, then, does Paul mean by being “saved’ before  coming to a knowledge of the truth? Obviously this is reference to the fact that in order to have a genuine opportunity to know about the “ransom for all,” the entire unbelieving world will need to be “saved,” or awakened from the sleep of death.

It will be after the people are awakened from death, as Paul indicates, that the glorious truth of the ransom and the manner in which is gives evidence of God’s love will be testified” to them. That will be the “due time” when the “sea” will be converted unto the Lord. Satan, the great deceiver, will then be bound, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. Then the way will be made plain, So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”—Isa 35:8 The word “ransom” means a price to correspond, or a price to offset. When Adam sinned he was a perfect man, the “son of God.” (Luke 3:38) God’s just law, demanding an “eye for an eye,”a”tooth for a tooth,”a”life for a life,”meant that if Adam was to be redeemed another perfect man would have to take his place in death. (Exodus 21:23,24; Deuteronomy 19:21) It was for this purpose that Jesus was made flesh—a perfect human being, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.’ ‘—Gal 4:4; Hebrews 7:26 The claim has been made that Adam was not redeemed by the blood of Christ because he was a willful sinner. The fact is that if Adam had not sinned willfully God could have forgiven him without a ransom. It was because God loved him despite his willful sin that, in order to give him another opportunity for life, he sent Jesus to be a ransom for him. Addressing those who have believed on Jesus and have already accepted the provisions of the ransom, Paul wrote, “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) From this it is clear that if another sacrifice for sin were to be made, the willful sin of those who now have a knowledge of the truth would be atoned for, and they could return to harmony with God if they wished. It is only because there will be “no more” sacrifice for sin that the reconciliation of present willful sinners will never be possible. Jesus atoned for the willful sin of Adam, So Adam will be awakened from the sleep of death and given another opportunity to live forever.

Adam’s children inherited his sin and the sentence of death which came upon him because of his disobedience. (Romans 5:12) Thus, when Jesus redeemed Adam, it meant that he also redeemed his offspring, who lost life through him. Paul explains the philosophy of this, saying: “If by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive  abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by  one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even s by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all mer [including Adam] unto justification of Iife.”—Ro 5:17- 19 Christ stated that he came to give his life a “ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) The Greek text reads, “the many.’ The word “many” as used in this text means an indefinite large number. In the Greek it is polus, and it was this word which Jesus used when he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous [polus], but the laborers are few.’ (Matthew 9:37) This contrasting use of the word polus strongly indicates that it denotes a great number, and what better word could Jesus have used to describe the countless millions whom he came to ransom by his precious blood?

The Apostle Paul emphasizes the largeness of this number when he says that Jesus gave himself a ransom for “all”—that is, for the entire human race. This does not mean, o course, that the entire human race will be eternally saved as result of the ransom, for it Is mandatory that there be an individual acceptance of this provision of Jehovah’s grace ii order to receive everlasting benefit from it. But the provision has been made for all; and because of this no one will remain in death because of Adam’s sin, for all have been ransomed therefrom.

The people of Egypt and Assyria were, for the most part, enemies of God; yet he has promised to bless them. Concerning the time when they are awakened from death we read: “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing In the midst of the land: whom the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of mind hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”—lsa 19:24,25 The words “captive,” “captivity,” and “prisoners” are often used in the prophecies to refer to the death condition and to those held “captive” in death. Job refers to those in death as “prisoners” who “rest together.” (Job 3:11- 19) Referring to those who die in the great Armageddon struggle, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “They shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”—Isa 24:22 In a definite statement that the people of Sodom and Samaria and the nation of Israel shall be restored to their “former estate”—that is, the estate of life—their awakening from death is described as a bringing again of their “captivity.” The text reads, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then wilt I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.”—Eze 16:53 The 48th chapter of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48) describes the complete destruction of ancient Moab; yet In the last verse of the chapter we are given the promise, “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord.” This means that the Moabites are to be  awakened from death and given an opportunity to enjoy God’s premised blessings.

The Ammonites were also a wicked people, yet the Lord has promised to “bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon.”—Jer 49:6

Jeremiah 49:34- 39 describes God’s wrath against the Elamites, resulting In their destruction as sinners; but in verse 39 he says, “It shall come to pass In the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam”— bring them forth that Is, from their captivity in death. God destroyed Egypt’s firstborn, as well as Pharaoh and his Army. He also destroyed certain wicked kings because of their position to his people. Concerning these the Prophet David explained that God  destroyed them because “his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalms 136:10,15,18,19,20) How different Is his explanation from that which, with a restricted viewpoint, some might offer as to why God destroyed those wicked)people. Some would probably be inclined to say that God destroyed them because he had no more mercy for them forever. But this  would not be true. From God’s standpoint it vas a merciful act to destroy them, for he was merely causing hem to sleep until his due time came to further extend his mercy by enlightening them and giving them an opportunity to receive his promised blessings of everlasting life.

That the wicked are to be resurrected in order to come into harmony with God, If they will, is shown in the promise that the Sodomites and Samaritans are to return to their “former estate.” (Ezekiel 16:53- 56)

Verses 60 to 63 ((Ezekiel 16:60- 63) reveal that the purpose of their awakening, as well as the awakening of the Israelites, Is that they might be brought Into covenant relationship with God.

Ezekiel explains that in the resurrection the “shame” of the Israelites, because of their more favorable opportunity, will be greater than that of the Gentile nations then resurrected. Evidently Jesus had this prophecy In mind when he said it would be more tolerable, or “endurable,” for Sodom and Gomorrah In the day of Judgment than for the Jews who rejected him. (Matthew 10:15) But even these are to be raised from the dead and given an opportunity for salvation. Paul emphasizes this. Speaking of those who stumbled and fell In their rejection of Jesus and including them in God’s grace, he said: “All Israel shall be saved; as it Is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [Christ and his church] and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this Is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.” —Ro 11:26,27 The “covenant” here referred to by Paul is the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31- 34, a covenant which Is to be made with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. For the Israelites who rejected Jesus to be saved under the terms of this covenant means that they must be raised from the dead. And this, indeed, is Just what the apostle declares, “What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”—Ro 11:15 Paul had good authority for this statement. Near the close of Jesus’ ministry he addressed the Jews who rejected him, and particularly his persecutors, saying: “0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37- 39) Herein one grand sweep Jesus speaks of the wicked Jews throughout the entire Jewish Age, including those who rejected him, and said that In the future they would see him and accept him and would say, “Blessed is he that cometh In the name of the Lord.” There Is no possible way this statement could be fulfilled apart from the resurrection of these wicked Israelites whom the Master addressed.

True, Jesus did say to the Israelites of his day, “Your house Is left unto you desolate.” But this had reference to the loss 01 their opportunity of continuing to be God’s royal, or kingdom, nation. It did not mean that as individuals they would not have the opportunity of receiving the blessings of Christ’s kln9dom. The “kingdom” was taken away from them and given to a “nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,” but their opportunity to receive life through Christ was not taken away.

The scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of Israel and, as such, “sat In Moses’ seat.” They were about to lose that honored position, and concerning this Jesus pronounced “woe” upon them. He called them a “generation vipers” and asked, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell (Gehenna]?” (Matt. 23:33) obviously their willful opposition to Jesus and his message resulted In a considerable hardening of their hearts, which will make it much less tolerable for them In the future Judgment day than r those less favored in this life. But Jesus did not say there as no hope for them to escape the condemnation of Gehenna. His question merely suggests the difficulties they , would encounter, difficulties which they could overcome only by humbling themselves and, together with the remainder of mankind, Joyfully and wholeheartedly acclaiming, “Blessed is He that cometh In the name of the Lord.”

In Romans 11:26 we read, “All Israel shall be saved.” And, s Paul further explains, this will be in keeping with God’s promise to take away their sins and to make a New Covenant with them. (Romans 11:26, 27; Jeremiah 31:31- 34) The “Deliverer” who will “take away their sins” and save Israel will “come out of Sion”—Christ and his church In heavenly  glory. It will be then that the Israelites will be restored to divine favor— those who have died, as well as the living generation, Including the scribes and Pharisees who were instrumental In crucifying Jesus.

The majority of the Jews in Jesus’ day refused to believe on him. A few did believe partially, but Paul explains that “God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon au.” (Romans 11:32) How vast, Indeed, is the mercy and grace of Jehovah! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his Judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33) The reason God will be able to extend his mercy to the unbelieving Israelites Is that receiving them back Into his favor will, as Paul explains, mean “life from the dead.”—Ro 11:15 In setting forth this great fact of Israel’s restoration, Paul was merely emphasizing the verity of God’s promises which are recorded in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 37:1- 14 is presented a remarkable prophecy of the restoration of Israel, a prophecy in which the “whole house of Israel” is symbolized by a valley of dry bones. “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts,” they are represented as saying. This has been very true of the Israelites throughout the centuries.

But the prophecies show that this scene would change, that they would be restored eventually to their own land. (See Jeremiah 31:8- 12; Amos 9:14,15; Jeremiah 30:3- 7; 16:14- 16; Ezekiel 20:33- 37) The last prophecy cited Indicates that the regathering would take place in times of great stress. The Lord declares, “I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye were scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. … And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”

This indicates that the Israelites are to be regathered to Palestine prior to their acceptance Into the New Covenant. In another prophecy the Lord says, “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you Into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and: ye shall be clean; from all you filthiness, and from alt your idols, will I cleanse you.” (Ezekiel 36:24,25) This also shows that they are regathered In unbelief.

The prophecy of Joel 3:1,2 reveals that the regathering of Israel would take place during the “last days” assembling of the nations for the great Armageddon struggle. We have been witnessing the fulfillment of this prophecy. The fact that the Jewish people themselves do not yet recognize the significance of what is occurring does not mean that the Lord’s hand is not overruling In their restoration to the land. This however, is but the first phase of their restoration. Their ‘dry bones” are coming together, but not until they are clothe with flesh and the Lord puts his Spirit In them, will the Israelites turn to the Lord. The prophecy reads, “When have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shaII live, … then shall ye know that I the Lord hath spoken it, saith the Lord.”—Eze 37:13,14 This prophecy refers to the national resurrection of Israel as well as to their individual restoration to the Promised Land, and it includes those who are in their graves. How right, therefore, was Paul, when he wrote that the receiving again of Israel would be “life from the dead”! How true also is his statement that “all Israel shall be saved” and that God had counted them all in “unbelief that he might have mercy upon ill.”And this Is also In full harmony with Jesus’ assertion to the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees that while the “house” of Israel was left desolate, they would later see him, and would say, “Blessed Is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” But only after the Lord has awakened them from the sleep of death will they thus discern that Jesus is the messiah and, recognizing his blessedness, acclaim and serve him, and serve Jehovah who sent him.

WHAT can a man believe? A historian observed concerning the days of the French Revolution that it was “the best of times and the worst of times.” This expression quite aptly describes the religious situation In the world today. There has never been more religious freedom than there Is currently In the non- totalitarian world. Devotees of all faiths are allowed to proclaim their understanding of the Bible far and wide—over television, over the radio, by means of the printed page, and through personal witness work among their friends and neighbors.

On the other hand, there has never been So much confusion pertaining to the Christian faith as at the present time. From this standpoint It is undoubtedly “the worst of times” the world has ever experienced.

Certainly we have not yet reached that era when the “path of righteousness” is made So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools,” need not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8) Is there any certain way that a sincere, humble Christian might know with reasonable certainty that what he believes and serves is the truth?

The Apostle Paul gave good advice to the brethren at Thessalonica when he wrote, “Prove all things, hold fast that which Is good,” or as the New World Translation states, “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what Is right.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) This was wise counsel in Paul’s day, and it is equally appropriate and Important In these “last days,” when our  “adversary the Devil” Is still going about as a “roaring lion” seeking whom he may devour by false doctrines and otherwise.

There is only one way to “make sure of all things,” we believe, and that is to prove, or test, them by the Infallible Word of God, the Holy Bible.

Sincere Christians have been saying this for centuries. Teachers of the Bible in all denominations insist that this should be done, but It Is seldom hilly practiced. Each group has its textbooks, Its “quarterlies,” and in these, only those portions of the Holy Bible are cited which it is thought are In agreement with the views of the group In question. Quite generally, however, the students using these helps conclude that they are becoming acquainted with the entire testimony of the Holy Bible with respect to the topics studied.

So If we are to “make sure of all things” a most Important consideration is to “make sure” that we are using the entire Bible, not just those portions which have been Interpreted for us. Recently we came across an example of what we mean In this respect. In a publication designed to be a help to Bible study we noticed that a number of texts from the Holy Bible were quoted in an effort to disprove the restoration of natural Israel to the Promised Land and to favor with God. One of the texts quoted was Romans 11:7,8, which reads, “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained It, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

From reading this passage the student was expected to get the impression that the unbelieving Israelites of Jesus’ day were Irrevocably and forever cast off from divine favor. But what a different impression is left in the mind when Paul’s full lesson on the topic is considered! Beginning with verse 25 of the same chapter, we read: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise In your own conceits; that blindness In part Is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come In. And So all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even So have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all.”—Ro 11:25- 32

It is equally important to make sure that the translation of the Scriptures we are asked to use Is true to the Hebrew or Greek text. We know how many have been held In fear of eternal torment through mistranslations of the Hebrew word Sheol, and the Greek words hades and Gehenna. The King James translation of the Holy Bible is not the only faulty one.

We recently saw a translation of Romans 5:18 and of 1 Timothy 2:4 which uses the expression “all kinds of men” In these texts, which, as written by the Apostle Paul, So unequivocally state that Jesus died to ransom all mankind from death. There are no words at all in these Greek texts to warrant the use of the expression “all kinds of men.” A glance at the word- for- word translation In the Emphatic Diaglott will prove this to every earnest seeker after truth.

Yes, it Is important that we prove all things by the pure Word of God, regardless of the source of our information.  Almost without exception the contradictory beliefs now being proclaimed to a confused world have one thing in common, which is the use of fear as a method of making converts. It may be fear of eternal torture, fear of death in Armageddon, or fear of something else. The Grace of Jehovah endeavors to exalt the love of God.

SIN AND ERROR

DO YOU KNOW:

That many who think that they are truly free are actually in bondage? That besides some in physical slavery, many are in real figurative bondage to drugs, illicit sex, alcohol, tobacco, witchcraft, Satanism, false religions, gambling, gluttony, sports, business, professions, etc., from which as figurative balls and chains they are unable to free themselves?

That man and woman were created by God to live forever on earth (Genesis 1:27, 28; 3:22) in true freedom from fear, hunger, want, sickness, old age, etc., and were to multiply and fill the earth with people living together in joy, peace, happiness, brotherhood and good will?

DO YOU KNOW:

That God made Adam and Eve lower than angels, with dominion over earth and the lower animals (Genesis 1:28; Psalms 8:4- 8), and told them they could eat fruit of the trees of the garden except one, and that if they ate of it they would surely die (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:1- 5)?

That when they sinned by eating of this fruit, they lost their true freedom and fell into “the bondage of corruption,” into sin and death (Romans 5:12- 19; 8:20, 21), and that all their children, the human family, including you and me, were  born in sin and “shapen in iniquity,” under the death sentence (Psalms 51:5), without true freedom?

That God in His infinite Wisdom and Love made a great Plan, in which His only begotten Son, the mighty Logos, became human, “the man Christ Jesus,” and willingly laid down His life as a Ransom- price for Adam and all mankind, who  descended from him (Matthew 18:11; Romans 5:6- 8; John 1:14; 3:14- 17; Philippians 2:5- 11; 1 Timothy 2:4- 6; Hebrews 2:9- 14; 1 John 2:2)?

That God in His great love has arranged that any of us who recognize and are truly sorry for our sins and imperfections because of heredity through Adam and our own fault, can anywhere and anytime tell this to God in prayer and ask for  and receive forgiveness and justification (making right) and freedom from bondage to dead works through faith in Jesus and His great Ransom- sacrifice for us (Acts 4:10- 12; 16:31; 20:21; Romans 4:25; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; #Ep 2:8-10)?

That we are to accept our Jesus as Lord (Ruler or Controller) as well as Savior, in dedication, or consecration, to do God’s will to the best of our ability (Acts 2:36; 10:36; Hebrews 10:7)?

DO YOU KNOW:

That after we thus accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we are “made free” from the bondage of sin and we become “servants of righteousness”- that “being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:18, 22, 23)?

That “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1)?

That as we begin “walking in newness of life” with Jesus Christ and progress, we will soon no longer be in bondage to drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, tobacco, gambling, witchcraft, Satanism, false religions, etc. (Romans 6:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17)?

That as God’s people were at one time in cruel bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt and were freed by Moses, So we were in cruel bondage to Satan, sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, but have freedom from their domination through our Lord Jesus, the great antitypical Moses?

That Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word [as its hearers, leaners, and obeyers], then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18)?

That it is necessary for those of us who are Jesus’ free “disciples indeed,” to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” in which we formerly were (Galatians 5:1), or some other deceptive entanglements?

DO YOU KNOW:

That Satan and his servants will promise us greater liberty if we follow their ways, but that “they themselves are the servants of corruption,” who will seek to entangle and enslave us again in the pollutions of the world, in our old bad habits, etc., like figurative balls and chains, and to cause us to return like a washed sow to wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:19- 22)?

That for those who in this time of evil and crookedness (Philippians 2:15, 16) hold on to their true freedom in Christ, and serve “as shining lights” in this present evil world, “holding forth the word of life,” God has special great favors in reservation in His coming “new heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13)?

That these great Divine favors are far above God’s favors for mankind in general, that will be given to them in Christ’s 1,000- year Kingdom, when the whole groaning creation will be delivered ‘from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God,” and receive their Kingdom reward of everlasting life on earth (Romans 8:19- 23; Revelation 21:2- 4; 22:3)?

The Oath-Bound Promise to Abraham the Hope of Jews, Christians and all Mankind. “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s Seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:29

The issues of life, death and a hereafter are all in the power of the Lord. He took counsel of none of us, and holds Himself fully responsible, declaring that all of His purposes shall be accomplished, and that His Word that has gone forth shall not return to Him void, but shall accomplish that which He pleases.

Isa. 40:10, 11. He owed us nothing in the beginning, and will be under no obligations to us in the end. God gave our race life in Adam, but, as he had foreseen, they lost it by disobedience and came under the penalty death.

A ray of hope came with the giving of the Oath-Bound Promise to Abraham, which declared “In thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Gen. 22:18.

ASSURANCE OF ALMIGHTY’S OATH

Doubtless Abraham and all of his family, Israel after the flesh, drew a certain amount of blessing and encouragement from this Covenant or promise and the oath of the Almighty,which doubly sealed it, and which gave double assurance of its certainty of accomplishment; but the Apostle Paul intimates that God’s special design in giving that Covenant and in binding it solemnly with an oath, was to encourage Spiritual Israel to give us a firm foundation for faith. He says (Heb. 6:13-18), “That by two immutable things (two unalterable things), in which it was impossible for God to lie, we (the Gospel Church) might have a strong consolation, (we) who have fled for refuge (to Christ), to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” The context show distinctly that the Apostles and the early Christian Church drew comfort from the Oath-Bound Covenant, and clearly implies that this same comfort belongs to every true Christian down to the end of this age.

God well knew that, although 3,000 years from His own standpoint would be but a brief space, “as a watch in the night,” nevertheless to us the time would appear long, and the strain upon faith would be sever; hence the positive statement and the still more deliberate oath that bound it. We cannot but wonder at such condescension upon the part of the great Creator that He would stoop to His fallen creatures and, above all, that He should condescend to give His oath on the subject.

Our Lord Jesus was the great heir of the Abrahamic promise, and the faithful of His consecrated people of this Gospel Age are declared to be His joint-heirs in that promise, which is not yet fulfilled. For its fulfillment, not only the Church is waiting, as the Bride or fellow-members of the Body of Christ, to be participants with the Lord in the glories implied in the Promise, but additionally, the whole creation (the entire human family) is groaning and travailing in pain together waiting for the great fulfillment of that Oath-Bound Promise or Covenant. Romans 8:19-23.

Those who follow the Apostle’s argument and realize that all true Christians are still waiting for the fulfillment of this Promise, will be anxious to know what are the terms of this Covenant which is the hope of the world, the hope of the Church, and the object of so much solicitude and care on the part of God, in that He would promise and then back His Word with an Oath.

We Answer–that every Christian should know what this promise is, since it lies at the very foundation of every Christian’s hope.

How can this hope be an anchor to our soul in all the storms and trials and difficulties of life, in all the opposition of the world, the flesh and the Adversary, if we do not know what the hope is, if we have not even recognized the promise upon which this hope is based?

THE SEED WHICH WILL BLESS ALL

The Apostle Paul referred to this very promise, declaring that the Seed of Abraham mentioned therein is Christ. All Christians agree to this, although they have not distinctively and properly associated it with the declarations of the Promise. But the Apostle makes clear to us that in saying that Christ is the Seed of Abraham, he had in mind not only the Lord Jesus as the Head of the Body, the Head of The Christ, but also the overcoming saints of this Gospel Age as the Body of Christ. This he distinctly states in many places, for instance Gal. 3:16-29.

Here he declares the matter expressly, saying: “if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s Seed, and heirs according to the Promise.” “The Seed of Abraham” is the Gospel Church, with her Head, the Lord Jesus; as the Apostle states again saying: “We brethren, as Isaac was (typified by Isaac), are the children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28.) It follows that the Seed of Abraham mentioned in the promise is not complete and will not be until the full close of this Gospel Age in the Harvest time of which we now are.

But what a wonderful thought is involved in this plain interpretation of the Divine Word! It is big with hope for Spiritual Israel, the Spiritual Seed, and no less, it means a blessing for the natural seed, fleshly Israel, and ultimately the Millennial blessings to all the families of the earth. Let us examine these three hopes, which Center in the Oath-Bound Covenant the Anchor to the Soul.

THE CHRISTIAN HOPE

Now what hope and interest has the Church of Christ in this promise made to Abraham? To us belongs the very cream of the promise, “the riches of God’s grace.” The promise implies the greatness of the Seed of Abraham, which Seed is Christ and the overcoming Church. This greatness is so wonderful as to be almost beyond human comprehension. The overcomers of this Gospel Age who “make their calling and election sure” in Christ, are to be joint-heirs with Him in the glorious Millennial Kingdom which is to be God’s agency or channel for bringing about the promised blessings the blessing of all the families of the earth. Be it distinctly noted that the Promise to Abraham divided his “Seed” into two parts, (first) “as the stars of Heaven,” (second) “as the sands of the seashore.” From this it is apparent that there was to be a Heavenly, spiritual seed as well as the Natural, earthly seed. Through the Spiritual Seed, during the Messianic Reign, the whole world is to be blessed.

The great blessing of forgiveness of past sins, and even the blessing of being awakened from the sleep of death, would profit mankind but little, if the arrangements of that future time the Millennial Age were not on such a scale as to permit a thorough recovery from present mental, moral and physical weaknesses.

Hence we are rejoiced to learn that in that time Satan will be bound, every evil influence and every unfavorable condition will be brought under restraint, and the favor of God through the knowledge of God will be turned upon the people—“The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep.” Blessing, aye, favor upon favor, blessing upon blessing, is the Lord’s arrangement and provision! All shall know Him from the least unto the greatest, and none shall need to say to his neighbor or his brother, “Know thou the Lord?” Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34.

The prophets spoke repeatedly of these blessings due to the world in the future. Mark how Joel tells that, as during this Gospel Age, the Lord pours out His Spirit upon His servants and hand-maidens, so after these days, in the Millennial Age, He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. There will be world-wide blessing through the knowledge of the Truth. Mark how Moses, the Prophet, spoke of these coming blessings, and told how God would raise up a greater Lawgiver than Himself, a greater Teacher, a better Mediator, and under the better Covenant of the Lord, would bring blessings worldwide! Mark again how he represents the Atonement for the Sins of the whole world in the Atonement Day sacrificial arrangements! Mark how again he typifically foretold the blessings of the Millennial Age, representing them in Israel’s “Year of Jubilee,” in which every man went free and every possession was returned to its original ownership, thus representing the blessings of the future, man’s release from the servitude of sin and Satan, and the return to him of all that was lost through Adam. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, have spoken of these coming times, so that the Apostle Peter, pointing to the future, could truthfully declare that the coming Times of Restitution of all things have be spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19- 21.

HOPE FOR JEWS AND OTHERS

The second class to be blessed under this Abrahamic Covenant is Natural Israel. We are not forgetting that the Jews were a stiffnecked and rebellious people; that they slew the prophets and stoned the Lord’s ministers and caused the crucifixion of our Redeemer. Nevertheless, the Scriptures clearly hold for the that after they have had a period of chastisement, which they have been undergoing as a nation since our Lord’s crucifixion, and after Spiritual Israel shall have been glorified in the Kingdom, then a blessing from the Lord will come upon Natural Israel; they shall be saved or recovered from their blindness, and, as the Prophet declares, they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and shall mourn for Him because the eyes of their understanding shall be opened. We rejoice, too, that the promise is clear and distinct that the Lord will pour upon them the “spirit of prayer and the supplication.” (Zech. 12:10.) See also Romans 11:25-32.

But if God is to have mercy upon the natural Israelite, whom He declares to have been stiff-necked and hard-hearted and rebellious, would it surprise us that the Divine, benevolent intention should be to also bless others than the Jews others who had not  in the past the favors and privileges of this favored nation, and whose course, therefore, was less in opposition to the Light? It should not surprise us. And so we find in this great Oath-Bound Covenant a blessing for all nations all peoples.

POOR, IMPERFECT CREATURES

“We make God’s Love too narrow By false standards of our own.”

Do not misapprehend us. We are not teaching that heathen and imbeciles and unregenerate in general shall be taken to Heaven, where they would be utterly out of harmony with their surroundings and require to be converted and to be taught. Such an inconsistent view we leave to those who are now claiming the heathen will be saved in their ignorance. We stand by the Word of God that there is no present salvation without faith in Christ Jesus, and that the heathen and the imbecile have neither part nor lot in the salvation of the present time. We stand by the Scriptures which say that salvation at the present time is only for the Little Flock, who, through much tribulation, shall enter the Kingdom. We stand by the Scriptures which say that this Kingdom class now being developed is the Spiritual Seed of Abraham under the Lord, their Head, their Elder Brother, the Bridegroom.

The period in which opportunity will be granted to man is in the Scriptures termed the Day of Judgment a thousand-year day, the Millennial Day. It will be a day of trial, a day of testing, a day of proving the world to see whether, with a full knowledge of God and of righteousness, which He requires, they will choose righteousness in preference to sin, choose life in preference to the Second Death everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His Power.

Thank God for that wonderful judgment, the trial day for the world, secured for all through the precious blood of Christ. “When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Isa. 26:9.

 

SOME do not believe that God exists and hence are unable to accept  the idea that there is an orderly and coordinated divine Plan of the Ages concerning mankind. But many who doubt the very existence of God have not given the matter sufficient intelligent thought. When the facts are seriously considered, it is almost impossible not to believe in a Supreme Creator.

Effects must be produced by competent causes. Everything that exists must have been made by someone. If a thing has beauty, symmetry and intricacy of design, it must have been produced by a superior intelligence. We reach this conclusion by pure reasoning. It is not necessary to see the Supreme Creator to believe he exists.

The evidence that God exists is overwhelming. Everything around us proves it. Every tree, plant and flower amazes us. Intricate in design, exquisitely beautiful in form and texture, each speaks of a wisdom and skill above the human. It is absurd to boast of human skill and ingenuity yet attribute to mere chance the regularity, uniformity and harmony of nature. The very fact that there are dependable and unvarying laws of nature presupposes an intelligent lawgiver.

There are some truly amazing attributes possessed by the animal creation that are beyond human wisdom. The snake has an infrared sensor so responsive it can –detect temperature changes of one thousandth of a degree. The hornet navigates accurately even on cloudy days by sensing the polarization of light. A bird flies thousands of miles from a tree branch in your back yard, and returns to the same branch through stellar navigation. Such powers have been exercised by the lower animals for untold ages. Men have only recently understood these amazing characteristics and are seeking,  sometimes vainly, to –duplicate them scientifically. This is certainly proof of an intelligent creator far superior to the human.

The greatest masterpiece of all earthly creation is the human being itself. It is –extremely complicated and exhibits God’s handiwork in every respect. Man has mental attributes far above the animal creation. He has moral and ethical qualities totally lacking in the lower animals.

By using deductive reasoning we can prove that God exists and we can also determine what he is like. It is self-evident that the highest and grandest thing created cannot be superior to its maker but must of necessity be inferior to it. Since the grandest earthly creation of God is man, since man is endowed with the characteristics of justice, love and wisdom, it follows that God, the creator of man, must possess these attributes to a far wider and grander degree. We know what God is like because of the things he has created. We know he is just, benevolent, wise and powerful–much more than we are. It must be so. Without seeing God with our eyes, we see him with our minds. We instinctively love and seek to worship such a great and wonderful God.

How can we know God’s plan for humankind? Again we use deductive reasoning. It is logical to suppose that such an infinitely wise and good being as God, who made man mentally capable of realizing that he exists, would then be moved by his love and justice to supply the wants of man’s nature by giving him some revelation concerning himself and his plan for mankind. Where do we find such a revelation? We find it only in the Bible. This book was written over a period of many centuries by men inspired by God’s spirit.

They faithfully recorded what God wanted to reveal to mankind. We can identify the Bible as God’s word because it is the only ancient record that explains to the satisfaction of every reasonable mind such important subjects as:

How the earth was prepared for man’s habitation, describing the various geological events preceding the appearance of life.

The exact order in which the various forms of vegetation and animal life appeared upon the earth, facts confirmed by the latest scientific findings.

How man was created perfect and designed to live forever, and how he fell from perfection into sin and death.

Why evil is now permitted.

How man was redeemed from death, as a result of which the dead will be raised, and all the willing and obedient of mankind be restored to perfection, to live everlastingly in health and happiness upon the earth.

The Bible also contains prophecies of future events and tells when they will take place. Written thousands of years ago, it foretells and accurately describes present conditions, and locates where we now are in relation to God’s plan, and reveals what we can expect in the immediate future.

But if man was created perfect and designed to live forever, why is he in such an imperfect condition today? He suffers diseases, pain, calamities, sorrows, and all manner of evils, and dies an early death.

Why? The Bible tells us how God required the first man, Adam, to be obedient to him to continue to live. This was an entirely just requirement. Do we not expect obedience from our children? God purposely made the test of obedience very easy. He simply designated a certain fruit tree and asked Adam not to eat of it. Adam failed the test. God thereupon withdrew his favor from him and Adam began to die. It was after Adam had sinned against God that he brought forth his children. Thus they were all born imperfect, “born in sin and shapen in inquity.” (Psalms 51:5) The human race began to degenerate and has fallen steadily ever since. This accounts for present day conditions. It was Adam’s sin of disobedience that is the cause of all human miseries.

But God did not leave mankind in such a hopeless condition. Being loving as well as just, he provided a way to redeem man from death.

He provided a ransom:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”– John 3:16

“Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”–1 Timothy 2:5,6

Ransom means “corresponding price” or “equivalent price.” Suppose a man is captured and held by an enemy who demands the payment of a certain sum for his –release. That sum represents the value of the man–his price or ransom. When Adam disobeyed God and was condemned to death, a perfect man’s life was forfeited. To redeem Adam’s life and thus release him from death, another perfect man’s unforfeited life must be yielded up in offset, in the place and stead of the forfeited life. This is the ransom price for Adam.

God arranged for this price to be provided. Jesus was born a man, but unlike other men, he was perfect because God was his father. He was the equivalent of Adam before Adam sinned. He sacrificed his perfect human life; he died without deserving to die in the place of Adam who deserved to die. God accepted his sacrifice as the ransom price for Adam. Thus Adam and all his race who inherited death through him, were redeemed and will live again. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death.” (Hosea 13:14) We read, “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15) Every man who has ever lived, the good and the bad, will b e raised from death during God’s kingdom under Christ, soon to be fully established on earth. It will be a benevolent but firm kingdom, ruling in absolute justice and equity. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”– Jeremiah 31:34

Many prophecies of the Bible indicate that this kingdom is near. The signs are numerous and unmistakable.

As JWs you believe that In the resurrection, those who died faithful to God are included in the ‘other sheep’ and will receive the “resurrection of the righteous” (“just” KJV) mentioned in Acts 24:15. (The Watchtower 2/15/95 p. 11 par. 12)  Those of the ‘other sheep’ who are alive today, some of whom survive through Armageddon without needing a resurrection, are referred to as the ‘great crowd’.  (The Watchtower 4/15/95 p. 31 Questions From Readers).  These views are based around the following text.

“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16 NWT)

The Bible speaks of the church as Jehovah’s flock (Acts 20:29; 1 Pet 5:2).  Up until the conversion of Cornelius, the Gospel invitation had NOT been made available to the gentiles.  But that changed suddenly about AD 36.  Of the conversion of Cornelius’ household, we read in Acts 10:45, “And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations.” NWT.

The gentile Christians could not be invited until after the 70 weeks (Dan 9:24) for Israel were completed (AD 36).  Of that final week [a day = a year], we read “And he must keep the covenant in force for the many for one week” Dan 9:27 NWT).  That covenant was Jehovah’s 70 weeks agreement with Israel.  It was in the last half of the 70th week, three and a half years after the cross, that the great work was done amongst the Jews.

Applying the “other sheep” to the new gentile converts is the evident meaning and it would take strong additional scriptural evidence to convince the honest student otherwise.  There is no direct indication in the Bible that these “other sheep” are referring only to true Christians who will not be part of the Little Flock.  Without further compelling evidence, insisting on a different interpretation is building a doctrine from a scripture taken out of context.  This reminds us of the Catholic Church misapplication of Matt 16:18 which says, “You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation, and the gates of Ha’des will not overpower it.” (NWT)  Based on an unsupportable misapplication of this text, the Catholic Church believes that the papacy represents an “unbroken” line of apostolic succession from Peter to the present day.

“Although the Bible makes a clear distinction between true and false teachings, God allows each person the freedom to choose how he or she will respond. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family. Does study of the Bible lead to family breakup? No. In fact, the Bible encourages a husband and wife who practice different religions to remain together as a family.”—1 Cor. 7:12,13  (Awake 2007 pg 29)

“According to one estimate, there are more than 10,000 religions and sects in the world. In one country about 16 percent of the adult population have at some point switched from one religion to another. It is no wonder, then, that there are disagreements about religious beliefs among relatives and friends. Thus the question, How should Christians treat loved ones who do not share their faith?”

A Special Relationship

 “ Consider, for instance what the Bible says about the special relationship between parents and their children. No time limit is implied in the command at Exodus 20:12 to “honor your father and your mother.”. In fact, in Jesus’ discussion of this command, recorded at Matthew 15:4-6, it is obvious that he was speaking of the honor that Adult children would render to their parents.”

“The Bible book of Proverbs cautions against showing disrespect toward one’s parents. Proverbs 23:22 advises that you should “not despise your mother just because she has grown old.” Pointedly, Proverbs 19:26 warns that one who “is maltreating a father [and] that chases a mother away is a son acting shamefully and disgracefully.”

“It is clear from the scriptures that we should not neglect our parents. The fact that our parents do not accept our religion does not cancel our relationship with them. These Bible principles apply similarly to other blood relationships and to one’s marriage mate. Clearly, Christians remain morally and scripturally obligated to love their relatives” (Awake 11/8/03)

“In most cases, however, Christians do not face severe opposition from their loved ones. Their relatives simply do not share the same understanding of Bible teachings. The Holy Scriptures encourage Christ’s followers to treat unbelievers “with mildness” and “deep respect.” (2 Timothy 2:25; 1 Peter 3:15) The Bible aptly counsels: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all.” (2 Timothy 2;24) The apostle Paul also counseled Christians “to speak injuriously of no one, not to be belligerent, to be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward ALL men.” (bold added)- Titus 3:2.”

“Many who are not true Christians love their parents and other relatives and communicate regularly with them regardless of their religious affliation. Should Christians Witnesses do any less?” Many may live far away from their parents or loved ones. ” It may not be possible to visit as often as desired. But writing letters, calling on the telephone, or keeping in contact regularly in other ways will assure our loved ones of our affection.”

The unedited direct quotes and  references for all of the above are: Awake,  November 8, 2003;  Awake, September, 2007 page 29;   Watchtower, November 1, 2008.

So clearly if this is what is written in the Awake and Watchtower, it comes directly from the Governing Body, and applies to all. It is good sound reasoning from the scriptures.

Many family members have chosen to change their religion from a witness to the Bible Students. I have met  many at the conventions. There is no real conflict in teachings, for there is freedom and liberty in Christ to have differences in thought on scripture. That is why we encourage open discussions of the scripture without retaliation if one thought differs from another.

I recently called the education dept. at Patterson, New york. I explained the severe treatment many are receiving if they stop going to the Kingdom Hall. They sent me the articles by mail. I explained that one Mental Health professional says he has so many patients that are being treated so harshly with this shunning practice that it is creating emotional distress. So much so that one client suggested a class action to deal with this since it might be millions that have exited the organization of Jehovah Witnesses for various reasons.

Each individual has the right to choose not to associate with whomever they please. But, to blame God is wrong. To say this is what Jehovah and Jesus says to do is wrong.  And as you see the organization,  “in writing”, does not encourage it in the Awake or Watchtower. So where is this extreme attitude coming from if not from Jehovah, Jesus or the watchtower or awake magazines that are read by many?  Christians coming to this site are lovers of the Word of God. We are all Brothers in Christ.

As regards judging whether a person will die and go to Gehenna as some are saying; The Bible states “Stop judging and you will not be judged” Luke 6:37

For the judge of all is Jehovah and Jesus the Anointed. “Jesus is destined to judge the living and the dead by his manifestation in his kingdom”  2Tim. 4:1

Melchizedek, Priest and  King of Salem, was worshipping and approved by Jehovah at the same time that Abraham was chosen to produce the seed.( Gen. 14:18-20)

Elijah thought he was the only one worshipping Jehovah but at least 7,000 were approved and their worship was accepted by Jehovah during the same time period. (1 Kings 19:18)

The Acts of the Apostles have numerous instances of Holy Spirit leading different individuals in various ministries.  Paul was especially appointed by Jesus, and the Christians accepted him, although he was their persecutor.

Many of our Jehovah Witnesses relatives are doing what Moses did, he stepped in the place of Jehovah, by judging his people, as rebels. It is God’s place to judge and punish. We are all witnesses of Jesus to the glory of Jehovah.  He will judge all in Millenium, thru Christ.  (Num. 20:9-13)

In Jesus’ day, at Mark 9:38-40 We see a man preaching Jesus, but not traveling with them. Jesus said do not forbid him. If one recognizes Jesus and the value of his death, if one trusts in him for eternal life along with his King-Priest bride  and seek to follow in his steps, we are brothers. Many persons leaving the organization of Jehovah Witnesses do not denounce these teachings. Most object to worship of any but Jehovah and Jesus and wish to refrain from adding extra burdens not mentioned in scripture, ie, blood transfusion, condoning pedophiles etc. They simply have a conscience and must obey it. They don’t, however try to forbid witnesses from voting their conscience. Many like highly organized religion with set dogma. 1Sam. 8:19-22 The nation of Israel wanted a visible King. “No, but a king is what will come to be over us. And we must become, we also, like all the nations” ‘. A relative told me that to speak against the Governing Body is like speaking against the Catholic religion’s Pope. I looked at him  in disbelief, he saw his mistake immediately. But that was the truth. Jehovah still dealt with the nation of Israel when they rejected the freedom they had to deal directly with him. They however suffered under each of those kings. Each decade or so the Governing body changes policies also just like a new king or president. In the case of the blood issue some that died for refusal of certain parts of blood would live today, because now this regime says that taking certain parts of blood is okay. But like Israel, many of our brothers and sisters like having a visible governing body of men. It is between them and Jehovah, no need to shun them.

This is a  direct quote from  Awake mag. about Catholics and the no meat on Friday issue . Sort of like the blood issue  and organ transplants changing doctrine.

Changes that Disturb People.-”One of the reasons is that people are disturbed by what is happening in their churches. Yes, millions of persons have been shocked to learn that things they were taught as being vital for salvation are now considered by their church to be wrong. Have you, too, felt discouragement, or even despair, because of what is happening in your church?” Awake! April 22,1970, p8 Many former witnesses have and have chosen to study exactly what the Bible teaches without indoctrination from so many books, KM etc.

Healing and forgiveness  is needed in some households now.       1Peter 3:10-12 says For,”he that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is bad and his lips from speaking deception, 11  but let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.” Many family members have said a lot of ugly things to each other because someone told them they had to judge their brother. That loyalty to God is equilvalent to loyalty to an organization or to men.

Ephesians 4:32 says ” But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.” This applies to all Christians, whether a Jehovah Witness or Bible Student or just a plain old Christian. (Acts 11:26) It would be better sometimes if some professed Christians didn’t take the name at all:( the way we treat each other.)  R5404:6  Forgiveness by all parties involved will make for a peaceful relationship. Stephen who asked that the sin not be charged against his stoners. (Acts7:60) A result he will see is that the chief stoner, Paul, became a Christian. Not forgiving, a person who shuns you, is unchristian, you should rather pray for them.( Jas.5:16) Paul also has the right attitude  in Philippians 3: 13 “Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on [it]; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, 14 I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. 15 Let us, then as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude, and if YOU ARE MENTALLY INCLINED OTHERWISE IN ANY RESPECT,  God will reveal the above [attitude] to you ” (NWT).  Other Christians may differ on understanding of a scripture at times but that is not a reason to shun them. There is liberty and freedom in Christ, just as in the 1st  century congregations after the ascension of Christ.

Napoleon used the phrase divide and conquer. He divided the enemies against each other and won. It is a control tactic. They have to divide the family, so they shun ones that have left. If you let it determine your life then they have won. Your family can’t be replaced;  but put in some substitutes. A spiritual brother can be closer than a blood brother. There are many here that can act as your fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. Remember, we all die, and go away. Think of your loved one as on a long faraway journey. You can at least send them a card or a letter. Do not treat them as they treat you. You will feel the peace of God in your heart.

No one can claim they are the only one on earth that God is using at any given time. There is no scriptural support for this teaching. While the Bible may mention one group it does not say there are not other worshippers of Jehovah in a different place. Many were not aware of the large group of Romanian brothers, but that didn’t mean Jehovah wasn’t aware and accepting them. We simply can’t tie God’s hands, he is the Creator and his Son has been assigned to Judge. Our loyalty is only to Jehovah, Jesus and the Bible’s counsel. 

There are persons that may be dangerous to one’s spiritual well-being. A person might make a decision to protect himself, but wholesale shunning because a person decides to leave the organization of  the watchtower is not scriptural.

We cannot escape our history. Only forgiveness can release us from our Past.