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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.

 

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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. 

Actually, there is no denominational church today that is structured like the Early Church.  The Early Watchtower actually was structured like the Early Church, but Rutherford changed that after Russell’s death.  Bible Students today still structure their congregations in this Biblical manner.

According to the Bible, the election of elders by Holy Spirit anointed congregational members was practiced in the Early Church.  The eventual elimination of this practice gradually led to Elders becoming the Lord’s of the Church, rather than its servants and it opened the way for the development of the Papal system which suppressed Christian liberty.

Paul and Barnabas went around to all the churches and conducted the election of Elders.  Acts 14: 23 (Weymouth) says, ”And in every Church, after prayer and fasting, they selected Elders by show of hands, and commended them to the Lord on whom their faith rested.  Other translations, like Rotherham and Young’s Literal translation say, “appointed to them by vote elders in every assembly.”    RVIC Revised Version Improved and Corrected says, “elected elders.”

Most translators confuse the reader by mis-translating the Greek word (Strong’s 5500) as”ordain.”  Yet the real meaning of the word cannot be hidden in 2 Corinthians  where Paul speaks of a brother who was elected by the churches to travel with him:  2 Cor 8:19 (Weymouth ) “… he is the one who was chosen by the vote of the Churches to travel with us…

In another example, we recall that the Apostles asked the Jerusalem Church to select seven deacons.  Acts 6:3 Weymouth says, “Therefore, brethren, pick out from among yourselves seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and we will appoint them to undertake this duty.”  Certainly, no one would have challenged the Apostles had they exerted their influence to appoint deacons themselves.  Yet instead they humbly asked the Congregation to make this selection.

The Apostles never attempted to assert authoritative rule over the Congregations, even though Freedom and Christian Liberty in the Churches was so strong that it created great problems for the Apostles.

In 3 John 1 (Phillips), the Apostle John said, “9 I did write a letter to the church, but Diotrephes, who wants to be head of everything, does not recognise us!  10  If I do come to you, I shall not forget his actions nor the slanderous things he has said in spite against us. And it doesn’t stop there, for he refuses to welcome the brothers himself, and stops those who would like to do so—he even excommunicates them!

Is the JW Governing Body more like the Apostle John or Diotrephes?

Paul’s humility is very evident in his plea to the Corinthian brethren in 2 Cor10:1 (NKJV) where he says, ”Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — who in presence am lowly among you…“

Paul did not try to force his will upon the Church.  He did not lord it over the Church, but in their presence was humble and lowly.

In 1 Thess 2 (NASV), Paul says, ”6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

Speaking of himself and the other Apostles, Paul says in 1 Cor 4 (NKJV) ”11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world….”  Does the JW Governing Body live like Kings or like the Apostles?

Considering the humble condition and circumstance faced daily by the Apostles, we should feel privileged with even the lowliest of services for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren.

Paul lamented, 2 Tim 1:15 (NIV), ”You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes…”

2 Tim 4:16 (NAS), ”At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me...”

The Apostles suffered much in order to lead the Early Church by example, gentleness and love, even though they could have made things easy for themselves by implementing an iron rule.

The early church was able to resist the encroachments of power hungry leaders.  Rev 2:6 says of the first (Early) Church, “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”    The word Nicolans means “A conqueror or lord of the people.”  These are those who lord it over the Lord’s heritage. (1 Pet. 5:3)

Yet by the third Church period (Approx 311 to 700 AD), this oppressive influence began to take over the Church.  Rev 2:14, 15 (NKJV) “ But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam…  you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”  Yes, “while men [the apostles] slept [in death], the enemy [Satan] sowed tares [imitation Christians] amount the wheat [true Christians].” (Matt 13:25)

You can read more about how the Early Watchtower was structured like the early church from C.T. Russell’s own words here: 

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WHAT DO COMMENTARIES SAY?

Since Ordaining ministers is common practice in denominational churches, it would be amazing to find any of their authorities conceding that Strongs 5500 can be translated to “vote” or ”elect,” yet the historical definition of the word in early literature is so clear that it cannot be ignored.  The following commentators concede the meaning, yet some try to maneuver out of the concession by rationalizing that the meaning of the word was changed by the apostles.

BARNES NOTES
er. 23. And when they had ordained. ceirotonhsantev. The word ordain we now use in an ecclesiastical sense, to denote a setting apart to an office by the imposition of hands.  But it is evident that the word here is not employed in that sense.  That imposition of hands might have occurred in setting apart afterwards to this office is certainly possible, but it is not implied in the word employed here, and did not take place in the transaction to which this word refers. The word occurs but in one other place in the New Testament, {#2Co 8:19} where it is applied to Luke, and translated, “who was also chosen of the church, (i.e. appointed or elected by suffrage by the churches,) to travel with us,” etc. The verb properly denotes to stretch out the hand; and as it was customary to elect to office, or to vote, by stretching out or elevating the hand, so the word simply means to elect, appoint, or designate to any office. The word here refers simply to an election or appointment of the elders.  It is said, indeed, that Paul and Barnabas did this. But probably all that is meant by it is, that they presided in the assembly when the choice was made.  It does not mean that they appointed them without consulting the church; but it evidently means that they appointed them in the usual way of appointing officers, by the suffrages of the people. See Schleusner, and the notes of Doddridge and Calvin.

JFP – JAMIESON, FAUSSET & BROWN
Acts 14:23, 24. when they had ordained them elders—literally, “chosen by showof hands.” But as that would imply that this was done by the apostles’ own hands, many render the word, as in our version, “ordained.” Still, as there is no evidence in the New Testament that the word had then lost its proper meaning, as this is beyond doubt its meaning in #2Co 8:19, and as there is indisputable evidence that the concurrence of the people was required in all elections to sacred office in the earliest ages of the Church, it is perhaps better to understand the words to mean, “when they had made a choice of elders,” that is, superintended such choice on the part of the disciples.

THE PULPIT COMMENTARY
Appointed for them for ordained them, A.V.
(ceirotonhsantev); had believed for believed, A.V. The original meaning of ceirotonew is “to stretch out the hand,” and the substantive ceirotonia is used in the LXX of #Isa 58:9 for “the putting forth of the finger” of the A.V.  But the common meaning of the verb is “to vote by stretching out the hand” and hence “to elect” by a show of hands, {#2Co 8:19} or simply “to appoint,” without any reference to voting.  In the choice of an apostle the election was by lot, {#Ac 1:26} in the appointment of deacons the choice was by the people, how indicated we are not told; {#Ac 6:5} the question here, on which commentators disagree, is whether the use of the word ceirotonew indicates voting by the people, selection by the apostles, or simple creation or appointment. As ceirotonhsantev is predicated of Paul and Barnabas, it cannot possibly refer to voting by the people, who are included in the able, as those on whose behalf the ceirotonia was made. It seems simplest and most in accordance with the classical use of the word and its use (innoiv), #Ac 10:41 (prokeceirotonhme) to take it in the sense of creation or appointment (see Steph., ‘Thesaur.’).  There is no reference to the laying on of hands.  Elders. see #Ac 11:30, note; #Ac 20:17; and especiallyterov #Tit 1:5,7, where we see that presbu was synonymous with ejpiskopov.  From presbuterov is formed prestos, priest, in French prestre, pretre. Comp. #Ac 13:3, for fasting and prayer as accompaniments of ordination.  Hence in the Church ordinations are preceded by the Ember days. They commended them to the Lord. {comp. #Ac 20:32}  In ver. 26 the word used is paradedomenoi.

CALVIN’S COMMENTARIES
Had ordained by election. The Greek word ceirotonein doth signify to decree, or ordain a thing, by lifting up the hands, as they used to do in the assemblies of the people. Notwithstanding, the ecclesiastical writers do often use the word ceirotoneia, in another sense; to wit, for their [the] solemn rite of ordaining, which is called in Scripture laying on of hands. Furthermore, by this manner of speech is very excellently expressed the right way to ordain pastors. Paul and Barnabas are said to choose {2} elders. Do they this alone by their private office? {3} Nay, rather they suffer the matter to be decided by the consent of them all. {4} Therefore, in ordaining pastors the people had their free election, but lest there should any tumult arise, Paul and Barnabas sit as chief moderators. Thus must the decree of the council of Laodicea be understood, which forbiddeth that the people have liberty granted them to elect. {5}

J. A. ALEXANDER COMMENTARY
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed.  Besides these exhortations of instructions, they gave their converts a distinct organization as societies or churches. The meaning of the word ordained has been the subject of protracted and vehement dispute between Presbyterian and Episcopal interpreters. The latter grant that the original etymological import of the Greek word is to vote by stretching out the hand, but they contend that usage had so modified its meaning as to generate the secondary sense of choosing or appointing, without any reference to votes or popular election; and this they insist upon as the unquestionable use of the word here, where the act is predicated, not of the people but of Paul and Barnabas, who cannot be supposed to have voted for these elders with the outstretched hand.  Some go further and adopt the patristical usage of the word to denote imposition of hands, as the ordaining act; but this is commonly agreed to be an ecclesiastical usage of the word long posterior in date to the times of the Apostles. The opposite extreme is that of making the word here denote, directly and exclusively, the act of suffrage or election by the people.  To meet the objection, which has been already stated, that the act described is not that of the people, but of Paul and Barnabas, some modify this explanation of the term, so as to make it mean that Paul and Barnabas appointed or ordained the elders chosen by the people. The philological objection to this modification, that the same verb cannot denote both these processes at once, can only be removed by taking one step further and thus reaching the true mean between the opposite extremes. This middle ground is, that the verb itself, expressing as it clearly does the act of Paul and Barnabas, can only mean that they appointed or ordained these elders, without determining the mode of election or the form of ordination; but that the use of this particular expression, which originally signified the vote of an assembly, does suffice to justify us in supposing that the method of selection was the same as that recorded (not in #Ac 1:26, where the election was by lot and by direct divine authority, but) in #Ac 6:5,6, where it is explicitly recorded that the people chose the seven and the twelve ordained them.

JOHN GILL’S EXPOSITOR
Ver. 23. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, &c.] As soon as ever any number of disciples were made, or souls were converted to Christ in any place, they were at once formed, by the apostles, into a church state; and as the gifts, as well as the grace of the Holy Ghost, attended the ministry of the word, so among those that were converted, there were some that were honoured with ministerial gifts, qualifying them to preach the Gospel, and take upon them the care of the churches: these the apostles directed the churches to look out from among themselves, as in the case of deacons, an inferior office, who by joint suffrages declared their choice of them by the stretching out, or lifting up of their hands, as the word here used signifies, and not the imposition of them; and the apostles presiding in this affair, they were installed into the office of bishops, elders, or pastors over them; which expresses the great regard the apostles had to the order, as well as to the doctrine of the Gospel, and the concern they had for the welfare of souls converted under their ministry, by making a provision for them when they were gone.

CLARK’S COMMENTARY
Anciently, the choice or suffrage was called cheirotonia; for, when it was lawful for the multitude in their cities to choose their priests or bishops, they met together, and some chose one man, some another; but, that it might appear whose suffrage won, they say the electors did use ekteinein tav ceirav, to stretch forth their hands, and by their hands so stretched forth, or up, they were numbered who chose the one, and who the other; and him who was elected by the most suffrages they placed in the high priesthood. And from hence was the name cheirotonia taken, which the fathers of the councils are found to have used, calling their suffrage cheirotonia.’ St. Paul, {#2Co 8:19}, intimates that St. Luke was thus appointed to travel with him ceirotonhyeiv upo twn ekklhsiwn, who was chosen of the Churches.  Ignatius, in his epistle to the Philadelphians, uses the same term, prepon estin umin, wv ekklhsia yeou, ceirotonhsai episkopon, ye ought, as a Church of God, to choose your bishop.” Much more on this subject may be seen in Sir Norton Knatchbull, who contends that cheirotonia implies simply appointment or election, but not what he calls ordination by the imposition of hands. I believe the simple truth to be this, that in ancient times the people chose by the cheirotonia (lifting up of hands) their spiritual pastor; and the rulers of the Church, whether apostles or others, appointed that person to his office by the cheirothesia, or imposition of hands; and perhaps each of these was thought to be equally necessary: the Church agreeing in the election of the person; and the rulers of the Church appointing, by imposition of hands, the person thus elected. See note on “Ac 6:6″.

MATHIEW POOLE’S COMMENTARY
Acts 14:23. Ordained;  the word properly signifies a stretching out of the hand, such as was used when they gave their suffrages in the election of their magistrates, whereby was showed for whom they gave their voice; and afterwards it was commonly used for to constitute or appoint, or, as here, to ordain to any office or place; which might the rather be done by stretching out or laying on of the hands of the apostles, because by that means the Holy Ghost (or a power of working miracles) was frequently bestowed, #Ac 8:17,18, which in those times was necessary to authorize their doctrine to the infidel world.

PNT PEOPLE NEW TESTAMENT NOTES
And when they had ordained them elders. Observe (1) that elders were not appointed as soon as the churches were planted; time must be taken so as to know what men were fitted for the office; (2) that elders were not appointed to preside over a district, but “in every church”; (3) that there was a plurality; (4) that they were set apart with fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands. It is not here stated who selected the men, but from #Ac 6:6 we would infer that they were chosen by the church under the advice of the apostles.

COFFMAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE
Appointed…
Arguments based on this word which would require elders to be voted upon are not valid. As MacGreggor noted: The word ‘appointed’ means literally ‘chose by show of hands’ and, strictly speaking, should imply some form of popular voting.  But it had come to be used of choice in general without reference to the means.

WEYMOUTH:   selected elders by show of hands