We hold these truths to be self evident...Seriously?
It is a handy happenstance for wielders of God's Word to have scriptures at their disposal such as the one below so that they can proclaim themselves righteous, and identify those who disagree with them as condemned "unbelievers."
3 And even if our gospel (the truth) is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age (of this world, or this system of things) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (the truth) that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-6) (NIV)
All of these organizations led by imperfect men, regardless of their intentions, are not unlike all other religious movements preceding them. Each one must depend upon a thousands-year-old-book to provide them with nothing more than a meager glimpse of what Christ Jesus intends for humanity to learn.
As well, a lifetime of personal experience taught me that humanity is privileged to have even these small portions of scripture passed down. We are fortunate that the brief accounts of Jesus' life and actions and those of the apostles and his other anointed followers, were recorded for our edification and faith. By these, the “Good news of the Kingdom” is known throughout Earth, and by these, we are at least afforded some hope.
However, recordings thousands of years old, scribed and retranslated numerous times down through these thousands of years, although certainly a blessing from Jehovah God, it becomes obvious that humanity, with Satan's help, has made no progress toward living in accord with the unifying message of Jesus' teachings of love and self-sacrifice. Instead, they argue and struggle and suffer over it, accusing one another of ignorance and lies, each proclaiming their own righteous understanding thereby posit themselves as judges of the world around them!
Still, as I peer into the Bible, reference it often, study it, and think about it constantly; my daily behaviors are judged according to everything I’ve learned from it. Tormented by the person I am within, my heart has formed a constant state of prayer. Daily, I sit in front of this machine, hoping that somehow the truth will begin pouring from my fingertips. However, what comes out is the little that I already know and the little bit of faith I have been granted by it.
With nearly seventy years of life behind me, I am tormented daily by the person I am when I compare him with the person I should and would like to be, which causes me to say this:
When it comes to receiving "the truth," someone once said to me, “Don’t try to intellectualize it.” Yet, from my perspective, that is an impossibility! Why? Because discerning truth is a matter of intellect, just as proper behavior (righteousness) is a matter of correctly applying accurate knowledge of God's laws. As a small child, I recall once seeing a hot-air balloon at some event, and I remember thinking, "If the balloon can float, why can people not just float up into the sky?" Simple, right? Did it take intellect to understand later why or why not? Do I need to explain how the analogy relates? Knowledge properly applied through reason and comprehension. Otherwise, I would still be standing there leaping into the air and trying to float away!
Like every religious movement since humanity’s advent from the dark ages, Jehovah’s Witnesses are seekers of truth, advocates of Christ and God’s Kingdom, and have what appears to me to be the best Bible education program in human history. However, like every religious movement, there is no apostleship, no priesthood, nobody given divine insight as some have erroneously attributed to what is titled the Governing Body. Are they ‘anointed?’ Perhaps they are, I have no reason to say one way or another. That is between them and our Creator, but claiming such without evidentiary action does not make it so. They are, however, Christians who try their best to discern the will of God.
Acts 17:26-27 "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us."
The fact is, I have no intention of, or reason to, speak out in opposition to Jehovah’s Witnesses or the truths I’ve learned while associating with them. However, that said, neither can I acknowledge them as the anointed of God, nor the spokesmen of God, something that all religions obviously claim to have as their divine right! Which, then, is me saying that I do not see any organization out there that is such, neither is there evidence that any such group exists. What does the scripture above say? "...he is not far from any one of us."
Also, there is no denying that Jehovah's Witnesses work harder than any other Christian belief on Earth at ensuring people know about Jesus Christ and God's Kingdom; however, those of the anointed who walked with Christ on Earth, healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, spoke miraculously in other languages, and so forth. Any claiming such abilities in our day are proven to be charlatans. If there is an anointing today, it is obviously much different than those anointed followers of Christ back then.
None of those calling themselves "Christian" will deny the fact that Jesus came to Earth for a single, specific reason: "To declare the good news of God's Kingdom and accomplish the will of his Father." As a consequence, Jesus taught everyone to pray this way, "Our Father in heaven, let your name be made holy, let your kingdom come, and your will take place, on Earth just as it does in heaven." So, then, did Jesus do what he came to Earth to do? Did he accomplish God's Will as he was directed?
According to the Bible book of John, chapter 19 and verse 30, "When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said: "It has been accomplished!" And bowing his head he gave up his spirit." So, does "It is accomplished," mean he successfully fulfilled his obligation? Obviously.
After he accomplished his father's will, the face of all religion was going to change. Earlier, coming upon a blind man, his disciples asked what the man did to be born blind. Jesus then told them something very revealing about the future of religion that obviously included Christianity in our time.
"Neither this man sinned nor his parents, but it was so that the works of God might be made manifest in his case. We must do the works of the One who sent me while it is day: the night is coming when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the world's light."
"The night is coming when no man can work." When the Romans murdered Jesus Christ, i.e. when they hung him on the stake to die, the light died. He left this world behind, and over the decades that followed, the Romans also murdered his followers. After this "darkness fell" as Jesus foretold it would, and in 325ad, Emperor Constantine hijacked and perverted true Christianity, and the so-called "dark-ages" began.
Reasoning and intellect tell me that God would not turn over Christianity to the "MURDERERS OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST AND HIS FOLLOWERS."
As it happened then, at the council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine brought together his pagan Roman priests, 300 of them if I recall correctly, and had them set up a "Christian Religion" for all of Satan's world to follow, i.e., a 'universal' or 'catholic' following. Ironically, the same system after which all of the so-called Christian religions of today have modeled themselves in one form or another.
Since the reformation, all of the these subsequent churches banded together in what is now known as ecumenism, i.e., an effort to reunify the churches and bring them all back under the rule of the Papacy. We often hear it called "the ecumenical movement." Following the tenants of "The Church" as formulated at his council in 325ad, Constantine's priests attached Christ's name to their pagan holidays and rituals, worshiping a 'triune godhead', falsely praying to saints, and deifying Jesus mother, lyingly proclaiming everyone to be immortal, and so on and on.
In fact, according to records, the first thing done by the council was to declare Jesus and God to be 'one person' along with the Holy Spirit. Something found nowhere in the Christian writings. Just as in those days, the churches of today depend on the leaders of Satan's nationalist world to support them, and historical documentation supports this reality.
The council condemned Arius and, with reluctance on the part of some, incorporated the non-scriptural word homoousios (“of one substance”) into a creed to signify the absolute equality of the Son with the Father. The emperor then exiled Arius, an act that, while manifesting a solidarity of church and state, underscored the importance of secular patronage in ecclesiastical affairs. (Encyclopaedia Britannica. Source: First Council of Nicaea)
To this day they continue to display the pomp and regalia of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire" with their Gregorian chants and tall hats and ruby slippers. They went as far also to incorporate a secret language (ancient Latin) so as to subjugate and suppress the people's will and keep them without understanding. It was only in recent years the priests stopped speaking in Latin.
Obviously using false teachings concocted by Satan to keep humanity chasing its tail, so to speak, they continued squeezing, twisting, and torturing the writings of the prophets and apostles to make the Bible appear to support their lies. Satan obviously realized that by incorporating the corrupted dogma of Catholicism (Universal belief), the name of Jesus Christ as the savior of humanity would certainly become discredited and defamed through the hypocrisy and Satanic acts of barbarism displayed throughout the dark ages. Satan's obvious plan was to eventually cause people give up following Christ, as so many today are doing.
However, the church taught the masses to pray, “Let Your kingdom come, and let Your will be done,” which is ironic considering Satan's knowing that the Kingdom of God will eventually bring about the end of his rulership over the kingdoms of this world (Daniel 2:44), and sadly, few are putting their hope in that kingdom, just as Satan knew would happen because of this vilification. Instead, they bow to their nationalist symbols (flags, et al) and honor their nationalist leaders ahead of their God and Creator, Jehovah.
No, Satan well knew what he was doing, and it was by design that we see the state of things today. Consequently, Catholicism is responsible for thousands of millions of lives being lost through crusades and multiple wars across humanity's history. Sadly, carried out in Jesus' name to discredit and belittle his Kingship and to make it appear that he is as fallible as you or me.
Satan also knew that he could not stop the declaration of Christ Jesus as Lord and savior. (Jesus said, "If these did not speak, the very stones would cry out!" Luke 19:40) Consequently, to Satan's chagrin, the corruption of pseudo-Christianity is being exposed and it is those true Christians like Jehovah's Witnesses that are helping to expose it. Consequently, Christ’s name and the good news of the Kingdom are still being spread throughout Earth, an unstoppable force in a Satanic world of suppression of reasoning and free will.
The question remains however, how strong and how accurate is our understanding of what God expects of us individually? As it is, we depend on “scholars” of the language, interpreters of manuscripts, bits and pieces found here and there, etc. A veritable struggle over “truth," that is contributing to Satan’s war against anyone who tries to interpret and understand it.
Woe to the earth and the sea, for the Devil has come down to you with great fury, because he knows he has a short time. International Standard Version So be glad, heavens, and those who live in them! How terrible it is for the earth and the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, filled with rage, knowing that his time is short!" Revelation 12:12 (NIV)
As well, because he knew Satan's reasoning, Jesus warned his followers of this certain fact:
"Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. - American Standard Version (1901) Do not have the thought that I have come to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace but a sword. - Basic English Bible" Matthew 10:34
Note: It is NOT my intention hereby to question or nullify the Bible’s validity, nor to devalue it, but to point out humanities innate inability to fully comprehend even the meager portion of it presented to us.
In the Study Bible of Jehovah's Witnesses, regarding translation, it says:
“No modern language exactly mirrors the vocabulary and grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, so a word-for-word translation of the Bible could be unclear or at times could even convey the wrong meaning.”
In fact, within the New World Translation of the Bible, entire verses are questioned as being of valid origin, i.e., "available in 'some' manuscripts, but missing in later ones." This fact causes many who are not Jehovah's Witnesses to disavow the validity of the NWT. Ergo, is it really given to us, or to anyone for that matter, to fully understand. Are we intended to?
Jesus said to the Pharisees,
"But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?" John 3:12 And Paul declared: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." 1-Corinthians 13:12
From all appearances and by all reasoning, we (today) received a mere reflection of what took place at the time Jesus was here in Earth, just as Jesus apostles witnessed a mere reflection of God as presented through Christ. All we have by which to guide ourselves is an ages-old, digested version of what Jesus taught back then.
e.g. John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Still, based on this scant bit of information, not just Jehovah’s Witnesses, but everyone who claims to be ‘Christian' expects people to accept and apply this digested version as a general panacea for the world’s issues, which obviously is not working. Jesus even TOLD us it would not work. ("I have come not to bring peace, but a sword.) Especially not with Satan still ruling the planet (1 John 5:19). People are completely unable to do so, which is why Jesus unselfishly sacrificed himself...TO SAVE ALL OF US. Well, as many as are willing and wanting to be.
According to one source: “Nearly all of the above large categories or denominations are further subdivided, to the point that there are more than 30,000 Christian organizations (groups, branches or denominations) worldwide, and more than 1,200 in the U.S. alone (see notes 1 and 3).“ (LINK)
That information is likely outdated, and the numbers have likely expanded since then, but you get the gist.
We are all aware that most people today can barely conduct themselves properly enough to bathe regularly and keep their teeth brushed, let alone walk upright in all the standards and dictates of the Law covenant and the letters of the apostles. Yet we are under obligation, if we call ourselves Christian, to do our best and conduct ourselves accordingly.
My heart lusts and envies, and my mouth occasionally cusses, and I like having nice things, and I did not sell my belongings and give all to the poor (although I am not without generosity), and so on and on. It is not this way with me because I want it so, but, well, you know what I mean. (Miserable man that I am who will save me from the body undergoing this death…Romans 7:24)
We live in a totally different time and under entirely different circumstances than did Jesus and his apostles. The Light of the world is gone. There is not one of us who has the strength of will or faith to live righteously, i.e., according to God's will. All that we can do is the best we know how, which is the very reason Christ died for us, and the very reason we have the portions of His teachings that are passed down to us. Not to fight over, but to learn from and live by.
So then, what is our obligation?
John 17:3 - "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ."
We are obligated to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemy, and to love our God with all our heart, mind, and soul. Those requirement of Jesus did NOT come with a 'SET OF RITUALS' to follow, i.e. physical sacrifices and such...Jesus' sacrifice alone covers our shortcomings!
Do not to be misled by those who feel that they have God in their pocket and want to sell you their religion. (Luke 21:8) Regardless of where your mind takes you, as we read and study the Bible, we know that Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed himself to make up for our deficits and is now the King of God's kingdom. That kingdom will restore man to a righteous standing in the eyes of His Father and God, Jehovah.
From what I am taught, and what I have seen, Jesus sacrifice will not be applied to those only in attendance at a Kingdom Hall, or a church, or anywhere else among men's organizations. We must live by faith, knowing that the resurrected Christ atoned for us and will one day rescue us if we apply that faith and live by that knowledge. (John 17:3)
To whom did Jesus extend his hand? “Help me, Lord!” is all they said, “Pick up your cot and walk,” he replied. It was the fact that they turned to him, not their deeds or actions before asking. “Your faith has made you well,” Jesus said to the woman who touched his garment. Like the crippled, or the blind, or the deaf; i.e., any who live with their many foibles and defects, all are much more than what any man can see externally, and many of our defects only we, personally, (and God) are aware of. Still, we follow Christ, and we are always striving to do better; that is the faith that God looks for, at least from what I can determine and that is the testament of my faith. If this is not true, please show my why?
As for me; obviously, I cannot heal myself and will continue to call on the name of God, the only one I know, "Jehovah" (Psalm 83:18) through Christ Jesus, and for such redemption and forgiveness as God deems me deserving, as well as asking for the salvation of my family and all others, because we all fall short of the glory of God.
These are my words and the best I can find to explain my actions, beliefs, and behavior. If I am wrong, Jehovah God will correct me accordingly. I do not fear death, but I look forward to it. If I find life anywhere after, all the better, but if darkness is my end, let God’s will be done.