So, You Believe In God, Do You?
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.
Shudder in fear? Why? Well, if you know anything about the Bible, you know that "the original serpent, the one called Satan, and devil, along with his cronies, forsook (gave up) their place in heaven during the prediluvian period to come to Earth and cohabit with women. (Jude 1:6) Yes, there is ample scriptural evidence that shows this to be a Biblical fact, as we understand it, and those angels, who have since been restrained from doing so, actually gave birth to offspring known as Nephilim who were subsequently destroyed in the Flood of Noah's time.
Those "fallen angels" who abandoned and betrayed their creator have a reservation with, well, with nothing at all. They will simply one day cease to exist, that is, according to our current Biblical understanding. Consequently, they live in fear! They 'tremble' because of their impending doom. Not to mention they're being pretty angry over the entire situation and are taking it out on us, i.e.we who live on this planet with them. Again, the Bible points out that, 'The entire world is under the power of the wicked one (namely, Satan).' (1 John 5:19) Even Jesus recognized Satan to be the ruler of this world. (Mattew 4:9, John 14:30)
Do you know anyone (human) that resembles those who tremble in fear? Do you know anyone (human) that is exactly the opposite, i.e., one who 'knows' that he or she is 'going to heaven' and that their 'salvation is assured?' I assume that you know both and many in between.
When I left the Navy more than forty years ago, I suffered from the "post-traumatic stress disorder" or PTSD, that we hear so much about these days. Of course, back then, it was ignored or diagnosed as other illnesses. The Navy was generous enough to have me sign a paper absolving them of any liability, granting me an honorable discharge. Thus they opened the doors and sent me home and it was nearly twenty years later before the symptoms became tolerable and fully manageable, but as life goes and things change, it is what it is.
So, I told you that to tell you this: As I write, I am still searching for the why's and wherefore's of things. When I was discharged, I was in such a mental state that I honestly felt that I was going completely insane fearing that I would turn into a serial killer or somehow harm myself or others. Every other day I had a heart attack, cancer, ALS, or any of a dozen more exotic illnesses. In other words, I was pretty much useless to myself, my family, or anyone else. Consequently, I turned to something that my (then) best-friend introduced me to; I turn to a religious organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Accepting what I had learned, I hoped that if I could apply everything correctly, God would heal me . With the Witnesses, I learned that somewhere in times past, humans had given our Creator the appellation, Jehovah. Taken from the Hebrew letters YHWH that, and without vowel sounds it is translated Yahweh, and is then roughly translated into English as 'Jehovah.' (see Psalm 83:18) As close as we can get in 'translation' I assume.
For the 40+ years that I have associated with the Witnesses, life was a daily and constant struggle to keep myself in check. How to think, what I say, what I do, how I do it, who I associate with, where I go, should I be working overtime, do I attend dinner with workmates, what if I miss a meeting, why am I always alone, why can I not be perfect like all the others in the congregation, and so on. Until just recently when i admitted to myself that there are none perfect within or without the congregations, and none that live the life that Jesus and his apostles lived.
For example: In 1931, J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Society, according to a Watchtower publication dated 1984 (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom), stated that it was by a "stroke of genius" that president Rutherford identified a name that would set the organization apart from all others that called themselves "Christian." Prior to that, they were called simply, Bible Students.
The article states:
Author Chandler W. Sterling refers to this as “the greatest stroke of genius” on the part of J. F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Society. As that writer viewed the matter, this was a clever move that not only provided an official name for the group but also made it easy for them to interpret all the Biblical references to “witness” and “witnessing” as applying specifically to Jehovah’s Witnesses. In contrast, A. H. Macmillan, an administrative associate of three presidents of the Watch Tower Society, said concerning that announcement by Brother Rutherford: “There is no doubt in my mind—not then nor now—that the Lord guided him in that, and that is the name Jehovah wants us to bear, and we’re very happy and very glad to have it.” (Underline is mine) (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom)
A stroke of genius, or by divine intervention? Is that point debatable? Not to Jehovah's Witnesses it is not. As stated above, it was firmly believed by Macmillan to be of divine origin, but does Macmillan's 'belief' substantiate divine inspiration? It is difficult for me to accept that it does since this same J.F. Rutherford also stated the following in his publication, Millions Now Living Will Never Die:
Based upon the argument heretofore set forth, then, that the old order of things, the old world, is ending and is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on the earth will be still on the earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises set forth in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die.
Of course, it does not mean that everyone will live; for some will refuse to obey the divine law; but those who have been evil and turn again to righteousness and obey righteousness shall live and not die. (Millions Now Living Will Never Die)
Of course 1925 came and went with no such prophecy being fulfilled. Then there is also then the BETH SARIM mansion, which Rutherford built for the soon-to-be resurrected 'princes' mentioned above who would "become earth's new leaders and that their resurrection would be a prelude to the inauguration of a new earthly society and the abolition of death." Was this too, by divine inspiration, or again, his genius talking?
As it turned out, the only one to ever occupy the mansion was Rutherford himself, and although built using funds from congregational contributions, his personal wealth, so it is said, purchased his vehicles, expensive watches, and other personal items. The mansion was later sold and the funds used within the organization.
For one, I certainly believe in, have faith in, and have explicit trust in Jehovah (God), as well as full faith in the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ, our savior and Messianic King.
That said, however, from the beginning, with C.T. Russell, Rutherford, et al., there is a vast and questionable history that many swear to, while others disavow. Regardless, many have passed through the same position of president of the organization with similar or equal complications to their claims of being representative of the One True God, Jehovah, and unfortunately often proved themselves to be just as confused and tangled up in finding an actual true understanding of the scriptures.
The Holy Scripture, as it is called, still considered "a matter of translation" when determining exactly what it says and means, is recognized as such in the preface of the Study Edition of the New World Translation, where it states, "“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.”
As years passed, many predictions were made by the prognosticators of events that earmarked the "time of the end," e.g. 1975, the year 2000, et al, all said to be indicators of when the end would be upon mankind. These passed uneventfully, which is not to say such a time is not near at hand, but simply means that nobody can predict it (Matthew 24:36). However, believing such predictions throughout those decades, the faithful still prepared themselves. Houses were sold, educations ceased, jobs abandoned, and many cashed in their stocks and bonds and passed the money on to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's funds for public preaching and expansion of the World-Wide Work. Lives were essentially abandoned to "flee to the mountains" so to speak. Something that has taken place many, many times throughout history by many beliefs.
So am I saying that Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong? Well, all I can do is reason on what I read, see, and hear, which leads to me to certain conclusions. My conclusion is that the Witnesses are no more divinely inspired than anyone who is seeking Christ's redemption, and that includes ALL of so-called Christianity.
For example, Jesus told the disciples, i.e. his followers with him, exactlywhat they needed to watch for as the end of "their system" approached. Then, In 70ce, Roman general Titus laid siege to Jerusalem, and by August of that year, the walls were breached, and the majority of the Jews perished. Of course, any Christians that ignored Jesus' warning and remained behind also perished. He told them what to watch for and when to leave. It was up to them to heed.
Over the next few centuries, Rome eventually eradicated all of his apostles and close disciples, just as Jesus foretold they would, and the Romans eventually stole, and fully desecrated Christianity. In 523ce at the Council of Nicaea, Emporer Constantine ordained a pseudo Christianity known as catholic or, universal that was to become everyone's religion!
"The light of the world," Jesus was gone, and his Roman murderers captured and corrupted Christianity, afterwhich darkness (spiritual darkness) overcame the entire world.
John 9:44 - As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
So, then, does Matthew 24 refer to our time, or simply to the days following Jesus death and resurrection? Read it and use your judgment, because I, nor anyone else as far as I can see, knows anything for a certainty.
We may well be in the time of the end. We may well soon be caught up in what the Bible referred to a "The Great Tribulation," which will lead into the "The battle of the great day of God the Almighty," or "Armageddon." (See Revelation) Yet there is nothing in the Bible that God permitted me to see that proves that any one sect of Christianity (belief) will be inspired to deliver a message of deliverance - OR -destruction. Every dog is barking up its own tree!
Which also leads me to understand that, although their intentions are pure and they probably work harder than any other Christian-labeled organization on Earth to proselytize, Jehovah's Witnesses are groping for God, just like everyone else, and that God's Spirit is as much with them as it is with anyone. Unfortunately, I cannot see that they have any more direct communication with, or revelation or inspiration from God than any other soul that seeks Christ's intervention on his or her behalf.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes (exercises faith) in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
That scripture does not say, that God loved "the witnesses" so much that whoever goes door-to-door...but "whoever exercises faith! It is a comforting thought, I assume, for anyone to feel that have a leg-up on those around them. That God is theirs and on their side, and that it is up to them to tell others what to believe and what will please God to make one safe in this world, as well as to assure one a place somewhere within the New Heavens and New Earth to come. Yet, by all appearances, NOBODY is given the right, or should I say, righteousness to do so!
In forty years of observing and working with those in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, I have never seen anyone, individual or otherwise, that is any less prone to the faults and foibles of humanity than any of those of any other faith.
My struggle to become 'perfect' failed. The suffering over my own faults and the fear for the lives of my family and others tormented my waking and sleeping hours, and if one wants to claim divine intervention, then I thank Jehovah for permitting me to see that I cannot BE perfect and for that very reason Jesus Christ sacrificed himself so that I could have hope.
According to all translations of the Bible, and there are many, 1 John 5:9 points out that the world is possessed by (i.e. owned by, ruled by) "the evil one." All appear to agree that this 'evil one' is Satan and his organization. Now, considering the remainder of what it says, look closely at whom and for whom these letters are written. If you understand this, then you understand my logic. If it is not written to us, about us, and for us who are living today, but for the "Holy Ones" that Jesus and his apostles were seeking out, i.e. those who are actual "partakers of the Kingdom of God," then we are capable only of catching the crumbs that fall from the master's table. We are the other sheep of whom Jesus speaks.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:14-18)
In conclusion, it is my reasoning and determining that brings me to understand that man, selfish and faithless humanity, will do anything to save their skins, even if it means condemning everyone else around them. The all claim to believe, and they all claim to be going to heaven, but when it comes down to going, they run like cowards and cry like babies if fear. Ergo, they don't really believe it.
This same root of selfish humanity is taking it upon themselves to ASSUME that the Bible is written to and for them, when it fact, once the sacrifice of Christ was made, humanity ceased being anything to God Jehovah, or his Christ, which is obvious from the condition of the world today.
The only hope we have is to put faith in Jesus Christ's sacrifice and pray to God for help.
(John 4:13) Which in the Amplified New Testament says, "And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent."
All that we have for hope is that Kingdom for which we pray, and that the unselfish and incredibly undeserved kindness shown toward us through Jesus sacrifice will be applied to us all in that resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. That by applying what we learn from those letters to the anointed followers of Christ, that we may thereby be judged by God as worthy of a continued and long life by applying God's teachings in our lives.