Watchtower: January 2016
Study Article: “We Want to Go With You”
Study Date: March 21-27, 2016
“We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.”
– Zechariah 8:23
We continue our commentary on the second study article in the January 2016 Watchtower magazine (“WT”). We Want to Go With You Part 1 (paragraphs 1-4). We only cover 2 paragraphs in this subheading due to the extent of our comments.
How Should Anointed Christians View Themselves?
WT Paragraph 5:
“5 Those who partake of the emblems at the Memorial should carefully consider the warning found at 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. (Read.) What point is the apostle Paul here making? An anointed Christian would partake unworthily if he did not maintain a good relationship with Jehovah. (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29) Such a warning helps anointed Christians to remember that they have not yet taken hold of the reward. They need to continue to press on “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 3:13-16.”
The warning scripture referred to in the paragraph reads this way:
“Therefore, whoever eats the loaf or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty respecting the body and the blood of the Lord. First let a man approve himself after scrutiny, and only then let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment against himself.”
– 1 Corinthians 11:27-29
The question for paragraph 5 asks:
"5. What warning should anointed ones think seriously about, and why?"
We first want all our brothers and sisters to take note of how this Watchtower writer offers a new explanation of this scripture. In the past, this scripture was used to support the idea that if one does not have the heavenly hope and yet chooses to partake, he will be partaking unworthily and drinking judgment against himself. But it seems the Watchtower organization has abandoned that interpretation, and rightly so since, during the time of Paul’s writing, every Christian knew they must eat and drink of Christ in order to gain salvation. Not one of them would have second thoughts about whether they should partake.
But the new interpretation is not accurate either. Paul is not talking about maintaining a good relationship with Jehovah as the paragraph suggests. He is referring to the need to respect the Memorial Supper. By reading the context, one will see that Paul is referring to those who were eating a full meal and getting drunk before joining together with their brothers to reenact the Memorial Supper. (1 Corinthians 11:20-22) Paul viewed this as gross disrespect to be avoided at all cost. For more information about the meaning of this scripture, please see the article, Eating and Drinking Worthily. And, of course, this scripture does serve as a warning for Christians today to have a sober and respectful state of mind when approaching the Memorial Supper.
And again, we take issue with the Watchtower writer’s attempt to destabilize the heavenly hope by writing: “Such a warning helps anointed Christians to remember that they have not yet taken hold of the reward.” No, they have not received the heavenly inheritance, but they have received the guarantee. And as long as they maintain that token, their hope is assured. The anointed children of God need to keep looking forward with their eyes on the prize, having faith as though they have already received the reward, as Jesus counseled:
“This is why I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for, have faith that you have received them, and you will have them.”
– Mark 11:24
Insecurity is destructive to faith:
“Jesus said to him: “No man who has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well-suited for the Kingdom of God.”
– Luke 11:62
So we want to remind our anointed brothers and sisters that though you have not yet received the heavenly inheritance, you should be of the mental attitude that you have already received it, so that you can stop being self-conscious about your hope and turn your attention to the service of others.
In addition to warning the Corinthian congregation against disrespecting the Memorial Supper, Paul gives other warnings to the Hebrew Christians in the scriptures cited in the paragraph:
“For as regards those who were once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly free gift and who have become partakers of holy spirit and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, but have fallen away, it is impossible to revive them again to repentance, because they nail the Son of God to the stake again for themselves and expose him to public shame.”
– Hebrews 6:4-6
“For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, but there is a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a burning indignation that is going to consume those in opposition. Anyone who has disregarded the Law of Moses dies without compassion on the testimony of two or three. How much greater punishment do you think a person will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God and who has regarded as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt?”
– Hebrews 10:26-29
We want to emphasize that these warnings are not to those who may have sincere doubts or who stumble on occasion out of weakness or misunderstanding. These scriptures warn against blatant rejection or turning our backs on the gift of the spirit once we have accepted it. It is similar to Jesus’ warning:
“Truly I say to you that all things will be forgiven the sons of men, no matter what sins they commit and what blasphemies they speak. But whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever but is guilty of everlasting sin. He said this because they were saying: ‘He has an unclean spirit.’”
– Mark 3:28-29
The warning is not that God might take away the token, disavow the guarantee or refuse to offer forgiveness. It is a warning that a person who wilfully rejects the spirit’s witness, or in some other way blasphemes the spirit, can become so spiritually bankrupt that he is unable to express repentance. The conscience of such a person becomes so seared that he will not allow himself to seek the Father or to attempt to ‘cash in’ the token. He has a ‘fearful expectation of judgment,’ a judgment handed out by the person himself. It is a warning of what happens to the mortal mind and conscience when the gift of the spirit is knowingly rejected.
Jesus’ words are a further warning to the person who sees the spirit operating on another person, but who wilfully chastises such a son of God, labels him or her mentally unbalanced, or implies he or she has an ‘unclean spirit.’ How much better to leave unhampered those who accept the spirit’s witness, not for their sake, but for your own.
WT Paragraph 6:
“6 Under inspiration, Paul appealed to anointed Christians “to walk worthily of the calling with which [they] were called.” How should this be done? Paul goes on to say “with all humility and mildness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, earnestly endeavoring to maintain the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3) Jehovah’s spirit promotes humility, not pride. (Col. 3:12) Modestly, anointed ones acknowledge that they do not necessarily have more holy spirit than those with an earthly hope. They do not claim to have special knowledge or revelations; neither do they try to prove that they are in some way superior. They would also never suggest to others that these too have been anointed and should start partaking; rather, they would humbly acknowledge that it is Jehovah who does the calling of anointed ones."
The question on paragraph 6 asks:
“6. How should anointed Christians feel about themselves?"
Anointed Christians have a very positive feeling about themselves. They have ‘the spirit of adoption as sons’ not the ‘spirit of slavery,’ knowing that the heavens belong to them.
“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs—heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ—provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together.”
– Romans 8:15-17
They recognize that being sons of God is an honorable position, but one that is offered to everyone who desires it. So there is no room for boasting in themselves or viewing themselves as superior to others, nor should they ‘lord it over’ their brothers. An anointed faith son of God does not demand special attention or support that is not due every other child of God.
However, the truly anointed children of God DO have more holy spirit and insight than those with the Synagogue hope. If not, then this entire study article is useless. If the anointed sons have no more insight, knowledge or spirit than the ‘ten men,’ what is the attraction? Why else would the ‘ten men’ want to go with them? According to Zechariah, the ‘ten men’ seek the ‘Jew’ because they see evidence that God’s spirit is working with them in a way that is different from what the ‘ten men’ experience. To say otherwise is self-delusion and evidence of a lack of thinking ability.
Further, according to Paul, the spirit ONLY leads the sons of God:
“So, then, brothers, we are under obligation, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you are sure to die; but if you put the practices of the body to death by the spirit, you will live. For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons.”
– Romans 8:12-14
This paragraph should give Jehovah’s Witnesses a significant wake up call. The writer is in essence saying that the Governing Body does not have “more holy spirit than those with an earthly hope,” and “do not claim to have special knowledge or revelations.” So then why must Jehovah’s Witnesses obey the Governing Body’s directives, especially when they conflict with the plain and open teachings of Jesus, and especially if they are unsound from a human or strategic standpoint? If your spirit leads you to a different conclusion than the Governing Body’s, why should you suppress the spirit’s leading in favor of the opinion of those who are not any more spirit led than you? If you are going to place your life in the hands of humans, why not in your own hands? Really, following a Governing Body that has no more spirit, knowledge or insight than one who rejects the Christian hope is tantamount to the blind following the blind into a pit of everlasting destruction! (Matthew 15:14)
Further evidence of the writer’s, and the Governing Body’s, gross lack of spiritual insight is shown in the sentence: “They would also never suggest to others that these too have been anointed and should start partaking; rather, they would humbly acknowledge that it is Jehovah who does the calling of anointed ones.” If anointed ones would never suggest to others that they too have been anointed, how could the Christian congregation have ever grown? Isn’t that exactly what the 1st century ministry was all about?
Jesus told his audience that they were all sons of God, and brothers to each other:
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.”
– John 1:12
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One.”
– Matthew 23:8
And he told them to go throughout the entire world teaching “what he taught”:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”
– Matthew 28:19-20
His apostles and disciples did just so. Paul taught that all Christians are sons of God:
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus.”
– Galatians 3:26
And remember, Peter and John helped others to receive their anointing:
“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them; and these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. For it had not yet come upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them, and they began to receive holy spirit.”
– Acts 8:14-17
Even among Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is understood that every Christian who was baptized in the 1st century was helped to receive his or her anointing by the ministry of others. It is a rare circumstance that one would understand their anointing without the help of others:
“For the scripture says: “No one who rests his faith on him will be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. There is the same Lord over all, who is rich toward all those calling on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” However, how will they call on him if they have not put faith in him? How, in turn, will they put faith in him about whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent out? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”
– Romans 10:11-15
The entire Christian ministry is about reconciling man to God, not as friends, but as sons. It was not until J.F. Rutherford came along in the 1930's that Jehovah’s Witnesses began rejecting sonship in favor of friendship. What a pitiable turn of events!
And if the Watchtower organization truly believes it is Jehovah who does the calling of anointed ones, then why are they even giving their opinion about it? Why write articles designed to question and challenge the anointing of another? If it is Jehovah’s business, then they should stop interfering! The writer of this Watchtower, and those who approve of its publication, do not even have the wisdom of the Pharisee Gamaliel who said:
“So under the present circumstances, I say to you, do not meddle with these men, but let them alone. For if this scheme or this work is from men, it will be overthrown; but if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. Otherwise, you may even be found fighters against God himself.”
– Acts 5:38-39
This is the situation the Watchtower organization has placed itself in. By discounting the surety of the anointing, by denying the extraordinary influence of the spirit in the lives of anointed Christians, and by promoting a hope that Jesus never promoted, the Watchtower organization is a fighter against Christ. Some would call that Anti-Christ!
We hope our readers seriously consider what this Watchtower article attempts to do to the body of Christ and the gift of holy spirit. Do not let men who have no more spirit or insight than you prevent you from attaining the prize of the upward call.
We Want to Go With You Part 3