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), and Part 2 (paragraphs 5-6). Again, due to the extent of our comments, we are only able to cover 2 paragraphs in this commentary.
How Should Anointed Christians View Themselves? (Continued)
WT Paragraph 7:
“7 Although it is a wonderful privilege to have the heavenly calling, anointed Christians do not expect any special honor from others. (Eph. 1:18, 19; read Philippians 2:2, 3.) Jehovah’s spirit bore witness to them personally. No announcement was made to the world. So they are not surprised if some people do not readily believe that they have truly been anointed by holy spirit. In fact, they realize that the Scriptures advise against quickly believing someone who claims to have a special appointment from God. (Rev. 2:2) In no way, then, would they use their anointing as a “calling card” to introduce themselves to others. For the most part, they would not even mention this personal experience to others, so as to avoid drawing attention to themselves; neither would they want to boast about their future reward.—1 Cor. 1:28, 29; read 1 Corinthians 4:6-8.
The scriptures to be read are:
“[M]ake my joy full by being of the same mind and having the same love, being completely united, having the one thought in mind. Do nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with humility consider others superior to you,”
– Philippians 2:2-3
“Now, brothers, these things I have applied to myself and Apollos for your good, that through us you may learn the rule: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” so that you may not be puffed up with pride, favoring one against the other. For who makes you different from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not receive it? Are you already satisfied? Are you already rich? Have you begun ruling as kings without us? I really wish that you had begun ruling as kings, so that we also might rule with you as kings.”
– 1 Corinthians 4:6-8
Of course, as Paul wrote to the Philippians, all anointed children of God must exhibit love, unity and humility. But the verses in 1 Corinthians are especially interesting. Clearly some in the Corinthian congregation were lifting themselves up over others as if they had some divinely appointed position – ruling as ‘kings’ in the congregation. He says that if they had received a divinely appointed position, then ALL in the congregation would also have that same lofty position. Doesn’t that still hold true today? If one anointed child of God is ruling as ‘king,’ then all of them would be so ruling! Paul would condemn any special group of anointed men today who claim to hold any position of authority over the rest.
And what was the root cause of the division in that congregation? It appears what caused this division was that some of them went ‘beyond the things written’ and were using Paul’s prophecies about the ‘sacred secret’ to make up stories about certain ones having special appointment! Sound familiar? (See 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 and Question and Responses January 23, 2014 for a further discussion of what Paul meant when he discouraged “going beyond the things written.”)
As for the paragraph itself, since the Watchtower writer does not single out any particular group of anointed Christians, we must assume the comments apply to all anointed Christians, including the Governing Body. For this reason, according to the Watchtower, the Governing Body should not expect “special honor from others.” And since “no announcement was made to the world” of their anointing by Jehovah’s spirit “they should not be surprised if some people do not readily believe that they have been truly anointed by holy spirit.” In fact, according to Revelation 2:2, they should expect to be put to the test to see if they are ‘liars.’
“I know your deeds, and your labor and endurance, and that you cannot tolerate bad men, and that you put to the test those who say they are apostles, but they are not, and you found them to be liars.”
– Revelation 2:2
But how does one test the authenticity of one who claims a special relationship with God? We can take a lesson from what Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“Either you make the tree fine and its fruit fine or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, for by its fruit the tree is known. Offspring of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are wicked? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things. I tell you that men will render an account on Judgment Day for every unprofitable saying that they speak; for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned.”
– Matthew 12:33-37
This does not give license to judge others. But it does give us a way to know who to trust and listen to, and who to avoid.
Consider also: Who in the Watchtower organization uses their anointing as a calling card? We can think of no one other than the members of the Governing Body. Each time they are announced as a member of the Governing Body, they are declaring their professed anointing. In various Watchtower articles, the Governing Body trades on their standing as ‘the least of Christ’s brothers’ in an effort to elicit physical and financial support for their ventures. Most recently, we saw this in the March 15, 2015 article “Loyally Supporting Christ’s Brothers.” (See also our commentary on that article.)
The paragraph goes on to say about anointed Christians: “For the most part, they would not even mention this personal experience to others, so as to avoid drawing attention to themselves; neither would they want to boast about their future reward.” This is further proof that the Watchtower writer and those who approved the publication of this article are spiritually bankrupt and/or Biblically dishonest. They seem to have ‘forgotten’ these oft repeated scriptures:
“Let us hold firmly the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for the one who promised is faithful.”
– Hebrews 10:23
“But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope you have, but doing so with a mild temper and deep respect.”
– 1 Peter 3:15
And what about this comment in the December 1, 2007 Watchtower article entitled “Are You for Jehovah’s Sovereignty?” (paragraph 12):
“Today, the good news of the Kingdom is being preached in many lands, as Jesus prophesied it would be. (Matthew 24:14) As a result, millions of people have dedicated their life to God. They are excited about the blessings that the Kingdom will bring. They look forward to living forever in peace and security on a paradise earth, and they joyfully tell others about their hope. (Psalm 37:11; 2 Peter 3:13) Are you one of these Kingdom proclaimers? If so, you are to be commended.”
So the Watchtower organization commends those who joyfully tell about their hope to live forever on earth, but anointed sons of God should not even mention their hope of living forever in heaven! Something is definitely wrong here! It reminds us of this scripture:
“Woe to those who say that good is bad and bad is good, Those who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, Those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those wise in their own eyes And discreet in their own sight!”
– Isaiah 5:20-21
In our experience, the number of anointed ones, who are not members of the Governing Body, who boast about their anointing or use it to draw attention to themselves are so few and far between that it hardly warrants comment. Boasting about one’s anointing in the Watchtower organization would immediately backfire. The reality is, many, if not most, congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are hostile to the children of God. An open acknowledgment that one has accepted the anointing often engenders mistrust rather than honor, due to the erroneous teachings about anointing.
We know of a congregation in the eastern part of the United States where the body of elders specifically warned the anointed that if they get together to read the Bible, they would face judicial action! The many private emails we have received indicate this is not an isolated incident. The Watchtower teachings have created a dangerous environment for Christ’s brothers to dwell together in peace, unity and security. That is one reason why many anointed ones partake privately and keep their calling secret. Most Jehovah’s Witnesses would be surprised to know how many ‘closet’ anointed there are in the Watchtower organization.
This paragraph is disturbing to say the least. We hope all who read this and the previous Watchtower study article pay careful attention to the way the anointed children of God within the Watchtower organization are suppressed, oppressed, scrutinized, belittled, misrepresented and unfairly judged.
Since the question for paragraph 7 is tied to paragraph 8, let us read paragraph 8 before we consider the question. WT Paragraph 8:
“8 In addition, anointed Christians do not view themselves as being part of an elite club. They do not seek out others who claim to have the same calling, hoping to bond with them or endeavoring to form private groups for Bible study. (Gal. 1:15-17) Such efforts would cause divisions within the congregation and work against the holy spirit, which promotes peace and unity.—Read Romans 16:17, 18.
This paragraph is especially offensive. Of course, anointed Christians should seek out others of like faith and when they get together, of course, they can study the Bible! They are commanded to do so. Doesn’t the writer of this Watchtower article remember what happened after the 3,000 were baptized at Pentecost 33 C.E.:
“So those who gladly accepted his word were baptized, and on that day about 3,000 people were added. And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to associating together, to the taking of meals, and to prayers.”
– Acts 2:41-42
And what about the Beroeans who were commended for their personal study to see whether the things they were learning at ‘meetings’ we supported by scripture:
“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”
– Acts 17:11
And what about this counsel:
“And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.”
– Hebrews 10:24-25
If this counsel is not for anointed Christians, then who is it for? Remember, the Watchtower organization teaches that the Christian Greek Scriptures are directed primarily to the anointed. So, how dare they say anointed Christians should not follow that advice! The fact is, they should be doing it, and “all the more so.”
The scripture used in the paragraph to support the preposterous directive that anointed ones should not seek one another out is this one:
“But when God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through his undeserved kindness, thought good to reveal his Son through me so that I might declare the good news about him to the nations, I did not immediately consult with any human; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was, but I went to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus.”
– Galatians 1:15-17
What does this have to do with anointed ones gathering together and reading the Bible together!! How misleading!! In this scripture, Paul is stating that he received a commission to tell people the good news about Jesus, and he did not see a need to get permission from anyone else. He did not seek out a so-called ‘governing body’ to consult with. He just went out and obeyed. Perhaps the lesson here is that since we have been given a commission to “publicly declare our hope,” we do not need to get permission from the Governing Body to do that.
This paragraph should remove any doubt in the minds of the readers that the writer of this Watchtower is not anointed, does not understand the anointing, and has no perceptive powers or thinking ability. It is also an indictment against the Governing Body who approved the publication of this article. The Watchtower writer has now put their anointing in question. Why? Because an anointed child of God would NEVER tell another anointed one to go against clear scriptural directives. An anointed child of God would NEVER tell another anointed one that they should not seek fellow sons of God to bond with and associate with. An anointed child of God would NEVER discourage Bible study with persons of like faith. An anointed child of God would NEVER tell another not to ‘even mention’ his hope, or to refuse to get together as often as they can to remember the Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:25-26) Nor would he or she EVER avoid an opportunity to have Jesus present with them. Remember Jesus said:
“For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”
- Matthew 18:20
For an example of how the Watchtower organization has suppressed and oppressed anointed Christians, see Defending Our Living Hope.
However, those who are afraid of the freedom of the sons of God would give such ridiculous advice. Those who want to control anointed Christians and suppress the work of the Spirit of Truth would speak such foolishness. And those who want to stop the increase among those who belong to Christ, as John prophesied at John 3:30, would manufacture obstacles like those presented above. These are examples of the type of ‘unsound directives’ the Governing Body expects Jehovah’s Witnesses to blindly obey. How ignorant do they think you are?
Now, let us talk about creating division. Paragraphs 7 and 8 assert that if anointed Christians seek one another out, study the Bible together or publicly declare their hope, they will cause division. This is ridiculous and not at all what the scripture cited in the paragraphs say. Here is what it actually says:
“Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them. For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones.”
– Romans 16:17-18
The children of God getting together to study the Bible and publicly declaring our hope is not contrary to what Jesus and the apostles taught. It is completely in harmony, as shown in the scriptures quoted above. Rather than cause division, these action unite the body of Christ.
Neither is it any more problematic than when Elders get together, or Pioneers get together, or even when the Governing Body gets together each week. Is anyone complaining about that? Why is it okay for 7 so-called anointed ones to gather together weekly behind closed doors to have Bible discussion, but the other anointed cannot? Hypocrites!
What causes division is the counsel in these paragraphs. Does the Watchtower writer read his own words? He is saying, in essence, “Stay separate so you don’t cause division.” Can he not see that telling people not to get together IS causing division? It is truly unbelievable that these paragraphs were approved for publication by men who claim to have the anointing!
Further, teaching that there are two different groups, with two different hopes in the same Christian congregation is a teaching that causes division, especially if only one group is allowed to have a voice! If the Governing Body truly wants unity – Christian unity – then they need to teach the one hope, the one faith, the one Lord and the one baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6), and abandon the “other sort of good news” (Galatians 1:6) that is corrupting the Watchtower organization:
“But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ. For as it is, if someone comes and preaches a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you receive a spirit other than what you received, or good news other than what you accepted, you easily put up with him.”
– 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
If this divisive teaching continues much longer, the Watchtower organization will soon fall. It is inevitable ... unless you think Jesus did not know what he was talking about when he said:
“If a kingdom becomes divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand; and if a house becomes divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
– Mark 3:24-25
So, the question on paragraphs 7 and 8 asks:
“7, 8. What do anointed Christians not expect, and why?
Based on everything we wrote above, anointed Christians do not expect to be told, by anyone who professes to love God, not to gather together or not to study the Bible together or not to mention their hope. Why? Because anyone who loves God knows that Christians must do all those things.
Clearly, the intent of this counsel is to keep anointed Christians separate from one another with the hope that the anointing in the Watchtower organization will stop so that fewer and fewer Jehovah’s Witnesses will awaken to sonship. Those at the top want to continue to control the faith and the finances of a people who are “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Perhaps, by means of these commentaries, our brothers and sisters will find their way to the true shepherd and gain refreshment for their souls. (Matthew 11:28-30)
To all readers of this commentary, whether Jehovah’s Witnesses or not, have you ever heard anyone tell Christians not to get together, not to mention their hope, and not to study the Bible together? Can you imagine Jesus or any of the apostles giving that advice? What sort of people would give this kind of advice? And more importantly, what anointed Christian would allow this kind of suppression and disrespect of his own hope? We wonder who is truly running the Watchtower organization? Is the Governing Body that incompetent or are they being manipulated by others? We do not know for a certainty the answers to those questions. But we do hope every son of God rejects this anti-Christian counsel and seeks out those of like faith, studies the Bible with them, and makes public declaration of his or her hope ... and “all the more so.”