Seven Letters to the Seven Congregations | Letter 3
Jehovah Has Not Shut off Entry into the Kingdom of the Heavens
An important truth for the Body of the Christ is whether or not the door to the Kingdom of the Heavens is closed. For decades, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society repeatedly published that the full number of anointed sons of the kingdom had been called by 1935. So, by this thinking, they concluded that the door into the Kingdom of the Heavens was indeed closed. This view was distressing to so many who had the witness of the Spirit after 1935, and who, as a result of this teaching, failed to demonstrate their calling or make it sure. (2 Peter 1:10)
Though it has taken many years, finally in the May 1, 2007 Watchtower, Questions from Readers, the organization backed off that date. Acknowledging that the number of partakers is increasing, the article states at page 31:
". . . as time has gone by, some Christians baptized after 1935 have had witness borne to them that they have the heavenly hope. (Romans 8:16, 17) Thus, it appears that we cannot set a specific date for when the calling of Christians to the heavenly hope ends."
The article then goes on to say:
“How should a person be viewed who has determined in his heart that he is now anointed and begins to partake of the emblems at the Memorial? He should not be judged. The matter is between him and Jehovah.”
How refreshing!! The veil of suspicion and the doctrine restraining those professing the heavenly hope appeared to have been removed. But, unfortunately, that was not the case. The veil continues.
In the recent August 15, 2011 Watchtower, Questions from Readers, the organization returned to ‘judging’ those professing a heavenly hope, inferring that some who profess to have the
witness of the Spirit are misleading themselves and are merely victims of mental and/or emotional strain. The question asked: “Does this total [11,202] represent the number of anointed on earth?”
The answer provided is:
“Not necessarily. A number of factors including past religious beliefs, or even mental or emotional unbalance might cause some to assume mistakenly that they have the heavenly calling.”
Clearly, these statements allow members of the congregation to conclude that new ones who partake of the emblems might be partaking as a result of emotional or mental problems. That, my brothers, is judging. Using the word “might” does not excuse us. If the matter is truly between that person and Jehovah, any comment challenging the validity of someone’s heavenly hope is, in fact, a judgment.
Perhaps that was not the intent of the writers, but it certainly is the interpretation by some in the congregations. Some such individuals, believing they are doing a service to God, discourage new partakers, even suggesting that men who partake could lose congregational privileges. How sad! Jesus does not take this matter lightly. He told the religious leaders of his day:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut up the kingdom of the heavens before men; for you yourselves do not go in, neither do you permit those on their way to go in.”
– Matthew 23:13
In reading that scripture, one might wonder how it is that puny men would have the power to shut up God’s kingdom. This letter has considered two ways: (1) by declaring that 1935, or any other particular year, marked the conclusion of the gathering of anointed Christians; and (2) by challenging the mental and emotional stability of a person simply because they profess the heavenly hope. These actions and attitudes have, in effect, closed off entry into the Kingdom of the Heavens. Those who have been invited in are prevented or discouraged from going in because those in authority tell them the door is closed or that they are mentally and/or emotionally unbalanced and mistaken.
As it is, some of our brothers who put more trust in men’s words than in the witness of God’s Holy Spirit have turned their backs on their God-given hope. These babes need encouragement to ‘make the calling and choosing of them sure.’ (2 Peter 1:10) Instead, they receive a rebuke. Those that are faithful and courageous enough to stand firm in their hope are often ostracized or marked – some subjected to repeated “shepherding calls,” some even disfellowshipped. It is like Jesus said:
“I was a stranger, but you did not receive me hospitably; naked, but you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but you did not look after me.”
– Matthew 25:43
And there would be consequences:
“For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink on the ground that you belong to Christ, I truly tell you, he will by no means lose his reward. But whoever stumbles one of these little ones that believe, it would be finer for him if a millstone such as is turned by an ass were put around his neck and he were actually pitched into the sea.”
– Mark 9:41-42
“It is unavoidable that causes for stumbling should come. Nevertheless, woe to the one through whom they come! It would be of more advantage to him if a millstone were suspended from his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to stumble one of these little ones.”
– Luke 17:1-2
We sadly wonder how many anointed brothers and sisters during the years leading up to 2007 were turned away and shut off from the Kingdom. We pray that such brothers and sisters find their way to this site for encouragement, validation and support.
And to those taking the lead in the organization, now that you have attempted to correct the error, we encourage you to demonstrate repentance by following Christ's admonition and go searching for those lost Sons. (Matthew 18:12)
As an organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been forced to acknowledge, on several occasions, that placing a date on Jehovah’s work is wrong. It misleads some persons, it stumbles some, and it gives fuel to their persecution by the world. It also leads some to conclude that they are not among Jehovah’s people.
True seekers of truth recognize that Jehovah’s people of today are really no different from Jehovah’s people of the past. Whenever Jehovah established pure worship, certain men sought to improve on it or to change it which led to apostasy and the nation’s disgrace. Sadly, the same thing is occurring today. We are told:
“Now these things went on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have arrived.”
– 1 Corinthians 10:11
All true sons must study these examples and learn from them, regardless of what the Organization does – and yes, even in the face of contrary talk by men. (Hebrews 12:3) For indeed where is the wisdom in intervening in a matter that is between Jehovah and the individual Christian? By doing so, they are taking the matter out of Jehovah’s hands and placing it into the hands of men. Jehovah is certainly capable of handling his own business.
Shutting up the kingdom of the heavens is a serious matter. It interferes with Jehovah’s work:
“Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I shall return and rebuild the booth of David that is fallen down; and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah, who is doing these things, known from of old.’”
– Acts 15:14-18
This is Jehovah’s promise to rebuild His tent. Instead of using the natural nation of Israel, He would turn to the nations and take out of them those who would make up this new tent – His
“Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen precious with God, you yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
– 1 Peter 2:4-5
“But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
– 1 Peter 2:9
The natural nation of Israel had the possibility of being that holy nation and royal priesthood through whom all nations would be blessed. When Jesus arrived, that promise was given to the Christian congregation, the Body of Christ. It was now by means of the Holy Christian Nation that the nations of the earth would be blessed. Revelation indicates that, out of that new ‘holy nation,’ Jehovah and his Christ would select 144,000 co-rulers who would serve as King-Priests – a royal priesthood – and bring blessings to all mankind. (Revelation 14:1, 3; 20:6) But by interfering with the development of this holy nation, certain men are finding themselves fighting against God. How much wiser Gamaliel’s Counsel:
“Do not meddle with these men, but let them alone; (because 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 perhaps be found fighters actually against God.”
– Acts 5:38-39
Articles such as the August 15, 2011 Watchtower, Question for Readers, while appearing innocent to some, really undermine the development of the royal priesthood. We suspect that, left
unhindered, many more Sons of the Kingdom will be revealed. (Romans 8:19) To these “unrevealed” Sons, we remind them of the words of the Apostle Paul:
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a babe he does not differ at all from a slave, lord of all things though he is, but he is under men in charge and under stewards until the day his father appointed beforehand.”
– Galatians 4:1
“Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: Abba, Father!” So then, you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, also an heir through God.”
– Galatians 4:6-7
Many of the newly revealed Sons who are just getting their spiritual balance are being discouraged, some confused. Others, who serve out of envy, rivalry or contentiousness, and not with a pure motive, stir up tribulation for Christ’s brothers. (Philippians 1:15-17) All such individuals are in a dangerous position.
Any shutting up of the Kingdom by men will be accounted for by Jehovah. But, still, this does not excuse the true sons.
“For whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he arrives in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
– Mark 8:38
“Everyone, then, that confesses union with me before men, I will also confess union with him before my Father who is in the heavens; but whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father who is in heavens.”
– Matthew 10:32-33
“‘[M]y righteous one will live by reason of faith, and, if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’”
– Hebrews 10:38
Then, Paul added:
“Now we are not the sort that shrink back to destruction, but the sort that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.”
– Hebrews 10:39
If you have shrunk back, repent and pray for “seasons of refreshing from the person of Jehovah.” (Acts 3:19) And if you are newly revealed:
“Rejoice in the hope. Endure under tribulation. Persevere in prayer.”
– Romans 12:12
You must not let men shut up the Kingdom of the Heavens before you. If you have questions about your anointing, feel free to contact us. We will listen, share experiences, and answer any questions we can. You can send us a confidential email at any time. But let’s go deeper. Let us continue with Letter No. 4.