The One Isolating Himself: Examining Proverbs 18:1-2 (Part 1)

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Earthbound, Apr 18, 2018.

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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires;
    he rebels against all sound judgment.
    A fool does not delight in understanding,
    but only wants to show off his opinions.
    —Proverbs 18:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible
    I remember, during the time that I was a member of the Watchtower organization, this scripture being mentioned often about those who had a tendency to miss or even de-emphasize meetings. And it likewise found its way into a number of local needs talks to remind various brothers who happened to enjoy fishing or hunting on their weekends off from the week's grind at work, that meeting attendance was to have the greater emphasis.

    It was mentioned many times to me during the time that Deb and I began to withdraw from the meetings because of our troubled conscience in light of doctrinal and organizational assertions— more so as I began to realize that the elders whom I approached over matters refused to discuss anything, referring me instead to the Watchtower's published position on said matters.

    In the years since my excommunication, I have been to one meeting, at the local Kingdom Hall (now up for sale and abandoned only one year after it was newly-built to accommodate the brothers and sisters living in and around this area). I was approached by the elders almost immediately upon my arrival and reminded that I was not to speak to anyone, and that if anyone spoke to me, I was to inform them I was "disfellowshipped." In addition I was to sit in the partitioned-off area that had a few chairs, where I could listen to the meeting behind a pane of glass.

    It was the last time I set foot inside a Kingdom Hall, seeing no purpose in being nothing more than a seat-warmer.

    Apart from this, I have remained "in the wilderness" as I used to describe my situation back in the days when I took to writing articles online and moderating some message boards over the years.

    But the absence of fellowship is felt more these days, and my wife and I have discussed our options, of course. Not too long ago, we visited the local Baptist church, in fact. Thankfully, the sermon wasn't having anything to do with the Trinity or my eyes might never have rolled back down in their sockets, and the pastor there was congenial and even mentioned some things I hadn't previously considered on the particular passage he was using as a basis for his sermon. The morning began with a small group study, and for whatever reason, I dove in when he began to ask the group questions. It was a bit embarrassing, really, because here I was a stranger there, and I was offering impromptu responses to the material (the subject was legalism), and it was a tad unnerving as people began to turn their heads and see who this guy was who was answering the pastor's questions.

    Anyhow, it wasn't a horrendous experience, although we haven't been back since because... well, the segment of the Sunday service set aside for what my wife said was "praise" music was... well, not my cup of tea. Neither did I care much for the modern instruments, such as drums and guitars.

    Mind you, my first exposure to religion was as a child, with AWANA meetings at the Hastings First Baptist Church. But even so, I don't recall the music sounding like it did this particular Sunday. o_O

    If not for this past weekend's ice and freezing rain, we would have attended a different Baptist church in a nearby town that a fellow believer at work invited me to, jokingly telling me after I related my experience at the PBC, "Yeah, we have several recovering Baptists now." I thought that was rather hilarious, truth be told.

    Anyhow, this all goes to the passage I quoted above, and what I hope will provide for a great discussion on the subject of fellowship and association— especially for those who, like me, have found themselves out "in the wilderness."

    The discussion will take place in three separate, successive topics, covering the social spheres of our lives— this being the first leg of the journey, so to speak. Each part will examine how Proverbs 18:1-2 applies to that respective sphere.

    For now, I will go ahead and post this introduction to give those of you who will be participating an opportunity to share a little about your current means of fellowship. Maybe you are still attending Watchtower meetings. Maybe you attend a church. Maybe online association is all you have available presently. Whatever the situation, I'm looking forward to your "introduction" as I start working on the first official post that will start things off in the next day or so.

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Eze 34:4-6 "You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bandaged the injured or brought back the strays or looked for the lost; rather, you have ruled them with harshness and tyranny. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; they were scattered and became food for every wild beast of the field. My sheep were straying on all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the surface of the earth, with no one searching for them or seeking to find them."

    No doubt I have a differing view on who Eze was speaking of then some others, but it is my understanding these Scriptures above have their final fulfillment in our day, directly associated with the elders of JW.org.

    Since I also believe the Watchtower is the "constant feature" that puts a different spin on attending any Christendom churches. This question to me seems to open up the discussion of what is salvational. I've been thinking of this subject these last few days and I've been considering opening a thread on that subject.

    I guess I would have to ask myself the reason for attending other churches. I had visited some other churches in my youth, and even without much Biblical knowledge there were things that made me uncomfortable, such as speaking in tongues, or shouting, while other churches could be simply mind numbingly boring...

    So why would I attend? I suppose this seems as a personal decision on a basis by basis situation. Would I learn anything? Would they mention something I hadn't thought of? Maybe, I find that occasionally online.

    You know, I do and have listened and watched thousands of videos online of differing pastors, and sermons, but I have control. I can fast forward, rewind, or shut it off instantly if the subject is beyond textual.

    So then the question is about fellowshipping. You know, I would probably be more comfortable visiting their functions such as bake offs, or fundraisers and the like, something not as a Sunday sermon. At which point I could speak my mind to individuals as the opportunity arose. Yes, I think if I ever considered it, this would be what I would do. But then again, I am someone who can still go to the Hall and talk to people as I wish, simply because they haven't found me, and I don't see the need to rock the boat. Then again, I don't feel the overwhelming desire to visit every meeting at rote either. I keep a healthy distance...

    This to me also begs the question, what is Spiritual Idolatry?

    I think I'll start the other thread on that thought...

    AJ
     
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    Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Experienced Member

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    Again I say to you, If two of you agree on earth as to anything, whatever they shall ask, it shall be to them from My Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” (Mt 18:19-20 LITV)

    Is this not our “congregation”? I believe that I’ve been here since about 2003. The location may have changed, and a few have departed, but the core have remained. I plan to have a bible study with a close friend. And, a few nights ago, I had a knock at my door. I saw a man standing outside. I asked what he needed. He asked if my name was - - - -. I affirmed that it was. He introduced himself as a former member of the local Kingdom Hall. He had apparently been disfellowshipped many years ago.

    Long story short, he was interested in having a bible study with me. I told him, yes. So, somewhere in the near future I will have a small group.
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Agreed brother, we here are a close family through our Lord, and I do feel he is here with us when we come together in our conversations. This forum has proved to me that his Spirit has been more at work on it, then any other forces...

    That sounds like fun... It seems like any time I have an opportunity to talk to someone directly, they do not like to have a conversation, they like to talk. They don't wish to listen, but to tell me all about their beliefs, and either cut me off, or not let me speak at all, at which point I walk away. I'm sure it's just a trial for me at present, but frustrating none the less...

    Here's to end time fulfillment!

    [​IMG]
     
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    Baruq

    Baruq Member

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    So your name is - - - -? Now we know all about you:).
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires;
    he rebels against all sound judgment.
    A fool does not delight in understanding,
    but only wants to show off his opinions.
    —Proverbs 18:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible

    I'd like to start, contrary to what may be expected, NOT with the application and principle found here where the individual is concerned, but rather where the body or congregation is concerned. While I will be moving the topic over to the individual, I really would like to both share and gain your thoughts on a larger scale to begin with.

    Can this scripture be applicable to the congregation or, as some word it, the "whole association of brothers" in a corporate sense?

    Personally, I believe so, and my reason for concluding this is appropriately illustrated with the current state of the Watchtower organization.

    The Watchtower organization certainly considers itself the only group of "true" Christians in existence today, and to assert that self-belief, they isolate themselves from any others who likewise are trying to be followers of Jesus insofar as the Bible speaks to them and our Father's holy spirit enlightens them to understand.

    This isolationism is seen in their selfish desire to somehow prove more righteous and holier than any other group of believers, which many have come to describe as Pharasaic in similarities. And it is demonstrated in its assertion of its own self-sufficiency in direct opposition to the apostle Paul's expressed view:

    That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. —1 Corinthians 12:21 Contemporary English Version
    The Watchtower organization, of course, considers itself the whole body in order to interpret Paul's words in light of its own view of itself, even though it is but one appendage in the body of Christ.

    To wit: Catholics are well-known for their social programs to help the less fortunate and needy. This, in spite of their... peculiar practices and teachings. For the sake of our discussion, I'll describe them as the "hands" of the body of Christ. They do very well at existing as a hand, but are terrible at being a "foot." Even so, I cannot dismiss them if they are acting like a hand should act.

    The Watchtower's membership are well-known for their door-to-door ministry. In effect, they are the "feet" of the body, striving to carry the Good News to those who will listen, in spite of their... peculiar practices and teachings that, arguably, sometimes run contrary to scripture. I cannot dismiss them if they are not acting like a hand, offering social programs, for example. They are great at being a "foot" but terrible at serving as a "hand."

    Moving the discussion forward, do I find that the Watchtower, in its own isolationist view of itself, "rebels against all sound judgment?" Absolutely! In fact, there continue to be individuals who strive to make the Watchtower organization see where errors exist and legalism prevails, even into matters of prophetic understanding, even as the Watchtower rejects such ones.

    They do not delight in understanding, going so far as to disfellowship those who would correct them— usually accompanied with the organization's mantra that we should never think we know more than the organization in matters of scripture— in complete blindness to a vast Biblical record of Jehovah raising up people from outside the institution to admonish and speak judgment against His people when they have strayed!

    In effect, the only opinion the Watchtower organization seems to be interested in is their own, constituting themselves "fools," per the passage we are discussing.

    So, what are your thoughts? Can this passage be applied to a group just as it can be (and often IS) applied to the individual?

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings... (Part 1)

    Might I ask, do you believe you see the Holy See in such a manner, or the individuals within? Just to highlight why I ask, I believe (as nothing new) that the Holy See is the harlot.

    Also, please explain how these Scriptures fit into your scenario:

    Mth 7:21-23 "Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’


    Would you support the Watchtower joining the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification?

    That would seemly offer a fix to your "isolating themselves" thought experiment.

    Yea, that one gets to me...

    As to your question; The first thing that comes to mind when applying this Scripture to a group is the Israelites. Jehovah had them isolate themselves for 1500 years.

    The next thing I think about is, every group isolates itself, religious or not. This seems to be the premise of a group, to separate itself from others.

    As well, a contradictory approach could be our direction to separate ourselves from the world.

    2Cor 6:17 "Therefore, get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take you in."

    If any group separates itself from others in the world, then you would have to determine if such Scriptures as the one above applies only to individuals, or to the group as well. It seems appropriate to me that either both Proverbs 18:1-2 and 2Cor 6:17 are either individual, or group as well, congruently.

    I hold a perhaps unique view in that all of these organizations are irrelevant, for in the end I believe Jehovah will draw out a people for himself from all organizations, into a single group. Could this be called isolating themselves at that time?

    Eze 20:41 "Because of the pleasing aroma, I will take pleasure in you when I bring you out from the peoples and collect you together from the lands to which you have been scattered; a and I will be sanctified among you before the eyes of the nations."

    It's an interesting question you raise, and may be deeper then at first glance. Is isolating ones self good or bad?

    I'll consider the matter further...

    All love in The Way...
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings again brother... (Part 2)

    Unless I'm mistaken, I'm leaning toward Jehovah wishing us to isolate ourselves as a group, but that if we isolate ourselves from that group we will suffer.

    Given the information available, and history itself, this seems to be the direction I would say the text points us. We congregate together, and isolate ourselves from the world, but we need to be careful not to isolate ourselves from the group.

    Heb 10:25 "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."

    And there certainly seems to be a direction to come together as a group, separate from the world.

    1Cor 11:33 "Consequently, my brothers, when you come together to eat it, wait for one another."

    Then the question; What constitutes a gathering?

    Mth 18:20 "For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”

    So therefore, with this in mind, and taking into account the history of the Israelites themselves, I would have to say that Proverbs 18:1-2 is speaking of us as individuals, and not as a group, for it appears to me we are directed to gather together, separate from the world.

    I would also implement the idea that congregating together with just anyone who claims to be a Christian isn't what is considered appropriate either. Even among so called believers are those who do not have our Lords approval.

    Mth 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

    Mth 7:22 "Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’

    Therefore it is my opinion that the idea of gathering together for the purpose of fellowshipping in our Lords name with anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ is not the approach we should take. We should be selective with who we associate with (in a manner of brotherhood).

    1Cor 5:11 "But now I am writing you to stop keeping company with anyone called a brother who is sexually immoral or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man."

    The problem the Watchtower has isn't their practice of disfellowshipping, but how it's implemented.

    We are directed to remove wicked ones from among us.

    1Cor 5:13 "Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.”

    They disfellowhip many who are genuinely repentant, and then do nothing to followup with them with encouragement. Then of course they disfellowship on basis not even Scriptural, such as questioning doctrine.

    The point I am making is, we need to know who is in our group of close associates, just as our Lord did.

    It's similar to how this forum is run, we keep a close eye on who we associate with. Is that isolating ourselves, or following the direction set out within the text? Some over the years have felt this policing was some sort of oppression, but I might suggest to such ones a fuller understanding of the perspective we are to maintain, from our Lord.

    In my humble opinion...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Apart from my being very much aware of the view / perception of the "Holy See" (as you phrase it) as the harlot, on the part of Christians since the beginnings of Protestantism, I am referring to the authority exercised over believers and followers of Jesus down through the centuries since the beginnings of orthodoxy in the days of the apostle Paul.

    In that vein, I see little to no distinction between the authority exercised by the papacy or the Watchtower organization. This abuse of authority isn't limited to those to bodies of leadership, but for the sake of this stage of the discussion seemed the most obvious.

    Do you mean my scenario of imposed isolationism by those holding positions of authority over believers and followers of Jesus in order to bolster and amplify their authority? If so, then I'd have to say it bears little relevance on this particular aspect of Proverbs 18:1-2— although it may be relevant to the upcoming aspect involving the individual.

    Having said that, in brief, my current understanding on this passage is that these ones placed their salvation on their works, on what they did— rather than on what Jehovah and Jesus did for them... the undeserved kindness, or grace. A very brief and oversimplified response, I suppose.

    Yuck! LOL

    Again, I am especially interested in the phenomenon of imposed authority and the lengths a group's leadership is willing to go to both secure and retain their asserted authority over believers and followers of Jesus—in light of Proverbs 18:1-2.

    An excellent example, and one that I've been meditating upon as well, especially in light of the apostle Paul's words at Galatians 3:28.

    Agreed. The "us and them" mentality definitely finds its potency within the group dynamic, and invariably seems to lead to problems like exclusivism, holier-than-thou attitudes, superiority assertions, bias and bigotries, and a great many other ugly and ungodly beliefs and notions.

    Another great example! And I would concur that those believers who desire to likewise be followers of Jesus back to Jehovah God are obligated to "quit touching the unclean thing," but digresses from the current aspect of the discussion so we'll likely be coming back to it later on.

    We'll pend this one for now, as well, until we turn to the individual and Proverbs 18:1-2.

    Moving now to Part 2 of your response...

    --Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I'd like to pend these points for the upcoming change in discussion, when we move from the leadership to the individual. I hope that's okay with you?

    I would concur.

    Again, I agree and we'll be redressing this further during the course of the discussion as our attention moves to the individual and Proverbs 18:1-2.

    As I mentioned in my post earlier, it is very easy to take Proverbs 18:1-2 in the individual sense, because through the Watchtower organization's conditioning it's become the most familiar.

    But that is precisely why I want to take the time necessary to explore the principle of Proverbs 18:1-2 in a collective or organizational sense—specifically in light of asserted and imposed authority over believers and followers of Jesus— before we settle back in our easy chairs to fall back upon our predisposed views concerning the individual applicability of the principle.

    Hope that helps shed light on what I'm trying to get at with this particular stage in the discussion.

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    I might add that this subject appears to have a connection to whether God has a group of people on earth. Either as he once did, does have, or will have, IMO. As well, if either of these are so, I would like to see you take your understanding further into how a group directly set up by God should govern it's members...

    Thank you...
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I'm convinced that He does. Otherwise, the discussion becomes moot.

    In Jesus' day, the "shepherds" of God's people were evidently the Pharisees. They had appointed themselves as the keepers of "the Truth" as they saw it, imposing weighty burdens on the people and doing nothing to lighten the load. Even so, we have scriptural evidence that there were those among the Pharisees who were aware of the onerous assertion of authority and its overstepping mercy for the sake of legalism— as we read about them coming to Jesus privately.

    As some converted to Christianity, we read about the influx of Judaizers among the believers and followers of Jesus. The apostles served as a bulwark against such ones, but even the apostle Paul recognized that it was only a temporary "protection" for Christians:

    Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them. —Acts 20:28-30 Berean Study Bible
    Not only would such men come in from the outside, but they would rise up from among the men who already held a position of oversight in a given congregation.

    Historically, this is the beginnings of the neo-orthodoxy which eventually developed into catholicism, the belief that every Christian needed to hold to the views and interpretations of the men who asserted authority over the congregations, securing their positions and power. Catholicism is, simply, the "universal faith," which led to the development of the political-religious body that we today identify as the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. Catholicism canonized the epistles and gospels which now are part of what is commonly called the "New Testament," with the Revelation of Jesus Christ (aka "Revelations") being the final canonized work after long debate and dispute between it and the Apocalypse of Peter some three centuries after Christianity's founding.

    Catholicism dominated Christianity for centuries, until Martin Luther made his stand, and protests began among followers of Jesus in opposition to the authority of the Papacy. Protestantism is how this opposition is described today, and out of it we have seen myriads of sects develop down to our modern-day, every one of them taking with them the Bible which had been chosen by the Roman Catholic Church through its process of canonization, and then building their varying views and interpretations on the same foundation.

    While I don't mean this to become a discussion about canonization and the role our heavenly Father's holy spirit played in that process, I mention it to illustrate that all of the sects we see as a result of this protest against the assumed power and authority of the Roman Catholic Church all base their views, interpretations, and teachings on the same identical Bible.

    In other words, where a singular, universal ("catholic") view prevailed for some 12 centuries (3rd Century CE), Protestantism shattered Christianity into multiple and diverse views, begging the question as to whether Christianity fares better under diversity than it fared under a single view.

    Be that as it may, there arose the inevitable "shepherds" who took it upon themselves to decide for others what followers of Jesus should and should not think and believe about the scriptures, asserting eternal damnation for those who rejected said positions on the scriptures. Today, we see this play out among the various sects of Christianity with imposed teachings such as Trinitarianism, the "1914" doctrine, and "once-saved-always-saved" to name a few.

    All of which brings me back to one of the reasons why I wanted to have a open discussion about assumed authority among the followers of Jesus: the epistles offer no advice on how to redress and handle those who assert their power and authority over Christians— even though I can find several warnings that such ones not only would come, they were already taking up residence among the followers of Jesus!

    But I will keep on doing what I am doing, in order to undercut those who want an opportunity to be regarded as our equals in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.—2 Corinthians 11:12-15 Berean Study Bible

    While the apostle Paul acknowledges such men, he does not advise us as to how to deal with such men.

    Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there--false ones, really--who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.—Galatians 2:4 New Living Translation

    The apostle Paul again identifies these men, who want to "enslave" and force followers of Jesus to abide by their standards and views— in effect, creating their own pens of sheep which they can control. But once again, we are not told what we should do in response to such men, or to what length we should go to remove them from our midst— or if we are to simply submit to such ones.

    Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them.—Galatians 4:17 New Living Translation

    Again, what are we to do when such men try to do this (or ARE ALREADY doing this) among us? The apostle Paul does not tell us.

    Then some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."—Acts 15:1 Berean Study Bible

    This is, in my estimation, a precursor to what we witness today, where religious leaders insist that we have no salvation without the acceptance and adoption of their stipulated interpretations and views. Unfortunately, we receive no direction on how to deal with them.

    Sometimes false prophets spoke to the people of Israel. False teachers will also sneak in and speak harmful lies to you. But these teachers don't really belong to the Master who paid a great price for them, and they will quickly destroy themselves. Many people will follow their evil ways and cause others to tell lies about the true way.—2 Peter 2:1-2 Contemporary English Version

    While we have the observation that "many people" subject themselves (become obedient to those "taking the lead" among them), and the result of their subjection, we do not receive direction on what we should do. Do we become rebellious against their authority?

    With lofty but empty words, they appeal to the sensual passions of the flesh and entice the ones who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves to corruption. For a man is a slave to whatever has overcome him.—2 Peter 2:18-19 Berean Study Bible

    Here, I see yet another example of the dangers associated with such ones, but no apostolic instruction on what we are to do about such ones.

    Are we to remain in subjection to them, or rebel against them?

    For example:

    Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God has done, and they will be punished.— Romans 13:1-2 Contemporary English Version

    Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples: “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So practice and observe everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." —Matthew 23:1-3 Berean Study Bible
    Does Jude speak of us when we resist men we feel are abusing their authority and overstepping their station?

    These men, however, slander what they do not understand, and like irrational animals, they will be destroyed by the things they do instinctively. Woe to them! They have traveled the path of Cain; they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam; they have perished in Korah’s rebellion.

    These men are the hidden reefs in your love feasts, shamelessly feasting with you but shepherding only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried along by the wind; fruitless trees in autumn, twice dead after being uprooted. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
    —Jude 1:10-13 Berean Study Bible
    I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and observations!

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy


     
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    jehovahisgod

    jehovahisgod Experienced Member

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    Earthbound allow me to introduce myself to you my name is Ari Matthew Davies I live in Statesboro Georgia I was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness well that was way back in 1975 I went to their meetings I went out in field service I put literature behind the counter and I did as I was told to do I never made trouble I never got disfellowshipped I never got publicly reproved in fact they never had to say anything bad to me I was a good sheeple! Honestly friend the time came that I fell away from the organization became a drug addict and did all the bad things that they warned you not to do. Well when I was in a jail cell I was given the opportunity to attend to Christian regeneration Camp instead of jail and charges. I really didn't want ever see a jail cell again or another crack rock so I took the Christian regeneration Center and it was there that I learned more about Jesus in 3 months that I had my whole life at the Kingdom Hall! I'm not going into all the negatives of the Kingdom Hall. It had its purpose at taught me about Jehovah it taught me about Jesus Christ! It taught me how to study your Bible. It didn't teach me how to deal with the real world and real people! You quoted the scripture about isolating yourself. That's exactly what Jehovah's Witnesses do they isolate themselves from the rest of the world and form a little group of people that they are comfortable dealing with because their righteous people! But is that what Jesus did? No absolutely not .Jesus put himself in the middle of everybody in order to teach and be an example!. EarthBound I think I've been to the Kingdom Hall Once In the last 28 years! I don't miss it one little bit! I have learned to go to baptist churches to Pentecostal churches 2 non denominational churches. And sing the songs have fun have a good fellowship with real people and eat lunch with them! And the lies that I was told all these years. About all the other religions being false. Well that's exactly what I just said it's a lie!

    There is people and every church that I've been to that genuinely love God and will abstain from sin just because it's the right thing to do! Friend there's a lot more to live for then the hope of paradise someday after you're dead and Resurrected! You can sing songs with people to praise Jehovah and honor Jesus Christ even if the doctrine of the song isn't perfect! Jehovah knows why you're singing! You can have a Bible study with a bunch of people that I don't have a perfect Doctrine which none of us have by the way! And you will be fed by Jesus! You can go about in the world and you can associate with people you can have fun with people without doing wicked things! Naturally you don't want to go hang out in bars and strip clubs! And when you go to a church and somebody starts talking about the trinitarian doctrine ignore it! You know the truth! What about when Jehovah's Witnesses start talking about all the times the end was supposed to come and didn't? Doesn't that sink into you as false prophecy totally against the Bible?
    Yes Earthbound nobody's Doctrine is perfect! It's why you're there that counts! Are you there to believe in falsehood or are you there to honor Jehovah? Are you there to a obey Jesus Christ?
    How can you possibly go door-to-door discipleship making and go to a door and have somebody say oh there's those Jehovah's Witnesses that made all those prophecies that didn't come true! And then ask those people if they want to study the Bible with you?


    I know I'm not going there I'm going there with the word of Jehovah God and the word of Jesus Christ not the word of the Watchtower bible and tract Society not the word of the Baptist Church not the word of the Catholic church not the word of the 7 Day Adventist not the Pentecostal word not the non-denominational word! The word of Jesus Christ! And the word of Jesus Christ is everywhere! I know it's very hard for a person that's used to the Kingdom Hall to walk into a church and get along with people that are sitting there singing the song worship His Majesty! A beautiful song full of some doctrinal errors.

    I know it's hard to talk to somebody about Jesus Christ being impaled on a pole when they believe in the cross I've learned to get by that! I don't care if Jesus was impaled upon a pole or cross! it doesn't make any difference to me. I have only one big pet peeve that I just cannot abide with when when people call God God or God lord and don't want to learn his name!

    And atheists I have been known to strangle them to death on the spot lol! But anyway it's been 28 years now I know that what I have is genuine! If it wasn't I'd still be smoking crack cocaine! What I have is more powerful than addiction to crack-cocaine that's pretty darn powerful!

    I call it holy spirit! I've learned over the year to be led by her! Lol again ! Don't let me ruin your head for you I watch the movie The The Shack one of the best movies I've ever seen in my life especially when you've had similar experiences your own self!

    Anyway I look forward to looking at your threads and watch you as you learn to thrive on your own with Jesus as your leader instead of kingdom casserole!.

    And if you want a job in the ministry there is one waiting for you over on my thread where I am writing the Bible! Feel free to post a chapter and a picture I'm old I'll be old and dead before I finish this! So come help out one chapter a week. Leave something for the Next Generation!

    Look forward to seeing you around.
    By the way my avatar here and on the Internet is Jehovah is God ! I'm easy to spot
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    An interesting post brother, I delight when someone brings something up I hadn't thought of before, it really gets the mind working...

    I see where you're going here, If one was to separate themselves from those who brought in contradictory teachings, we would be isolating ourselves from everyone, for by our day all groups have brought in false teachings. Could all Christianity be seen as a single group, therefore it doesn't matter where we worship?

    What I'm going to do is endeavor to explore another avenue of the questions you raise: Does the text speak of us as individuals separate from the group, as well speak directly of the groups, with differing destinys?

    For 1500 years Jehovah had an isolated people, a group separated for himself, and it was a mess. He was constantly having to correct them. So what was decided for these last 2000 years was to allow the crop to all grow together, before the final harvest.

    Mth 13:30 "First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up; then gather the wheat into my storehouse."

    Naturally, a process of allowing the crop to all grow together instead of keeping them isolated, would result in the multitude of sects we see today. Less important was law, and more important was faith, as part of the new Way, or "kingdom of the heavens" as set up by Christ Jesus.

    Should we be trying to convert others? If they believe in Christ, should we bother trying to clear up their understandings? Is there a true faith on earth, a group set up by Jehovah? These are all the questions you raise by your post.

    For the majority, as individuals, faith is all that matters. Groups like the Watchtower shelter ones from possible stumbling out here in the real world (informationally). It would also be suggested as a matter of consideration to those who think they need to rescue ones from the Watchtower that they more so run the risk of stumbling someone, rather then doing anyone a favor.

    For these last 2000 years, faith is what has mattered. The heart condition, and our acceptance of our Lord Christ Jesus has been the saving grace, not whether one understands the earth will stand forever.

    As to groups that coalesce, men rule men to their own injury.

    Ecc 8:9 "All of this I have seen, and I applied my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, during the time that man has dominated man to his harm."

    As individuals we are either wheat or weeds in Gods plan. But as to groups/organizations, they appear to be a separate entity within the text. When we speak of the women and her seed in Gen 3:15, or the women in Rev 12, or the harlot of Rev 17, we see discussed groups. Groups throughout the text appear to be discussed separately then individuals, and obey completely different set of rules. This can be seen in the matter of nations. The text speaks of his people within nations, and as well nations as organizations, separately, and it behooves the reader to determine the context of the text to determine if it is speaking of individual people, or a legal group. Such as the case of the Holy See, it is both a nation and a religion, yet with individuals within having varying faiths. The text can speak of destroying a nation, but also speak of saving those out of a nation.

    In the end however, Jehovah will call out a people for himself, into a group once again from all nations, and this group is known as the bride of Christ. While the seed of Satan, and his group/organization will be destroyed. Again however, individuals within have the opportunity to be part of either group they wish, and are either the wheat or the weeds within each group, while all grow together until the final harvest.

    So I will most certainly consider this subject further, but It appears to me this discussion comes down to whether a text is speaking of a group, or individuals.

    Please feel free to move it along, for it is VERY interesting, and I need to ponder it more in order to gain further insight into it.

    All love...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Christian greetings, Ari!

    If you prefer, I'm okay with referring to you as "jehovahisgod," too. My name is Timothy Kline, and I live in Perry, Michigan. I, too, was baptized after dragging my feet on the matter for quite some time. I figured, whatever. Like a band-aid, the quicker you tear it off, right?

    I remember nothing of the event beyond standing at the foot of the raised platform at the Holt Assembly Hall as the conductor read off the doctrines of the Faith promoted by the Watchtower organization. I never came to have faith in the Watchtower organization's claim that one needed to be re-baptized now that one understood what they collectively refer to as "the Truth."

    Oh, and I remember standing next to a brother, but I couldn't tell you anything about him, or even whether he went ahead of me or after me into the pool.

    I have always believed that my baptism at the naive age of 7 was it. Like marriage: till death do you part. I was convicted in whatever way you want to interpret it, that's all I can say. It went beyond description. It was a conviction. I had been drawn to the Bible since I could crawl my way to the coffee table to get to the ginormous family Bible my mother kept there. The one with the holographic picture of the birth of Jesus, with the wise men standing nearby. Still have it, although one of the dogs I've had through the years took to literally trying to digest the poor, ancient Bible. It's dog-eared now, also literally.

    But seriously. Let's think about this—and I'll try not to take us too far off-topic here—

    You enter into marriage with your spouse. In all likelihood, if you married during the period some have referred to as the "bloom of youth," you probably had a few pre-conceived notions about what marriage was and how things were going to go. And some of your idealism took it on the nose as you found out you didn't know as much as you thought you knew. Anyhow, as you two, husband and wife, learn to become what the epistles describe as the relationship between Jesus and the bride (or, body of christ), you make the changes you need to make to make the marriage work. You just do it, no ceremony required.

    I sacrificed my integrity that day when I decided it was less hassle to just do the Watchtower's baptism into their organization and get on with things. I didn't want it to be that big of a deal. You know?

    Anyhow, I am the type of person who enjoys learning. I ask questions.

    I have always liked family trees, understand. The big family Bible I mentioned earlier has my family tree recorded in it. Most of it by my mother, and some of it by me— although I haven't updated it in a long, long time, now that I think about it. I like to follow things backwards, so the inevitable day came when I took to exploring the Watchtower organization's family tree as a religion, and led to everything that followed, up to and beyond my excommunication for communicating online in a way that cast doubt and reproach against the Watchtower's "Faithful and Discreet Slave."

    Which I would never have done, had there been a provision within the congregation for handling such questions in a way that is encouraging to the one "doubting," as the Watchtower organization words it. All I wanted was for just one elder to tell me I was not going crazy about certain matters about and within the organization, and then scripturally show me why I should not let it dissuade me from continued association. And I only spoke with elders about my concerns after I asked a brother whom I regularly associated with back then what the (chain of command) was for this type of matter.

    Anyhow, the policy is that you don't discuss such things publicly, and it was on those grounds that I was excommunicated as an apostate.

    Since then, Jehovah has continued to bless our lives and our marriage. Certainly not for our success, because we've had our fair share of drama and challenges to both our faith and our marriage. And we're still here— no credit to us, I confess before all, apart from our shared conviction in the covenant of marriage, and a deepening appreciation for what the husband, Jesus, has to put up with from his imperfect bride— yet his love never wavers.

    But by the grace of Jehovah, we have made it this far.

    One other thing I've learned: life in the "wilderness" is not easy. Nor would I recommend it. o_O

    Sitting in a cold jail cell was my rock bottom, too. Saying anything more would just be another excuse for me to digress, and I've already done that once. So, I'll leave things at that. :cool:

    I always think of that very thing as the greatest irony: The Watchtower organization taught me how to systematically study the Bible. The trade was that I had to accept their interpretation on anything the Bible said.

    Only I didn't.

    So, again, I set aside my integrity to maintain the peace. I figured, whatever. The alternative was to go to some Trinitarian church, I would think in my judgmental, condescending attitude about any other groups of Christians.

    It's taken me years to start moving past that judgmentalism when it comes to other groups of Christians. Start moving past, I repeat.

    This goes to the heart of why I felt moved to open this discussion. During my time with the Watchtower organization, Proverbs 18:1-2 was always addressed from the facet of the individual, and usually hammering on the importance of consistent meeting attendance and activity in the Watchtower's field service activities to promote the organization's teachings and message.

    And there's no denying that aspect of the principle found here, as far as I'm aware. Fellowshipping with others of like faith is as essential as the air we breathe and the nutrition we commit to the function of our body to maintain the temple for Jehovah's holy spirit as we follow the example set before us by Jesus of Nazareth. And I certainly look forward to that part of this discussion when we get there. :cool:

    Still, I see the same principle at work in the Watchtower organization's isolation from any other Christians to establish its own superiority in righteousness to that of any other groups. It's an organizational re-enactment of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector parable, from what I've experienced.

    So what is my responsibility as a follower of Jesus? Go along for the sake of getting along?

    There is no provision within the organization for these types of discussions. Unless you count the all-encompassing "Wait on Jehovah. If He feels a situation needs to change, He'll see that it does."

    The problem with a statement like that is that Jehovah has always used someone outside the leadership to call out error where it is becoming entrenched. Every. Single. Time.

    This was to determine the humility of the leadership before Jehovah God. I have personally experienced the Watchtower organization's opinion of that point. All I can say is "Count the cost."

    I'm pretty sure I won't be attending any Pentecostal churches, but I'm not going to sit here and declare them false or non-Christians because they hold to certain teachings that I read differently from the Bible. It is not the place of the slave to judge another of the Master's slaves. I have a full-time job being condemned by my own imperfections and sinful tendencies, anyhow. But would I worship alongside them in praise to God and to Jesus? No. So my judgmentalism remains, even as I believe that Jehovah will forgive me my own mistaken views and sinful nature because I think I'm righter about something more than someone else is.

    I have no idea how Jehovah even puts up with me. Seriously.

    The Trinitarian doctrine doesn't bother me to the extent that it used to while I was a member of the organization. I don't believe it's the only thing Jesus, who has been appointed as the judge of us all once we assert that we are his followers, is looking at. Nor do I believe that membership cards will be asked for.

    The problem for me is not that I don't see them as people trying to follow the Way, too— just like me. The problem for me is the critical spirit that has been inculcated in me as fruitage of the judgmentalism I'm still trying to work beyond. Would you like to know something? There wasn't a single statement made that I could say was scripturally wrong. The people were warm and gracious and welcoming, and quite interesting. The pastor was approachable and down-to-earth. I even participated with answers during their adult Sunday school class.

    It was none of those things.

    It was the praise section of the service, when a couple of young men sang praise while playing guitars. There went my critical spirit switch to ON. And it was enough to convince me I really didn't want to come back here again.

    This in spite of what the apostle Paul did as he went from town to town, preaching everything he knew about Jesus and how he, Paul, had once persecuted the followers of this man. He established congregations as a result of his openness to those who didn't necessarily believe the exact same things he had come to believe—and how could they believe, unless they too had been confronted by Jesus as he had been on the road to Damascus? And many became believers as a result of Paul's zeal and courage in his faith.

    When I set out on this journey, when I stood there on the beach of the Jordan Lake that summer day, waiting my turn to be called by the pastor to go and submit myself in baptism, I wanted to be the Timothy that Paul described. The worker with nothing to be ashamed of when it came to my devotion and dedication to my Exemplar and saviour.

    As should be evident by now, I've got a ways to go, still. o_O

    Actually, I've seen The Shack and there have been many other "faith-based" movies that I've enjoyed watching.

    And such things are all well and good. But it's the fellowship with others that is sorely lacking. I don't mean online gathering with others, although I would argue that it serves a purpose when actual, real fellowship with a congregation simply isn't available.

    To that end, are we expected to worship alongside those who do not share our beliefs? What of the principle that oil and water cannot mix? What of the fact that we're never going to find a group of believers who believe exactly as we believe? The answer rests somewhere between, I believe.

    Or, going back to the most familiar example— the Watchtower organization— to what extent are we to stand against error from the leadership of a congregation or organization? Is it our place, even, or are we taking a stand against authority that Jehovah has granted and will personally redress in matters of abuse of that authority?

    Should we, perhaps, decline to "bare" the nakedness of Christ's bride by exposing such things, after all, would we do that of our own wife to the public?

    Or, are we made aware of matters precisely because Jehovah expects us to warn the leadership that they are entering into judgment with Jehovah of Armies?

    While the writers of the epistles warn us that bad leaderships would come, they offer no direction to us in responding to or otherwise handling such ones.

    Maybe there is no answer. They didn't have an answer for us. We'd have to decide both individually as well as congregationally. Perhaps even organizationally—although there are very few historical instances of a successful reform within a religion.

    I leave that to the younger brothers and sisters now. I've certainly written plenty in years past, and I laugh because I disagree with much of what I said back then, LOL! That's a sign of progress, I think. :confused:

    So maybe there is hope for me yet.

    In any case, pleased to make the acquaintance with you, Ari!

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    wallflower

    wallflower Moderator

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    I describe myself as being "a satellite sister" - I'm in the congregation but I'm not a part of it. I am not part of anyone's clique. Able to get to most meetings.

    A few sisters try to "talk" to my wardrobe ("that's a nice dress") and then walk off and proceed to approach someone who is part of their clique. I haven't been successful yet in training my wardrobe to respond back. :)

    I wasn't raised as a Witness and used to attend Sunday school as a child. Started attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall as a teenager and got baptised in late teens.

    Was active in the ministry for several years and then I got some news that my circumstances were about to change. I could still go out in the ministry but I would have to scale back on this. I let the brothers and sisters know about this new change and gave lots of advance notice, so that they would be aware.

    After I had scaled back and was now doing less, the brothers and sisters weren't as keen to associate. I got the impression that the friendship was based on how well I could perform in the congregation.

    Still have a share in the ministry but I go about it differently these days.
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Continuing some thoughts here...

    One factor I was hoping someone would mention is the limitation Jehovah placed upon humans to be able to organize and group together.

    They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”


    But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”


    In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.
    —Genesis 11:3-9 New Living Translation
    Jehovah has not lifted that barrier that prevents humans from organizing on a scale similar to that in the days of Babel. Our attempts inevitably become corrupt for one reason or another. It is why there will not be world peace. It's subtle, too. Up to a point, people can group and organize—but then something happens. We see it most easily with crowds, when a certain "mob" mentality takes over and suddenly people who wouldn't normally begin rioting are right in the mix. This ... I don't know how else to describe it... group consciousness takes over, with a mind of its own. Battlefields are another very obvious manifestation of this, as well, as soldiers switch off all appearance of civility to kill or be killed at the behest of men, many of those soldiers convinced that they are doing so for their country, or because they are patriots.

    But more to the discussion, I am of the understanding that the congregation was the largest body of believers in any given area. There was no centralized authority as religious organizations utilize centralized authority.

    Your first thought might be, "Okay, but what about the Jerusalem Council?"

    The Jerusalem Council was presided over by James, the brother of Jesus, with help from the apostles, including Peter and Barnabas. It primarily concerned itself with the Jewish Christians in and around Jerusalem, from what I've gleaned from the available historical information. It wasn't until the issue of the circumcision being compulsory upon Gentiles to be considered true followers of Jesus, that the Council said anything concerning its authority over non-Jews:

    Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to tell you in person the same things we are writing you. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond these essential requirements: You must abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.” —Acts 15:27-29 Berean Study Bible
    The apostle Paul's epistles, for example, are his own letters to the congregations he had been blessed to see established and in most cases prospering. He wrote regarding issues that came to him, and admonished the older men in the particular congregations to address the issues, reasoning with them in confidence they would be given what was needed to resolve a problem or meet a need. Apart from his going to the Jerusalem Council on the circumcision issue in behalf of the Gentiles now following the Way, I do not see where Paul relied on a "Governing Body" for direction in spiritual matters— nor does he direct the new believers to do so while he is in prison awaiting his death. Or after his death.

    He does, however, warn them about the wolves that would come, and seek to isolate them into pens controlled by these wolves, seeking to rule over them.

    As far as Paul was concerned, it was the congregation which was responsible for its spiritual cleanliness before God as part of the body of Christ.

    Yet it's been the Roman Catholic Church's model since Protestantism was birthed onto the world scene. Lutheranism is, as I understand it, the same hierarchical structure of authority, minus the Pope. The majority of Protestant Christians have adopted organizationally imposed doctrines such as the Trinity, in order to be recognized by this "governing body" as orthodox Christian. If a Baptist pastor began teaching that the Trinity is not reflective of the relationship between Jesus and Jehovah, how long would he remain a pastor at that church? Or in any congregation overseen by one of the major Baptist organizations across the world. They are not as autonomous as they tell the public.

    Even the Watchtower organization patterns its tiers of authority, right up to the papal-like edicts and annunciations of the organization's leadership, on the catholic system of hierarchy. Only the names have changed.

    No, I suspect that a congregation should be autonomous and no larger than the size of a village or small town. The everyday lives are intertwined by proximity. Everybody knows everybody. Neighbors have watched kids grow up to have families of their own, or move away for work. There's a sense of community among the congregants, just like that small-town feel if you've ever had the pleasure of doing that. Comfortable. Home.

    When you see how well humans manage cities, it should comes as no surprise that it would be similar even in a congregational sense, should it grow to that invisible limiter Jehovah's placed on us-- well-intentioned or not.

    It's no different from when Abraham and Lot parted ways to maintain the peace between their households. There had come that inexplicable number when people stop being kind to one another, and communication breaks down into fighting, crime, and wars. It's that annoying limiter that our Father put on us back in the days of Babel. And not believing in Jehovah God or Jesus of Nazareth won't change the reality that the limiter kicks in every time.

    Random thoughts.

    --Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother...

    I might add that those in Sumeria were gathering together in defiance of God.

    Gen 10:8-9 "Cush became father to Nimʹrod. He was the first to become a mighty one on the earth. He became a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: “Just like Nimʹrod, a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.”

    While in contrast, Jehovah had always separated his people out of the nations, into a group for himself.

    Lev 20:26 "You must be holy to me, because I, Jehovah, am holy, and I am setting you apart from the peoples to become mine."

    Did the failures of the Israelite's change the fact that they were a separate nation set aside for God? Has Jehovah changed? Has man changed?

    Mal 3:6 "For I am Jehovah; I do not change."

    Ecc 1:9 "What has been is what will be, And what has been done will be done again; There is nothing new under the sun."

    Our Lord chose a group of 12 men. The 120 in the upper room were gathered together into a group in order to receive Gods Spirit. The 7 churches throughout Asia minor were governed in a manner described by the writer of Revelation, indicating they are all seen as a group, even given their physically separate locations. Therefore showing precedence of a central governess over regional congregations. We have letters all throughout the NT indicating that the apostles were directing many different congregations through one faith.

    Eph 4:4,5 "One body there is, and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism."

    It appears to me throughout the text that the problem arises when men gather together in defiance of God, rather then in allowing him to guide their activities. The fact that evil penetrates Gods people who gather together does not negate the possibility of a group on earth today made up of many congregations governed by a central group of men, fulfilling a role purposed by God. This is the way it has always been, if by the temple in Jerusalem, or by the apostles through letters and visits.

    If we may learn anything from the Israelite's, it's that inevitably human imperfection and evil enter into Gods arrangement and handle the sheep with harshness. (Eze 34) As this is exactly what we have seen throughout all human history through the pages of the Bible.

    Prophecy repeats itself, often several times. The past events help us understand that which is to come. It's often what I find most regretful for those who believe all prophecy has already been fulfilled, for I have found our Father through those past fulfillment's that mirror what is to come. Of course I respect the understanding, and love the brothers, but I wish we could walk in each others shoes, see through each others eyes, if only for a moment. The world we live in is three dimensional, and so is the text. After all, did not Jesus fulfill the Passover, even though it represented the saving of Gods people in Egypt? Did not the disgusting thing stand in a Holy Place in 167-160 BCE, before occurring again in 70?

    Anywho, I could add the Scriptures that I believe show Jehovah would have a people here on the earth today as a group, but in the end we would have differing interpretations of them, so instead I will dedicate this post to precedence of history...

    All love in The Way...

    AJ
     
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    Tsaphah Experienced Member

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    Hey Earthbound,
    Or should I say “Michigander”? My early days were at the “Tip of the Mitt”, and my teens in “Big D”. One thing I was told by the pioneer who studied with me was, “You don’t dedicate yourself to an organization, no matter what the name. You dedicate yourself to Jehovah God and to Christ Jesus”!

    I went through the same process as you, except I didn’t give them the time to disfellowship/excommunicate me. I chose to walk away. I was told to only follow the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” for understanding the “Word of God”. And, never call the brothers crooks because of unethical business practices. I walked away; no, I ran away as fast as I could.

    It took me 22 years to pick up a Bible again. I happened to come across EWatchman on the internet. Due to the work I was involved with, a conversation about geologic structures brought up the event of Noah’s flood. From that point I found many good sites for learning the truth. Your comment about asking questions is the best way to start learning. I had the same problem as you did: “Don’t use other sources to learn the Bible. That is what the ‘Faithful and Discreet Slave’ does for us.” I find that statement directly the opposite to the instructions in the Bible. “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” ( Rom 14:12 NASB ) “But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.” ( Gal 6:4-5 NASB ) There are too many more to quote here.

    So, here I am today. Seems like the wilderness! It also seems that those who wanted to hear from Jehovah went into the wilderness. “. . .Jehovah the God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, Send away My people, so that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” ( Ex 7:16 LITV ) “The voice of him who cries in the wilderness: Prepare the way of Jehovah; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa 40:3 LITV ) “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” (Isa 43:19 LITV ) “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” ( Lu 5:16 NASB ) :)
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother!

    Amen to that... In the end, when the book of life is opened, we stand on our own merits...

    Amen to that too brother... That was very beautiful, and prophetic...

    AJ
     

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