Dear Mr. Sanderson,
In your most recent video on modesty, I was surprised by your audacious and hypocritical comment on the following account in 2 Chron 26:16-18:
But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”
You responded by saying, “Can you imagine, he became so emboldened, that he actually went into Jehovah’s temple and burned incense on the altar of incense. Well, the priests came running, and what did they say to him? (see) verse 18, ‘It is not proper for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to Jehovah. It is only the priests that should burn incense.’”
Incense offerings were decreed to corresponded with the daily sacrifices by the early priesthood of Israel. (Exod 30:34-38; Lev 2:2 (etc); Num 4:16) We see its importance in the account of Korah challenging the assigned priesthood and its duties. Although he was given duties by God as a member of the tribe of Levi, he desired to usurp the authority God gave Moses and Aaron.
“So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face; 5 and he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who is His and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him. That one whom He chooses He will cause to come near to Him. 6 Do this: Take censers, Korah and all your company; 7 put fire in them and put incense in them before the Lord tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom the Lord chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi!” Num 16:4-7
We know the outcome of his rebellion, “…the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up”. (Num 16:32) When the Wt. wrote of this event, it made it very clear of the consequences Korah suffered by his presumptuous actions, a word you used about Uzziah. However, as the article then presumptuously and boldly proclaimed, the “daily sacrifices” with the “burning of incense”, is to be administered not by God’s appointed priesthood, but as the article alludes to, by the elder body, who by and large are not anointed priests.
“Representing the royal priesthood are appointed elders, who serve in positions of responsibility in congregations of Jehovah’s people around the earth.”
Their position cannot be challenged, as the magazine stated. When such an aggressive statement is made, a struggle on various levels, can ensue. This challenge results in a spiritual “war” against God’s holy people. (Eph 6:12; 1 Pet 5:8; Col 2:8; Rev 13:5-7,10)
Today’s Temple of God is the anointed household. (1 Pet 2:5,9; 1 Cor 3:16,17; 6:19-20; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:20-22) In the last days, the “man of lawlessness” arrogantly opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” NKJV 2 Thess 2:4
“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.” Dan 11:36
“Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to conquer them.” Rev 13:6,7
I find the title of this article, the epitome of Wt’s deception: “Loyally Submit to Godly Authority” w02 8/1 p. 12 There is no quality of “modesty”, when one speaks a lie.
Tell me, how can you show such amazement at Uzziah’s “emboldened” stance in the early temple of God, yet presume that it is acceptable for God’s anointed priesthood to be “represented” by the elder body, absorbing the assigned duties of those who are to submit to the authority of God and Jesus Christ? It is crystal clear that the governing body is no different than Uzziah, taking it upon themselves to choose who should offer spiritual “daily sacrifices”, and “burn incense” before God.
“you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet 2:5
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Heb 13:15
It has been prophesied that this abomination, this seize of the holy people through the use of deception, would occur in the last days. (Luke 21:8; Rev 13:12-14; 20:7-10) Yes, the authority of the holy priesthood of God has been challenged. The Temple of “living stones”, has been “given” to the “Gentiles”, to rule over, and judge as counterfeit priests. (Rom 14:4; Rev 9:4,19; 13:16,17)
Rev11:1-3-“Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
Can you comprehend that you are the inspiration for this abomination? (Matt 24:48-51; Rev 13:11,14-17) Do you realize that your organization tells the anointed priests that they must not bond together, since this would destroy the “unity” of your earthly, man-made organization? No bonding, and no spiritual “daily sacrifices” to be offered by the priests of “Israel”. “Divide and conquer” is the scenario played out wickedly, within the Wt. (Ezek 21:21,22; Rev 12:12,17; Luke 21:24)
Your army of spiritual “Gentiles” have the authority given by you, to disfellowship any “courageous priests” who “confront” you and your army with this abomination, just as the priests did, with Uzziah. (Rev 13:15; 11:3,7)
This is the army that the governing leaders of the organization has created: (see Rev 9:1-4,7-11)
“He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” Dan 8:11
“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Heb 10:28,29
Whatever is committed against the members of the Body of Christ, is committed against the Head of the Body. (Matt 25:40,45; John 15:20; Acts 9:1,5; 1 Cor 12:12-14,25,26)
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Cor 3:16,17
Where is your priority? Is it with God’s Temple, or is with an earthly organization, steeped in lawsuits, spiritual immorality and greed? (1 Tim 4:1,2; Phil 3:18,19; Rom 1:25) His Temple in Christ has been “building” since the first century. (John 2:19-21; Matt 16:18; Eph 2:20-22) Your organization is a little over a hundred years old. Do you really believe God would abandon His Temple of truth, to allow your organization to take precedence? (Acts 7:48-51; 17:24; Matt 24:24; Mark 13:22; Acts 20:29-31) (2 Thess 9:9,10)
This growing abomination by your comrades in the past and present, has been born and nurtured, through the doctrine of men. (2 Tim 4:3; 1 Tim 4:16; Rev 16:13-15) Your entire organization has trampled and abandoned God’s Temple of “living stones” residing spiritually “captive” within your “towers”; while expertly creating its own temple of “hewn stones”. (Isa 9:10,13-16; 29:1-8; Rev 13:1,2,4,8)
Picture today’s spiritual temple in the royal priesthood, now under the authoritative power of both the governing body, and your “body of elders”:
“For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:43,44 (Rev 20:7-9)
“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Hag 1:4
“For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb 10:30,31
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Displaying Modesty and Discretion
13, 14. (a) How can we show modesty when a privilege of service is extended to us? (b) How did Brother A. H. Macmillan set a fine example in displaying modesty?
13 There is much we can learn from Gideon’s modesty. For example, how do we respond when a privilege of service is extended to us? Do we think first of the prominence or prestige that will result? Or do we modestly and prayerfully consider whether we can fulfill the demands of the assignment? Brother A. H. Macmillan, who finished his earthly course in 1966, set a fine example in this regard. C. T. Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, once asked Brother Macmillan for his thoughts on who might take charge of the work in his absence. In the discussion that followed, Brother Macmillan did not once promote himself, though it would have been quite convenient for him to do so. In the end, Brother Russell invited Brother Macmillan to consider accepting the assignment. “I stood there half dazed,” Brother Macmillan wrote years later. “I did think it over, very seriously, and prayed about it for some time before I finally told him I would be happy to do all that I could do to assist him.”
14 Not long afterward, Brother Russell passed away, leaving the office of the Watch Tower Society’s presidency vacant. Since Brother Macmillan was in charge during Brother Russell’s final preaching tour, a brother remarked to him: “Mac, you have a strong chance of getting in yourself. You were Brother Russell’s special representative when he was gone, and he told all of us to do as you say. Well, he went away and never did return. It looks like you’re the man to carry on.” Brother Macmillan responded: “Brother, that’s not the way to look at this matter. This is the Lord’s work and the only position you get in the Lord’s organization is what the Lord sees fit to give you; and I am sure I’m not the man for the job.” Then Brother Macmillan recommended someone else for the position. Like Gideon, he had a modest view of himself—a view we do well to adopt.
The Watchtower (2000)