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WATCHTOWER, 1991 - "HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT RELIGION"


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On 2/25/2021 at 8:33 AM, TrueTomHarley said:

What would they apostasize from?

Not only to the many verses dealing with apostasy reveal the nature of apostates. They also reveal the nature of the Christian congregation.

Exactly. I was raised a Catholic, went to parochial school, altar boy...(that made me realize I didn't want to be a priest or a dentist after seeing the dental work of everyone in the parish). Of course the mass was Latin at the beginning and then it changed, and then there was that additional offering each other the sign of peace thing they stuck in, which seemed fake and nobody wanted to do it....I think I went to confession once, and that made no sense. Like it was a slide rule for sin and you had to do X number of "Our Fathers" and Y number of "Hail Mary's" to "pay off" the sin. That made no sense to me at age 8. Neither did the book "My Catholic Faith" which had anyone not a saint doing time in purgatory, which was identical to hell, but you'd get out after being on fire for a bit. Neither did that part at the end of the book which had everyone who died at the last judgment brought back to they physical bodies so if they were in hell already, they got double hell and the people in heaven got double heaven??? WTF?? (of course I didn't think those words at 8-9...but the sense of that was what I felt)...

What's funny is that I was trying to figure it all out (Mom was no help...when I told her I was afraid of dying she just said "don't worry, it won't happen for a long time"...which wasn't at all comforting...It was "Oh, yeah babe! You are sitting on a ticking time bomb, but enjoy your ice cream, trust me, you have a long fuse" Meanwhile I'm craning my neck to see the countdown timer.

Then I found this book that fascinated me "From Paradise Lost to Paradise Restored" on the shelf and I was trying to read it when my Dad told me "I don't want you reading that book!" and hid it from me. I searched the house, but all I could find was his Playboy Magazines (which Mom had no problem having me look at, but weren't that interesting at the time)...BUT that book, what I remember reading made more sense to me that anything I'd heard in church or read in "My Catholic Faith" and it was a JW publication.

I was disappointed I couldn't find it, but then I scanned one of my father's college textbooks on human civilization and ran across this part about Neanderthals and burial rituals....It was all confusing.

I began asking questions of the nuns and that went nowhere fast. I figured out that Jesus was a Jew, and that we supposedly liked him, so in 3rd grade in religion class I asked "Was Jesus a Jew" and the old sister said "Why yes he was", to which I replied "So then how come we aren't Jews?" and she loses it, grabs me by the ear and hauls me outside the class....Then the nun principal comes down and there's all this talking and class changes....(we stayed put, and nuns shifted rooms) and I had a note to take home.....When I get home and ask mom, I didn't get any good answers there either...just "Oh, she's an old nun and didn't know what to do"....(Still I thought, my question remains)....

Undeterred, I began stalking nuns on the playground to ask them why they became nuns ...Nothing like being a kid and seeing fear in the eyes of adults who are supposed to have answers to these kinds of questions, but had none.....

I eventually ditched being an altar boy along w/all the other boys in the parish because I was a little mysogynist and felt that girls shouldn't be used as altar boys, and if they were, then this clearly wasn't a place for real boys, only sissies...So no more altar boys in our parish, also no boy crossing guards for the same reason....

Anyway..we ended up moving away from Laredo to Dallas and elsewhere...We pretty much slowed up going to church at all....

When I was in 6th grade I tried to read the Bible all the way through, but it didn't make much sense to me....We had an Old Green NWT in the house....I remember the inside said "From the R. L. Hopes"....So that was the Bible I was trying to read....

...anyway...enough rambling.... Clearly Catholicism didn't answer anything from my perspective...

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I don't think you're a bad example. I find your posts encouraging and I'm sure a lot of other people here do. I think some of the "complainers" may just be working out their own demons, or I hope they are. Jehovah knows we cause most of our problems just fine all by ourselves.

I have noticed that the desire to see God's promises fulfilled (nothing wrong with that of course), drives the human spirit to "predict" or "hope for" the end always in their life time. The pattern is clear: Russell hoped for the end in 1874 then 1914, Rutherford 1925, Franz 1975, the 80's GB by the end of the 20th century, today's GB between now and aprox. 2035. Each generation would say their children aren't going to make it to school....now those  children have children of their own...and g

One thing I've had hammered into me over the past decades of pioneering, studying w/mentally ill people, people who were out of jail, homeless people, professors of anthropology, teachers of farsi at the local mosque, chinese buddhists from hong kong (using me to practice english), professors of astrophysics, ranchers, ex-football champs, a hip hop artist and so-called normal people is that I'm not more worthy of survival than any of these. In fact many are arguably better people personalit

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On 2/25/2021 at 11:08 AM, TrueTomHarley said:

It was a perfect job for a pioneer. I actually lived in a basement apt at the Kingdom Hall then. I would arise in the AM, drive about 1/4 mile to the bus barns, and be back in time for the text

@JW Insider

Elementary, middle, and primary school schedules are staggered so that the same bus can make three runs. The last to let out in the afternoon was the middle school. I would arrive after two runs and take my place in a line-up of 6. There usually was a 15 minute wait, during which I might read. 

Two buses up the driver was some long-hair of my approximate age that I had briefly chatted up once or twice. One day he disappeared. It got around that he had taken his life, he had been bummed by being “just a school bus driver.” 

For me, being a school bus driver was a liberation—not being a school bus driver in itself, but what it represented, a purposeful departure from the materialistic upward climbing careerist life that I wasn’t comfortable with because I had no idea where I was going. Studying the Bible with subsequent baptism brought an overwhelming sense of being where I knew I belonged. 

Often we hear that the truth is like that—that we have to be at just the turning-point moment of dissatisfaction, even crisis. We reach a moment of realizing life’s conventional goals don’t lead anywhere. We are not sure whether that is true in general or just for us. We tend to say it is true in general, but that may be just us putting a good face on our departure. It is not so terribly different from what undissuaded ex-JWs do themselves—they reinterpret reality to conform to their own actions.

One is never quite sure just how Jesus “draws us,” nor do I think it is so crucial to find out. Suffice it that we have been somehow drawn to a life of better rewards and goals.

It is the reason I think the anti-cult movement is so corrosive. Explaining himself to a too-receptive Katie Couric, the CultExpert says: “People are in vulnerable moments in their life where they’ll be more receptive to a recruitment message or recruiter. So death of a loved one, illness, dislocation, losing a job, I mean seriously, the pandemic and the economic problems are huge susceptibility factors for the public going forward. Destabilizing country groups economic status is a major technique for doing mind control on people because you want to disorient people. You want to confuse people. You want to make people search for meaning and hope outside of the existing institutional structures. So the susceptibility of people now to look to, well, who knows the solution to that problem of how to make the world a better place now.

Historically these have been turning-point moments during which a person might explore and find a deeper meaning in life. Under the anti-cult people, they are now moments of “temporary insanity” that one must brace themselves through, so as to once again acquiesce to the “reality” that is is no “meaning and hope outside of the existing institutional structures.”

The stuff is a cancer.

 

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8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Often we hear that the truth is like that—that we have to be at just the turning-point moment of dissatisfaction, even crisis.

 

8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

It is the reason I think the anti-cult movement is so corrosive. Explaining himself to a too-receptive Katie Couric, the CultExpert says: “People are in vulnerable moments in their life where they’ll be more receptive to a recruitment message or recruiter

 

8 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

because I had no idea where I was going. Studying the Bible with subsequent baptism brought an overwhelming sense of being where I knew I belonged. 

You said 'because I had no idea where I was going.'

Then you said 'that we have to be at just the turning-point moment of dissatisfaction, even crisis.'

But then you seem to criticise this Cult expert for saying "People are in vulnerable moments in their life where they’ll be more receptive to a recruitment message or recruiter" 

So, is the Cult Expert right ?  Are most people that start studying with JWs, at a moment of dissatisfaction, in a vulnerable moment in their life ?    

Personally I think all people of working classes / lower classes are permanently in a vulnerable position. Even more so in some countries. 

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On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

I also believe that true anointed persons make up a portion of the WTS. And I see no evidence that there would be any true anointed persons found among Mormons. I'm not trying to be a judge of who is and isn't a "true anointed" but I'm just giving an opinion based on evidence I've seen.

But this view of yours is a fairly unique view among ex-JWs (and the JW acquaintance of mine who is now an ex-elder). It's one of those things that probably made/makes no sense to "John Butler" and "4Jah2me" even though those accounts have often sided with your critiques, but have also been very vocal about not believing that "true anointed" are to be found among JWs.

When you say the anointed "Israel" resides in the WT, you also admitting that the truly anointed persons reside in the WT, but that they must also "get out of her."

Since the authentic anointed are in the WT, Rev 18:4 (“my people”/”Israel”) cannot apply to those of other religions, but to God’s “saints”, God’s holy chosen people. (The whole of Isa 43;1 Pet 2:5,9)  (Dan 7:25; 12:7; Rev 13:7; 16:6; 20:9)

"But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."  Heb 8:10

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

This means that the true anointed ("Israel") must pass through the WTS and then realize that they are in the wrong place and must get out of her. This also appears to associate the WTS directly with Babylon the Great.

Yes.

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

But I admit that I still can't follow the logic:

How did the truly anointed "Israel" (God's people) get into the WTS in the first place? What attracted them? If they were attracted for good reasons, or necessary reasons, but must now come out, then the WTS acts as some kind of trap. There must be something special about the WTS that produces or attracts these anointed to stay in the first place. But if they continue to stay and don't come out, then whatever attracted them was a trap! If Satan is allowed to test them within the WTS then was it Satan who made this trap?

Yes.  It was Satan.  Who is the dragon but Satan?  Who does the dragon pursue?  The “woman” New covenant (Gal 6:24,26) – which incorporates the anointed ones, the “kings of the earth” under Jesus Christ.  (Rev 1:5; chapter 12)

How will he catch them? 

How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it!  Prov 1:17

Matt.13:

47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets,  but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This net is a snare – (Job 18:8; Ps 9:15; 10:9; 35:8; 140:5;Prov 3:25,26; Eccl 9:12; Isa 19:8; Isa 51:20)

When God allowed the Jews to be captured and sent to Babylon, it was to discipline them for their sins. (Prov 3:11,12; 1 Tim 4:7; 2 Tim 2:15;Rev 3:18,19)  He removed His protection from them, and the enemies captured them. (Isa chapter 5) So yes, the organization is a “test” that Satan has devised. If the anointed refuse to repent for their choice of “idolatry” to the organization, they will not be sealed.  It is a source of discipline.  (Lam 1:13; Hab 1:15,16; Ezek 29:4; 38:4; Rev 9:7,3; Jer 51:14; Deut 28:42; Rev 13:7)

An anointed one is given a token of Holy Spirit, which helps that one perceive truth. (1 John 2:27) The most basic core teachings of the Wt are enough to attract an anointed one into it.  The Kingdom, life on earth, the recognition of “Israel”, their reign with Christ, no hellfire, no trinity. These basic truths are the introduction offered in the preaching over the years.  The organization streamlined how to get this message out, almost world-wide. This method in its rough limited form was used by Herod when attempting to kill Jesus.  He accomplished it by going house to house.  There was no discretion used, all children of the age 2 and under were killed.  (Matt 2:16-18)  There is no discretion as to whom enter the Wt either.  This most likely is why Jesus told his disciples NOT to go house to house.  (Luke 10:7)

We know that Satan’s time is “short”. (Rev 12:12)  (Yes, this is the only “short period of time” – there is not another one a thousand years into the Kingdom.  (1 Cor 15:25,26,54; Rev 21:4)   Since he intends to sift all of God’s saints “as wheat”, (Luke 22:31) what will he concentrate on?  The world’s governments and its inhabitants, or will he concentrate on deceiving those in Christ? (Rev 12:12,17; Ezek 21:21,22; Rev 13:1,4; 20:7,8; 16:13-16; 1 Tim 4:1; Rev 13:7,10; Col 2:8; Luke 21:24)

The anointed become convinced that Jesus is directing the organization, and their trust is in the leadership and the organization itself. Once in, they take for granted that the spiritual food offered no matter how many times it has to be discarded, is from God.   They fail to “test the spirits”, this partly because of the teachings that God’s organization will remain no matter what, and to “wait on Jehovah” to correct its failures.   (1 John 4:1; 1 Thess 5:21)  They assume the leadership is sent by God and Christ.  (Matt 24:4,5,24,25; 7:15; Luke 12:42; Rev 8:10,11; Rev 13:11,12)

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

Or do you think that the WTS is a good place for all anointed to pass through, assuming they also see that it is not a good place to stay, because they must get out of her?

I’m not saying it is a “good place” to pass through, but it is inevitable.  Satan will not have missed even one genuine anointed of the “sons of the kingdom”. (Matt 13:37-43; Luke 8:11-15; Mark 4:28,29; Eph 4:13) This is what the harvest is all about.  They all enter the Wt., and some are anointed while inside.  I am sure you’ve noticed the gradual change of the leadership’s teachings and power, the rise of an elder body of great number and the status of the anointed becoming nonexistent. It was predicted to occur. (Rev 16:13-16; 1 Tim 4:1) (Jer 7:28; Dan 8:12; 12:7)

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

How long is the right amount of time to stay? What happens if whatever was supposed to to attract them to the WTS works, and gets them into the WTS, but they die just before realizing that they were also supposed to "get out of her."

Think of the seven congregations and the warnings and admonition Jesus gave to his people. (Rev 2,3) God reads the intentions of the hearts and will judge those accordingly.  We don’t know how many anointed left the organization over the years, or how many were disfellowshipped from Rutherford’s time forward.   Rutherford ousted quite a few people who were against his tyranny.  But, there is a symbolic end to the 70 year time period in “Babylon”.  Rev 11:1-3 – what happens there?  “Gentiles” have entered the temple. (1 Cor 3:16,17) “Two witnesses” preach in “sackcloth”.   A genuine

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 comes on the scene, an anointed one who is chosen to receive the understanding of Revelation’s scrolls as they are unfurled by Jesus. (Rev 5) (Ezek 3:17; Jer 6:17;  Luke 1:17; Dan 12:8,9)  Thus, the Marriage Feast is is made available to all.  (Matt 22:1-14)   This is the “Elijah” that comes to “restore” the Temple priesthood/Body of Christ. (Mal 3:1-3; Matt 17:11) The anointed either accept the call or have made their choice to remain in “Babylon”.   

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

Spiritually speaking, then, Sodom and Egypt, and Rome and Babylon have meanings in Revelation that are associated with their earlier "OT" counterparts.

Yes, Roman soldiers were the Gentile “iron”, the abomination standing in the holy place. (Matt 24:15) A uncircumcised nation that entered the sanctuary.  (Lam 1:10; Ezek 44:6-9; 2 Thess 2:3,4)  We have a symbolic army today wearing “iron” that afflicts the anointed not sealed. (Rev 9:1-4,7-11; Rev 13:5-10)  Again, an abomination is standing where it doesn’t belong – a counterfeit priesthood that has trampled the Temple “living stones”.  (Mark 13:5,7,9,14; Rev 11:1-3)

The “two witnesses” are symbolically “killed” for their testimony of truth. (Rev 11:7)  They are considered dead in the eyes of JWs, and it is taught as such.   The condemnation against them is expected, just as what occurred to Jesus and the apostles. (1 Cor 4:12-14)  It was the Romans who were used by the Jewish religious leaders to kill Christ.(John 19:15,16)  It is the spiritual nation of the “uncircumcised “Gentile”/elders who are used to “kill”/disfellowship the anointed for their testimony. (John 16:2; Rev 13:11,12,15-18; 2 Thess 2:3,4)   This goes for any believer in Christ who does the same.

“When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.”  Rev 11:7-20

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

True Christians, whether heaven-bound or not, anointed or not, must get out of Babylon because she represents the "center" of a world of false religious beliefs, false ideologies, political associations, the commercial centers and ideologies.

 

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

I don't see anything in the context of Revelation's depiction of Babylon the  Great that would limit it to a specific religion. I see it as something much bigger.

Babylon the Great is not a place or one religion.  It is a covenant – a promise that leads to death. (Isa 28:15)  In fact in a comment I just posted, it explains it.  Your scriptures of John 4:21-24 tells us that God seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth.  Truth – not partial truth, but pure truth received by those whom Jesus sends. (Mal 2:7; John 13:20)  Many Christians religions all hold some  truth, but also are organized by men with rules and extensions to God’s word.  As the scripture states, there is no deliberate, physical mountain/religion/organization to go to. Yet, Satan has made a variety of mountains for people to choose from, and many during the time period when the Wt. began.  “Babel” means “confused”.  (Gen 11:9)  Applying the term “Christian” to so many religions that have varying degrees of doctrine is confusion.  I’m not saying that there are no people in the world who do not have sincere hearts toward Jesus Christ.  We know that God’s laws fulfilled in Christ do direct the lives of individuals, and God is a righteous judge of these people. Yet, the first to be judged is God’s household of saints. (1 Pet 4:17) The second are JWs residing with them. (Rev 13:4,7,8,16,17) They are the target of the utmost deception, a different “tribulation” that has never been experienced by God’s people in history.  Is it even possible to deceive the “elect”/”saints” if they have a token of Holy Spirit within them?  Yes!

Matt 24:22-25 –“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.”

This is why we have the warnings of false prophets…the parables of the foolish virgins, the comparisons made of the coming of the Kingdom, the harvest, the faithful/wicked steward, the faithful/evil slave, the “man of lawlessness”, and the wedding feast.  When Revelation opened, the understanding of these parables come to light, they apply to the anointed, and are fulfilled. (Rev 1:1)  They are not just mild warnings or nice stories with nothing coming to fruition as the Wt leads you to believe.  Also, the target of Revelation’s fulfillment has nothing to do with the rest of the world. It has to do with God’s holy people under covenant. 

None of this will really be understood if one cannot see that the “thousand-year reign of Christ” is already finished and Satan was let out of the abyss for a “short time” to enact his plan – his net to deceive the “woman”, and to flood her with lies. (Ezek 38:10,11; Rev 12:15)  Deception won’t occur a thousand years after Armageddon. It is occurring now.  (Rev 20:7-10)  The “saints” are surrounded by a dual rulership; one of “clay” (God’s holy people – Isa 29:16; Jer 18:6) and one of “iron” (“Gentile” nations – (Dan 7:23; Zech 7:12; Deut 4:20; Eccl 8:9).  We are at the feet of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  (Dan 2:33-35,41-43)

 

On 2/24/2021 at 9:18 AM, JW Insider said:

(Romans 8:37-39) 37 To the contrary, in all these things we are coming off completely victorious ["more than conquerors" KJV] through him that loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers 39 nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Each anointed one during his lifetime must conquer the accuser.  (Rev 12:120) Those who do, face affliction, they must all walk in the footsteps of Christ before they successfully conquering him. (Col 1:24; Phil 3:10)  Do you see that happening with the leaders of the Wt.; or, are they protected and given a life absolutely contrary to what Jesus Christ experienced as well as the apostles? (Luke 4:5-7)  This time period is the greatest test to come upon all anointed, since its completion brings the Kingdom. (Mark 13:14,19; Rev 7:9,10;13-17) The tribulation is the essence of one’s choice – deceit/lies or truth. (Joel 3:12-21)

 Looking at Romans 8:37-39, what powers are in place that dictate the lives of other people?  How is it that “Israel’s” leaders (GB) can dictate and judge, especially one belonging to God and Christ, as not deserving of eternal life because they reject their falsehoods? (Isa 2:22; Rom 6:16-18; Heb 13:6)  Should these powers come before ourselves and serving God and Jesus Christ?  (Acts 5:29)  How do we conquer the wicked one if we tolerate false doctrines out of fear of losing what we have developed in this life - doctrines that obviously are not from Jesus Christ? (John 12:25; Eph 6:12) The Wt leaders are professionals at ironing out all the wrinkles they make on their path of “truth”.  Jesus said he would send the “helper” who would tell us all things. (John 14:16,17,20,21,23,24,26,27)  This is the Spirit of God in Christ.  This help does not come with errors in doctrine. 

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows18 By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”  James 1:16-18

A message to the anointed “firstfruits – “don’t be deceived”.  Yet, can they actually understand this scripture in the organization?  Or, do they accept men’s constant excuses for their failures in interpreting God’s word?  Each false teaching is deception, and deception originates with the evil one.

 

 

 

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    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
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    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Can not open weekly study material 
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    • Deborah T. Calloway  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you so much for the meeting work book. I really appreciate your hard work 
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