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JW Insider

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  1. I just figured it out. When I clicked on @Foreigner, there was no issue as his account was still there and I could click to his posts. But when I looked at the post where I had pointed out the spamming, which is the post of mine on August 31st that immediately follows the one below, I see that clicking on the @BillyTheKid46 link, I cannot from there link to any of his posts. In fact, I quote a post of his from 8/31 in one of my own, and his post from 8/31 is is missing. (This is one reason I hate that accounts get banned, censured, or even disciplined in such a way that any of their previous posts disappear. BTK had several posts that were very good, even several that I had upvoted, too.)
  2. TTH has said he has nothing to do with the running of this site. I have no proof, but I'm sure he's telling the truth. He doesn't know me, and I don't know him, and I don't know the Librarian or the admin either. What I know about them is only from what I see in the posts I get. I did get an invitation from a moderator 3 years ago inviting me to use some moderating powers to move posts to new topics, because there were a lot of topics that were started and several persons (with names like Allen Smith) were coming into these topics for no apparent reason other than to spew some vitriolic hatred, judge persons (not views) they disagreed with as apostate, Satanic and deserving of death. I gladly accepted the moderating powers to move unrelated posts to new topics. It keeps things neater, more organized, and allows for those other ideas to grow into topics of their own. I don't use any function that allows me to delete a post, but it's a function called "Split." For anyone's post, I have a little pulldown, called Options, and in there is a function called "Split." I can start a new "empty" topic first, give it a name, and then when I click on "Split," I enter the location of the new topic, and the post ends up on that page. I have no control over the order, so they just show up by date order, the same order they showed up on the original topic. It's a bit too much effort for the value gained, and I prefer personally to just let topics go all over the place "organically." My own posts (like this one) are off-topic about as often as anyone else's (or more) so it seems like trying to exert control on a topic that is unnecessary, even if it's easier to follow. I know that I didn't communicate with TTH or anyone else about removing anyone here. It wouldn't make any sense anyway because I'm always AGAINST removing people from any forum. No matter how badly they act, they will just continue to act that badly under another name if they are removed. We all saw that this was the case with Allen Smith, and some of his cursing and cyber-bullying became just as bad under his new names as it had been under his original name. I always spoke up for him, though, because a person can be "censured" by the others without removing his rights to speak up on the forum. Any of us can personally block someone we don't want to hear from. I don't know for sure, but I suspect I have been blocked by some who didn't want to hear what I had been saying. So I know this is probably not about any of the original "Allen Smith" monikers. I know that I did expose the vote-spamming of @BillyTheKid46 and @Foreigner, but I just now typed their names with an @ in front of them, and they both seem to exist. (I haven't seen tweets from either of them for a couple weeks, though). Perhaps pointing out their spamming with small screen-shot snippets has resulted in a punishment of some kind, but I do not expect their removal. Besides I only pointed out a very small percentage of their spamming, as it related to my own posts. Others here pointed out that they were doing the same to their posts, too. My own goal in pointing out their spamming was not to get either of them removed, and I hope they have not been removed. I also hate the fact that when someone is removed you can no longer see their posts, and you end up with conversations that no longer make any sense with half the conversation missing.
  3. It's really pretty easy to understand. If a person is considered a prophet, and he tells people that there is not just evidence, but incontrovertible proof that the resurrection of David and Abraham will begin in 1925, and it doesn't happen -- believe me -- a lot of people are going to turn their backs on him. Some might give him a year or two, just in case of a minor math error, but most people don't wait around after a prophet makes a fool of himself. There was another prophet like this named Nelson Barbour who prophesied that Jesus would return physically in 1873. He pumped up the readership of his Tract Society, but 1873 came and went, and he readjusted to 1874. Then 1874 came and went and the great majority of those subscribing to his tracts turned their backs on him. Probably about the same proportion of those who turned their back on Rutherford in just a few short years starting in 1925. Not so sure that's such a hard thing as you think. All you have to do is say that you believe something might happen a certain way, rather than making outlandish claims that you have incontrovertible proof, and that there is more evidence for 1925 than Noah had for believing what God told him about the upcoming Flood. Or that even though the chronology for 1914 was based on "God's dates" that couldn't be changed even by one year, that there was more evidence for 1925 then there was for 1914. If you don't print claims in the publications that you (and those who appear to agree with you) have the spirit of the Old Testament prophets you will find that very few people will come up with this idea on their own.
  4. I suppose I could tie it back to the original post about a French-speaking Baptist Church. Most of these are about the wording used when we try to imply that: for decades in advance the Bible Students predicted that 1914 would see a time of trouble associated with the end of the Gentile Times, Christ's presence, Christ's enthronement, and the casting of Satan out of heaven. The problem is that the English wording has (usually) become very careful to only IMPLY that the Watch Tower publications and Bible Students had, for decades, predicted Christ's presence, a time of great trouble, Satan's ousting, and Christ's enthronement. In reality, all that was predicted decades in advance for 1914, was "the end of the Gentile Times" which, of course, meant some things that are completely different from what we now apply it to. It's easy for someone who knows English well, to create an implication of the above (to mislead) without actually stating something that's untrue. I have found some translations where the translator didn't catch the subtlety, and just assumed that the Watchtower really did predict these things. I guess it would be very difficult for Brother Jackson (Translation Dept) to call up these other translators and have to admit that they need to create a subtly misleading wording that does the same thing in Greek, for example, that it does in English. I'm sure it happens in many other languages where the translator isn't in on the "game." But I am hesitant to start a repeat on a 1914 / Gentile Times topic.
  5. Reminds me a bit of when the Watch Tower publications declared Rutherford to be permeated with the real Biblical and prophetic spirit, while proposing that a British politician of the time was also like a prophet because he was declaring some of the same rhetoric that Rutherford was declaring. At the time, Rutherford was still trying to overcome the problem that 1914 had failed to be the fulfillment of that time of trouble, and he was pushing for the new idea that 1925 would resolve that problem by being a new time of trouble, and even the time for the physical resurrection of Old Testament faithful men of old to the Millennial age on earth. The Watchtower liked this "prophet" because he said that 1924 was to become even worse than 1914. By 1939 to 1944 it could be said that the true climax of these prophecies about 1924 had come true. Prophet Ramsay MacDonald and Prophet David Lloyd George hadn't predicted a resurrection, though.
  6. I'll be happy to discuss it. The first thing I find about a 1946 prediction is on this site:
      Hello guest!
    George Orwell made this incredible political prediction in 1946 "The man was an actual prophet" . . . Deacon unearthed this passage, written back in 1946 by George Orwell, taken from one of his columns in Tribune magazine (which were collected in Seeing Things As They Are earlier this year) which eerily seems to describe exactly what is currently happening. Then I found the actual thing Deacon said, here:
      Hello guest!
    where he quotes from another book he (Deacon) had been reading, and it was noteworthy for how well it matched all the arguments of the EU referendum campaign for "Brexit": “The fact is that there is strong popular feeling in this country against foreign immigration,” wrote Orwell. “It arises partly from simple xenophobia, partly from fear of undercutting in wages, but above all from the out-of-date notion that Britain is overpopulated and that more population means more unemployment.” The most necessary step is... to raise the general level of public understanding: above all, to drive home the fact, which has never been properly grasped, that British prosperity depends largely on factors outside BritainGeorge Orwell, November 1946 On the contrary, argued Orwell, more immigration was needed, to compensate for “the ageing of the population” and Britain’s “frighteningly low” birth-rate. Unfortunately, he said, efforts to encourage European immigration had been “met by ignorant hostility, because the public has not been told the relevant facts”. Above all, he concluded, the government must “drive home the fact, which has never been properly grasped, that British prosperity depends largely on factors outside Britain”. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Of course, Orwell was not actually a prophet, otherwise he would have foreseen that attempts to “drive home this fact” would be successfully dismissed as “talking Britain down”. Were he here today, Orwell himself would be cast as a sneering metropolitan liberal elitist, out of touch with the legitimate concerns of ordinary hard-working families. Still: pretty remarkable. That article was written 70 years ago, and yet – excluding its references to the Second World War – it could easily have been written in 2016. Orwell effectively foresaw the arguments of the EU referendum campaign, decades before the EU even existed. Oh – and he also noted that there was no popular support in Britain for admitting refugees, because the public believed they were only economic migrants. Curiously, even the part where Deacon dismisses Orwell as "not a prophet" because he didn't correctly foresee the "driving home" of counterarguments, well, this could be dismissed now that this "drive" has also become a public part of the Brexit debate. After all, the article above was written in 2016, and here we are 3 years later when the debate has gotten even stickier. @divergenceKO, Was that the topic you were referring to? If so, I think it makes Orwell very observant, but not really a prophet. Reminds me a bit of when the Watch Tower publications declared Rutherford to be prophet in 1924, while proposing that a British politician of the time was also a prophet because he was declaring some of the same rhetoric that Rutherford was declaring.
  7. For anyone who didn't understand the joke, the excerpt I put in the original post was actually taken from a 1987 Watchtower. It's from an article written by Brother Fred Franz, giving a part of his own life experience: *** w87 5/1 p. 24 Looking Back Over 93 Years of Living *** One Saturday night in the spring of 1913, Albert had gone to bed early in the dormitory of the YMCA, where he was living while working in Chicago. Later, his roommate burst into the room to explain a difficulty. He was invited that night to the home of a Mr. and Mrs. Hindman, and their daughter Nora was to have a girlfriend there at the house. Two girls would be too much for Albert’s roommate to handle by himself. With alacrity, Albert rose to the occasion. During the course of the evening, Albert’s roommate was getting along quite famously with the two young ladies. But Mr. and Mrs. Hindman concentrated on Albert . . . I often heard Brother Franz speak to the Bethel family for up to half-an-hour at a time, over a period of several years in the late 1970's and early 1980's. He often seemed pleased with himself that he could get away with sometimes coarse talk and even "suggestive" language, that no one else would ever even attempt in front of an audience.
  8. Yes. That works for many Witnesses. I personally don't think it's honest to simply redefine all types of changes as "refinements." But I'm more concerned with the fact that it can reflect a lack of humility that expects us to merely accept false doctrines as doctrines that simply needed refinement. The teaching might be a complete turnaround or rejection of a former teaching, or it might just be a minor adjustment, but even in the latter case it does not mean that the previous teaching is still true. For example, there was a change that happened in 1943 that changed the time for Christ's presence from 1874 to 1914. In the long run that is just a minor adjustment of 40 years. But it doesn't mean that 1874 is still a true doctrine. 536 BCE for the destruction of Babylon was changed to 539 BCE, even a smaller change, but this doesn't mean that 536 BCE is still a true teaching. Yes it's a type of "refinement," but a "refinement" that must still admit that the previous teaching is false. For example, the Watch Tower publications once taught, under Russell, that the "superior authorities" were not the secular authorities, but were God and Christ. Then, in Rutherford's time, the WT changed the view to just the opposite. Then, in Knorr's/Franz' time, the WT changed the view to the opposite again, so that it was right back to what Russell had taught. The Watchtower treated this as an adjustment, a refinement, and even claimed that there were advantages to having been wrong (without using the word "wrong" of course). This is clearly a matter of just not wanting to admit that a false doctrine was ever "false." Haughty people don't like admitting they are wrong, so this gives the impression of haughtiness. So was Naboth a prophetic type of Jesus or the anointed? Is it the case that this is true, and that the only reason we don't teach it that way is because it's too complicated to tell the whole truth? If it's still true, then someone should say that it's still true and we won't hold back from telling you "all the truth"? Of course, if it's actually a change in "understanding" then we are admitting that the former understanding is wrong, therefore it is no longer true. As you tacitly admitted, as Witnesses, we can never admit to having had a false doctrine. So we use different words. False doctrines must be re-worded as "refinements" "improvements" "clarifications" etc. We see this type of explanation in the very articles that explained the changes to "types" and "antitypes" which had no Biblical basis to be treated as prophecies. The article appeared not to admit that these had ever been wrong. Only that the: "faithful and discreet slave" was becoming steadily more discreet. discretion was leading to "greater caution" these older explanation were unduly difficult to grasp the details can be hard to remember and apply the former explanation tended to obscure more important moral lessons None of those points actually admits that the former explanations were wrong, only that we were now being more careful, more cautious, more discreet, more simple and clear. Watch very carefully how this was done: *** w15 3/15 pp. 9-10 pars. 10-11 “This Is the Way You Approved” *** As we might expect, over the years Jehovah has helped “the faithful and discreet slave” to become steadily more discreet. Discretion has led to greater caution when it comes to calling a Bible account a prophetic drama unless there is a clear Scriptural basis for doing so. Additionally, it has been found that some of the older explanations about types and antitypes are unduly difficult for many to grasp. The details of such teachings—who pictures whom and why—can be hard to keep straight, to remember, and to apply. Of even greater concern, though, is that the moral and practical lessons of the Bible accounts under examination may be obscured or lost in all the scrutiny of possible antitypical fulfillments. Thus, we find that our literature today focuses more on the simple, practical lessons about faith, endurance, godly devotion, and other vital qualities that we learn about from Bible accounts. 11 How, then, do we now understand the account about Naboth? In much clearer, simpler terms. That righteous man died, not because he was a prophetic type of Jesus or of the anointed, but because he was an integrity keeper. Notice how even the idea that we no longer understand it the same way is worded in such a way as to be very ambiguous about whether the previous understanding was actually wrong. This is one of dozens of such ambiguous wordings, and I can show you cases where this exact kind of wording apparently "fooled" the translator into creating inconsistent (less ambiguous) results in Simplified English, French, German and Greek. And I'm sure there are several other examples I don't even know about.
  9. Teacher: Please define "abominable." Student: A-bomb-in-a-bull is a tear-a-bull way to make hamburger.
  10. For me, this was a matter of prayerfully considering and meditating on the full meaning of the 2014 talk by Brother Splane when he admitted that many teachings were all being dropped at once because they were based on an old extra-Biblical tradition of creating types and antitypes when there was no specific scriptural basis for doing so. This actually turned out to refer to literally over ONE HUNDRED teachings that we were now admitting had no scriptural basis. All at once, we were DROPPING at least ONE HUNDRED TWENTY teachings. Then there were 80 more of these types of teachings, which were reviewed in a 1981 Watchtower *** w81 3/1 p. 27 Do You Appreciate the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”? *** OVERWHELMING CREDENTIALS The “faithful and discreet slave” has abundant credentials. Following is a partial list of Scriptural and prophetic designations applying to or being represented in the remnant of Jesus Christ’s anointed followers since the notable year 1919: (1) Noah’s wife, Gen. 7:7; (2) angels sent to Lot, Gen. 19:15; (3) Rebekah, Gen. 24:64; (4) Joseph and Benjamin, Gen. 45:14; (5) gleanings left behind, Lev. 19:9; (6) two spies to Rahab, Josh. 2:4; (7) Barak, Judg. 4:14; (8) Jephthah, Judg. 11:34; (9) Naomi and Ruth, Ruth 2:2; (10) David’s Israelite warriors, 2 Sam. 18:1; (11) Jehu, 2 Ki. 10:11, 15; (12) Mordecai and Esther, Esther 4:13; (13) Job, Job 42:10, 13; (14) King’s daughter, Ps. 45:13; (15) men of loving-kindness, Ps. 50:5; (16) intimate group, Ps. 89:7; (17) Shear-jashub, Isa. 7:3; (18) light of the nations, Isa. 60:3; (19) big trees of righteousness, Isa. 61:3; (20) ministers of our God, Isa. 61:6; (21) cluster preserved, Isa. 65:8; (22) servants called by another name, Isa. 65:15; (23) men trembling at God’s word, Isa. 66:5; (24) new nation born, Isa. 66:8; (25) Jeremiah, Jer. 1:10; (26) Jehovah’s people in the new covenant, Jer. 31:33; (27) enduring watchman, Ezek. 3:16-27; (28) man in linen, Ezek. 9:2; (29) cleansed people, Ezek. 36:29-32; (30) dwellers in center of earth, Ezek. 38:12; (31) the host of heaven, Dan. 8:10; (32) sanctuary restored (cleansed), Dan. 8:14; (33) they that are wise, Dan. 11:33; (34) the happy one who is keeping in expectation, Dan. 12:12; (35) all flesh receiving the spirit, Joel 2:28; (36) Jonah, Jon. 3:1-3; (37) apple of Jehovah’s eye, Zech. 2:8; (38) liberated remnant, Zech. 2:7; (39) a Jew, Zech. 8:23; (40) sons of Levi, Mal. 3:3; (41) wheat, Matt. 13:25; (42) sons of the kingdom, Matt. 13:38; (43) workers for the vineyard, Matt. 20:1; (44) those invited to marriage feast, Matt. 22:3-14; (45) chosen ones, Matt. 24:22; (46) eagles, Matt. 24:28; (47) faithful and discreet slave, Matt. 24:45; (48) discreet virgins, Matt. 25:2; (49) brothers of the king, Matt. 25:40; (50) little flock of sheep, Luke 12:32; (51) beggar Lazarus, Luke 16:20; (52) sheep in “this fold,” John 10:1-16; (53) branches of the vine, John 15:4; (54) royal palace of David, Acts 15:16; (55) heirs with Christ, Rom. 8:17; (56) the remnant, Rom. 11:5; (57) branches in the olive tree, Rom. 11:24; (58) holy ones or saints, 1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 16:6; (59) temple, 1 Cor. 6:19; (60) new creation, 2 Cor. 5:17; (61) ambassadors for Christ, 2 Cor. 5:20; (62) congregation of God, Gal. 1:13; (63) part of Abraham’s seed, Gal. 3:29; (64) Israel of God, Gal. 6:16; (65) body of Christ, Eph. 1:22, 23; (66) soldiers of Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 2:3; (67) house under Christ, Heb. 3:6; (68) holy priesthood, 1 Pet. 2:5; (69) holy nation, 1 Pet. 2:9; (70) association of brothers, 1 Pet. 2:17; (71) seven congregations, Rev. 1:20; (72) twenty-four persons of advanced age, Rev. 4:4; (73) spiritual Israel, Rev. 7:4; (74) locusts, Rev. 9:3; (75) two witnesses, Rev. 11:3; (76) two olive trees, Rev. 11:4; (77) seed of the woman, Rev. 12:17; (78) New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2; (79) the bride of Christ, Rev. 22:17; 19:7; (80) Jehovah’s witnesses, Isa. 43:10. I knew that we had spent hundreds of hours studying these in Congregation Book Studies from the time I can remember my very first Tuesday night meetings. Then, at Bethel, in 1980, I became a study partner with a Gilead student who lived next door to me on the third floor of the 107 building. My own set of Gilead Notes (I have 2 full sets) contained MONTHS worth of study of these specific kinds of teachings, and some students fretted that they could not keep track of them all. But what caught my attention in Brother Splane's talk is that they were being compared to the Pyramid doctrines under Russell and Rutherford. Brother Splane admitted that Brother Bert Schroeder (died 2006) had already come up with this change and had provided the current definition now being published in the 2015 Watchtower. *** w15 3/15 p. 9 par. 7 “This Is the Way You Approved” *** In times past, it was more common for our literature to take what might be called a type-antitype approach to Scriptural accounts. The Bible narrative was considered the type, and any prophetic fulfillment of the story was the antitype. *** w15 3/15 p. 18 par. 3 Questions From Readers *** If such interpretations seem far-fetched, you can understand the dilemma. Humans cannot know which Bible accounts are shadows of things to come and which are not. The clearest course is this: Where the Scriptures teach that an individual, an event, or an object is typical of something else, we accept it as such. Otherwise, we ought to be reluctant to assign an antitypical application to a certain person or account if there is no specific Scriptural basis for doing so. The questionableness of such doctrines had already been discussed in a Watchtower from back in 1972, where even though it came very close to admitting just how questionable such teachings were, the decision was made to keep teaching them. *** w72 8/15 pp. 502-503 God Readjusts the Thinking of His People *** Another thing that has given rise to questions is the use by Jehovah’s witnesses of parallels or prophetic types, applying these to circumstances and to groups or classes of people today. Many people who read the Bible view its accounts all as simply history, but when they begin to study with Jehovah’s witnesses a readjustment of viewpoint takes place as they see that there is more to the accounts than history. For example,. . . .[long example skipped] The question that is sometimes asked is, Did Jehovah stage that ‘dramatic’ event, so that we would have a warning now? Well, would he cause such bad things to happen? Would he maneuver them himself? No. The real answer was obvious, but before that article was complete, the writers had found some twisted reasoning to be able to keep these dozens and dozens of false teachings that we had come to accept from old traditions. Brother Splane gave the example of the brother(s) who really loved the Pyramid doctrines and how they had to have the humility to suddenly change their viewpoint when Rutherford dropped it. (Rutherford said these teachings were ultimately from Satan.) It almost sounded as if Brother Splane was saying that these "antitype" doctrines could not be changed until certain people who still loved them had dropped off the scene. When he mentioned that this "new" way of looking at it had already been stated so well many years earlier by Brother Schroeder, this was another hint that this change had been in the works for quite a while.
  11. I never said they received the same, less, or more. Jesus said, about Jehovah: (John 3:34) . . .He does not give the spirit [by measure]. Also, I think we cal all learn a lot about the spirit from these words: (Romans 8:26, 27) 26 In like manner, the spirit also joins in with help for our weakness; for the problem is that we do not know what we should pray for as we need to, but the spirit itself pleads for us with unuttered groanings. 27 But the one who searches the hearts knows what the meaning of the spirit is, because it is pleading in harmony with God for the holy ones. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13) 10 For it is to us God has revealed them through his spirit, for the spirit searches into all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So, too, no one has come to know the things of God except the spirit of God. 12 Now we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, as we explain spiritual matters with spiritual words. I wouldn't suggest that. *** w11 12/15 p. 25 par. 12 Guided by God’s Spirit in the First Century and Today *** “Now there are varieties of gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are varieties of operations, and yet it is the same God who performs all the operations in all persons.” (1 Cor. 12:4-6, 11) Yes, holy spirit can operate in different ways on different servants of God for a purpose. Indeed, the holy spirit is available both to Christ’s “little flock” and to his “other sheep.” *** w09 6/15 pp. 23-24 par. 15 The Faithful Steward and Its Governing Body *** However, Christians who have truly received this anointing do not demand special attention. They do not believe that their being of the anointed gives them special insights beyond what even some experienced members of the “great crowd” may have. (Rev. 7:9) They do not believe that they necessarily have more holy spirit than their companions of the “other sheep” have. (John 10:16) They do not expect special treatment; nor do they claim that their partaking of the emblems places them above the appointed elders in the congregation. Of course, that last Watchtower article was written just a year or so before the Governing Body did begin to ask for special attention, but the points made are still true. It would be difficult to be a woman and also be a man, and the husband of one wife. (And, of course, those with two wives could not be elders!) (1 Timothy 3:1, 2) . . .This statement is trustworthy: If a man is reaching out to be an overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. 2 The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife . . . As pointed out in a previous post, this "obedience" is really about imitating those who take the initiative as examples to follow. Translating it as leaders appears to be improper, and in conflict with Jesus and Paul's other words about Leaders. In fact the NWT shows how this phrase can actually be translated as "those taking the initiative" (Romans 12:10) . . . In showing honor to one another, take the lead* [*take the initiative]. *** nwt Romans 12:10 *** Or “initiative.” In other words, one of the ways we can recognize the true types of persons (especially elders/shepherds) whom we should be following (imitating) would be if those persons are taking the lead in showing honor to persons like Sean Migos. As individuals, members of the Governing Body should not have any trouble showing honor to persons like you. Yes. No. As I said, it's a very good thing to have a committee of elders who are capable of handling issues for the congregations on a world-wide basis, whom we can respect. We live at a time when communications are such that this can work better than ever in the past. I believe that various issues that come up with respect to unity and disunity in the congregations SHOULD be addressed by such a committee. I think you know that the only time for concern is when this group of persons might take upon themselves the authority to create new doctrines/practices based on supposition and conjecture. There is nothing wrong with supposition and conjecture, and we should expect some of this, but it should never be accepted as anything more than supposition and conjecture. (And the Governing Body has admitted that much of what we have been taught has been conjecture.) There is a loving way to present different conjectural ideas, and there is a way that "beats their fellow slaves." One could say, that this certain verse might mean this, and it might mean that so that they explain why they prefer (for certain explained reasons) to believe that it means this. That's fine because it doesn't get in the way of the leadership of Christ Jesus. But if that slave should say, we believe it means this, and if you believe it means something else then you should be kicked out of the congregation, then I think we know when a line has been crossed. It does not have to be the duty of a "Governing Body" to create conjectural teachings. In fact, per Galatians, if conjectural teachings exert an influence that is different from the good news taught in the Scriptures, then we should treat those particular conjectural teachings as "accursed." So if we have the idea that any man or group of men (elders, committees of elders, or "governors") are to be so respected and honored that we could never imagine treating their conjectural doctrines as "accursed" then we have too high an opinion of those we are following. They might even be correct about everything at the moment. (And as you know, I don't think they are correct on at least two teachings, but that's my own opinion and conscience.) But all of us can at least check if our view about them is proper and scriptural, if we can at least imagine a scenario where we would not only question every doctrine, but even potentially realize that a directly or indirectly promoted teaching could be "accursed." Exactly!
  12. I think you are exactly right. This is why I said the following: That was based on Hebrews 13, of course, and also: (1 Tim. 5:17) Let the elders who preside in a fine way be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. As Christians, we should question every one of our teachings, to make sure it is brought into obedience with Christ's teachings. We should never shirk our responsibility to "make sure of all things," "prove to yourselves," "test the inspired utterances," "pay close attention to your teaching," "see whether these things were so," etc., etc. And since the Governing Body have become the most public of our elder committees, and have taken on a greater responsibility, it is vital that we question them just as we should question a local body of elders. More will be asked of those to whom more has been given. Teachers will receive heavier judgment. We don't just want to have our ears tickled. In the NWT, the paragraph that starts out with 1 Tim 5:17, quoted above, ends with this phrase, after a discussion about reproving elders before all onlookers: (1 Timothy 5:21) 21 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the chosen angels to observe these instructions without any prejudice or partiality. Remember that there was a group of men in the first century that, due to a set of circumstances, were being seen as a kind of "governing body" that was at least indirectly exerting an strong influence on the doctrines of distant congregations. Galatia was very far from Jerusalem; it was about as far from Antioch, as Antioch was from Jerusalem. So Paul wrote to Galatia about those men who were at least indirectly creating such an influence on them, and he said: (Galatians 1:7-3:1) 7 Not that there is another good news; but there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to distort the good news about the Christ. . . . Is it, in fact, men I am now trying to persuade or God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I would not be Christ’s slave. . . . 15 But when God, who separated me . . . so that I might declare the good news about him to the nations, I did not immediately consult with any human; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before I was, but I went to Arabia, and then I returned to Damascus. 18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to visit Ceʹphas, and I stayed with him for 15 days. 19 But I did not see any of the other apostles, only James the brother of the Lord. . . . . 2 Then after 14 years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barʹna·bas, also taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up as a result of a revelation, and I presented to them the good news that I am preaching among the nations. This was done privately, however, before the men who were highly regarded, to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain. 3 Nevertheless, not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, although he was a Greek. 4 But that matter came up because of the false brothers brought in quietly, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we enjoy in union with Christ Jesus, so that they might completely enslave us; 5 we did not yield in submission to them, no, not for a moment, so that the truth of the good news might continue with you. 6 But regarding those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me, for God does not go by a man’s outward appearance—those highly regarded men imparted nothing new to me. 7 On the contrary, . . . .9 and when they recognized the undeserved kindness that was given me, James and Ceʹphas and John, the ones who seemed to be pillars, gave Barʹna·bas and me the right hand of fellowship, so that we should go to the nations but they to those who are circumcised. . . . 11 However, when Ceʹphas came to Antioch, I resisted him face-to-face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 For before certain men from James arrived, . . . 13 The rest of the Jews also joined him in putting on this pretense, so that even Barʹna·bas was led along with them in their pretense. 14 But when I saw that they were not walking in step with the truth of the good news, . . . . 3 O senseless Ga·laʹtians! Who has brought you under this evil influence. . . ? So when Paul told Timothy not to show any partiality when it came to reproving elders before all onlookers, we see that Paul had already "walked the walk." If we are to be imitators of Paul's example, then we should be willing to look closely at all the doctrines and influences that we are taught, no matter who they come from. Even if from those who seem to be important, even if from the very pillars of the congregation, even if from James, Peter or John, or men sent from them. Would we be willing to resist such ones face to face? Or would we yield in submission because they were highly regarded? Fortunately, of course, that matter in Jerusalem was cleared up with the help of the holy spirit. Fortunately for us, most matters of this magnitude have already been cleared up, too, and we have no problem always giving the benefit of the doubt to those who want us to submit to their lead. This probably causes no problems at all for 99 percent of us. But we should still learn from the apostle Paul's words, that our teachings should not come from men, and that we should always be ready to resist any teachings that still need to be brought into harmony with the good news, no matter from whom or where we learned them. We should be happy to have a committee of elders who are willing to take on the necessary responsibilities for the world-wide congregations. We should respect them, honor them, and follow their lead. However, the teaching that claims that the Governing Body is equal to the Faithful and Discreet Slave of Mt 24 is one of those teachings that we should question, specifically for the Biblical reasons that Jesus and Paul gave us. Also because it directly contradicts other Watchtower teachings from the March 15 2015 Watchtower. Also, it gives the impression that there are specific humans that we should always identify as Leaders, (even "Governors") instead of looking IMPARTIALLY to each particular example of conduct and faith, to contemplate how it turns out. It gives us the impression that, for doctrinal matters, a certain group of men should always have the FINAL say, and can therefore override the Christian-trained conscience of individuals, who will stand or fall before the judgment seat as individuals. As true and discreet slaves, we will each take the initiative (take the lead, see footnote on) in carrying each other's burdens. None of us, no matter how much we think of ourselves, will believe that more honor goes to us than we should give to others. This is what true obedience means: (Galatians 6:2-5) . . .Go on carrying the burdens of one another, and in this way you will fulfill the law of the Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. 4 But let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. 5 For each one will carry his own load. (Romans 12:9-16) 9 Let your love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is wicked; cling to what is good. 10 In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another, take the lead.[fn, initiative] 11 Be industrious, not lazy. Be aglow with the spirit. Slave for Jehovah. 12 Rejoice in the hope. Endure under tribulation. Persevere in prayer. 13 Share with the holy ones according to their needs. Follow the course of hospitality. 14 Keep on blessing those who persecute; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same attitude toward others as toward yourselves; do not set your mind on lofty things, but be led along with the lowly things. Do not become wise in your own eyes.
  13. Here's what I've got so far as an introduction: One Saturday night in the spring . . . . Albert had gone to bed early in the dormitory of the YMCA, where he was living while working in Chicago. Later, his roommate burst into the room to explain a difficulty. He was invited that night to the home of a Mr. and Mrs. Hindman, and their daughter Nora was to have a girlfriend there at the house. Two girls would be too much for Albert’s roommate to handle by himself. With alacrity, Albert rose to the occasion. During the course of the evening, Albert’s roommate was getting along quite famously with the two young ladies. But Mr. and Mrs. Hindman concentrated on Albert . . .
  14. A year or two after I was baptized, about 1968, our Circuit Overseer (called the "Circuit Servant" back then) gave a talk on a Tuesday that railed against giving our old junk to the Salvation Army. (We used to give up the Book Study night for the first meeting with the Circuit Overseer.) This didn't bother anyone too much because we didn't have a Salvation Army around the city, and most of us only BOUGHT things at the local GOODWILL STORE which was huge in our city, and it was unlikely that any of us gave anything to any of these stores, anyway. But someone was bound to ask, not during that meeting, but sometime before the Thursday night meeting, so that the Circuit Overseer mentioned the question, and that he had left out the fact that even BUYING at these stores is supporting false religion, and he added that the GOODWILL STORE was founded by a Reverend So-and-So. I know that my mother was like . . . "Why did that person have to ask?" It was her favorite place to shop, spoiled by someone asking the wrong question. Fast forward 50 years, and I'm cleaning out junk for my parents at their house in California to move them into an apartment last year. We've got 3 Witness families happy to take quite a lot of the stuff, but there was still quite a bit that no one took. So I boxed it up and told them that I'd drop it off at the local GOODWILL STORE. My mother said, "Fine." And I reminded her of what Brother Kent Karras (the Circuit Overseer) had said. She remembered, and told me that his counsel "lasted all of about 2 weeks." I told her I didn't know she was such a rebel.
  15. I included a large portion of the page where the paragraph in question ends. This is because there really is a bit of a change in the overall message here. The idea that a Witness MUST make sure that his or her secular employment has NOTHING to do with Babylon the Great had been a very strictly enforced rule in the past, and it has been relaxed somewhat in the last 20 years. I have no idea what's right or wrong in this regard, because there are some statements that still allow for this to be a matter of conscience, to some extent. Even the paragraph above uses the words "a Christian who is employed by some other business would not want to do extensive work at a facility that promotes false worship." This starts to bring up quite literally THOUSANDS of examples of work that will become questionable again. How much work is extensive work. My son graduated high school in 2011 with a person who went to Italy to learn how to restore artwork for museums. If she's working on 10 projects and has just been given a statue to restore that was partially burned at Notre Dame, would she refuse, or consider it only one of 10 projects and therefore "not extensive"? If she can finish the piece in only two weeks and not have to step foot herself in the church, then is it "extensive?" (This young woman is not a JW, by the way, so she's happy for the work.) We went through so many of these legalistic ideas in the 1970's, where brothers lost their privileges and were put on "probation" or "public reproof" for taking on certain kinds of work, that I just hate to see it become Pharasaical again.
  16. This is true. My uncle was retired from Circuit work due to his age. (And he just visited two weeks ago.) His reports for many years were only statistical, as he was expected to handle locally any "disciplinary/doctrinal/"political"/spiritual/judicial/appeal" matters, based on his training and good deal of trust. A big part of his week was organizing visits to the inactive list to get them reporting (and attending) again, and then dealing with issues among the elders themselves. District overseers would ask them periodically what they had found most helpful in bringing up the numbers, and we can assume that many of those ideas were fed back to the Service Department. All assignments about what to talk about, and even many "local needs" still came from the top down. In the last few years before retiring, however, he said that there was much more communication about what he felt the congregations needed spiritually, for morale, for encouragement. Also, they are encouraged to write into the Service Department for answers to difficult questions when in previous years they were expected to handle more issues on their own. The article I quoted from above gives the impression that this is mostly a one-way, top down direction from the GB, but this doesn't tell the whole story: *** ws17 February p. 26 par. 17 Who Is Leading God’s People Today? *** We can also remember the Governing Body by following its instructions and direction. The Governing Body gives us direction through our publications, meetings, assemblies, and conventions. It also appoints circuit overseers, who then appoint elders. By carefully following the directions given to them, the circuit overseers and the elders show that they remember the Governing Body. I expect that you were thinking of this same article, just quoted from: *** ws17 February p. 25 par. 15 Who Is Leading God’s People Today? *** Consider what happened in 1973. The June 1 issue of The Watchtower asked whether “persons who have not broken their addiction to tobacco qualify for baptism.” The answer it gave to that question was based on Bible principles, and it was no! The Watchtower cited several scriptures and explained why a person who will not stop smoking should be disfellowshipped. (1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 7:1) It said that this strict standard does not come from humans but comes “from God, who expresses himself through his written Word.” No other religious organization has been willing to rely so completely on God’s Word even when doing so may be very difficult for some of its members. A recent book on religion in the United States says: “Christian leaders have regularly revised their teachings to match the beliefs and opinions gaining support among their members and in the larger society.” The Governing Body, however, is not guided by what most people like.
  17. So it's pretty easy to separate truth from fiction just by accepting what the Governing Body has claimed about themselves in print. We don't have to make anything up. If they claim a certain thing about themselves, they put it in print, and there is no problem separating truth from fiction, here. But this does not mean that we shouldn't "obey" them. They are elders, they are desirous of a fine work. We don't obey them because they have claimed to be prophesied about in a parable that Jesus made, however. We "obey" their faithful lead, as we contemplate how their conduct turns out. We obey by imitating their faithful conduct. (Hebrews 13:7) . . .Remember those who are taking the lead among you, who have spoken the word of God to you, and as you contemplate how their conduct turns out, imitate their faith. If we are humble, we will submit to the instruction given by those who are faithful and discreet. This should be true of all elders, who are all faithful stewards. (2 Thessalonians 3:9) . . .Not that we do not have authority, but we wanted to offer ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 1 Peter makes it clear, that to a certain extent being a faithful steward applies not just the elders, but also to every one of us: (1 Peter 4:10, 11) . . .To the extent that each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as fine stewards of God’s undeserved kindness that is expressed in various ways. 11 If anyone speaks, let him do so as speaking pronouncements from God; if anyone ministers, let him do so as depending on the strength that God supplies;. . . But, none of us, who is really a faithful and discreet steward, will ever recommend ourselves as someone who is approved, and who must therefore be obeyed. We obey in the sense of following faithful examples and Christian instruction. (2 Corinthians 10:18) 18 For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom Jehovah recommends.
  18. It's good to question. And it's a good question: Are they promoting themselves? A small group of men, a committee of elders, claim themselves to be the very group of men that Jesus had in mind when he gave a parable about how a faithful slave would act, as opposed to how an unfaithful slave would act. Did that claim arise from outside this group of men, or did they promote it about themselves? I'm guessing that you already know the answer. Do they personally claim to be the only currently living persons that Jesus was talking about when he spoke of the one who would prove himself to be "the faithful and discreet slave"? Is this not the same as saying "we are faithful" and "we are discreet/wise" and "we are that selected/appointed slave that Jesus was referring to?" *** ws17 February p. 21,22 Who Is Leading God’s People Today? *** And how can we “remember those who are taking the lead” among us, especially “the faithful and discreet slave”?—Hebrews 13:7; Matthew 24:45. JESUS LEADS THE GOVERNING BODY ... In 1919, three years after Brother Russell’s death, Jesus appointed “the faithful and discreet slave.” . . . Even during those early years, a small group of anointed brothers at headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, provided spiritual food to Jesus’ followers. The expression “governing body” began appearing in our publications after 1940. At that time, the governing body was closely connected with directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. However, in 1971, it was made clear that the Governing Body was different from the Watch Tower Society, which was responsible for legal matters only. From then on, anointed brothers could become part of the Governing Body without being Society directors. . . . The July 15, 2013, issue of The Watchtower explained that “the faithful and discreet slave” is a small group of anointed brothers who make up the Governing Body. *** ws17 February pp. 24-26 Who Is Leading God’s People Today? *** “WHO REALLY IS THE FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE?” 12 The Governing Body is neither inspired nor perfect. It can make mistakes when explaining the Bible or directing the organization. . . . What evidence is there that the Governing Body is the faithful slave? Let us consider the same three things that helped the governing body in the apostles’ time. 13 Holy spirit helps the Governing Body. . . . 14 Angels help the Governing Body. . . . 15 God’s Word guides the Governing Body. . . . “REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE TAKING THE LEAD” 16 Read Hebrews 13:7. The Bible says to “remember those who are taking the lead.” One way we can do this is by mentioning the Governing Body in our prayers. . . .17 We can also remember the Governing Body by following its instructions and direction. This is quite different from saying that the Governing Body strives to be faithful and discreet. That is proper. *** w18 January p. 19 par. 12 Why Give to the One Who Has Everything? *** With prayerful consideration, the Governing Body strives to be faithful and discreet with regard to how the organization’s funds are used. It's slightly different when the same claim is reworded to directly claim that the Governing Body IS faithful and discreet. *** ws18 January p. 18 par. 12 Why Give to the One Who Has Everything? *** The Governing Body is faithful and discreet in the way the contributions are used. But at least that is an understandable statement in the context of an article requesting that we give money and resources for various uses to further the preaching work worldwide, etc. But it is another thing altogether to claim that they (a handful of men) are the only "faithful and discreet slave" on earth today, that Jesus appointed as a small class in 1919, and that they must be obeyed, and that they are the only source of true spiritual food. *** w18 April p. 31 par. 1 Questions From Readers *** Jehovah has entrusted the responsibility of providing spiritual food to “the faithful and discreet slave” alone. *** ws11 7/15 p. 25 par. 11 Have You Entered Into God’s Rest? *** What do you do when the faithful and discreet slave tells you to try a way of preaching that you never tried before? Do you obey . . . ? *** ws11 7/15 p. 24 Have You Entered Into God’s Rest? *** We need to obey the faithful and discreet slave to have Jehovah’s approval
  19. Saudi Arabia, with the help of the United States and the UK, has been directly and indirectly killing civilians in Yemen and creating a humanitarian crisis that has become so bad, that the United States had begun to distance itself from direct involvement. This started back nearly a decade ago when the ruling party of Yemen was a very small minority that was very pro-Saudi. Yemen is poor, but still had economic deals with Saudi Arabia that were profitable to the Saudi's. That small minority rulership was ousted and this created kind of a civil war in Yemen, with the Saudi's backing the ousted party. The new party is sometimes called the Houthi rebels, but most of it has more likely been just a group of civilians who have realized that there is more than enough majority support from a larger portion of the country (for a show of strength) than there was in the small ousted minority. But Saudi Arabia has billions in weapons that it bought from the U.S. But Saudi Arabia was short on jet pilots, refueling tankers, military intelligence agencies, willing armies, etc. So the US offered jet pilots, military intelligence, targeting, refueling stations, etc., so that the bombing of Yemen is as much a US operation as a Saudi one. This has created more starvation, more disease, and more "accidental bombings" of children's school buses, hospitals, weddings, funerals, etc., for as long as the US was helping with the targets. Of course, the Yemen people have been getting some help. Since the US helped to create the great humanitarian crisis through such terrorism, the Yemen people can't ask for help from the US, and have therefore gone to enemies of the US. (Iran? Russia? etc.) This is perfect for the US, because the Boltons and Pompeos have been able to say that it is therefore necessary to offer enough help to Saudi Arabia because anti-US forces must be dealt with somehow. Also, we can probably expect that this particular "win" by Yemen in hitting Saudi Arabia in the pocketbook (Aramco oil) will result in a way for the Boltons and Pompeos to get back into a more hawkish position. Therefore it will probably get more Western press than previous "wins" by Yemen when missiles have slipped through the cracks. Although Bolton is personally out for the moment, his positions have a better chance of still winning out over Trump's recent moderations, and forcing Trump to go back to a Bolton/Pompeo position on Yemen, Iran, etc. This works for as long as Yemen is always tied as a proxy to Iran/Russia etc.
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  20. I believe that the illustration of the Faithful and Discreet Slave applies to the Governing Body. But I also believe that it is presumptuous for anyone to limit the meaning of the Faithful and Discreet Slave to the Governing Body. In fact, making such a claim of BEING the Faithful Slave before Jesus returns to confirm who has actually been "the faithful slave" is presumptuous, and is therefore a sign of being indiscreet. It is the very definition of being "discreet in one's own eyes." (Isaiah 5:21) . . .Woe to those wise in their own eyes And discreet in their own sight! 1 Peter 5:3 was referenced by you and it says: (1 Peter 5:3) 3 not lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, . . . Referring to oneself as "governors" (i.e. a "Governing Body") is exactly what "lording it over" would be expected to look like. So it's not being faithful to this Bible verse, nor to the original illustration of the "faithful and unfaithful steward/slave" in Luke and Matthew. That same point is made in the NWT cross-referenced verse: (2 Corinthians 1:24) 24 Not that we are the masters [lords/governors] over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing. When you mention not wanting to be seen like the Gentiles in Jesus time, you probably recall that this included the titles we might use to identify ourselves as the Gentiles and Jews of Jesus day liked to do: (Matthew 20:25-27) 25 But Jesus called them to him and said: “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them and the great men wield authority over them. 26 This must not be the way among you; but whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. (Luke 22:27) 27 For which one is greater, the one dining or the one serving? Is it not the one dining? . . . (Matthew 23:7-10) . . .. 8 But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. 9 Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. 10 Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ. The Governing Body members, through the publications and public conventions, continually point out that they are the ones taking the lead over the congregations, and that correct teaching only comes through the hands of a few, rather than just pointing to how well these teaching match the teachings of Jesus himself. We should consider whether this might actually be the very kind of "overreach" that Jesus warned about. I see nothing at all wrong with the idea of the committee(s) of elders who preside over matters for the collective congregations, just as there is nothing wrong with the committee(s) of elders who preside over matters that come up for local congregations. But it is our Christian duty to question the food served, especially to comment on any concerns with respect to how well it matches the teachings of Jesus, the congregations' true Leader and Teacher. As servants (slaves) the ones preparing such meals should expect and desire to be questioned about the ingredients of the meals they distribute, they should humbly seek out the input of others with respect to the content and quality of the meals prepared and distributed by such stewards. In reality, there is no parable of the "faithful and discreet slave." It's really a parable of the "faithful slave/steward vs. the unfaithful slave/steward," and it everyone's responsibility to act like the faithful one, and not the unfaithful one. All of us need to be faithful rather than unfaithful stewards. In fact the parables are MORE about what it means to be the UNFAITHFUL steward. In the parable of "Who really is the [true] neighbor?" this is only a little bit about the untrue neighbor, and MORE about who really is the "TRUE neighbor," using the example of the good Samaritan. But in this parable about "who really is the true steward?" it's about faithfulness, but it's even MORE about examples of UNFAITHFUL stewards, and various levels of unfaithfulness. That said, it's still true that overseers, including the Governing Body, take on a greater responsibility as stewards. And this also increases the responsibility to act even more faithfully, humbly and discreetly. A slave would never ask for obedience to themselves, only that we obey Christ's leadership. Therefore, as we see how the example of any overseer's faith works out, we obey the lead of those elders. (Hebrews 13:7) While it's true that we are all stewards, every overseer, especially, is God's steward. (Titus 1:7) . . .For as God’s steward, an overseer must be free from accusation, not self-willed, . . . There should be no stewards who set themselves up as a kind of human tribunal: (1 Corinthians 4:2, 3) . . .In this regard, what is expected of stewards is that they be found faithful. 3 Now to me it is of very little importance to be examined by you or by a human tribunal. . . . Paul wrote to congregations in Corinth where certain persons were trying to be too influential in "governing" the faith of those in the congregation, going right back to 2 Cor 1:24 already quoted above.
  21. Russell did see a difference between "consecration" and "dedication." But it did not become a big deal. In fact, the song "Consecration" as it was sung from 1928 under Rutherford's leadership, was not changed to "Dedication" until almost a decade into the leadership period of Knorr/Franz, in the 1950 to 1966 songbook (with hardly any other words changed in the song). After dropping that song for a while, most of the words were brought back into the latest song "My Prayer of Dedication" (now #50). I should clarify that I see nothing wrong with buying a church/synagogue/mosque, or reusing or repurposing it for our own meetings. (With appropriate modifications.) And I see nothing wrong with selling a property to someone who wishes to use it however they want. The "dedication" was for a temporary purpose because it was a material object. I also do not object to dedicating material objects for spiritual purposes. There is nothing wrong with dedicating Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, or even houses, cars and fields for such purposes. I did want to make the point that because there will be more and more of this "turnover" and material transience in the times we live in, that we should be careful not to think of such material things as permanent. We are but alien residents passing through the world, and this world is passing away, not just in the future, but parts of it keep passing away before our eyes. (From human, economic, and even natural causes.) To quote another of our songs: (#92) we do NOT attach any special significance to the material in the building or its location: May we present this place to you, And here may your name be known. We dedicate this place to you; Please accept it as your own. 2. And now may we honor you, Father, By filling this place with your praise. May glory ascend with the increase Of those who are learning your ways. Committing this place to your worship, We give it our generous care. And long may it stand as a witness, Supporting the message we bear. When I worked in the Art Dept at Bethel around 1980, a brother had drawn an Armageddon-like scene from the viewpoint of everyone attending a meeting and the typical destructive view as seen through the window of Kingdom Hall. This view was rejected by the Writing committee in favor of the more typical image of a stream of Witnesses walking away from a city being destroyed and up into the peaceful hills nearby with all eyes forward to a goal and no one looking back. More recently we have seen images of the Great Tribulation from the viewpoint of groups of Witnesses gathering wherever possible, but there is no special emphasis on Kingdom Hall buildings. I think that choice of imagery helps to avoid thinking of the buildings themselves as the "ark of salvation." It's much better to think of pure worship, including association with others, as that "ark of salvation."
  22. (Luke 12:41, 42) . . .Then Peter said: “Lord, are you telling this illustration just to us or also to everyone?” 42 And the Lord said: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time? Interesting. So when Peter asked Jesus, "Are you telling this illustration just to us or also to everyone?" Jesus should have answered, "NEITHER!" It's not to any of you apostles or disciples, because you'll be long dead by the time I return, and it's not to "everyone" either, because it's only going to apply to about two or three dozen people who are around between 1919 and, let's say, 100-and-some-odd years after that date.

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