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While Muslims (Palestinians) Celebrated 9/11, Israel mourned with America!


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If there had been footage of this event, it would have been copied about 1,000 times and repeatedly watched by about 100,000,000 people. And it would have been promoted further by the FBI and Pentagon as part of the background to justify the war on terror. The rumors of the "Palestinians" was undoubtedly triggered as a response to the arrest and deportation of at least 2 of the 5 Israelis who were driving a white van and filming the event. I began watching the local NYC news immediately as the e

  • 3 months later...
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On 9/21/2018 at 10:41 PM, admin said:

What do you want to bet Twitter forced Amy Men to take down the photo/footage of this event. "Link Rot" at work again. Ugh...

If there had been footage of this event, it would have been copied about 1,000 times and repeatedly watched by about 100,000,000 people. And it would have been promoted further by the FBI and Pentagon as part of the background to justify the war on terror. The rumors of the "Palestinians" was undoubtedly triggered as a response to the arrest and deportation of at least 2 of the 5 Israelis who were driving a white van and filming the event. I began watching the local NYC news immediately as the event happened within 48 blocks from my office, and one of my secretaries was killed, having recently changed jobs to Cantor-Fitzgerald, the same company where the wife of my boss worked -- and who survived by being on maternity leave. There were reports of possible Palestinians in a white van that we remembered very clearly, and when it was discovered that they were Israelis working for a Jewish-owned moving company, the idea was dismissed from all the major channels but still discussed on radio. To counteract the fact that these cheering persons were found to be Israeli, several anonymous people began calling into radio stations later in the week with unsubstantiated claims that Palestinians were also celebrating from rooftops. Over the next year, people even began remembering that they had "seen" these Palestinian celebrators.

I would not agree with all the conclusions made on the "Catholic World" website, there was a lot of confusion over how to handle the news. Here is what the website

    Hello guest!
says, in part:

-----------the rest of this post includes excerpts from that website where I have highlighted some points in red---------------

 

The Five Dancing "Israelis"
Arrested On 9-11

 

On the day of the 9-11 attacks, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked what the attacks would mean for US-Israeli relations. His quick reply was: "It's very good……. Well, it's not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel)"
    Hello guest!

 

The FBI came to the conclusion... that the five Israelis arrested in New Jersey last September were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, N.J., served as a front. -Forward (A Jewish Magazine) March 15, 2002

"Evidence linking these Israelis to

    Hello guest!
. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information."
--US official quoted in Carl Cameron's Fox News report (that was later erased from the Fox News website) on the Israeli spy ring and its connections to 9-11.

 

    Hello guest!

Two of the "Five Dancing Israelies"
According to ABCNEWS sources, Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home. While the former detainees refused to answer ABCNEWS' questions about their detention and what they were doing on Sept. 11, several of the detainees discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home.
Said one of the men, "Our purpose was to document the event."

. . . Police also told the Bergen Record that bomb sniffing dogs were brought to the van and that they reacted as if they had smelled explosives.

The FBI seized and developed their photos, one of which shows Sivan Kurzberg flicking a cigarette lighter in front of the smouldering ruins in an apparently celebratory gesture.

The Jerusalem Post later reported that a white van with a bomb was stopped as it approached the George Washington Bridge, but the ethnicity of the suspects was not revealed. Here's what the Jerusalem Post reported on September 12, 2001:

American security services overnight stopped a car bomb on the George Washington Bridge. The van, packed with explosives, was stopped on an approach ramp to the bridge. Authorities suspect the terrorists intended to blow up the main crossing between New Jersey and New York, Army Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post 09/12/01)

The van was reported to be laden down with tons of explosives.

What's really intriguing is that ABC's 20/20, the New York Post, and the New Jersey Bergen Record all clearly and unambiguously reported that a white van with Israelis was intercepted on a ramp near Route 3, which leads directly to the Lincoln Tunnel.

But the Jerusalem Post, Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva), and Yediot America, all reported, just as clearly and unambiguously, that a white van with Israelis was stopped on a ramp leading to the George Washington Bridge, which is several miles north of the Lincoln Tunnel.

It appears as if there may actually have been two white vans involved, one stopped on each crossing. This would not only explain the conflicting reports as to the actual location of the arrests, but would also explain how so many credible eye-witnesses all saw celebrating "middle-easterners" in a white van in so many different locations. It also explains why the New York Post and Steve Gordon (lawyer for the 5 Israelis) originally described how three Israelis were arrested but later increased the total to five.

. . .

From there, the story gets becomes even more suspicious. The Israelis worked for a Weehawken moving company known as Urban Moving Systems. An American employee of Urban Moving Systems told the The Record of New Jersey that a majority of his co-workers were Israelis and they were joking about the attacks.

The employee, who declined to give his name said: "I was in tears. These guys were joking and that bothered me." These guys were like, "Now America knows what we go through."
(The Mercury Philadelphia, PA 10/17/01 )

A few days after the attacks, Urban Moving System's Israeli owner, Dominick Suter, dropped his business and fled the country for Israel. He was in such a hurry to flee America that some of Urban Moving System's customers were left with their furniture stranded in storage facilities (

    Hello guest!
).

It was later confirmed that the five detained Israelis were in fact Mossad agents. (Forward Magazine). They were held in custody for 71 days before being quietly released. Some of the movers had been kept in solitary confinement for 40 days.

Several of the detainees discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home.

Said one of the men, denying that they were laughing or happy on the morning of Sept. 11, "The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event."

How did they know there would be an event to document on 9-11?

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I have been working in Arabic speaking community.  They all believe Israel is the DAJJAL- the anti-christ and must be destroyed. It is their Islam  ideology.  Christians from the middle east have all been influenced by the overwhelming islam hate- influence too!  They usually volunteer information to talk about their hate.  America supports Israel... Even if I did not see American footage - I did see British footage - I would believe any sponaneous outbreak of glee. I understand the Muslim hate for the West, "Rome (what it represents) and the Jews.  It is in the ieology.  !   I can quote the quran verses to support my claim if you want it written down here in these pages.  (apologies - i really struggle to write on a tab) 

Their hate of America was there before the invasions.  Tthe wars gave them a BETTER excuse to hate even more....All unbelievers must die and hypocrites -  these are people who do not interpret the Quran correctly.

Most Muslims do not know what is in their Quran - they just listen to their Imams and cannot distinguish if he is a fundamentalist or not.

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I hate NAZISM - the ideology - not the people. I preach to them and treat them with dignity.  I hate islam ideology - not the people... I help those who listen to my message and love them more than myself.  I avoid those who love the violence inherent in Islam.  I do not fear islam - I know it is just an extremely violent part of Satan's system..... and only God can sort it out with justice. Humans will just add to the violence.

By ignoring the ideology the EU/UN are fueling more killings which are happening daily- but nothing in the news - because these perpetrators are classified as having a mental disorder. The victims have no justice -  the event is swept under the carpet.

According to the new EU/UN laws there is no difference between the people and their ideology. Islamophobia - the hate for the ideology - is now a crime.  I do see very friendly and kind people -  while they have permission from friends to speak to me and their friends do not threaten them.  That is when the hateful part of the ideology kicks in.

The UN/EU do not see a difference because to them all religions are the same. Most Western officials working for UN and EU are secular, atheists.   I know the difference between people and an ideology because I have seen the suffering it brings to many of the women. 

I fetch a woman for meetings every week - she has lost most of her family and extended family members.  She talks all the time about this...  I think she is suffering from Post traumatic stress.

I keep my opinions to myself because it is not politically correct to say anything....these days... but the more I see the more I realize the absolute power this ideology wields on those who are born into it. Young babies can say:  I will cut off your head! 

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    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
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    • By Queen Esther
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    • By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
      "Yes, in her was found the blood of prophets and of holy onesHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.” - Revelation 18:24
       
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      Towards the end of the great tribulation (not at the beginning), Babylon the Great, or the nation of Israel that will continue to exist until the end of the third world war, will be finally destroyed.
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      The next article will see another characteristic of Babylon the Great and this will also help us to identify it as the nation of Israel.
    • Guest Nicole
    • By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
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Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. What do we know, with certainty, of the battle of Armageddon?     What do we know about the Armageddon war? Speaking of the war of the great day of the Almighty God, what do we know for sure? - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Well, we know that it is not total destruction due to a human war, a solar flare, a meteorite or other Hollywood nonsense - Isaiah 45:18; Psalm 78:69; Ecclesiastes 1: 4 We know it is the crucial war in which God takes revenge on his enemies and on the enemies of His people - Psalm 2: 3-6; Sofonia 1:18; Zechariah 2: 8 We also know that it is the occasion when Jehovah is magnified and makes himself known to the nations - Ezekiel 36:22, 23 It is the war that will free His people from oppression and slavery and will finally begin the Millennial Kingdom - Exodus 15: 11-13; Revelation 7:10 These are reliable informations. For the rest, when it will happen, what means it will use, which scenario will present itself just before the outbreak of this war, etc., only assumptions are made. One of these assumptions, which seems to have a strict logic, is that the place in Hebrew is called Har-Maghedon, is not a literal place but a situation. In practice it would be the situation in which all the enemies of God find themselves fighting against His People, wherever they are. This conclusion seems absolutely logical because how could a war of such proportions, which should encompass all of humanity and therefore billions of people, take place in such a small geographical area? It is absurd to even think about it. However, before closing our faculties of perception on any contrary subject we try to consider the following - James 1:19 First of all we have seen that the war between the king of the north and the king of the south, which is a prophecy to come, could greatly reduce the number of people present on earth including their armies - compare Revelation 6: 3, 7, 8 It's a raw topic we would not like to talk about but the prophecies seem clear. This topic has been dealt with in various previous articles, including the one entitled "Who is the horn that became very great?". Furthermore, as we saw in the article titled "Which nations disappear in Armageddon?" We know that the war of Armageddon will not destroy all nations and people on the planet. This war will indeed destroy the satanic system which includes the savage beast, the kings of the earth and their armies - 1 John 3: 8 Seen from this point of view, perhaps the fact that this war can be fought in a specific and relatively restricted place becomes a possibility? Furthermore it is necessary to make a couple of clarifications. Har-Magedon, which means "Mountain of Megiddo", is not a specific reference to that "tell" that you see in Volume 1 of the book "Insight" (page 953 in the edition in Italian). What you see in photography is what remains of ancient Megiddo, a small hill built on 26 layers of ruins of ancient cities. That is "Megiddo" but where's the mountain? Since there is no mountain called "Mount of Megiddo" we try to make assumptions without prematurely concluding that the whole argument is symbolic. Megiddo is located at the entrance of the pass through the chain of Mount Carmel, which overlooks the valley of Esdraelon from the south-west. So the Mount of Megiddo might be Mount Carmel (compare 1 Kings 18:19, 20, Jeremiah 46:18, Amos 1: 2; 9: 3; Naum 1: 3, 4) and could include all the hilly countryside that surrounds the valley of Megiddo, one hundred kilometers north of Jerusalem, including the valley of Esdraelon. Space is noticeable, but before assuming any calculation, we try to ask ourselves according to what logic or why the kings of the earth should / could be there. To a superficial judgment it would seem a stupid thing. The kings of the earth and their armies will not be able to fight against Christ and his elect (though they will try to - compare Revelation 19:19, 20) and so it is evident that they will take it upon His people. Why, then, to concentrate in one area of the earth (whatever it is) to try to destroy the people of God if it is found in all the inhabited earth?Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. we have seen that the earth chosen by God for His people is still the Promised Land and the gathering of Israel will be literal.
      The article in part said, "When nations have run out of time, including both the trampling of Jerusalem and the persecution, Armageddon will begin to destroy this beast and all the compact peoples in the fight against the Lamb. At that moment Jerusalem will have been freed and the people of God, after the necessary period spent in the "inner rooms", will be able to go to that country which is still part of the promise and where in a short time it will begin to flow milk and honey - Isaiah 26: 20 " What have we seen so far? We have seen that Babylon the Great is modern apostate Israel but this has to do with the people who occupy it, certainly not with the geographical area which, in itself, can not have merit or guilt - Zechariah 5: 6-8 So, once Israel is liberated from Babylon the Great, Jehovah will bring His people back to that land that bears His name and will be inhabited from generation to generation - Joel 3:20 The crucial question is therefore: will this rallying and consequent exodus to the Promised Land begin after Armageddon or its approach? Some scriptures suggest that this happens just before the final battle. How can we say it? We have seen that during the last war between the king of the north and the king of the south, some nations are able to escape - see Daniel 11:41 The writing mentions Edom, Moab and Ammon and, coincidentally, these are the same nations in which a part of the people of Israel found shelter in the past - compare Psalm 60: 8, 9; Isaiah 16: 4; Jeremiah 40:11 The logical conclusion is that the people of God who survived the war, since they will have to live again Israel now liberated by the Great Whore, are in the vicinity of the Promised Land at least some time before the final battle. This situation would also be similar to what happened in the past but on a much larger scale. If the meeting takes place before Armageddon, then it becomes logical and plausible that the "kings of the earth" will gather in the place that in Hebrew is called Har-Maghedon. This is done to prevent the achievement of the Promised Land (and kill them all at once - compares Psalm 2: 1-6) or simply to kill them once they reach. This hypothesis makes reasonable not only the literal gathering of kings and armies but also the specific place of the gathering. Let's try, for a moment, to read Revelation as if it were the first time and as if they had not taught us anything. The writing says “And I saw three unclean inspired expressionsHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. that looked like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragonHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and out of the mouth of the wild beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and they perform signs,Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the warHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. of the great day of God the Almighty ( ... ) And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon" – Revelation 16:13, 14, 16 Without doing any disquisition on what terms and what it means, the first image that would come to mind are the kings who are gathered together somewhere, is not it? In fact, the writing says that these frogs "gathered them", which makes one think that these kings are heading towards a specific place. After all we have never done any disquisitions on the idea that these frogs actually go to the kings of the earth; we have never hypothesized that their "going to" the kings of the earth was symbolic because it is evident that, if these kings live in different and distant nations, these frogs have to go or go towards them. But we have re-discussed that the kings go somewhere. So frogs go literally (they must reach these kings) while kings go in a symbolic sense. That is, they do not go anywhere. The question that would be spontaneous to those who did not know anything about the issues at stake would be ... "Why do the kings of the earth, at the approach of the war, go to the place called Har-Maghedon (whatever place it is)?" In a war scenario, the answer would become simple: because the object of contention is in that area or near that area. Any nation that would place its army on the borders of another nation would send a strong and clear message. He is preparing for the war. In this case, however, the question does not concern the conquest of the territory of Israel but the extermination of the people who intend to live there - Psalm 2: 1-4 Finally we must distinguish the kings of the earth from their armies. The writing of Revelation says that only the kings of the earth are gathered at Har-Maghedon. How many will be the kings of the earth, following their ministers, their officials in various capacities, their bodyguards, etc? A few thousand? A few tens of thousands? Is the entire hilly area of Carmel and the valley of Esdraelon it’s sufficient to accommodate a few tens of thousands of people? Obviously yes, even only the Carmel. Where will the armies be and for which aircraft will they be extended? We do not have a precise answer but we can make some reasoning based on what we know from the scriptures. The simple distinction, which perhaps few have noticed, between the kings of the earth and their armies, should make every hypothesis fall "of the impossibility of the event" because if the Bible does not specify the area of armies extension they could really be hundreds of millions and even billions of people. The final battle would take place "around the Mount of Megiddo" for an indefinite area (why could not they cover all of Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq for example?) God's people would still be surrounded, the writing would not it would fail and Jehovah would rise above the nations. So, regardless of all the reasoning we have just made, if the Bible does not specify the extent of the armies deployed against the people of God, all the discourse on the secure symbolic nature of writing lapses or at least is not as reasonable as it initially seemed. We will try however to "build" the extension of this army only on the basis of what we know and keeping as close as possible so that all the talk will acquire heaviness and it is really the Bible to speak - Romans 3: 4 Regarding the last dominant king described in Daniel chapters 11 and 12 we know that he will place his tents "between the great sea and the holy Mount of the Adornment" - Daniel 11:45 After this event "he will have to come to his end, and there will not be a rescuer for him" and then it is understood that "pitching the tents" is the last action he performs before his final destruction. We have also seen that the destruction of Babylon the Great (or the nation of Israel) is the prelude to Armageddon and not to the great tribulation. As a result, the army of the last ruling king should already be present on the territory of Israel before the final battle * (see footnote). He simply has to wait for all the others to come (it is to be noted, in fact, that the writing which calls for the gathering of the kings of the earth at Har-Maghedon makes no mention of the wild beast. He is not mentioned because he is among the kings or simply because it is already there?). However, for the moment we do not know whether this immense army will stand as a shield to prevent Israel from entering or whether it will wait for "the people gathered from all the earth" to actually enter the country and then surround it - see for example Joel 3: 9- 12; Nehemiah 6:16; Psalm 44:13; 59: 5, 6; 76:11, 12; 97: 1-3; Jeremiah 1: 14-16; 6:25; 25: 9; Lamentations 1:17 For the moment we can imagine both situations since concepts do not change. So, to obstruct any access to the coming people, the armies will have to cover Israel at least for its entire length. Does this seem reasonable to you? So we have to hypothesize an extension that goes from the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) to the Mount of the Adornment west of Israel and an extension at least similar to the east side of Israel (in terms of width). So a length at least equal to that of Israel if not more. What area are we talking about? We can only make an estimate but a territory equal to twice the current Israel should cover an area of 45 / 50,000 square kilometers. With this in mind, let us now assume how powerful this army could be. A site makes a list of the ten most numerous armies (updated to 2015). This is the list with the respective numbers.   CHINA (number of staff: 2.285.000). UNITED STATES (1.458.000). INDIA (1.325.000) NORTH KOREA (1.106.000) RUSSIA (1.027.000) TURKEY (666,500) SOUTH KOREA (639,000). PAKISTAN (617,000) IRAN (523,000). EGYPT (468,000)   The total number of staff would be just over ten million people. We also consider that, as we saw at the beginning, the war between the kings of the north and the king of the south by then will have greatly reduced the numbers and at least a part of the nations listed above may not exist anymore. For the benefit of the numbers, however, it must be said that in case of conflict the "effective" would not be the only ones to go to war. The numbers could be greatly underestimated (it is doubtful, in fact, that the official numbers correspond to the real ones). Finally we must consider that this is the last move of Satan before being thrown into the abyss for a thousand years so he would have every interest in making the armies as numerous as possible. So we multiply by five these numbers and assume that the final attack includes 50 million armed soldiers to the teeth. The area we estimated could contain fifty million people? Yes and fairly well if we consider that these people are not there to live or stay but simply as soldiers waiting to launch a furious attack. Every soldier would have a living space of about one square meter. Do you remember the photographs in which Hitler had his huge troops? In those large gatherings there were probably three or four people every square meter. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.   In Hitler's huge gatherings there were probably 3 or 4 people per square meter   It is evident that we are making assumptions and the estimates, both of the army and of the militarized area, could vary a lot, but the point we want to illustrate is simply one. Despite the ideas that we made about the war of Har-Magedon, and how they are rooted in us, we can not exclude that the final battle takes place in this geographical area and that it will prove to be the biggest fight in the history of humanity. Indeed, the scriptures mentioned in support of the argument suggest that this is not simply a possibility. Any new understanding, however, can make other scriptures harmonious or create forcing. Forcing should be an indicator that "something is wrong". What happens with the other scriptures, understanding that the place of the final battle will be a specific and relatively restricted place? Meanwhile, as we have mentioned, this situation would be very similar to several biblical episodes we know - see for example Exodus 14: 10-14; 2 Kings 18: 19-25 Jehovah would be exalted in the midst of the nations precisely because, not being really all destroyed, the distant peoples and nations would speak of this event with terror and for centuries - compare Joshua 2: 9-11; Deuteronomy 2:25; Psalm 112: 10 Isaiah 63: 1-6 describes Jehovah coming from Edom who, as we have seen, is one of the places where God's people find refuge, and from there he begins to "tread peoples into His wrath." Psalm 2: 2 describes all the peoples and national groups united "as one man" and this gives the idea that the rulers of the earth, and therefore their armies, are effectively gathered somewhere as one army, a single mass and compact. Finally (but not "finally" because you will find many other similarities if you want to look for them) suddenly becomes clear why the king of the north is troubled because of news from the east and the north - see Daniel 11:44 So far what have we been told? In other words ... we have been told that we do not know. In the book "Pay attention to the prophecies of Daniel" on page 283 (Italian edition) we speak of Gog of Magog (among other things in the understanding that it is Satan the Devil) and paragraph 26 concludes with the words "But what at the end they will contain the news from the east and from the north only God will establish it and time will tell it ". Instead, understanding the scenario that will be created shortly before the final battle we can guess why this king is so upset. He sees the people of God, who evidently believed he had eliminated, gathered and on their way to the Promised Land! Depict the scene. It is easy to imagine that he understands that there is God, the True God and not the farce built by the false prophet behind all this. Despite his immense power and his fury, he has not succeeded in eliminating the people of God who are now reaching the Promised Land in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It is not surprising that this causes great anger in him and comes out "with great fury to annihilate and to vote many to destruction", or the people of God gathered there - Daniel 11:43 And this explains why he "will pitch the tents of his palace between [the] great sea and the holy mount of the Adornment". Let's take a moment to imagine the scene and see us there, intent on reaching the promised land as the Israelites were in the time of Moses. Perhaps we may find ourselves imprisoned between the Great Sea and the army or we may be a few kilometers from the border and see "men of extraordinary stature" - Numbers 13:33 Perhaps some of us, seeing such a colossal army, might doubt Jehovah's power or his will to protect us - Isaiah 43:10, 11 Try to imagine how many situations described in the Bible would become the mirror of those last moments of the system of things. It is not difficult to see the harmony of the Word of God and to understand what will happen if we free ourselves from our conditioning and do not associate the word "impossible" with God. Is not it a wonderful prospect? One day, towards the end of the terrifying events that will occur on earth, someone will call us to lead us to the Promised Land, but the journey will be reserved only for those who will understand the prophecy and act accordingly. Next stop: Israel. Take the ticket. Make reservations now. The forecasts say that the area will be quite crowded.     Footnote. The article entitled "1290 and 1335 days" shows a difference of 45 days between trampling on God's people and achieving his "happiness" - see Daniel 12:12 These 45 days could include the time of the gathering of the people of God and the consequent exodus that will lead them to cross the boundaries of the Promised Land.   It is necessary to specify that even if the lowering of the waters of the Euphrates has to do with the destruction of these peoples and not simply with the loss of the defenses, this could refer to the peoples that surround Israel and not with Israel - compare Joel 3 : 4 This could mean that the payment of the sixth cup of the angel is not yet the actual destruction of Babylon the Great and therefore the people of Israel might still be alive and active when God's people approach it to "repopulate". As strange as this may seem, this seems to be in harmony with Revelation 16:19 which says that God would have remembered Babylon "to give it the cup of wine of the fury of his wrath" and by reading the context this happens during or near of the judgment of armageddon - compare Revelation 16:13 Other Bibles translate in a similar way and therefore it would seem evident that when nations gather in Armageddon, God still has to pour his wrath upon Babylon the Great. If this understanding is correct, when the king of the north "will come out with great fury to annihilate and vote many to destruction" it is possible that in his blinding fury he will strike first the nation that had always been their lover - compare Revelation 18 : 10, 15, 18 (see also Zechariah 14:13, 14) And obviously this will happen by God's will - Revelation 17:17 This possibility makes very probable the situation in which the people of God are effectively blocked between Israel (still populated) and all the armies of the world.  
    • By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
      Thanks to the coherence of the Word of God we have arrived at an unprecedented understanding of the Holy Writings.
      This understanding, far from complete but constantly growing, would not have flowed freely if we had not approached it with the utmost care of mind and without prejudice - compare Acts 17:11
      One of the fundamental concepts that would have prevented the understanding of many things is that related to the identity of modern Israel.
      Even today this subject confuses and makes it impossible to understand the Bible to the vast majority of religions as well as to individual scholars.


      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Is an attack on Israel coming?   In this regard, Charles Taze Russell spoke several times to a large audience of Jews in New York and also in Europe on the theme "Zionism in Prophecy" and in 1925 published the book entitled "Comfort for the Jews".
      In time, however, it was clear to some that "something was wrong" in part because the Bible very clearly predicted that this return home would bring blessings to humanity and also because it was strange that God Almighty used the empire Anglo-American and United Nations to restore His people on earth.  It is true that in the past a similar thing happened, but the Jewish people of that time did everything to restore pure worship, something that certainly can not be said of the current Jewish people.
      And there would be so many other things to be said that would severely outweigh the biblical prophecy indicated.
      In light of world events, some have revised this interpretation but for many that remains a biblical prophecy fulfilled.
      So two distinct groups were created: those that no longer give any importance to Jerusalem and those who say that God's people are in present-day in Jerusalem.
      Through the study of the Word of God and His undeserved kindness we have understood that both positions are wrong.
      Both positions will prevent any deep understanding of the Word.
      What happened in 1948 is indeed a biblical prophecy only that it is not what most religions have imagined - Daniel 4: 20-25 Jerusalem, and Israel as a consequence, still has a great importance in the Word of God (it has never ceased to have it) only that the present one today is not the one that would have brought blessings to humanity but a mystification, a deception.
      A deception in which we all fell.
      All who are convinced that Jerusalem no longer has any importance in biblical prophecy are invited to reflect on scriptures such as Nehemiah 1: 9, Isaiah 34:17; 60:15, Joel 3:20 or Luke 21:24 Obviously it will become difficult to understand such direct and clear scriptures if every time we read "Jerusalem" we use that filter known as "symbolic meaning" or "spiritual sense".
      So also the return of the people of God to their homeland is to be understood in a literal sense, and Russell was right in this, only that this did not happen in 1948.
      In its place appeared a sordid prostitute who, far from being the legitimate bride as she herself asserts, has seduced the peoples with her influence and has initiated a series of events that have caused (and will cause) death , pain and despair - compare Revelation 18:24 From the comparison of the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation we understand that a world war is coming, that is, that which will end the king of the south. This is a prophecy to come and not something that concerned 1914 or so.
      We understand that "behind the scenes" of this war, there will be this prostitute. Although Jehovah allow this war, as it happened in the past, even to discipline His people, He will not leave unpunished this prostitute.
      We know that it will be definitively destroyed at Har-maghedon (not at the beginning of the great tribulation) and therefore "we will have to keep it" until the end of the satanic system. Its complete destruction is near but not so close. From now until the last moment any sincere person who truly wants to know God Almighty and do His will has the opportunity to take the necessary steps. Every single inhabitant of Israel may decide to ask Jehovah for forgiveness and save himself from the destruction that will inevitably fall upon the nation.
      The biblical prophecy makes us understand that before its definitive destruction, the king of the north will turn his attention to it - Daniel 11:30 This "attention" does not seem to have anything positive because the same writing speaks of "complaints". In harmony with this we have seen, comparing with Revelation, that the fifth trumpet that torments "those men who do not have the seal of God on the forehead" is most likely aimed precisely at the old people of God.
      Since the fifth trumpet is concomitant with the first trouble it is possible to hypothesize that this torment will be particularly painful.
      It is certainly not a coincidence that shortly thereafter (exactly five months later) this situation leads to a much wider and bloody war - Revelation 9: 13-20 ". As said, it is because of this prostitute that the great war will break out.
      Even the study of Jeremiah, a book we are investigating in recent days, has reinforced this vision.
      We do not have a precise date but from these Scriptural reflections we understand that an attack on Israel is coming and so we are right to pay due attention.
      Let us prepare ourselves mentally because the Word of God can not fail.
      Although this will not yet affect its ultimate destruction, it seems clear that such an attack will be there.
      It does not matter if many laugh or take this interpretation lightly; we have a chance to ascertain these things - 1 Thessalonians 5:21     * If someone has shared, even in part, this information, he is invited to warn people of what is going to happen.
      Above all those who have acquaintances or friends in that nation are invited to act according to their conscience.
      ** Since Revelation speaks of "torment" and not of death it is possible that this attack concerns a series of burning complaints (compare Daniel 11:30) from the king of the north and not a military attack. Most of the political intrasaces of this nation, which include lies, murders and abuses perpetrated against other peoples, could come to light.
      This would cause an atrocious pain to all those who, until the last moment, wanted to maintain an aura of holiness and justice and pass for victims of the world.  ***Spiritual drunks who have the privilege of carrying the name of Jehovah are invited to observe the next world events.      
    • By The Librarian
      Aulicino Ciro - Post 911 Talk Discussion 2.mp3
      Agape!
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Guatemala trasladará su embajada en Israel a Jerusalén, en consonancia con la decisión de Washington condenada por la Asamblea General de la ONU y desatando el agradecimiento israelí y el rechazo palestino.
      “El Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores recibe la instrucción presidencial (de Jimmy Morales) e inicia el proceso de ejecución de esta decisión de política exterior”, afirmó la cancillería guatemalteca el lunes en un comunicado.
      El proceso se inició al día siguiente de que Morales anunciara que dio instrucciones a su canciller Sandra Jovel para realizar el traslado.
      El primer ministro israelí, Benjamin Netanyahu, saludó este lunes en un comunicado la “importante” decisión de Guatemala.

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    • By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.     Una razón por la cual a algunos hermanos les resulta difícil aceptar que Babilonia la Grande es la nación de Israel (no es la única razón) es porque creen, en toda conciencia, que esta nación es "un paréntesis cerrado" y tenemos que entender qué significa esta expresión Si con "tema cerrado" nos referimos a que Jehová ya no usaría un país geográfico específico para "atraer a un pueblo por su nombre", tenemos toda la razón - Hechos 15:14 Si entendemos que este pueblo, en su tiempo, fue rechazado irreversiblemente, es correcto porque este concepto está sostenido por las Escrituras - Mateo 23:37, 38 Si entendemos también que cuando la Biblia habla de Israel espiritual se refiere al pueblo de Dios tomadas de todas las naciones, que no es todo "Israel", en este caso estamos en lo correcto - Romanos 9: 6 ¿Esto significa que este "paréntesis cerrado" no tendrá ningún papel en el tiempo del fin? ¿Significa que es tan insignificante, desde el punto de vista de Jehová, que ni siquiera lo he mas mencionado? Tratemos de pensar en algunos aspectos y siempre tratemos de que la Biblia hable lo más a menudo posible. Es cierto que según las últimas "directivas" del "esclavo fiel y discreto" ya no tenemos que encontrar tipos y antitipos (después de haber creado cientos, incluso de manera muy forzada, durante casi un siglo), pero es un hecho que los tipos y antitipos están presentes en una forma preponderante en la palabra de Dios. Es cierto que debemos ser precavidos y no buscar tipos y antitipos en cada coma ... en cada palabra dicha o no dicha, pero ¿significa esto que ya no tenemos que usar nuestras facultades mentales ni siquiera frente a un antitipo obvio del presente? - Hebreos 5:14 Más importante aún: ¿significa esto que debemos borrar las conexiones entre tipos y antitipos, incluso cuando es la Biblia misma a hacerlos? - 2 Pedro 1:21 En esto volveremos más tarde. Cuando Jerusalén fue destruida por primera vez en 607 a.E.V. esta nación, aunque apóstata y ahora reducida a un mínimo, no podría llamarse paréntesis cerrado - compárese con Jeremías 16:14, 15 Jehová mantuvo fe en el pacto hecho con Abraham al salvar un remanente a pesar de que la gente mostró, muchas otras veces, que no eran leales. ¿Se puede decir lo mismo cuando sucedió la segunda vez, en 70 E.V.? Cuando Jesús fue puesto en la hoguera, un acto que marcó el abandono definitivo de Jehová, el pacto permaneció vigente durante "media semana" en cumplimiento de la profecía de Daniel-Daniel 9:27; Mateo 21: 33-41 Entonces, después de la muerte de Jesús, que ocurrió alrededor del año 33 E.V., el pueblo de Israel continuó siendo un pueblo "especial" durante otra media semana, o hasta el 37 E.V. De hecho, ese año, con el bautismo de Cornelio, comenzó a formarse un nuevo Isreal: un pueblo que sería tomado de todas las naciones - Mateo 21:43; Hechos 10: 44-48 Entonces podemos decir que Israel, como pueblo especial de Dios, se convirtió en "paréntesis cerrado" en 37 E.V. Sin embargo, refiriéndose a lo que le hubiera pasado a este pueblo más de treinta años después de su abandono, Jesús dijo ... "" ¿No ves todas estas cosas? De cierto os digo que no quedará piedra sobre piedra que no esté en ruinas "- Mateo 24: 2 Uno debería pensar que, precisamente porque ahora estaba cerrado entre paréntesis, Jerusalén (e Israel en su conjunto) podría continuar existiendo y hacer su vida como cualquier otra nación, pero no fue así. Está claro que Jehová le prestó atención a esa nación que evidentemente nunca habría sido una nación como cualquier otra, independientemente si ahora era o no del pueblo de Dios. Podemos discutir si la destrucción de Jerusalén de 70 E.V. fue empujado directamente por Jehová o si esto fue solo la consecuencia del hecho de que Dios Todopoderoso retiró su protección de la nación (pero lees las palabras de Luca 21:22) pero ciertamente no podemos argumentar que esta última destrucción, ya cerrada como paréntesis, había sido predicha por las Escrituras y que este evento tendría consecuencias directas para los cristianos de la época. ¿Israel continuó teniendo alguna importancia después del abandono de Dios pero antes de la destrucción antes mencionada? Sí! Israel continuó siendo de fundamental importancia tanto para los cristianos de ascendencia judía como para todos los demás, de hecho, el apóstol Pablo hizo muchas referencias al Israel carnal para ayudar a entender la "sombra" de las cosas, la manera de actuar de Jehová. (así como su personalidad) y qué posición tenían, como cristianos, antes de todo esto - Compare Colosenses 2:16, 17 El apóstol Pablo también nos ayuda a entender, a través de la existencia del Israel carnal, quien es la "Jerusalén de arriba" - Gálatas 4:25, 26 El apóstol Pablo habló de muchos tipos y antitipos y esto no hubiera sido posible sin la existencia del Israel carnal. No habría habido un criterio, especialmente para la gente de las naciones - Efesios 2: 11-13 También en este sentido podemos decir que Israel, por lo que fue también cuando apostatò, no pudo ser realmente un "paréntesis cerrado". Ahora, sin embargo, la pregunta es ... ¿qué podemos decir de nuestros días? ¿Israel realmente ha caído en el olvido, desde Dios, desde el final del primer siglo hasta hoy? ¿Ha dejado de tener una importancia profética o antitípica? Para la segunda parte de la pregunta, podemos decir que no. Tanto en Apocalipsis como en Daniel, libros que hablan del tiempo del fin, se menciona a Israel. Incluso en Apocalipsis se habla del "canto de Moisés" y esta es, sin duda, una referencia no solo para Israel, sino también para el papel de Moisés como esclavo de Dios - Apocalipsis 15: 3 Moisés no era simplemente un israelita, sino que también era el mediador de la Ley (ley que realmente debería ser un "paréntesis cerrado", ¿no?). Hablando de la muerte de los dos testigos en cilicio Se dice que este crimen tiene lugar "donde también nuestro Señor fue empalado" - Revelación 11: 8 Sin buscar explicaciones articuladas, simplemente deberíamos preguntarnos: ¿dónde fue puesto en la hoguera el Señor Jesucristo? Por lo tanto, estamos convencidos de que la Revelación no menciona al antiguo Israel (o Jerusalén), que es el carnal, literal, ¿cuál debería ser "un paréntesis cerrado"? La revelación se cumple en el tiempo del fin, ¿no es así? También tratamos de ver si las escrituras de Daniel parecen confirmar o negar esta visión de los hechos. Daniel 11:30 dice, hablando de cierto rey, que "tendrá que volver y considerar a los que han dejado el santo pacto". ¿Quiénes son "los que han dejado el santo pacto"? Por supuesto, podría referirse al cristianismo, pero en los siguientes versículos se dirá algo que creará un serio problema de identificación de este último. Daniel 11:32 dice ... "Y a los que actúan inicuamente contra [el] pacto,Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. los conducirá a apostasíaHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. mediante palabras melosas ". Entonces tenemos un problema. En el versículo 30 se dice que "lanzará denuncias contra el pacto santo" y, por lo tanto, este "tomar en consideración" a aquellos que han abandonado el pacto sagrado no parece tener nada positivo. En el versículo 32, sin embargo, el rey mismo, a través de palabras melosas, llevaría a la apostasía "a los que actùan inicuamente contra [el] pacto". Entonces, en el primer caso hay una acción enérgica, autoritaria y quizás violenta, mientras que en el segundo caso hay un halago ... Debe notarse que el mismo término – melosas, melosidad - se usa para aquellos que se unen a aquellos que "tienen perspicacia" - Daniel 11:32, 34, 35. Parece que siempre está hablando de un mismo grupo? De hecho, hay una profunda diferencia entre aquellos que han dejado un pacto y entre aquellos que actúan perversamente contra de eso. Cualquiera que deje un pacto no puede actuar en manera malvada o benignamente simplemente porque lo ha abandonado. Incluso aquí, sin demasiadas palabras, ¿qué personas han "abandonado el pacto"? La muerte del Hijo de Dios definitivamente sancionado el abandono de ese pacto que Jehová sacudió con Abraham y sus descendientes - Mateo 23:38 Si Daniel tiene una visión del "tiempo del fin", es evidente que aquellos que "dejaron el pacto" todavía se mencionan, están vivos y activos, y tienen un papel importante hasta el último momento del sistema mundial.   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ¿Hay alguna diferencia entre aquellos que "dejaron el pacto santo" y los que "actuan malvadamente contra el pacto"? Si piensas que la distinción entre "quien ha abandonado el pacto" y "actúa perversamente contra el pacto" es un forzamiento (¿por qué entonces, dado que los significados son profundamente diferentes?) tal vez será útil reflexionar sobre Daniel 11:45. Siempre hablando del último rey gobernante, la "cosa repugnante" según las palabras de Jesús en Mateo 24:15, la escritura dice que el rey "plantará sus tiendas palaciegas entre [el] gran marHello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. y la santa montaña de Decoración ". Ahora, si cada vez que se menciona a Israel en el tiempo del fin, se puede cuestionar si se está refiriendo al Israel literal o a los cristianos tomados de todas las naciones, y si aquellos que "actúan perversamente contra el pacto" pueden ser los mismos que han "abandonado el pacto" (es decir, que siempre se refiere al cristianismo), ¿qué podemos decir de la santa montaña de Decoración? ¿Cuál era la santa montaña de Decoración? El Monte Moria, por supuesto, donde una vez estuvo el Templo de Jerusalén.   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Monte Moria es "la santa montaña de Decoración"   De la misma manera que los soldados romanos ponen un pie donde no deberían (fueron algo desagradable), el último rey gobernante hará lo mismo a través del falso profeta como se especifica en Apocalipsis. El problema de eliminar tipos y antitipos, debido a errores pasados, pone el riesgo de pasar del otro extremo y no lograr a ver mas nada, aun cuando la lógica y las Escrituras nos pongon más de un motivo para reflexionar. ¿Necesitamos ser inspirados para encontrar alguna contraparte moderna? Absolutamente no, así como no debemos ser inspirados para leer y tratar de entender las Escrituras - 2 Timoteo 3:16, 17 Seguramente debemos ser cautelosos y no ir más allá de lo que está escrito, pero fue el mismo Jesús quien aplicó las palabras de Daniel en el tiempo del fin (lo que habría ido mucho más allá de la destrucción de Jerusalén en el año 70 E.V.). Así que pensar en el hecho que las palabras de Jesús, incluidos los detalles inherentes a la "cosa repugnante", habrían tenido un cumplimiento moderno, son parte del debate bíblico normal que incluye nuestra capacidad de razonar. La capacidad de razonar, hacer contrastes y paralelos es un regalo que el Creador nos dio. Entonces, volviendo a la montaña de Decoraciòn ... ¿qué significado podemos dar más allá de lo que està simplemente escrito? Por supuesto, podemos afirmar que el ángel usa un lenguaje simbólico que significa que este último rey habría interferido con la adoración verdadera ... pero este hecho, incuestionable, ya lo hemos visto cuando "suprime el sacrificio continuo". De hecho, Daniel dice que dejaría caer una parte de las estrellas, lo que habría hecho tropezar a los que entendieron y continuarían "arrojando la verdad al suelo". Además de todo esto, en cierto punto se dice que colocaría sus tiendas hasta la montaña de Decoraciòn. ¿Cuántos tipos y antitipos podemos darle a la montaña de Decoraciòn si ya hemos visto que el rey habría arrojado al pueblo de Dios a la tierra, exactamente como dice el Apocalipsis? - Apocalipsis 13: 5 Si no buscamos una explicación articulada a toda costa, tal vez porque estamos convencidos de que no puede referirse de alguna manera con el Israel moderno, entonces la respuesta es obvia. Quizás es demasiado obvia. En todo caso, tratamos de preguntarnos: ¿por qué el último rey dominante, bajo la apariencia del falso profeta, debería establecer su tienda en Israel?   Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. El falso profeta pondrá sus tiendas entre el gran mar y la montaña de Decoraciòn.   En un artículo anterior tratamos de descubrir quién es este falso profeta y cómo él representa una evolución del hombre de la ilegalidad que conocemos. Puedes encontrar el artículo en esta dirección (por ahora está en italiano) Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Esta bestia es una decepción religiosa de proporciones mundiales y está vinculada a las palabras de Cristo cuando dijo que surgirían falsos cristos y falsos profetas. Sabemos que este tema tomará oficialmente el lugar de Dios y desviará a toda la tierra habitada. Entonces, ¿por qué debería poner sus tiendas en la montaña de Decoraciòn? Bueno, Israel, nos guste o no, es el punto de referencia de las religiones más grandes del mundo. No es coincidencia que sea la escena de las guerras más sangrientas porque cada religión reclama derechos sobre ella. Sin embargo, como Israel es la causa principal de todas las divisiones religiosas, también podría convertirse en el enlace de más de dos mil millones de personas. Si el falso profeta pretende ser Dios, entonces poner su morada en esa tierra parecerá lo más normal y las tácticas más inteligentes: 2 Tesalonicenses 2: 3, 4. Se instará a la gente a adorarlo y evidentemente es este episodio, un tiempo después de la gran guerra, que llevará a la gente a "unirse" bajo este engaño y creer que finalmente han alcanzado la paz y la seguridad. Obviamente, esta "paz y seguridad" será un engaño satánico y durará muy poco, ya que una destrucción repentina vendrá sobre todos ellos - 1 Tesalonicenses 5: 3 Poco antes de la Guerra de Armageddon, sin embargo, este falso profeta se verá obligado a "desalojar".   Las Naciones Unidas y el último rey dominante (es decir, el poder político que se esconde detrás de este engaño religioso) por voluntad de Dios, odiarán a esta ramera y la devastarán y desnudarán. Israel será destruido, contra todas las expectativas, en cumplimiento de la profecía bíblica. Solo en aquel tiempo Israel será realmente un "paréntesis cerrado" - Apocalipsis 19: 3 Sin embargo, solo este "pueblo abusivo" será un paréntesis cerrado porque la nación, o la tierra geográfica, tendrá un papel que nos sorprenderá. Veremos esto en un próximo artículo.
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The World Trade Center Disaster: The graduation of the 111th class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead was held on Saturday, September 8, 2001. Three days later, on September 11, graduates and their families were touring New York City, in the United States. That day began warm and beautiful with clear, blue skies. Then, at 8:46 a.m., a commercial jet crashed into the World Trade Center north tower in lower Manhattan. Minutes later another commercial jet slammed into the south tower. At 9:59 a.m., the south tower collapsed, sending a dense cloud of dust and debris throughout lower Manhattan. After that, the north tower collapsed. Nearly three thousand people died. Each tower, completed in 1973, was 110 stories high. Thick dust from the collapse of both buildings was carried on the wind and reached Brooklyn Bethel, less than two miles [less than three kilometers] away.
      Brothers at the United States branch office immediately began to find out which Witnesses had been affected by this terrible tragedy and what assistance might be needed. By Tuesday evening, September 11, the Bethel family members from all three Bethel complexes—Brooklyn, Patterson, and Wallkill—had been accounted for. By Thursday afternoon all of the Gilead graduates had communicated with the Gilead Office, confirming that they and their families were safe. Meanwhile, 37 circuit overseers in the New York area were reached by telephone. They contacted the congregation elders, and the elders checked on each publisher. By Friday morning, September 14, the branch had learned that 14 of our brothers and sisters were either dead or missing. That figure never changed in the days to come.
      Survivors related their experiences. Cynthia Tucker, a regular pioneer, worked in the World Financial Center across the street from the World Trade Center. She was on the 37th floor when she saw the first jet crash into the tower. Believing this to be a terrible accident, she went outside and looked up at the building that the plane had hit. Debris was everywhere. Then another plane flew overhead, very low. Sister Tucker said: “The plane was huge. I realized that it was going to crash into the building. I wanted to run, but I just froze—I did not know what to do. The plane seemed to go right through the building. The noise was so loud that it was like being underwater; I felt the sound. The air was heavy and seemed to have sand in it. Breathing was difficult. People were running in every direction. I ran into a building and watched as the first tower came down. People were taking off their shirts to cover their faces because of the dust. People with children and pets came out of the buildings. Everyone was terrified. Even the animals were not acting normally. I cannot describe the fear.” Sister Tucker is grateful for the help of the elders who came and shared with her soothing words of comfort from the Bible.
      In the months that followed, the brothers in the New York area took the Bible’s message of comfort and hope to those in the community. Several brothers were allowed to minister at Ground Zero, the site where the Twin Towers collapsed. One of these brothers was Roy Klingsporn, a pioneer. He said: “With appreciation, an air force sergeant who was involved with the relief work said: ‘Everyone brings us food, hot coffee, and dry clothes, but you are the first to read a scripture. We need God at a time like this.’”
      (The following info is from the article featured in the 1/8/02 Awake! )
      Support and Compassion From Many Parts
      Volunteers came from other parts of the United States as well as from other countries. One such volunteer was Tom, aged 29, a fire fighter from Ottawa, Canada. He told Awake!: “I saw the events on TV and wanted to give moral support to my brother fire fighters in New York. I drove down on Friday and went to Ground Zero on Saturday to offer my help. I was put in the so-called bucket brigade, moving out debris bucket by bucket.
      “We slowly sifted through the rubble, a shovelful at a time, looking for items that might be clues to the identity of fallen firemen. I found a Halligan tool used to open locked doors, as well as couplings from a hose. It was painstaking toil. With about 50 volunteers, it took two hours to fill one dump truck. “On Monday, September 17, we pulled out the bodies of some fire fighters who had rushed into the building on the previous Tuesday. I will never forget that scene—all the rescue workers stopped working, took off their hard hats and helmets, and stood—out of respect for our fallen colleagues. “As I was standing viewing the scene at Ground Zero, I was struck with how fragile life is today. It made me reflect on my life, my job, my family. Regardless of the risks, my job is very rewarding—being able to help people and even save lives.”
      Witnesses Offer Practical Help
      The first two days of the disaster, about 70 people sought refuge at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some who had lost their hotel rooms and luggage were given a place to stay and replacement clothing. They were fed. Perhaps more important, they were given emotional support by experienced Christian elders. Jehovah’s Witnesses also sent needed emergency equipment and supplies for the search-and-rescue crews working at what came to be called Ground Zero. Transportation was also made available to the fire department to get fire fighters to the rescue area. Ricardo, a 39-year-old Witness and sanitation worker, was involved, along with hundreds of others, in removing tons of debris day after day. He told Awake!: “The sights were very stressful, especially for fire fighters, who were looking for their lost comrades. I saw them pull out one fireman alive. Another fireman had been killed by a falling body. Many firemen were weeping. I broke down and cried. On that day nobody was more courageous than they were.”
      A Ministry of Comfort
      During the days after the tragedy, about 900,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States made a determined effort nationwide to offer comfort to those who were grieving. Love of neighbor moved them to comfort mourning ones. (Matthew 22:39) In their ministry they have also endeavored to point to the only true hope for distressed humanity.—2 Peter 3:13.
      Groups of elders from local Manhattan congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses were allowed into the Ground Zero area to talk to and comfort the rescue workers there. The response was very favorable. These ministers commented: “The men had tears in their eyes as we shared scriptures with them.” Rescue workers were recovering on a boat at a marina. “The men were looking so lost, with their heads bowed, just not able to cope with what they had seen. We sat down with them and shared texts from the Bible. The men thanked us so much for coming, saying that they really needed this comfort.”
      People contacted after the tragedy often wanted something to read, and thousands of brochures were given to them freely. Some of these were When Someone You Love Dies, Will There Ever Be a World Without War?, and Does God Really Care About Us? Also, the cover series in two issues of Awake! were given special attention: “The New Look of Terrorism” (May 22, 2001) and “Coping With Post-traumatic Stress” (August 22, 2001). In many cases the Witnesses explained the Bible’s hope of a resurrection. (John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15) Perhaps millions of people were reached with this comforting message.
      *It's pretty fortuitous or providential no doubt, that arrangements to organize and establish the Branch Committee were completed earlier in February of 2001... just months prior to the attacks on 9/11. (the following figures aren't currently up-to-date obviously, but are applicable for the 2001/2002 service year, when the Branch Committee was first established, ...taken from pgs 23-25 of the 2003 Yearbook)

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. (photo of Branch Committee members, pg 22)
      Branch Committee Established in the United States
      On Friday, February 9, 2001, the Governing Body made an announcement to the United States Bethel family that effective April 1, 2001, a Branch Committee would begin functioning in the United States. During the 2002 service year, the Branch Committee continued progressively to shoulder their responsibilities. The United States branch oversees the Kingdom-preaching work in the contiguous United States as well as Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos islands. There are over one million publishers in the United States, of which 215,000 are associated with Spanish-speaking congregations. Of the over 11,700 congregations, some 2,600 are Spanish-speaking. This past service year, 210 new congregations were formed. Of these, 123 are Spanish-speaking, 63 are English-speaking, and 24 are in other languages. Within the United States, there are now congregations or groups in 37 languages besides English and Spanish. In many Spanish and other foreign-language congregations, attendances for the Public Meeting often exceed 200 percent. Some congregations report more Bible studies than publishers. English-speaking brothers and sisters are learning other languages to help in this fast-growing field.
      The United States branch is unique in that the Bethel facilities are situated at three locations—Brooklyn, Patterson, and Wallkill. To grow fruit for the Bethel family, there are farms near South Lansing, New York, and Immokalee, Florida. In all, the United States Bethel family numbers 5,465.
      There are currently 109 branches worldwide. The arrangement to have Branch Committees care for the spiritual needs of brothers living in various lands has been functioning since 1976. These committees follow the Scriptural direction and lead given by the Governing Body. Branch Committees have the responsibility to oversee the preaching of the good news in the territory assigned to the branch. The committee gives the necessary supervision to Christian congregations, missionaries, and pioneers. It also organizes the congregations into circuits and districts and makes recommendations to the Governing Body for the appointment of circuit and district overseers, Bethel family members, and students for Gilead School. Besides having general oversight of the service in the field, the Branch Committee cares for organizing the work at Bethel. There is no doubt that JehovahÂ’s rich blessing has been on this arrangement.
       
    • Guest
      By Guest
      A day of rage? Shouldn't calling for that alone be a criminal act and cause for imprisonment?
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      via
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. World News
    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Jehovah’s Witnesses at an assembly in Rishon Letzion
       
      The state refuses to recognize them and they have been victims of harassment. But Jehovah's Witnesses insist that they lead normal lives and are not a dangerous cult.
      Haaretz
      By Netta Ahituv 
      December 1, 2016

      Yarden Zalimansky is only 25, but comports himself like a staid older citizen. He’s been married for a few years, and wears a white shirt, tie and dark slacks for our meeting; he has a tablet opened to a Bible app and speaks in a deeply serious tone of voice. Until age 19, he styled himself an atheist, now he’s a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He grew up in Tel Aviv in a secular family (“One Holocaust and three cases of cancer was enough for the loss of God”), and majored in film at an arts high school.

      “I was always interested in history and in religions, and I used to talk to a friend about it. One day, while I was in the army, she told me she was studying Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was bent on stopping her, but as we went on talking, I saw that what I believed in was incorrect and that she had tools to prove that her belief was right,” he relates.
      What did you find in Jehovah’s Witnesses that you didn’t find elsewhere?

      “One thing that bothered me in most religions is that at a certain stage, you are requested to stop asking questions – and I had plenty of concrete questions. For example, I couldn’t understand the Holy Trinity in Catholicism, and I felt that my questions about it were not welcome. In Jehovah’s Witnesses, I can always ask questions and get answers from the Bible. They don’t call for blind faith, but base themselves on evidence and on asking questions.”

      Most of the adherents I met while researching this article told a similar story. They discovered the creed via a friend, a pamphlet they came across or another Witness who “opened my eyes.” Initially skeptical, they were gradually won over, and decided to devote themselves to this mix of Judaism and Christianity.

      The approximately 1,600 members of the community in Israel obey the laws of the country, pay their taxes and believe that they are upstanding citizens, but refuse to fulfill one national obligation: to perform military service (as they explain below). As with Witnesses abroad, they believe in the Hebrew Bible (Torah, Prophets, Writings), which they call the “Hebrew Scriptures,” and also in the New Testament, or the “Christian Greek Scriptures,” in their terminology. Both together constitute the “Bible.” According to them, at the end of the first century C.E., after the New Testament was written, God ceased to reveal himself to mankind. Accordingly, all the answers about faith, way of life, prohibitions and commandments can be found in the Bible. Every other interpretation, such as that relating to Holy Trinity or full delineation of the laws of kashrut, are later additions and therefore not part of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      Given the community’s belief in the sanctity of the Hebrew Bible, it’s surprising to discover that there are many precepts that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not follow, such as observance of the three festivals (Sukkot, Pesach, Shavuot), or circumcision, which is permitted, but not mandatory. Their explanation is that according to the prophecies of Daniel, when the Messiah – namely Yeshua, or Jesus – comes, the offering of sacrifices will be stopped and the Temple destroyed, and from that moment the followers (i.e., the Jehovah's Witnesses) are no longer subjected to the Torah’s precepts.

      The community takes its name from Isaiah 43:10: “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Jehovah, / ‘Yes, my servant whom I have chosen’…” (from the 2013 edition of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “New World Translation” of the Bible).

      One word that irks them in particular when used in their context is “cult.” Contrary to the prevailing view in Israel, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no guru, they are not asked to transfer all their assets to the community, and no attempt is made to cut them off from family and friends. Still, it’s difficult for them to maintain full ties with their families, as they are forbidden by their faith to celebrate holidays, whether Jewish or Christian, as well as birthdays. Families who want to meet with their converted relatives do so on non-celebratory occasions. From the culinary aspect, hosting them is easy: Other than raw and very rare meat, and an injunction to go easy on drinking wine – they are free to eat everything.
      Smiling from ear to ear

      Several things strike one upon meeting Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first is their cordiality: They greet you warmly, and always seem to be smiling from ear to ear. They are also immaculately attired. The men wear a tie with a well-ironed shirt that’s tucked into suit pants; the women generally wear a skirt and an elegant blouse. The children, too, are well dressed, including their footwear. Order and cleanliness are also clearly important for the community’s members. In all the homes and meeting places of Jehovah’s Witnesses that I visited, I didn’t see a single item that seemed to be out of place, covered with dust or improperly maintained.

      Each of these elements is backed by at least one verse from the Bible. “The moment a person allows the spirit of God to influence his life and implements the principles of the Bible, he is imbued with a certain feeling that is perhaps expressed in what you call cordiality,” says Ran Kaplan (not his real name; he spoke under condition of anonymity), one of the community elders in Israel. “If you fill a person with pleasant things and with faith, his approach to life changes and becomes more positive.”

      As for the attire, he explains, “The idea is to dress in a way that honors God, internally and externally. Each community around the world dresses differently, according to local custom, but with dignity and relative modesty. Also, one of the principles that God demands is physical, mental and moral cleanliness.”

      Opponents of Jehovah’s Witnesses are legion. In Israel, what upsets people is their missionary activity. “We are not permitted to offer benefits for conversion, or to solicit minors. Beyond that, the law does not prohibit persuasion,” explains Oved Yitzhak, 42.
      Every Friday, members of the community set up stands at various spots around the country. This is done in shifts and according to the believers’ desire and availability. The stands, which are neat and tidy, of course, offer pamphlets explaining the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and a few principles from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament in Hebrew, English, Russian and Arabic. The meticulously dressed members of the community do not solicit people at their initiative, conversing only with those who approach them and show an interest. 

      What they usually get from passersby are dirty looks, sometimes supplemented with curses.

      In addition to the goal of winning people over to their faith, another principle of Jehovah’s Witnesses that sparks an adverse reaction is their refusal to accept blood transfusions. As explained in the FAQ section on their website: “This is a religious issue rather than a medical one. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly command us to abstain from blood (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10; Deuteronomy 12:23; Acts 15:28, 29). Also, God views blood as representing life (Leviticus 17:14). So we avoid taking blood not only in obedience to God but also out of respect for him as the Giver of life.”

      Kaplan elaborates: “In the past, we were more stringent with regard to blood transfusions. Today we understand that in some cases, this is a life-or-death matter, so we will not take formal action [such as expulsion from the community] against someone who has chosen to accept a transfusion. Medicine is progressing and is now capable of offering treatment without transfusions. It is important for us to point out that, contrary to all kinds of myths that are spread about us we, do not object to medical procedures, only to receiving blood.”

      I ask Kaplan about another issue: the belief in the existence of Satan that seems to be present in the community’s faith and way of life.
      “According to the Bible, Satan exists – the Book of Job documents a conversation between Satan and God,” he says. “But Satan is not a central figure in our faith or a source of irrational fears. The Bible says, ‘oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you’ [James 4:7-8]. According to the Scriptures, Satan cannot make us do anything against our will and there is no hell populated by the devil and demons. Nor is all evil attributed to Satan: People themselves bear responsibility for their wicked deeds.”

      What is your attitude toward the authorities? In Israel, for example, you pay taxes but don’t do army service. Why?

      Kaplan: “We believe that when the kingdom of God is established, all the transitory kingdoms will disintegrate. God allows governments and international organizations, and as subjects we need to submit to them. We refuse to submit only when the government asks us to do something against our will, such as to use physical violence. That is why we do not join the army.”
      Young Jehovah’s Witnesses are permitted to submit a formal letter to the army declaring that they are members of the community who have been baptized, whereupon they receive an exemption from service – a process that is repeated every year until they reach the age 30, when they are officially discharged from military service. They thus undergo a process similar to those of Orthodox youths studying in yeshivas, though in the case of the Witnesses it is regulated by the military draft law, the last version of which was approved in 2015.

      "Jehovah's Witnesses are exempt from service since they belong to a special community, and must be presented with a proper alternative due to their way of life," the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office says in response. "The exemption is not part of an agreement [with the IDF per se], but is anchored in laws regarding the security services."

      Kaplan, for his part, says: "We are not afraid to be different, but we are not out to provoke. Those who know us, including serious institutions in democracies, know that we are not a group of crazies with apocalyptic visions. Apparently, a religious minority is a convenient target for slanders and distorted facts, as the Jews themselves know from their bitter experience.”
      Another allegation vehemently denied by Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they forcefully separate believers from their families. Yarden Zalimansky says that he has excellent relations with his family. "We work together in the family business. It was hard for them when I was exempted from army service, because I come from a family of fighters and officers. But they got over it. And by the way,” he adds, “the friend who introduced me to Jehovah’s Witnesses is now my wife.”

      Are you and your wife thinking of expanding the family?

      Zalimansky: “Not at the moment. We devote most of our spare time to Jehovah’s Witnesses activity and we want to continue that. The biblical prophecies describe the present period as critical, and the activity of spreading the word as urgent and important. The idea is to inform as many people as possible, not necessarily to convert them. Many in the community therefore prefer to do intensive work of spreading the word for a few years before devoting themselves to children.”

      “Of course, the decision about having children is completely personal,” says Kaplan, explaining Zalimansky’s logic. “The vast majority of couples in the community have children. There are also couples who decide to defer parenthood for a time in order to be more active in the community, and there are a few who forgo having children altogether. Encouragement not to have children is overt and appears in the articles we distribute. At the same time, this is one of the issues on which the Bible does not contain detailed laws, so we do not treat it in the way that Jews, for example, treat a rabbinical ruling that obliges the believer.”
      Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that 1914 marked the end of a 2,520-year period called "the Gentile Times," after which human society would be replaced by the establishment of God's kingdom on Earth. They explain today that they do not know when the end-of-days period in which we are living is due to end, but say it will be soon. Which why it is so important to them to spread their message now.

      Kaplan is only 50, but he’s the elder of one of the Israeli communities. There is no position of teacher or religious leader; instead, the “elders” instruct the believers in assemblies without payment. The criteria for becoming an elder appear in the New Testament: “The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but reasonable, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:2-3).

      A gathering of three or more elders has the authority to expel an errant believer from the community, a custom that recalls the Hasidic movement. This is rarely done, however, according to Kaplan. “My rough estimate is that we’re talking about 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent of the believers a year,” he says.
      ‘Urban monastery’

      In addition to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Israel, there are 300 more in the areas of the Palestinian Authority. Worldwide, they number about eight million, and in 180 countries – Israel is not one of them – they are recognized officially as a religion. The largest community, with some 1.2 million members, is in the United States, where the Witnesses had their beginnings in the 1870s. In Italy, Witnesses is the second largest religious community, after Roman Catholicism. According to estimates, they grow by 3 to 4 percent annually worldwide, that is, by 240,000 to 320,000 new adherents a year. Those figures do not include children born to adherents, who are not baptized until they so choose, at age 17 or above.

      Each community holds twice-weekly meetings at one of three centers in Israel, with a different topic discussed at each. The meeting I attended in Rishon Letzion, on the subject of “love and marriage,” opened with communal singing, after which one of the elders delivered a sermon. Everyone took an active part in the lesson that followed. Many had Bible apps on their smartphone or tablet. The lesson has a question-and-answer structure, and each member may reply to the elder’s questions. He appends “brother” or “sister” to everyone’s first name.

      The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed, but the discussion seemed a bit childish, both in terms of the repetitive pedagogical instructions and the naïve content. For example, the discussion about the absolute ban on adultery made no mention of the desires and concrete difficulties involved.

      “It’s a format of meetings that has to be suitable for 8.2 million people of every background, educational level and age,” Kaplan explains. “Obviously, then, the method has to be simple. The depth and richness of the subject dealt with at each meeting depends on the composition of the local community. As for the messages, there are very simple biblical truths, and even if they sometimes seem utopian, according to the Bible, one can live by them.”
      A Jehovah’s Witnesses head office operates in every country or geographical region in the format of a “small kibbutz,” as Kaplan puts it. The office staff do their work on a voluntary basis, and the others look after their basic needs: housing, food, money for everyday needs. The main Israeli office has 43 permanent volunteers and 10 more who work in rotation as required. Globally, there are some 20,000 volunteers, who must be either single, or, if married, childless.

      “Think of it as an urban monastery,” Kaplan suggests, adding that parents with children do not do volunteer work for both spiritual and economic reasons: The community does not have the resources to provide services for children, too.

      The budgets come from donations. Each assembly room has a donation box, and people can give as much as they like. Communities also donate to one another. Thus, in Europe and the United States, where most such groups are self-supporting, money is also transferred to less solvent areas, such as Africa and Israel. Not surprisingly, this practice, too, is based on a biblical verse.

      Domestic and regular

      To show me how "normal" their life is, the Zeibert family invited me for Friday lunch in their central Tel Aviv home. The family consists of Sarit, 47, Ran, 48, and their two daughters, Or, 20, and her younger sister, who asked not to be mentioned by name and age in the article, because she is shy and also because she hasn’t yet told her new classmates about her religious affiliation. Their younger daughter is enrolled in the state-secular education system, as was Or for 12 years.
      There is nothing unusual about the family’s home. There are no crucifixes or icons on the walls, a custom prohibited by the Bible. The hospitality is extensive, and only the benediction recited before the meal indicates that this is a Jehovah’s Witnesses home.

      Sarit relates that one day, when Or was a baby, a woman from Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on the door. A conversation ensued and Sarit found the woman’s reasoning congenial, but found it difficult to stop smoking (which is also not permitted, since followers believe they have to take good care of their body and soul) and drinking heavily. She took Bible lessons and kicked her bad habits several times but relapsed, until finally she triumphed over them and decided to be baptized. It took her husband a few more years, in which he studied and investigated the subject himself, before he too underwent baptism.

      Sarit is from a traditionalist Jewish Israeli family, Ran’s background is secular. Both of their families now accept their conversion, following a difficult initial period. The grandparents grew accustomed to not giving the children presents on their birthdays, but make it up to them with plenty of gifts on other days.

      Or chose to be baptized at the age of 17 and did not do military service. The exemption process was simple, she says: She submitted an official form proving she is a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She is a volunteer at the community’s center in Tel Aviv, and has clearly taken upon herself the tenets of the religion she chose.

      An intriguing facet of an encounter with children from the community is how they cope with the prohibition on celebrating holidays or taking part in ceremonies, which means they are absent on days when the school marks religious or national events. The ban on birthday celebrations is another significant limitation. Don’t they feel deprived, especially given the fact that they attend regular schools?
      Or admits that every transition to a new school framework obliged her to explain why she couldn’t take part in her friends’ birthday parties. “After a while, I wasn’t invited to birthdays anymore, because they understood that our faith made it impossible to celebrate,” Sarit says. “Wherever the girls went to school, they found open, polite and respectful people around them. We’ve hardly ever encountered religion-based tension. But I have to say that this refers specifically to the center of Tel Aviv and to the schools the girls attended. I’ve heard harsh stories from other Jehovah’s Witnesses about how their children were treated.”

      Or, as a girl, wasn’t it hard for you not to celebrate birthdays?

      Or: “I always had a social life and terrific and happy things that filled my life.”

      Sarit: “Or liked parties, so we had parties that weren’t connected to birthdays. Until the fifth grade, she pressured me about the holidays. It was a challenge. One day I compromised and let her wear a ‘symbolic’ costume on Purim. Things haven’t always gone smoothly, which is only natural, especially because they were the only Jehovah’s Witnesses children in their schools. But no one, religious or secular, raises their children in total freedom and gives in to all their caprices. Everyone sets boundaries, whether for religious or other reasons.”
      While I was at the Zeiberts’ home, Sarit mentioned in passing that that day was the younger daughter’s birthday. “They know their date of birth, of course, like everyone, it’s not that we hide it from them,” she noted.

      Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that birthday celebrations have pagan roots – and the Bible condemns sorcery, fortune-telling, spiritism and the like. They believe it is not by chance that neither the Hebrew Bible nor the New Testament have a single mention of one servant of God who celebrated a birthday. After all, the birthdays of two people who did not serve God are mentioned negatively in the Bible.

      Sarit and Ran say their lives have been tranquil since they became Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Sarit, her decision was the first time in her life that she felt she was making an independent choice. “Until that moment I went along with what I was born into and what happened to me. So, that was a formative and important moment in my life,” she says.

      Ran, who was a PR man for dance and music clubs, began working as a gardener – a profession he enjoys, he says, because it brings him close to nature and to people. He doesn’t miss his former life, which was “confused and lacked meaning.”

      Sarit is currently engaged in historical research about the tragedy that befell Jehovah’s Witnesses under the Nazi regime. Her studies, conducted in cooperation with noted researchers of the Jewish Holocaust, mainly from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Authority in Jerusalem, indicate that 20,000 to 25,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses lived in Germany during the Hitler years. Of them, 12,000 were incarcerated in concentration camps for refusing to sign a form renouncing their faith, and 2,000 of them were murdered. She has found 19 Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been designated Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

      The Yad L’Achim organization, an Orthodox counter-missionary group that sees its mission as “the saving of each and every Jewish soul from Christian cults,” has published a detailed pamphlet decrying Jehovah’s Witnesses and alleging that the community collaborated with the Nazi regime .
      Sarit rejects that claim outright: “Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted in Germany and occupied Europe from Hitler’s accession to power until the regime’s collapse, because of their religious belief and because of their military neutrality and their love of their fellow man, which did not allow them to cooperate with the regime.”

      Violent harassment

      Although Yad L’Achim claims to abstain from any violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses (or any other group), local adherents report being subjected to numerous forms of attack. Motti Danziger, 43, a former Jew who became a member of the community as a teenager, says that recently an ultra-Orthodox man followed him into the apartment building where he lives with his wife, who is also a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The next morning, all the building’s occupants found in their mailboxes a letter warning that, despite Danziger’s affable exterior, he is a dangerous person who will try to convert them.

      Danziger also encountered harassment during his missionary activity. In the town of Nes Tziona, south of Tel Aviv, he knocked on the door of an apartment and was invited in by the woman of the house. But when her husband arrived, he locked the door and threatened Danziger and his associate. After words were exchanged, and Danziger tried to call the police, the man agreed to let them go – on condition that they leave all their written material with him.
      In several large assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses from different cities, participants were met with violent demonstrations. The latest such incident occurred this past June, when adherents who attended an assembly in Rishon Letzion endured attacks that included stone-throwing and physical assaults, apparently organized by the ultra-right Lehava organization (the name is an acronym, meaning “flame”) for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land.

      A similar event occurred a year earlier, in Ra’anana, which also involved a legal saga. On the morning of the assembly, the municipality announced that it was canceling the event, “for fear of offense to the public’s sensibilities,” after discovering that a public hall had been rented by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The issue reached the Supreme Court (after the municipality appealed a decision of the District Court that ordered that the gathering could take place), which ruled that the city cannot cancel a gathering on the grounds of religion, as this would infringe on freedom of religion and worship. When it became clear that the assembly would proceed as planned, the city’s rabbi, Yitzhak Peretz, organized a demonstration outside the venue. About 1,000 people showed up and tried to break in. Two demonstrators were detained by the police and released shortly afterward.

      But the primary confrontation Jehovah’s Witnesses have in Israel is with the state. Since 2000, they have been attempting to gain official recognition as a religious community. Recognition would accord them various rights, such as being able to marry according to their faith, as well as social, legal and cultural legitimacy, and certain tax benefits. They are currently in the midst of legal proceedings, in the course of which they realized – in concurrence with their lawyers and with the U.S.-based international center of Jehovah’s Witnesses – that most of the difficulties they encounter in the country are due to ignorance about them and their beliefs.
      “People don’t know what it means to be a Jehovah’s Witness, and so they are afraid of us,” Kaplan says.

      They hope that this article – the first to enter into the community's usually closed doors since their activity got underway in 1913, in Palestine and Israel – will help reduce the fear people feel about them.

      In other countries, too, Jehovah’s Witnesses anger people and institutions. They infuriated the regimes in China and Russia (both during the era of the USSR and today), angered the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s, and even irked the U.S. Department of Education, due to the refusal to allow their children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school (until a 1943 Supreme Court decision ruled that schoolchildren could elect not to utter the pledge). The Catholic Church doesn’t like their denial of the Holy Trinity, and some elements of Israel's religious establishment perceives them as a threat to Judaism.

      The irony of the situation is not lost on Keren Kimchi, 51, from Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Everywhere in the world we are regarded as enemies of Christianity,” she says. “Only here in Israel are we seen as Christians.”

      Unrecognized community
      In August 2000, lawyers for Jehovah’s Witnesses sought recognition for them as a formal religious community in Israel via the cabinet secretary, the attorney general and the Prime Minister’s Office. Fully three years later, the attorney general’s office replied that the decision was up to the government, as the community itself had noted in its request. Following another letter, they were told that only a cabinet minister could place the subject on the agenda, and therefore the attorney general was referring the matter to the interior, justice and religious affairs ministers. Seven years after that, the cabinet secretary informed Jehovah’s Witnesses that no progress had been made.

      In 2014, another request for recognition was conveyed to the cabinet secretary. A year went by without a reply. A month after the community sent a reminder, the legal adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office informed Jehovah’s Witnesses that she was rejecting their request. “There are many different groups in Israel that wish to be recognized as a religious community. Accordingly, in the past 40 years, given the broad implications entailed in recognizing new religious communities, the government has not seen fit to change the existing situation,” the legal adviser wrote.

      The “existing situation” is that the state recognizes only the following religious communities (in addition to Jews): Muslims, Christians, Druze, Circassians, Bedouin, Samaritans, Ahmadis and Bahais. (By comparison, Britain recognizes about 30 religious communities.) Jehovah’s Witnesses now believe that, all other possibilities having been tried, the only remaining alternative is the High Court of Justice. A petition to the court to that effect is now being drawn up by attorney Yael Nagar from the law firm of Eliad Shraga & Co.
      Concurrently, Jehovah’s Witnesses are seeking recognition as a public institution from the Tax Authority as a nonprofit organization engaged in religious activity. This process, which is being spearheaded by attorney Amit Moshe Cohen from the law firm of Doron Tikotzky Kantor Gutman Cederboum, has been ongoing for three years. During that time, representatives of the Israel Tax Authority, after visiting the Jehovah’s Witnesses offices in Tel Aviv and being persuaded that the required criteria were met, transmitted the request to the Knesset’s Finance Committee. In a meeting held last March, the committee’s chairman, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), announced that he was referring the request to the attorney general because the issue is a matter of “deep public controversy.”

      No response was received from the Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for the attorney general's office, by press time.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The state refuses to recognize them and they have been victims of harassment. But Jehovah's Witnesses insist that they lead normal lives and are not a dangerous cult.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Yarden Zalimansky is only 25, but comports himself like a staid older citizen. He’s been married for a few years, and wears a white shirt, tie and dark slacks for our meeting; he has a tablet opened to a Bible app and speaks in a deeply serious tone of voice. Until age 19, he styled himself an atheist, now he’s a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He grew up in Tel Aviv in a secular family (“One Holocaust and three cases of cancer was enough for the loss of God”), and majored in film at an arts high school.
      “I was always interested in history and in religions, and I used to talk to a friend about it. One day, while I was in the army, she told me she was studying Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was bent on stopping her, but as we went on talking, I saw that what I believed in was incorrect and that she had tools to prove that her belief was right,” he relates.
      What did you find in Jehovah’s Witnesses that you didn’t find elsewhere?
      “One thing that bothered me in most religions is that at a certain stage, you are requested to stop asking questions – and I had plenty of concrete questions. For example, I couldn’t understand the Holy Trinity in Catholicism, and I felt that my questions about it were not welcome. In Jehovah’s Witnesses, I can always ask questions and get answers from the Bible. They don’t call for blind faith, but base themselves on evidence and on asking questions.”
      Most of the adherents I met while researching this article told a similar story. They discovered the creed via a friend, a pamphlet they came across or another Witness who “opened my eyes.” Initially skeptical, they were gradually won over, and decided to devote themselves to this mix of Judaism and Christianity.
      The approximately 1,600 members of the community in Israel obey the laws of the country, pay their taxes and believe that they are upstanding citizens, but refuse to fulfill one national obligation: to perform military service (as they explain below). As with Witnesses abroad, they believe in the Hebrew Bible (Torah, Prophets, Writings), which they call the “Hebrew Scriptures,” and also in the New Testament, or the “Christian Greek Scriptures,” in their terminology. Both together constitute the “Bible.” According to them, at the end of the first century C.E., after the New Testament was written, God ceased to reveal himself to mankind. Accordingly, all the answers about faith, way of life, prohibitions and commandments can be found in the Bible. Every other interpretation, such as that relating to Holy Trinity or full delineation of the laws of kashrut, are later additions and therefore not part of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      Given the community’s belief in the sanctity of the Hebrew Bible, it’s surprising to discover that there are many precepts that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not follow, such as observance of the three festivals (Sukkot, Pesach, Shavuot), or circumcision, which is permitted, but not mandatory. Their explanation is that according to the prophecies of Daniel, when the Messiah – namely Yeshua, or Jesus – comes, the offering of sacrifices will be stopped and the Temple destroyed, and from that moment the followers (i.e., the Jehovah's Witnesses) are no longer subjected to the Torah’s precepts.
      The community takes its name from Isaiah 43:10: “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Jehovah, / ‘Yes, my servant whom I have chosen’…” (from the 2013 edition of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “New World Translation” of the Bible).

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      UNESCO has intervened in the long-running Israeli-Arab conflict over Jerusalem's holy sites of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. It passed a resolution for the sites to be referred to only by their Arabic names - Haram al-Sharif and the Buraq Wall - thereby ignoring any Jewish connection.
       
    • By JAMMY
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. George W Bush is told of the 9/11 attacks during a visit to a school in Florida on the day of the atrocities Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. George W Bush with his aides on the day the attacks took place

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Suivons la lumière de la paroles de Dieu
      Psaumes 119:33 "Instruis-moi, ô Jéhovah, dans la voie de tes prescriptions, pour que je l’observe jusqu’au bout."
       
      AU MILIEU du Ier siècle de notre ère, l’apôtre Paul écrivit à la congrégation chrétienne de Rome. Dans sa lettre, il insista sur le fait que les vrais chrétiens avaient des changements à opérer. Il leur dit: “Ne vous modelez plus sur ce système de choses-ci, mais transformez-vous en renouvelant votre esprit, afin de constater par vous-mêmes quelle est la bonne, l’agréable et la parfaite volonté de Dieu.” (Romains 12:2). Qu’est-ce qui transforme les disciples de Jésus, modifie même leur façon de penser? Fondamentalement, c’est le pouvoir de la Parole de Dieu, la Bible.
      Paul montra à quel point la Bible peut exercer une influence sur nous en écrivant: “La parole de Dieu est vivante et fait sentir son action, et elle est plus acérée qu’aucune épée à deux tranchants et pénètre jusqu’à diviser l’âme et l’esprit, et les jointures et leur moelle, et elle peut discerner les pensées et les intentions du cœur.” (Hébreux 4:12). Effectivement, le pouvoir extraordinaire qu’a la Bible d’opérer de tels changements chez quelqu’un est une preuve convaincante qu’elle n’est pas simplement la parole des hommes.
      Le verbe grec traduit par “transformez-vous” en Romains 12:2 dérive du terme métamorphoô, qui indique un changement total, comme la métamorphose d’une chenille en papillon. Ce changement est si total que la Bible en parle comme d’un changement de personnalité. Dans un autre verset biblique, nous lisons: “Dépouillez-vous de la vieille personnalité avec ses pratiques, et revêtez la personnalité nouvelle qui, par la connaissance exacte, se renouvelle à l’image de Celui qui l’a créée.” — Colossiens 3:9, 10.
       
      Dans sa lettre à la congrégation de Corinthe, Paul montra l’importance des changements de personnalité qui se produisirent au Ier siècle. Il écrivit: “Ni fornicateurs, ni idolâtres, ni adultères, ni hommes qu’on entretient à des fins contre nature, ni hommes qui couchent avec des hommes, ni voleurs, ni gens avides, ni ivrognes, ni insulteurs, ni extorqueurs n’hériteront du royaume de Dieu. Et pourtant c’est là ce qu’étaient certains d’entre vous. Mais vous avez été lavés.” (1 Corinthiens 6:9-11). En effet, des gens immoraux et querelleurs, des voleurs et des ivrognes avaient été transformés en chrétiens exemplaires.
      Changements de personnalité à notre époque
      Des changements de personnalité semblables s’opèrent à notre époque. Par exemple, en Amérique du Sud, un garçon s’est retrouvé orphelin à l’âge de neuf ans. Privé de la direction de ses parents, il a pris en grandissant des habitudes déplorables. Il raconte: “À 18 ans, j’étais devenu complètement dépendant de la drogue, et comme je volais pour satisfaire mon vice, j’avais déjà fait de la prison.” Ce jeune homme avait cependant une tante Témoin de Jéhovah qui a eu la possibilité de lui venir en aide.
      Le jeune homme explique: “J’ai commencé à étudier la Bible avec ma tante. Sept mois plus tard, j’ai arrêté de me droguer.” Il a également cessé de fréquenter ses anciennes connaissances et s’est fait de nouveaux amis parmi les Témoins de Jéhovah. Il ajoute: “Grâce à mes nouveaux amis et à l’étude régulière de la Bible, j’ai fait des progrès qui m’ont ensuite permis de me vouer à Dieu pour le servir.” Ce jeune homme autrefois toxicomane et voleur est devenu un chrétien zélé qui mène à présent une vie pure. Qu’est-ce qui a été à l’origine d’un changement aussi radical? 
      Le pouvoir de la Bible sur le corps et l'esprit.
      Voici un autre exemple provenant du sud de l’Europe. Un jeune homme avait développé en grandissant un mauvais trait de personnalité: il était d’un tempérament violent et se battait sans cesse. Lors d’une dispute familiale, il a même frappé son père, le laissant étendu pour le compte! Par la suite, toutefois, il s’est mis à étudier la Bible en compagnie des Témoins de Jéhovah. Il a ainsi pris connaissance de ce commandement divin contenu dans la lettre aux Romains: “Ne rendez à personne le mal pour le mal. (...) Si possible, — pour autant que cela dépend de vous, — vivez en paix avec tous les hommes. Ne vous vengez pas vous-mêmes, bien-aimés, mais donnez du champ au courroux.” — Romains 12:17-19.
      Ces paroles l’ont aidé à comprendre à quel point ses penchants étaient mauvais. Une plus ample connaissance de la Bible a affiné sa conscience, ce qui, en retour, lui a permis de contenir son caractère impulsif. Alors qu’il était déjà avancé dans l’étude de la Bible, un jour un homme l’a accablé d’insultes. Le jeune homme a senti comme à l’accoutumée un élan de fureur monter en lui. Mais très vite il a ressenti autre chose: un sentiment de honte, qui l’a retenu de céder à la colère. Il avait acquis la maîtrise de soi, un fruit de l’esprit important (Galates 5:22, 23). Grâce au pouvoir de la Parole de Dieu, cet homme a renouvelé sa personnalité.
      Mais comment la Bible exerce-t-elle une action aussi puissante? 
      En Colossiens 3:10, Paul dit que notre personnalité se transforme au moyen de la connaissance exacte, connaissance que l’on trouve dans la Bible. Mais de quelle façon la connaissance transforme-t-elle quelqu’un?
      Le rôle de la connaissance exacte venant de la source de vie
      Premièrement, la Bible indique de quels traits de personnalité indésirables il faut se défaire. Citons “des yeux altiers, une langue mensongère, et des mains qui versent le sang innocent, un cœur qui forge des projets nuisibles, des pieds qui ont hâte de courir au mal, un faux témoin qui exhale des mensonges, et quiconque sème des disputes entre frères”. (Proverbes 6:16-19.) Deuxièmement, la Bible énumère les qualités que nous devons cultiver, entre autres “l’amour, la joie, la paix, la longanimité, la bienveillance, la bonté, la foi, la douceur, la maîtrise de soi”. — Galates 5:22, 23.
      Cette connaissance exacte aide la personne sincère à s’examiner et à déterminer quels traits de personnalité elle a besoin de cultiver et lesquels elle doit s’efforcer d’éliminer (Jacques 1:25). Mais ce n’est là qu’un début. En plus de la connaissance, elle a besoin d’une motivation, de quelque chose qui la pousse à vouloir changer. Là encore, elle a besoin de la connaissance exacte qu’apporte la Bible.
      Soyons motivés pour faire le bien 
      Paul dit que la personnalité nouvelle, désirable, est modelée “à l’image de Celui qui l’a créée”. (Colossiens 3:10.) La personnalité chrétienne doit donc ressembler à la personnalité de Dieu lui-même (Éphésiens 5:1). La personnalité de Dieu nous est révélée au moyen de la Bible, qui nous fait connaître Ses manières d’agir envers les humains et Ses qualités: son amour, sa bienveillance, sa bonté, sa miséricorde et sa justice, par exemple. Cette connaissance incite celui qui est droit à aimer Dieu et à désirer être le genre de personne qu’Il approuve (Matthieu 22:37). Comme des enfants pleins d’amour, nous voulons plaire à notre Père céleste, si bien que nous cherchons à imiter du mieux que nous pouvons sa personnalité malgré nos faiblesses et notre imperfection. — Éphésiens 5:1
      Notre motivation est renforcée par la connaissance que donne la Bible des fruits produits par les bons et les mauvais traits de personnalité (Psaumes 14:1-5; 15:1-5; 18:20, 24). Nous apprenons que David fut béni pour sa piété et pour son amour de la justice, mais qu’il a souffert quand il a perdu sa maîtrise de soi. Nous voyons les malheurs qui arrivèrent lorsque Salomon se départit de ses qualités dans sa vieillesse. Les bienfaits qui résultèrent de la droiture de Josias et d’Ézéchias sont mis en contraste avec les effets désastreux de la faiblesse d’Achab et de l’apostasie obstinée de Manassé (Galates 6:7). Nous apprenons donc à "aimer la justice" et à "haïr le mépris de la loi". — Hébreux 1:9; Psaumes 45:7; 97:10.
      Cette motivation est affermie davantage encore par une connaissance exacte des desseins de Dieu. Cette connaissance nous aide à changer jusqu’à la "force qui incline notre esprit", la force qui motive nos pensées et nos actions (Éphésiens 4:23, 24). Quand nous étudions la Bible, nous apprenons que Jéhovah ne tolérera pas indéfiniment la méchanceté. Il va bientôt détruire le monde injuste et instaurer “de nouveaux cieux et une nouvelle terre dans lesquels la justice doit habiter”. (2 Pierre 3:8-10, 13.) Qui vivra dans ce monde nouveau? “Les hommes droits sont ceux qui résideront sur la terre, et les irréprochables, ceux qui resteront sur elle. Pour ce qui est des méchants, ils seront retranchés de la terre; et quant aux traîtres, ils en seront arrachés.” — Proverbes 2:21, 22.
      Si nous croyons vraiment en cette promesse, toute notre façon de penser s’en ressentira. Après avoir prophétisé l’élimination de la méchanceté, l’apôtre Pierre a dit: “Puisque toutes ces choses doivent ainsi se dissoudre, quel genre d’hommes devez-vous être en actes de sainte conduite et en actes de piété, attendant et n’oubliant jamais la présence du jour de Jéhovah.” (2 Pierre 3:11, 12). Notre personnalité doit être modelée par notre ardent désir de faire partie des hommes droits qui seront épargnés lors de la destruction des méchants.
      Le livre de la Révélation promet aux hommes droits qu’après la fin du monde actuel “[Dieu] essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux, et la mort ne sera plus; ni deuil, ni cri, ni douleur ne seront plus. Les choses anciennes auront disparu”. Mais ce livre nous prévient ensuite que ‘les lâches, les gens sans foi, ceux qui sont immondes dans leur malpropreté et meurtriers et fornicateurs, et ceux qui pratiquent le spiritisme, les idolâtres et tous les menteurs’ seront éliminés (Révélation 21:4, 8). Qu’il est sage de rejeter les défauts que Dieu ne tolérera pas dans le monde nouveau!
      Toutefois, les humains sont faibles, et il leur faut généralement plus que la connaissance et une motivation pour changer. Ils ont besoin d’une aide personnelle. Or, la Bible nous montre où la trouver. Elle dit par exemple: “Celui qui marche avec les sages deviendra sage, mais il arrivera malheur à celui qui a des rapports avec les stupides.” (Proverbes 13:20). De même, si nous fréquentons ceux qui manifestent les qualités que nous désirons cultiver, cela nous aidera grandement à leur ressembler davantage. — Genèse 6:9; Proverbes 2:20; 1 Corinthiens 15:33.
      De surcroît, Jéhovah lui-même fournit de l’aide sous la forme de l’esprit saint — le même esprit qu’il a utilisé pour accomplir des miracles dans le passé. D’ailleurs, les qualités hautement désirables que sont “l’amour, la joie, la paix, la longanimité, la bienveillance, la bonté, la foi, la douceur, la maîtrise de soi” sont appelées “le fruit de l’esprit”. (Galates 5:22, 23.) Comment obtient-on l’aide de l’esprit saint? Puisque la Bible a été inspirée par l’esprit saint, quand nous la lisons ou parlons d’elle à autrui, nous exposons notre esprit et notre cœur à l’action convaincante de cet esprit (2 Timothée 3:16). En fait, Jésus a promis que lorsque nous parlons à autrui de notre espérance, nous pouvons ressentir l’action directe de cet esprit. — Matthieu 10:18-20.
      De plus, la Bible donne cet ordre: “Persévérez dans la prière.” (Romains 12:12). Au moyen de la prière, nous nous adressons à Jéhovah, le louons, le remercions et sollicitons son aide. Si nous demandons de l’aide pour vaincre des traits de personnalité indésirables comme un tempérament coléreux, l’obstination, l’impatience ou l’orgueil, l’esprit de Dieu appuiera tous les efforts que nous ferons en harmonie avec cette prière. — Jean 14:13, 14; Jacques 1:5; 1 Jean 5:14.
      C’est à une congrégation de chrétiens baptisés et oints de l’esprit que Paul a écrit: “Transformez-vous en renouvelant votre esprit.” (Romains 1:7; 12:2). Dans le texte grec original, il a utilisé une forme du verbe qui sous-entend une action prolongée. Cela suggère que la transformation qu’opère en nous la connaissance exacte provenant de la Bible se fait de manière progressive. Comme les chrétiens du temps de Paul, nous vivons dans un monde qui regorge d’influences corruptrices. Et, comme eux, nous sommes imparfaits, enclins au mal (Genèse 8:21). Nous devons donc faire des efforts soutenus pour vaincre notre vieille personnalité égoïste, et revêtir la nouvelle, tout comme ils l’ont fait. Les premiers chrétiens y sont si bien parvenus qu’ils se démarquaient totalement du monde dans lequel ils vivaient. Les chrétiens d’aujourd’hui font de même.
      Un peuple qui se laisse diriger par le Très Haut
      À notre époque, l’esprit de Dieu n’agit pas sur des individus seulement, mais sur toute une organisation de chrétiens, qui se comptent par millions. C’est sur cette organisation que s’accomplissent ces paroles prophétiques d’Ésaïe: “Et assurément de nombreux peuples iront et diront: ‘Venez et montons à la montagne de Jéhovah, à la maison du Dieu de Jacob; et il nous instruira de ses voies, et nous marcherons dans ses sentiers.’” (Ésaïe 2:3). Cette autre prophétie d’Ésaïe se réalise aussi sur eux: “Tous tes fils seront des personnes enseignées par Jéhovah, et la paix de tes fils sera abondante.” (Ésaïe 54:13). Qui sont ces humains qui connaissent la paix parce qu’ils sont enseignés par Jéhovah?
      Notez les propos suivants qui sont extraits d’une lettre adressée à un journal américain (New Haven Register): “Même si l’on a comme moi été exaspéré ou irrité par leur prosélytisme, on ne peut qu’admirer le dévouement, la propreté, la conduite exemplaire et le mode de vie sain de ces gens.” De qui l’auteur de cette lettre parlait-il? Du même groupe dont le Herald de Buenos Aires, en Argentine, a dit: ‘Les Témoins de Jéhovah ont prouvé au fil des ans qu’ils sont des citoyens travailleurs, sobres, économes et craignant Dieu.’ C’est encore à leur sujet que La Stampa, journal italien, a écrit: “Ils ne fraudent pas sur les impôts et ne cherchent pas à se soustraire aux lois qui ne les avantagent pas. Leur vie ‘de tous les jours’ a pour idéal l’amour du prochain, le refus de prendre le pouvoir, la non-violence et l’honnêteté.”
      Pourquoi les Témoins de Jéhovah dans leur ensemble se distinguent-ils si nettement de leurs contemporains, à l’exemple des premiers chrétiens? À bien des égards, ils ne diffèrent pas des autres humains. Ils ont hérité des mêmes imperfections humaines, rencontrent les mêmes difficultés économiques et éprouvent les mêmes besoins fondamentaux. Toutefois, en tant que congrégation mondiale, ils laissent la Parole de Dieu exercer une action dans leur vie. L’existence de cette famille internationale de vrais chrétiens atteste avec force que la Bible est la Parole inspirée de Dieu. — Psaume 133:1.
      La Bible est inspirée de Dieu
       “Oh! vois que j’ai aimé tes ordres! Ô Jéhovah, conserve-moi en vie selon ta bonté de cœur. La substance de ta parole est la vérité, et toute décision judiciaire à toi est pour des temps indéfinis.” — Psaume 119:159, 160.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Comment fortifier notre foi par les épreuves que nous subissons en ce monde.
       
      DANS la vie, il y a parfois des moments où nous avons désespérément besoin d’aide pour résoudre nos problèmes. S’il nous arrivait d’être frappés par une série de malheurs, nous pourrions facilement sombrer dans le désespoir le plus complet et nous sentir écrasés par l’adversité. C’est dans ces moments-là que nous apprécions l’aide qui nous est offerte.
      Le fait que nous sommes disciples du Fils de Dieu ne signifie pas que nous n’avons jamais besoin d’aide. Nous ne sommes pas à l’abri des épreuves. La maladie, les accidents, les inondations, les tremblements de terre, les tempêtes, la criminalité, l’injustice et l’oppression sont le lot de tous les humains. Nous ne devrions pas nous attendre que le Souverain suprême utilise son pouvoir pour influer sur notre hérédité ou sur notre environnement afin de nous épargner, à nous seulement qui sommes ses serviteurs, les souffrances consécutives aux conditions actuelles. Dieu a prévu d’annuler un jour les effets néfastes du péché de l’homme, mais ce jour est encore à venir. S’il accordait dès à présent une protection miraculeuse à son peuple, une foule d’hommes viendraient sans aucun doute en grossir les rangs, mais uniquement par intérêt, et non pas par amour et par foi. — Comparez avec Jean 6:10-15, 26, 27.
       
      Non seulement nous ne pourrons pas éviter les souffrances que causent des événements pénibles, mais pour la raison même que nous sommes serviteurs de Dieu, nous devrons peut-être endurer la persécution, qu’elle vienne de notre famille, de nos voisins, de nos connaissances ou des autorités gouvernementales. Jésus alla même jusqu’à dire: “On vous livrera à la tribulation et l’on vous tuera, et vous serez les objets de la haine de toutes les nations à cause de mon nom.” (Matthieu 24:9). L’Histoire démontre que c’est ce qui s’est passé précisément dans notre vingtième siècle.
      Pourquoi le Dieu Tout-Puissant permet-il que ses serviteurs subissent des épreuves? Puisque leur mode de vie ne les protège pas des maux courants et qu’il peut même faire d’eux des ‘objets de haine’, on peut se demander s’il est vraiment le meilleur qui soit. Apporte-t-il des bienfaits qui compensent, qui excèdent même les peines subies? Se pourrait-il qu’il y ait plus de bonheur à endurer certaines épreuves qu’à les éviter? Qu’est-ce qui nous permettra de supporter victorieusement les difficultés les plus grandes? La réponse à ces questions nous aidera et nous affermira beaucoup.
      QUI EST LE VRAI RESPONSABLE?
      Il ne faut jamais oublier que notre Père céleste n’est pas responsable de la souffrance. Ce n’est pas lui qui a introduit le péché dans le monde, mais un de ses fils spirituels qui s’est rebellé délibérément contre son Créateur, se faisant ainsi Satan, c’est-à-dire opposant au Très-Haut. Influencé par lui, le premier couple humain, Adam et Ève, a violé volontairement la loi divine et s’est attiré la condamnation de Dieu et la mort (Genèse 3:1-19; Jean 8:44). Adam ayant perdu sa perfection, tous ses descendants sont nés dans le péché et sont sujets à la maladie, aux infirmités, à la vieillesse et à la mort (Romains 5:12). Pécheurs dès la naissance, nous sommes bien loin d’être le genre de personnes que nous voudrions et que nous devrions être. Il nous arrive de blesser les autres involontairement par nos paroles ou nos actes, et d’ajouter ainsi à leurs peines. Il faut donc nous rappeler que Dieu n’est pas responsable des difficultés causées par notre imperfection ou par celle de nos semblables. Si sa loi avait été respectée, la maladie, les infirmités, la vieillesse et toutes les autres causes de souffrances n’auraient jamais existé.
      Notre Père céleste n’approuve pas non plus l’extrême cruauté de l’homme envers son semblable. La Bible déclare: “Écraser sous les pieds tous les prisonniers du pays, priver un homme de ses droits au mépris du Très-Haut, égarer la justice dans les tribunaux, — le Seigneur n’a jamais approuvé ces choses.” (Lamentations 3:34-36, The New English Bible). Ceux qui violent la loi de Dieu en maltraitant leurs semblables devront lui rendre des comptes. “La vengeance est à moi; c’est moi qui paierai de retour, dit Jéhovah.” (Romains 12:19). Par conséquent, nous devons veiller à ne pas nous irriter contre notre Père céleste à cause des souffrances provoquées par des hommes qui enfreignent délibérément et effrontément sa loi.
      Évidemment, Jéhovah Dieu pourrait empêcher Satan, les démons, les hommes méchants et l’imperfection humaine de provoquer toutes sortes de situations pénibles. Toutefois, puisqu’il permet que même ses serviteurs connaissent l’adversité, il doit avoir de bonnes raisons d’agir ainsi.
      POUR LE BIEN DES “VASES DE MISÉRICORDE”
      Les Écritures expliquent que si Dieu n’est pas intervenu contre les responsables des grandes souffrances qui affligent les humains, c’est dans le but de procurer finalement le plus grand bonheur aux amis de la droiture. Dans sa lettre aux Romains, l’apôtre chrétien Paul écrivit:
      “Que dirons-nous donc? Y a-t-il de l’injustice chez Dieu? Que ce ne soit jamais le cas! Car il dit à Moïse: ‘J’aurai pitié de qui j’ai pitié, et je témoignerai de la compassion à qui je témoigne de la compassion.’ Ainsi donc, cela dépend, non pas de celui qui souhaite ni de celui qui court, mais de Dieu qui a pitié. Car l’Écriture dit à Pharaon: ‘C’est pour cela même que je t’ai laissé subsister, pour faire voir à ton sujet ma puissance, et pour que mon nom soit proclamé par toute la terre.’ Ainsi donc, il a pitié de qui il veut, mais il laisse s’obstiner qui il veut.
      “Tu vas donc me dire: ‘Qu’a-t-il encore à faire des reproches? Qui a résisté en effet à sa volonté formelle?’ Ô homme, vraiment, qui es-tu donc pour répliquer à Dieu? Est-ce que l’objet façonné va dire à celui qui l’a façonné: ‘Pourquoi m’as-tu fait ainsi?’ — Plaît-il? Est-ce que le potier n’a pas pouvoir sur l’argile pour faire, de la même masse, tel vase pour un usage honorable et tel autre pour un usage vulgaire? Si donc Dieu, bien que voulant montrer son courroux et faire connaître sa puissance, a supporté avec beaucoup de longanimité des vases de courroux rendus bons pour la destruction, afin de faire connaître la richesse de sa gloire envers des vases de miséricorde qu’il a par avance préparés pour la gloire, savoir nous qu’il a appelés non seulement d’entre les Juifs, mais encore d’entre les nations, eh bien quoi?” — Romains 9:14-24.
      Les circonstances que Jéhovah peut provoquer ou tolérer dans la vie des hommes permettent de révéler quelle sorte de “vases” ils sont. Le pharaon à qui Jéhovah ordonna, par l’entremise de Moïse et d’Aaron, de libérer les Israélites qu’il tenait en esclavage, continua à s’endurcir contre le Très-Haut. Plus les plaies s’abattaient sur les Égyptiens, plus ce pharaon s’obstinait dans son refus de laisser les Israélites quitter l’Égypte comme un peuple libre. Il se révéla donc un ‘vase de courroux’ qui méritait la destruction pour avoir défié l’autorité du Souverain suprême, Jéhovah Dieu. Par la même occasion le traitement cruel et injuste qu’il infligea aux Israélites prouvait amplement que ceux-ci avaient bien besoin de la miséricorde et de la compassion de Dieu.
      Notez également que, selon l’apôtre Paul, si Jéhovah a laissé le pharaon s’obstiner dans son défi, c’est parce que son nom était impliqué. S’il avait détruit immédiatement cet orgueilleux monarque, Jéhovah Dieu n’aurait pas eu l’occasion de faire connaître l’ampleur et la diversité de son pouvoir, comme il l’a fait en humiliant les nombreuses divinités égyptiennes ainsi que les prêtres magiciens. Les dix plaies et la destruction du pharaon et de son armée dans la mer Rouge, point culminant de l’action de Dieu, furent une démonstration tellement grandiose de la puissance divine que les nations d’alentour en parlaient encore des années plus tard. Ainsi le nom de Jéhovah fut proclamé par toute la terre, ce qui contribua à sa gloire et à son honneur et incita les humains sincères à reconnaître sa suprématie. — Josué 2:10, 11; I Samuel 4:8.
      Les Israélites, tels des “vases de miséricorde”, profitèrent assurément de cette action du Très-Haut. En tolérant l’oppression des Israélites puis en y mettant fin par une splendide démonstration de puissance, Dieu leur permit de mieux le connaître. Il leur donna un aperçu de sa grandeur comme cela n’aurait jamais été possible autrement. Bien que pénibles, les événements que les Israélites vécurent en Égypte auraient certainement dû les aider à comprendre à quel point il était important d’exercer la foi dans le pouvoir salvateur de Dieu et d’éprouver pour lui une crainte salutaire. C’était indispensable s’ils voulaient continuer à mener une vie qui leur apporterait le bonheur, la sécurité, la paix et la santé. — Deutéronome 6:1-24; 28:1-68.
      Tout comme l’inclination du cœur des hommes a été rendue manifeste à cette époque-là, de même les épreuves que Dieu permet que nous subissions aujourd’hui révèlent si nous le servons avec de bons mobiles. Satan, l’adversaire de Dieu, prétend en effet que ceux qui font la volonté divine agissent surtout par égoïsme. Voici ce qu’il déclara au sujet du fidèle Job: “Tout ce qu’un homme a, il le donnera pour son âme. Pour changer, avance ta main, s’il te plaît, et touche jusqu’à son os et à sa chair, et vois s’il ne te maudit pas à ta face.” (Job 2:4, 5). En endurant fidèlement les souffrances, nous réfutons l’accusation de Satan et nous participons à la justification du beau nom de notre Père céleste qui, lui, a confiance en ses fidèles serviteurs. Mais que dire si Jéhovah permet à Satan d’utiliser ses instruments pour infliger aux vrais chrétiens des traitements qui les rendent infirmes ou provoquent leur mort? Si des chrétiennes sont violées ou subissent d’autres agressions tout aussi abominables? Évidemment, ce sont là des choses révoltantes, mais rappelons-nous qu’il n’est rien que notre Père céleste ne puisse entièrement réparer en temps voulu. C’est pourquoi il peut parfois juger bon de permettre que l’épreuve aille jusqu’à de telles extrémités. Grâce à leur fidélité, même jusqu’à la mort, les serviteurs de Dieu ont ainsi la possibilité de démontrer de façon incontestable qu’ils lui vouent un attachement sincère.
      Aussi surprenant que cela puisse paraître à certains, les épreuves que nous subissons, qu’elles aient des causes naturelles ou qu’elles soient dues à la persécution peuvent malgré tout nous faire progresser sur le plan individuel. C’est ce que fait remarquer l’apôtre Pierre. Après avoir dit que les chrétiens sont “sauvegardés par la puissance de Dieu” pour que leur salut définitif soit assuré, il ajoute:
      “En cette chose vous vous réjouissez grandement, bien que vous soyez actuellement affligés, s’il le faut, pour un peu de temps, par diverses épreuves, afin que la valeur éprouvée de votre foi, beaucoup plus précieuse que l’or qui est périssable quoique éprouvé par le feu, soit trouvée sujet de louange, de gloire et d’honneur lors de la révélation de Jésus Christ.” — I Pierre 1:5-7.
      Comme Pierre l’admet lui-même, il n’est nullement agréable de souffrir. Nous sommes certainement “affligés” lorsque nous subissons des épreuves, et pourtant il est possible, en même temps, de nous réjouir. Pourquoi? Cette joie vient en partie de ce que nous sommes conscients des bienfaits spirituels qui découlent de l’endurance victorieuse des souffrances. Quels sont ces bienfaits spirituels?
      LES SOUFFRANCES AFFINENT LA FOI
      L’apôtre Pierre compare l’effet des épreuves sur la foi d’un chrétien à l’affinage de l’or par le feu. Dans cette opération, on obtient de l’or fin par l’élimination des scories. La valeur bien supérieure de cet or affiné justifie certainement l’utilisation de ce procédé. Pourtant, comme le fait remarquer Pierre, même l’or éprouvé par le feu est périssable. Il peut s’user ou être détruit d’une façon ou d’une autre. Il n’en va pas de même de la foi éprouvée. La vraie foi ne peut être détruite.
      Pour obtenir l’approbation divine, nous devons absolument posséder une telle foi. La Bible déclare: “Sans la foi il est impossible de lui plaire [à Dieu].” (Hébreux 11:6). La foi dont la sincérité est démontrée dans l’épreuve a vraiment beaucoup plus de valeur que l’or fin, car notre avenir éternel en fait partie.
      Mais comment les épreuves affinent-elles la foi au point qu’elle “soit trouvée sujet de louange, de gloire et d’honneur lors de la révélation de Jésus Christ”? 
      En voici plusieurs façons.

      Si notre foi est solide, elle nous réconfortera et nous soutiendra quand nous subirons une épreuve. Ayant passé victorieusement cette épreuve, nous serons plus forts pour faire face à d’autres difficultés éventuelles. L’expérience nous aura montré ce que notre foi peut faire pour nous.
      D’autre part, une certaine épreuve peut révéler un défaut particulier de la personnalité du chrétien, par exemple l’orgueil, l’entêtement, l’impatience ou encore l’amour du monde, du luxe ou des plaisirs. Ces traits viennent en fait d’un manque de foi. En effet, ils montrent que ce chrétien ne se soumet pas totalement à la direction de Dieu et à sa volonté à son égard. Il n’est pas convaincu que son Père céleste sait mieux que quiconque ce qui lui procurera le bonheur ni qu’on est toujours béni quand on suit la direction divine (Hébreux 3:12, 13). Quand les épreuves révèlent au chrétien ses faiblesses, il se rend compte qu’il doit affermir sa foi s’il veut rester un serviteur approuvé du Très-Haut.
      Par conséquent, si un événement particulier révèle que notre foi présente une faille, nous pouvons nous examiner et décider quelle correction apporter. Il serait bien que nous nous posions ces questions: “Pourquoi ma foi est-elle faible? Est-ce que je néglige l’étude et la méditation de la Parole de Dieu? Est-ce que je saisis toutes les occasions qui me sont offertes de me réunir avec mes frères chrétiens afin de m’affermir grâce à la déclaration de leur foi? Ai-je tendance à trop compter sur moi-même au lieu de me décharger sur Jéhovah Dieu de tous mes soucis et de toutes mes ‘inquiétudes’? Est-ce que je prie Jéhovah du fond du cœur chaque jour?” Une fois que nous aurons déterminé dans quels domaines il nous faut progresser, faisons de grands efforts pour effectuer les changements nécessaires dans notre vie quotidienne, afin de fortifier notre foi.
      Si nous recherchons la direction de Dieu et attendons patiemment et avec foi qu’il nous indique le moyen d’être soulagés de nos épreuves, nous ferons en sorte que ces circonstances pénibles nous aident à devenir de meilleurs serviteurs du Très-Haut. Alors, notre foi sera vraiment “trouvée sujet de louange, de gloire et d’honneur lors de la révélation de Jésus Christ”. Le Fils de Dieu ‘louera’ ou fera l’éloge de notre foi. Il nous récompensera largement à cause de celle-ci, nous accordant ainsi la “gloire”. Il nous fera l’“honneur” de nous reconnaître comme ses disciples devant Jéhovah Dieu et devant les anges (comparez avec Matthieu 10:32; Luc 12:8; 18:8). Cela signifiera que nous aurons devant nous la perspective de vivre éternellement et heureux. Mais que pouvons-nous faire pour ne pas faiblir dans la foi quand nous passons par de dures épreuves?
      COMMENT RÉAGIR FACE À L’ÉPREUVE
      Il nous sera plus facile d’endurer avec succès de pénibles épreuves si nous reconnaissons qu’elles sont temporaires. L’affinage de l’or a un commencement et une fin. De même, aucune peine ne durera indéfiniment. Si nous gardons présente dans notre cœur la promesse divine de la vie éternelle sans maladie, ni cri, ni douleur, alors même la pire de toutes les souffrances dans le présent système sera à nos yeux “momentanée et légère”. (II Corinthiens 4:17.) Pensez à l’époque où “l’on ne se remémorera pas les choses précédentes, et [où] elles ne monteront pas au cœur”. (Ésaïe 65:17.) Qu’il est merveilleux de savoir qu’il ne restera même pas un mauvais souvenir de ces moments difficiles!Et puis, il est rare d’avoir à subir quotidiennement de grandes souffrances de la part des hommes. D’ailleurs, notre bonne conduite ne donne guère de raisons aux gens de nous faire du mal. Comme les autorités gouvernementales ont la responsabilité de faire respecter la loi et l’ordre, elles peuvent même louer les serviteurs de Jéhovah pour leur obéissance aux lois. De nos jours, même des gens hostiles aux chrétiens ont dû faire la même constatation que les ennemis de Daniel, fidèle prophète de Dieu; ceux-ci déclarèrent: “Nous ne trouverons dans ce Daniel aucun prétexte, à moins qu’il ne nous faille en trouver contre lui dans la loi de son Dieu.” Oui Daniel était “digne de confiance et (...) aucune négligence ni chose malhonnête ne fut trouvée en lui”. (Daniel 6:4, 5.) En général, il n’y a aucune raison pour qu’à elle seule la bonne conduite du chrétien lui vaille l’hostilité de ses semblables. C’est peut-être pourquoi l’apôtre Pierre soulève la question suivante: “Et en effet qui vous fera du mal si vous devenez zélés pour le bien?” — I Pierre 3:13.
      Mais, par cette question, il se peut que l’apôtre ait plutôt voulu dire: “Qui peut vraiment faire du mal à un chrétien dont la voie est droite?” Personne ne peut nous infliger de mauvais traitements indéfiniment. Jésus Christ déclara en effet à ses disciples: “Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps mais qui ne peuvent tuer l’âme; mais craignez plutôt celui qui peut détruire et l’âme et le corps dans la Géhenne.” (Matthieu 10:28). Oui, les hommes peuvent aller jusqu’à nous tuer, mais ils sont incapables de nous priver du droit de vivre en tant qu’âmes. Le Dieu Très-Haut, par l’entremise de son Fils, a le pouvoir de rendre la vie à ses fidèles serviteurs et c’est ce qu’il fera. Seul Jéhovah peut nous ôter pour toujours le droit à la vie en nous livrant à la mort éternelle, sans espoir de résurrection.
       L’apôtre Pierre pouvait donc dire à ses frères chrétiens: “Et même si vous souffrez pour la justice, heureux êtes-vous. Cependant ne craignez pas l’objet de leur crainte, et ne vous laissez pas émouvoir.” — I Pierre 3:14.
      Nous pouvons être heureux si nous souffrons “pour la justice, car nous avons alors une conscience pure vis-à-vis de Dieu et des hommes. Nous souffrons pour une juste cause. Nous retirons une satisfaction et une paix profondes de savoir que nous sommes agréables au Très-Haut. Toutefois, comme le fait remarquer l’apôtre, cela n’est possible que si nous ne cédons pas à la peur. Pierre parle peut-être ici de la peur que peuvent nous inspirer nos persécuteurs, à moins qu’il ne s’agisse de la peur qu’éprouvent les persécuteurs eux-mêmes. Par exemple, comme ils ne croient pas que Jéhovah Dieu ressuscitera les morts par l’entremise du Christ, les ennemis des vrais chrétiens redoutent une mort prématurée (Hébreux 2:14, 15). Mais nous, qui sommes serviteurs de Dieu, nous ne partageons pas la crainte des non-croyants, car nous avons été affranchis de la peur d’une telle mort et nous savons que notre Père céleste ne nous abandonnera jamais. Par conséquent, nous ne devrions pas nous laisser “émouvoir” au point, par exemple, de nous élever avec colère contre nos persécuteurs.
      Que faire s’il nous arrivait d’être convoqués devant les autorités gouvernementales et interrogés sur un ton dur et méprisant? Nous ne voudrons jamais rendre la pareille. Sachant que Dieu nous soutient, nous aurons de la hardiesse, sans pour autant nous croire autorisés à adopter une attitude agressive ou arrogante (comparez avec Actes 4:5-20). L’apôtre nous donne ce conseil: “Dans vos cœurs, sanctifiez comme Seigneur le Christ, étant toujours prêts à la défense devant quiconque vous demande la raison de l’espérance qui est en vous, tout en le faisant avec douceur et un profond respect.” (I Pierre 3:15). Si, au lieu de tenir compte de cette exhortation, nous nous montrions au contraire méprisants et irrespectueux, ce ne serait plus pour la justice que nous souffririons. Les autorités s’estimeraient alors en droit de prendre des mesures contre nous pour insoumission et manque de respect. Dans le monde, les gens laissent éclater leur irritation, leur colère et leur rancune quand ils estiment que leurs droits sont lésés, mais le chrétien, lui, n’agit pas ainsi.
      Dans de telles circonstances, nous devons, comme nous le conseille l’apôtre, penser à notre Seigneur et Maître et nous souvenir de l’exemple qu’il nous a donné. Nous veillerons à accorder à Jésus Christ le plus grand respect et à lui réserver une place sacrée dans nos cœurs. Étant ses disciples, nous voudrons répondre à n’importe quelle autorité qui nous interroge comme si nous nous trouvions en la présence même de notre Seigneur. Nous devrions présenter les raisons de notre attitude chrétienne respectueusement et calmement.
      UNE HEUREUSE INFLUENCE SUR NOS ADVERSAIRES
       En endurant fidèlement les souffrances, nous pouvons aussi réduire au silence nos adversaires. C’est là une pensée qui, selon l’apôtre Pierre, nous encouragera à garder une conscience pure. Il déclare: “Gardez une bonne conscience, afin que, sur le point même où l’on parle contre vous, soient pris de honte ceux qui décrient votre bonne conduite pour ce qui est de Christ.” (I Pierre 3:16). En observant la patience des serviteurs de Dieu qui ne se plaignent pas, des gens hostiles peuvent se sentir honteux de les avoir calomniés. Cela est particulièrement vrai lorsque nous traitons nos ennemis avec bonté. — Romains 12:19-21.
      Le fait que l’endurance fidèle dans les épreuves pour la justice produit de tels bienfaits, vient appuyer les paroles suivantes de Pierre: “Car mieux vaut souffrir parce qu’on fait le bien, si le veut la volonté de Dieu, que parce qu’on fait le mal.” (I Pierre 3:17). Quel mérite y aurait-il, en effet, à souffrir parce qu’on a volé, escroqué, fraudé le fisc ou défié l’autorité à cause d’un sentiment de piété mal compris ou d’un zèle intempestif? Celui qui serait puni pour de telles actions ne pourrait que jeter l’opprobre sur lui-même et sur ses compagnons dans la foi. Mais si un chrétien supporte avec patience les mauvais traitements qui lui sont infligés injustement, certains seront impressionnés en se rendant compte qu’une force soutient les vrais adorateurs, tandis que ceux qui portent de faux témoignages sur les vérités divines et sur leurs défenseurs pourront être réduits au silence. Puisque Dieu permet que le chrétien subisse des épreuves, c’est à juste titre que Pierre pouvait dire: “Si le veut la volonté de Dieu.”
      COMME JÉSUS, NOUS SERONS RÉCOMPENSÉS
      Le cas de Jésus illustre bien comment on peut recevoir de grandes bénédictions en restant fidèle dans les souffrances. Étant sans péché, il ne fit rien qui justifiât les mauvais traitements dont il fut victime. Cependant, parce qu’il supporta les épreuves jusqu’à mourir d’une mort ignominieuse sur un poteau, il en résulta pour nous de merveilleux bienfaits, et pour lui, une grande récompense. L’apôtre Pierre écrivit:
      “En effet, le Christ lui-même est mort une fois pour toutes en ce qui concerne les péchés, un juste pour des injustes, afin de vous mener à Dieu, ayant été mis à mort dans la chair, mais ayant été rendu à la vie dans l’esprit. C’est dans cet état qu’il est même allé prêcher aux esprits en prison, qui jadis avaient été désobéissants quand la patience de Dieu attendait, aux jours de Noé, pendant que se construisait l’arche, dans laquelle peu de gens, c’est-à-dire huit âmes, furent transportés sains et saufs à travers l’eau.” — I Pierre 3:18-20.
      Comme Jésus resta absolument intègre dans l’épreuve, il put donner sa vie en sacrifice humain parfait. Ainsi, sa mort prépara la voie pour “mener à Dieu” des humains, pour les réconcilier avec le Très-Haut et pour leur offrir la perspective de la vie éternelle. Étant donné que nous retirons de si grands bienfaits du sacrifice du Christ, ne devrions-nous pas être disposés à suivre son exemple et à souffrir pour la justice?
      En outre, comme dans le cas de Jésus, nous pouvons être certains que notre endurance fidèle sera bénie. Le fait que Jésus a été “rendu à la vie dans l’esprit”, c’est-à-dire qu’il a été ressuscité pour une vie spirituelle, constitue une garantie absolue que ses disciples aussi retrouveront la vie. — I Corinthiens 15:12-22.
       Étant sorti victorieux grâce à son endurance fidèle, le Fils de Dieu, désormais créature spirituelle, pouvait proclamer un message de condamnation aux “esprits en prison”. Puisque ces esprits désobéirent à l’époque de Noé, il doit s’agir des fils angéliques de Dieu qui quittèrent leur résidence originelle dans les cieux pour se marier avec des femmes (Genèse 6:1-4). Ils sont appelés des “esprits en prison” parce que leur châtiment inclut certaines restrictions qui leur interdisent définitivement de reprendre leur place parmi les anges fidèles. Jude confirme que ces anges déchus ne pouvaient recevoir qu’une sentence de condamnation; il dit: “Les anges qui n’ont pas gardé leur position originelle, mais ont abandonné leur propre demeure. [Dieu] les a réservés dans des liens éternels, sous l’obscurité épaisse, pour le jugement du grand jour.” (Jude 6). C’est son endurance fidèle jusqu’à la mort qui valut à Jésus d’être ressuscité et de pouvoir ainsi prêcher ou proclamer une sentence de condamnation contre les anges déchus.
       
       Ce message de destruction adressé aux esprits méchants devrait nous encourager à endurer fidèlement quand nous rencontrons des épreuves. Pourquoi? Parce que ce sont ces forces spirituelles méchantes qui contribuent dans une grande mesure à attiser l’hostilité des humains éloignés de Dieu envers les disciples de Jésus Christ. La Bible déclare: “Le dieu de ce système de choses a aveuglé l’esprit des incrédules, de peur que ne les éclaire l’éclatante lumière de la glorieuse bonne nouvelle au sujet du Christ, qui est l’image de Dieu.” (II Corinthiens 4:4). “Pour nous [les chrétiens] la lutte n’est pas contre le sang et la chair, mais contre les gouvernements, contre les autorités, contre les chefs mondiaux de ces ténèbres, contre les forces spirituelles méchantes qui sont dans les lieux célestes.” (Éphésiens 6:12; voir aussi Révélation 16:13, 14). Si donc Jésus Christ ressuscité a pu prêcher un message de condamnation aux esprits mauvais, nous pouvons être sûrs qu’un jour leur influence haineuse sera réduite à néant (comparez avec Marc 1:23, 24). Quel merveilleux soulagement ce sera alors!
      Non seulement Jésus Christ a été relevé d’entre les morts comme un serviteur approuvé de Dieu, ce qui lui a permis de condamner les anges rebelles, mais il a aussi été élevé à une haute position. L’apôtre Pierre nous dit: “Il est à la droite de Dieu, car il est allé au ciel; et anges, et autorités, et puissances lui ont été soumis.” (I Pierre 3:22). Ces paroles sont tout à fait conformes à celles de Jésus lui-même qui, après sa résurrection d’entre les morts, déclara: “Tout pouvoir m’a été donné dans le ciel et sur la terre.” (Matthieu 28:18). Bien des hommes ont accepté de souffrir et de mourir au service de chefs humains infiniment moins puissants que Jésus. Ils considéraient comme un grand honneur de servir ainsi un roi ou une reine. À combien plus forte raison devrions-nous nous sentir honorés de pouvoir endurer des épreuves à cause de notre fidélité à notre Roi céleste, Jésus Christ!
      IMITEZ JÉSUS CHRIST
      Quand vous êtes affligé, prenez toujours pour modèle le Fils de Dieu. L’apôtre écrit: “Puisque Christ a souffert dans la chair, vous aussi armez-vous de la même disposition d’esprit, parce que celui qui a souffert dans la chair a rompu avec les péchés, afin de vivre le reste de son temps dans la chair, non plus pour les désirs des hommes, mais pour la volonté de Dieu.” — I Pierre 4:1, 2.
      Quelle était la disposition d’esprit de Jésus? Il supporta humblement toutes les attaques verbales et physiques et subit finalement une mort douloureuse sur un poteau. En refusant de rendre la pareille, le Fils de Dieu accomplit ces paroles prophétiques: “Comme une brebis il a été mené à l’abattage, et, comme un agneau qui est sans voix devant celui qui le tond, ainsi il n’ouvre pas la bouche.” — Actes 8:32; Ésaïe 53:7.
      Étant serviteurs du Très-Haut, nous voudrons endurer de la même façon les souffrances, sans céder à un esprit de rébellion ou de vengeance. Si nous menacions ceux qui nous persécutent ou cherchions des occasions de leur faire du mal, nous montrerions que nous sommes encore esclaves des passions de la chair imparfaite. Si nous endurons des souffrances de la part des hommes, ce devrait être uniquement parce que nous refusons de suivre les voies égoïstes du monde (Jean 15:19, 25). C’est ainsi que nous pouvons démontrer par notre attitude d’esprit, nos paroles et nos actions que nous vivons "non plus pour les désirs des hommes, mais pour la volonté de Dieu".
      UNE RAISON D’ÊTRE HEUREUX
       
      Au premier siècle de notre ère, la foule idolâtre ne subissait pas de persécutions religieuses. Par contre, quiconque embrassait le christianisme devenait un objet de haine. Ce devait être une expérience étrange, déconcertante même. Voilà qui était bien loin des bénédictions promises à ceux qui acceptaient la “bonne nouvelle”. Ces chrétiens avaient grand besoin d’acquérir le bon point de vue sur cette question. Aussi les paroles suivantes de l’apôtre Pierre leur furent-elles certainement d’un grand secours:
      “Bien-aimés, ne vous laissez pas déconcerter par l’incendie qui est au milieu de vous et qui vous advient pour servir d’épreuve, comme s’il vous arrivait quelque chose d’étrange. Bien au contraire, continuez à vous réjouir puisque vous avez part aux souffrances du Christ, pour que vous vous réjouissiez et frémissiez aussi de joie durant la révélation de sa gloire. Si l’on vous outrage pour le nom de Christ, heureux êtes-vous, car l’esprit de gloire, oui, l’esprit de Dieu repose sur vous.” — I Pierre 4:12-14
       Ne soyons pas déconcertés si le malheur nous frappe, mais considérons plutôt que cela nous prépare à recevoir les bénédictions qui accompagneront la révélation de noootre Maître. Pierre compare les souffrances à un “incendie”. En effet, de même que les métaux sont affinés par le feu, de même Dieu permet que ses serviteurs soient affinés ou purifiés par les tribulations. Évidemment, Dieu ne nous a pas faits pécheurs, mais comme nous le sommes, il peut permettre que nous endurions des souffrances dans le but de nous purifier. Elles peuvent nous rendre meilleurs, plus humbles et plus compréhensifs à l’égard de nos semblables. En outre, quand nous avons nous-mêmes subi de cruelles épreuves, nos paroles de réconfort et d’encouragement ont beaucoup plus de poids. Ceux que nous consolons savent que nous comprenons ce par quoi ils sont en train de passer.
       Puisque le Fils de Dieu a souffert, les tourments que nous subissons confirment que nous sommes bien ses disciples et que nous demeurons en union avec lui. Jésus dit à ses apôtres: “Rappelez-vous la parole que je vous ai dite: Un esclave n’est pas plus grand que son maître. S’ils m’ont persécuté, ils vous persécuteront aussi.” (Jean 15:20). Lorsque nous sommes persécutés pour les mêmes raisons que notre Maître et que nous souffrons comme lui pour la justice, nous ‘avons part aux souffrances du Christ’. Tout comme sa fidélité lui valut d’être récompensé par son Père céleste, de même notre endurance fidèle dans les épreuves nous donne l’assurance que nous serons approuvés lors de la révélation du Fils de Dieu. Nous déborderons certainement de joie quand Dieu nous accordera la vie éternelle dans un nouvel ordre de choses où toutes les causes actuelles de chagrin auront disparu.
      Comme le déclare également Pierre, être outragé pour le nom de Christ, c’est-à-dire parce que l’on est son disciple, devrait être une source de joie. Cela prouve que ceux que l’on diffame ainsi possèdent l’esprit de Dieu, oui, le bel “esprit de gloire” qui émane de Dieu. Puisque cet esprit est saint, il ne peut reposer que sur des personnes qui sont pures du point de vue de Dieu.
      C’est pourquoi il est très important de faire en sorte qu’aucune mauvaise action de notre part ne soit la cause des souffrances que nous subissons. L’apôtre Pierre fait cette exhortation: “Mais qu’aucun de vous ne souffre comme meurtrier, ou voleur, ou malfaiteur, ou comme quelqu’un qui se mêle des affaires d’autrui.” — Celui qui prétend être chrétien et qui commet une mauvaise action contre son semblable ne doit pas s’attendre à échapper à la punition (comparez avec Actes 25:11). Ce châtiment jettera l’opprobre non seulement sur ce chrétien, mais aussi sur toute la famille spirituelle et sur le nom de Christ. Il n’en retirera pas de la joie, mais de la honte.
      Celui qui se mêle des affaires d’autrui peut se rendre haïssable. Le mot grec utilisé par Pierre montre bien comment on peut en arriver à agir ainsi, car il signifie littéralement “surveillant de ce qui appartient à un autre”. Ayant acquis une certaine connaissance des Écritures, un chrétien pourrait se croire capable de dire aux gens du monde comment gérer leurs affaires. Il avancera peut-être son point de vue personnel sur la tenue vestimentaire, les distractions, la façon de se nourrir, de discipliner les enfants, de régler les problèmes conjugaux et sexuels, etc. Quand il s’immisce dans la vie privée des autres, sans y être invité, leur disant ce qu’ils doivent faire ou ne pas faire, il cherche à devenir le “surveillant” de leurs affaires, ce qui les irrite généralement. Quelqu’un dira peut-être carrément à cet importun de se mêler de ses affaires. Il se peut aussi qu’il essuie des coups de la part de personnes qui sont furieuses de le voir s’ingérer dans leur vie privée. Cet homme, qui se mêle d’affaires qui ne le regardent pas, s’attire des ennuis et dénature le christianisme et son message auprès des gens du dehors. Évidemment, même au sein de la congrégation, il n’y a pas de place pour ce genre d’individus. — Comparez avec 1Timothée 5:13.
      Celui qui est dénoncé publiquement comme un délinquant ou comme quelqu’un qui se mêle des affaires d’autrui, celui-là est un objet de honte. En revanche, celui qui souffre parce qu’il est chrétien en est honoré. Pierre écrit: “S’il souffre comme chrétien, qu’il n’ait pas de honte, mais qu’il continue à glorifier Dieu en ce nom.” (I Pierre 4:16). Quand nous sommes persécutés à cause de notre mode de vie chrétien et que nous supportons l’épreuve patiemment, sans nous plaindre, le Très-Haut est glorifié. Cela prouve que ce que nous possédons en tant que chrétiens, — de précieuses relations avec Dieu et avec le Christ, une conscience pure, le bonheur spirituel et une ferme espérance pour l’avenir, — tout cela est un trésor de grande valeur. Nous démontrons que nous sommes disposés à souffrir et, s’il le faut, à mourir pour ce trésor, et le Dieu que nous servons de tout cœur en est glorifié. Par contre, si nous cédions aux pressions et reniions notre foi, nous déshonorerions son nom. Ceux qui nous observent pourraient alors douter sérieusement qu’être disciple de Jésus Christ est vraiment un grand trésor. — Comparez avec Éphésiens 3:13; II Corinthiens 6:3-10.
      UNE FORME DE DISCIPLINE
      Nous avons vu que Jéhovah Dieu, qui est tout-puissant, pourrait épargner aux chrétiens des souffrances injustifiées, mais qu’il les tolère pour de bonnes raisons. Cependant, le Très-Haut n’abandonne jamais ses serviteurs. L’apôtre Pierre développe cette pensée en disant:
      “C’est en effet le temps fixé où le jugement commence par la maison de Dieu. Or, s’il commence par nous, quelle sera la fin de ceux qui n’obéissent pas à la bonne nouvelle de Dieu? ‘Et si le juste est sauvé avec difficulté, où paraîtront l’impie et le pécheur?’ Ainsi donc, que ceux qui souffrent selon la volonté de Dieu continuent à confier leur âme à un Créateur fidèle, tout en faisant le bien.” — I Pierre 4:17-19.
      En tant que “maison de Dieu”, la congrégation chrétienne a été fondée en l’an 33. Depuis lors, ses membres sont en train d’être jugés par Dieu. La façon dont ils se plient à sa volonté, leur attitude d’esprit, leurs paroles et leurs actions face à tout ce que Jéhovah Dieu permet qu’il leur arrive, sont autant de choses qui influeront beaucoup sur le verdict final de Jéhovah. Parfois, Dieu tolère qu’ils soient éprouvés très sévèrement. Mais il peut faire en sorte que la persécution constitue une forme de discipline pour le bien de son peuple. — Hébreux 12:4-11; voyez aussi Hébreux 4:15, 16, où il est montré que les souffrances qu’endura Jésus Christ le préparèrent à devenir un grand prêtre compatissant.
       Des hommes dirigés par Satan peuvent essayer de détruire notre foi en nous brutalisant. Mais Jéhovah est capable de faire échouer leurs funestes projets. Oui, tout en haïssant lui-même ce qui est mauvais, notre Père céleste peut faire en sorte que ce qui était destiné à nous faire du mal s’avère en définitive très utile. Prenez l’exemple de Joseph, le jeune fils de Jacob. Ses demi-frères, qui le haïssaient, le vendirent comme esclave. Pendant des années, Joseph connut bien des malheurs; il fut même emprisonné injustement. Pourtant, par la suite, Jéhovah Dieu tira avantage de cette situation pour préserver la famille de Jacob. Joseph déclara à ses demi-frères:
      “À présent, ne soyez pas peinés et ne soyez pas irrités contre vous-mêmes, de m’avoir vendu pour ici; car c’est pour la préservation de la vie que Dieu m’a envoyé en avant de vous. Car ceci est la deuxième année de la famine au milieu de la terre, et il y aura encore cinq ans sans labour ni moisson. Aussi Dieu m’a-t-il envoyé en avant de vous afin de mettre, pour vous, sur la terre, un reste et vous garder en vie par une grande évasion. Ainsi donc, ce n’est pas vous qui m’avez envoyé ici, mais c’est le vrai Dieu, pour m’établir comme père pour Pharaon et comme seigneur pour toute sa maison et comme quelqu’un qui domine sur tout le pays d’Égypte.” — Genèse 45:5-8.
      "Or je désire que vous le sachiez, frères: mes affaires ont plutôt tourné au progrès de la bonne nouvelle, si bien que parmi toute la garde prétorienne et parmi tous les autres il est devenu notoire que mes liens ont un rapport avec Christ; et la plupart des frères dans le Seigneur, rendus confiants par mes liens, se montrent d’autant plus courageux à parler sans crainte de la parole de Dieu.” — Philippiens 1:12-14.
       Puisque Jéhovah Dieu tolère que ses fidèles serviteurs subissent de cruels traitements pour qu’ils soient affinés et pour qu’ils lui prouvent leur attachement, comment imaginer qu’au dehors de la congrégation chrétienne, ou “maison de Dieu”, “l’impie et le pécheur” puissent “paraître” devant lui en compagnie du “juste”? Le psalmiste déclare: “Les méchants ne se mettront pas debout devant le jugement, ni les pécheurs dans l’assemblée des justes.” (Psaume 1:5). Non, les méchants ne seront pas approuvés mais condamnés. Ils n’auront jamais la faveur de Dieu. Eu égard à tout ce qu’il leur faut affronter dans ce monde, les croyants doivent faire beaucoup d’efforts et manifester une foi et un amour profonds dans la voie de la droiture pour parvenir au salut et à la vie éternelle. C’est donc “avec difficulté” qu’ils acquièrent le salut. Par conséquent, il incombe à chaque membre de la congrégation chrétienne (“la maison de Dieu”) de veiller à ne pas devenir “impie” et “pécheur” en ce “temps fixé” de “jugement”. — I Pierre 4:17, 18; Proverbes 11:31.
       Nous pouvons subir des épreuves qu’il nous serait impossible de supporter avec nos propres forces. Mais aussi dramatique que puisse être notre situation, Jéhovah Dieu a le pouvoir de nous soutenir et d’annuler complètement tout le mal qui nous est infligé. Quand nous nous en remettons entièrement à lui, il peut nous donner assez de force, au moyen de son esprit, pour supporter les souffrances. Il est, comme le dit Pierre, un “Créateur fidèle”, un Dieu en qui nous pouvons avoir confiance et qui n’oubliera jamais sa promesse de venir en aide à ses serviteurs (I Pierre 4:19). Cette connaissance nous aidera à ne pas réagir envers nos persécuteurs d’une façon qui déshonorerait Dieu. Plutôt que de lutter contre eux et de leur rendre la pareille, nous voudrons continuer à faire le bien. — Luc 6:27, 28.
      Si nous acceptons humblement toutes les choses qui peuvent nous survenir dans notre vie, tout en gardant la même disposition d’esprit que le Christ, nous pouvons être sûrs que Jéhovah nous élèvera. Aucune épreuve ne durera indéfiniment. Toutes prendront fin. Tant que sous les mauvais traitements nous nous conduisons en harmonie avec la volonté divine, nous demeurerons sous la main de Jéhovah. Or, sa main peut nous élever au rang de serviteurs éprouvés et approuvés. Aussi Pierre nous fait-il cette recommandation: “Humiliez-vous donc sous la main puissante de Dieu pour qu’il vous élève en temps voulu, tout en vous déchargeant sur lui de toute votre inquiétude, car il prend soin de vous.” — I Pierre 5:6, 7.
      Qu’il est réconfortant de savoir que Jéhovah se soucie vraiment de nous! Son amour nous réchauffe le cœur, son esprit nous fortifie et nous soutient. Lorsqu’une épreuve est passée et que nous nous rappelons la sollicitude de Jéhovah à notre égard, nous nous sentons plus proches de lui. Notre situation est alors comparable à celle d’un enfant reconnaissant qui a pu constater l’amour et la sollicitude affectueuse de ses parents pendant qu’il était gravement malade. Sa confiance et son amour pour eux s’en trouvent grandis. Certes, lorsque des circonstances très éprouvantes se présentent, nous ne pouvons pas tout simplement nous y soustraire, mais nous pouvons nous décharger sur Jéhovah Dieu de nos inquiétudes. À quoi bon nous tourmenter en nous demandant pendant combien de temps nous serions capables de supporter les mauvais traitements d’une foule déchaînée et impitoyable, des viols répétés ou d’autres atrocités? Avec l’aide de notre Père céleste aimant, nous pouvons, si nous lui restons fidèles, endurer les épreuves et remporter une victoire morale sur ceux qui nous persécutent. Cette assurance nous libère de l’anxiété qui pourrait nous priver de la paix de l’esprit et du cœur si nécessaire pour rester fermes dans les épreuves.
      Toutefois, ce n’est pas parce que nous nous sommes déchargés de nos inquiétudes sur Jéhovah que nous devrions maintenant être trop sûrs de nous ou insouciants. Nous avons un ennemi. “Gardez votre équilibre, soyez vigilants, écrit Pierre. Votre adversaire, le Diable, comme un lion rugissant, circule cherchant à dévorer quelqu’un.” — I Pierre 5:8.
      Selon ce conseil de l’apôtre, nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre d’être insouciants face à l’épreuve. L’adversaire guette la moindre occasion de nous faire tomber. Si Satan peut nous amener à douter de la fidélité de nos frères ou nous affaiblir spirituellement par tout autre moyen, il ne manquera pas de le faire. Cesser de fréquenter la congrégation chrétienne ou de faire la déclaration publique de sa foi équivaudrait à se laisser dévorer par Satan, le “lion rugissant” toujours à l’affût de proies imprudentes.
      Pour rester vigilants il nous faut, entre autres choses, nous rappeler constamment que nous ne sommes pas les seuls à endurer des souffrances. Sur la terre entière, nos frères chrétiens subissent toutes sortes d’épreuves et, avec l’aide de l’esprit de Dieu, ils parviennent à les surmonter victorieusement. Cette pensée nous aidera à ne pas tomber dans les pièges de Satan, car elle nous donnera l’assurance que nous pourrons endurer l’épreuve nous aussi, grâce à la puissance de Jéhovah. Alors, “tenez-lui tête, solides dans la foi, sachant qu’en fait de souffrances les mêmes choses s’accomplissent dans la famille entière de vos frères dans le monde”. — I Pierre 5:9.
      Puisque Jéhovah Dieu veut que nous surmontions les obstacles pour parvenir au salut, nous pouvons lui demander son aide en toute confiance, tout en considérant les épreuves qui nous adviennent avec sa permission comme une discipline utile qui fera de nous des chrétiens complets et forts dans la foi. L’apôtre Pierre exprime très bien cette pensée lorsqu’il déclare:
      "Après que vous aurez souffert un peu de temps, le Dieu de toute faveur imméritée, qui vous a appelés à sa gloire éternelle en union avec Christ, parachèvera lui-même votre formation, il vous affermira, il vous rendra forts. À lui la puissance pour toujours! Amen.” — I Pierre 5:10, 11.
      Tout comme Jésus a souffert un peu de temps sur la terre et a été élevé à une haute position, de même les disciples du Fils de Dieu attendent une récompense glorieuse. Si les souffrances que nous pouvons être amenés à endurer de par la permission de Dieu affermissent notre attachement aux principes bibliques et font de nous des disciples plus humbles, plus compréhensifs et plus compatissants, cette formation aura alors atteint son but. Pour qu’il en soit ainsi, nous devons compter entièrement sur notre Père céleste en étant confiants que tout ce qui peut nous arriver avec sa permission contribuera finalement à notre bonheur éternel, si toutefois nous nous y soumettons humblement (Romains 8:28). Dans le même esprit que l’apôtre Pierre, nous pouvons élever nos voix et dire: “Grâce soit rendue à Dieu de nous avoir permis d’être formés par les épreuves et de nous aider à devenir des serviteurs fermes et forts, approuvés par lui, ayant l’espérance de la vie éternelle!”

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Suivons les traces de celui qui est la source de vie
       
      Avec amour, Jéhovah invite des personnes “ de toutes nations et tribus et peuples et langues ” à l’adorer (Rév. 7:9, 10 ; 15:3, 4). Celles qui acceptent cette invitation peuvent “ contempler le charme de Jéhovah ”. (Ps. 27:4 ; 90:17.) À l’instar du psalmiste, elles élèvent la voix pour louer Dieu par ces termes : “ Adorons et courbons-nous ! Agenouillons-nous devant Jéhovah notre Auteur. ” — Ps. 95:6.
      Un culte d’une grande valeur
      Étant le Fils unique-engendré de Dieu, Jésus avait eu largement la possibilité de découvrir la pensée, les principes et les normes de son Père. Par conséquent, il pouvait avec assurance enseigner aux autres la bonne façon d’adorer Jéhovah. Il a déclaré : “ Je suis le chemin, et la vérité, et la vie. Personne ne vient vers le Père sinon par moi. ” — Jean 1:14 ; 14:6.
      Jésus nous a laissé un exemple parfait en restant humblement soumis à son Père. Il a indiqué : “ Je ne fais rien de ma propre initiative, mais [...] comme le Père m’a enseigné, moi je dis ces choses. ” Il a ensuite ajouté : “ Je fais toujours les choses qui lui plaisent. ” (Jean 8:28, 29). De quelles manières Jésus a-t-il plu à Jéhovah ?
      En premier lieu, le Fils était entièrement dévoué à son Père. C’est d’ailleurs ce qu’implique fondamentalement adorer Dieu. Jésus montrait qu’il était personnellement attaché à son Créateur en lui étant obéissant, en accomplissant sa volonté, même si cela lui demandait de grands sacrifices (Phil. 2:7, 8). Il consacrait beaucoup de temps à enseigner et à former ses disciples. C’était là un aspect important du culte qu’il rendait à Dieu, à tel point qu’il était appelé Enseignant tant par les croyants que par les non-croyants (Mat. 22:23, 24 ; Jean 3:2). De plus, Jésus se dépensait pour autrui. Son esprit de sacrifice lui laissait peu de temps pour lui-même, mais il était heureux de servir les autres (Mat. 14:13, 14 ; 20:28). Bien que très occupé, il prenait toujours le temps de parler à son Père céleste dans la prière (Luc 6:12). Sans nul doute, Dieu accordait une valeur inestimable au culte que Jésus lui vouait !
      Des efforts soutenus pour plaire à Dieu
      Jéhovah a remarqué la conduite de son Fils et a exprimé son approbation (Mat. 17:5). Mais Satan le Diable également a observé la fidélité de Jésus. Jésus est donc devenu sa cible privilégiée. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’aucun humain n’avait jamais réussi à rester totalement obéissant à Dieu et, de ce fait, à l’adorer de la manière qui lui convient vraiment. Aussi le Diable voulait-il empêcher Jésus de rendre à Dieu le culte qui Lui revenait de droit. — Rév. 4:11.
      Satan a essayé de corrompre Jésus en lui faisant une offre tentante. Il l’emmena sur “ une montagne extraordinairement haute et lui montra tous les royaumes du monde et leur gloire ”. Puis il lui dit : “ Toutes ces choses, je te les donnerai si tu tombes et fais un acte d’adoration pour moi. ” Quelle fut la réaction de Jésus ? Il répondit : “ Va-t’en, Satan, car il est écrit : ‘ C’est Jéhovah ton Dieu que tu dois adorer, et c’est à lui seul que tu dois offrir un service sacré. ’ ” (Mat. 4:8-10). Quels que soient les avantages qu’il aurait pu en retirer, Jésus comprenait bien que se prosterner devant Satan, c’était commettre un acte d’idolâtrie. Il refusait d’accomplir ne serait-ce qu’un acte d’adoration devant quelqu’un d’autre que Jéhovah.
      En ce qui nous concerne, Satan ne nous proposera pas tous les royaumes du monde et leur gloire en échange de notre adoration. Néanmoins, il essaie encore d’empêcher les chrétiens sincères de rendre un culte à Dieu. Le Diable veut que nous adorions quelqu’un ou quelque chose d’autre. — 2 Cor. 4:4.
      Jésus Christ s’est montré fidèle jusqu’à la mort. En restant intègre, il a glorifié Jéhovah comme aucun humain ne l’avait jamais fait. Aujourd’hui, nous qui sommes de vrais chrétiens, nous nous efforçons d’imiter la fidélité de Jésus en mettant le culte de notre Créateur à la première place dans notre vie. Sans conteste, nos bonnes relations avec Dieu sont ce que nous avons de plus précieux.
      Les bénédictions que procure le culte que Dieu agrée
      Favoriser “ le culte qui est pur et sans souillure ” du point de vue de Dieu apporte de nombreuses bénédictions (Jacq. 1:27). Par exemple, nous vivons à une époque où de plus en plus de gens sont “ amis d’eux-mêmes, amis de l’argent, arrogants ” et “ sans amour du bien ”. (2 Tim. 3:1-5.) Par contraste, au sein du peuple de Dieu, nous avons le privilège de côtoyer des personnes pures et de saine compagnie qui s’efforcent de respecter les normes de Dieu en matière de culte. N’est-ce pas là une source de réconfort ?
      En outre, nous tenir à l’écart des souillures de ce monde nous procure une conscience pure. Nous voulons qu’elle reste pure, et c’est pour cela que nous nous soumettons aux principes justes de Dieu et que nous obéissons aux lois de César qui ne sont pas en désaccord avec les lois divines. — Marc 12:17 ; Actes 5:27-29.
      Un culte rendu à Dieu de toute son âme apporte d’autres bénédictions. Quand nous nous soucions d’accomplir la volonté de Dieu plutôt que la nôtre, notre vie a un sens véritable et elle est plus gratifiante. Au lieu de dire : “ Mangeons et buvons, car demain il nous faudra mourir ”, nous entretenons l’espoir certain de la vie éternelle sur une terre transformée en paradis. — 1 Cor. 15:32.
      Le livre de la Révélation attire notre attention sur le moment où ceux qui seront demeurés purs devant Jéhovah “ vien[dront] de la grande tribulation ”. Le récit précise que “ Celui qui est assis sur le trône étendra sur eux sa tente ”. (Rév. 7:13-15.) Celui qui est assis sur le trône n’est autre que Jéhovah Dieu, le Personnage le plus glorieux de l’univers. Imaginez quelle joie ce sera quand il vous accueillera comme l’hôte de sa tente et vous protégera pour qu’aucun mal ne vous soit fait ! Et dans une certaine mesure, nous bénéficions dès à présent de cette protection.
      De plus, tous ceux qui rendent à Dieu le culte qu’il agrée sont décrits comme étant guidés vers “ des sources d’eaux de la vie ”. Ces sources revivifiantes représentent toutes les dispositions prises par Jéhovah pour que nous puissions obtenir la vie éternelle. Assurément, grâce à la rançon du Christ, “ Dieu essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux ”. (Rév. 7:17.) Tandis que les humains seront élevés à la perfection, tous connaîtront une joie indicible à la perspective de vivre éternellement sur la terre. Dès maintenant, les adorateurs heureux de Dieu poussent des cris de joie, exprimant leur profonde reconnaissance envers Jéhovah et lui vouant un culte en compagnie de ses serviteurs au ciel qui chantent : “ Grandes et prodigieuses sont tes œuvres, Jéhovah Dieu, le Tout-Puissant. Justes et vraies sont tes manières d'agir, Roi d’éternité. Qui ne peut te craindre et ne pas glorifier ton nom? Car toi seul tu es fidèle! Car toutes les nations viendront et adoreront devant toi, parce que tes décrets justes ont été manifestés. ” — Rév. 15:3, 4.



      · 0 replies
    • Patiently waiting for Truth

      I am seriously looking for TRUTH. Yes I do feel lost in the wilderness. 
      But, when Jerusalem was about to be destroyed (70C.E) didn't some return 'home' there, only to perish when the Romans slaughtered them. They returned to Jerusalem because they lost their faith in Almighty God and in the words of Jesus. And therefore they died through lack of faith.
      I do not lack faith in Almighty God or in Jesus Christ. But I do lack immediate direction. However, at this moment in time, I would not return to the Jehovah's Witnesses Org.  In my opinion that Org will be either made clean or destroyed. Either way, right now I would not want to be part of it. 
      I also do not pay any attention to those on here that condemn me to death or tell me that I have no hope left.  
      My faith is not in earthling man. My faith in Almighty God through Jesus Christ. 
      · 0 replies
    • Esther  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Éric
      Je recherche un discours pour une étudiante. Le thème c'était "Dieu approuve-t-il une religion en particulier ? " 
      Si tu l'as en audio ou écrit, c'est assez urgent car je la vois cet après-midi. 
      Merci beaucoup mon frère
      Esther😉
      · 1 reply
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