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Ten men out of ... the nations ... will take firm hold of the robe of a Jewish man

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The NWT says at Zechariah 8:23:

23  “This is what Jehovah of armies says, ‘In those days ten men out of all the languages of the nations

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 will take hold, yes, they will take firm hold of the robe
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 of a Jew,
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 saying: “We want to go with you,
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 for we have heard that God is with you people.”’”
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I have noticed that one poster in particular has referenced this scripture several times and put it in the context of being able to identify the true religion at the time of the final judgment. The poster admits that in the meantime, he can't really tell who that "Jew" represents. But it is evidently associated in his mind with a group of "truly anointed" persons. By this he evidently means those who are truly led by the holy spirit, who are truly motivated by the holy spirit, and who therefore give proper guidance and to others. They should be giving always healthful, if not "perfect" spiritual food, and always at the proper time.

For that particular poster, this disqualifies the eight or so men who currently claim to be the "faithful and discreet slave" since they admit that their food is not always perfect (and therefore could not qualify as "at the proper time," either.)

When a verse from the "OT" is not specifically repeated in the "NT" with an explanation, we are pretty much on our own to decide whether it has a specific prophetic application to our own day, or to the near future. In many cases the verse will look quite specific, but we can only give it a general application to our own day. In other cases there are specifics, and we can try to make specific applications to those specific references.  Of course, in every case we could look to the overall situation, the historical context, and find either warning examples, teaching examples, or encouragement in the words (2 Tim 3:16,17).

In this case, the historical context is an audience of Jews having trouble getting up the willingness or courage to overcome obstacles related to rebuilding their temple. Some of those obstacles were economic (including bad harvests) and some of it was the fear of encroaching enemies, and more populous nations around them. And some of it was no doubt an overall despondency that it would take too long and never get finished, and thus be a wasted effort. Those kinds of issues are easily generalized into our own personal issues with respect to overcoming obstacles related to our own spiritual goals. They can also be looked at in terms of our willingness to be involved with organizational goals or congregational goals when economics, delays, mistakes, and the despondency of others can take a toll on our own courage.

But what about the Watchtower's usual interpretation of this verse? Is it definitive? Can it mean anything else? These are the kinds of questions that Christians should always ask of everything we believe, if we want to be like the Beroeans, or "make sure of all things."

 

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

By this he evidently means those who are truly led by the holy spirit, who are truly motivated by the holy spirit, and who therefore give proper guidance and to others.

I noticed that you skipped/avoided to use one Old, Good, Bible based word -  "inspired". :) 

"Led" is also good Bible word in connection with JHVH and spirit. 


But what is wrong in using word "inspired" in connection with our decisions and works in religious/spiritual matters? 

Motivated as word, looks, seems to be more in connection with our own autonomy and free choice.  

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  would seem to signify people from all over the Earth. 

" By this he evidently means those who are truly led by the holy spirit, who are truly motivated by the holy spirit, and who therefore give proper guidance and to others. "

Well actually I think HE means those that are TRULY ANOINTED OF HOLY SPIRIT, just as the Apostles were. 

And I think HE means that it would be 'visible' in some way, but maybe only to those truly seeking God in a 'pure way'. 

Quote "They can also be looked at in terms of our willingness to be involved with organizational goals or congregational goals when economics, delays, mistakes, and the despondency of others can take a toll on our own courage."

This is very vague and general in it's meanings. " organizational goals or congregational goals " Which organisation and congregations ? 

" mistakes " By whom where and when ? 

 

 

 

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@Srecko Sostar, Yes I avoided the word "inspired" for now, because I think it gets us into another topic with its own complexities. But it is a topic I think we can get to (assuming the topic is of interest to others).

@JOHN BUTLER, I'd like to consider your view of the scripture in detail. Although I wanted to get a baseline for others, so that we are all clear on the Watchtower's interpretation first. On the issue of organizational or congregational goals, I was merely trying to tie it back to the original context of rebuilding the temple, and then use words that remind many of us of the same type of activities in modern times. You could replace it with your own preferred religious terms: ecclesia, church, synagogue, temple, etc. I meant the same idea with mistakes: meaning mistakes by the Jewish people at the time which can remind us of mistakes made in modern times.

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@JW Insider I can read your words but they make no sense to me. 

You seem to be trying to 'hide' that scripture inside a million other words, maybe to discredit the scripture or me. Either way it matters not to me, for my feelings are that anyone reading my words that is truly interested in what I'm saying, will understand exactly where I am coming from. 

That is why TTH and BtK cannot understand me, because they only see things from the JW Org viewpoint. Which in fact, it seems, is where you are seeing things from. 

So, maybe give your interpretation, of, what the Watchtower's interpretation is of that scripture. The reason i say it like that is, because even JW's seem to disagree on matters of scripture and W/t interpretations. 

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Regarding the Watchtower's interpretation, a simple and recent explanation is found in the introduction to a 'life experience' article from 2012.

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When I was in my early teens, two Bible passages struck me. Today, over 70 years later, I can still remember the time when I grasped the meaning of 

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, which speaks of “ten men” taking hold of “the skirt of a man who is a Jew.” They tell the Jew: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.”

THE Jewish man symbolizes anointed Christians, and the “ten men” represent the “other sheep,” or “Jonadabs,” as they were known back then. 

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 (
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) When I understood that truth, I realized how much the fulfillment of my hope to live forever on earth depends upon my loyal support of the anointed class.

Jesus’ illustration of “the sheep” and “the goats,” found at 

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, also deeply impressed me. “The sheep” picture those who receive a favorable judgment during the time of the end because they do good to Christ’s anointed brothers still on earth. As a young Jonadab, I said to myself, ‘Len, if you want to be viewed by Christ as a sheep, you’ve got to support his anointed brothers, accepting their leadership because God is with them.’ That understanding has guided me during more than seven decades.

I should note that a few people have come to think that the March 15, 2015 Watchtower indicated that there are no longer any specific classes of people that are identified by prophecies. So they might wonder why the Jew represents anointed Christians and the 'ten men' specifically represent the 'other sheep.' That 2015 article, and this new understanding, was really intended to help us avoid the problem of arbitrarily making up specific applications of interpretation for every Bible parable and historical occurrence, and saying it was the ONLY correct application. Prophecies (like Zechariah) are still considered fair game for interpreting specific applications to classes of people today.

(The Watchtower makes exceptions, and still uses the parable-as-prophecy motif for the "sheep and goats" parable, and, of course, the "faithful and discreet slave" parable. There is one other possible parable-as-prophecy exception, but this one is in a prophetic book, Daniel 4's tree dream parable/prophecy.)

The idea of only using a historical occurrence in the Bible to only say it "reminds" us of a certain thing, rather than "it must represent this particular thing" was used in the same life experience article mentioned above. For example:

. . . she gave me the parcel and left. It contained a warm overcoat. Her loving gesture reminded me of Hannah bringing her young son Samuel a coat while he was serving at the tabernacle.—

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.

And again at the end of the article:

Just before his death, Jesus told his disciples: “You will not always have me” with you. (

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) We other sheep are also aware that we will not always have Christ’s anointed brothers among us on earth. I count it, therefore, an inestimable privilege to have been closely associated for over 70 years with many of the anointed—gratefully holding on to the skirt of a Jew.

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59 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

You seem to be trying to 'hide' that scripture inside a million other words, maybe to discredit the scripture or me.

No. It's just me. Just so we're 'on the same page' about what the WT says on the subject. (Because we are on a JW forum.) Whether it's right or wrong or somewhere in between can be discussed later. Also, to provide a bit of 'methodology' about how the WT handles prophetic interpretation.

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6 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

So, maybe give your interpretation, of, what the Watchtower's interpretation is of that scripture.

I think the Watchtower's interpretation is clear. In many ways it matches up with yours, John.

The WT interpretation is that the "Jew" is the truly anointed class of Christians, and the "ten men" are persons out of all the nations who are not of the anointed class but who look to them for guidance, a good example, etc. These non-anointed are shown joining with these anointed in some way.

Historically, if we were to accept that the truly anointed persons were represented by the 'governing leaders' of the Bible Students / Jehovah's Witnesses in the last century or so, then the very fact that they were joined (beginning especially around 1935) by a much larger group who then identified themselves as non-anointed seems like a perfect fulfillment.

It is easy to see why, in that 2012 life experience article, a person of the "great crowd" who was obviously very enamored with his periodic association with members of the anointed, felt that he was seeing this prophecy fulfilled in his own case. Several of those anointed with whom he had repeated contact served on the Governing Body, or would later serve on the Governing Body. This was clearly a sub-theme of the 2012 Watchtower article based on the following quotes/excerpts:

  • but also several anointed brothers, including Pryce Hughes, Edgar Clay, and Jack Barr, who became a member of the Governing Body.
  • One of my fellow students, Lloyd Barry; one of the instructors, Albert Schroeder; and John Booth, overseer of Kingdom Farm (where Gilead School was located) later became members of the Governing Body.
  • During that time, I got to know such pillars as Milton Henschel, Karl Klein, Nathan Knorr, T. J. (Bud) Sullivan, and Lyman Swingle, all of whom once served on the Governing Body.
  • I have had the privilege of periodically returning to world headquarters in New York. During those visits, I received good advice from different members of the Governing Body.

So, while the "Jew" represents the anointed class, we are subtly reminded that the anointed class is represented by the Governing Body, considered to be the core representatives of "Christ's brothers."

In the past, of course, when one said "Christ's brothers are the faithful slave" it meant all of the anointed.

*** w09 10/15 p. 16 par. 15 “You Are My Friends” ***
Therefore, the primary way that those with the earthly hope demonstrate their desire to be friends with Christ is by supporting the faithful slave class.

Technically, the "Jew" in Zechariah still does mean all of the anointed, not just the GB. But even before the doctrinal change making them the same entity, the Governing Body had already pointed to themselves as the ones  representing the faithful slave. 

*** ws11 7/15 p. 24 par. 9 Have You Entered Into God’s Rest? ***
They show us that Jehovah is using the faithful and discreet slave to teach us the truth. Sometimes the Governing Body, who represents the faithful and discreet slave, reviews how we understand certain truths.

So the "Jew" in Zechariah 8 is not just another representation of the Governing Body. But based on the above, it is still intended to be the practical conclusion, when it comes to defining who, we, the "other sheep" firmly hang onto for guidance and direction.

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2 hours ago, BillyTheKid46 said:

Since when did a self-imposed royal priest (witness) has made biblical sense to you

I was referring to John Butler as the person who has repeatedly referenced the "10 men who take hold of the skirt of a Jew." I hadn't realized it if "Witness" had also repeatedly referenced this. 

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I am adding more here to give the simplest view of what the "Governing Body" believes about those who claim to be anointed.

The most recent article that explains the scripture makes this point by asking a seemingly silly question.

*** ws16 January p. 21 “We Want to Go With You” ***
DO WE NEED TO KNOW THE NAMES OF ALL TODAY WHO ARE ANOINTED?

. . . . This means that the Jew is not just one person but represents the whole group of anointed ones. The other sheep know this, and they serve Jehovah along with that group. They do not need to know the names of every member of that group and follow each one of them.

No one thinks that the truly anointed are ONLY in the Governing Body. However, the only anointed that we are asked to follow cannot practically be ALL the anointed all around the world. In fact we are warned against giving too much attention to "just any" member of the anointed. And, by the same token, any member of the anointed would be out of place to ask for special attention. This might seem wrong, but that is clearly going to help avoid schisms, power struggles, and help drive peace and unity in the congregation.

The article goes on to point this out:

*** ws16 January p. 22 par. 6 “We Want to Go With You” ***
Jehovah’s holy spirit helps his servants to be humble, not proud. (Colossians 3:12) So anointed ones do not think that they are better than others. They know that Jehovah does not necessarily give anointed ones more holy spirit than he gives his other servants. And they do not feel that they can understand Bible truths more deeply than anyone else.

*** ws16 January p. 22 par. 7 “We Want to Go With You” ***
Although anointed ones feel that it is an honor to be invited to go to heaven, they do not expect others to treat them in a special way. .... So an anointed person is not surprised if some do not believe right away that he has been anointed. He realizes that the Bible tells us not to be quick to believe someone who says that God has given him a special responsibility.

*** ws16 January p. 22 par. 8 “We Want to Go With You” ***
Anointed Christians do not feel that they should spend time only with other anointed ones, as if they were members of a club. They do not try to find other anointed ones so that they can talk about being anointed or meet in groups to study the Bible. (Galatians 1:15-17) The congregation would not be united if anointed ones did this. They would be working against the holy spirit, which helps God’s people to have peace and unity.—Read Romans 16:17, 18.

The article actually offers some reasons why we would not immediately trust that someone who claims to be anointed truly is anointed. Ultimately, this all points to reasons to focus our attention on the Governing Body (faithful and discreet slave) as the identified representatives of the anointed.

*** ws16 January pp. 23-25 “We Want to Go With You” ***
DO WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THE NUMBER?
12 For many years, the number of those who ate the bread and drank the wine at the Memorial kept going down. But recently, that number has been going up every year. Do we need to worry about this? No. Let us see why not.
13 “Jehovah knows those who belong to him.” (2 Timothy 2:19) Unlike Jehovah, the brothers who count the number of people eating the bread and drinking the wine at the Memorial do not know who truly is anointed. So the number includes those who think that they are anointed but are not. For example, some who used to eat the bread and drink the wine later stopped. Others may have mental or emotional problems and believe that they will rule with Christ in heaven. Clearly, we do not know exactly how many anointed ones are left on earth.
. . .  During the last days, Jehovah has continued to choose people who will be part of the 144,000. (See endnote.) So if God decides to choose some of these just before the end, surely we would not doubt that he is doing the right thing. (Isaiah 45:9; Daniel 4:35; read Romans 9:11, 16.) (See endnote.) We must be careful not to react like the workers who complained about the way their master treated those who started working in the last hour.—Read Matthew 20:8-15.
16 Not all who have the hope of living in heaven are part of “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45-47) Just as in the first century, Jehovah and Jesus today are using a few people to feed, or teach, many. Only a few anointed Christians in the first century were used to write the Christian Greek Scriptures. And today, only a few anointed Christians have the responsibility to give God’s people “food at the proper time.”

Clearly "some of these" claimants are considered truly anointed. But we have no way of knowing who is and who isn't. And even if we did, we would not give them special attention, nor would they give each other special attention, even if they have been known to serve faithfully for long periods of time.

One of the reasons for the emphasis on the Governing Body is so that we can say we have identified the truly anointed persons who can properly represent the other anointed persons, and therefore by following and hanging onto their "robe" we (the other sheep) are properly hanging onto the skirt of the Jew.

I know you, John, don't believe that the GB represent the "Jew" in the Zechariah prophecy, or that they represent "Christ's brothers" in Matthew. But I think you can see why it makes perfect sense to most Witnesses. It makes sense historically in a way that no other religion can point to in their recent past. And it makes sense practically if one accepts the belief that a Governing Body should represent all the rest of the anointed.

I am not claiming that this is the only way to look at it. (For reasons I can explain later.) But I do think we should acknowledge the reasons it makes so much sense to most Witnesses.

Your own arguments against it, I think, boil down to the fact you say that the GB have "allowed" child sexual abuse by not doing enough about it, and that the shunning doctrine is unchristian, and that some (much?) of the provided spiritual food has been not good spiritually. But since you have not been able to discover another anointed person or group that non-anointed should "take hold of," then Witnesses would simply respond with 'where else should they go?' Do you really know a group that represents something better? If it were just a matter of a few who feel this way leaving the JWs, what would that accomplish exactly? 

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