HOW TO GET Jehovah's Witnesses TO LISTEN

by ex-JW David A. Reed

The Gospel in terms a JW will understand

When speaking about events leading up to the end of this wicked world, Jesus Christ warned that "many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:11, KJV)

Did he suggest that believers should follow such false prophets, loyally sticking to them through one prophetic failure after another, in the hope that they would eventually get it right? Far from it! Rather, Jesus warned, "Take heed that no man deceive you." (Matthew 24:4 KJV)

If the Watchtower Society is a deceptive false prophet, where else can individual Jehovah's Witnesses turn for sound spiritual guidance? 'Whom shall we go away to?' No one! -- is the Watchtower Society's answer, drilled into each Witness through constant repetition. Our organization is the only way, the only truth, the only life. This view of things makes it very difficult for Jehovah's Witnesses to leave the organization -- and very confusing and even frightening for those who do leave.

The scripture verses that the Watchtower Society applies to itself actually apply to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is the One the disciples were talking to when they said, "Lord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68-69 New World Translation)

They were not speaking of an organization.

And "the Truth" is not an organization, either. Scripture identifies Jesus Himself as "the Way and the Truth and the Life." (John 14:6 Modern Language Bible)

Jesus did not teach, as the Watchtower Society does, that people should "come to Jehovah's organization for salvation" (The Watchtower November 15, 1981, page 21). Rather, he said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

The way of salvation that Jesus proclaimed was not through organizational membership or accurate knowledge of the Scriptures -- although these enter into it. In order to gain life, people had to come to Jesus personally.

Under the new covenant there would be no other way to the Father, except through Jesus. God sent His Son to earth to fulfill the "new covenant" prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 31. Under this new covenant "'they will all of them know me, from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them,' is the utterance of Jehovah. 'For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.'" (verse 34 NW)

Jeremiah was not offering a new covenant for just a handful of men in the First Century. Rather, it would be God's way of dealing with men from that time onward.

For example, Paul's relationship with God through His Son began when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Later on, Paul told of occasions when "the Lord stood near me and infused power into me" (2 Tim. 4:17 NW), and when Paul spoke to the Lord about his "thorn in the flesh." (2 Cor. 12:7-9)

As a zealous Jew, Paul had had a relationship with God before, but only from a distance. Now, as a Christian, he really knew God.

Stephen saw Jesus in a vision during his trial. Some time later, after his trial broke up and he was brought outside the city, Stephen called out to Jesus. "And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.'" (Acts 7:59-60 RSV)

There is no indication that the earlier vision was repeated then. Rather, Stephen had an on-going relationship with Jesus and felt free to call upon Him.

Were Paul and Stephen unique in having a personal relationship with the Son of God, calling upon Jesus in time of need? Evidently not, as Paul described Christians as those "who everywhere are calling upon the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 1:2 New World Translation)

Jesus promised this continuing relationship with His disciples: "For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst." (Matt. 18:20 NW)

In fact, we have Jesus' promise that "he that loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will plainly show myself to him. ...and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our abode with him." (John 14:21-23 NW)

The Living Bible paraphrases it this way: "When I come back to life again...I will only reveal myself to those who love and obey me. The Father will love them too, and we will come to them and live with them." (verses 20-23)

Jesus does not usually reveal himself to people today in a blinding light, as he appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Rather, it is more as described at Galatians 4:6 -- "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (Revised Standard Version)

Christ assures at Luke 11:10-13 -- "For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or it he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (RSV)

So, the Gospel of the Christian Scriptures, the new covenant that Jeremiah 31 foretold, is not a new set of doctrines to learn or new facts about God (although many Watchtower doctrines need to be unlearned). Rather, it is a salvation that includes a new life right now, as a new creature by virtue of being born again and living a new Spirit-filled life.

Jesus introduced this new life when He told Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:3-7 KJV)

All who come into the new covenant undergo this change:

"You, however, are controlled not by your sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. ...Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit who makes you sons. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:9-11, 14-16 NIV)

The Father will help you grow as His child. You will form a longing for the Word, and the Holy Spirit will teach you as you read.

You may have to admit, though, as Paul the Apostle did, that "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV).

So, while 'accurate knowledge' of every detail is not yet available, and we cannot know ahead of time when Christ will return, it is the Christian's privilege to "know" God through a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you have not yet done so, tell God right now that you need Jesus as your Savior, and receive Him as your Lord.

He invites you: "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 Today's English Version) "I will never turn away anyone who comes to me." (John 6:37 TEV)

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