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Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #1

“10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”” (Mt 21:10-11 NIV)

When Jesus had come into Jerusalem, not only at the gates there were welcoming people praising him as a king. From several writings we know that all the city was stirred up, saying,

“Who is this?”

Lots of people where there in Jerusalem for the Pesach or Passover festival (14-22 Nisan). From all corners the came, but also where they came from they had heard about that mysterious prophet who did a lot of miracles. The crowds had heard where he came from and how he had spoken about the Most High Elohim. For them there could be no doubt and they said,

“This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”” (Mt 21:10-11 NHEB)

Today lots of people question that being or man from Nazareth. Even the majority of those who call themselves Christian do not seem to know who Jesus really is. They do not see in him a prophet or a man of God, but have made him into their god.

We shall see later that Jesus was going to put the question who he is to his disciples. It is important to know the difference what is said about a person and what he really is. Therefore to know clearly what they would think, he first asked them what the people were saying about him. When going around with Jesus they had already heard more than once that there were people who called Jesus a prophet. Some even wondered if it could be possible that he would be a prophet of ancient days who would have come back to earth. So we can say that they were unsure of exactly which prophet Jesus might have been.

When we ask this question about Jesus

“Who is this?” or “Who is Jesus?”

we still might receive a lot of different answers.

Because some people had been saying that Jesus was Elijah who was to return to earth, and others said that he was a new  prophet, whilst the Pharisees said that he was possessed by a demon and wanted others also to believe Jesus was a satan or adversary of God, a blasphemous person. The apostles also knew about people’s divided opinions of their master. Today, if you go around asking, some will say that Jesus was a good man who gave sound moral guidance. Some will say that he did not exist or that he was an impostor, others that he was a prophet. Again, some will say that he was a god or a god son, others will argue that he was nothing but a deluded man. Yet others will say that he is the “Son of God“.

From the many writings assembled in the Book of books, the Bible, we can get an accurate picture of who that person might have been. Also from civic writings we can read about that special man from Nazareth. In many canonical but also civic writings we can read about his special deeds. In many of those writings we read how he was there for others, to comfort them and to encourage them. Jesus was some one to whom many came for wise counsel.

The most strange thing about that Nazarene was how he went around healing sick people, paralysed people, blind people and others who had seemingly incurable diseases (John 5: 1-8 for example). He even raised some people from the dead (Lazarus). Those incredible act were the reason he was looked on as somebody with exceptional powers, possibly from outer demons.

What also disturbed a lot of people was that after he had done such miraculous things he said it was not him doing that, but his heavenly Father, who he rightly called greater than him (but they and today many do not seem to hear or understand).
Throughout the gospels, Jesus is seen in a ministry of addressing human need and condemning those who were considered religious exemplars, and were thought of as superior to ordinary people, and certainly to exemplary sinners.
Yet Jesus message was not fundamentally different from the faith of the Old Testament, for which holiness, obedience, and sacrifice for sin were central. He also believed in the same God as his parents and the ancient prophets whose writings he knew very well. That God is a god no man can see. He also very well knew his position, him being lower than angels and certainly much much lower than God. (Later he would be made higher than angels by God, Who always shall be the Most High Almighty God.) Most of the time he told the people around him, when he did a miracle, that he could not do such things out of himself. He always gave full honour for what happened to his heavenly Father, the Only One host of hosts and True God of Israel.

“17  Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.
24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

31  “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32 There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.” (Joh 5:17-36 NIV)

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.” (Joh 8:42 NIV)

“27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28  “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.” (Joh 14:27-31 NIV)

Him telling he got advice from God, the Most High Elohim commanding him, looked as a blasphemous saying for the Pharisees. Him also getting so much attention from the public often also giving criticism about their teachings and work, was a good reason to find a way for getting rid of him (i.e. killing him).

For the Pharisees Jesus calling the Elohim his Father seemed a very good reason to speak against him.

“For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (Joh 5:18 NIV)

Never had Jesus made himself equal to God.

“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” (Joh 20:17 NIV)

Their Nazarene master was an Essene or a very devout Jew and as such his disciples knew Who Jesus worshipped. For them it was clear that Jesus was that man spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures who would bring salvation and who would become king of the promised land. When they later went around teaching they also taught people to remember how the Leader of Jesus was God.

“Now I want you to realise that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3 NIV)

“Who, being in very nature {Or in the form of } God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” (Php 2:6 NIV)

For those who had followed Jesus for some time, it was very clear that he had never claimed to have equal status with God. They were very conscious of the humbleness of their master, who didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of the status of being a god and certainly not of being the God.

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Preceding

Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

Multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

Vox populi anything but Vox Dei

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Demanding signs or denying yourself

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Additional reading

  1. Truth, doubt or blindness
  2. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  3. The true light in recorded words
  4. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  5. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #7 Promise and solution
  6. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  7. Which man is mentioned most often in the Bible? Jesus, Moses, Abraham or David?
  8. A rebellious movement founded on a fake?
  9. Fog, brass and light for the eyes
  10. Blindness in the Christian world
  11. Who do you say Jesus is
  12. The sent one from God
  13. Jesus, A way given to find the right way to God
  14. The stone of essential truth
  15. Knowledge of Christ and fear for God
  16. A birthday passed nearly unnoticed
  17. In a few days time it will be 2020 years ago that the Messiah was born
  18. 2020 years ago, the road was opened
  19. 2020 years since
  20. To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God
  21. The saviour Jesus his human side
  22. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  23. The Right One to follow and to worship
  24. For those who believe Jesus is God
  25. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  26. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  27. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  28. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  29. That everyone may honour the Son and sent one from God
  30. Thought for Wednesday Believe in the one God has sent
  31. Jesus Messiah
  32. Jesus begotten Son of God #10 Coming down spirit or flesh seed of Eve
  33. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  34. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  35. Concerning Christ #1 A god or the God, a son of man and son of God
  36. Concerning Christ #2 Divine source, connection and divine human being
  37. Infinite payment of sin by the son of God
  38. Believing what Jesus says
  39. The Call of Christ
  40. Following a Person or a Belief
  41. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  42. Purification and perfection
  43. From nothingness to a growing group of followers of Jeshua 5 What’s in a name
  44. Not being saved by faith in Christ alone
  45. Memorizing wonderfully 42 Equality with God & doing nothing of himself
  46. Memorizing wonderfully 44 Showing the works from his Father
  47. Memorizing wonderfully 46 Believe in the sent one from God, who is the Way to God
  48. Memorizing wonderfully 49 John 17:1-11 The sent one from God and eternal life
  49. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  50. Memorizing wonderfully 70: Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God
  51. Background of Faith
  52. Trinitarians making their proof for existence of God look ridiculous #7

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Related

  1. Jesus Existed 
  2. Cult Leader Jesus
  3. Prophet Jesus pbuh : The slave of God
  4. How the doctrine of the Trinity developed in the Christian Church
  5. Christian, what are you going to say to G-d of Israel when your god Jesus doesn’t return?

Vox populi anything but Vox Dei

When Jesus went around speaking and doing miracles many gathered around him and his disciples. Some wanted to be part of those around Jesus and where happy to chant for him that he was praised.

Some or perhaps many of those who chanted at the gates of Jerusalem

Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

a few days later were perhaps crying with others to have him impaled.

They had expressed their delight and expectation.

Alas! how soon this gleam of sunlight gave place to black darkness. The day of palms was closely followed by the day of crucifixion. Thus fickle are the sons of men. “Vox populi” is anything but “Vox Dei.” {Spurgeon}

In the olden times, the Israelites were accustomed to use this cry,

“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,”

when their heroes returned victorious from the battlefield. When they went up to the temple to give thanks publicly to God for victories over their enemies, they were met by the people, with this exclamation of joy,

“Blessed, is he that cometh in Jehovah’s name.”

Very unlike to the cries of other nations! Some nations only extolled the heroes, but the people of God see the hand of God, and they mark that the hero only comes in the name of the Lord, and while they give him blessings and wish him every good thing for what he has done, yet the praise is ascribed to the Master in whose name he comes — even Jehovah. {Spurgeon}

Now the people could see the Nazarene master teacher coming to the capital. He was looked at as a hero, even as a king. They seemed to be aware that this one who always claimed to be a sent one from God, was the

“Blessed … that cometh in the name of Jehovah.”

In a few days time the people present in Jerusalem for Passover had changed their mind and expressed their dislike for the one who had spoken about a coming Kingdom of God.

Also today we can find lots of people who do not want to accept Jesus for whom he is. They do not accept the words God Himself said about this man

“… “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” (Lu 3:22 NIV)

They refuse to accept Jesus as the son of God and have made him into their god, telling others he is “god the son”. Many made Jesus into their idol or “god son” instead of accepting that he is the sent one from god, they claim he would be God having come down to earth. They seem to ignore the writing in the Holy Scriptures

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,” (Ga 4:4 NIV)

Instead of thanking God for sending his son, they worship that Nazarene man who always asked not to adore him but to worship his heavenly Father. Jesus even taught them how to pray (the Lord’s prayer).

God had given the people the time to get to know His sent one, who came to declare God’s Word and to bring the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. He allowed Jesus to have an entry in His City as a king as an ‘advance mirroring’ or mirror image of the one who was going to return and to enter the capital of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is that king spoken of in the many prophecies.

But the majority of people want to adhere to people’s theories and stick to human traditions and festivals instead of keeping to the festival days God gave mankind. Like in Jesus time when lots of people wanted to please the Pharisees and wished to lick the feet of the Jerusalem administration, today lots of people prefer licking the feet of their religious institution. Most often they do everything to show others they are part of the “Vox populi”. Many are literally afraid to be looked at someone of the “Vox Dei,” the People of Jehovah. Several even go so far to become anti-Jehovah people.
One could consider them belonging to the many who like to shout with others, but do not dare to bring out their personal voice in public when they stand alone.

Let us make it clear we belong to Vox Dei, Jehovah’s people, and be real followers of the real Jesus Christ, the Messiah or anointed, the son of God, who gave his life for us all.

Let us not be deaf and blind like there were so many in Jesus time. In that day the moment of no excuse had come. Before that day if could be said that the day was coming when God would sent His son. Now the time has come we should know that this sent one shall restore the nation of Israel. It is him they could see entering Jerusalem. We too should come to recognise that sent one who is to bring peace and salvation and to set up his Kingdom on earth. We should be thankful to God for that sent one who is going our king and act as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. and invited us to be part of his body.

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Preceding

Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

Multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

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Additional reading

  1. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  2. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

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Related

  1. Exodus 33-34: Reflections of Glory
  2. More meanings from the margins
  3. 54. A Time to Regain our Identity

God’s Face shining on His servant

In the past God His Face could shine on His servant David. Several years later it also could shine on God His other servant, Jesus.

That servant had only a very short time a public life. But in that short time he became a very special public figure spoken off by many. First when he was baptised by his cousin in the river Jordan, he was declared to be the “son of God” by a voice out of heaven. When he toured through the land of Israel he spoke a lot about his Father Whose Words and Deeds he came to declare. The unfolding of his word could give light to many. Whilst he taught several listened very carefully, though others tried to find in those words enough to speak against him, even to consider him to be a danger for the community, better to be killed.

In Psalm 118 we can read about a day Jehovah had made. Now when Jesus enters Jerusalem it is again a special day Jehovah had made, having people praising Jesus as their king. Though perhaps they really did not know the essence of his kingship. But it should be a sign for us to recognise Jesus as the King sent by God.

Many times Jesus had called unto his God, the God of Israel Who is an Unseen Spirit God. He had talked about that mysterious God and told people how they had to build up a relationship with that Divine Creator. Jesus had also told people to be thankful to their God. Like the Davidic king before him he asked to give thanks unto Jehovah; for He is good and for His lovingkindness endures for ever.

Jehovah has always been on the side of Jesus, but most people did not and still do not see that. For Jesus it was clear that Jehovah God was also for him among those who helped him and therefore he could look with satisfaction on those who hated him.

The day of his triumphal entrance in Jerusalem Jesus could hear the sound of joyful shouting and salvation and could see all those happy faces with a lot of expectations. We should come to see that the right hand of Jehovah God is exalted and that He made this only begotten son higher than angels (though at first he was lower than them).

“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;” (Ps 118:22 NIV)

Soon after this triumphal entrance this king would be rejected not being recognised as the chief corner stone of a Body of faithful ones to God.

That day, many were blind and did not really saw who this sent one from God was and why he would be so important. Today there are still billions of people not willing to see that Jesus is the sent one from God who is the way to God and who brings salvation for many. They like the people in Jerusalem might have made him also their king and even their god, this in disrespect for the God of Christ, Who is a Singular Eternal Being Who wants to be worshipped and recognised as the Only One True God.

Jesus spoke in a special way with a marvellous knowledge of the Scriptures. He gave many signs, wonders and miracles, and let people know it was not him who was doing that, but his heavenly Father Who is greater than him and without Him he could do nothing.

“Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (Joh 5:19 NIV)

“”You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28 NIV)

God set Jesus apart, but not many seem to get that. He fulfilled all the prophecies yet many did esteem him not. Their honour for him was to please their own worldly feelings. They never would think to let go of the worldly traditions and wordly festivals. They prefer like the people then, to take Jesus as their idol, their god, instead of accepting him as the sent one from God and as the respectful faithful servant of God.

Many today are still not fully understanding, like there, at the time of Jesus, they also would sing with the crowd

“The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna {A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise; also in verse 15 } to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” {Psalm 118:26 } “Hosanna {A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise; also in verse 15 } in the highest!”” (Mt 21:9 NIV)

That day the sun was shining on Jesus and he radiated the light of the Most High, but not many saw that he is the one who has come in the name of Jehovah.

Let us recognise that Jesus is that promised one, the sent one from God who deserves all honour for being the faithful servant of God.

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Preceding

Demanding signs or denying yourself

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:27-31 – What others are saying about the blind men recognising the son of David

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

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Additional reading

  1. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  2. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

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Screenshot 2019-05-02 at 4.13.07 PM

Further related reading

  1. Tenth week of ordinary-time (cycle I)- Tuesday-responsorial-psalm- (psalm 118)
  2. Today –The Day the Lord Has Made +This is the Day the Lord has Made
  3. Give Thanks to the LORD (Psalm 118)
  4. Faithless and faithful
  5. Third week of Easter-monday responsorial-psalm (Psalm 118)
  6. Cheering to Jeering to Cheering Psalm 118
  7. Spiritual Journey: Transformation
  8. The Heavenly Architect

Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal

It is a shame the JW are still considered by many a sect. The documentary of Pano at VRT Eén and the days around it on ‘Terzake’ and ‘De Afspraak’ (both programs of the Flemish state television VRT channel Canvas), and in Van Gils (on Eén) tried to bring the religious organisation in the picture with something which can not be allowed in any group (be it religious, sportive or artistic).

Good for the elder who dared to come out of anonymity in the hope this abuse which could also be found in other religious groups (be them Catholic and/or protestant) would be uncovered and stopped.

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To remember

  • Almost a week after the broadcast = more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from Reclaimed Voices Belgium.
  • serious psychological damage > exclusion by Jehovah’s Witnesses from community = greater impact in certain cases than abuse itself
  • In the Netherlands, theme gained momentum in early 2018 after establishment of non-profit association “Reclaimed Voices”, which collects testimonies about sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses’ elder, Kurt De Kerf (55) from Sint-Niklaas testified anonymously in Pano report but choose to leave anonymity <= “nothing to hide + because important this finally comes into the open.”
  • Crimes rarely reported to secular justice > Legal Committee, elders themselves investigate + punish crimes, ranging from intoxication, corruption to adultery.

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Preceding

Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation

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Additional

Herbekijk: “Pano” over het toedekken van seksueel misbruik bij Jehova’s getuigen

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Candace Conti: Former Jehovah’s Witness Takes on Church over Sex Abuse Allegations

Candace Conti says the church failed to protect her from a predatory pedophile, which Jehovah’s Witnesses has denied.

Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard, 3 April 2019:

Already seventy possible victims of abuse report to the Jehovah’s Witnesses hotline

The scandal of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses first erupted abroad, but has also received attention in Belgium since last week’s Pano [TV show] report. There are seventy possible victims reporting to the “Reclaimed Voices Belgium” hotline.

Since two weeks, “Reclaimed Voices” has also a hotline in our country, and in the aftermath of the Pano broadcast it is receiving “disturbing messages”. “Almost a week after the broadcast, there are more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from…

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Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation

The Watchtower’s child abuse protocols read like a mashup of Scripture and corporate policy.
From a 1989 Watchtower letter to all U.S. elders describing the importance of secrecy:

“Often the peace, unity, and spiritual well-being of the congregation are at stake.
Improper use of the tongue by an elder can result in serious legal problems for the individual
the congregation, and even the Society.”

Every year in the United States, 60,000 children (aged 11 and younger) are sexually abused.
Every year, 321,500 (aged 12 and older) are sexually assaulted or raped.
80% of all those sexually abused under the age of 18 are abused by a parent or stepparent. (RAINN, 2019).

Normally believing people following Jesus should try to have an immaculate life, taking care of and protecting those around them.

From Jehovah’s Witnesses one would expect that they would show respect for men, women and children and would take care that those who do something atrocious against the Law of God would be punished and would be put out of the community. Often we hear about people have been disfellowshipped for matters which could be talked about and which are not so terrible as for the matters we came to hear about the last few weeks.

At the end of March a documentary was shown on the Flemish state television about reports of sexual abuse by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the edition of “Pano” on VRT Eén the documentary brought to light that the organisation had been covering up sexual abuse of minors via an internal ‘disciplinary’ system for years. That way, none of the claims were reported to the police. One of the witnesses, who has been an elder in the organisation, was very straightforward in the documentary, in calling it

“a paradise for paedophiles”.

The (protected and therefore made anonymous) elder made it clear the organisation had in March 1997 already sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide indicating for the dangers if some news about paedophile acts would come into the public. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator:

Write a detailed report answering 12 questions — Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse? — and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Keep a copy of the report in your congregation’s confidential file, the instructions continued, and do not share it with anyone.

The man in charge for Belgium, Louis De Wit was not really willing to give a reasonable reply for what was going on behind the doors of this religious organisation.  He gave the impression he did not know about such “blue envelope”.

One would think Jehovah’s Witnesses disapprove of sexual abuse, and would do everything to react properly against such unwanted actions. When there were sent “blue envelopes” like many from different countries tell, are sent to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, they must have a large database of undocumented child molesters:

at least two decades’ worth of names and addresses —likely numbering in the tens of thousands — and detailed acts of alleged abuse, most of which have never been shared with law enforcement, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file.

we known from more than one source.

In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, though this Christian group with more than 8.5 million members was much spoken off at several fora and blogs of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, stating such and other problems in that organisation.

In the United States already millions of dollars have been paid over the years to keep it secret.

Because the church, and its community, is for many of those victims their life, it is even more difficult to cope with, because they also feel that they can give a negative impression over their religious group. Often they live in a certain way isolated of the outside world. They go to school but friendship with non-JW is not exactly recommended or encouraged. In several countries and several JW families kids aren’t allowed to play sports in school or participate in holiday observances in school.

When the abused persons tell others about what happened they are asked to keep it quiet or are treated as the trespasser and soon after talks with elders they become considered as a “reproofed” member of the congregation, being effectively shunned,  not permitted to speak unless spoken to. Often they even become forbidden from participating in church activities and as such having been made invisible in the eyes of the church.

Having had little contact with the outside world, staying with their own, save for going door-to-door to convince others that their religion was the one and true path to salvation in these, the final days of human history, they feel like betrayed and shut down by their own “family”. For the devout, disfellowshipping feels literally like a death sentence, because according to what they have learned one has to be a JW or to “belong to the Truth” to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

Jehovah’s Witnesses call their version of excommunication disfellowshipping, a punishment by shunning to rid the faithful of bad associations with those who break the laws of God. Though this time not the abuser is disfellowshipped but the victim which makes she or he as expelled person cannot have any further contact with Witnesses, even polite acknowledgement on the street, until they take back the accusations or allegations and have proved ‘their repentance and willingness to return obediently’ to the organization.

Midway through the last century, the Watchtower took the power to judge and punish Witnesses away from the entire membership of congregations and gave it to the elders in each kingdom hall. The Watchtower also began to emphasize the importance of keeping the organization “spiritually clean.” By the early 1990s, roughly 40,000 Witnesses were disfellowshipped each year, according to Watchtower literature.

For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses literature has described the importance of cutting off unrepentant sinners, even when they are family members. A 1988 Watchtower article traces the roots of the organization’s shunning policies to Deuteronomy, which says Israelite parents must bring rebellious children before the elders to be judged and executed

“to clear away what is bad from the midst of Israel.”

Israelite parents even participated in the execution of their own children to show their loyalty to God before family, the article states, because such demonstrations of devotion can be necessary to save one’s own life.

From the way the organisation reactions we can have the impression those youngsters who say they are misused are rebellious children who themselves created such situations where the adult fell in their trap.
What is also so ‘funny” is that those people by others are called “man of God” and should receive full respect and as such nothing bad can or could be said about them.

The same as what seems to happen in many other countries (like the Netherlands) the organisation does not have any policies to prevent sexual abuse or report it to the police and even worse want to keep it silent, sometimes even giving the victims the idea that they are the cause or warning them that they may not let outsiders know about this.

Victims that quit the organisation are not only ignored completely but become disfellowshipped and considered outcast nobody of the JW (lower) members may have contact. Only elders are supposedly to have contact with them, but do not seem to do anything to help them really.

According to CIAOSN, an independent centre set up by Belgium’s Department of Justice to study sectarian organisations, there are similar findings in 12 other countries. The report concludes that the issues in all other countries are the same. Due to the strict hierarchy of the organisation, it’s very difficult to come forward, reports CIAOSN. Another issue that returns frequently in CIAOSN’s report is that victims have to give their statements about the abuse in the presence of their abusers. If the accused denies involvement, they’ll only further the investigation after two other witness statements. In all these 13 countries, there is not one woman involved in the internal disciplinary system.

Reclaimed Voices Belgium finds that it is noteworthy how many people that talk about the severe psychological damage that the exclusion by the community brings with it. They say

“In conversations we’ve had with victims so far, it seems that the trauma caused by the exclusion that follows when a victim speaks up about the abuse has an even bigger impact than the abuse itself.”

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Find also to read:

Papers documenting instances of child abuse by the JW

Over the past couple of years, Mark O’Donnell has been leaking stolen letters and other papers documenting instances of child abuse. (Lexey Swall)

  1. A Secret Database of Child Abuse; A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades.
  2. Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal
  3. Sexual or indecent assault in the Belgian Criminal Code
  4. Let’s talk about it
  5. Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims
  6. Jehovah’s Witnesses use 1st Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse and oust a victim
  8. ‘Punished’ for being sexually abused in York County: Jehovah’s Witnesses’ culture of cover-up
  9. Jehovah’s Witness leader says child sex abuse claims are ‘lies’
  10. She spoke about Jehovah’s Witness abuse, and her home was vandalized
  11. Surviving
  12. A Moment of Silence
  13. Child abuse
  14. Dear Dairy
  15. No Comment: Fordham’s Continued History of Silence on Sex Abuse Claims
  16. George Pell: A Devil in the Disguise of a Saint – One of the worst immoral things/crimes I can think of is child abuse, physical or sexual.
  17. What Do the Church’s Victims Deserve?

Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ

In this world where most people want to keep to traditions and want to prefer to follow human doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines, the one wanting to believe what God says about Jesus often feels how difficult it is to follow in line with God’s Words.

Many of us have had to endure hardships because we chose to follow Jesus. For many who came to the Truth it took several years before they dared to take the steps in the right direction. Some do know the Biblical Truth and do follow the real Jesus, Jeshua the Nazarene teacher who is also called the son of man and son of God, but do not want to tell it to others. As such, for example, we had a friend who did not believe in the Trinity but kept working as a pastor in a trinitarian preaching company. He told us he could not say openly he did not believe any more in the Trinity because than he would loose his job as minister and would have no income any-more. That is often a very difficult factor, certainly for priests and ministers.

But also lay people have it difficult to make the right choice. Some of them have had to lose friends and family relationships, and on many occasions even had to endure verbal attacks. There are people all over the world who are being put in prison and literally risking their life to follow Jesus.

So the big question for most people is,

“Why?”

Yes

Why do we choose to risk it all to follow this person who we believe rose from the dead? What do we get out of it?

When they were fishermen Jesus had asked those simple men to follow him, what they did.  At that time they gave up their profession and their income. The thought of sacrifice very naturally suggests as its correlative that of compensation; so it is not at all to be wondered at that, before this conversation ended, Peter, the impulsive disciple, so much given to think aloud, should blurt out the honest question:

“Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?”

Peter asked Jesus what they would get, and that is perhaps the question which would be on most lips when wondering to follow Jesus or any other person. Certainly (for today) when it is all about a person who lived so many centuries ago and who seemed to have caused so many problems. Peter could not but remember that while the Master had insisted on his disciples denying self to follow him, he had spoken no less clearly of their finding life through losing it, and of their being rewarded according to their deeds. {see Matthew 16:24-27 } A more cautious man would have hesitated before he spoke; but it was no worse to speak it than to think it: and then, it was an honest and fair question; accordingly our Lord gives it a frank and generous answer, taking care, however, before leaving the subject, to add a supplementary caution, fitted to correct what was doubtful or wrong in the spirit it showed.

People should know that everybody is free to choose what or whom to follow. God has given man the free choice. His sent ones, the many prophets often asked people to follow their sayings. Every time they left the choice to the people themselves, never forcing them into doing something what they would not want to do of free choice. The same for the Nazarene master teacher. He never pushed people to come to listen to what he had to say. He never pushed people to come to see what he did. When he walked around in the area people came from their own to see and hear this special man. Not everybody could make up his mind about that special figure and many doubted his position or wondered who he really was and what he came to do.

The word recalls what is said in the book of Genesis as to

“the generation of the heaven and of the earth.”

Nobody can escape to this system and shall have to make the choice to be part of this world or to be part of God’s World. That is what it makes so difficult, man can not live in both worlds. Man can not keep to the human traditions with the many heathen festivals and at the same time claim he worships God. The Divine Creator demands complete submission to the Divine values and norms. One cannot eat from the two walls. God requires an honest surrender to Him. He also has given His son to bring salvation to the world and expects that the world shall come to recognise His only begotten son.

Coming closer to the end-times more adversaries of Gdo shall try to get people away from the Only One True God. They shall do their utmost best to confuse people and to make them to worship an other god than the God of Israel, Who is an Unseen Spirit.

People who come to see Who God is and who His son is and want to follow that son, with the knowledge that this son of God the way to god is, may find it difficult to persevere because the majority is against such an idea that a man would be able to do God’s Will and to offer himself for the sins of others. When you believe that you should be not ashamed and should not go hiding, but should dare to tell about your faith, that you believe that son of man is the son of God who gave his life as a ransom for the sins of many. The belief in the son of God should make you stronger than those who do not believe in that man of flesh and blood who gave his life, was killed, put in a grave but was also taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father. That resurrection of a man is for us the ultimate proof that a human being can stand up from the death. In case Jesus would be God, we naturally would not have any proof at all for the resurrection of man.

That resurrection may give us something to fight for. People may bully us, hurt us and even could kill us, but we do know there is much more behind the ‘curtain of this life’.

No matter what you have had to endure or give up to follow Jesus, the reward in the end is so much greater than what you ever would be able to gather here on earth. We should not be afraid to face those who are against us because we do not want to go for that false teaching of a three-headed god. We should believe in what the Bible tells us and should not be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies and by those who want to push us in the world of human doctrines. You should know such people may harm you in this life but there shall be nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Therefore are not afraid for such human beings who ignore the Words of God and Who, as a God Who tells no lies, declared Jesus to be His only begotten son. Save your fear for that God of Israel Who is a Spirit and not a man of flesh and blood who could be killed. That God of Abraham is an eternal Spirit Being, Who holds your entire life — body and soul — in His hands.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28 NIV)

Our reward for following Jesus is that we shall be able to find the way to God. Jesus is the right way to go. By listening to his words and by doing what he requires from us we shall be able to grow in his teachings and shall find enough strength to continue on the right path.

We may be sure there shall come a moment that the Son of man shall come to sit on the throne of his glory and at the end of times no one shall be able to escape his judgement. therefore let us not worry but look for Jehovah and do what God wants and not so much what the people want from us.

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zep 2:3 NIV)

When doing what God wants and step in the footsteps of His only begotten son, then we shall be able to go on the right path to the small gate leading to immortal, perfect life where there shall be no more sickness or sorrow any more. Following Jesus worshipping his God we shall come to see the heavenly gates and shall come to see that those who do not believe the Biblical Truth like us may also find death, but shall not be able like us to see their loved ones again who have died.

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, {Or his only begotten Son } that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Re 21:3-4 NIV)

“13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.” (1Th 4:13-17 NIV)

What more could we possibly ask for?

Jesus has promised us everything we can dream of if we choose to suffer now, just like he did. So be encouraged today that you have a tremendous, indescribable reward waiting for you when our king returns!

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Danger of Stumbling-blocks

|| Mark 9:37, 42; Luke 9:48; Luke 17:1, 2

MT18:7 “Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks![1] But, woe to the person who causes the stumbling![2] MT18:8 So, if your hand or foot[3] scandalizes[4] you – cut it off and hurl it away[5] from you. Better to enter Life maimed[6] rather than be thrown into everlasting fire[7] with two hands and two feet! MT18:9 Also, if your eye[8] causes you scandal, remove it and hurl it away from you. Better to enter Life with only one eye rather than be hurled into Gehenna’s[9] fire with two eyes! MT18:10 Watch[10] that you never despise[11] one of these ‘little ones’. For I tell you that their angels in heaven[12] always look upon the face[13] of my heavenly Father.” MT18:11 [[“For the Son of Humankind came to save what was lost.”]][14]

*

[1] Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks: The Greek for “stumbling-blocks” is SCANDALON. Or, KJV: woe unto the world because of offenses; ASV: occasions of stumbling; RSV: temptations to sin; KNX: hurt done to consciences; WMS: influences to do wrong. Research the words world or KOSMOS for notes.

[2] Causes the stumbling: Research the word scandal for notes. What may cause “stumbling”? See Matthew 16:23 for an example. Compare 1 Samuel 25:31; Ezekiel 7:19, 20; 14:3, 4; Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9; Revelation 2:14. Many will quote Psalm 119:165 here but it is wise to discern the meaning.

[3] Hand or foot: Eve’s foot took her to the Tree and her hand reached out for its Fruit (Genesis 3:5, 6). Touch must be avoided if the object is desirable (1 Corinthians 7:1; James 1:14, 15). The feet must avoid those places that can cause scandal (Psalm 119:59, 101; Proverbs 1:16; Proverbs 4:26, 27; Proverbs 5:5; Proverbs 19:2; Romans 3:15). The word “your” is in the singular and so the Nazarene speaks to one person in the group.

[4] Scandalizes: This is closest to the Greek word. The English “scandal” is from a Greek root to “snare” and may mean: offends, shocks, disgraces; and, that slanderous gossip caused by such an offense. Research scandal for more notes.

[5] Cut it off and hurl it away: The absurdum is famous. The very imagery of people cutting off limbs and gouging out eyes is powerful and yet almost humorous for it is clearly not to be taken literally. The lesson is to remove the movement in the direction of the desire, by foot or touch. Avoid those situations and circumstances that will create scandal. See notes on Matthew 5:29. Compare and meditate upon Colossians 3:5.

[6] Better to enter Life maimed: The idea is not to be taken literally but is a contrast so simple anyone can grasp the point: any sacrifice is worth attaining “Life.” Mark 9:47 adds, “… into the kingdom of God.” “Life” here is existence in the Father’s Kingdom (see notes on Matthew 13:43).

[7] Into everlasting fire: Or, KJV: everlasting fire; ASV: eternal fire; RHM: age-abiding fire. We believe the metaphors continue as Gehenna is a symbol of destruction without end. Research the words HADES or GEHENNA for notes elsewhere. See notes on Matthew 25:41, 46.

[8] Your eye: It is the eye that desires. To Eve the Tree was “desirable to look upon.” The Proverbs counsels the young and inexperienced to be careful at what the eyes behold (Proverbs 4:25). Read and meditate upon 1 John 2:15-17. It is not called “a wandering eye” for nothing. The eye is the engine of coveting.

[9] Gehenna’s: Research the word GEHENNA and HADES for notes on the subject.

[10] Watch: The Greek is OPATE from the root for “eye.” There is a good way to use the eyes. Or, KJV: take heed; KNX: see to it; WMS: be careful not to look.

[11] Never despise: Or, KJV: despise not; KNX: treat one… with contempt; WMS: look with scorn. Our attitude toward others in the spiritual association bears on our own everlasting welfare.

[12] Their angels in heaven: At once frightening, and again comforting, to know powerful angelic creatures are aware of the treatment (or even attitude) on the part of the politically ambitious toward the humblest member of the Christian faith. Compare Psalm 34:7 and Hebrews 1:14. Note: it is the “little ones” who have angels in heaven.

[13] Always look upon the face: Or, KJV: always behold the face; RHM: continually behold; WMS: have uninterrupted access to. Consider the visions in Daniel 7 and Revelation 4 (Luke 1:19).

[14] [[…]]: Now recognized as not adequately supported by some manuscripts (D, W, Vg, Syc,p, Arm add; א, B, Sys omit).

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Paying vows to Jehovah God

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Additional reading

  1. It´s not how you fall, but how you standup
  2. Temptation in matrimony

+++

Further reading

  1. Stumbling
  2. Doubtful disputations – spiritual wickedness

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