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

Matthew 19:16-24 – Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

|| Mark 10:17-25; Luke 18:18-25

MT19:16 And, look! a [young] person[1] approached Jesus, asking, “Teacher, what good shall I do[2] so that I might have everlasting life?”[3] MT19:17 Jesus told him, “Why do you ask me about some ‘good’?[4] [Only] One is ‘good’.[5] But if you wish to enter Life,[6] observe the commandments.”[7] MT19:18 This person answered, “Which [commandments]?” Jesus responded: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false testimony,’ MT19:19 ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Exodus 20:13-16] MT19:20 The young man told Jesus, “I have guarded myself regarding all of these.[8] What more am I lacking?”[9] MT19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish perfection[10] leave and sell your belongings[11] and give to the poor[12] – then you will have treasure in heaven – and [then] come be my follower.”[13] MT19:22 But having heard this statement the young man departed very depressed,[14] for he had many possessions.[15] MT19:23 Now Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you this truth: Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty.[16] MT19:24 In addition I tell you this: It is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye[17] than for rich people to enter the Realm of Heaven.”

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[1] A [young] person: Revealed in verse 20.

[2] Teacher, what good shall I do: Mark 10:17 adds, “… a certain man ran up and fell upon his knees before him and put the question to him: ‘Good Teacher, what must I do…’” He addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher.” Luke 18:18 adds, “… a certain (religious) ruler.” Therefore, a young rabbi. The Received Text (KJV) has, “Good Teacher.”

[3] Everlasting life: The Greek is ZOEN AIONION. Or, KJV: eternal life; RHM: life age-abiding; TCNT: immortal life; BECK: everlasting life. See word studies else where by researching AION or everlasting life.

[4] Why do you ask me about some ‘good’: This response has resulted in much commentary. If Jesus were “God” one wonders why he would resist a title with the word “good” in it. The Lesson of Eden is that only Yehowah can determine what is ‘good’ and this is not the responsibility of Messiah. Research the word good or AGATHOS (from which the name Agatha comes). Note that the Nazarene’s response is to point to the Ten Commandments and the Law. He does not originate his own philosophy.

[5] [Only] One is ‘good’: Or, KJV: none is good but one, that is, God; ASV: One there is who is good; KNX: God is good, and he only; WMS: there is only one who is perfectly good; ABUV: One is the Good. The subject is absolute or ultimate Good. No one would argue that Jesus was no a “good man.” Note John 7:12. Compare also how others are described as “good.” (2 Samuel 18:27; Proverbs 14:14) Jesus recognizes there are good people (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; Romans 5:7). Surely Jesus refers to his Father, Yehowah.

[6] To enter Life: It may be argued that “Life” here is something like John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14. Thus “Life” means the new Life within the Realm of Heaven – the Church. Others will limit it to that future Life though both may be include.

[7] Observe the commandments: It is possible Jesus speaks to a young Jewish rabbi. Note the commandments Jesus lists. It will startle some what he has omitted in a list of his own choosing: the Name and the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to quote Exodus 20:13-16 then skipping back to Exodus 20:12. He also quotes what he calls late the Second Greatest Commandment: Leviticus 19:18.

[8] I have guarded myself regarding all of these: The KJV version adds: “… from my youth up.” Or, ASV: all these things have I observed; WEY: carefully obeyed.

[9] What more am I lacking: Or, NEB: where do I still fall short; BER: how do I still fall behind; WEY: what more is required. One wonders if there is some self-righteous hypocrisy here. However, Paul himself claims such rigorous righteousness or obedience to the law (Philippians 3:6).

[10] If you wish perfection: Or, KNX: if thou hast a mind to be perfect; NEB: if you wish to go the whole way; NASB: to be complete. To the Nazarene spiritual perfection will involve charity. See notes on Matthew 5:48. – Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

[11] Leave and sell your belongings: Or, RHM: withdraw! sell thy substance; go and sell your possessions. Note how in Luke 12:32, 33 Jesus tells his “little flock” the same thing. Note their response in Acts 2:44, 45; Acts 4:34-37.

[12] Give to the poor: The man could divest himself of his possessions in any manner of ways: giving it to his family, hiding investments. Jesus gives no hint that he expects the man to contribute to him though never was there a poorer man on earth (2 Corinthians 8:9). The young rabbi must say goodbye to all his belongings – strip himself from material attachment and desire.

[13] And [then] come be my follower: Note he must do this before becoming a follower or disciple of Jesus. It is possible “follower” means a member of the Nazarene’s private entourage of apostles.

[14] The young man departed very depressed: Or, KJV: he went away sorrowful; NASB: he went away grieved; KNX: sad of heart; RIEU: in gloom; WMS: in deep distress; PME: crestfallen. We watch our Lord’s eyes as he follows the young man as he leaves and we note a slight expression of pity. We would like to know the future of this young rabbi. Did he follow later, become an angry opposer screaming for crucifixion, or merely indifferent. We wonder at his death what thoughts he must have had.

[15] Many possessions: Or, NASB: owned much property; NEB: a man of great wealth; BECK: very rich.

[16] Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty: Perhaps of all the teachings of the Nazarene this is the one most disliked by western capitalist society. While the world struggles to be rich Jesus warns of the great difficulty in such conflicting lifestyles and ideals. Compare the notes on Matthew 5:42 and Matthew 6:25. Or, KJV: a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven; ASV: it is hard for a rich man; MON: a rich man will find it difficult. Though the celestial realm of God is the final goal, Jesus makes it clear that it will be very hard for a rich person to become a Christian and gain membership in the Realm of Profession. Note Paul’s counsel to the rich at 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Throughout the Gospel Age there have been wealthy Christians who gave all to help others, while others used their riches to forward the Gospel message. Research the words rich and riches. In Bible terms “rich” means having a surplus (Mark 12:44; 2 Corinthians 8:14).

[17] Camel to enter through a needle’s eye: The Lamsa translation of the Aramaic has this ‘a rope through the needle’s eye.’ Some understand it is the difficulty a camel has in crawling through a very narrow gate to enter a city. It must get on its knees and move forward with difficulty. The Nazarene does not say it is impossible nor does he rule it out altogether. He just says it will be difficult for a rich person to give attention to discipleship while torn over riches. The conflict between love and greed is the struggle between self and others.

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Preceding

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-like

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:13-20 – Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

|| Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21

MT16:13 Upon arriving in the area of Caesarea Philippi[1] Jesus asked his disciples, “Whom do people say[2] the Son of Humankind is?” MT16:14 The disciples answered, “Some: John the Baptist;[3] others: Elijah;[4] still others: Jeremiah[5] or one of the prophets.” MT16:15 Jesus asked them, “But, you [disciples], who do you think me to be?”[6] MT16:16 Simon Peter responded, “You are the Messiah,[7] the Son of The Living God!”[8] MT16:17 Jesus replied to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah,[9] because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you,[10] rather it was my heavenly Father. MT16:18 And so I tell you: You are Peter[11] and upon this rock[12] I will build my Church[13] and the gates of Hades[14] will never triumph[15] over it! MT16:19 I will give you[16] [Peter] the keys of the Realm[17] of Heaven. What ever you [Peter] bind on earth[18] will be bound[19] in heaven, and whatever you release[20] upon earth will be released in heaven.” MT16:20 Then Jesus gave the disciples a rebuke[21] so that they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.[22]

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[1] Caesarea Philippi: After 70 AD, General Titus held gladiatorial shows here. He used captured Jews as victims [The Jewish War, VII, 23, 24 (ii, 1)]. The name was changed (after 70 AD) to its older name Paneas. In Arabic this became Banyas. The use of Caesar Philippi would argue the Gospel of Matthew would have had to be written before 70 AD. See the book The Jesus Papyrus. Josephus describes a deep cave filled with still water that is the spring source of the Jordan river. It was turned into royal gardens.

[2] Whom do people say: What is the talk or gossip among the crowds? The time has approached for Jesus to begin to declare himself more clearly to his disciples.

[3] John the Baptist: Compare Matthew 14:2 and Luke 9:7. Herod thought John so great he may well return from the dead.

[4] Elijah: Jesus is to explain this later. Compare Malachi 4:5.

[5] Jeremiah: Some Jews thought Jeremiah had taken the Ark of the Covenant and hid it on Mount Nebo. Tradition had it before Messiah appeared Jeremiah would return with the Ark (See 2 Maccabees 2:1-12; 2 Esdras 2:18).

[6] Who do you think me to be: After more than a year or two of association with Jesus he asks for their opinion as to his identity. Peter speaks for the apostles.

[7] You are the Messiah: Or, the Christ, that is, The Christened (Anointed) One. Likely the original in Hebrew would have been Ma·shi’ach. This designation is drawn from Psalm 2:1, Isaiah 61:1, and Daniel 9:26.

[8] The Son of The Living God: Nowhere does Peter suspect that Jesus was God Himself. Everywhere he is the “Son of The God” – the same conclusion reached by John 20:31. Peter writes later about a further confirmation of the Sonship of Christ (2 Peter 1:17). The idea of God’s Son is drawn largely from Psalm 2:6, 7 and Psalm 89:26 (Compare 2 Samuel 7:14).

[9] Simon Bar-jonah: Or, Son of Jonah. The “Bar” in place of “Ben” hints to an Aramaic original. Peter’s full name in Aramaic. “Simon” is related to the Hebrew root “hear” or “listen.”

[10] Reveal this to you: The Greek for “reveal” is APECALYPSEN. This could have been revealed to Peter by understanding, for example, Psalm 2:1, 7 (a text he later quotes in Acts 4:24f) where the Christ is also the Son of God. Additionally, he had been eyewitness to the miracles of Jesus.

[11] You are Peter: The Greek is the masculine “Rock.” Or, NEB: Peter, the Rock; TCNT: Peter, a rock.

[12] This rock: Or, TCNT: Your name is Peter, a rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church; WMS: your name from now on is to be Peter, Rock, and on a massive rock like this I will build my Church; MON: you are Petros (a rock), and on this petra (rock) I will build my church. The Greek has PETRA here, the feminine of Petros. Some view this as Peter (Barclay), other’s Christ (Augustine). The Catholic view is that the Church would be built upon the rock Peter. Some Protestants make much of the masculine and feminine differences of the two words (PETROS, PETRA). However, the context seems directed at Peter in these verses; and, the facts in Acts indicate Peter’s prominence in presenting the Evangel to first the Jews, then the Samaritans, and, finally, the Non-Jews (Galatians 2:7).

[13] I will build my Church: The Greek ECCLESIA is recognizable throughout Europe as the word for a “church.” Some render it “congregation” or “assembly.” The word means EK(=out)KALEO(=call). The old Scottish word “church” is from KIRK an Anglicization of the Greek KYRIOS (Lord).

[14] The gates of Hades: Research the word HADES for details. Or, KJV: hell; GDSP: powers of death; LAM: doors of Sheol. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:50-55.

[15] Never triumph: Or, KJV: no prevail; GDSP: not subdue; WMS: never overthrow; WEY: no triumph over.

[16] I will give you: The Greek “you” is singular and refers to Peter. Note the immediate context is the rock upon which Jesus will build his Church.

[17] The keys of the Realm: Not the keys of heaven as in the mistaken traditional picture. Rather, it refers to the door into the Church, or the realm of profession. Some take these keys as three in number and reference their use in Acts chapters 2, 8, and 10 – the Jews, Samaritans, and Non-Jews as the first members of the church or kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).

[18] What ever you [Peter] bind on earth: An example of this is seen in the cases of the lying materialists Ananias and Sapphira (Acts chapter 5).

[19] Bound: Or, KJV: bind; RIEU: forbid; MOF: prohibit.

[20] Release: Or, KJV: loose; RIEU: allow; MOF: permit; TCNT: allow. Compare John 20:23 and Matthew 18:18.

[21] A rebuke: Or, KJV: strictly charged; KNX: strictly forbade; BECK: warned; NEB: strict orders. It is not a mere suggestion. Another rebuke, even more stern, is about to happen.

[22] Tell no one that he was the Messiah: Though the disciples understand the fundamental truth that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God they still do not comprehend other prophetic truths which will now be explained. The Nazarene wanted people to arrive at their own conclusions without a public proclamation. The disciples were not yet ready to explain all that being the Messiah meant as the account goes on to demonstrate in Peter’s case. Jesus gives this warning several times (Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 5:14; 8:56; 9:21)..

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Preceding

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

Matthew 13:44 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Treasure

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Additional reading

  1. A rich history of ancient and Biblical Jordan to explore
  2. Self inflicted misery #4 To whom to listen
  3. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #16 Prophet to be heard
  6. The saviour Jesus his human side
  7. Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
  8. Memorizing wonderfully 31 Son of David and God’s Kingdom
  9. Servant of his Father
  10. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  11. United people under Christ
  12. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  13. Congregation – Congregatie
  14. Meeting – Vergadering
  15. Democratic principles for the church of today
  16. Intentions of an Ecclesia

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Related

  1. A sheep or not a sheep?
  2. Do You love Me?
  3. Ministry of Congregating
  4. All you, people
  5. In the Congregation
  6. Church?
  7. Bearing Witness
  8. DNA in a Congregation
  9. The Beauty of “The Church”
  10. Counting the cost: Mark 14
  11. Study | Church Beginnings
  12. 1A. Called To Be a Disciple
  13. 3. Confessed Jesus To Be the Christ
  14. Fact vs Fiction: Who was the Apostle Peter?
  15. Simon Called Peter
  16. Jesus Commissions Peter
  17. Peter the First Pope?
  18. Simon Peter and Pope Peter the same?
  19. The ‘Simon Peter’ Paradox
  20. Simon Peter is Cool
  21. 1B. Appointed To Be an Apostle
  22. Michael Kok: Hinderance to Petrine Authorship of 1 Peter
  23. The Calling and Ministry of Peter – A Night of Worship/Illustrated Sermon
  24. Study | Experiencing Glory

Matthew 13:31-32 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-32 – Parable of the Mustard Seed

|| Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19

MT13:31 Jesus put before them another parable, saying, “The Realm of Heaven may be compared to[1] a grain of mustard[2] which a man took and planted in his field.[3] MT13:32 The mustard grain is smaller than all the seeds[4] but when grown is greater than all vegetation as it becomes a tree.[5] Birds of the sky find lodging in its branches.”

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[1] May be compared to: Something about the Church – the realm of profession (see notes elsewhere) – is like a tiny seed which grows into a great tree where birds roost.

[2] Mustard: The Greek is SINAPEOS. Possibly Brassica nigra with a seed the size of a pinhead growing to as much as five meters. Wild mustard may have been right before them in yellow bloom along the lake. The Jews used the phrase “mustard seed” to refer to the slightest breach of ceremonial law. Compare Matthew 17:20.

[3] Planted in his field: Thus probably Brassica nigra. There is an echo here of the previous parable. May the man and the field be the same? Luke 13:18 has it, “a man took and put in his garden.”

[4] Smaller than all the seeds: ASV: less than all seeds. The Greek is MICROTERON and could infer the “least of all seeds.” There are smaller seeds (orchid) but most feel Jesus is speaking only of the land of Israel. Mark 4:31 reads: “the tiniest of all the seeds that are on the earth (or, in the land).” Also, Jesus has in mind a domestic seed that is planted in a field or garden within the experience of the disciples.

[5] It becomes a tree: What is the meaning of the parable? In what manner is the Church (the realm of profession) like a tiny seed that grows into a great tree? Had Jesus told Pilate that within three centuries Christianity would be the state religion and the Caesar would be a Christian, how would Pilate responded? Approaching the year 2,000 the Christian Church is the largest of the religions on earth with Christian America the most powerful nation on earth. William Barclay writes: “Sometimes his disciples must have despaired. Their little band was so small and the world was s wide. How could they ever win and change it?”

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Preceding

Matthew 9:35-38 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Preaching Tour in a Great Harvest

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 13:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable: the Soil and the Seed

Matthew 13:10-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Why Speak in Parables?

Matthew 13:16-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Happy Eyes and Ears

Matthew 13:18-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Seed and Soil

Matthew 13:24-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Field and the Harvest

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Additional reading

  1. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  2. Being in isolation #6 to Hear Call from God and breaking isolation
  3. Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God
  4. Seeds and weeds for being the greatest nation
  5. The Realm of profession in Christianity
  6. Partakers and sons of the Realm
  7. To sacrifice our being for Christ

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Related

  1. Mustard Field
  2. 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Hidden Power of the Kingdom of God

How Many were Bought

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - The F...

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) – The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the previous articles, You do not belong to yourselves,for you were bought with a price, Joining for a new year in the assurance to be bought with a price, Nazarene Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – Flee from Immorality and We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”, we talked about the Nazarene man Jeshua (Jesus) who gave voluntary his body as a pledge offering or ransom for all humankind.

Because Jesus has bought us free we should know that we do not belong to ourselves any more. Certainly those who made a choice to follow Christ Jesus (Jeshua) should heed the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20, that we/they are not our/your own.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit.

How Many were Bought?

Though we learn in Ephesians 5: 25 that the church was purchased, we must not fall into error (as some have done), and think that these few are the only ones He bought. Our Lord himself tells us, as recorded in Matthew 20: 28 and Mark 10: 45, that he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life “a ransom for many.” Quite a large number—not a few, but many.

The apostle Paul writes (1 Timothy 2: 3-6) —

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved [preserved], and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to. be testified in due time [or, a testimony in due time.

Again not a few, but all, there is no one left out. All those who are now living; all that yet may live, and all those millions who have lived in the past. Yes! a ransom for everybody! He is their Lord, He owns them all.

“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”— Romans 14: 9.

In buying all, He bought the church as well, because they are the descendants of Adam, the same as the rest of the human race.

Bought a Race of Sinners

Are the members of the church accepted on account of their own goodness or other natural qualities ? No, they are not. And why not? Paul answers: Because all the world is guilty before God, and under condemnation through the offence of one man.

“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God;” (Romans 3:19 NAS)

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17 NAS)

Yes, all sinners — those who became the church and everyone else; all under the condemnation of death.

Our condition would seem hopeless then.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8.)

Let us be humble, and keep it well in mind that those who become the church have been bought with a price, and redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (Acts 20: 28; 1 Peter 1: 18, 19), and realise that they, no less than others, must lay their sins on Jesus. It is the only way to be saved, for they must believe He is able to atone.

Therefore, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4: 10.) Belief in the Son is the condition of salvation. — John 3: 16.

A Ransom, A Corresponding Price

What, then, would a ransom (or corresponding price) be, Would a life for a life be it? Yes, that is it.
When Christ gave up His life, for whom did He give it?
For Adam and the whole of his race. What was Adam then ? He was a perfect man capable of living for ever
provided he remained obedient to God’s will. He disobeyed, and brought the condemnation of death on himself
and upon the whole of his race. — Genesis 3. This meant that, before the condemnation of death could be lifted, the race had to be bought back. And this required the life of another perfect man. Now, the Lord Jesus, while on earth, was a perfect man, as Adam was before he sinned. Therefore He could be a corresponding or an equivalent price. Anything greater would have been too much; anything less, too little. Divine justice required that the price be the same, so the Lord Jesus paid it on our behalf.

NCA 1933, January p.206

All people in the world should come to know that Jesus was born to be a representer of his heavenly Father, only wanting to do God His Will and not his own will.
Adam and the whole of his race were condemned to death on account of Adam’s disobedience. So when Christ, the
perfect man, who was obedient to God, died, He not only sacrificed his life but he gave up as part of the price
a possible bride and a posterity of his own which he might have had. And so he gave himself a corresponding price
for all.

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”—1 Corinthians 15: 21.

“”Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28 NAS)

“18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, [the blood] of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NAS)

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Preceding articles:

You do not belong to yourselves,for you were bought with a price

Joining for a new year in the assurance to be bought with a price

Nazarene Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – Flee from Immorality

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Additional reading:

  1. Why do we need a ransom?
  2. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  3. God’s Special Gift
  4. Ransom for all
  5. Atonement and the race been bought
  6. Running the battle
  7. Life is like a ten-speed bike.
  8. No person has greater love than this one who surrendered his soul in behalf of his friends
  9. Love been perfected with us

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Let us not fret or worry about next season

Map of Belgium showing the provinces (black li...

Map of Belgium showing the provinces (black lines) and regions (colours). Yellow = Flanders Dutch speaking, Red = Wallonia French speaking, Blue = German-speaking part, Orange = Brussels Capital Region (37 languages). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last season we like the Belgian Christadelphians perhaps had set our hopes to much on human beings, hoping they would not be as partial to prohibit brothers and sisters in Christ to join hands and have meetings together.

In the midst of our many activities our minds should have been on the eternal and the magical ways of the universe, trusting God He would be the One Who brings the Chosen ones unto Him. Perhaps we thought of hastening. We thought maybe the business to accelerate by trying to bring the different Christadelphian groups together and by showing our openness to all those who believe in the Only One God.

Marcus Ampe and his ecclesia could not convince Carelinks to share the love of Christ. Also other Christadelphian groups did not want to unite with the man from the North or with Australian Bible Students. We too are somewhat left in the cold, not seeing an opportunity to have many brethren and sisters meeting each other and finding more places in Belgium to Break Bread together.

We stay convinced that we should not show partiality and try to get the impartiality of God in our midst as well. If we take time for books of a spiritual nature, deep conversation, singing songs together, sharing helpful exhortations, watching uplifting movies, our meditations will be much more effective. Our subconscious will also act on what it has been programmed by all day.

We often hear :

Focus on miracles and beauty you get miracles and beautiful situations. Focus on problems and competition and you get more problems, competition and worries.

We, for sure, want to concentrate on the positive, and want to forget soon what happened this year in the Belgian community.

When we heard of the trials of Mr. Ampe we where afraid it could turn wrong. Our fear turned grounded. Certain people are too stubborn and on their own and to much looking for personal gain, so that they would not be ready for such unselfish openness Mr. Ampe presented to them and the different groups.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to fail trying to do good or to fear. Fear can be part of a survival instinct, and the Scriptures tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Still, there is a fear that can overwhelm us at times. There’s a fear that can rob us of faith and trust. Faith and fear are opposites in some Biblical texts. We should not let the fear of being alone or being a small group take us. We are not with many, but this should not frighten us. In the present world it shall become even worse for God fearing people. They will find themselves even more isolated from the rest of the world. Because the world is not interested in God and does not like so much people who love God. We just have to accept that and have to live with it.

Panic can take over when we have our eyes on the worldly things. We had our hopes on a growing community. We did have our hopes on the possibility to offer people living in Oostende, Brugge, Gent and Antwerp to find more people willing to join them. It would have been lovely if we could have send the Bible Students living around the Belgian coast to a Carelinks meeting or to have other brothers and sisters in Christ finding each other so that they could make arrangements to meet each other in their own region.

The apostle Paul knew very well what it meant to be in isolation. He also got to see how important it was not to focus too much on the human beings, but to remember that the peace of God can guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7) whilst we put all our hope to the Most High.

We like Paul wanted all the household churches and all the Christians to be harmonious so that they could stand firm against the opposition as one body. We can listen to him who said:

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)

Though it did not work out, we should not be sad. Though we still are with few (less than before) , we should be glad in the Lord at all times. We shall not get us depressed and shall show to others that we keep our doors opened to all who want to join us. Like the Belgian Christadelphian ecclesia shall keep her doors open and all the time showed their gentle behaviour, we too shall show our friendliness and love to others, working with them and not against them who show their love for the Only One True God. We do want to be clear to all men, we shall not give in to the doctrines of people and keep to the Word of God, having Christ Jesus as our cornerstone and not one specific human organisation.

We are convinced that Jehovah God is near and that we should not be afraid to stand in the cold, left behind. to our brothers and sisters we also would say:

Have no cares; but in everything with prayer and praise put your requests before God.

We shall keep asking to God that He will guide us and will provide us with the right people to make us grow as a good Christian Community, according to His wishes. We are convinced that in our hopes we shall not have to be saddened but can trust on the peace of God, which is deeper than all knowledge, which will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

For next season we do ask our members not to fret or worry.

Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

The coming season we shall continue to show people how human beings made up a church which sought to further define what is meant by the foundational creedal statements she has, at various important moments in history, drawn up creeds, confessions, and catechisms, but how throughout the times several people seriously took the Word of God as the Book of books to follow. We shall continue to give preference to God’s Word as our guide instead of adhering human groups and specific personalities.

When Jesus said

 “You are the light of the world,”

he meant that you and I are to let our lights shine for Jesus.  In the original Greek, Jesus uses the plural meaning

“you all together are the world’s light.”

(We don’t see this in English because we make no distinction between plural and singular.)  Jesus meant Christians corporately are the light, not any one individual. How could any single light brighten this dark world?

As such we still shall try to unit as much people as possible and to show them who Jesus was and is, what role he plays in our sanctification and our possibility to find a better life.

We shall continue to show people that it is not just by faith we shall be saved.
We shall hope we can bring many more to the faith in Christ Jesus. But we shall also show them we do need to live according to that faith we choose. We shall also show them that we need to help each other to reach the goal, so that we when we come in front of the returned Jesus shall be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of God. We shall show the people that  Jesus will judge everyone according to what they have done. (Romans 2:5-6; Matthew 5:22; 7;2;25: 31-45; Revelation 20: 12.13).

Keeping that in mind we shall continuously try to bring more people together under the name of Christ, following his example, doing good, seeking after the glory honor and immortality God offers.

Those who  wanted to live for themselves, have power for them selves, we shall try to bring to a better attitude, showing that we all need together to work for the same good cause, giving ourselves in the Hands of God, obeying the truth and giving full ear to Jehovah God and not preferring human organisations above God His Wishes.

Prayer has comforted us in sorrow and we did find hope in the willingness of the few to continue preaching and going forward trying to unite people in the love of Christ.

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Preceding articles:

An academic year ending, again a new year standing ready for us

Our openness to being approachable

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Read also:

  1. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  2. Hope does not disappoint us
  3. Focus on outward appearances
  4. Walking alone?
  5. God doesn’t call the qualified
  6. Christadelphian people
  7. Not many coming out with their community name
  8. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  9. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation
  10. Attackers silenced freedom of speech
  11. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  12. Iranian refugees in Belgium baptised by Carelinks
  13. Antwerp Ecclesia
  14. Delay in publications because attack from outside
  15. Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation
  16. No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
  17. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  18. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity
  19. Prayer, important aspect in our life
  20. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  21. Give your worries to God
  22. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  23. Work with joy and pray with love

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  • Soul-searching questions, by Charles Box (fellowshiproom.org)
    Paul exhorted the Philippian Christians to diligence and seriousness in the Christian life. His teachings to these brethren provide us with some soul searching question.
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    We are required to work out our own salvation. We cannot be saved on the goodness of our parents or the faithfulness others. Salvation is a personal matter and each person must obey God himself.Our obedience begins with our belief in Christ as our Savior, repen­tance of our sinful ways and baptism for the forgiveness of our sins. Our obedience continues as we live according to His word as revealed to us in the New Testament.
  • Philippians 2 (King James Version.) The Bible in government. (moralupbringing.com)
    If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded , having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind . 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
  • Fan or Follower? | Part 2 (comeawake.org)
    Don’t be too quick to choose one over the other. Don’t make the mistake of answering this question like all the other questions you’ve been asked by preachers, Sunday School teachers, and Small Group leaders. This isn’t a knowledge-based question. It’s a heart-based question. It’s a conviction-based question. It’s a commitment-based question.
  • Find the good, hold fast to it, and be not moved. (madisonamydunne.wordpress.com)
    This week a lot of us had emergency changes because a lot of new missionaries came to our mission from other missions in Peru
    +
    We must read the Bible, realize that He formed it built upon prophets, apostles, and that His church has the authority of God.
  • Faith Is Based On Knowledge By Andrew Wommack (zillasnetworks.wordpress.com)
    all things that pertain unto life and godliness are given unto us through the knowledge of God.
    Certainly, faith must be one of those things because without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). So faith must come through the knowledge of God.
  • Needs (johnjohnsonsgranddaughter.wordpress.com)
    There are 21 verses from the bible on Needs
    +
    The only thing that I truly need, everyday, more than food and water, is Christ.  But you knew that, right?
  • Book of Philippians (brakeman1.com)
    The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verse 14; and in 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21.
  • earth moving principles (mobilisedbygod.wordpress.com)
    It is amazing that many of our opportunities to serve others comes through praying for those opportunities. Nehemiah understood the power of prayer, and so he prayed as soon as he received news of Jerusalem’s continued desolation.
  • ‘Not Just a Blonde’: Worrying Steals… (cultureofawareness.com)
    Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it steals today’s peace! Worrying is just not a helpful thing to do! Worry keeps us stuck in our fears. It forces us to focus on the negative possibilities and blinds us.
  • Fear: The Absence of Peace (inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com)
    When fear is present, peace is absent. Fear robs our peace of mind, weakens our resolve, disturbs our rest, and even causes us to question the presence of God. Fear is an emotion that will hinder our walks with Christ unless we learn to face it and overcome it with the grace of God.

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

|| Mark 1:1-6; Luke 3:1-6, 12-14

The Jordan River

The Jordan River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MT3:1 But in those days[1] John the Baptist[2] came from the Judean wilderness,[3] MT3:2 preaching, “Repent[4] for the Realm[5] of Heaven has drawn near.[6] MT3:3 For this is the One spoken of by Isaiah[7] the prophet, saying, ‘A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make ready the Way of YHWH – make straight His roads.”’” [Isaiah 40:3] MT3:4 But this John dressed in camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist and hips. His food was locusts[8] and wild honey. MT3:5 Then Jerusalem and all the Judeans[9] and all the country along the Jordan came to John, MT3:6 and they publicly confessed their sins[10] and John baptized[11] them in the Jordan river.[12]


[1] Those days: Luke gives the precise timing by paralleling these activities with several contemporary rulers and priests (Luke 3:1ff). It was the year 29 AD.

[2] John the Baptist: The prophet from the desert is mentioned 150 times in the Christian Bible. The name “John” means “Yah Favors.” Jesus ranks him equal to any of the greatest people in the Bible (Matthew 11:11, 12). Jesus compares him to the prophet Elijah.

[3] Wilderness: BER: the Judean desert.

[4] Repent: Repentance is a key word in the Bible. It means to “change the mind” or “feel sorry” for sins. The word group occurs 70 times in the Bible with the first at Job 42:6 and most often in Luke, with Revelation second. John’s call to repentance was regarding sins against the Mosaic Law.

[5] Realm: The Greek is BASILEIA and is often translated “kingdom.” MOF: Reign of heaven. The word occurs 366 times, first at Genesis 10:10 and most often in Daniel and then Matthew. The word may mean the seat of government, that is the king, or source of the authority. It may also mean the realm, territory or domain of the King. Here John has in mind the future manifestation or appearance of the Messiah Jesus, the “king of Israel.” “Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew) or “kingdom of God” (Luke) is used most often by the Nazarene to mean the “realm of profession” or the Church (Compare the parables in Matthew 13).

[6] Near: Usually the word “near” means within hours or days. John has in mind the coming of Messiah as the future King of Israel.

[7] Isaiah: The quote is from Isaiah 40:3 and leans toward the LXX though paraphrases a bit.

[8] Locusts: A common food of Middle Eastern nomads. GDSP: dried locusts; BECK: grasshoppers. John is very austere if not ascetic.

[9] All the Judeans: John’s preaching has a wide impact among the Jews.

[10] Their sins: That is sins against the Mosaic Law. These are all Jews.

[11] Baptized: The word (BAPTIZONTO) means “immerse” or “submerge” (RHM) and always occurs where there is “a large body of water.” The word group occurs over 100 times. There are two water baptisms in the Christian Bible: that of John the Baptist for Jews (Acts 18:25; 19:3) and Christian baptism into Nazarene discipleship. “Baptism” is connected to salvation (1 Peter 3:21). There is a baptism into God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; John 3:3-5). There is a baptism into Christ’s leadership (1 Corinthians 10:2). There is a baptism into the life course as a disciple (Mark 10:38). There is a baptism into death (Luke 12:38; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is a fundamental teaching (Hebrews 6:2). Jesus commanded his eleven apostles to go and baptize people of all nations (Matthew 28:18, 19).

  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
    To the people of the Old Testament period, the word would mean to turn, to return. Their experience of being in exile in Babylon and returning to Jerusalem was a powerful cultural memory to them. When “repent” was translated from the Greek, another meaning emerged: “to go beyond the mind that we have.” So repentance is all about change, to go beyond where we are and open ourselves to transformation.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)John the Baptist came at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, which Mark notes as the first words of his gospel. Luke, marks the time with his announcement (“15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” which puts it around 26 A.D. making both John and Jesus around 30 (See Luke 3:23), but all four gospels discuss this event in Jesus’ life, because it is an important fulfillments of prophecy about the Messiah (See Matthew 11:9-10 cf. Malachi 3:1). The fact that John the Baptist came “preaching in the desert,” is significant, because the desert was a place that God had called His people out from to worship Him, and it was usually represented renewal.
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    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’”Now, John’s baptism, was preparing “the way” for those to come to Jesus, but as we see elsewhere, it was only after Christ was raised from the dead that repentance led to the transformation of the Holy Spirit (See Point #5 cf. Acts13: 24ff; 19:4-6).
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
    We know that the person John is talking about is  Jesus, but Craddock notes, “the narrative asks us to exercise restraint and let the story unfold in its own time.” We’ll get to Jesus soon enough.  John simply says in verse 11, “he who is coming after me” and “I am not worthy to carry his sandals.”  If you’ve heard the story before we know who is to come.  But when it comes to the church, how many times to we assume that everyone knows the story.  We assume people know about God’s love made known in Jesus Christ; we assume they know the story of his birth.  We assume because we know.  But that isn’t the case.  We still have to prepare the way of the Lord.
  • In those days: John’s Baptism (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    John’s Baptism.“to lead righteous lives, to practice justice toward their fellows and piety towards God, and so doing join in baptism”  John’s baptism was a symbolic act that people who had already done these things – or were committed to living as such – were forming a “faithful remnant” of the covenant.  In the gospel accounts all of John’s words (except the word against Antipas) are spoken to persons seeking this baptism. His words show that John was unreceptive to those whom he judged to have bad faith, while he was friendly to those who were truly repentant. To the former he repeated threats and warnings and perhaps added new ones, while to the latter he gave hope for further dramatic renewal of their lives as well as ethical guidance relevant to their particular vocations. The former group seems to have been made up of people whose commonality was lording power over the common people: the religious leadership, the wealthy, the tax collectors and soldiers.
  • Lectionary blogging: Why was Jesus baptized? (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)
    It seems only right that we ask questions about the meaning of baptism since John the Baptist himself asked such questions.
    +
    Wesley comes down on the side of interpreting Jesus’ baptism as a model for his followers. Jesus was baptized even though he had no sin and required no repentance, which were key aspects of John’s baptismal message. Jesus did this to set a model for us. For Wesley the baptism of Jesus is an example of the obligations that rest on us as Christians for no other reason than Jesus Christ commands us to observe them. If we reject the command, Wesley argues, we should not expect the Holy Spirit.
  • The writer of The Baptism of the Lord (newevangelizers.com) asks his readers to notice that as the Spirit descends upon Jesus, “the Father announces from heaven that this is His beloved Son.”But than straight ahead continues giving the impression that this Voice from the clouds did not tell the truth and gave “a majestic revelation of the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons. ” and as such going against all the sayings of Jehovah God and of Jesus himself later in his life when he spoke about his relationship with his heavenly Father.
  • We wonder where Sermo Dei: Baptism of Our Lord (daringlutheran.net) gets it from that the Son of God is incarnate. He does not allow people to question his saying, so this will leave a blank.
    He writes a.o.:
    “By Jesus’ time, prophets of the Lord are seldom seen and heard from – even less so today. The sky tends not to be rent open wide when someone wades in the water. Certainly disembodied voices don’t sound forth from heaven, nor do dove-like Spirits descend in plain sight.”
    Though he seem to recognise the Voice of God or the Logos being able to create or to destroy things he suddenly seem to mix the voice of the Creator with the person of which the Logos gave existence of.
  • Baptism of Christ – unworthy sinners made worthy by Jesus (revpaulhgreenland.wordpress.com)
    judgment is there for those who oppose God’s ways, but fundamentally, God wants to bring us back from sin into His ways. We have the image of the Old Testament prophet, whose job it was to preach judgment and punishment to warn the people of the consequences of their continued sin, but God wants most of all as Ezekiel says, for people to turn and live.
  • Baptism of Our Lord (ijboudreaux.com)
    Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit.  Grant that all who are baptized into his name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, One God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.
  • A Title You Can’t Wash Off (jaredhillaryruark.wordpress.com)
    We could say a lot of things about baptism because there are billions of Christians and thousands of Christian traditions, so baptism can take on any number of meanings and people think about it in a lot of different ways.
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    John the Baptist, despite his name, doesn’t feel up to the task. He’s already baptized thousands in the River Jordan but when Jesus approaches he says Whoa, whoa. Nope. I’m not baptizing you, you should be baptizing me. The problem seems to be that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus doesn’t have sins so why would he be baptized? So John says, no-no-no. You’re the holy one and it makes more sense if you baptize me.You can tell somethings out of place just from their names and titles. John is called the Baptist and they’ll call Jesus a lot of things–Messiah, Christ, Son of God. And you can tell just from the titles that John shouldn’t be baptizing Jesus. Cause you know there are all sorts of Baptists–American baptists and Southern baptists, independent baptists. Larry and Susan the Baptists down the street. But you don’t hear about Joe and Suzy Christ so much. Only Jesus get’s to be called Christ and Christ is quite the title. So John says “I need to be baptized by you.”
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1 in those days: This is an OT expression that marks the beginning of the new period, not necessarily a precise indication of time (see Mt 13:1; 24:22, 29, 36; 26:29). Here it marks the time-shift from the infancy narrative to the adult Jesus’ appearance.  the desert of Judea: wilderness would perhaps be the better word for modern English. The area is the barren region west of the Dead Sea extending up the Jordan valley.
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    Matthew 3:2 Repent: the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
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Belonging to or being judged by

What to be and where to belong

Many Christians may have lots of questions about why we are created so and so, what we do have to do, how we have to behave and form our selves.  Jehovah’s Witnesses also can become confronted with such questions which can bring them into many doubts. They also can become frustrated.

Jehovah's witnesses from door to door

Jehovah’s witnesses from door to door (Photo credit: ideacreamanuelaPps)

Strangely in our world today we may find people who are excluded by the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), but who are still feeling 100% pro-Jehovah’s Witnesses. This despite the fact that the organisation has removed them from the congregation, and despite the believer his or her belief that the organisation happens to be in error for doing so!

What we do find strange by many ex-Jehovah Witnesses is that they either go totally against the Faith in One God or that they go totally against the non-trinitarian idea and go to an other organisational church. Many of them keep thinking you need A Organisation, others came to come to see clear and do find it is not as such the church of men but the church of God they have to look for.

Witnesses for Jehovah

A few believe that there is no other religious organization on earth today that is so completely committed to doing the work Jesus asked of his followers, and following in his footsteps, worshipping the God of the Bible, in the way that he prescribes, doing their utmost to be continually teaching and living by the truth of his word, and not simply the often-vacillating moral and secular opinions of men. They stay blinded that there are no other serious Bible Students who try to do the task Jesus had ordered his followers to do. This mainly because they limit their idea about preaching to having to go on the streets and to knock at the door or ringing the bell.

We do agree that the Jehovah Witnesses organisation is a powerful organisation, very well structured, and because having enough money and interested people, able to bring the tasks together, organise editions and meetings, much better than many others. They have very beautiful good publications to help people willing to learn about the Word and Work of Jehovah God. Though sometimes they seem to forget that it is “God’s word is alive, and exerts power,” (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is God’s Hand which hovers over the world bringing all sorts of people active in the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses  and the excluded ones who still hope to be part of the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) overlook that there are also other witnesses for Jehovah active in the whole world. We consider ourselves some of them.

When all in union or being united

The congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses mistakenly consider them as the only people who are truly united by their religion “in the same mind and in the same line of thought” as Jesus Christ, not just locally, but everywhere around the globe. The JW rightly consider that if all people on earth were Jehovah’s Witnesses, there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. But we also could say in case all Christians would follow the teachings of the one they say they take as their master, than also there would be already less fighting and less problems in the world. In case all people would be real Christians, and not just name Christians, really following the commandments of God, than also there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. The same simply cannot be said of the myriad of other religions on earth today, because there are so many divisions and many having non-Scriptural teachings. Taryn Viv having been a JW, and still feeling like one, seems to know one of the problems of the people in the organisation. She writes:

To their credit, Jehovah’s Witnesses are sincerely diligent when it comes to applying Bible counsel to themselves, and to the congregation. Faithfully doing so has proven to have tremendously positive results, which only makes sense. If the Bible really is, as it claims, the word of our creator, his wisdom certainly must surpass ours, and as it is summed up at Isaiah 48:17, “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”

Fallible or infallible organisation

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure ...

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us some Witnesses give the impression their organisation is infallible and only brings the Words of God. They have given the Watchtower and tract Society (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania + Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York + Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses) with their so called ‘Faithful Slave’ the same position as many Christians do give the Pope of the Vatican. It is that Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses based in Brooklyn, New York which is the ruling council of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They may formulate the policy and doctrines everybody has to follow. Strangely enough the members of the Governing Body say they are followers of Christ rather than religious leaders, but take the position of dictatorial leaders, whose rules and ideas everybody has to follow.
When the Society’s second president, J.F. Rutherford, encountered opposition from directors in 1917, he dismissed them; in 1925 he overruled the Watch Tower Society’s editorial committee — selected by Charles Taze Russell to have editorial control of The Watch Tower after his death—when it opposed publication of an article that altered doctrines on Bible chronology related to 1914. In 1931, the editorial committee was dissolved and until January 1976, the president of the Governing Body exercised complete control of doctrines, publications and activity of the Watch Tower Society and the religious denominations with which it was connected — some of the Bible Students Movment and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The ones to tell what is right or wrong

Though not one man is infallible and knows everything. Even Jesus did not know when he would return to the earth. But the organisation claims that they can tell all people what is right and wrong, and that they are the only ones who can bring people to God. For sure they will help a lot of people to find the Only One God and to come to see the difference between the man made gods and the Only One God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. We should know that we as human beings have all our limitations and cannot expect perfection of one another in this system of things, nor can we expect it of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor those appointed to positions of responsibility, in spite of the tremendous good that Jehovah clearly is using the JW, Bible Students, Christadelphians and other non-trinitarian Christians who freely  and sincerely, contribute to the work of God.

Transgender – Being and feeling in a body

As a transgender woman for many, many years, the writer was quite frankly a bit shocked that, within weeks of her first surfacing the truth of her situation openly with a brother whom she considered a long-time friend, the congregation elders had decided this was a “judicial matter,” and scheduled a meeting to essentially determine whether she would be “repentant,” or would need to be removed from the congregation. Strangely enough you could wonder how it did happen they did not know earlier.
Such people with a gender problem, which we encounter much more today (also have a look at the articles on Stepping toes) are not only in trouble with their own situation, having to suffer from major depressive illness for some years and as a result having very little contact with their own family, do not have it always easy  to mix with others and to enjoy friendly contacts and group meetings in Christian groups.

Exclusion because of gender choice

Dr. Camille Cabral, a transgender activist at a demonstration for transgender people in Paris, October 1, 2005

Because Taryn Viv cannot, and will not dress and present herself as the “man” she had come to realize she never truly was in the first place, she has been removed from the congregation. This is somewhat shocking which we often have to hear about the JW, who exclude followers and have their family members and friends of the faith-group charged not to meet the excluded person any more.

When we do know that everybody is created in the likeness of God, and that we do bear the image of God, you may wonder if those who do not feel at ease in their body are really doing something against the Will of God ,when they let science help them to become the person they, in first instance feel to be?

For sure, those who would knowingly and wilfully practice such things that Jehovah condemns as seriously harmful, unloving and wrong, could not rightly still be considered a follower of Christ. Those who practice fornication, theft, murder, and do not regret what they have wrong, even when baptised, can not be any more be considered a person being part of the Body of Christ. We do agree that in many Christian denominations there are a lot of people who believe we do not have to work any more once we are ‘reborn’. They think once baptised that they would enter in heaven because they are saved by Christ. But Faith without works is death.

Looks, judging and counselling

In case people of the congregation see that there is something wrong they should bring this into discussion. Faithful brothers and sisters should be counselled then to avoid any association with such a person, even to the point of just sitting down to a meal with them, where others could see the association with that person. But we do not find it right that natural brothers and sisters and parents are not allowed to speak or associate with their brother or sister or child.

According to us they should be the first ones to bring the other to get to see what he or she did wrong, but than there have to have been something wrong. Therefore we as Christians should examine everything very careful and be attentive before we judge some one else. We also should be aware that by the ages many traditions came into our life as well as ideas how we should be or what would be accepted as normal or acceptable in our community.
For example the JW always like to go around in business suits and do not find it appropriate to wear casual clothing in service. Their way of dress is also not always conform the dress in the country they preach. As such, in West Europe everybody straight ahead recognises the JW because of their Americanised out of date dressing. But that has nothing to do with commandments of God, where no where in Scriptures is written that a dress for a girl has to have a length of so many centimetres beneath the knees or up to the ankles.

Exclusions of persons

Christians should be very careful with exclusions of persons from their community and should also try to do every effort to get the person back on the right track. They never may forget that the rules of exclusion are about someone who has not shown any repentance, remorse or regret for such serious wrongs, and that the purpose of such “disfellowshipping,” as Jehovah’s Witnesses call the practice is twofold.

  • First, it may move the person to reconsider the seriousness of what they have been doing and to turn around, thereby restoring a good relationship, first and foremost, with Jehovah God, but also with their spiritual family, who are urged to “kindly forgive and comfort” them. (2 Corinthians 2:7)

  • A second key reason is that, in the event they should remain unrepentant, “a little leaven ferments the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6)

Wisdom of scriptural admonition evident

The writer of the article A Matter of Judgement recognises that the wisdom of the scriptural admonition is evident, and can be clearly seen by counterexample. No doubt we’ve all heard of some widely publicized cases of unthinkably horrid offences committed by members of various religions. (Child molestation, for example, comes to mind. Murder is another, such as the bombings of abortion clinics, for example.) When those engaging in such acts, even repeatedly, can yet remain affiliated with others of their “faith,” as though even such gross wrongs are tolerable, or beyond judgement, what does it say to the world at large about that faith?

“Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)

More believers should hear the call of those who came onto this world in an other body than there mind tells them.

For now, though, I’ll conclude by saying I am grateful to be attending meetings regularly at the Kingdom hall again, and despite being considered “disfellowshipped” I find them spiritually strengthening and encouraging.
These days I am glad to say I can be more sociable again, and although it saddens me that I cannot now freely associate with many of my friends, brothers and sisters in the congregation, I find I am being given precious opportunities to speak about the good news of God’s Word with others I come into contact with.

Far from letting my circumstances cause me to be negative, many an acquaintance has told me they have come away after a conversation with a better view of both the Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses than they had before.

It pleases me know that I can still plant seeds of truth. I would encourage anyone in my sort of situation to do the same. Jehovah is a rewarder of those loyal to him, and so although the appointed elders may still expect to see me doing things that I cannot do, I know that Jehovah is pleased to see me doing what I can.

We only can hope that those who found their way to Jehovah the Only One God, by the help of the marvellous work of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, when they leave that organisation will continue in the Faith and in the Truth, loving God and all His creation, the good and the bad people also.

English: Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s W...

Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses Tucked away in Elmes Road, otherwise a residential back street of Moordown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Please do find:

  1. Taryn Viv a Wrongful Imprisonment ~ Faithful reflections of a transgender Jehovah’s Witness
  2. A Matter of Judgement
  3. Food for thought, that’s all.
  4. Failing to Answer the Most Vital Question About “Becoming Jehovah’s Friend”
  5. Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun Family Members for Selfish Reasons
  6. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  8. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  9. Followers with deepening
  10. The business of this life
  11. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  12. Determine the drive
  13. Does the method of preaching from house to house have its basis in the Scriptures?
  14. Blogging for Jesus…
  15. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  16. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  17. Bringing Good News into the world
  18. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  21. A Voice to be heard
  22. Breathing to teach
  23. Church sent into the world
  24. Church enemy of faith
  25. Breaking up with a cult
  26. Dependence
  27. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  28. Casual Christians
  29. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  30. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  31. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  32. Testify of the things heard
  33. How should we preach?
  34. When discouraged facing opposition
  35. Reasons to come to gether
  36. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  37. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  38. Witnessing at LaGuardia Airport
  39. Bible for you and for life – TheBible4Life Committee explain what is planned for the national preaching effort next year.
  40. Good or bad preacher
  41. Holland Week of billing
  42. Trying to get the youth inspired
  43. Jew refering to be religious or to be a people
  44. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  45. Faith and works
  46. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  47. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  48. God loving people justified
  49. Creation and the Bible

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  • Jehovah’s Way: At the First Sign of Their Religious Doubt, Freeze Out Your Own Flesh and Blood (patheos.com)
    The elder Gonzalez is a Jehovah’s Witness. After his son expressed doubts about the movement, its Watchtower Governing Body promptly ordered the father to shun Rick and Lucas.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses Hateful practice of unbiblical shunning (christiansparlock.wordpress.com)

    “The result of ‘shunning’ is extreme anxiety, depression, self hatred, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, self injury and suicidal thoughts and attempts. This is not only painful but excruciating.” – Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

  • The Redemption (and Apostasy) of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (patheos.com)
    James Zimmerman grew up as the kind of Jehovah’s Witness who might have knocked on your door. Devout and fervent, he knew what the consequences were for apostates. And yet he found a way to break free.

    His new memoir detailing his upbringing — and how his questioning of the faith eventually led him away from it — is called Deliverance at Hand!: The Redemption of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (Freethought House, 2013):

  • Jail for Jehovah’s Witness elder who molested girls (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
    A Jehovah’s Witness elder who was exposed as a paedophile on Facebook has been jailed.

    Jonathan Rose was branded a hypocrite as he was locked up for molesting two little girls he met through the church.
    +
    The family of Rose’s first accuser say they were encouraged to cover up their allegation. He was cleared of groping the then teenage girl in 1995 trial, but she would go on to be a witness in the latest court case. Her family say they were hounded out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they expressed concerns.

  • What Does The Bible Really Teach? – Chapter 18 Review (watchtowerinvestigated.co.uk)
    You are not baptised in the name of the father, son and holy spirit you are baptised into the organisation. In fact the last question they is “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”
    +
    Gods law are not burdensome, but let me list some things that the watchtower burden with when you are baptised:-• Fill out a report card every month detailing how much ministry you have done (or not as the case may be).
    • You Must go to all the meetings.
    • You Must go on the field service.
    • You Must not have a blood transfusion even if your life depended on it.
    • You Must not get involved in any holidays, Christmas, Birthday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day…the list goes on.
    • You Must cut off love ones if they reject the religion…
    • The list goes on…
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses call on Christians to safeguard their consciences (modernghana.com)
    Jehovah’s Witnesses at the weekend held a special assembly day programme with a call on Christians to safeguard their consciences to aid them walk with God and follow Jesus’ footsteps.

    The aim of the programme was to help the delegates to work towards acquiring a bible-trained and holy spirit-led conscience, which together with the bible, could serve as a reliable guide in deepening their relationship with God.

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