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Sunday, November 19, 2017

I Had a Vision: Is it Impossible?

    Note: The following email exchange is a demonstration of the attitude each of us should have towards anyone claiming to be anointed or have visions. Since it is not our experience, there is no way that we can know anything for certain except if we see clear signs of demonization or extreme mental illness. We can discuss the Scriptures with them about these issues, but only that individual gets to decide what the facts are for theirself. We can have our own view, but we must let them have theirs and not try to convince them otherwise because it is not our place.

I had a vision wrote [November 10, 2017, 10:40 pm]:
    I had a vision of seeing Jesus Christ, I could describe his look and appearance in detail but I won't do it here. I had this vision and received a brotherly love and was according to my experience adopted as a son of God and Brother of Jesus - followed by a strong sensation of burning within and a voice saying "I sanctify you". I am not baptised a JW, but i am studying. I feel very close to Jehovah and everything about the organisation seem correct, except that my teacher believes my vision and any form of modern vision is of the devil. I have a very hard time approaching for baptism because of this experience, not because of the experience but because it seems like the organisation rejects it as a direct false vision sent from satan the devil. The experience changed me as a man. I have also experienced being lifted up from my bed by angels and i also hear Jesus voice some times. Jesus is young according to my experience, not a old man.
    My sincere question is: what is the official belief of the organisation? Is it impossible for someone to have experienced what i recognise as the "christian greek text" experience? Sanctified, in fire of the holy spirit, with the speaking in thounges (I do not speak in thounges now but i did when the experience occured) and I do not know what the spirit spoke through my thounge. What is the organisation's view on this subject. Is it true that the Watchtower once said Rutherford or someone else in the early days had a "flash of the Heavenly throne" and stopped having beard and was clean shaven after the experience?
    As I stated, I have a hard time approaching the baptism now because the JW's says it is impossible to have any of these early Christian experiences in our day.
    Grateful for any answer. thank you.

JW Advisor: Thank you, "I had a vision" for contacting us with your concern. There is much to say that I think you will find comforting.

The organization has stated in our publications that we are not responsible for determining whether someone else, even our own Bible student, is anointed or not. (1 John 2:27) That is up to the student. All that matters is that the student is convinced of their anointing and fully understands what it means.

Variety of Anointings

The Scriptures show that there is no one way to receive an anointing. Those in the upper room on Pentacost 33 CE heard a rushing breeze and received tongues of fire above their heads and began speaking in tongues. (Acts 2:1-4) Paul was one of only 3 people recorded to have received a vision of Jesus, (The other two being Stephen and the apostle John; Acts 7:55, 56; Re 1:1; 5:6-14) but he did not receive his anointing until later, (Acts 9:17-19) but he did not recieve the gift of tongues. Others received their anointing by the laying on of hands. (Acts 8:14-17) Still others have received their anointing at their baptism with no dramatic effects. (Acts 8:36-38) Some of these received their anointing before or after baptism. (Acts 10:44-48) A full understanding of the Scriptures does not appear to have been a requirement of that anointing.

Having Visions is not Indulging in Dreams

It is not the having of visions that the Bible speaks against. It is indulging in dreams that Paul warned against. (Jude 8) What this means is that some try to interpret every dream to guide their lives. This is a form of divination, which is condemned in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 18:10) But visions, on the other hand, have a clear spiritual component, usually involving angels or the appearance of Christ or a visual representation of Jehovah on his throne or an angelic voice, or even the voice of Jehovah. So clearly what you experienced does qualify as a vision and it should not be seen as indulging in dreams. For a discussion of visions, see Insight on the Scriptures, vol 2, pp. 1158-1160. You can also do additional research using the publications index on your own copy of the Watchtower Library on PC.

[Also, what Paul said was done away with at 1 Corinthians 13:8 was specificaly the spiritual gifts of prophesy, tongues and divinely inspired knowledge, not visions. Those gifts have a particular divine element meant to be shared publically. Personal non-prophetic visions meant for an individual were not specified, therefore we cannot speak with any certainty about them without them being a common shared experience.]

Speaking in a Foreign Language by Spirit

But there is something you need to understand about speaking in tongues: the speaker understands what they are saying, even being able to converse back and forth in the language spoken, they simply speak them in another language. If you read 2 Corinthians 14:13-19, you will see that speaking in tongues does not leave the mind inactive, and thus engages the mind. What one speaks in a tongue, they speak from their heart. The spirit merely causes them to speak it in a foreign language.

Tongues, (speaking in an existing foreign language,) are for others to hear in their own language. (Acts 2:7-11) If there is no one to hear and understand what is said, then speaking in the tongue is absolutely pointless. (1 Corinthians 14:7-12) Speaking in tongues was not for identifying ones as anointed, but for showing the transfer of God's favor from the physical Jewish nation who rejected the Christ to the spiritual Christian congregation who accepted the Christ through faith. It also facilitated the preaching of the good news. (1 Corinthians 14:21, 22) These are things not needed today. (1 Corinthians 12:8-12)

Levitation Not in the Bible

Also, there is not one single case of levitation in the Bible other than Jesus being lifted up into the clouds. Such has only ever been associated with demon attacks, particularly in people's beds, or with epilepsy or simple euphoria caused by blood pooling in a particular part of the brain, leading to visions, babeling and feelings of levitation.

Stating vile things in a foreign tongue has also been associated with demon attacks. But at the same time, I will not label your experience as demonic or in any way not coming from Jehovah's holy spirit. If you were demonized, it would be clearly evident. But you wrote well and with good words and in a lowly way. But if you have ever had an epileptic attack, then that is the most likely culprit, but I will not pretend to know. [Only you can be certain of that.]

The Unforgiveable Sin

Jesus warned the Pharisees not to falsely attribute acts of the spirit to demons in fear that they should commit the unforgiveable sin. Thus, if there is no clear evidence of demonic influence, such as leading people away from Jehovah God, particularly with apostate sayings or speaking in demonuc tones, then there is no reason to assume that you are in any way demonized. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

If you are aware that it is demons, epilepsy or some other cause, but attribute it to the spirit, after I have made you aware of this, you would become liable to everlasting judgment. But if what has happened to you is from Jehovah's holy spirit and I or anyone else were to attribute it to demons or epilepsy after you or anyone warn them not to, they would also become liable to everlasting judgment. For that reason, you should keep your experience under wraps, revealing it only to those with a right to know.

Satan could use your experience as a means to corrupt you away from God or decieve others into believing you are demonized or that Jehovah's Witnesses entertain demons, thus leading them to commit the unforgiveable sin or driving them away from Jehovah. Certainly for most, such a thing is beyond their experience and they might come to conclusions about you personally. So be discreet. At the same time, those who do know should themselves be discreet and not make any assumptions regarding it. [I post it here only to show that it is not anyone's place to judge who does not know.]

Counsel

Thus, your Bible teacher is wrong for telling you otherwise. You can direct your Bible teacher to read the January, 2016 Watchtower, pp. 18-19, pars. 5, 6, and 10, for understanding this. You would do well to study that whole article yourself.

If you think you need to be sure that you are not being deceived by demons, the Live Forever book had the most comprehensive advice on p. 96, pars 17-19. If you want to be more sure, you can also let the elders know about your experience, making these issues clear to them and ask them to pray over you. But there is also nothing wrong with simply being convicted in your experience. Jehovah did something spectacular for me that he did for someone in the Bible, which no one would believe if I told them, so I keep it to myself.

Guard Against Apostasy

But always be aware that your experience in no way protects you from becoming apostate. Thus always keep a lowly frame of mind and do not believe that your experience in any way entitles you to special privileges within Jehovah's organization. You have to earn those privileges like anyone else.

However, your experience does obligate you to live up to that calling and thus privileges are likely to come as you demonstrate your calling. From that day forward, you became responsible for striving to preach the word without let up. You must live up to your calling if you wish to receive the reward of becoming a king and priest in heaven as one of Christ's brothers, having received the adoption of a son of God. You must keep yourself holy and unblemished from the world and prove yourself worthy of the calling. Most of the other sheep do not have witness born to them through holy spirit, so that witness from the spirit gives anointed ones a greater obligation.

The thing that distinguishes the heavenly calling from the earthly hope is their understanding of the spiritual resurrection. Someone with the earthly hope envisions earthly surroundings, but the one with the heavemly hope comprehends a heavenly existence and their weighty responsibility as a king-priest over the earth. (1 Cotinthians 11:27-31; 15:35-57; Eph 2:6; Heb 6:4; 12:22)

May Jehovah guide you and protect you and grant you peace and everlasting life through Jesus Christ. [November 11, 2017, 6:26 am]

Did this reply help? [November 15, 2017, 3:33 am]


I had a vision wrote [November 16, 2017, 6:19 am]:
    Hello, yes it helped. I go to meetings now. I will be baptised.

JW Advisor: Glad to hear it. May Jehovah bless you. [November 17, 2017, 12:15 am]

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

We Are Here

We would like to assure our visitors to this site that we are still here and have been handling many of our correspondences behind the scenes as they are either of an extremely delicate matter or involve some congregational matters that we think may be contrary to the peace of the organization to deal with publically. Our goal is to be discreet.

We have handled a certain number of such correspondences and noticed a recent reduction in such. Be assured that even though we have not posted any responses publically in a while, we do respond to all correspondences that are not clearly bait by an apostate.

If you have an issue of a personal nature that you do not feel comfortable addressing with friends or elders, let us help you. Even if you have received advice from someone, but need another opinion, we are here. (Pr 15:22) Of course, no need to dredge up a problem where there is none. Be discerning.

Also, remember, we do not handle questions about the Bible. They do not qualify as being of a personal nature. That is the most common request that we turn down. Our time is limited, so we cannot field such questions. The organization encourages doing your own research. This is a site for advice, not Bible study.

Sincerely,
JW Advisor

A few replies we have received for our advice behind the scenes include:

DrumBeat wrote: Thanks brothers for reshaping my thinking. May Jehovah continue to grant you His wisdom.

SingledOut wrote: Beautiful response JW Advisor...! ;)

Thank you

I appreciated when you said...it is a matter of making an adjustment to accommodate the circumstances, as no sin is being committed that is in your power to correct..that's good

. . .

I also liked it when you suggested that I apply the council in proverbs 10:17. That's a good verse to remember.

All I want to be is a promoter of peace in the congregation. That's why I'll try your recommendation . . .

Thanks for everything JW Advisor. I'm really happy to be part of this organization where there are brothers like you two that try their best to help others to remain firmly set in this truth.

You're the best!

. . .

Keep well brothers
Agape

FamilyConcern wrote: Thanks for the straight forward advice. You remind me of what my father used to say. He likes to say it like it is. He used to say "straight talk is no insult."

And I must say, after I applied what you suggested...I get it. I really understand. . . . After going through the cross-references, I just sat and smiled in my truck. The people that work with me asked why I am smiling alone like that and I just told them: "I GET IT." :)

Thank you

Monday, August 14, 2017

HoldingBack: How Can I Open Myself Up for Serving as an Elder More?

HoldingBack wrote [August 14, 2017, 9:33 AM]:
Something's been on my mind, unresolved, for about 10 years. Truth is, I love the truth, but I've been holding back from giving Jehovah my all. What I mean is, that I can open myself up for serving as an elder more than I have.
I really want to. But I fear being disappointed like some have in the past, and getting discouraged. You know? Some brothers, like a long time elder in my hall, just stopped one day. He disappeared for several months, and came back later on. He's doing fine now, but has no desire to really resume his service.
I just want some help in getting over that feeling. I cannot seem to truly get over it. Some weeks I am fine, others, this creeps up, man, and I hate it.

JW Advisor: The key is to stop thinking about the negativity. You are not them. Elders are just members who have stepped into a position to help the congregation.

In that position, you can come across many issues unique to being an elder. But a few of the biggest issues will be strong personalities that may seem to make it hard to get something done. Another is that you yourself might try insisting on certain things and find yourself marginalized. And then the Roberts Rules of Order (RRO) may make progress slow in your eyes. And finally, seeing the decision-making and policies at work might make you uncomfortable at times. You might even find yourself afraid of speaking up for fear of ostricism or fear of being seen as a trouble-maker.

Those are all common complaints in the RRO meeting format in all meeting rooms. So just expect things like that, recognizing that it is just a matter of dealing with flawed people in a flawed process and that you yourself are flawed.

But the way past the fear is to calculate whether you have the time to do it, then just put your hat in the ring without thinking about it. Just switch your brain off when it would stop you from doing what you feel you need to do and then do it.

Do not calculate anything non-essential into your time considerations. Personal pursuits are not so important as serving as an elder. The organization needs all the elders it can get. [August 4, 2017, 10:09 AM]

HoldingBack wrote [August 14, 2017, 10:23 PM]:
You know what that's a good point. My wife and I have had discussions about me serving as such. She is in full support, and I do think I have the time, and I have the desire. I do want to help the organization. That's all I really want to do. I've had the desire since I was old enough to read. It's been a long time.
Since you put it like that, I think it's really the fear of imperfection dealing with imperfect people in an imperfect system. I really haven't prayed to Jehovah about it, in deep detail like that. 
This has given me something to think about, and pray about. You're right, I am not them. And I don't need to be thinking about them in that fashion.
You know something? I guess that helps governing body members to get through their responsibilities. I cannot imagine all the stuff that may cross their plate on a Wednesday when they meet.

JW Advisor: The key to patience in those situations is to remain detatched during any decision-making process or any situation that is potentially volatile. I make myself into the one rising above it, but more as the impartial arbiter with no horse in the race, as they say. That puts me in the frame of mind to ask the right questions and guide the discussion toward a conclusion that all can live with.

If a challenge or insult occurs, I recognize that they don't mean it and carry on as if it was not even said. That generally causes the person to think about what they said, letting the silence flog them, so-to-speak, but not in a way that embarasses them any more than they may already be embarassed by it. It is important to help them keep as much of their dignity as they can salvage out of love. [August 14, 2017, 10:40 PM]

HoldingBack wrote [August 14, 2017, 10:43 PM]
Yeah. Perhaps taking things personal can have a negative effect. The point you made about "strong personalities" had me thinking. It's entirely possible to detach ourselves in the sense too, that we recognize why we are here. For example, we have office meetings about how we are going to handle issues, and realizing that a suggestion is best for everyone, and not me only, can help deal with that.
This was a very encouraging discussion. Thank you for your [] suggestions bro. . . . What I need to do now today is make sure i pray about it, in detail, and accept the help that I'm given.

JW Advisor: We're glad to help. [August 14, 2017, 10:45 PM]

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Worried one: How Do I Address My Bible Teacher's Irreverant Behavior?

Worried one wrote [May 14, 2017, 2:53 PM]:
I have been studying with a brother for some months now. Before that i was studying with another brother at the previous city i was living in. I am an unbaptized publisher and looking to make spiritual progress. 
The brother and his family have been very good to me and I wholly appreciate their love. They've told me they see me as a spiritual son.
However, I am put off by their conduct sometimes. They often whisper to each other during meetings and joke at inappropriate moments. Their comments often seem trite or self-absorbed.
I don't want to sound ungrateful but it's a problem for myself. I'm thinking of changing congregation, as I feel pressured to sit with them, which I don't want to do.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

JW Advisor: I am glad that you are not seeing it as an excuse to leave. Their irreverant behavior shows some spiritual immaturity and you have done well to recognize it as such. Though you should know that you are not under any obligation to sit with them. We each have to take charge of our own choices.

There is no real wrong answer here except failure to act [for peace]. So I'll list your options below, some of which you already considered:

1) Find a new congregation. This is effectively the neuclear option and not one I recommend. You're going to have a problem moving every time there's someone in need of a little correction. Running away never solves anything. We should also avoid developing or letting persist any trait of cowardous in ourselves. With prayer, Jehovah helps us to be brave. Running away in times like this shows reliance on ourselves rather than Jehovah. Nevertheless, there may be a time, when you've exhausted all other options, that changing congregations may be necessary

2) Move to a different seat. I recommend a seat far away from them and a little forward from them so you won't be distracted from a distance. This doesn't really resolve anything and could end up alienating you from them in the long run. Not only are they your Bible teachers, but soon they will officially be your spiritual brother and sister, assuming that you progress to baptism. (It sounds like you are on your way with the humility you are showing in this matter.) It is important not to become alienated from our brothers and sisters unless they commit a serious sin [and are in need of showing repentance].

3) Tell them how you feel. This is really the best answer in most situations. On your own, whether at the congregation or during your Bible study, or with a special visit to their home, sit them down and explain that you have been bothered by their behavior during the meetings. If they are humble, they will respond positively. But always remember, no matter what their response, that each will carry their own load. (Galatians 6:1-5) As servants of Jehovah, everything we say to draw others to the truth or in counseling others is in service to Jehovah. Our words allow Jehovah to work through us. By stepping up to give counsel or encouragement or a witness, we are acting as Jehovah's mouthpiece saying what he wants to tell the people we talk to. If someone rejects your reasonable counsel, particularly if you use a scripture or two or refer them to one of the organization's Bible-based publications, remember that it is Jehovah's counsel they are rejecting, not yours, (Luke 10:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:8) as long as the counsel is given from a place of love and concern and not from intense negative emotion or egotism. I think your Bible teachers will be very humbled by having to be counseled by their own Bible student for what even the world considers disrespectful, and it may serve to make them into a much more spiritual team and better servants of Jehovah.

You might be able to illustrate their behavior by referring to the music video at tv.jw.org that showed the pioneer couple who were taking photos of each other and selfies and ignoring passers by. That obnoxious behavior is easily comparable to talking and snickering during meetings. [May 14, 2017, 4:36 PM]

Worried one wrote [May 15, 2017, 2:23 AM]:
Thank you very much for the advice; it is certainly helpful. I shall endeavour to pray upon the matter and seek a resolution to the problem.

JW Advisor: We are glad to help. Thank you for contacting us. We would be glad to hear how things have worked out for you in this matter. [May 18, 2017, 4:41 AM]

Friday, August 12, 2016

ConcernForYouths: How Can I Help Young Ones Stay Faithful?

ConcernForYouths wrote [August 11, 2016 at 3:47 am]:
I've been disappointed by the fact that young ones aren't taking Jehovah seriously. Leaving, dating way too young. I feel Jehovah needs students, researchers, and staying close to the more mature older ones within the congregation, I've thought about it and the only thing I can come up with as for right now is embrace them and seek them OUT! Like actually making planned visits, on a regular bases. What are your thoughts? Scriptural?
JW Advisor: I find it necessary to speak to you about each of our own responsibilities toward those who are lacking faith. Your daily Bible reading is the best place to find what you are looking for. The faithful slave has been discretely teaching all of us to use the Scriptures to help us to make wise decisions.

In this particular matter, Paul's letter to the Romans had some very wise counsel for those of us who are strong in faith. He wrote:
We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even the Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written: “The reproaches of those reproaching you have fallen upon me.” For all the things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who supplies endurance and comfort grant you to have among yourselves the same mental attitude that Christ Jesus had, so that unitedly you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So welcome one another, just as the Christ also welcomed you, with glory to God in view. For I tell you that Christ became a minister of those who are circumcised in behalf of God’s truthfulness, so as to verify the promises He made to their forefathers, and that the nations might glorify God for his mercy. Just as it is written: "That is why I will openly acknowledge you among the nations, and to your name I will sing praises." And again he says: "Be glad, you nations, with his people." And again: "Praise Jehovah, all you nations, and let all the peoples praise him." And again Isaiah says: "There will be the root of Jesse, the one arising to rule nations; on him nations will rest their hope." May the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your trusting in him, so that you may abound in hope with power of holy spirit. (Romans 15:1-13)
So, by our strong faith, it is indeed our responsibility to look after those who have weaknesses in their faith. In so doing, we are not trying to please ourselves, to make ourselves feel better. But we should do it to please our neighbors, especially those related to us in the faith. (Galatians 6:10) For what purpose? "To build him up." He shows us our exemplar, Jesus Christ, saying that he did not do what he did to please himself, but because he felt it personally, deep down with deep concern, when he saw ones lacking faith, viewing it as reproaches that he was responsible for correcting.

Paul continues by pointing out, just as I have been here, that we have examples set before us in the Scriptures, to look to for guidance and direction. Through those things we read in the Scriptures, we gain comfort in our hope for the future that helps us to endure. And through that endurance and comfort, we can acquire the same mental attitude of our Savior, Jesus Christ, being personally cut to see ones lacking faith, because it is through that deep concern that we draw close to such ones and strengthen them so that they might glorify God along with us.

How can we do that? Paul answers: "So welcome one another, just as the Christ also welcomed you." For what purpose? To bring glory to God. Thus, we keep that glory in mind when we welcome those young ones and others lacking faith. It is by our being welcoming to them that they are drawn to God. How can we welcome them? Paul again answers. Our exemplar, Jesus, sought to turn back the hearts of his brothers. In what ways? He strengthened their faith by pointing their attention to how the promises of God had been fulfilled toward them, that he had promised toward Abraham and his descendants, so that the nations could glorify God for the mercy extended to them through sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Thus, with our lips we can warmly welcome and strengthen the faith of those who are weak with deep, warm concern.

Thus, it is we ourselves who must widen out in our affections if we are to protect our brothers. (Romans 12:10; 2 Corinthians 6:11-13) In order for us to provide the hope from God to those weak ones, we ourselves must be filled with joy and peace through our own faith in God, trusting that he is looking out for such ones through us, so that you may "abound in hope", not just for yourself, but to share it with those who are weak. Because when they see the hope you have and how it shines through in the things you both say and do, then it will rightly infect them. This will thus be the power and the spirit of God working by means of you to comfort them by their beholding your faith, hope and endurance. Observe yourself so that you will be a fine example whom they can look to.

I hope I have answered your question or at least provided you with something that will make you more capable in dealing with such ones. [August 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm]

ConcernForYouths wrote [August 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm]:
. . . [That] made good sense! . . . I've read it several times and enjoyed it. I've just been concerned with the young ones in my congregation, so I asked. It's not too late for them until the great tribulation. I've seen them grow and then go, therefore I felt like something could have been done. Only time will tell, thank you.

JW Advisor: Give thanks to Jehovah. I'm glad it helped, ConcernForYouth. Your concern is admirable. Taking some under wing who have no one in their family to look to is a good way to help them. But for those with a strong Christian role model in their family, they do not need us to intervene except in being someone to look to as another fine example and someone they can rely upon and confide in as a loyal friend as to Jehovah.

As for the great tribulation, who is judged will still be up to God and Christ. Though our message changes and false religion gets destroyed, the judgment of the nations will still be yet future. Being part of Jehovah's organization is only the surest way to survive the judgment, and even that is not a certainty. Each person will be judged individually according to the mark on their foreheads by the secretary's inkhorn.

Guest Advisor: That was tied up nicely. If I could add something I read recently and replace the expression, "single parent" with "Brother or Sister" in the December, 1, 2010 WT.

Discerning Their Needs
It may seem that the obvious thing to do is to ask a brother or sister), “How can I help?” Realistically, though, this rarely results in someone’s telling you what his or her real needs are. As noted earlier, Psalm 41:1 recommends “acting with consideration.”

One reference work explains that the Hebrew term used here can mean “the process of thinking through a complex arrangement of thoughts resulting in a wise dealing.”

Therefore, to find out the best way to help, you need to give serious thought to the challenges the single parent faces. Be observant, not just taking a superficial look at the situation.


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