Can One Prove the Faith?

“I don't really have any evidence that any prayer has ever been answered, at least since the first century,” said Whitepebble. “We walk completely by faith on this question.”

No longer do I try to prove the faith to those determined not to share it. They have an answer to everything—just as any faction today has an answer to anyone who have chosen something different.. 

The idea of living forever, minus the woes of this present life, appeals to me. The idea of gratitude to a Creator, who has superior wisdom, appeals to me. All I need is to clear up misgivings about the existence of evil, and that can be done in a reasonable manner. It’s not something you can prove, but it makes sense.

Conversely, the idea that humans will have the answers does not appeal to me. All I know and have experienced argues that following that course will just incur `one disappointment after another.

These qualities could be described as those of heart. Head has nothing to do with it. The heart chooses what it wants, then charges the head to devise a convincing rationale. This may lend the appearance that the head is running the show, but it is the heart all along.

There is a downside to being as cocoon-like as many are toward in-depth following of news events. We miss that people everywhere select the facts they like, that support their belief/value/political system, then use them to castigate those of different persuasion. People are like sports fans today. They cheer and boast when their side scores a point, wince and do damage control when their side suffers loss, but on no account do they examine the merits of the other side. There are no end of combative  ‘other sides.’ But we miss much of this due to lumping them all together as ‘the world.’

Critical thinking as a tool in the toolbox is fine. Critical thinking as an overarching philosophy is a joke. We’re not capable of it. Heart trumps head every time. We think the ‘activism’ against the Witness organization is something unique. Instead, it just demonstrates that we stand for something. Everyone that stands for something triggers activism from those of conflicting persuasion. The one way not to trigger ‘activism’ is to be bland and toothless. Then, since your faith doesn’t really matter, since it doesn’t meaningfully stand in the way of predominant secular values, no one has anything to object to.

There is little sense in trying to prove the faith to anyone other than yourself. ‘Prove to yourselves,’ Romans 12:2 says. ‘Taste and see Jehovah is good,’ says the psalm. Taste is subjective. If someone can’t stand the taste of beets, how are you going to prove to them that beets taste good? These days I just present the Bible hope. It appeals to some and does not appeal to others.

When people squawk about Adam and Eve being fairy tale, as many do in the modern world, I say treat them, and all that derives from them, as they would a jigsaw puzzle. When you put together a jigsaw puzzle you do not concern yourself at all with whether the picture on the box cover is real or not. Upon assembling the puzzle and replicating that picture, sometimes that in itself triggers a reassessment of the picture’s validity. 

But if you know the box cover picture is of Josh Grobin, 319D387C-D6AD-4C9D-9213-FBBA941EBC00and you do not like Josh Grobin because after you picked up your wife and her girlfriend from his concert, you learned in a sudden storm that bridge surfaces really do freeze before road pavement (and Josh thereafter didn’t even come to visit you—unlike Mozart, who would have done so), then you will not attempt to put that puzzle together. So it is with the ‘God, prayer, everlasting life, man dominates man to his injury’ puzzle. Some are intrigued to put that puzzle together. To others, the box cover is a turn-off. 

Similarly, prayer is not a topic that you seek to prove to someone else. Does the Bible ever suggest that course? It is personal back and forth with God, without regard for how someone else might view it. If one person thinks such-and-such is an answer to prayer, what business is that of anyone else? Besides, even believers have grown comfortable with saying that, while God answers all prayers, sometimes the answer is no.

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Psalm 53: Commentary—What a Bunch of Schmucks

The foolish one says in his heart: “There is no Jehovah.” Their unrighteous actions are corrupt and detestable; No one is doing good.  (vs 1)

[He doesn’t say it out loud. He just acts as though it were so.]

But God looks down from heaven on the sons of men To see whether anyone has insight, whether anyone is seeking Jehovah. (2)

[Can’t you just picture that? ‘Hmm—how they doing down there?’]

They have all turned away; They are all alike corrupt.  No one is doing good, Not even one. (3)

[‘What a bunch of schmucks!’]

Do none of the wrongdoers understand? They devour my people as if they were eating bread. They do not call on Jehovah. (4)

[‘What on earth is wrong with them?’]

But they will be filled with great terror, Terror they have never felt before, For God will scatter the bones of those attacking you. You will put them to shame, for Jehovah has rejected them. (5)

[‘No matter. I’m gonna mess them up.’]

O that Israel’s salvation may come from Zion! When Jehovah gathers back his captive people, Let Jacob be joyful, let Israel rejoice. (6)

[All’s well that end’s well.]


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Jesus and Socrates—the Parallels

We don’t know much about Socrates. If we’re called upon to read his name aloud from print, we say what an embarrassed Michael Jackson said, that he had heard the name many times but had never seen it spelled out. How was he to know it was three syllables and not two? So, what do we know about So-Crates? We know he died from hemlock poisoning. We know he drank it himself, that he had been sentenced to die. And that’s about all we know, plain ‘ol people that we are.

22831E0C-15F6-4966-8358-60D356D7A8EFOf course, if we have had some training on the topic, then we know more. We also know enough to say his name correctly. But most people are rank and file, unconcerned with Socrates because Socrates does not touch upon their daily lives—or if he does, they don’t know just how. They do know about Jesus, however, because Jesus is the lynchpin of the major religion. To be sure, much of what they know about Jesus is wrong, but they do have a lot of wannabe-facts at their disposal, some of which are true, whereas for Socrates they have almost nothing.

Simplify Greek history exponentially by knowing his relationship to other big names of the era. Socrates was one-on-one teacher to Plato, Plato was one-on-one teacher to Aristotle, and Aristotle was one-on-one teacher to Alexander the Great. There, doesn’t that help?

I was already delving into the unlikely. I was already drawing some parallels between Socrates and Jesus. Both had a way of buttonholing people, prodding them to think outside the box. Both attracted a good many followers in this way. Both were outliers to the general world of their time, and were looked upon askance for it. Both infuriated their ‘higher-ups’—so much so that both were consequently sentenced to death. Their venues were different, and so we seldom make the linkage, but linkage there is. As a result of auditing the Great Courses lecture series, I was beginning to play with the idea.

Imagine my satisfaction when I come across one of those professors, J. Rufus Fears, who has not only begun but has fully developed the idea in his lecture series entitled ‘A History of Freedom.’ Happy as a pig in mud I was, for it proved I was not crazy. Nearly all subsequent points are taken from his lecture, “Jesus and Socrates:”

They were both teachers, for one, Jesus of the spiritual and Socrates of the empirical. They both refused pay, a circumstance that in itself aroused the suspicion of the established system. (Victor V. Blackwell, a lawyer who defended many Witness youths in the World War II draft days, observed that local judges recognized only one sort of minister: those who “had a church” and “got paid”—“mercenary ministers,” he called them.)

7CAC7F61-0CCF-44E9-BF12-876C94793101Fears may be a bit too much influenced by evolving Christian ‘theology’—he speaks of Jesus being God, for instance, and the kingdom of God being a condition of the heart—but his familiarity with the details of the day, and the class structure social mores that both Jesus and Socrates’ transgressed against, is unparalleled. Jesus reduces the Law to two basic components: love of God and love of neighbor. This infuriates the Pharisees and Sadducees, because complicating the Law was their meal ticket, their reason for existence. After his Sermon on the Mount, “the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching, for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes.” Depend upon it: the scribes didn’t like him. Socrates, also, did the Sophist’s work—the paid arguers who ‘made the weaker argument look the stronger,’—better than they. They were jealous of him.

Neither Jesus nor Socrates encouraged participation in politics of the day. Jesus urged followers to be “no part of the world.” Socrates declared it impossible for an honest man to survive under the democracy of his time. Both thereby triggered establishment wrath, for if enough people followed their example, dropping out of contemporary life, where would society be?

Both Jesus and Socrates were put to death out of envy. Both had offended the professional class. Both became more powerful in death than in life. Both could have avoided death, but didn’t. Socrates could have backtracked, played upon the jury’s sympathy, appealed to his former military service. Jesus could have brought in witnesses to testify that he never said he was king of the Jews, the only charge that make Pilate sit up and take notice.

Both spoke ambiguously. In Socrates case, he was eternally asking questions, rather than stating conclusions. His goal—to get people to examine their own thinking. In Jesus case, it was “speak[ing]to them by the use of illustrations” because “the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes, so that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back and I heal them.” He spoke ambiguously to see if he could cut through that morass, to make them work, to reach the heart.

What if Jesus were appear on the scene today and enter one of the churches bearing his name, churches where they don’t do as he said? Would they yield the podium to him? Or would they once again dismiss him as a fraud and imposter, putting him to death if he became too insistent, like their counterparts did the first time?

If Jesus is the basis of church, Socrates is no less the basis of university. His sayings had to be codified by Plato, his disciple, just as Jesus’ sayings had to be codified by some of his disciples. Thereafter, Plato’s student, Aristotle, had to turn them into organized form, founding the Academy—the basis of higher learning ever since. Professor Fears muses upon what would happen if Socrates showed up on campus in the single cloak he was accustomed to wearing, “just talking to students, walking around with them, not giving structured courses, not giving out a syllabus or reading list at the start of classes, not giving examination” at the end. Would they not call Security? And if by some miracle he did apply for faculty, which he would not because he disdained a salary, but if he did, you know they would not accept him. Where were his credentials? Yes, he had the gift of gab, they would acknowledge, but such was just a “popularity contest.” Where were his published works?

Similarly, where were Jesus’ published works? Neither Jesus nor Socrates wrote down a thing. It was left for Jesus’ disciples to write gospel accounts of his life. It was left for Plato to write of Socrates’ life. If either were to appear at the institutions supposedly representing their names, they would not be recognized. Shultz, the chronicler of early Watchtower history, recently tweeted that when he appends a few letters to his name, such as PhD, which he can truthfully can, his remarks get more attention than when he does not. He says it really shouldn’t be that way, but it is what it is. Both Jesus and Socrates would have been in Credential-Jail, neither having not a single letter to stick on the end of their name. It wouldn’t help for it to be known that each had but a single garment.

Today people are used to viewing “career” as the high road, “vocation” as the lower. Vocation is associated with working with ones’ hands. Fears turns it around. “Vocation” represents a calling. Jesus was literally called at his baptism: the heavens open up, and God says, “This is my son in whom I am well-pleased.” Socrates had a calling in that the god Apollo at Delphi said no one is wiser than he. Socrates took that to mean God was telling him to go out and prove it. “Career,” on the other hand, stems from a French word meaning “a highway,” a means of getting from one place to another, considerably less noble than “a calling,” a vocation.

We who are Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite used to pointing out that religion has run off the rails. What is interesting from these parallels is the realization that academia has no less run off the rails. Both have strayed far from their roots, and not for the better. Both have devolved into camps of indoctrination.


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Do God a Favor Through Sacrifice? — Psalm 50 Commentary

Do God a favor by sacrificing to him?

The best answer to that question is Psalm 50:12. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you.

9FA37A99-17AF-4056-9998-2E0249C0C0C6Of course not. We’re in position to help God out? Isn’t it the other way around? People bluff as though they hold the better hand when they don’t.

Instead, it works this way:

Offer thanksgiving as your sacrifice to God, And pay your vows to the Most High; Call on me in the time of distress.  I will rescue you, and you will glorify me.” (vs 14-15)

Other reasons to conclude you’re not in position to bail God out of a spot:

I do not need to take a bull from your house, Nor goats from your pens.  For every wild animal of the forest is mine, Even the beasts upon a thousand mountains. I know every bird of the mountains; The countless animals of the field are mine. . . . For the productive land and everything in it is mine.

Don’t think you can lend him a chicken a help him out.  (vs 9-12)

Then He lays into pig-headed and surly people who carry on as though they do hold all the cards:

But God will say to the wicked: “What right do you have to relate my regulations Or to speak about my covenant? For you hate discipline, And you keep turning your back on my words.”  (vs 16-17)

How’s that working out for them?

When you see a thief, you approve of him, And you keep company with adulterers. You use your mouth to spread what is bad, And deception is attached to your tongue. You sit and speak against your own brother; You reveal the faults of your own mother’s son.” (vs 18-20)

Thieves and liars are put in high places, their misdeeds ignored. Adultery and slander is the way to go. How many will say this isn’t reality today?

And then (doesn’t this resonate?) when they’re not rebuked instantly, they figure they have the green light:

When you did these things, I remained silent, So you thought that I would be just like you.” (vs 21)

But now I will reprove you, And I will state my case against you. Please consider this, you who forget God, So that I may not tear you to pieces with no one to rescue you. The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me, And as for the one who follows a set course, I will cause him to see salvation by God.” (vs 21-23)

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“[Drugmakers] Sue Human Immune System For Patent Infringement,” reported the Babylon Bee on January 14, 2022.

It is satirical headline from a satirical source. Still, one nifty conspiracy theory is that some in this industry have come to view the human immune system as ‘competition’ and would like to—ever so slowly so as not to overly attract attention—replace it. It would be not just for profit, though it will be very profitable, but also hubris—those who worship science thinking they can do anything. The human immune system is great, they say, but it doesn’t stop all illness. They aim to remedy that problem with their sciencewhereas anyone with a good dose of godly fear and common sense knows that ‘you don’t mess with the laws of nature.’ 

Zdogg is the establishment doctor. In his snarky rebuttal of Rogan/McCullough (After back-to-back Joe Rogan grand slam interviews, one with Dr. Peter McCullough and one with Dr. Robert Malone, and the intense lobbying effort to get him kicked off Spotify as a consequence) he seriously floats the idea that he is in awe of the magnificent human immune system. That’s why he loves these new mRNA vaccines that train it to do what it has to do! Awesome as it is, it doesn’t know how to do it’s main mission?

I never did get around to saying what I thought of his patronizing twaddle and it’s about time I did. You want to choke him. He points to McCullough’s supposed ‘logic fallacies’ as he commits his own that are far worse. I already posted this guy but here he is again:

Commenting on how Dr McCullough was not swayed by the establishment hit pieces against Ivermectin, he points to how the objection to one was, ‘It wasn’t given soon enough’ and his objection to another, ‘It wasn’t given in combination with the other substances we all use,’ and then complained: “It never ends!” Isn’t a trail of two a little early to say ‘it never ends?’ Of course, the history of the front-line doctors taking the stuff and remaining untouched by Covid in the course of treating thousands of patients—and testifying to this before Congress—is not something he mentions.

And then—this is just a classic with these ‘critical thinking’ champions who take it for granted that they have a lock on the stuff—he admits that he has a bias. He is pro-vaccine. There. He said it. And then carries on as if this makes him a hero, as though it never occurred to anyone else that they too had a starting position! All you have to do these days is admit you have a bias. Instantly you become a hero and your adversary a manipulative Hitler.

He patronizes all in lecturing about ‘causation vs correlation’ as though no one other than he has ever thought of such a thing—whereas they (the doctors he is attacking) all do as a matter of routine. There is also abundant ‘guilt by association.’ And if you say something like “it happens all the time” he dismisses the entire point since it doesn’t happen ALL the time.

If he wasn’t taking out a greater enemy, I almost think tech media would have sought to ban him as well, for he acknowledges McCullough is an expert, and further went on to skewer several sacred cows, asserting that the government has frequently lied, even naming Fauci himself, and stipulating the mandate policy is ridiculous.

And then he dismisses (Rogan told McCullough, who hadn’t heard, about this) the tech fellow who has offered $1 million to anything who will live-debate Covid 19 with him but can’t find any takers with the criticism that Steve Kirsch [I went back to retrieve his name] ‘is a fellow with success in the search engine field who now thinks he knows everything’ and ‘talks a mile a minute’ and has ‘quick command of all the medical studies’ and ‘nobody can possibly keep up with that.’

So it is a crime to be on top of your game? Why can’t he find someone on his side who is on top of his game? Find someone who also  is in-your-face (it is not as though the world suffers for lack of pugnacious people) who also has quick command of papers and research, and who can say, ‘Hold on! What is wrong with this paper is….’  Instead of just saying ‘nobody can keep up with that!’ 

It’s what the anti-cultists do.  If you represent your cause well they present that as a liability! Would they not side with the scribes against Jesus at Matthrew 7:28?  “When Jesus finished these sayings, the effect was that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching, for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes.”

‘That’s because they were listening to a manipulative cult leader,’ they would say. ‘Nobody can keep up with that stuff!’

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At the New System Dinner Table: Part 6–the Coming Civil War?

(See Part 1 and Part 2) Part 3 Part 4 Part 5)

In their mid-thirties, Howie and his wife are at long last having a child. Thus, Howie, whose own dad has long accused him of ‘shooting blanks,’ is at last vindicated. (No, he’s not from one of the congregations.)

So it is with the new system dinner table congregants. Are they shooting blanks? The pandemic ‘turned the world upside down’ one of them said. Has it righted itself? Here we are back in door-to-door service and some thought it would never happen. (See Part 4)

An item on the read list now being read, Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, suggests they are not. The ‘team or rivals’ is the cabinet Abraham Lincoln assembled just after his election, ones who had been his rivals. Lincoln came out of nowhere to be his party’s nominee in 1860, beating out politicians of greater stature. He had run with the stratagem of being everyone’s second choice. Insult no one. Make no enemies as you gradually nurture your own candidacy. That way, if any of the rivals shoot themselves in the foot, which they all did, victory falls to you! But that is for another post.

Hashtag ‘civil war’ today on social media and you will find it comes up a lot, just as talk of it did before the actual Civil War that Lincoln quelled. For all the talk, few people believed it would happen then, either—until it did. Might history repeat? Might that be akin to ‘the world being turned upside down.’ Civil war in the U.S. is not civil war everywhere, of course, but much of the world is just as divided, just as waiting for a spark to set off the powder keg.

Was it first observed in Tom Irregardless and Me that people are like sports fans today? They cheer when their side scores a point, wince and spin into damage-control when their side suffers a setback. But on no account do they look at the merits of the other side, for that would be fraternizing with the ‘enemy.’ 

The trend has only become more pronounced. A Pew survey released during August 2018 revealed that, as regards politics, not only can countrymen not agree on how to act in light of the facts, but they cannot even agree on what the facts are! With no agreement on the facts there can be no starting point for discussion. A recipe for civil war? In rare political agreement, and yet division at the same time, 70% of Americans—be they Republicans or Democrats—think democracy is in jeopardy. ‘Yeah, and it’s the other guys fault!’ they both shout.

Okay, okay, maybe not yet. But it could turn over in a heartbeat, just like the SS Poseidon did upon running into a tsunami. There are enough tsunami’s around today for that to happen. Who doesn’t say, ‘What in the world is going on today?’ And then it will be a mad dash for the hull, the new ‘up’ in the capsized boat, as the banners will scream, like they did in the movie ‘Who will survive?’

B346ECF6-C389-45C7-9963-B193C94A657E(photo: Wikipedia)

Whoa! When did that Poseidon world turn upside down? (See the poster) At midnight! Just like when someone sneered, ‘Why do you Jehovah’s Witnesses always have to think things are getting worse? What does that view do for you?’

‘It helps me to explain why the Doomsday Clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight and not 10:30 AM,’ I replied to someone. Given that nuclear weapons are seriously floated as an option in Ukraine v Russia, and that the North Korean head of state is launching a test one every time you turn around (‘Rocketman,’ Trump called him) maybe it’s time to nudge that clock ahead a little, close to midnight though it already is.


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The Making of Faith

Tom ‘wanted to believe in God but became disillusioned with religion.’ Studying the Bible led him to hope, he says. How can you not like a guy named Tom?

He is the one who studied for the priesthood, then counseled alcoholic priests, then dropped out entirely to become a ‘question authority’ professor, then came across Jehovah’s Witnesses. The one who studied with him related his intimidation at engaging with such a credentialed fellow, said, ‘I hear you have some questions,’ and Tom dumped a ton of them on his lap. 

Tom was impressed that the answer to each question came straight from the Bible. Isn’t that the telling factor? It accounts for those verses on how God draws some but not others. It just intuitively resonated that the answers he sought should come from God, not men.

It made instant sense to him that a book—which everyone can read, as opposed to someone’s ‘personal revelation,’ which they cannot —would be the way God communicates with us. He had to satisfy himself that the Bible truly was what it claimed to be, of course, but he would have lapped up the evidence, not resisted it. He had had it up to here with vacillating human wisdom.

At the same Kingdom Hall meeting in which that video played, John 8:31 came up. “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples,” Jesus said. 3FC02E9C-E9D0-4D39-98E8-881F9FF1C7A1Seems a no-brainer for Witnesses (and for Tom). But for much of the world it not only is not a no-brainer, it comes across as reactionary. Steeped in humanistic, evolutionary thinking, they expect religion to fall into step, to ‘move on’ and not to be ‘stuck in the past.’ You should not ‘remain’ anywhere, even in ‘my word’—unless that word says ‘Go with the flow.’

(photo: Pixabay)

Usually Jehovah’s Witnesses think that if they can demonstrate they’re doing something like it was done in the first century, they’re golden. With some, they are. With Tom, they were. But much of the world supposes it pathetic that one hasn’t ‘kept up’ with the times. The pull is between a heartfelt sense that God should call the shots versus a heartfelt sense that humans should call them. Reaction to that ‘remain in my word’ saying of Jesus says it all in a nutshell.

Though, the first of all questions that impressed Tom because it was addressed from the Bible was, ‘How does your organization handle child sexual abuse?’ Okay, ‘got it’ that there is recognition that such issues exist, but does the Bible specifically say anything at all about it?—other than it’s a particularly perverted ‘pornea,’ so throw the bum out (1 Corinthians) but if he snivels long enough in repentance ‘don’t let him become swallowed up with sadness.’ (2 Corinthians). It was necessary to step out from strictly Bible verse to tighten up policies too loose for today’s times.

I wrote something similar in TrueTom vs the Apostates. Opponents will grudgingly acknowledge that Watchtower child abuse policies have improved, particularly with the study article that stipulated the reproach falls upon the abuser, not the congregation, but they will say, ‘It’s because we twisted their arm.’ They will demand ‘credit.’ Give it to them, so far as I am concerned. Everything in life is action/reaction, and here their carrying on did indeed result in better policies.

‘Can anything good come out of Apostareth?’ Now that their efforts have contributed to positive change, will they return to the fold? Maybe—though you know how it is with ‘activists’—they thereafter want to be seen as ‘key players.’ But for the most part not even that. Many are on a mission to destroy. It’s our horror that anyone would willingly leave the truth that leads to an almost superstition over apostates which does not always serve us well. Malcontents are everywhere in every venue. Is it not a little naive to suppose we would not get scads of them too?

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Who Says There is Not a Reward For All Our Hard Work?—Mephibosheth Strikes Again

Great! Just great! Here I flub up ONE of the seven instances of Mephibosheth in my last reading—and complain about it; who would name their child an unpronounceable name like Mephibosheth?! Even Bro Mallenfont flubbed the name at the regional convention!

So what is my next reading assignment? 1 Chronicles 11:26-47! The passage has about 100 unpronounceable names! It’s one of those ‘phone book’ passages.

FD31BBC6-0496-4B61-B0D6-03B6417C79ADWho says there is not a reward for all our hard work? Who doesn’t get no respect? It’s almost like when my car says on a frigid morning, “I’m not gonna start today! That’ll fix him!”

The mighty warriors of the military forces were Asʹa·hel the brother of Joʹab, El·haʹnan the son of Doʹdo of Bethʹle·hem, Shamʹmoth the Haʹro·rite, Heʹlez the Pelʹo·nite, Iʹra the son of Ikʹkesh the Te·koʹite, Abi-eʹzer the Anʹa·thoth·ite, Sibʹbe·cai the Huʹshath·ite, Iʹlai the A·hoʹhite, Maʹha·rai the Ne·tophʹa·thite, Heʹled the son of Baʹa·nah the Ne·tophʹa·thite, Iʹthai the son of Riʹbai of Gibʹe·ah of the Benʹja·min·ites, Be·naiʹah the Pirʹa·thon·ite, Huʹrai of the wadis of Gaʹash, A·biʹel the Arʹbath·ite, Azʹma·veth the Ba·haʹrum·ite, E·liʹah·ba the Sha·alʹbo·nite, the sons of Haʹshem the Giʹzo·nite, Jonʹa·than the son of Shaʹgee the Harʹa·rite, A·hiʹam the son of Saʹcar the Harʹa·rite, E·liʹphal the son of Ur, Heʹpher the Me·cheʹrath·ite, A·hiʹjah the Pelʹo·nite, Hezʹro the Carʹmel·ite, Naʹa·rai the son of Ezʹbai, Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibʹhar the son of Hagʹri, Zeʹlek the Amʹmon·ite, Naʹha·rai the Be·rothʹite, the armor-bearer of Joʹab the son of Ze·ruʹiah; Iʹra the Ithʹrite, Gaʹreb the Ithʹrite, U·riʹah the Hitʹtite, Zaʹbad the son of Ahʹlai, Adʹi·na the son of Shiʹza the Reuʹben·ite, a head of the Reuʹben·ites, and 30 with him; Haʹnan the son of Maʹa·cah, Joshʹa·phat the Mithʹnite, Uz·ziʹa the Ashʹte·rath·ite, Shaʹma and Je·iʹel, the sons of Hoʹtham the A·roʹer·ite; Je·diʹa·el the son of Shimʹri, and Joʹha his brother the Tiʹzite; Eʹli·el the Maʹha·vite, Jerʹi·bai and Josh·a·viʹah the sons of Elʹna·am, and Ithʹmah the Moʹab·ite Eʹli·el, Oʹbed, and Ja·a·siʹel the Me·zoʹba·ite.

(Photo: Pixabay)

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Do the Trumpet Blasts Wear Thin?

The trumpet blasts and bowls of wrath (Revelation 8) have sat untouched on the shelf for 35 years. You wouldn’t leave a pie to cool that long. Will there be an update someday?

Presenting things chronologically, as in the Revelation Climax book, was all the rage at one time—make the timeline work out. The pieces fit together pretty well, but what to do about the blasts and the bowls?

They must have been ‘fiery’ resolutions and publications from the ones just released from prison who hit the ground running and swarmed like locusts for their numbers. Why in prison? Because their religious work was judged to have run afoul of the U.S. 1917 Espionage and Sedition Act. (The same parallel has happened in Russia, exactly 100 years later!)

Vic Vomodog called those resolutions and publications “nothing but anti-church hate speech from the 1920s!”

Yes, it’s trendy and inclusive to say such things, but it does not do justice to the fact that the dominant religions served as cheerleaders for World War I, which cost millions their lives, and showed every sign of doing it again for World War II. Yet, in the interim, they presumed to slide right back into their comfy chair of representing the Prince of Peace. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses, virtually alone, were not going to let them get away with it. Ought they be lambasted for it? No. Applaud them for their courage. Had those dominant religions taught their members Christ’s ways of peace, insisting upon it when the going got rough, those wars might have fizzled quickly—how can you fight a war when the overwhelming majority of the populace won’t fight? Instead, they acquiesced to the will of ‘the nations.’

It all boils down to religion determined to be an integral part of this system so as to be ‘relevant.’ Determined to fix this world, it ignores or dilutes into impotence Jesus’ direction to be ‘no part of this world.’ He gives that direction because he’s already hung a ‘Condemned’ sign on it. Do you rush into a condemned building to fix it up?

It turns out that Pius XII was not pro-Nazi, even though he’s been called ‘Hitler’s Pope.’ He was a schooled and cultured diplomat who imagined himself solving thorny world issues through diplomacy. He loathed Hitler. He personally shielded thousands of Jews in his Italian realm. But he had German bishops under him who were pro-Nazi. In the end, he made agreements with the German regime because he did not want to see Catholics there consigned to the camps (as were Jehovah’s Witnesses).

So I ran all this past Tom Whitepebble, that Pius was not the bloodthirsty guy that some have thought, and he says, ‘Well—it’s hard to stay clean when you’re a harlot.” The spiritual persons see the big picture and do not get pulled into the minutia, the political wrangling of a world that has already been condemned by the Lord. They know instead it is high time they kept themselves clean from it rather than imagine they are there to fix it.

This is why it is the “unlettered and ordinary” who take the lead in the modern Christian work. This is why, when the “educated people” come along and say, “You’ve done very well. We’ll take it from here and smooth out your rough edges,” they do not yield. The educated people think of ways to accommodate sensibilities of this system. They are forever backing off and reevaluating. The unlettered and ordinary get the work done.

In that period between the two world wars, the 1937 book Enemies denounced ‘false’ religion as “a great enemy, always working injury to mankind,” it’s adherents “agents of the Devil, whether they are aware of that fact or not.” How’s that for ‘fiery?’ “You will notice that its cover is tan, and we will tan the old lady’s hide with it,” Judge Rutherford said in releasing it.

It’s not the prime focus today. Why kick the old lady while she is down? Witnesses kicked her while she was up—and arguably brought her down. The goal was only to dent credibility enough to loosen her iron grip on parishioners. These days every wuss of an atheist, who would pee his pants if called upon to confront the dominant religions when they had real power, as Witnesses routinely did, are kicking her now that the role is so much easier.

What to make of those trumpet blasts? Maybe it’s “that Jehovah gave each generation something to be busy with and a few prophecies to help them through their own times.” It was all the rage for a time to go verse by verse sequentially into the prophetic books, ‘unlocking’ each one and applying it to specific events wherever feasible. While not abandoning that approach completely, these days passages are as likely to be bunched up with recognition of their thematic content, and not necessarily taken apart verse by verse. The 2018 Pure Worship Restored commentary on Ezekiel takes this more current approach. 

‘It flies at the time’ is all that really matters. Some thought it a stretch even then for those trumpets and bowls to be associated with specific early conventions and the resolutions then given. But the rest of the Revelation Climax book was (and still is) so spot on that I did what the Monty Python monk does—“Skip a bit, brother.” 

For all the complaining heard about the brothers not being “transparent,” when they are transparent there’s complaining about that too. Hitting the Research Guide in connection with those Revelation 8 verses will still take you back to the Revelation Climax book explanations, but it’s been decades since I’ve heard any talk incorporating those explanations (if I ever have). No problem here in saying that we floated the idea for a time but no longer do. You can still find it though. Nothing is hidden.

BE4147FB-3F4D-4183-BAAF-B4429F1A8815It’s better to focus on what has endured, which is the bulk of it, not on what has died a ‘pocket veto’ by never being referred to again.


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A Time to Speak and a Time to Be Still—also ‘The Best (Wt) Article on Prayer I Have Ever Read.”)

I inquired of Jehovah, and he answered me, And out of all my frights he delivered me.” (Ps 34:4)

Just how did the do this? Any takers? (David wrote this when he played crazyman before Achish, [successfully] trying to get himself out of a spot)

It wasn’t exactly an answer, but someone posted “the best article on prayer I’ve ever read.” It was to me, as well—and it was way back in 1958. ‘Your prayers tell on you. Explains how God answers queries and petitions.’

It includes one remarkable excerpt: “So by listening to the Holy Scriptures the words of the prophets, the thoughts of the apostles and the wisdom of Jesus Christ all flow through the mind, refreshing it and building it up. In this way one can spend all night in prayer with God and hardly say a word. When you listen you learn. When we listen to the words of the Scriptures we show ourselves learners of God.” (Italics mine)

Imagine—spending all night in prayer with God and hardly saying a word! It’s an observation that hasn’t been repeated, to my knowledge. Did some HQ technician reclassify the ‘listening’ part as ‘meditation,’ thereby collapsing the total prayer length to only that which you can ‘count time’ for—the time that you are talking? Dunno, but the idea of giving a one-sided speech lasting all night is not the easiest idea to put into practice. It sure works for me if you listen up to near 100% when the occasion warrants it. 

Though, to be sure, as judged by my own verbosity, I don’t come across as someone who listens 100% of the time, do I?

“For the true God is in the heavens but you are on the earth. That is why your words should be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2) ‘It ain’t be, babe.’ Should it be?

It’s like the commentary (week of December 19, 2022) on 222AEF81-235C-4F64-8E15-8CD255D63564Hezekiah under threat from Rabshakeh. As is the case in the modern day, the assault on Jehovah is cloaked in an assault on the ones taking the lead: ‘You’re going to listen to Hezekiah?’ he taunts in effect to the Jews on the wall. ‘What have you been smoking?’ (2 Kings 18: 19-35)

(Photo: Chuck Gremmit—Wikimedia)

Says the commentary: “Wisely, the people did not try to respond to the slanderous propaganda, a course often followed by Jehovah’s servants in our day.” (italics mine)

One can almost read (a bit disconcertingly) the words between the lines: ‘It would be ‘always followed’ were it not for that idiot Tom Harley and ones like him!’

It’s like what I wrote in TrueTom vs the Apostates. Is responding to the propaganda of apostates is a good thing? Doing so is the premise of the entire book—in part, to aid whoever has been stumbled by them, for an application of that ancient drama plays out in real time. However, maybe doing so is to assume the role of the yo-yo singing out on the wall just as Hezekiah has ordered the troops to zip it. 

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’