(WDGR LESSON 1: “How You Can Find Out What God Requires”)
Karen asks Cindy why Jehovah’s Witnesses read the Bible when the majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses today do not believe the New Covenant Scriptures about going to heaven, being spiritually adopted, and being born again apply to them.
CINDY: Knock, Knock…
KAREN: I’m coming… Who is it?
CINDY: It’s me, Cindy. Do you remember the Bible study we started last week?
KAREN: Oh, yes! Come on in. I’m so glad you are willing to study with me.
CINDY: So how was your week?
KAREN: Pretty good. I didn’t have much time to look over the Watchtower brochure you gave me, What Does God Require of Us?, but I’ve been thinking about what we discussed on how the Bible is like God’s love letter to us, 1. and I have a question.
CINDY: Yes, Karen?
KAREN: A friend of mine was telling me that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe that all of the Bible applies to them. He said the Watchtower teaches that only 144,000 people are in the New Covenant and will go to Heaven and that because most Witnesses don’t believe they are in that group, they don’t believe that they can be “born again.” 2. Is this true?
CINDY: Well, yes, Karen, but that is what the Bible teaches and besides as you progress in the truth, you’ll come to see that later. For now let’s just work on the basics.
KAREN: But I don’t understand, Cindy. Didn’t Jesus say: “…no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”? 3. Since the theme of the Bible is about God’s Kingdom, why do Jehovah’s Witnesses study about it if they do not believe Jesus’ words apply to them? Isn’t this like dreaming about something you can’t have?
CINDY: Karen, I wouldn’t say the Kingdom isn’t something we can’t have. We’ll be under the rulership of that Kingdom even though we won’t be in it. After all, a Kingdom needs subjects to rule over. If we are all in the Kingdom in Heaven, who will we rule over? 4.
KAREN: Cindy, doesn’t the Bible say there will be people during Christ’s Millennium Kingdom on earth that have not made a decision for or against God? Couldn’t we be ruling over them?
CINDY: Maybe, Karen, but we will study about that later. Right now we need to focus on what we should do in order to please God. Wouldn’t you agree that “The Bible alone tells us what we must do to please God”? 5.
KAREN: Yes, Cindy, I know we read that in the brochure, and I agree, but that brings up another question. I was reading in Galatians 4:4-6: “But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son…in order that…we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father!” 6. Isn’t this Scripture saying that we must become adopted before we can have the Holy Spirit working in our lives?
CINDY: Well, Karen, I guess it does. . . “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit. . .” But you must realize that these verses don’t apply to us. They apply only to those who are going to heaven. I’m not going to heaven, so I don’t need to be adopted into God’s family as it talks about here.
KAREN: And since you’re not “adopted,” you can’t be “anointed” with the Holy Spirit either, can you Cindy?
CINDY: No, I can’t, but that doesn’t bother me, Karen. As long as I gain Jehovah’s approval upon my life through obedience to His Word, that is all that I need to do.
KAREN: But Cindy, that is my concern. You just told me that you believe that “the Bible alone tells us what we must do to please God,” 7. and now you’re telling me that those verses in the Bible do not apply to us. I’m confused! If we can’t have God’s Spirit, how can we please God? Let’s read Romans 8:8-9 in your Bible—The New World Translation: “So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God. However, YOU are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in YOU. But if anyone does not have Christ’s spirit, this one does not belong to him.” Isn’t this Scripture saying that we are in “harmony with the flesh” and “cannot please God” if we do not have God’s Holy Spirit?
CINDY: Well, yes, but I have God’s Spirit, Karen. I may not be adopted, but I have some kind of measure of God’s Spirit.
KAREN: You do, Cindy? Where does it say in the Bible you can have God’s Spirit apart from adoption? Even the Hebrew Patriarch David had to be adopted as God’s son in order to receive God’s Spirit. 8. And just a few verses down from this Scripture we are reading here in Romans 8, it states that “all those who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.” 9. You just told me you can’t be adopted as one of God’s children, so how can you be led by God’s Spirit at all?
CINDY: Well, I don’t know. . .
KAREN: Cindy, lets read verse 9 again.
CINDY: “However, YOU are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God’s spirit truly dwells in YOU. But if anyone does not have Christ’s Spirit, this one does not belong to him.” I never noticed that before. It does say that I can’t even belong to Christ unless I have God’s Spirit. I guess that’s why the Watchtower Society says these verses don’t apply to us. For if they did, we’d all be in trouble.
KAREN: Cindy, if these verses don’t apply to you, why do Jehovah’s Witnesses read the Bible? Isn’t that like reading somebody else’s love letter?
Friends, Satan wins a great victory when he can get us to doubt the validity of God’s Word. “Is it really so that God said you must not eat…?” 10. questioned Satan as he tempted Eve in the Garden. While the Bible talks about a group of 144,000 people, nowhere does it state that this is the only group that will be in heaven, nor does it say that the promises given to the Christians by means of the New Covenant apply only to 144,000 people. Rather, to the contrary, the Bible says: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.” 11. For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, all of the promises of God apply to us. John 1:12 says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right [authority] to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”— New American Standard Bible
1. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 3:1
2. Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe?, 2000, p. 13; The Watchtower, February 1, 1998, p. 20; The Watchtower, February 15, 1998, p. 20
3. John 3:3, New International Version
4. Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1985, 1989, p. 79
5. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 3:1
6. New International Version
7. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 3:1
8. At Psalm 89:20, Jehovah God declared that finding David to be a faithful servant, He had “anointed him” with His “holy oil.” It was at this anointing, that “the spirit of Jehovah began to be operative upon David from that day forward.”—1 Samuel 16:13, NWT Just as Galatians 4:6 reveals that those who have been “adopted” into God’s spiritual family are able to call God “Abba! Father!” so David, having been anointed with God’s Holy Spirit and spiritually adopted into His family, cried out to God saying: “You are my Father.…”—Psalm 89:26, NWT As a result, in a figurative way, as a picture of Christ, God appointed David to the position of “firstborn.” (Psalm 89:27) Calling David “firstborn” would hardly be logical if David was not adopted as a part of God’s spiritual family.
9. Romans 8:14
10. Genesis 3:1, New World Translation
11. 2 Corinthians 1:20, New International Version