“The Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith. But now that the faith has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor.”—GALATIANS 3:24, 25
Christian Dominionists ignore Jesus' commandments governing the acquisition of wealth (the worship of worldly wealth):
All quotes are from the New Testament of the Christian Bible:
* Gospel of Matthew, ch.19, verses 23-24: "And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
* Gospel of James, ch.2, verses 5-6: "Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court?"
* Gospel of James, ch.5, verse 1: "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you."
* Gospel of Luke, ch.12, verse 33: "Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys."
* Gospel of Mark, ch.10, verses 21-22: "And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions."
* Book of Acts, ch.2, verses 44-45: "And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need."
Dominionism and Business Ethics:
2012-03-30 "Christian TV Grifters In Trouble, Again" by Paul Canning [link]: TBN preaches the “prosperity gospel” which promises material rewards to
those who give generously. Since it was set up in the 1970s it has
become the biggest Christian TV network with a presence on every
continent except the Antarctic and has 18,000 affiliates. It also owns
the Holy Land Experience, a Christian amusement park in Orlando.
The following articles from the
scholarly Watchtower ONLINE shows how the mutated form of Christianity
promoted by the Dominionist cult of "Apostolic Reformation" is not an
actual Christian faith, but is instead, according to the standards of
their own Holy Bible, but a false doctrine based on the selfish needs of
a few "church leaders"...
"About True Worship" from Watchtower ONLINE
What We Learn From Jesus
“Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to you in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves.”—Matthew 7:15
Does God approve of all worship?
▪ Jesus’ heart went out to people who had been deceived by false
religion. He warned of “false prophets that come . . . in sheep’s
covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Have you
noticed that some people use religion for evil ends?
Jesus said in prayer to God: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) So God
disapproves of worship that contradicts the truth of the Bible.
Therefore, to some religious hypocrites, Jesus applied the words of God
that say: “It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they
teach commands of men as doctrines.”—Matthew 15:9.
Is there a true religion?
▪ When Jesus met a woman in Samaria who had been deceived by false
religion, he said to her: “You worship what you do not know . . . The
true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for,
indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him.” (John
4:22, 23) Clearly, true worship can be found.
Jesus said: “I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father
taught me I speak these things.” So Jesus knew that the religion he
taught was the only true one. (John 8:28) Therefore, he said: “I am the
way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me.” (John 14:6) Since true worshippers are united in one
approach to the Father, they must be united in one true religion.
How can you recognize true worshippers?
▪ A Christian is one who follows Jesus Christ. Consider four ways in
which imitating Jesus’ example clearly identifies his followers.
1. Jesus Christ said in prayer to Jehovah: “I have made your name known.” (John 17:26) True Christians still do likewise.
2. Jesus preached about Jehovah’s Kingdom and sent his disciples from
house to house to do the same. He said: “Into whatever city or village
you enter, search out who in it is deserving.” Later, he told his
followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the
nations.” (Matthew 10:7, 11; 28:19) You can easily recognize true
Christians today because they continue the same work.
3. Jesus refused to take sides in politics. Thus, he said of his
followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the
world.” (John 17:14) True worshippers should be well-known for their
4. Jesus was self-sacrificing in his love for others. He said: “By this
all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among
yourselves.” (John 13:35) True Christians care for one another and take
no part in wars.
How can true worship benefit you?
▪ To practice true worship, you first need to know Jehovah well.
Knowledge of God will enable you to pursue the best way of life and will
fill your heart with love for God. Jehovah promised life without end to
those who love him. Thus, Jesus said: “This means everlasting life,
their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God.”—John 17:3.
"Does God Promise You Riches?" from Watchtower ONLINE
‘God wants you to be rich—cars in the garage, a prosperous business.
Just believe in him, open your wallet, and give him everything you can.’
SUCH is the message promoted by certain religious groups in Brazil,
according to a newspaper printed there. It is a message that many take
to heart. Regarding a poll taken in the United States of people who
claim to be Christians, Time magazine reports: “A full 61% believed that
God wants people to be prosperous. And 31% . . . agreed that if you
give your money to God, God will bless you with more money.”
Ideologies of this sort, often called prosperity theology, proliferate
especially in Latin-American countries, such as Brazil, and people flock
to churches that promise material blessings from God. But does God
really promise riches to those who serve him? Were all of God’s servants
in the past wealthy?
It is true that in the Hebrew Scriptures, we often find God’s blessing
associated with material prosperity. For example, at Deuteronomy 8:18,
we read: “You must remember Jehovah your God, because he is the giver of
power to you to make wealth.” This assured the Israelites that if they
were obedient to God, he would make them a prosperous nation.
What of individuals? The faithful man Job was enormously wealthy, and
after Satan brought him to poverty, Jehovah restored Job’s wealth “in
double amount.” (Job 1:3; 42:10) Abraham too was rich. Genesis 13:2 says
that he was “heavily stocked with herds and silver and gold.” When the
combined armies of four Eastern kings captured Abraham’s nephew Lot,
Abraham “mustered his trained men, three hundred and eighteen slaves
born in his household.” (Genesis 14:14) With 318 “trained men” capable
of bearing arms, Abraham’s household must have been of considerable
size. The fact that he was able to maintain such a large family
indicates that he was a very wealthy man, with great flocks and herds.
Yes, many of God’s faithful servants in the past—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
David, Solomon, to name just a few—were rich. Does this mean, however,
that God will make everyone who serves him rich? On the other hand, does
the fact that someone is poor mean that he or she does not have God’s
blessing? The next article will discuss these questions.
Riches That Come From God -
IF YOU are faithful to God, will he bless you with riches? Perhaps, but
probably not with the sort of riches you expect. Consider Mary, the
mother of Jesus. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and said that she was
“highly favored” by God and that she would give birth to the Son of
God. (Luke 1:28, 30-32) Yet, she was not wealthy. When Mary offered a
sacrifice after Jesus’ birth, she presented “a pair of turtledoves or
two young pigeons,” which was the customary offering that poor people
made to Jehovah.—Luke 2:24; Leviticus 12:8.
Did the fact that Mary was poor mean that she did not have God’s
blessing? On the contrary, when she went to visit Elizabeth, her
relative, “Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and she called out
with a loud cry and said: ‘Blessed are you [Mary] among women, and
blessed is the fruit of your womb!’” (Luke 1:41, 42) Mary was privileged
to become the earthly mother of God’s beloved Son.
Jesus himself was not a rich man. Not only was he born and brought up in
humble surroundings but he was poor throughout his life on earth. He
once told a man who was seeking to be a disciple: “Foxes have dens and
birds of heaven have roosts, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down
his head.” (Luke 9:57, 58) Nevertheless, what Jesus Christ did in coming
to the earth made it possible for his disciples to come into possession
of great riches. The apostle Paul wrote: “He became poor for your
sakes, that you might become rich through his poverty.” (2 Corinthians
8:9) What kind of riches did Jesus give his disciples? And what about
What Kind of Riches?
Material wealth is often an obstacle to faith, since a rich person may
trust in his money rather than in God. Jesus said: “How difficult a
thing it will be for those with money to enter into the kingdom of God!”
(Mark 10:23) Evidently, then, the riches Jesus offered his followers
were not material ones.
In fact, the majority of Christians in the first century were of limited
means. When a man lame from birth asked for money, Peter replied:
“Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give
you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”—Acts 3:6.
The words of the disciple James also indicate that the Christian
congregation was basically composed of poor people. He wrote: “Listen,
my beloved brothers. God chose the ones who are poor respecting the
world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he promised to
those who love him, did he not?” (James 2:5) Furthermore, the apostle
Paul also said that not many “wise in a fleshly way” or “powerful” or
“of noble birth” were called to become part of the Christian
congregation.—1 Corinthians 1:26.
If the riches that Jesus gave his followers were not material ones, what
kind of riches did he give them? In a letter that Jesus sent to the
congregation in Smyrna, he said: “I know your tribulation and
poverty—but you are rich.” (Revelation 2:8, 9) The Christians at Smyrna,
though poor, possessed riches far more valuable than silver or gold.
They were rich because of their faith and integrity to God. Faith of
itself is precious because it “is not a possession of all people.” (2
Thessalonians 3:2) Those not having faith are actually poor in God’s
eyes.—Revelation 3:17, 18.
Riches That Result From Faith -
In what ways, though, is faith valuable? Those with faith in God benefit
from “the riches of his kindness and forbearance and long-suffering.”
(Romans 2:4) They also enjoy “forgiveness of [their] trespasses” because
of their faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. (Ephesians 1:7) Furthermore,
theirs is the wisdom that “the word of the Christ” brings to those who
have faith. (Colossians 3:16) As they pray to God in faith, “the peace
of God that excels all thought” guards their hearts and minds, bringing
them contentment and happiness.—Philippians 4:7.
In addition to all these benefits, those who put faith in God through
his Son, Jesus Christ, have the marvelous prospect of life everlasting.
Well-known are the words of Jesus Christ: “God loved the world so much
that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising
faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John
3:16) That precious prospect is strengthened when one gains accurate
knowledge of the Father and the Son, for Jesus also said: “This means
everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God,
and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.
While God’s blessings are basically of a spiritual kind, there are
emotional and physical benefits as well. Take, for example, Dalídio in
Brazil. Before coming to an accurate knowledge of God’s purpose, he had a
drinking problem. This had a very destructive effect on his family
relationships. In addition, his financial situation was precarious. Then
he began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and experienced a
Dalídio’s newfound knowledge led him to abandon his harmful habits. He
made so much spiritual progress that he said, “I used to go from bar to
bar; now I go from house to house.” He had become a full-time minister
of God’s Word. Such a change improved not only his health but also his
financial situation. Dalídio said, “The money that I used to spend on
drink, I now use to help others in need or to buy things that I need.”
He has also made many real friends through his association with people
who have a similar spiritual outlook. Dalídio now enjoys peace of mind
and contentment beyond anything he could have imagined before coming to
For another example of the life-enriching experiences that come to those
who develop faith in Jehovah God, consider Renato. When you see his
happy, smiling face today, it is difficult to believe that he has had
every reason to feel that he had been given a raw deal in life. When he
was a newborn baby, he was abandoned by his mother. He was left in a bag
under a bench, badly scratched and bruised and with his umbilical cord
still attached. Two women walked by and saw the bag under the bench
moving. They at first thought that someone had left a kitten there. When
they discovered that it was a newborn baby, they quickly took him to a
nearby hospital for treatment.
One of the women was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she told Rita,
another Witness, about the baby. Rita had suffered a number of
stillbirths, and she had just one daughter. She very much wanted a son,
so she decided to adopt Renato.
Rita told Renato at an early age that she was not his real mother. But
she cared for him with love and affection and sought to instill
spiritual values in him. As he grew older, he began to take an interest
in the Bible. His appreciation for the almost unbelievable way that he
had been saved also grew. His eyes fill with tears every time he reads
the psalmist David’s words: “In case my own father and my own mother did
leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up.”—Psalm 27:10.
As an expression of his appreciation for all that Jehovah has done for
him, Renato was baptized in 2002 and became a full-time Christian
minister the following year. He still does not know the identity of his
biological father and mother and probably never will. However, Renato
feels that one of the most precious gifts that he has received is coming
to know and to have faith in Jehovah as his loving and caring Father.
Perhaps you long to have a close and loving relationship with God, which
can truly enrich your life. The opportunity to have such a relationship
with Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, is open to all—rich and
poor. It may not bring material wealth, but it will result in an inner
peace and contentment that all the money in the world cannot buy. True
indeed are the words found at Proverbs 10:22: “The blessing of
Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”
Jehovah God is very much interested in people who come to him: “O if
only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your
peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the
waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:18) And he promises that those who come to
him with the right motive and attitude will be richly rewarded: “The
result of humility and the fear of Jehovah is riches and glory and
Is Poverty a Sign of God’s Disapproval?
GOD told the ancient Israelites: “No one should come to be poor among
you.” This was because in the Law that he gave them, there were
provisions to care for the poor and even for the releasing of debts.
(Deuteronomy 15:1-4, 7-10) Therefore, there should have been no poor
people among the Israelites, for Jehovah promised to bless them.
However, that blessing was dependent on obeying the Law, which the
Israelites failed to do.
This did not mean, however, that those who had little in a material way
were necessarily disapproved by God, any more than those who had plenty
were necessarily blessed by God. Many of God’s faithful servants were
materially poor. The prophet Amos was a humble sheep raiser and seasonal
laborer. (Amos 1:1; 7:14) In the days of Elijah the prophet, when a
famine came upon Israel, Elijah had to depend on the hospitality of a
poor widow, whose meager supply of flour and oil were miraculously
sustained during the famine. Neither Elijah nor the widow became rich;
Jehovah provided for just their basic needs.—1 Kings 17:8-16.
Unforeseen occurrences might plunge people into poverty. Accidents and
sickness could temporarily or permanently hinder a person from working.
And death could leave behind orphans and widows. Even such adverse
circumstances are no indication of God’s disapproval. The account of
Naomi and Ruth is a heartwarming example of Jehovah’s loving care for
the needy. Though Naomi and Ruth were left destitute by the death of
their husbands, Jehovah God blessed them and made provision to care for
their needs.—Ruth 1:1-6; 2:2-12; 4:13-17.
Clearly, poverty is not an evidence of God’s disapproval. Those who are
faithful to Jehovah God can have confidence in King David’s words: “A
young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen
anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for
Is Money the Source of True Happiness?
SONIA was born in Spain. As a child, she attended the meetings of
Jehovah’s Witnesses with her mother. But when she grew up, she moved to
London, England, and eventually started working in the finance industry
as a bond broker.
Sonia loved her job. She was making a lot of money and dealing in huge
sums for her clients. It was exciting, and she was successful. Sonia
regularly worked 18 hours a day, and some nights she got only two or
three hours of sleep. Her job was her life. Then, suddenly, everything
came crashing down. Sonia suffered a severe stroke—perhaps the result of
her stressful lifestyle. She was only 30 years of age.
Sonia was paralyzed on one side of her body, and the doctors were not
sure that she would ever regain her speech. Her mother immediately
traveled to England to care for her. As Sonia began to walk again, her
mother told her, “I’m going to the congregation meetings, and you’ll
have to come with me because I can’t leave you on your own.” Sonia
agreed to go along. What was the result?
“Everything I heard rang true. It was wonderful,” Sonia recalls. “I was
happy to accept a Bible study with one of the many who greeted me the
first time I went to the Kingdom Hall. My former acquaintances had
stopped visiting me, but my new friends were warm and caring.”
Gradually, Sonia’s speech returned, and she made rapid spiritual
progress as well. In less than a year, she was baptized. Many of her new
friends were in the full-time Christian ministry, and she could see how
happy they were. ‘I want to be like that too,’ Sonia thought. ‘I want
to give Jehovah God my best!’ Now Sonia serves full-time in the
What has Sonia learned from her experience? “Although I was earning a
lot of money, the stress and insecurity on the job made me worried and
unhappy. I’ve come to realize that the most important thing in life is
having a good relationship with my heavenly Father, Jehovah. Now I’m
“The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things,” wrote
the apostle Paul. “By reaching out for this love some have been led
astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many
pains.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Sonia can vouch for the truthfulness of these
"Is War Compatible With Christianity?" from Watchtower ONLINE
“Against what moral standard is war a crime or a sin? Here, indeed, is a
puzzle.”—Oliver O’Donovan, professor of Christian ethics
A PAINTING named Sacrifice, inspired by World War I and displayed at the
Canadian War Museum, depicts slain soldiers, battle-worn survivors, and
their families back home. Above the scene hangs Jesus Christ, impaled
on a cross. Some observers are shocked that Jesus, the “Prince of
Peace,” is painted next to scenes of carnal warfare. (Isaiah 9:6)
Others, grateful for the sacrifices made by their countrymen, feel that
God and his Son expect Christians to fight battles that protect the
security and freedom of their nation.
Religious leaders have preached a message favoring warfare for
centuries. In the year 417 C.E., church theologian Augustine wrote: “You
must not think that no one who serves as a soldier, using arms for
warfare, can be acceptable to God. . . . Others are fighting invisible
enemies on your behalf by praying, while you struggle against visible
barbarians on their behalf by fighting.” In the 13th century, Thomas
Aquinas explained that “wars are licit and just in so far as they
protect the poor and the whole commonweal[th] from an enemy’[s]
What do you think? When military action is launched for a seemingly
noble cause—to defend a nation’s freedom or to liberate the
oppressed—does it have God’s blessing? To what “moral standard” might
Christians turn to discern God’s will in the matter?
Jesus Christ’s Example -
Is it possible to get God’s mind on a complex issue like modern warfare?
The apostle Paul acknowledged our predicament, asking: “‘Who has come
to know the mind of Jehovah, that he may instruct him?’ But we do have
the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16) To help us, Jehovah God sent
Jesus to earth as our Exemplar. What Jesus said and did reflected
Jehovah’s own thoughts and ways. So, what did Jesus say about warfare?
What stand did he take on war?
There would seem to be no cause more worthy of armed defense than the
life and security of Jesus Christ. One of his apostles felt that way.
When Jesus was betrayed and arrested by an armed mob in the middle of
the night, his friend Peter “reached out his hand and drew his sword and
struck the slave of the high priest and took off his ear.” Justifiable
use of such weaponry? Jesus said to Peter: “Return your sword to its
place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the
Jesus’ reaction is hardly surprising. Two years earlier, he had said:
“You heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your
enemy.’ However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray
for those persecuting you; that you may prove yourselves sons of your
Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked
people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and
unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45) Is it reasonable to think that a
Christian could love and pray for his enemies while waging war against
History reveals that Christians had many enemies. For example, the
Romans sentenced and executed Jesus Christ. Soon thereafter, merely
professing to be a Christian became a capital offense. Jesus anticipated
that Christians might be tempted to bear arms and revolt against Roman
oppression, as some of the Jews had done. Hence, he said of his
followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the
world.” (John 17:16) Christians chose to remain politically neutral. No
injustice or threat to them or the country in which they lived justified
taking part in military action.
Champions of God’s Kingdom -
Genuine Christians upheld Jesus’ wishes and stayed neutral. Consider
what happened in Iconium, an ancient city in Asia Minor. “When a violent
attempt took place on the part of both people of the nations and Jews
with their rulers, to treat [Paul and Barnabas] insolently and pelt them
with stones, they, on being informed of it, fled to the cities of
Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe and the country round about; and there they
went on declaring the good news.” (Acts 14:5-7) Note that when faced
with violent opposition, Christians did not take up arms in defense, nor
did they retaliate. Instead, they continued to preach “the good news.”
What good news did they have to share?
Christians preached the same message that Jesus did. He said: “I must
declare the good news of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 4:43) Jesus and his
followers championed God’s Kingdom. Christ never used a national
military force to defend that Kingdom. “My kingdom is no part of this
world,” he said. “If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants
would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as
it is, my kingdom is not from this source.”—John 18:36.
“Have Love Among Yourselves” -
Neutrality during wartime is a characteristic of true worship. Jesus
said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love
among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Millions have been happy to discover a
group who display such love, even when their refusal to bear arms has
brought ridicule, imprisonment, or execution.
In Nazi-occupied Europe, officials imprisoned an estimated 10,000 of
Jehovah’s Witnesses because of their Christian neutrality, including
some 3,000 who were sent to concentration camps. Meanwhile, during the
same period, over 4,300 Witnesses in the United States were imprisoned
for their refusal to join the military. Neither German nor American
Witnesses bore arms and fought against their Christian brothers or
anyone else. How could they and still claim to have love among
themselves and to love their fellow man?
Many people feel that military action is a necessary form of
self-defense. But consider: Although first-century Christians were
cruelly persecuted and refused to fight back, they survived. The
powerful Roman Empire was not able to wipe out Christianity. True
Christians thrive even today, and they continue to maintain a neutral
stand. Rather than taking matters into their own hands, they confidently
look to God for help. His Word, the Bible, states: “Do not avenge
yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written:
‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.’”—Romans 12:19.
WARS THAT GOD BLESSED -
Ancient Israel, a nation uniquely chosen by God centuries before
Christianity was established, was at times authorized to assemble an
army and engage in warfare. Before entering Canaan, the land that God
had promised to Abraham, the Israelites were told: “Jehovah your God
will certainly abandon [seven nations] to you, and you must defeat them.
You should without fail devote them to destruction. You must conclude
no covenant with them nor show them any favor.” (Deuteronomy 7:1, 2)
Thus, Israelite General Joshua defeated those enemy nations “just as
Jehovah the God of Israel had commanded.”—Joshua 10:40.
Was this a ruthless conquest wherein Israel greedily subjugated
foreign countries? Not at all. Those nations had become full of
idolatry, bloodshed, and degraded sexual practices. Even children were
killed in sacrificial fires. (Numbers 33:52; Jeremiah 7:31) God’s
holiness, justice, and love for his people compelled him to remove all
uncleanness from the land. Even so, Jehovah searched the hearts of
everyone—something no military commander can do today—and spared those
who were willing to abandon wicked ways and serve him.
"Should You Keep the Weekly Sabbath?" from Watchtower ONLINE
Should You Keep the Weekly Sabbath?
IN THE late 1980’s, small groups of Methodists laid siege to Suva, the
capital city of Fiji. Men, women, and children—all dressed for
church—manned 70 roadblocks. They stopped all commercial traffic as well
as domestic and international flights. What prompted that action? A
demand to make the nation return to strict Sabbath observance.
In Israel, every new multistory building erected since 2001 must have at
least one elevator that automatically stops at each floor. For what
purpose? So that devout Jews, who observe the Sabbath from Friday
evening until Saturday evening, do not have to do the “work” of pressing
the buttons in an elevator.
In Tonga, a kingdom in the South Pacific, all work is forbidden on
Sunday. No aircraft is allowed to land, and no ship is permitted to
dock. Any contracts signed on that day are not viewed as valid. The
constitution of Tonga requires that Sunday be “kept holy” by all,
regardless of a person’s religious beliefs. Why? To ensure nationwide
observance of the Sabbath.
As the above examples show, many people feel that God requires them to
keep a weekly Sabbath day. In fact, some say that Sabbath-keeping is of
utmost importance, believing that it involves our eternal salvation.
Others feel that the most important commandment from God is to keep the
Sabbath. What is the Sabbath? And does the Bible urge Christians to
observe a Sabbath day each week?
What Is the Sabbath?
The English word “Sabbath” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “rest,
cease, desist.” Although the Genesis account says that on the seventh
day Jehovah God rested from his creative works, it was not until the
time of Moses that God’s people were instructed to observe a 24-hour day
of rest, or Sabbath. (Genesis 2:2) After the Israelites left Egypt in
1513 B.C.E., Jehovah miraculously provided manna for them in the
wilderness. Concerning the collecting of this manna, they were
instructed: “Six days you will pick it up, but on the seventh day is a
sabbath. On it none will form.” (Exodus 16:26) We are then told that
“the people proceeded to observe the sabbath on the seventh day,” from
sunset on Friday evening to sunset on Saturday evening.—Exodus 16:30.
A short time after those instructions were given, Jehovah provided a law
concerning Sabbath-keeping, including it among the Ten Commandments
given to Moses. (Exodus 19:1) The fourth of those commandments stated,
in part: “Remembering the sabbath day to hold it sacred, you are to
render service and you must do all your work six days. But the seventh
day is a sabbath to Jehovah your God.” (Exodus 20:8-10) Sabbath-keeping
thus became an integral part of life for the Israelites.—Deuteronomy
Did Jesus Keep a Weekly Sabbath?
Yes, Jesus did observe the Sabbath. Concerning him, we are told: “When
the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to
be out of a woman and who came to be under law.” (Galatians 4:4) Jesus
was born an Israelite and as such was under Law, and that included the
Sabbath law. It was not until after Jesus’ death that the Law covenant
was taken away. (Colossians 2:13, 14) Knowing when these events took
place in the stream of time helps us to understand God’s view on the
matter.—See the chart on page 15.
True, Jesus did say: “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the
Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) But
what does the expression “to fulfill” mean? To illustrate: A builder
fulfills a contract to complete a building, not by ripping up the
contract, but by finishing the structure. However, once the work has
been completed to the client’s satisfaction, the contract is fulfilled
and the builder is no longer under obligation to it. Likewise, Jesus did
not break, or rip up, the Law; rather, he fulfilled it by keeping it
perfectly. Once fulfilled, that Law “contract” was no longer binding on
A Christian Requirement?
Since Christ fulfilled the Law, are Christians obligated to keep the
weekly Sabbath? Under inspiration, the apostle Paul answers: “Therefore
let no man judge you in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival
or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath; for those things
are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the
Christ.”—Colossians 2:16, 17.
Those inspired words suggest quite a change in God’s requirements for
his servants. Why the change? Because Christians are under a new law,
“the law of the Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) The former Law covenant given
through Moses to Israel came to an end when Jesus’ death fulfilled it.
(Romans 10:4; Ephesians 2:15) Did the commandment about keeping the
Sabbath also come to an end? Yes. After saying that “we have been
discharged from the Law,” Paul went on to refer to one of the Ten
Commandments. (Romans 7:6, 7) So the Ten Commandments—including the
Sabbath law—are part of the Law that came to an end. God’s worshippers,
therefore, are no longer required to observe a weekly Sabbath.
The change from the Israelite to the Christian system of worship could
be illustrated this way: A nation may change its constitution. Once the
new constitution is legally in place, people are no longer required to
obey the former one. Even though some of the laws in the new
constitution may be the same as those in the former constitution, others
may be different. So a person would need to study the new constitution
carefully to see what laws now apply. Additionally, a loyal citizen
would want to know when the new constitution went into effect.
In like manner, Jehovah God provided over 600 laws, including 10 main
ones, for the nation of Israel. These included laws about morals,
sacrifices, health matters, and Sabbath-keeping. However, Jesus said
that his anointed followers would constitute a new “nation.” (Matthew
21:43) From 33 C.E. onward, this nation has had a new “constitution,”
founded on two basic laws—love of God and love of neighbor. (Matthew
22:36-40) Although “the law of the Christ” includes instructions that
are similar to those in the Law given to Israel, we should not be
surprised that some laws are very different and that others are no
longer required. The law requiring the observance of a weekly Sabbath is
one of those that are no longer binding.
Has God Changed His Standards?
Does this change from the Law of Moses to the law of the Christ mean
that God has changed his standards? No. Just as a parent will adjust the
rules he makes for his children, taking into consideration their ages
and circumstances, Jehovah has adjusted the laws his people are required
to obey. The apostle Paul explains the matter this way: “Before the
faith arrived, we were being guarded under law, being delivered up
together into custody, looking to the faith that was destined to be
revealed. Consequently the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ,
that we might be declared righteous due to faith. But now that the faith
has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor.”—Galatians 3:23-25.
How does Paul’s line of reasoning apply to the Sabbath? Consider this
illustration: While at school, a student may be required to learn a
certain subject, such as woodworking, on a particular day each week.
However, upon entering the workforce, he may need to use the skills he
learned, not just on that one day, but on every day of the week.
Likewise, while under the Law, the Israelites were required to set aside
one day every week for rest and worship. Christians, on the other hand,
are required to worship God, not just one day per week, but every day.
Is it wrong, then, to set aside one day every week for rest and worship?
No. God’s Word leaves such a decision to each individual, saying: “One
person decides that one day is holier than another. Another person
decides that all days are the same. Every person must make his own
decision.” (Romans 14:5, God’s Word) While some may choose to view one
day as more holy than others, the Bible clearly indicates that God does
not expect Christians to observe a weekly Sabbath.
Facts to Remember About the Sabbath:
Although a Bible verse may speak of the need to observe a weekly
Sabbath, we need to ascertain the time when these words were stated.
4026 B.C.E. BEFORE THE TIME OF MOSES: The law regarding the Sabbath was
not given prior to the time of Moses and the Israelites.—Deuteronomy
1513 B.C.E. GOD’S LAW TO ISRAEL LAW GIVEN TO ISRAEL: The law concerning
the Sabbath was not given to other nations. (Psalm 147:19, 20) It was
given as “a sign” between Jehovah and the sons of Israel.—Exodus 31:16,
The weekly Sabbath day was just one of many sabbaths that the Israelites
were commanded to observe.—Leviticus 16:29-31; 23:4-8; 25:4, 11;
“Six days you will pick it up, but on the seventh day is a sabbath. On it none will form.”—EXODUS 16:26
33 C.E. THE LAW OF THE CHRIST END OF LAW GIVEN TO ISRAEL: When deciding
what God requires of Christians, in 49 C.E., the apostles and older men
in Jerusalem made no mention of the need to observe a weekly
Sabbath.—Acts 15:28, 29.
The apostle Paul was concerned about Christians who put emphasis on observing special days.—Galatians 4:9-11.
"Must You Believe in the Trinity to Be a Christian?" from Watchtower ONLINE
▪ A high-school textbook, World Religions in Denmark, published in 2007,
described Jehovah’s Witnesses as a Christian minority who follow the
Bible closely. In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the third-largest
Christian denomination in Denmark.
However, a bishop of the Danish National Church severely criticized the
author’s decision to include the Witnesses in the textbook. Why? “I have
yet to meet a theologian who considers [Jehovah’s Witnesses] to be
Christians,” said the bishop. “They deny the Trinity, which is the heart
of the Christian religion.”
The author of the book, religion sociologist Annika Hvithamar, pointed
out that when people are asked why they consider themselves to be
Christians, they hardly ever answer that it is because they believe that
God is a Trinity. Moreover, a section in the textbook entitled “Are You
a Christian?” states: “The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the more
difficult problems of Christian theology.” It adds: “At all times, it
has been difficult to explain to unschooled Christians why the Christian
God is still one god and not three gods.”
What the Bible teaches about God and Jesus is clear and simple. It is
not difficult to understand. Neither the word “Trinity” nor the concept
is found in God’s Word. The Bible clearly states that Jesus Christ is
God’s firstborn Son. (Colossians 1:15) It also points to Jesus as being
the “mediator between God and men.” (1 Timothy 2:5) About the Father,
the Bible says: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High
over all the earth.”—Psalm 83:18.
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that faith in Jesus is vital. (John 3:16)
For this reason, they take seriously Jesus’ command: “It is written, ‘It
is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must
render sacred service.’” (Matthew 4:10) Surely, someone who strives to
obey Jesus’ commands can be called Christian.