Angela M. Baxley
Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM
To: Darryl Glass
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Angela M. Baxley
Date: Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Subject: my essay
To: Arlene Baxley
It took me nearly all night to write this. I hope that it makes sense. Please, will you read it? I’m best able to express myself in writing.
Really, though, it’s easiest to read the whole portions directly from the bible, and then come and read what I wrote.
It’s now nearly 1am, so I’m going to bed.
I was raised in a society of parallels, where there was a prophecy there was both a fulfillment in biblical times and a parallel modern one.
I was taught that in 1914, Jesus returned to earth in an invisible presence to identify and judge the faithful and discreet slave, signaling the last days. Thus, all my life I’ve been seeking the end of the system of things, when government would turn on the Babylon the Great, the harlot of false religion, Armageddon and the resurrection into paradise earth.
35 “Let YOUR loins be girded and YOUR lamps be burning, 36 and YOU yourselves be like men waiting for their master when he returns from the marriage, so that at his arriving and knocking they may at once open to him. 37 Happy are those slaves whom the master on arriving finds watching! Truly I say to YOU, He will gird himself and make them recline at the table and will come alongside and minister to them.
What a joy, to be found on the watch, waiting for Jesus to return to minister, as he returned in the first century to minister to his apostles after his earthly death.
38 And if he arrives in the second watch, even if in the third, and finds them thus, happy are they! 39 But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would have kept watching and not have let his house be broken into. 40 YOU also, keep ready, because at an hour that YOU do not think likely the Son of man is coming.”
It doesn’t matter how late (second, third watch), and never to dare believe his coming is late—or inversely crying wolf, thinking he’s arrived, but he hasn’t yet? The point is that we’d not know! As a young girl, how I loved the illustration of the virgins in waiting.
Was he saying the illustration to the apostles, or to everyone??
42 And the Lord said: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time? 43 Happy is that slave, if his master on arriving finds him doing so! 44 I tell YOU truthfully, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
Slave #1: Who ever slaves for Jesus, and is found and judged to be shepherding his flock will be appointed over all his belongings.
45 But if ever that slave should say in his heart, ‘My master delays coming,’ and should start to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that slave will come on a day that he is not expecting [him] and in an hour that he does not know, and he will punish him with the greatest severity and assign him a part with the unfaithful ones.
Slave #2: Gave up faith in Jesus coming, and punished severely.
47 Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes.
Slave #3: Knew better, but ignored his will.
48 But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few.
Slave #4: Ignorant, so made mistakes, but didn’t know any better.
Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.
Being raised a Jehovah’s Witness, I can only imagine the modern temple as The Watchtower Society’s Brooklyn Bethel. Bethel literally being The House of God.
In the past, I’ve quickly read past this verse without much regard, and I’ll do the same for now and will return to it later.
Apparently the destruction of the temple was a cause for alarm for the disciples, and they look to Jesus to clarify.
Jesus first warns of apostasy, that we not be mis-led and go after those.
World War I and II clearly are demonstrations of the reports that must occur first…
10 Then he went on to say to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.
It’s interesting that there is a separation between the previous verse and this one that goes on to give signs. I’ve never experienced the world wars. I’ve heard of pestilences and food shortages, but not experienced them, and I’ve never heard of these fearful sights, though I have eagerly awaited great signs from heaven. I remember when I was younger, I was with Tobey at the SECU credit union ATM in that strip mall with the mexican restaurant we often went to. While standing at the ATM my back to the world, she waiting in the car, there was strange light. I don’t know what caused it, but it was as if the sky had changed colors behind me. I turned around in wonder and caught Tobey’s eye. It’s clear we were both thinking of the same thing. It seemed that we agreed—whatever happened, it was weird, but it wasn’t a great sign in the sky from heaven.
12 “But before all these things people will lay their hands upon YOU and persecuteYOU, delivering YOU up to the synagogues and prisons, YOU being haled before kings and governors for the sake of my name. 13 It will turn out to YOU for a witness. 14 Therefore settle it in YOUR hearts not to rehearse beforehand how to make YOUR defense, 15 for I will give YOU a mouth and wisdom, which all YOURopposers together will not be able to resist or dispute.
While we’ve seen our brothers be delivered up, in the concentration camps, and the Governing Body who were enprisioned, the opposers did resist or dispute their witness, and enprisioned them anyway.
Such a clear scripture, but I’ve not heard of examples fulfilling this verse either.
As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’ve never experienced such hatred, though brothers in third world countries have.
Unfortunately, these brothers often do lose their lives for their faith, and thus are not the example of the sign of the last days Jesus spoke here of.
For as fear inspiring as this prophecy may appear, Jesus lovingly told is not to be terrified, and that by endurance throughout experiencing these signs we would aquire our souls. Hope, indeed.
What would be our modern Jersusalem? One would imagine that would be The Watchtower Society.
21 Then let those in Ju·de´a begin fleeing to the mountains, and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her; 22 because these are days for meting out justice, that all the things written may be fulfilled.
Why would there be a meting out of justice against Jerusalem, the modern day Watchtower Society? So that all the things written might be fulfilled—what are all these things written then?
23 Woe to the pregnant women and the ones suckling a baby in those days! For there will be great necessity upon the land and wrath on this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.
We are warned, but there is an end for this “appointed time of the nations” to rage against our modern Jerusalem.
25 “Also, there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations, not knowing the way out because of the roaring of the sea and [its] agitation, 26 while men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
As the scene detailing the appointed time of the nations fades, we now move quickly into the next, where nations are now the focal point.
27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift YOUR heads up, because YOUR deliverance is getting near.”
The nations will see the Son of man coming! And in that moment, we rest assured that our deliverance is near—but not yet.
29 With that he spoke an illustration to them: “Note the fig tree and all the other trees: 30 When they are already in the bud, by observing it YOU know for yourselves that now the summer is near. 31 In this way YOU also, when YOU see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near.
We certainly feel like this must be spring foretelling of summer, but I wonder if we are to truly see them fulfilled ourselves, as Matthew says: “Likewise also YOU, when YOU see all these things, know that he is near at the doors.”
I do believe that this clearly tells us of a generation which will see ALL these things occur. Why was Jesus so concerned that his words would pass away? Isn’t he clear enough? Was he fearful of interpretation which would invalidate his words?
34 “But pay attention to yourselves that YOUR hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon YOU 35 as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth.
That day will affect all upon the earth, but we do not know the day nor the hour, though some would claim to. Therefore, he warns us…
Have we escaped all these things that he foretold were destined to occur. Surely I feel so… I mean, I haven’t suffered any of them. For such scary prophetic words, it really didn’t seem all that bad. Or, have we escaped?—Have all these things occurred, have we seen them occur, or perhaps are these verses yet to be fully fulfilled?
1 Thessalonians Chapter 1
3 We are obligated to give God thanks always for YOU, brothers, as it is fitting, because YOUR faith is growing exceedingly and the love of each and all of YOU is increasing one toward the other. 4 As a result we ourselves take pride in YOU among the congregations of God because of YOUR endurance and faith in all YOUR persecutions and the tribulations that YOU are bearing. 5 This is a proof of the righteous judgment of God, leading to YOUR being counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which YOU are indeed suffering.
6 This takes into account that it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for YOU, 7 but, to YOU who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels 8 in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus. 9 These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, 10 at the time he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith, because the witness we gave met with faith among YOU.
11 To that very end indeed we always pray for YOU, that our God may count YOU worthy of [his] calling and perform completely all he pleases of goodness and the work of faith with power; 12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in YOU, and YOU in union with him, in accord with the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 2004, I visited Thessaloniki, and walked the path of Paul there, and along to other cities of the first century congregations. I imagine myself as being one to whom this letter was written. How comforting to know that all will be well, and that my trials had not gone unnoticed.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2
1 However, brothers, respecting the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we request of YOU 2 not to be quickly shaken from YOUR reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here.
3 Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He is set in opposition and lifts himself up over everyone who is called “god” or an object of reverence, so that he sits down in the temple of The God, publicly showing himself to be a god. 5 Do YOU not remember that, while I was yet with YOU, I used to tell YOU these things?
6 And so now YOU know the thing that acts as a restraint, with a view to his being revealed in his own due time. 7 True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint gets to be out of the way. 8 Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence. 9 But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents 10 and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. 11 So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 However, we are obligated to thank God always for YOU, brothers loved by Jehovah, because God selected YOU from [the] beginning for salvation by sanctifying YOU with spirit and by YOUR faith in the truth. 14 To this very destiny he called YOU through the good news we declare, for the purpose of acquiring the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So, then, brothers, stand firm and maintain YOUR hold on the traditions that YOU were taught, whether it was through a verbal message or through a letter of ours. 16 Moreover, may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave everlasting comfort and good hope by means of undeserved kindness, 17 comfort YOUR
However, translating the second half of the letter into my modern day leaves me agitated. First I read of the brothers who sold their homes and quit their jobs in earlier years of the Watchtower, sure that the end was that close. For example, the experiences I have been told about 1975—that being from the Watchtower, God’s spirit-directed organization, verbally, and written, proclaiming Jehovah’s day was upon them—or rather to the effect that the day of Jehovah is “here”. I’ve also been told of how devastating of an effect this had on lives, and how, in turn, many lost their faith.
It says that Jehovah’s day will not come unless the apostasy comes first, AND the man of lawlessness gets revealed—the one who sits down in the temple of God. But God selected some from the beginning for salvation by sanctifying them with spirit and by their faith in the truth. Despite the apostasy from within, he exhorted that they maintain as they were taught by their direction, which we now find in the Bible. It is by means of the Bible that we may comfort our hearts and be made firm in every good deed and word.
2 Peter 1
16 No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories that we acquaintedYOU with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: “This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.” 18Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain.
This one verse articulates it so clearly. How many brothers have fallen to artfully contrived stories? Faith destroyed by belief in what they were fed? No, in biblical times it was by means of eyewitness that Jesus Christ’s presence was witnessed. Why would that not be the same of modern times? Verse 18 specifically brings to mind, for me, the signs from heaven that we await.
40 God raised this One up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead.
Jesus’ manifestations on earth may have only been to a select few, but it was not merely an invisible presence. The eating and drinking with him is a literal recurring pattern of a visual manifestation.
Oh, how this verse speaks to me: “And I began to speak to the exiled people all the things of Jehovah that he had caused me to see…” Read Ezekiel 12, what he speaks of Jehovah to those exiled people, like me, because…
In Ezekiel 13, Jehovah issued judgement against the stupid prophets who are “within the intimate group of God’s people” (modern: Jehovah’s Witnesses), misleading (“do not be misled”!) them by means of “double-faced divination” and worthless visions, declared in the name of Jehovah (who declares in the name of Jehovah today?).
- Verses 6 & 7 I think of all the times years witnesses list of the WT’s “end”.
- The first half of verse 10 makes me think of the “spiritual paradise”.
- The later half of verse 10 the reality in light of truth of all the horrible things I know about what’s going on in the organization, yet they “whitewash” it so that those in the congregation are left completely unaware.
- Verses 15 & 16 the hypocrisy exposed.
- The rest speaks to those who are lost, disillusioned, without Jehovah’s organization, and may be captured by women hunting the lost sheep without a shepherd. (It makes me think of New Age ‘witches’.)
What is “double-faced divination”? Frankly, its use is what has kept me so confused for years. Others might call it speaking out of both sides of your mouth. It’s things like: the October 2011 Watchtower warns using Matthew 24:44, but at the very same time the Watchtower teaches that the master of the house has already come long ago (1914) and rewarded the faithful slave (themselves) and punished the evil and sluggish slaves. No wonder I’ve always had such a hard time figuring out biblical history. The way I learned it from the Watchtower largely ignores linear progression, and it’s hard to keep straight what’s already happened versus what’s to come, when they apply the same scripture two more than one modern parallel.
Meanwhile, back to Ezekiel, Jehovah’s woman, once restored, turned against her him and became as a prostitute making political alliances and compromises with the nations (Egypt and the Canaanites and with the Assyrians and with the Chaldeans). Further, his prophecy also goes on to indict Jerusalem for idolatry and child sacrifice.
The Watchtower Society with “her” Bethel headquarters is the only modern “city” for Jehovah’s name. Ancient Jerusalem was once the possession of the Amorite and the Jebusite tribes, and in like manner the Watchtower Society originated in Christendom (Russell was a protestant, adventist and mason) but gradually developed its own identity separate and distinct from the Canaanite-like religions of Christendom. With Jehovah’s backing Jehovah’s Witnesses have established their own city-like stronghold that is spiritually unassailable from religious enemies.
But like ancient Jerusalem, the Watchtower Society began trusting in its own “prettiness”. While showing reliance on Jehovah in times past, Bethel has made many compromises over recent years. See Bulgaria, Mexico, UN NGO.
The Mosaic Law once stipulated that both idolaters and prostitutes alike should be stoned to death. Thus, Ezekiel 16:38-40 reads: “And I will judge you with the judgments of adulteresses and women shedding blood, and I will give you the blood of rage and jealousy. And I will give you into their hand, and they will certainly tear down your mound and your heights will certainly be pulled down, and they must strip you of your garments and take your beautiful articles and leave you behind naked and nude. And they must bring up against you a congregation and pelt you with stones and slaughter you with their swords.”
“AND YOU WILL HAVE TO KNOW THAT I AM JEHOVAH”
But we know that Jehovah is the one who causes to become, and his will will be done. Though the Jews broke the covenant, the earthly city of Jerusalem would not be concluded until his purpose had been realized with the coming of the Messiah. Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in order to receive the prophesied King of Israel.
In the concluding verses of the 16th chapter Jehovah reaffirms his commitment to the covenant, saying: “And I, I myself, will establish my covenant with you; and you will have to know that I am Jehovah, in order that you may remember and actually be ashamed and you may no more come to have any reason to open your mouth because of your humiliation, when I make an atonement for you for all that you have done…”
Yes, I believe in the Watchtower. But I believe God’s word, over any earthly organization.
45 “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. 47 Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
48 “But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ 49and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, 51 and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be.
The Watchtower claims the title of the faithful and discreet slave for themselves. They have proclaimed Jesus coming and time and time again “the end”. They promote themselves as an idol [any person or thing regarded with devotion], even as they have altered our baptism vows (1985). In many ways Jehovah’s servants have taken a beating at the hands of the ever changing standards by which we are judged worthy or unworthy of association in the organization. Like Ezekials list of grievances, they have had political alliances with even their very own definition of the disgusting thing. And where we lack literal child sacrifice, we instead find controversy around their handling of our lambs in child sexual abuse cases.
You’ve always told me to wait on Jehovah. My heart is full of assured expectation of things not yet beheld. I don’t feel qualified to preach or to teach because I feel like a baby. According to the Watchtower, either I’m fully confused, or know nothing, for what I learned when I was young didn’t stick. I read the Bible today and where I was told it portrays modern fulfillment on Christendom, I read instead just a simple parallel from the fulfillment in biblical times directly to the modern day. Where it was Jerusalem it is The Watchtower. Where it is the temple, it’s Bethel. Where it speaks of his people, it’s Jehovah’s Witnesses. His still means his. My mind gets confused when I read about his people, his nation, his woman, etc, and try to then insert something other than synonyms. But shouldn’t we be reading the Bible as God’s word, and not trying to modify it for our own interpretations?
Yes, it feels as though we are living in the fulfillment of these scriptures:
1 Departing now, Jesus was on his way from the temple, but his disciples approached to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 In response he said to them: “Do YOU not behold all these things? Truly I say to YOU, By no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.”
3 While he was sitting upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”
4 And in answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU; 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 YOU are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that YOUare not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.
7 “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. 8 All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.
9 “Then people will deliver YOU up to tribulation and will kill YOU, and YOU will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name. 10 Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; 12 and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off. 13 But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. 14 And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore, when YOU catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) 16 then let those in Ju·de´a begin fleeing to the mountains.
Let’s not find ourselves as the apostles did, eager to show off the buildings of the temple, only to have him reply that we have been misled in our devotion and belief. For he simply said, these things must take place, but the end is not yet. The love of the greater number has cooled off due to the increasing of lawlessness. I am witness and evidence to that fact. But digging deeper into my faith, and turning to the only thing I, as an exile, have to rely on—Jehovah and his word and the Word, feel as though I am now stronger and can endure. If and when the Watchtower were to be found destroyed, I know that I can survive. And more so, by the Watchtower’s very own interpretation, it would seem as though we’ve seen the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as Jesus reminds us was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place. Oh how many nights I spent surely appearing as a fool last summer, fleeing and climbing mountains in the night, and living in what seemed the first days of paradise. I found the gate of villa paradise (http://www.
1 And it must occur in the final part of the days [that] the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. 2 And many nations will certainly go and say: “Come, YOU people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem. 3 And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore. 4 And they will actually sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and there will be no one making [them] tremble; for the very mouth of Jehovah of armies has spoken [it].
5 For all the peoples, for their part, will walk each one in the name of its god; but we, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.
6 “In that day,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “I will gather her that was limping; and her that was dispersed I will collect together, even her whom I have treated badly. 7 And I shall certainly make her that was limping a remnant, and her that was removed far off a mighty nation; and Jehovah will actually rule as king over them in Mount Zion, from now on and into time indefinite.
To the director. A melody of David. When Nathan the prophet came in to him after he had had relations with Bath-she´ba.
According to the abundance of your mercies wipe out my transgressions.
And cleanse me even from my sin.
And my sin is in front of me constantly.
And what is bad in your eyes I have done,
In order that you may prove to be righteous when you speak,
That you may be in the clear when you judge.
And in sin my mother conceived me.
And in the secret self may you cause me to know sheer wisdom.
May you wash me, that I may become whiter even than snow.
That the bones that you have crushed may be joyful.
And wipe out even all my errors.
And put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one.
And your holy spirit O do not take away from me.
And may you support me even with a willing spirit.
That sinners themselves may turn right back to you.
That my tongue may joyfully tell about your righteousness.
That my own mouth may tell forth your praise.
In whole burnt offering you do not find pleasure.
A heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not despise.
May you build the walls of Jerusalem.
Of David, at the time of his disguising his sanity before A·bim´e·lech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
Constantly his praise will be in my mouth.
The meek ones will hear and will rejoice.
And let us exalt his name together.
And out of all my frights he delivered me.
And their very faces could not possibly be ashamed.
And out of all his distresses He saved him.
And he rescues them.
Happy is the able-bodied man that takes refuge in him.
For there is no lack to those fearing him.
But as for those seeking Jehovah, they will not lack anything good.
The fear of Jehovah is what I shall teach YOU.
That is loving enough days to see what is good?
And your lips against speaking deception.
Seek to find peace, and pursue it.
And his ears are toward their cry for help.
To cut off the mention of them from the very earth.
And out of all their distresses he delivered them.
And those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
But out of them all Jehovah delivers him.
Not one of them has been broken.
And the very ones hating the righteous one will be held guilty.